Posts Tagged ‘It’s Always the Quiet Ones

20
Jan
17

The Demoniacs (1974)

It’s not that I don’t like Jean Rollin, because I do, actually. Even still, every time we watch one of his flicks the first thing I wonder is how long it will be before I end up drifting off to sleep? Well, the magic number with The Demoniacs was 46 minutes.

demoniacswreckers

The wreckers are out for loot… and blood!

Rollin definitely has his thing, namely mute naked chicks roaming around in gothic settings. And fear not, there is plenty of that to be had here. The mute naked chicks in question in The Demoniacs are the latest victims of a ragged band of wreckers (folks who trick ships into wrecking on the shore and then pillaging their contents). Their ship crashes, they wander towards the wreckers in their white linens all helpless and stuff, and of course are raped and left for dead.

demoniacsghost

Seeking ghostly revenge

Somehow the mute naked chicks end up at the local ruins where they find a clown, a Jesus, and I dunno, a devil or something? They make a deal with the devilish character, and obtain his power through sex (just in case you forgot you were watching a Jean Rollin movie) in order to seek revenge against the evil wreckers.

demoniacsclowningaround

Clowning Around

So, as is usually the case with Rollin’s flicks, there are some really good-looking moments (perhaps he should’ve done photography instead of film?). Alas, he can’t seem to string them together in any meaningful way. More than any other flick of his, The Demoniacs left me perplexed as to what it was actually about or what, if anything, it was trying to say. It was almost good, which makes it all the more frustrating that it wasn’t really worth a damn in the end. That being said, there are some truly bizarre moments that I don’t regret having experienced, and the boldness with which Rollin plants naked women in unlikely scenes and poses amused me until the very end. Still, I can’t really say that I’d recommend this movie to anyone.

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12
Oct
15

Puffball: The Devil’s Eyeball (2007)

Just a little over three years ago, I packed a bag and housesat in the middle-of-nowhere Montana for six weeks. With not much else to do, Q and I decided we’d watch at least a movie a day. Montana was also the catalyst for me to start blogging again; I’d actually started this blog a few years before that but let it languish, wilt and die. Anyway, we brought a giant binder of DVDs with us, and many DVDs went unwatched (like I said, giant binder). It occurred to us that October would be a fine time to pluck Nic Roeg’s Puffball: The Devil’s Eyeball from the binder and watch it.

Set in the Irish countryside, Puffball centers around Liffey, a young and successful architect who has taken on a project renovating an old, dilapidated cottage. She and her boyfriend Richard are eager to get started, when he unfortunately gets called away on business in New York. Luckily, they bone on an ancient rock (which is actually an altar to Odin, as explained by Donald Sutherland) before he heads out of town. Unluckily, the condom breaks. While Richard’s away, Liffey discovers she is pregnant, and she is not happy about it.

A slice of country heaven.

A slice of country heaven.

She has more than that to be unhappy about, though. Liffey’s closest neighbors are well-versed in ancient Druidic magic. Molly, the matriarch of the family, believes the baby Liffey is pregnant with was actually meant for her own daughter, Mabs (Miranda Richardson), who has been trying to get pregnant with a little boy for quite some time now, for reasons the film will cram down your throat. It’s not working out, and the local doctor refuses her fertility treatments saying she’s just too old to be a new mum. But Molly isn’t worried, she is fairly certain that her knowledge of magic, coupled with Mabs’ daughter Audrey’s natural powers can get the baby back to the right family. A little penis mushroom here, a little tainted alcohol there and voila! The baby will be in the right womb.

Nosy neighbors.

Nosy neighbors.

Well, unfortunately Molly and her witchy cohorts aren’t as in tune with Liffey’s pregnancy situation as they think. The lines get a little crossed, and their meddling causes some seriously bad mojo for everyone involved. Most of this is happening without Liffey even realizing it. But, in the end, Liffey decides to keep her baby, much to Mabs’ dismay, which leads to a very unsettling argument/labor situation that is DEFINITELY not something you want to watch if you are eight months pregnant!

