September 30, 2011

SUPER (/SLASH Filmfestival 2011)

SUPER

USA, 2010/2011
Director: James Gunn

9/10











Many people compare this to "Kick-Ass" which I haven't seen yet - and I'm not sure If I'll ever watch it, now that "Super" has blown my mind away. It's definitely one of the most absurd, most hilarious and most inventive, but also one of the darkest and most disturbing comedies I've seen in a long time. 
An ambitious superhero movie with a few twists, a few major twists!

Average guy Frank (Rainn Wilson, excellent performance) loses his beloved wife Sarah (Liv Tyler, nice performance) to the nasty drug dealer Jacques (Kevin Bacon, excellent as always).
After Frank experiences a religious vision (one of the most outstanding, most memorable scenes of the year incl. tentacles cutting up his head and god's finger touching his brain), he decides to become the superhero CRIMSON BOLT, fighting crime and evil with a monkey wrench, together with his lunatic side-kick BOLTIE (Ellen Page, outrageously excellent performance!).

Equipped with a great plot, a fantastic script, cool camera work and a rocking soundtrack (incl. tunes from Creap Trick and Eric Carmen), director James Gunn created a unique and outstanding comedy-apocalypse full of incredible LMAO-humor, insanely gory violence, some surprisingly touching scenes and a few uber-surprising shocks that will leave you speechless.

Whether you enjoy it or not, this is a movie you definitely won't forget.
I definitely enjoyed it and in my opinion, "Super" is just super!




September 29, 2011

THE INNKEEPERS (/SLASH Filmfestival 2011)

THE INNKEEPERS

German Title:
The Innkeepers - Hotel des Schreckens

USA, 2011
Director: Ti West

5,5/10








I'm not a big fan of Ti West. I enjoyed his "Cabin Fever" sequel, but his magnum opus "The House Of The Devil" didn't do anything for me - and I wasn't too keen on "The Innkeepers" either (though I liked it a bit more than THOTD).

What I enjoyed: The movie takes place in an incredibly gorgeous-looking haunted ancient hotel. We get to see an amazing cast (fantastic performances from Pat Healy, Kelly McGillis and George Riddle) and some really beautiful cinematography. It's full of witty and hilariously amusing dialogue, and the beautifully composed score is just amazing.

What I disliked: Sara Paxton - a pretty and capable actress, but her performance here is often too over-the-top and annoying.
Yet,waaay more worse is the muddled and half-assed script: entertaining in the first third, boring and tedious in the middle, lame and pretty underwhelming in the last third.
I also hate the fact how immensely West fails in creating anything scary or chilling. Every single supposed-to-be-creepy scene ends up completely boring, the few 'jump scares' are either too predictable or just don't work out, and the supposed-to-be-chilling/unsettling epilogue is just blank and unnecessary.

If you wanna see a scary and old-fashioned haunted house flick, I suggest to watch "Insidious" instead.




EXIT HUMANITY (/SLASH Filmfestival 2011)

EXIT HUMANITY

Canada, 2011
Director: John Geddes

5/10











Man, this could have been sooo amazing... 
...if done by Romero or Darabont or anyone who's a more experienced director/writer than John Geddes is.

"Exit Humanity" is a mediocre post-Civil-War zombie drama that starts out pretty great in the first third, gets dull and boring in the middle and ends up even duller and more boring in the last third.

Pros:
A brilliant cast (Stephen McHattie, Bill Moseley, Dee Wallace), a beautiful and effective score, some terrific-looking animation scenes and a few of the greatest-looking zombies I've seen in a long time.

Cons:
Many bland and one-dimensional characters, hardly any tension or suspense, an extremely weak script filled with banal and uninteresting dialogue, and some horrendously cheap-looking film sets.

A big disappointment, only recommended to die-hard zombie fans who need to watch anything zombie-related.
Btw, this was the only movie at the filmfestival that got no applause from the audience...



THE TAINT (/SLASH Filmfestival 2011)

THE TAINT

USA, 2010
Directors: Drew Bolduc & Dan Nelson

6,5/10











Note:
This is the review from June when I first watched "The Taint" (it was free to watch in June on vimeo.com).
Seen it now for the 2nd time at the filmfestival - opinion hasn't changed. 
It's a flawed movie but at least it's highly entertaining - plus: I've never seen so much blood and sperm on the big screen :-)

Over-the-top as over-the-top can be.
This insane low-budget gorefest indie-debut is surely one of the most talked about movies in the current horror blogosphere since it was streamed for free on vimeo last month.

Ok, to me it's impossible to give it a rating as high Fred The Wolf or the Slasher Film Sanctuary did gave (which has probably something to do with the fact, that I'm not a huge Troma-niac) - still, I surprisingly enjoyed it  lot!

