Based on Het Gouden Ei by Tim Krabbé
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Kiefer Sutherland, Nancy Travis, Sandra Bullock
Budget $23M Box Office $14,543,394
IMDb 6.3/10 Rotten Tomatoes 47% Metacritic 49/100
The other day, I caught an old 90s psychological thriller on TV. I’ve seen the movie many times so I didn’t have to see it from the beginning to know what was going on at the time I came in on it. This truly is a movie that I watched as a kid and have remembered very well, even to this day.
The gist of the story is a boyfriend and girlfriend, Jeff and Diane (almost sounds like a John Mellencamp song) are road tripping, she goes missing and he spends the next three years trying to find her…unsuccessfully. During this time, he tries to forge a new romance with a new woman, Rita. Yet, in the background, he still maintains a stringent search for Diane…unbeknownst to Rita. It creates lies and problems and of course, they split.
Then, just as Jeff has seemingly lost everything and all his hope, the man who took Diane appears at his front door and offers him all the answers he has been seeking. With one condition. He must experience everything exactly as Diane experienced it, then he will know what happened to her.
Now, I find no need to tell you any more than that about the actual details of the plot. However, the psychology behind the film is so twisted and out there, it’s like Jigsaw before there was Saw, only with a twist.
This guy, the bad guy, Barney, he’s all about philosophy, okay? He likes to prove things to himself. Like when he was fifteen, he wanted to prove he had the courage to jump off the balcony of his house, so he did. And it made him proud. He claims psychologically that prepped him to jump from a dock hanging out over a lake and save a little girl from drowning. Now, I personally don’t know anyone that can swim that wouldn’t jump off the dock to save a little girl in a LAKE from drowning, not like it’s the ocean. But, in his mind, he makes it this big ordeal about how his daughter thinks he’s a hero and that made him feel guilty because he didn’t know if he was really deserving of his daughter’s love.
This is where we get all philosophical, or well, Barney does at least. He needs to know if he is as capable of evil as he is of heroism. That in itself seems like a jacked-up reason to hurt someone. But he thinks this will make somehow a more complete human being, a kindred spirit as he chooses to sort of describe it. In theory, you can’t have one without the other. If you believe in one, you kinda have to believe in the other. Good can’t exist without evil. It’s like having light without dark or wet without dry. One state can’t exist without the presence of the other.
So, Barney wants to know if he’s a complete human or just a big ol’ softy that cares about others and lives right and contributes to society…oh wait, that’s most normal human beings, that’s right, I forgot for a second. Apparently though, being average, being normal, being like everyone else isn’t good enough for Barney. William Shakespeare wrote, “Nothing is so common as the wish to be remarkable.” So many people crave to be outwardly special, possess some special talent, have some special gift, something that sets them apart from everyone else. What they fail to realize is that we are all unique.
Unfortunately, being inwardly unique wasn’t enough for Barney. He had a wife who loved him and was devoted to him, he had a thirteen-year-old daughter that thought he was a God, he had a nice job, lovely house. What’s not worth having in that??? Most people, most normal people that is, that would be enough.
But, then there’s Jeff. The inability to accept not knowing is truly an American thing, in my opinion. We as Americans (the current times are a perfect example) will do damn near anything we are told as long as we are told WHAT and WHY. Americans LOVE the WHY. We require explanation, detail, information. As time wears on through the years, we seem to require more explanation than we used to (kind of worries me just a tad). We also seem to have a hard time wrapping our heads around the idea of “I don’t know”. I mean, even as human beings, it’s hard for many when asked about religion or faith to not have SOMETHING they cling to. It’s a scary thought to a lot of people that things just happen unexplained and for no reason. That there might not be an afterlife, that once you are dead, that’s it, you’re dead. People fear the unknown. And in absence of actual information they will grasp at whatever makes them feel safe and secure.
And as Americans and just plain human beings, we want answers. And Jeff, well, he just can’t seem to get his life together after Diane disappears. If he had found her dead or something, that would be different, but he has no idea what happened to her, she was there and then, she wasn’t. Jeff just can’t stomach that. No matter how hard he tries, even with Rita at his side he is still willing to give up everything for the opportunity to go back those three years and find out everything that happened to Diane.
Just think about that, I’ve lost people to things uncertain and certainly unexplained, and I can’t say that I would give up the life I’ve built to go back in time to get that one answer. I don’t think my loved ones would want that for me either. That strikes me as so entirely self-absorbed. It’s like Jeff thinks he’s the only person to ever lose someone without answers. It’s like he doesn’t realize that he’s destroying not only his life, but others.
And Rita. Poor, poor Rita. She loves Jeff so much and she’s lived through so much that she just doesn’t know how to give up. Talk about a fighting soul. This chick is hard core deep down inside. Jeff doesn’t really know it, but he’s no match for Rita and her resolve. And neither is Barney.
If you want to know how it all comes together, you’ll have to watch the movie.
Directed and Written by
Ed Asner as Dr. Howard Arden
Melinda Page Hamilton as Abbey Bell
Julian de la Celle as Greg
Bailey Edwards as Jacob Bell
Janet Ulrich Brooks as Nana Millie
Note***This film is so new that budget, box office and rating information is not yet available. The film’s theatrical premiere release date was March 13. So, keep that in mind while you are reading this because I am not going to be giving a whole lot away.