Too old to breed.

Too old to breed.

I’m still not sure how I really feel about this movie. It definitely made me very uncomfortable, but how much of that has to do with my own pregnancy and imminent labor I can’t be sure. Certainly the idea that there are forces outside of us working to influence the outcome of a pregnancy is a terrifying one. What I for sure don’t like is the insatiable I-need-a-baby-now attitude that defines Miranda Richardson’s character. Sure, the film makes no bones about why Mabs feels this way, and I guess this was necessary to contrast Liffey’s I-definitely-don’t-want-a-baby-but-oops-accidentally-got-pregnant thing, but it really made me feel as though the filmmakers, or perhaps Fay Weldon, the author of the novel on which the film is based, think there are only two categories of women: those who wish to spawn, and those who don’t. That sort of dichotomy leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Life-changing sonogram.

Life-changing sonogram.

I have other problems with the film as well, but I’m afraid they’re mostly due to the budget Roeg had to work with. The film is very cheaply shot and reminds me of a throw-away television production. Sometimes I’m able to overlook stuff like this, but here I found the cheapness distracting. I also felt a lot of the special effects, which were also distractingly cheap, were used in very heavy-handed ways. I am sure there are other ways to convey a fire from back in the day to a film’s audience than showing the present-day object with flames overlaid on top. Over and over again. Oy. We get it.

Somewhere deep inside Puffball there is a good movie. Maybe even a great movie. But as it is now, I am not sure I liked it very much at all. It is thought-provoking, which is of course a positive thing, but there are so many smaller problems with the film that they take away from my ultimate read of the thing. Also, don’t be too excited to see Donald Sutherland’s name in the credits; he is only in two short scenes and that made me sad, too. For the most part though, the other actors do a good job of pulling their weight; they just don’t have much to pull.

09
Oct
15

Leeches! (2003)

Very recently I decided it was make or break with my disc rental service from Netflix. All too often the movies sit there and don’t get watched for months, and with their selection of available discs diminishing every day, I sometimes have trouble convincing myself it’s worth it. The trouble is, I’ve been a customer for so long it’s just so hard to let go! I’m not the type of person that’s just going to watch whatever’s available; I refuse to be a slave to the availability of films on any streaming service. Netflix disc rental is my safety net. So since we are keeping it, we decided it was high time to push on through the queue.

My gift from Netflix: Hot Boyz with no Shirtz

My gift from Netflix: Hot Boyz with no Shirtz

Unfortunately, the disc we set down to watch that evening was broken. No big deal, we reported it and waited for the replacement. Which was also broken. Okay, that’s weird, there’s no way the third disc will be broken, right? Wrong! So the ever-wonderful Q called customer service, where they had trouble believing us, and handed us an extra disc from our queue while also sending another replacement for the same movie. Wouldn’t you know it, that fourth disc was broken, too. Q called customer service again and was so darn nice to the dude on the phone that he offered us two extra discs from our queue. And that long introduction, my friends, is what got me into the mess of a film called Leeches! Since I usually have time between shipping off one disc and Netflix receiving it, I have time to groom my queue and decide what movie I want next. Unfortunately, the kind generosity of Netflix Customer Service Representative X forced me to end up with a movie I honestly can’t even fathom having put in my queue. My guess is I put it in there somewhere around seven years ago where it languished until it said “Long Wait” next to it, at which point I moved it up top because, well, that’s where all the long waits live.

In the end, though, it is clear that I owe a giant thank you to Netflix Customer Service Representative X, because Leeches! probably never would have made it into the mail if not by accident, and although it is awful, it is awful in new and exciting ways! It’s not that I’m not used to awful horror movies, it’s just that I prefer those awful horror movies to come from a specific window of time (preferably the 60’s – 80’s). So when I saw this flick was from 2003 my first thought was Oh, dear lord, why?

