The Devil's Rejects
I finally watched The Devil's Rejects, the sequel to House of 1000 Corpses.
It wasn't horrible. I was definitely entertained and wanted to finish the movie. It wasn't like I was just waiting for the end credits to come. But as most sequels tend to do, I was left a little disappointed.
First of all, nobody looks the same. Now this movie was made only two years after the original and takes place around the same time, as the original takes place in October, 1977 and Devil’s Rejects in May, 1978. However, Baby seems to have aged quite a bit in the face (Sheri Moon Zombie). And not only does Mother Firefly have nearly perfect teeth in this one (in the first one they were nasty and rotted, like those Halloween Billy Bob teeth) but, she’s also a completely different person, which so often happens in sequels. Also, Captain Spaulding hardly wears his make up at all, showing us just a regular guy with an major attitude problem.
None of the characters have the same level of, shall we say, crazy. Otis (Bill Moseley), instead of coming across as the maniacal, sadistic narcissist that he portrayed in the first one, he comes off as a garden variety multiple murderer with what seems like some power reassurance rapist traits as well, just for good measure.
Baby doesn’t have the same creepy child’s doll type voice, which was one of the best parts of House of 1000 Corpses. Mother Firefly isn’t near as disgustingly flirty as she was in the first one. I mean she made me cringe in 1000 Corpses but, I really just kinda rolled my eyes at her character in Devil’s Rejects.
Although the family dynamic is still solid and twisted, there’s definitely a level of terror and eeriness missing from the sequel. There aren’t near as many grotesque images and scenes and there’s not near the violence in most of the killings. Again, there’s much more of a sexual sadistic undertone in this sequel.
And after all the hoopla, the Firefly family ends up dead. Mother Firefly is killed by the brother of Officer George Wydell, Sheriff John Wydell. Baby, Otis and Captain Spaulding all go down in a hail of bullets in a gun battle with the police. We are even led to believe Tiny dies in a burning house.
I will say again that I found this entertaining. I just expected more gore and blood and violence.
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By now, I kind of assume that most horror fans know the story of Carrie. First, came the novel, written by Stephen King. It was actually his first selling novel, published in 1974, which allowed him to quit his regular job and write full time. Then, in 1976, the first movie adaptation was made (starring Sissy Spacek), followed by more (some for film, some for TV), including a remake in 2013 (starring Chloe Grace Moretz).
This is the story of a young teenage girl. She’s been raised in a very strict home with a mother that takes religiosity to a whole new level. This mother constantly locks her in a closet and makes Carrie pray for forgiveness, tells Carrie she’s evil solely because she’s female and that basically everyone on Earth is horrible and out to get her. This young woman is completely uninformed about what happens as she enters puberty and is told that she should be ashamed of her body by her mother.
This poor teen attends a public school and gets bullied and ridiculed relentlessly.
And it is hardcore. They emotionally torture this kid, making fun of everything about her from her hair to her clothes to her personality. They make a video of her in the girls’ locker room and post it to the internet. (I am so thankful the internet didn’t exist when I was in school. These kids are vicious.)
Carrie does have one saving grace. She possesses the power of telekinesis and can move practically anything (or anyone) with her mind. In the beginning, she is new to this power and has a hard time controlling it. But, later, after she gets a grip on what she is capable of, she uses that to her advantage at prom to exact her revenge on, well, everyone.
I have seen the 1976 version and had never seen the 2013 version because, frankly, remakes disappoint me. However, this remake is extremely close to the original movie and was a pleasure to watch.
Moretz does a spectacular job of portraying Carrie and the updates in the movie were not so exaggerated as to ruin parts of the story (like IT 2017). She even has that perfect wide-eyed look all the time like Sissy Spacek did throughout a lot of the original. She’s got an incredible grasp on the pathology of the character, focusing on the deep desire to be just like everyone else and finally realizing, nobody is just like everyone else. She embodies perfectly the age-old struggle of being an adolescent; wanting and needing to belong, being at the most awkward stage of growth, trying to find yourself and your independence and your place in the world and yet, learning to accept everyone else and their place in the world. High school has got to be the hardest time of a child’s life. It’s torturous and it feels like, whether it’s good or bad, that it will never end. Chloe Grace Moretz embraced this role emphatically, giving us the Carrie on screen that, I believe, may very well come to be the most common image/portrayal of the character.
Julianne Moore plays Carrie’s mother and I have to say, she carried the part well. While the mother in the original seemed more out of touch with reality and nonsensical at times, the Moore version of the character really brings to life the torment and the battle going on within her own heart, mind and soul, so much so that it just overflows into everything she does. The fear of what could happen to her daughter compels her to almost hold Carrie prisoner in her own home.