I was lucky. I got sent a screener of this movie to watch and review for you guys. From the trailer I saw, I was excited to see it and thought it had a lot of potential to be a really good flick. My only concern was that it was in that kind of home movie/found footage style and sometimes I have a hard time with those films. But I still wanted to give it a shot regardless because of the plot. Here’s what got my attention enough to watch the trailer.
“A distraught mother (Hamilton) suspects her teenage son (Edwards) is plotting a school shooting, but when he slips through the cracks of the system, she is forced to take matters into her own hands. After installing an elaborate spy camera system in their home, Abbey captures a series of disturbing videos that confirm her worst fears.
Torn between a mother's unconditional love and a mother's acute intuition, Abbey caters her videos to all the other "mothers of monsters" online. Abbey's plan backfires when Jacob uses a dark family secret against her, launching both mother and son on a terrifying, and ultimately deadly, game of cat and mouse.”
Right?!?! How can that NOT sound interesting to a horror fan??? I mean, that should appeal to the very core of the fiber of our being! So, I had to watch it.
Now, what we really see here is a truly desperate single mom, who is at her wits end, making video diary entries of her daily life experiences and video recordings of her son’s behavior, abuse towards her and his escalation of the two in addition to his anger and poor coping skills.
This poor woman, Abbey, is a 42-year-old single mom and she just can’t seem to communicate with her 16-year-old son, Jacob. She’s worried about him. She’s scared for him. She’s scared OF him. So, scared in fact that she installs hidden spy cameras all over the house. When Jacob is gone, she searches his room (Any teens reading this??? Yes, your parents know way more about the shit you’re doing than you think they do).
Abbey seems truly terrified. She records these videos as warnings to the other moms out there. She’s alone and afraid. She feels like there’s no one to turn to, no one to help her. These videos she’s making, collecting, they are also, in my opinion, a way of talking through the things she’s going through.
Jacob, on the other hand. Jacob is the typical rude, hateful, mouthy, ungrateful, entitled teenager…kicked up a few hundred notches. He yells and screams at Abbey, cusses at her, calls her names, insults her, plays mean tricks on her. He treats her like she’s his mortal enemy at times. It’s amazing how he talks to her.
Needless to say, their relationship is anything but warm and loving, nurturing and caring. Their relationship overflows with toxicity and negativity. And no matter what kind of approach she tries, Abbey just can’t seem to get a handle on things. Jacob makes even the simplest of things, like having a conversation, practically impossible.
Abbey is very worried that Jacob is going to end up hurting SOMEONE. Maybe even her. She’s voiced these concerns, even to the police, which is hard as a parent, to turn your own child into the police, but it didn’t do any good. She is basically told he’s fine and to move on.
Things between Jacob and Abbey continue to spiral out of control as Jacob finds out about certain things here and there until Abbey is in true fear for her life. It’s getting extremely tense and time is of the essence. He’s got her backed into a corner and everything she does makes him mad or frustrated or worse. It’s decision time for Abbey. She’s going to have to make a choice.
I really, really enjoyed this film. Like I said before, I was worried about the film style but it actually worked great for this movie.
I thought that Bailey Edwards was exceptional with his part. He definitely made it easy to hate a bratty 16-year-old. He expertly splashes the screen with the overflowing teenage angst and deep anger and rebellion a lot of us remember feeling at that age. (Remember how EVERYTHING was the end if the world and life and death at that age?)
And Melinda Page Hamilton was superb. Her portrayal of this mom who thinks her son may be a school shooter or a family annihilator is completely believable and totally brilliant. You see the fear in the red rims of her eyes, the anguish and desperation from crying, all caught in her eyes as she makes her videos.
There was definitely, without question, an eeriness within the film. Not so much in the beginning, but as the movie gets going you really feel the anxiety build along side Abbey as she gets more stressed and scared. It’s not really a suspenseful feeling, but it’s for real creepy and sinister. I have to say, with all my education and research, all the true crime videos I have seen on true crime shows, this duo really does seem to nail the psychological aspects of both sides of this troubled mother/son relationship. That's exactly why I found this so creepy and disturbing.
My only complaint is this…during the entire movie I could hear a low vibrate, two short buzzes at a time, like cell phone on vibrate. It’s like someone working on editing sound or something had their phone on silent and it was getting blown up throughout the making of the whole movie. I don’t know if it was accidental or part of some soft and slight background noise I didn’t fully pick up on (I have a slight hearing loss in both ears), but it was really weird. That buzz may actually have something to do with the eerie feeling. It’s what happens when your body responds to stimuli you can’t see…basically. There’s a lot more to it but that’s the basic gist.
So, other than that, I loved the movie. And I do hope you guys take the time to check this one out. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
Scotty Landes and Tate Taylor
Story by Scotty Landes
Starring: Octavia Spencer, Juliette Lewis, Diana Silvers, Corey Fogelmanis, Luke Evans
Budget $5M Box Office $61.1M
IMDb 5.6/10 Rotten Tomatoes 55% Metacritic NO DATA IndieWire 2/5
I wanted to watch this because it’s listed as a psychological thriller and from the general description that was on the cable summary, it reminded me of a couple of true crime cases I had heard about.