“Dude, leeches! Gross!”

Thankfully, my worst fears were allayed at the very first scene. A young college boy in speedos practicing for a swim meet! In slow motion! He touches his hair as the camera softly graces his young, ideal form… holy crap! This is homoerotic smut! What an exciting, unexpected treat! I have to admit, I had no idea this sub-genre of horror even existed! Thank you Netflix Customer Service Representative X for opening my eyes!

I guess I should go through the plot. Ok, so there’s this college where none of the boys wear clothes. I mean, they wear speedos, and sometimes they wear swim trunks over those speedos, and surely sometimes they wear an earring (sometimes two!) or a necklace. They are really super pumped about being a great swim team, so they’re all on steroids! For some reason, they’re always swimming in this lake that’s right on campus, next to the swimming pool, where you’d think they’d get the best practice, but whatever. As you might have guessed, this idyllic lake is populated with more than just an Adonis or two; it’s also rife with LEECHES!

Still no shirts.

Still no shirts.

Well, that’s not really a big deal, just pick them off and throw them on the floor of the showers in the locker room, right? There’s just one minor problem: the leeches aren’t just feasting on hot-boy blood, but also on the hot-boy steroids! As you can imagine, the leeches grow to a ridiculous size and start wreaking havoc all over this extremely small and mostly-naked campus.

There is other stuff that happens, but obviously nobody watching this movie gives a crap what that is. I’d seen the director’s name, David DeCoteau, on countless used DVDs, some of which we’ve purchased. I had no idea a large part of his career was directing extremely cheap smut! That being said, at least here in Leeches! the smut is quite tame; I don’t think there’s any nudity at all. Just a lot of close-ups of cut abs and whatnot. It’s just so hilariously horny, it’s hard not to enjoy watching it.

Well, there they are ladies and gents, the titular leeches! And still no shirt.

Well, there they are ladies and gents, the titular leeches! And still no shirt.

I’m frankly not sure how many different movies of this ilk I could sit through, but the chances are I’m going to test my limits. At any rate, it’s really good to know this sub-genre is out there; what a gloriously idiotic and empty way to spend 85 minutes.

06
Oct
15

Office Killer (1997)

What is that Dorine up to?

What is that Dorine up to?

I can’t count how many times writing this blog has made me miss the days where I had full access to my parent’s cable box. There is, after all, some pleasure in clicking through countless channels and coming across a horror gem that you otherwise would never have heard of. I watched so many movies when I lived at home with them, I’ve straight up forgotten most. Until recently, Office Killer was one of those, but when Q mentioned a campy horror flick starring Carol Kane as a serial killer, a lightbulb went off. Oh yes, I remember that…

Directed by photographer Cindy Sherman (which is why Q was interested in the first place), Office Killer tells the tale of a meek copy-editor whose job, after nearly two decades, is suddenly at risk. Dorine Douglas (Kane) has been at Constant Consumer almost since its inception, but that hasn’t earned her much respect. In fact, some people think her quiet nature hides something sinister and creepy. Kim Poole (Molly Ringwald) feels strongly about this. Perhaps she’s right.

Michael Imperioli is practically a baby here.

Michael Imperioli is practically a baby here.

Constant Consumer hasn’t had a good quarter, or year, in a long time. To make up for lost cash, Virginia Wingate, the head honcho at the magazine (who also happens to be a chain-smoking asthmatic – this will be important) hires Norah Reed (Jeanne Tripplehorn) to help the company downsize. Of course, Dorine is one of many to receive a nice little pink slip that kindly informs her that not only have her hours been cut down to part time, she’ll also be expected to work from home for most of it. To a lot of us today, a prescription for working from home doesn’t sound so bad. But Dorine’s home life is not exactly ideal. Every moment spent at home is spent looking after her needy, handicapped mother. Without even the minimal contact of her coworkers, Dorine’s going to have to make new friends. If she doesn’t, she just might go insane.