They really did a great job with this remake. The special effects are great. They don’t take over the movie as so often happens in remakes. Just because we are updating doesn’t mean the whole ENTIRE thing needs to be completely different and new. I also have to add that there are some killer cars in this movie. I love old muscle cars, you know, when you could hear your engine OVER the stereo? (Not the exhaust people, the engine. Exhaust doesn’t count.) And, they updated the different avenues of bullying used to be current, which was necessary for a remake. I mean, it is the 21st century, things HAVE changed.
FINALLY!!! A remake that, after I watched it, I felt satisfied and content. So many leave me feeling dejected and just wanting to watch the original…and burn the remake. But not this one. So, I HIGHLY recommend giving this movie a look-see if you haven’t already. It is solid and strong from beginning to end.
An American Werewolf In London
(TOP 5 SCENES list at end of review)
An American Werewolf In London. Released in 1981, this is a movie from my childhood. An all-time classic made before all the technology of CGI and fancy stuntmen. Horror based purely on writing, acting, some cheesy masks and some killer special effects make up. But let me back up just a bit.
Here we have two young, American men, Jack (Griffin Dunne) and David (David Naughton), presumably college age, out backpacking around Europe. Sounds like a blast, right? And it is. Except for the fact that while traipsing through an English countryside (for lack of a better word), they stop at a pub called “The Slaughtered Lamb” in East Proctor. There, they not only rub the locals the wrong way with their questions about the pub but, they get warned as they are told to leave to “Beware the moon and stay on the road.” But as Americans so often think they know everything, do they heed the warning? No.
And while making light of the very warning they ignore, they get attacked by a werewolf. Jack gets attacked first and he doesn’t survive. David gets merely scratched by the thing before a man comes from out of nowhere and shoots it and David passes out while all these people from the pub are standing over him.
Now the best part of this werewolf attack is that, while Jack is getting shredded (and I do mean shredded, Jack looks awesome after he’s killed), David takes off running in the other direction. Of course, then he realizes what a jerk friend he is being by leaving Jack to die so, he turns around to go back for Jack. That’s when he sees Jack pretty much dead and the werewolf turns its attention to David.
So, after the attack, David wakes up in the hospital in London. There’s a pretty nurse named Alex Price who is taking care of him. The doctor there, Dr. Hirsch, tells David that Jack is dead, each of their parents have been notified and that he will be there at the hospital for three or four days. David tries to explain that he was attacked by a werewolf but the doctor and the US Embassy guys all maintain it was some psycho on the loose.
While David stays at the hospital he starts developing feelings for Nurse Alex. He also has nightmares unlike anything he has ever had before. He sees himself running naked through the woods and hunting deer as if he were a coyote or something. He sees werewolf type creatures, but with more human like bodies, annihilate his family and Nurse Alex. These seem very real to him and he starts to worry about his sanity a little bit. (Even David knows how crazy the werewolf story sounds.) The doctor assumes that the nightmares are from trauma and is hopeful that they will pass.
A couple days into his stay there, when he is woken up for breakfast, he sees Jack standing at the foot of his hospital bed. This scene is in my Top 5 scenes of this movie, that’s for sure. Not only does Jack look amazing all bloody and ripped up (this is what I was talking about earlier when I said Jack looks awesome but, it still gets better) but, the conversation that David and Jack have here is hysterically informative. Here, Jack utters one of the best lines. “Life mocks me, even in death.” Plus, the director lets us get up close and personal with how Jack looks now, not hiding anything. And like I said, this is before all the crazy CGI technology.
Though David doesn’t want to admit Jack is there, they talk. Jack tells David that he has been bitten by a werewolf and will change in two days, at the next full moon. Poor Jack is also in limbo and cannot pass on until the werewolf’s bloodline is severed and the curse is lifted. For this to happen, David must die. Jack requests that he kill himself. David, of course, freaks out and screams for the nurse.
Alex comes in, David tells her what Jack said and she is very pragmatic about the whole thing. Since he is going to be discharged the following day and she is not only worried about him but, is also attracted to him she invites him to stay with her at her flat.
After they spend the night together, Alex goes to work for her shift.
David is restless for quite some time. And then it happens. He changes into a werewolf. This would be in the Top 5 scenes as well. Although some will think it’s cheesy and I do admit, it can be a little bit B rate but, the idea that this was all actually done old school really adds something for me.
David goes out and kills six people that night but, does not remember it. He wakes up in the wolf den at the zoo. He gets back to Alex’s place and they go to see Dr. Hirsch, who is convinced David is in trouble and wants to help. On the way to the doctor’s office David figures out he killed all these people and runs off, kissing Alex and telling her he loves her.
He ends up across the street from a adult film theater and sees Jack standing outside of it, waving him inside. David meets with Jack again but, this time the other six people he’s killed are there also. This would be the fourth of my Top 5 scenes. Another informative, yet sarcastically funny conversation takes place.
At the end of the conversation in which all these undead people are suggesting way on how David can die, he turns again. He kills all the living people in the theater and then runs away into the city.