The basic premise is this: A middle aged woman named Sue Ann works as a vet tech in the local vet clinic in a small town where she grew up. Needless to say, she’s a quiet woman with a soft, loving smile and that genuine church lady love kind of voice that you just can’t walk away from, ya know? She just seems like such a sweet gal.
Flash to our other characters: A group of misguided teenagers (Maggie, new in town and new to school, Haley, Darrell, Chaz and Andy, who ends up dating Maggie) always looking for someone to buy their liquor and a place to party. Now, I never had to do this because I hung out with slightly older kids and they always had older siblings or parents even that would buy us alcohol and let us drink at their house (don’t OMG me people, this was a different time!). However, these kids know the struggle I don’t, so what they have to do is stand outside the liquor store and ask random strangers to buy their goods. (Like really, does that shit eve work? Do adults really do that? How do you know these kids aren’t plants by the cops? Moving on…)
So, that’s how they meet Sue Ann. She’s walking her dog and passes by the store and Maggie, the newest addition to the group because she’s the new girl at school, is standing outside and does the approach and ask on Sue Ann. And it works. Then Sue Ann becomes their regular hook up. But even more so, she offers up her basement as their party pad so they aren’t drinking and doing drugs out in the open. They’ll be safe at her house.
[I have to interject here with some logic from a cop’s kid. Okay, even at seventeen years old, if some random older woman who was willing to break the law to buy me and my friends alcohol wanted all of us to come party at her house which is not in the suburbs, but off in the woods, my answer would not only have been no, it would have been hell no. I would have NEVER gone from point A to point B with a stranger to a basement with the intention of getting all trashed and drugged and liquored up. Ummm hello??? Where’s those brain cells???? Moving on…again…]
So, being teenagers, they think this is the PERFECT setup and are all in. And at first, it’s great. They party, they get drunk, they get high. Sue Ann has established the rules, which are: Don’t use the Lord’s name in vain, Never go upstairs EVER and Call her Ma. So, they have fun, Ma has fun. And things are raging like a techno club for a while.
But then, as it always does, real life sets in and these kids have to go to school and do homework, extracurricular activities, sports, spend time with their families. And eventually, they get kind of tired of Ma always wanting to be around. See, she’s strangely sort of just inserted herself right in the middle of their “circle” (you know how it is in school), and it makes the kids uncomfortable. Not to mention that things start getting weird at Ma’s house and some people’s belongings start going missing, things become fuzzy and hazy and questions start being raised.
What these kids don’t know is that Ma grew up with their parents. And that for some people, high school never ends.
I have to be honest, when I first watched this movie and I got through the whole thing, originally, I felt a little dejected. But after thinking on it for a couple of days, I really think this is truly the kind of movie that will grow on you. There are some things in it that have just stuck with me, just kind of interesting, I think. I don’t want to tell you what they are because I don’t want to spoil the movie. But, after rethinking my original reaction, I think I reacted harshly.
Octavia Spencer is great in this movie. We always see her in this role of love and care and support, like the loving mother or the supportive caretaker or the strong supportive female friend, etc. But in this film, she really comes out of her shell and pulls a complete switch on us. This is a side of Spencer that we have not seen, but that she was especially good at showing. I give her fantastic praise for her performance in this film. She creeped me the hell out, that’s for sure.
So, DO give this film a chance. And if you feel a little, say, shortchanged at the end, do what I did and go over the film in your head a bit and sit on it. It’s not for gore. It’s psychological. Remember that and I think you’ll enjoy the film much, much more.
Starring: Michael Ealy, Meagan Good, Joseph Sikora, Dennis Quaid
IMDb 5.5/10 Rotten Tomatoes 32% Metacritic 39/100
Budget $5-8M Box Office $36.6M
Let’s take a little trip down imaginary lane. I want you to pretend that you’re newly married. And you and your new spouse are wanting to start a family. But not just in any regular old cookie cutter home in the suburbs. You guys decide to buy a house outside of town, like in the country type kind of place. The kind of place that is surrounded by big, beautiful trees and scores of flowers and foliage everywhere you turn. It’s quiet, away from neighbors and the hustle and bustle of the city. More importantly, it got acreage, lots of room for kids to run and play and grow up. And you find this house on the outskirts of town and man is it perfect. It’s everything you are looking for. You talk to the seller; he seems to be a nice guy. He gets what you might consider to be somewhat personal but hey, he’s just being friendly like most country folk, just small talkin’. After a little dealing and signing some papers this dream house you’ve picked out is ALL YOURS.
Or is it?
Imagine, no sooner do you get moved into your new home and the previous owner starts popping up. First with housewarming gifts and such and he DOES seem like he misses the house so why not invite him to the housewarming party, right? Have some dinner with friends, maybe some wine and talk about what you want to do to the house to make it more “YOU”. Isn’t that what people do?
Little do you know that your previous owner has a hard time letting go of things. He doesn’t like being cast aside or slighted, he doesn’t like having to have sold his home and he sure as hell doesn’t want you changing everything in HIS HOUSE. Imagine you start putting up, say, security cameras and the old owner comes up and tells the workers to halt working and starts yelling about holes being put in HIS house. HIS house? Remember, you just bought this house. Don’t forget that. This is your property. Then the previous owner starts showing up unannounced and at inconvenient times.