It's obviously flawed due to the quite mediocre direction, some serious pacing-problems and a few really, really tedious scenes. The acting is mostly pretty lame and a few characters are just plain annoying.

Yet, apart from that, "The Taint" is just sick. Amazingly sick.
If it's brutal or harsh or gross or abnormal or simply disgusting - it's in here.


 Loads of demented people with their dicks hanging out, gang-raping women, shitting their pants and/or ejaculating buckets of cum.
Bodies hacked/slashed/stomped to death, heads sawed in half, severed penisses, bashed heads.
Ripped out intestines, ripped out brains, brutally skinned faces, an iron pipe through a girl's head, one girl burnt alive.
Weird nazisploitation, teenage abortion with a coathanger, POV shots of a fucked vagina, semi-gay body training,
etc. etc. etc.

Not everyone might enjoy all this insanity, but I admit, I had a lotta fun watching all this sicko-stuff. :)

Furthermore, filming and direction are well done, the editing is brilliant, there are loads of cool flashbacks, a stunning animation scene and one of the best openings I've seen in a long time.
Special praise goes to the uber-excellent synth-driven soundtrack that gives it a great 80s feeling.

Highly recommended to anyone (with a strong stomach) who enjoy the early Peter Jackson, the "NEKRomantik" movies or any other movie with excessive gore and violence.


Imdb

September 27, 2011

THE WOMAN (/SLASH Filmfestival 2011)

THE WOMAN

USA, 2011
Director: Lucky McKee

2/10












Lucky McKee's Jack-Ketchum-adaptation "The Woman" is a movie you either love or hate - and I really, really hate it with a passion.

Reasons:

- The look and the soundtrack is so annoyingly indie-90s, it makes one puke. Terrible lighting, weak acting, a horrible old-fashioned stoner-indie-grunge-whatever-soundtrack...
It all feels as if McKee gave Larry Clark and Harmony Korine some really bad drugs, dragged them to the film set, sat them on barbed wire chairs and forced them to create something Jack Ketchum (and McKee) can masturbate to.

- Usually I have no problems with disturbing or disgusting movies. I enjoy stuff like "Irreversible" or "I Spit On Your Grave" - but this was too much for me. Call me a pussy, call me a dork, call me the hell you want but there was nearly no scene that was enjoyable to me in any way. It all felt just mean, gross, sick and inhuman.
This is not a feminist, misogynistic or socio-critical movie, this is just a gruesome and unnecessarily extreme movie - gruesome and extreme for all the wrong reasons.

- I hate the fact that every, yes EVERY single character here is absolutely unlikable.
- I hate Angela Bettis' surprisingly mediocre performance is and Sean Bridgers' annoying overacting.
- I hate the script which shows nearly no sign of tension, suspense, atmosphere or intelligence.
- I hate the fact that the whole movie is so incredibly packed with open and unanswered questions
- I hate the fact that this is actually a sequel to the horrendously bad crapfest "Offspring".
- I hate the ending. I hate the ending. I hate the ending.

- I hate the fact that this post turned out to be that long

1 point for the impressive opening, 1 point for Polyanna McIntosh's performance. Nuff said.
I suggest to watch "A Serbian Film" instead, a movie that is gruesome and extreme for all the right reasons.




September 26, 2011

THE RAID (/SLASH Filmfestival 2011)

THE RAID

Original Title:
Serbuan maut


Alternate Title:
The Raid: Redemption


Indonesia / USA, 2011
Director: Gareth Evans

10/10





The Saturday Night SurpriseFilm of the /SLASH Filmfestival - and what a surprise it was!
Holy fuck... "The Raid" is without a single doubt one of THE movies of 2011 - a mindblowing nonstop-hardcore-action-violence-uber-gorefest that left me and everyone else in the audience shocked and breathless.

Outstandingly intense and nerve-wracking from the very first to the very last second, packed with the most incredible action scenes and martial arts choreography sequences, the most brutal and cringe-worthy kills and injuries I've ever, EVER seen.
Every single actor delivers a kick-ass performance. The corridors, floors and apartments of the rundown apartment-block look terrific and were brilliantly filmed. The editing is stunning, the script is excellent and the amazingly brooding/chilling score is one of the powerful scores I've heard since "High Tension" or "Inside".

Believe the hype: "The Raid" is an epic and uber-outstanding must-see masterpiece. Can't hardly wait to see it again!


John Carpenter's THE WARD (/SLASH Filmfestival 2011)

THE WARD

Alternate German Title:
The Ward - Die Station

USA, 2010/2011
Director: John Carpenter

4/10








I really wanted to like Carpenter's comeback-flick... but I couldn't. "The Ward" is a weak, boring, predictable and pointless ghost-story-with-a-twist, ripping off elements from "Shutter Island", "Identity" and "Ghost Story" in really unimaginative ways.