Have you read the latest issue of Constant Consumer?

Have you read the latest issue of Constant Consumer?

I’ve always liked Carol Kane as an actress, but I’m certainly more used to seeing her play a loud, obnoxious character (Scrooged, Princess Bride) than the quiet mouse she plays here. I’m happy to report she handles this role just as well as anything else I’ve ever seen her in, and she does so with just enough humor to fit the film perfectly. I’ve heard the film referred to as campy, and while that’s true in some places, it certainly isn’t an all-out romp. In fact, I think you could even say it’s a little sedate in places where it most definitely could have been taken over the top. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but if you’re walking into this one expecting a laugh riot, you’re not going to be pleased. There are some chuckles all right, but just chuckles. I’m hesitant to even add comedy as an appropriate category for this movie.

Office Killer is about as good as I remember it being when I first saw it ages ago. And that, according to my Netflix star-ratings, is about three stars. It’s not a movie I’d go up and down the street shouting about, but it is a pretty solid outing. It’s certainly not a bad way to spend a night in October. And hey, you get to see a pre-Sopranos Michael Imperioli playing an awkward character. That might be worth it in and of itself!

02
Oct
15

Roman (2006)

Roman watches television.

Roman watches television.

Lucky McKee’s May is without a doubt one of my favorite horror movies. The more stuff of his that I watch, the more I dig: Sick Girl, All Cheerleaders Die and The Woman are all great too. So it was only a matter of time before we finally watched Roman, which has McKee not only writing but also starring, with Angela Bettis of May fame behind the camera this time. The switcheroo bears interesting, if somewhat frustrating fruit.

Roman (McKee) is a welder by day and a lurker by night. The masculine dudes he works with poke fun at him while at the lunch table, mocking his lack of a television and his inability to join in on regular guy conversations. At home, Roman sits by the window with a beer, a cigarette, and a longing to see the girl next door (Kristen Bell) pick up her mail. One day, Roman changes it up a bit and has his beer and ciggy outside. This turns out to be a decision that will change Roman’s life forever, because Dream Girl just happens by and asks for a drink.

Boy oh boy Roman sure does love his Dream Woman.

Boy oh boy Roman sure does love his Dream Woman.

Well, one thing leads to another and eventually they’re back in Roman’s apartment. But awkward dudes are awkward, and Dream Girls never really know how to deal with that, so she tries to leave. Roman’s emotions take over and, well, things don’t end well. That doesn’t necessarily mean Roman’s not going to pursue a relationship with this lovely lady, though…

Suddenly, Roman seems to open up. The guys at work are noticing a difference, even beyond the fact that all he’s eating these days is canned pork and beans. There’s even a new girl he’s started seeing, who might be just as batshit weird as he is. Maybe even weirder. Awkward guys never had it so good!

Roman is almost like May in reverse. This time, it’s the lonely, awkward guy who has to work hard to “make” new friends. And like May’s, Roman’s world is made up of largely imagined relationships. When they get real, shit gets dangerous. The real difference is, unlike May, Roman actually finds someone who is more fucked up than he is.

Roman loves picnics in the park.

Roman loves picnics in the park.

I have to admit, this movie frustrated me a little bit. I’m all for low-budget flicks, but sometimes a movie is almost too low budget for me to fully enjoy. I kind of felt like that with Roman. It just looks shitty to a distracting degree. It also moves at a glacial pace and seems as though they’re trying to stretch material that would work better for a short film into a feature-length deal. All that being said, in retrospect I think I enjoyed this a lot more than I felt like I did right after I watched it. I guess perhaps it takes a little time to digest. It’s definitely a rare occasion for me to say something like this, but I think it could be polished up and repackaged into a prettier picture someday, and that wouldn’t be a bad thing. But if you like McKee’s and Bettis’s work, this is still worth a watch, for sure.




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