Eventually, the police, the doctor and Alex all find him trapped in a dead-end alley. The are ready to shoot him, frankly because he looks like an overgrown, rabid coyote with a severe anger control issue. Alex walks up to talk to him and tells him that she wants to help and that she loves him. For a moment we see the snarl relax and then he lurches forward out of the darkness and is shot dead, right then and there. This is the last of my Top 5 scenes for this movie.
And that’s the end of the movie.
This movie is good not only because of the make up but, also because it is funny on top of being a thriller. I love the sarcasm and simple jokes that go on in the dialogue. It really makes for a fun movie to watch if you want to go with a kind of classic horror/thriller movie from the 80s.
The Top 5 Scenes (#1 being my favorite)
1. Jack visits David in the hospital.
2. David’s victims and Jack meet David in the theater.
3. David changes into a werewolf.
4. Jack and David initially get attacked.
5. David gets shot.
Well, I finally saw the new IT movie, part one, and I have mixed feelings about it, to be honest. I won’t even begin to compare either movie to the book, that’s just too much to discuss. However, there are differences between the 90s version and the 2017 version. Some of these make sense to me, others don’t.
I understand why Pennywise looks different. The director figured since IT’s been around for over 100 years, that Pennywise would be more of an antique or vintage style clown, which in my opinion, is creepier than the bright, vibrant Pennywise of the 90s.
I have to say, before I go any further, that I absolutely LOVE Tim Curry, the original Pennywise. He is so, I don’t know, over-the-top and dramatic that he was just perfect for that role in the original. His sarcasm was one of the things I enjoyed the most. That “I’m just here to screw with you” attitude is absolutely hysterical to me. Plus, it does add a certain feeling to the movie, kind of like “You’re just a toy to me, a plaything for entertainment, and when I’m done and bored, I’ll kill you.” I truly didn’t think that I was going to be okay with Skarsgard replacing Curry, but, it totally worked.
The new Pennywise character is much funnier and could be considered a lot scarier (if I got scared by things like that). Skarsgard really takes the taunting of the Losers Club to a whole new level. He’s more like a schoolyard bully wrapped up in an antiquated clown suit. And he plays the bully to the hilt.
Now, speaking of bullies, I have to say that the new Henry Bowers looks eerily similar to the original Bowers, except the 2017 Bowers has lighter hair cut into a mullet. And his overall personality is more angry and violent. Nicholas Hamilton looks and acts so similar to Jarred Blancard (90s Bowers) that I thought the transition between the two versions was practically seamless.
Also, Richie is so much funnier in the 2017 version. He’s my favorite character out of the Losers Club in the new movie. They also made Richie afraid of clowns when, in the original, he is afraid of the werewolf he keeps seeing.
There ARE some things I don’t get. I don’t understand why they made the kids go into the Neibolt house. I mean, I’ll admit it’s a cool looking, creepy house but, it just didn’t sit right with me that they get to the sewers through the house. Also, in the house, Eddie breaks his arm. Eddie doesn’t get injured in the original until they’re adults. At most Eddie gets bullied into an asthma attack. They also made his mother seem truly out of touch with reality, instead of just super over protective and imposing her hypochondriac views on Eddie. But, one of the biggest differences is the fact that they changed the entire era that the movie takes place! In the original and in the book, the Losers Club is younger, the Bowers Gang is younger and it all takes place around the mid-60s (give or take). Because they changed the era, things like Bowers cutting Haystack with the knife just doesn’t seem as plausible. I don’t remember kids at my school attacking kids with knives in the 80s. It’s just out of place now. And that was a big clue into Henry’s mentality…and now it’s a little obscure because of the times. And yes, I know they want to make it more current but, other things like having an account at the pharmacy…that was well over by the late 80s. People didn’t do that anymore. That was a 50s-60s thing. And before. When people trusted people and a handshake was signing on the dotted line.
Also, in the original, Bev doesn’t get taken by IT…ever. Now, it’s been over 20 years since I read the book so, I can’t remember much about that, but the original movie I know pretty much by heart. And Bev doesn’t get taken.
One of the reasons I have such a problem with remakes is because the new movie always has changes to the storyline, changes to the characters and just isn’t ever the same. I understand that a lot of people don’t want it to be the same. But, when I think of a remake and what it should be, it should be the original movie with better special effects and new actors. I hate that they always change things, sometimes drastically (like Clash of the Titans…total let down).
Now, ALL THAT being said, I actually did like this movie. I thought it was eerie and creepy and made very well. I kind of expected a little more gore because of the advancements in technology now but, it was still a great flick to watch. I just have to resign myself to the fact that it’s just going to be different. Not necessarily better, just different. (2+2=4 isn’t better than 3+1=4…just a different way to express the same thing.) So, I WILL be waiting for the second part, just to see what they did with the rest of the movie. Hopefully, not too many more changes.
That’s it for now! Thanks for reading!!!