Pros:
I love the creepy opening and the excellent-looking opening credits. I love the beautiful cinematography and the look of the mental hospital. The 'ghost' looks quite creepy and the few jump scares are all pretty effective.

Cons:
I hated how dull, slow-paced and unsuspenseful the whole movie is (was this really directed by Carpenter?). The acting is mediocre and every single character is annoying and unlikable. Furthermore, we get a cliché-laden and uninteresting plot, a stupid mess of a script incl. an incredibly unoriginal end twist, a few bland kills and a surprisingly lame soundtrack.

Final verdict:
"The Ward" is a huge disappointment. Carpenter should have stayed in retirement.




September 23, 2011

ATTACK THE BLOCK (/SLASH Filmfestival 2011)

ATTACK THE BLOCK

UK / France, 2011
Director: Joe Cornish

9/10











Fuck "Battle L.A.", "Super 8" and even "Cowboys & Aliens" - THIS is THE alien invasion movie of the year!
"Attack The Block" is a wild and extremely entertaining rollercoaster ride of a movie and nearly everything about it is just great.

It's tense, fast-paced, action-packed and never gets boring, thanx to Joe Cornish's superb direction and his excellent script. We get to see a surprisingly stunning and highly believable youngster-cast (stand-outs: John Boyega and Alex Esmail), as well as 2 glorious performances from the adults Jodie Whittaker and Nick Frost (great as always).


The special effects all look fantastic and the alien-creature design (black ape/dog-like monsters with blue-glowing teeth) looks just marvellous. Cinematography and editing are brilliant, the block-settings (with all its elevators and corridors) were very well chosen, the pumping soundtrack from Basement Jaxx is ear-blowing and last but not least, it's filled with hilarious dialogue lines like
"What's Ron's weed room?" - "It's a room... filled with weed... that belongs to Ron." /
"We should call the police." - "You're better off calling the Ghostbusters, love." /
"Moses... Ninja!!" / "Right now, I feel like goin' home, lockin' my door and playin' Fifa."

One of this year's greatest highlights. An inventive and original must-see Action-SciFi-Horror-Comedy, HIGHLY recommended!!!


September 19, 2011

/SLASH FILMFESTIVAL 2011 - Lineup


From Sept 22 to Sept 30 I'm attending the super-awesome /SLASH FILMFESTIVAL at the Filmcasino in Vienna. 
9 days of Horror, Fantasy, Comedy and weird Superhero movies - yay!!

I'll do some live-twittering from the event.
If you're interested in my rubbish-tweets, follow me:





Check out the Line-up:

-Day 1- Opening Night
+ /Slash Ballroom - Opening Party


-Day 2-
Paul Naschy's EMPUSA 
+ Stereo Total - Live in Concert
+ Porno Night
-Day 3- Superhero Saturday
Takashi Miike's ZEBRAMAN
+ Surprise Film
+ Super-Superhero-Contest


-Day 4-
John Carpenter's THE WARD
Lucky McKee's THE WOMAN
+ 80s Classic: William Lustig's MANIAC


-Day 5-
Sion Sono's COLD FISH 


-Day 6-
Jim Mickle's STAKE LAND


-Day 7-
Kevin Smith's RED STATE
Ti West's THE INNKEEPERS
+ Herschell Gordon Lewis Night:


-Day 8- An Evening with Crispin Hellion Glover
+ Live Performance: Crispin Hellion Glover's Big Slide Show Pt. 1
+ Q&A and Book Signing


-Day 9- Closing Night
+ Closing Party

Plus:
Various short films from
BRIAN LONANO, SEVERIN & VALENTIN FIALA, NIKOLAUS ECKHARD and KLAUS HAIDL
on various days


SLASHFILMFESTIVAL.com 
SLASH on FACEBOOK



"EVIL BRAIN FROM OUTER SPACE" (Pure Terror 50 Movies Pack, #29)

EVIL BRAIN FROM OUTER SPACE

Japan / USA, 1965
Directors: Koreyoshi Akasaka, Teruo Ishii & Akira Mitsuwa

2/10









First, some trivia:
"Evil Brain From Outer Space" was edited together of the last 3 episodes from the Japanese b/w film series "Super Giant" - episode 7 'The Space Mutant Appears', episode 8 'The Devil's Incarnation' & episode 9 'The Poison Moth Kingdom'.

Now for the review:
I wanted to enjoy this but it was just impossible because nothing in here made any sense (at least to me).
There's 'Starman', a superhero made from the strongest steel from the Emerald Planet (Green Lantern anyone?), there's the Sumerian mutants from the Planet Zimar and their leader Balazar (his body is dead, but his evil brain lives on), there are loads of goofy-looking guys in spandex suits (Power Rangers anyone?) and loads of angry men in trenchcoats.

