Saturday, January 30, 2021

Pyscho Goreman


Psycho Goreman

They had me at "Planet Gigax". 

This film is about the most terrifying creature in the galaxy. A horrible, loveless, sadistic creature with no pity, no remorse, and no compassion and her hopeless captive, PG Psycho Goreman; An eternal and evil warlord from the Planet Gigax. He is enslaved by Mimi, a young girl who finds a secret gem that gives her the power to control the ultimate power in the universe. 

AT every turn, Psycho Goreman usurps expectations at every predictable turn to hilarious results. A special effects tour de force, with winking nods to Kaiju films, Power Rangers, and the most insane Puff'n Stuff. The movie never lets up- psychotic blood-baths and insane gags drop throughout the film. 

From the production team that brought us The Void, is just crazy gory fun. Nita-Josee Hanna is an absolute treasure in this film, where she is the irresistible Mimi.

8 1/2 out of 10. High recommendation. 

Sunday, January 10, 2021

The Social Dilemma, as recommended.

 I am not optimistic for a better world. 

As the world melts down throughout the past week, the past year, the election results, the protests, the chaos, the riots, the social media- The Social Dilemma? See what I did there? 

Horror writer Brian Keene sent out a Tweet regarding this new documentary on Netfix, he specifically described it as his prediction for the most terrifying film of 2021. Hyperbole? Just a recommendation? Hard to tell- because we all have different tastes and different thoughts and different considerations. So let me give this one a watch and share my thoughts. 

Is it terrifying? I believe it is- for so many of the reasons that one would expect, for so many of the details that it shares, and what so many people are going to take away from the film itself. It is even more frustrating in that the film is- almost ironically- exactly what it sets out to warn you against. It tells you nothing that you don't, deep down, already know about Social Networks- how the algorithms work, how advertising are manipulating all of us, how our internet experiences are changed depending on our clicks, our likes, the amount of time we stare at one photo or one video or one app over another and another. How it is so obviously someone out there who is to "blame" in the end of all this. 

 The Social Dilemma attempts to explore the influence of Social Media platforms on our lives, our ability to communicate with one another, and our ability to interact with a series of interviews engaging industry insiders who initially designed these very same algorithms that now threaten to overwhelm us and lead us into dystopia. They talk about the profit motive, the lack of ethical guidance, the pinging interest that drives their own careers- they discuss the responsibility of Social Media and how they use their data collection, how they collect revenue, how they trade their real product, how we catch up to the technology that is evolving faster, spreading wider, growing beyond our abilities to even comprehend, much less control. 

Throughout the interviews, the film-makers weave in a dramatization of a family and how it is affected by Social Media. It shows a young teen girl who is unable to give up her phone for even a single dinner, a teenage boy who is quickly being radicalized by conspiracy videos and websites, another who is terrified of the affect social media is having on her siblings, a mother who seems distant, and so on so forth. 

And it tries to leave us with a "hopeful" message in it's closing moments.

 Unfortunately, it's a message that is every bit as manipulative and destructive as the one they are warning us against. They tell us that we need to start agreeing that there is a "truth", but none of them can really agree on where that "truth" comes from. They say the business model is evil because it focuses on a profit motive, the next speaker says that we need to use the profit motive to change the business model, another speaker things the government needs to step in with laws, another one reminds us that the people attempting to sway our elections to BECOME the government, and the list goes on and on and on.

I respect Mr. Keene as an author and I follow him for his views on the world and his observations. It may come as a shock, then- in that I don't often AGREE with Mr. Keene. What a boring world that would be for me if I were only sold the things that I was already going to agree on, if I were only expose to the things I "liked", or just lived in an echo chamber 24 hours a day. And, much like him, I am going to go out on a limb and declare that the Social Dilemma may just be one of the most terrifying movies I watch in all of 2021. 

8 out of 10

Monday, December 28, 2020

REDCAPJACK'S "Year in Horror Reviews, 2020"

This year in horror Reviews. 

10. Impetigore - 

 A woman inherits a house in her ancestral village, but she’s unaware that members of the community have been trying to locate and kill her to remove the curse that has plagued them for years. From the director that brought us Satan's Slaves, Joko Anwar continues to build on his horror resume.

9. Yummy 

 Some days, a nice little gross out zombie movie is just what the doctor ordered. So, heading into a shady Eastern European hospital, our two leads run straight into just that sort of trouble. Allison (Maaike Neuville) and Michael (Bart Hollanders) are looking for breast reduction surgery on the F cup-sized Allison, who is tired of having men ogle her. Her mother is accompanying them and hoping to get some touch-up work for her own beauty needs. There they meet Daniel (Benjamin Ramon) who would really like to show Michael around the hospital (And snatch some pharmaceuticals in the process) while the ladies go under the knife. Then... a zombie gets loose and hilarity ensues.

8. The Mortuary Collection 

A well done and fairly standard Horror Anthology with a stand out performance from Mr. Krabbs himself, Clancy Brown. 

7. Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight 

An almost standard Slasher in the woods film is made a little stranger by way of some truly strange scenery and bizarre encounters through the woods. And it is good to know and remember that every country has redneck hillbilly backwood psychopaths running around. 

6. Castle Freak 

 After she’s permanently blinded in a tragic car accident, Rebecca receives some bizarre news: her long-lost mother has recently passed away, leaving her their family’s ancestral castle in rural Albania.And with this remake comes some more blood, guts, and gruesome Lovecraftian nightmares.