What’s worse is that as a man in this situation, you also realize old owner dude has fixated on your wife. And I mean like stalker, gets inside your house and watches you shower and sleep, kind of fixated. Imagine what it would be like to be terrorized like that and not being able to really do anything about it. The law is slow and skeptical when it comes to matters like stalking and harassment.
We all know that this is going to come down to which man wins the fight defending his castle. So, who will it be?
I really liked this movie. I thought Dennis Quaid was great. I don’t normally picture him in a role like this but, I think he really did pull it off quite well. There is definitely a true on the edge of your seat kind of suspense factor. The kind where you want to yell at the actors to do something or not to do something, tell them to turn around, not to answer that door…etc. That ambiance is well kept throughout the whole movie.
I also didn’t feel like there were really any holes in the plot line. It’s something I often look for, especially in stories involving crime, the legal system, etc. There is a point where you start to kind of feel for the previous owner, I suppose some people would anyways, but then, as it always goes, the true colors come out and you see who you are REALLY dealing with.
I don’t quite know if this movie centers around the married couple or if it centers around the previous whacko owner. It really seems to focus on the owner quite a bit. It’s almost as if he’s running the roller coaster and the married couple, and whoever else gets in the way, are just along for the wild, twisted ride.
This film is also kind of an eye opener about what people can be like when it comes to being forced out of their homes…and their lives. Sometimes people can’t take the stress. Sometimes they take up oil painting or wood carving. And sometimes, they go attack people they feel have wronged them and helped put them in their current position. (Hey, I’m not saying that’s right, I’m just saying it happens.)
So, other than entertainment value, if you take anything away from this film, it should be this:
Don’t become friendly with the previous owner of your new house.
Happy house hunting my ghoulish friends!
Starring: Ellen Page, Patrick Wilson. Sandra Oh, Odessa Rae
Budget $950,000 Box Office $8.3M
This is a film about a fourteen-year-old girl who calls herself Haley, that plots and carries out a revenge plan against an adult male she suspects of being a sexual predator. The best thing about this movie is that this girl does what most people dream of doing to these monsters when we see them on the news or in crime shows.
She starts out by luring him to a coffee shop to meet FTF (that’s face to face for us older peeps who don’t speak in anagrams). When they do finally meet, she slyly tricks him into taking her to his house. He may think it is HIS idea but, it’s really HERS, it’s part of her plan.
When they get there, like any sexual predator, there’s some light flirting, some drinks are made, he shows her around his house while talking about his profession as a photographer, trying to impress her. But, when he hands her the drink, she says that it’s not a good idea to drink something you didn’t mix yourself. He agrees and says they can go back in the kitchen and she can watch him make the drink but, instead, she takes charge and says SHE’LL mix some drinks…screwdrivers.
She brings the drinks out and then starts slowing pushing him to drink his cocktail, faster and faster, saying that he’s falling behind and needs to be able to keep up with a teen girl. Appealing to his ego, which works, and he continues to drink the screwdriver she made for him. What he doesn’t know is that she put something in the drink to drug him. And it works.
She gets him tied to a chair, bound well with nylon ropes. And from that point on SHE is in control. And she has a purpose. She wants to get a confession out of him. A confession about a missing girl named Donna Mauer, who he admits he met for coffee.
Throughout the film we see the two of them play mind games back and forth. Haley claims to be an honor student and very bright. And she seems to live up to the claim. Jeff, the adult male predator, claims he’s not a pedophile, which in my opinion is a matter of semantics.
Quick lesson: The term pedophile gets thrown around to encapsulate ALL sex offenders that prey on minors. This is NOT accurate and is very misleading. A pedophile is a predator that preys on pre-pubescent children, usually the law says twelve and under. After that they are labeled sexual predator. Or rapist.
She finds all kinds of hidden secrets in his house and she toys with him like a cat with a mouse. Eventually, Haley sets Jeff up for an ultimatum. And it comes down to him making a choice. It will be a life changing choice either way he goes. And that’s her intent. She’s going to change his life. And his will.
I loved this movie. Haley is played by Ellen Page and she’s awesome in this film. She is excellent at the cold-hearted attitude this kind of person must have to do the things to Jeff that this girl does. The funny thing about this movie is that we go along through the whole movie believing Haley from the start. Jeff seems like a perv. And even if he isn’t the exact predator she thinks he is, because he continuously claims he’s not, he’s a predator in her mind, nonetheless. And for that, the ends justify the means. I guess in some cases it’s better to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission. But, then again, she’s not really worried about forgiveness.
What strikes me is that she’s a fourteen-year-old girl and she’s doing things that an adult wouldn’t be able to handle. She’s quite the thinker, definitely living up to her claim as an honor student. She definitely has a level of sarcasm and dark humor that I can appreciate, although her victim didn’t seem to find anything funny at all. Can you believe that? Not one thing. No sense of humor.