For the greater part, the 'movie' consists of endless people-chasing-other-people scenes, loads of tiresome Starman-fights-against-villains scenes, countless characters who appear and disappear, countless plot points that just make no sense, cheap-looking effects, ugly kids, derailing model trains, nuclear bombs, cotton candy
- and by the time the movie ended, I was a broken man.

Silly rubbish for people who love to hang around on Japan-themed 4chan-boards.


September 18, 2011

SHORT FILM MADNESS!

A few cool (and not so cool) horror shorts I've watched over the last weeks:

EL CICLO
(8minute short)

Spain, 2003
Director: Victor Garcia

10/10










It's amazing that this was made by the same guy who is also responsible for crap like "Haunted Hill 2", "Mirrors 2" or the upcoming "Hellraiser: Revelations".


Victor Garcia's debut-short "El  Ciclo" ('The Cycle') is one of the most impressive short films I've ever seen. The weird tale of a naked man (in a filthy apartment) who bears a horrible secret in his back - told with no dialogue, using grotesque and disturbing images, loads of tension and gripping atmosphere.
Great camera work, brilliant editing, a superb performance from Jacob Torres and some stunning-looking practical effects make this a really extraordinary piece of art. 

Pity that Garcia eventually decided to film pointless DTV-dreck, instead of creating more visual delights than this one.




 CLOWN'S LAMENT
(4minute short)

Australia, 2008
Director: Gabriel Dowrick

10/10


Outstanding... absolutely outstanding!
"Clown's Lament" is a powerful b/w-short, showing only a weird guy with a clown-painted face in prison, who tells us about about how he met the 'love of his life'.


Aaron Scully's performance is beyond excellent: his laughing, his crying, his facial expressions - this is undoubtedly one of the best and most intriguing acting performances I've ever seen.
I love the way how it was filmed and edited, the b/w looks splendid and the final plot twist is one of the most shocking, most jaw-dropping moments I've ever experienced to watch. 
"Clown's Lament" left me speechless.




RED BALLOON
(12minute short)

UK, 2010
Directors: Damien Macé & Alexis Wajsbrot

9/10










Incredibly haunting and chilling horror short about a babysitter and a little girl that behaves a bit odd.
"Red Balloon" may be not that original as it feels a bit like a blend of "When A Stranger Calls" and "Babysitter Wanted" including elements from "Clownhouse" and "Amusement" - nevertheless, I absolutely loved it.


It's tense, suspenseful, creepy and highly atmospheric from beginning to end. We get to see some beautiful settings, gorgeous-looking cinematography and a few great CG effects.
The performances from Rachel Bright and Niamh Palmer Watson are excellent, the soundtrack is highly effective and the shocking climax is just amazing.
Balloons... err, thumbs up!




IMAGES
 (3minute short)

USA, 2009
Director: George W. Streicher

9/10





Absolutely fabulous b/w short film without any dialogue
Director/writer Streicher tells the story of a frantic man and his unfaithful wife by using a few very expressive pictures, an eerie soundtrack and disturbing atmosphere.


Denis Dicusar delivers a strong and believable performance, camera work and editing are excellent, the gritty black-and-white looks beautiful, the score (which includes elements from Bartok and Penderecki) is stunning and the intense climax with its shocking last shot is just fantastic!




INVOCATION
(Three 3minute episodes:
1. Invocation
2. Perceived
3. The Missing)

USA, 2009/2011
Director: Tommy Merry


7/10


A pretty cool little web-series about a few people getting involved with an ouija board and a deadly ghost.
All 3 episodes are pretty tense and thrilling, thanx to Merry's great direction and a neat script. The acting is pretty cool, the score is highly effective and the camera work is often extremely striking.


Highlights: every single episode has at least one scare that made me jump out of my seat.
Flaws: the lower-budget CGI effects often look quite lame and some parts of the dialogue are just meh.

THE HORROR OF OUR LOVE: A SHORT FILM
(5minute short)

USA, 2010
Director: Dave Reda

5/10









Not really a short, more of a music video for a lame pop-rock song from a band called Ludo, showing a masked killer who expresses his love for a girl in various 80s-slasher ways.


Pros: a few quite funny gags and some fab camera work.
Cons: the song is horrible, the effects look cheap and the killer looks dumb.

HOOKED
(2minute short)

UK/USA, 2011
Director: Axelle Carolyn

1/10


This was produced by the one and only Neil Marshall. Why? I don't know.
"Hooked" is just shit. The acting is bad, it has no story, the CGI is worse than your average SyFy-crap and the whole 'short' looks just awful.



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