Monday, June 23, 2014

Fool's Views (5/5 – 5/18)

Ah, the joys of summertime...

Howdy folks!

Yeah, yeah, it’s been a while (again) and the reviews below are sporadic (again) and while I’m not entirely okay with it, I kinda gotta be okay with it because time keeps marching on and movies keep getting watched and inspiration and opportunity are fleeting and who wants to hear excuses and apologies when they showed up to hear about the flicks?

Special thanks to David Canfield for his generosity in loaning me several of the selections listed below.

As always, feel free to leave your two cents worth – we’ll make sure you get some change back.



Bedevilled (2010) d. Jang, Chul-soo (South Korea) (1st viewing)

A stressed-out banker from Seoul (Yeong-hie Seo) visits her childhood friend (Seong-won Ji) on a distant island, where she discovers that the rural woman’s life is plagued by an abusive husband and a community of clucking older women who believe in total subservience to the male. After an agonizing first hour of verbal, emotional, and physical degradations, the worm finally turns with predictably (especially if one has seen the DVD cover with Ji holding a dripping sickle) bloody results.

Contracted (2013) d. England, Eric (USA) (1st viewing)

The buzz has been high for this STD-gone-super-wrong flick, but while the high-concept and physical effects are superb, the end result is a troublesome mix of laziness and/or disrespect for viewer intelligence. I’m all for suspending disbelief, but the notion that a) a woman would allow herself to slide this far without cooperating fully with the doctors or b) that anyone around her would fail to notice is just too insulting to swallow. I can already hear the defenders shouting, “Dude, it’s just a fun gross-out movie! Go along for the ride!”, but if England wanted to tell a sick joke (and I’m all for sick jokes), it’s a tone he could have struck from the outset. Instead, he tells it seriously, and so I assume he wants us to take it seriously...and you just can’t.

Evilspeak (1981) d. Weston, Eric (USA) (2nd and 3rd viewings)


Final Exam (1981) d. Huston, Jimmy (USA) (1st and 2nd viewings)


Godzilla (2014) d. Edwards, Gareth (USA) (1st viewing)

I didn’t hate it, but I sure wasn’t wowed. To paraphrase my buddy Ian Simmons at Kicking the Seat, two killer "ending moves" does not a great monster movie make. These two links that pretty much sum up my thoughts and are deserving of your attention.

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (2014) d. Landon, Christopher (USA) (1st viewing)

Considering this is the fifth PA film and it still managed to hold my attention, I gotta give 'em props. The story centers on a young Hispanic lad who believes that the old hermit woman living below him is a "bruja" (witch). If you've been following the series, you know he's not too far from the truth. Plenty of just-outside-the-frame jump scares, but there's also a fine creep factor and while the found footage convention requires just as much suspension of disbelief as ever ("Why is he still filming?"), it's at least slightly justified here. Not bad.

Sleepaway Camp (1983) d. Hiltzik, Robert (USA) (2nd, 3rd, and 4th viewings)


Urotsukidoji: Legend of the Overfiend (1989) d. Takayama, Hideki (Japan) (1st viewing)

After dipping my toe in the hentai pool a few years back with the live action LA Blue Girl, I came across many a mention of this classic animated feature featuring tons of gore, tentacle rape, monsters, aliens, and epic mythos. Thanks to the urging of my pal Kevin Matthews (and his Ani-May-Tion marathon last month on the outstanding For It Is A Man’s Number site – which you should be reading if you aren’t already), I finally checked this out on YouTube. Wow. Never a dull moment, and rarely a sane one either.


Johnny Guitar (1954) d. Ray, Nicholas (USA) (1st viewing)

Still whittling down Danny Peary’s Cult Movies list, but I certainly expected this Sterling Hayden/Joan Crawford western to be a little loopier and/or campier to earn its place therein. Heck, I kinda liked it (although Mercedes McCambridge seems to be performing in a different movie altogether).

Scalene (2011) d. Parker, Zack (USA) (1st viewing)

After seeing Proxy a few weeks back, I was eager to check out this earlier acclaimed effort from Indiana writer/director Parker. The lives of a smothering mother, a mentally disabled son, and a well-meaning babysitter collide with unnerving results. Comparisons to Rashomon and Pulp Fiction are both apt and earned.

2014 Totals to date: 121 films, 69 1st time views, 65 horror, 10 cinema


  1. Agreed on Contracted. It's so obviously written by a man, and the lead character acts so stereo-typically male, combined with what I perceived a homophobic guilt from them, that suspending your disbelief takes a lot of effort. Okay film, just not great or authentic enough.

    1. Right? I love love love the idea, but it's done so lazily that I got really annoyed at all the characters and by connection, the writer/director. I understand that the gross-out moments play really well with a crowd, but that seems like nothing more than playing to the lowest common denominator. A little smarts would have gone a long way. But then again, who am I to say, since the film's been a huge success? Damn you, public!