I have watched this film three or four times before I decided to write a review on it. I was originally watching it because I found it psychologically interesting. This is definitely a psychological thriller. At least in my opinion. I mean, this girl plays with this guy’s mind in every way possible making him almost crazy with fear and anger and anxiety. The mind games and psychological torture she puts this guy through is pretty impressive for a fourteen-year-old. I mean, she comes up with things that NORMAL teenage girls wouldn’t, couldn’t even imagine. She’s also very good at planning ahead, her ability for foresight is astounding. She’s quick thinking and fast on feet. It’s almost like this guy Jeff doesn’t seem to stand a chance against her, and she’s just a kid.
But, then again, this film is a good example of how much we underestimate our youth of today. They aren’t the same. Fourteen years old in 2020 is not the same as fourteen years old in 1994. We’re talking a completely different generation, with a completely different upbringing and a completely different mindset. These kids aren’t kids anymore. They grow up faster, they experience more earlier in life and they don’t do the things we did at that age. Yes, the general stuff about being a teenager, all the angst and awkwardness and such is still there. That’s just biology and natural and that will never change. But attitudes and maturity do change. And things are different now. Oddly enough, this film reminded me of just that.
There’s no blood, no gore. No slasher scenes and no chases of big breasted blondes running from madmen with big bladed weapons. This is altogether a different kind of thriller and it’s a good one at that.
Todd Phillips and Scott Silver
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix
Budget $55-70M Box Office $1.067Billion
IMDb 8.7/10 Rotten Tomatoes 69% Fandango 88% Metacritic 59/100
So, right up front I am going to tell you some things that don’t seem to be very popular in this day and age.
First and foremost, I have always felt VERY strongly that, in Hollywood, there is, was and always will be only one of each of the following:
One Superman: Christopher Reeve
One Batman: Michael Keaton
And ONE Joker: Jack Nicholson
I have felt this way since I was a small child, growing up watching the movies of these incredible men doing unthinkable things. So the idea of ANYONE else playing The Joker is almost offensive to my sensibilities.
Next, I am not a Heath Ledger fan. Yes, I realize the young man has passed on and that his death was a heart wrenching tragedy. But, his death has absolutely nothing to do with his acting ability. Yes, I saw him in A Knight’s Tale and it was a pretty good movie. I wasn’t big on the love story aspect but hey, I know they have to throw that in there, I mean hello??? The story involves knights, there has to be a fair maiden with whom he falls in love. Not having the love story in that movie would have been like making that movie without horses. But, I’m getting sidetracked. I admit I refused to see Ledger’s performance of the Joker. Having seen this film, I feel it will be necessary at this point in order to accurately compare all of the Joker performances I’ve seen. But, at the time, I had no interest in seeing Ledger play Joker.
Joaquin Phoenix on the other hand, he has a natural creep factor on screen that is just cosmically mesmerizing. I mean, even in Gladiator he was a creepy, wretched little man who wanted to sleep with his sister and rule the kingdom. No, not incredibly narcissistic , delusional or oedipal at all. Not at all. So, we’ve see that, even without the Joker makeup, Phoenix can portray quite a shady and suspicious creature.
One thing to keep in mind is that this particular Joker movie is an origin story. This is where we learn how and why the Joker became the cold, heartless villain that he is.
Now, because this film was only release about two and a half months ago, I’m going to avoid spoiling anything for you. So, here are my thoughts on the film, WITHOUT giving you the whole film summary. I think saying it’s an origin story is pretty clear enough
I actually really liked this film. I found myself truly empathizing with Joker as the movie went on. It is also an excellent example of how people with ANY sort of mental illness, big or small, are treated like some kind of pariah. As is mental illness is contagious. It truly left the film surrounded in a deep darkness, a loneliness and a feeling of despair. There’s not a whole lot of comedy in this film although there is some, it’s required seeing how it’s a movie about the Joker. But, think about this…we (the audience) have known for a long time that Joker has some serious issues, that he’s not playing with a full deck of trick cards, that he’s not really there mentally or emotionally like the average human being. But in this film, we find out why.
And Joaquin Phoenix…wow! I have to admit, as far as the new generations of Jokers go, Phoenix is the one that really has it down. He feels who the Joker really is. And he played the creepiness to the hilt. I mean, perfectly. It was truly an amazing performance.
I also like that Phoenix was the lead in this film. I think he is very talented and sometimes gets overlooked when he’s playing the support roles. But he really put it all out there for this film and it really came together in such a fantastic way that, once it was over, I wanted to watch it again. I used to really be a Batman fan. Michael Keaton was a hero when I was a kid. But after watching this origin film, I really feel like I have switched over to the “dark side” and become a Joker fan. He’s a very complex character. Batman really isn’t. But, the Joker, he’s got layers…like an onion.
So, if you get a chance to watch this, it is an absolute must. It’s a different kind of Superhero/Villain movie. Not a lot of action, very up close and personal on Joker and some things slid in there to make you think…if you catch them. So, enjoy the birth of this villain, because he’s like no other before or since him.
Scott Kosar, Ray Wright
Starring: Timothy Oylphant, Radha Mitchell, Joe Anderson, Danielle Panabaker
Budget $20M Box Office $55M
IMDb 6.5/10 Rotten Tomatoes 71% Metacritic 55/100
Ahhh The Crazies. I saw this cover and thought “Oh, my people! Is this a home video?!” Just kidding. I am a little nuts though. Lol. No, not really. Okay, maybe a little. Anyways, I had tried to watch this movie once before and only got through about the first fifteen minutes. So, I wanted to give it another shot. I couldn’t believe how much money it made when I looked it up before I watched it. To me that is usually a good sign on a horror flick.
