Monday, October 3, 2011

October Horror Movie Challenge 10/2


Host, The (2006)
(2nd viewing) d. Bong, Joon-ho South Korea 119min
When an arrogant US scientist/bureaucrat orders his Korean counterpart to dump gallons of chemicals down the drain – and into the Han River – merely because the bottles are dusty, the results are one of the best giant monster movies to come along in ages. The CGI creature, an ingenious mix of amphibious ooginess, hasn’t aged terribly well in this age of SyFy but it’s far from distracting. But the best news is that the “in-between-monster-attack” scenes, rather than a fine time to scoot out to the refreshment stand, are just as entertaining, thanks to a zippy script and the game cast. We’ve got social commentary to spare, and the dysfunctional family in Little Miss Sunshine has nothing on the Park brood, with its slacker father, spunky daughter, activist uncle, archery champ aunt and wise, weary patriarch, all of whom are given their due moments of failure and heroism. An unqualified triumph.

Big Man Japan (2007)
(1st viewing) d. Matsumoto, Hitoshi (Japan) 113min
A hilariously sly n’ dry mockumentary spoofing the kaiju eija genre, with the titular “defender of Japan” depicted as a self-centered, insecure slacker who every so often has to strap on the electrodes and expand to giant-size in order to combat the various monstrosities that continually besiege the island. However, as we soon discover, his biggest problems are one of slipping ratings and public opinion, as well as constantly being compared to his grandfather BMJ, who was a hit in the 60s. As with nearly any kaiju effort, one wishes for more monster action, but the subversive nature of the exercise pays off in so many other ways that it’s easily forgiven.


Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice (1992)
(1st viewing) d. Price, David (USA) 92min
Half killer kid movie, half unofficial Omen sequel. Bob Keen’s makeup f/x are the predictable highlights (hello, killer nosebleed!) of this sequel to the blah 1984 flick, and in many ways, it’s much more fun. There are a number of Wizard of Oz references, as well as welcome appearance by Ned Romero who played nearly every Native American movie/TV role in the 70s that they couldn’t get Chief Dan George for. Christie Clark, who landed a long-running role on Days of Our Lives the year after this came out, amply fills out her denim jean shorts and tosses her blonde mane about under waterfalls, lighting a pining fire in every young male American’s soul.

Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest (1995) (1st viewing) d. Hickox, James D.R. (USA) 92 min
Those crazy kids from Gatlin, Nebraska just keep coming. This time, it’s Eli, who’s some kind of evil child wizard working for He Who Walks Behind the Rows. After he kills his stepfather in Nebraska, he and his hunky stepbrother are relocated to Chicago where Eli sets about indoctrinating a whole new crop of followers. Screaming Mad George delivers the mayhem, including a final reel appearance by HWWBTR that’s worth its weight in latex and servos. Not bad, although the suspension of disbelief sometimes kicks into overdrive. Look sharp for Charlize Theron as one of the killer kids!

First Time Views: 4
Repeats: 5
Total Films: 9


  1. I hate "Children of the Corn II" for some reason.

    On the other hand, I also believe that if it wasn't for the over-the-top finale with ambitioins that are obviously way beyond the film's budget (gosh, that use of a Barbie doll for a stand in..,.)... the film would be a nice entry. The finale almost kills it for me.

  2. I gotta say, the ending had me laughing big time. When the evil leaves our main adolescent antagonist, leaving him "innocent," and then he gets sucked into the combine anyway? My mouth fell right open. Harsh. I gotta say, though, I enjoyed Part 2 quite a bit for its own manic energy and sheer silliness.