5. Ju-On: Origins (I know it's technically a series, but it was good and the series owed me after their theatrical fiasco earlier in the year. What the HELL was that "reboot" supposed to be???) 

  I was pleasantly freaked out throughout most of the runtime- the series begins by stating it is "based on the events that inspired" the original film series. That, on the surface, feels like a load of trash unless you are actually paying attention to the background.

4. VFW 

A stellar cast and some brutal violence makes this one a bit of a stand out in the "siege" horror category. A bit more action for some, but it fits right in there with Night of the Living Dead and Assault on Precinct 13. 

3. Blood Quantum 

 Gory. Brutal.

The title of the film is taken from a Colonial term for the measurement to determine one's indigenous status. In this film the term twists in this zombie film where the members of a distant tribe are rendered immune to the disease, but are quickly overwhelmed by the survivors and the undead both. The Reservation's Sheriff tries to maintain control while his two sons are divided by their approach to the crisis.

2. Underwater 

Surprisingly tight and well done horror film with more than a slight allusion to Lovecraftian monsters. 

1. Color Out of Space 

Insanity, madness, horror, beauty, and surreal existential dread thread it's way through this atmospheric nightmare! The movie opens with adapted text from the original work of Lovecraft, setting the mood with his rhythmic prose and a hauntingly atmospheric wilderness where shadows creep and what little light there is streams in on clear beams that catch the pollen and makes them sparkle like stars in the daylight.

And here are some Honorable Mentions: 

 Tremors Shrieker Island (Beastly Freaks, I know it's cheesy) 

Guns Akimbo (Not, technically, horror) 



Scare PAckage

Monday, September 7, 2020

Friday, July 10, 2020

The Old Guard (Netflix original)

Charlize Theron stars as Andi, an immortal warrior who has existed since before the dark ages. As the film begins, she wonders "if this will be the last time" before introducing us to her world. She leads a group of four immortals who are being tracked by a pharmaceutical company looking to exploit their genes.

The film is filled with action, lots of gun-play and sword fighting. Theron has remained one of Hollywood's great action stars over the past few years and this one is another notch in her belt. She gives a multilayered performance, at times gruff, bitter, and angry- but also very fragile. A warrior at the end of a very difficult journey through centuries of heartache.
 Image result for the old guard
Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Copley, a former CIA agent currently employed by a pharmaceutical company to track down and capture the four immortals. Formerly a man of honor who is now broken by the passing of his wife to a disease that he believes can be cured by examining the immortals.
In a normal year, this should be a major Hollywood release. Delivered straight to Netflix, I feel something is missed by not having it screened on a large screen. As a streaming film, it probably shouldn't be missed by action fans.

The Beach House (2020, on Shudder)

I am a huge fan of Lovecraftian Horror. And many social media accounts were promoting Shudders newest acquisition as inspired by Lovecraft (Quickly becoming a buzz word), leading me to sit and give this one a quick spin on the ol' Roku device. I settled in for a fun ride...

Emily and Randall are a troubled couple on a romantic vacation for the weekend. They are staying in Randall's family beach house, but their time away is interrupted by an older couple who had made plans through Randall's father (unaware his son was staying in the house). The two couples make the best of it, but there is something strange about their environment and an infection begins to spread and transform the people around the lake.

I can see why people saw influences from Lovecraft, with similarities to "The Color out of Space" and "Annihilation", but there is much more in common with Cronenberg "body horror" here and the psychedelic horror of "Altered States". The transformations are gut churning, but ultimately feel less driven by an unknowable terror and much more based on the random chance of biological science. The movie even has a character who explains everything that is about to happen in a brief discussion regarding her college studies.

Otherwise, the film was an enjoyable middle of the road picture with some good gory bits. Mild recommendation

Monday, July 6, 2020

Ju-On Origins : Netflix Series

Six episodes in to the first season, the series somewhat abruptly ends with far more questions then there are answers. If this is really the entirety of the first season, then I feel less than satisfied with the conclusion. But I was pleasantly freaked out throughout most of the runtime- the series begins by stating it is "based on the events that inspired" the original film series. That, on the surface, feels like a load of trash unless you are actually paying attention to the background.

The series begins in 1988 and the most alarming story on the news is that of the discovery of a body found sealed in an oil drum. This is regarding the well publicized Junko Furuta story. We fast forward about one third through the series and find ourselves in 1992 when the news is dominated by the Sarin Gas attack from the Aum Shinrikyo cult. We end the series in 1997 and the news is once again covering the Kobe Child murders that took place at that time. These horrifying moments were the inspiration for the horrifying ghost tale that reflects the rage of on the Ju-on series.
 Image result for ju-on origins
What unfolds is the usual terrifying story of terrifying and angry ghosts who have died so horribly that they are trapped in their rage, grief, and horror. We follow the story of a paranormal researcher, a working class actress, and a teen girl as they encounter the famous house in a period of time that supposedly takes place before the deaths of Kayako, Toshio, and Takeo Saeki. The house is a location for other deaths, grief, pain, and suffering stretching back through several decades and several characters.

This is a slow burn horror and each episode leads up to various horrific moments. It also addresses issues of rape, addiction, and trauma in ways that many will find uncomfortable (especially with America's current political climate) so viewer beware. But it's a brutal reimagining of the series and it's origins while taking into account various other moments that have haunted Japan in the past.