In this film, “the crazies” are people that have been infected by some virus. At first, it makes them stand there all blank and wide-eyed, looking totally creepy, if I do say so myself. It truly is this weird zombie like effect but without the standard hunger for brains.
The first to notice the odd behavior of the townspeople of Ogden Marsh, Iowa is the sheriff David, played by Timothy Olyphant, and his pregnant wife Judy (Radha Mitchell). David and his deputy then try to find the reason for the newfound virus that seems to be infecting the township at an alarming rate.
David and his deputy soon find that a military aircraft has crashed nearby and that it was carrying some sort of cargo containing a pathogen, which has now infected their own water supply for the town. On top of that, since it WAS a military aircraft that crashed, the town soon comes until military control. The town is hoarded into holding centers and tested for this virus. If they pass, they are taken to one area of the quarantine station and if they test infected, they are taken to another area. Unfortunately, David passes the infection test but, his wife, Judy, does not, and she and David are split up.
Now, remember, the town is under military control, so it is now like a police state. (I know some of the people out there think this is the way we should actually be living but, [I pause while I catch my breath from laughing my ass off] there is NO WAY anyone in their right mind would be okay with MPs (military police) coming into their homes and tearing their families apart just because they MIGHT be sick. All roads in and out of town are blocked off, no one is to come in or leave until the problem has been resolved.
The resolution? The military has been ordered to destroy all human beings in the town. Eradicate them. Kill them. Yes, kill them. Everyone. Every single person in the town. Every single living being in the town. Men. Women. Children. Even the family pets. All are to be dead before the military leaves the area. So, in order to survive, David must figure out a way to escape quarantine, find his wife, develop a plan to leave the full quarantine area AND get out of the town, ALL without getting caught and killed or infected by this strange virus.
So, do they escape? And what about Judy? Will she and the baby survive? Will the baby be affected by all this in any way? And where will they go if they do make it out alive?
Watch and find out.
So, as far as horror movies go, this wasn’t bad. I wouldn’t necessarily call it a zombie film, as these infected people are not actually ever coming back from the dead. But I will say that the way they stand and stare is creepy as hell. It reminds me of all those K2 videos that the news stations were playing for a while where the people were using K2 or Spice or whatever and walking around like drooling zombies, standing on the sidewalk with their eyes barely open like a heroin addict that just lit up a vein. This was very reminiscent of those images. And I have to be honest, that kind of thing really gives me an uneasy feeling. It’s not that it scares me so much, even creeps me out isn’t really the right description. It’s unsettling. That’s what it is. And it’s because that look, that behavior, that blank stare and emptiness and absence of soul, it’s just unnatural.
Now, the whole police state idea…that scares the shit out of me. I grew up in a second-generation military family and my father was a cop for my young childhood. From a very young age I was taught about my rights as not only an American citizen but, as a human being. I was regaled with spirited talks from my father on the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, on their meaning, the spirit behind their conception and what IDEALS this country strives for and to represent. So, the idea of a bunch of our own soldiers (all of whom I appreciate, support and defend by the way) coming into my town, seizing control of the town’s authority, bursting into homes and dragging us out, taking us and stuffing us all into containment areas with the sole purpose of complete genocide, yeah that tends to make me a little jumpy and paranoid. That is just way too similar to events like what Hitler did during WWII or the millions of lives Joseph Stalin snuffed out.
Interestingly, I think while most people are going to be focused on these infected people, I’m one of the odd balls that just couldn’t seem to get past the whole police state and quarantine factor. Even now as I write this, it makes the hairs on my forearms stand up. And to try to escape from a scenario like that? THAT is scary stuff. I mean, these soldiers are trained to kill and here these people are trying to run away…and runners are the enemy. Plain and simple.
I will say that while I couldn’t get into this movie the first time I tried to watch it, this time I actually did like it. Now, it won’t be one that I’m going to grab as one of my favorites on a dark night with a cup of hot cocoa and a fire to curl up and watch in the shadows of my living room. However, it was certainly worth seeing and I do believe I will be watching it again at some point. I happen to like Timothy Olyphant. I like his sarcasm and he has this way with his delivery that’s like it makes him slightly arrogant but, you can’t help but like him, ya know? (Personally, I thought he was perfect for the role he played in Scream 2.)
I did like the violent scenes in this film. The kill scenes were good and the gore was fun. Nothing looked cheap although, to be honest, this is probably a B-Rate horror film. At the top level of B-Rate but, B-Rate nonetheless. Which is totally fine. Most horror films don’t make it to A-List ya know. But this one was definitely worth the watch. I mean, at least once. If for no other reason than to see the gory kill scenes.
So, I hope you do take the time to chill out with some popcorn, soda, milk duds (whatever blows your skirt up) and sit back a relax. Keep in mind this is NOT Oscar material. But if you are a horror lover, this will be a decent flick for you.
Directed and Written by
Starring: Sherri Moon Zombie, Bill Moseley, Sid Haig, Richard Brake
Budget $3M Box Office $2.2M
IMDb 5.7/10 Rotten Tomatoes 52% Metacritic NO DATA
I finally got to see this last night. It was released September 16 of this year but, it didn’t spend a lot of time in theaters or that many theaters, for that matter. I had been looking forward to this since I wrote my first post about it being in production in January of 2018. It was well worth the wait.
I still have to say that out of all three films, House of 1000 Corpses will always be my favorite. HOWEVER, 3 From Hell was a great third addition to what has now become a series I suppose, since there’s three films. It’s not really a trilogy because the plot line doesn’t have some sort of weird twist back to the first film that brings it all together.
Now, when I first saw that Rob Zombie was thinking about making this third film, my first reaction was, “Okay, how are they going to explain the fact that they were all shot to shit at the end of The Devil’s Rejects.” Granted, we don’t ever see them actually dead. We just see an intense shootout with the cops where they are pummeled by a hail of bullets as they drive head on into a police barricade. Death is implied with the wounds we see them sustain.
But, that’s the thing about implications…they don’t actually define anything. So, in the beginning of this third film, we find out that after they were turned into human swiss cheese, the cops took them into custody and rushed them all to the hospital where, slowly but surely, all three of them, Otis, Captain Spaulding and Baby, eventually healed and were put on trial. And this trial is so…Manson-esque (yes, I just made that word up and no, I don’t care that it doesn’t really exist). They get a couple of really good shots of Baby and Otis, each playing their own respective Manson Family type roles…Baby, the floating, mindless follower and Otis, the charismatic, psychotic looking and ranting leader.
From this point on, the film is what one would expect and want from Rob Zombie. However, while the first film, House of 1000 Corpses, focused on the violence and madness of the deranged Firefly family, the second film, The Devil’s Rejects, seemingly focused on the sexual depravity and violence of the Firefly clan. In the first film, we get a lot of Otis’s ranting and raving about everything and nothing, while destroying multiple people in the process. In the second film, the terrible trio are much more violent. Almost everything violent in the second film has sexual connotations to it, while sex was more like a by-product of the violence in the first film.
In this third film, Zombie backs off of the sex as a main plot line and focuses more on just these three as people. Demented and sad, but people nonetheless. Also, in the third film we get introduced to another family member, Otis’s half-brother.
Remember now, the trio are all in prison. The half-brother is on the outside, so naturally, there is the issue of getting them out of prison. This film moves more like a regular horror/thriller movie, rather than the wild-eyed back and forth of the first film. I was surprised that this film was almost two hours but, at no time was I checking the counter to see how much time was left.
I thought it was a good movie, a good final entry to the series. At least I assume it’s the final film. You never actually know with Rob Zombie, do ya?
Bill Moseley as Otis is, by far, one of my favorite horror characters ever. And as I said in my review of House of 1000 Corpses, Sherri Moon Zombie’s little crazy china doll laugh is one of the most eerie things I have ever heard in a horror movie. She does that a little bit in this film but, it’s almost like Baby’s grown up or something since her shootout with the police. She has a different mania about her when she walks and talks, when she dances around, when she kills. Otis hasn’t changed much at all which make it an entertaining thrill kill kind of movie to watch. And the addition of the half-brother is a fabulous expansion on the family dynamic.
Any Rob Zombie film fan would like this and dare I say, love it? I actually thought it was better than the second film but I don’t know if Zombie will ever top House of 1000 Corpses. 3 From Hell was a very close go at it though. And I think they did a damn good job of bringing it all together. Especially since there was such a long gap between the making of the second and third film. This is one I’m glad I bought so I can watch it again.
Eli Roth, Mac Cappuccino, Cody Ryder
Christopher Ford and Jon Watts
Starring: Laura Allen, Christian Distefano, Andy Powers, Peter Stormare
Budget $1.5M Box Office $2.1M
IMDb 5.7/10 Rotten Tomatoes 46% Metacritic 42/100
I just happened to pick this up at the used movie store down the street from my house. I didn’t know it existed and hadn’t heard anything about it until I saw the cover in the store. They had a special rack of horror movies set aside for Halloween. I grabbed this on a whim just because of the cover image. It looked creepy enough to me to have potential.
Now, while it wasn’t IT by any stretch, it definitely didn’t leave me feeling disappointed. I hate when I watch a movie and after the end I feel let down. So, there’s that to start with. Interestingly, the clown costume slightly resembles the new IT clown to me, but then again, that could be just me. I mean, all those antique clown costumes are hideously terrifying. I can NOT imagine who ever came up with the idea that clowns would be or could be entertaining to ANYONE, let alone small, helpless, hapless children.
Okay, so in this film, we have a typical family man, Kent McCoy, who is a real estate agent just trying to make a living to provide for his ever-growing family. We start on his son’s birthday. Kent’s wife, Meg, had ordered a clown but due to double booking issues, the company screwed up and no clown was sent for the party. Jack really wanted a clown; he was so looking forward to it. To find out that a clown wasn’t coming would just crush him. Meg calls Kent and tells him the situation. Kent, the doting father, springs into action.
When he gets Meg’s call, he’s at one of his properties he’s listing. It’s an old property and the previous owners left quite a bit of stuff. Kent starts to go through the boxes and chests in the basement and thankfully, by some miracle, he finds a clown costume. With a few other random things from around the house Kent becomes Domo the Clown and heads off to his son’s party. He’s a big hit with the kids and his wife is proud and considers him the hero of the day. After a long evening of entertaining a bunch of kids, Kent falls asleep still wearing the clown suit.
The next morning, Kent wakes to find that the clown suit is a little more than difficult to take off. The wig, the red rubber nose, the suit itself, have all seemed to adhere to his body. His family thinks it’s cute and his son even thinks it’s cool that Domo the Clown drove him to school. But Kent is no longer laughing. When he tries to remove the rubber nose it causes him pain. The same happens with the wig. He can’t wipe off all the clown makeup either. He even takes a little handheld jigsaw looking tool to the collar of the suit, trying to cut it off. But, it’s completely indestructible.
Now, Meg is a nurse so the two of them together think that she is a perfectly capable person to help with the removal process. So, she grabs her hemostats and after a few very painful tries, they just straight rip that red piece of rubber right off his nose, taking a lot of skin and some underlying tissue with it. That’s also when Meg notices that the wig isn’t a wig anymore, it’s become Kent’s actual hair.
And as if all that wasn’t bad enough, Kent starts getting the horrific desire to eat small children. Afraid he will hurt his wife and family; Kent runs away and moves to a motel. But he also finds the brother of the owner of the clown suit. He goes to this man looking for answers but what he finds is much more terrifying.
The man tells him the suit is a demon and it is taking over his body. The only way to end it…is to kill himself before the suit takes full hold of him. Kent isn’t thrilled with this idea, I mean, who would be? And neither is Meg. Now, it’s a race against time to see if they can figure out an alternative solution that doesn’t require beheading Kent before he is lost to the demonic clown suit forever.
This was a good film. Although it wasn’t ultra-fast paced or action packed or anything like that, it was still entertaining and creepy. Upon its United States release in 2016 it received very critical reviews with few people having nice things to say about the film at all. Personally, I didn’t think it was that bad. I’ve seen way worse. This wouldn’t get an Oscar or anything but I wouldn’t even go so far as to call it B-Rate horror either. The acting was fairly good. I recognized the guy that played the clown suit’s owner’s brother. He’s in one of the John Wick movies, I believe it’s the second one.
This was a pretty dramatic film. There wasn’t a lot of comedic relief, if any. No witty jokes really, no snappy one-liners. It did make for a slightly depressing movie. I mean, if you have a heart at all, you start to feel for Kent and his plight. Though it does also bring to mind the old adage “No good deed goes unpunished.”.
Still, I’ve not seen anything like this before. It was definitely different. I can’t say it’s a film I’ll be watching over and over however, it was worth watching at least once. I will say that if I had gone to the theater to see this, I probably would have been a little pissed, with how much it costs to go to the show anymore. But I got it used at the movie store for $5 or so. So, I feel I got my money’s worth. It might be fun to check out, especially if you love clown horror movies like I do.
Starring: Y’lan Noel, Lex Scott Davis, Joivan Wade, Steve Harris
Budget $13M Box Office $137M
IMDb 5.1/10 Rotten Tomatoes 54% Metacritic 54/100
It has been quite a while since I have seen The Purge, which was the first Purge movie. I do remember that it messed with my mind and I thought it was a pretty damn good movie, although I also remember it wasn’t something I was willing to watch over and over again. Maybe that’s because of the idea behind the plot of the movie.
This film, The First Purge, is about the very first Purge in the United States. Now, remember that the original movie was just a depiction of a typical “Purge” night. By then the people have long fortified their homes and have chosen one side or the other, whether they participate or stay home.
So, for those of you who don’t know, “The Purge” is an idea the government has put into practice that allows all crime, ALL CRIME, to be 100% legal and acceptable without retribution or consequences from the law for 12 hours each year, providing they don’t attack any government officials. Medical and Emergency are available the whole time. So, one night every year for twelve hours, all crime is legal and unpunishable.
Again, remember the first movie took place in 2022. THIS movie takes place in 2014, when the new government first passed the law allowing the Purge. In, this film we see the original purpose of the Purge night and what happened therein. Not to mention, we get a very good idea of how the agencies involved in the Purge exploited people in order to try to make it more successful. It becomes a fight for survival as people start to realize that they really are free from the law for twelve straight hours.
It must be the whole idea of this Purge thing that spooks me the most. The idea that for twelve hours our government would say it’s acceptable to murder or rape someone just, well…scares the shit out of me. There really aren’t many movies that can give me the willies or make me feel uncomfortable but, these Purge movies, they are some twisted stuff.
I liked that we got to see the origination of The Purge itself. When I saw the first movie I was like, how did this happen? Were there not people opposed to this? Funny how, in this movie, they answered my questions completely.
I liked this movie. It made want to watch the first one again. And the other Purge movies. There’s a whole slew of them PLUS a television series now. Definitely a major franchise. So, I assume the other movies will be good too but, then again, we have Halloween III: The Season of the Witch…ummm yeah. So, you never really know where they’re gonna take it at times. Still, I think this is a good flick for a Friday Night Fright with friends and food. There’s action, horror, a tiny bit of love, suspense. Practically something for everybody in the horror club!