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Raggedy Adams is an alien dwelling in Birmingham, living vicariously through the flickering of a projector on a white screen. He's drank the Kool-Aid of modern cinema. Will you?

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Spitting Out the Demons Part II – Hiding Behind the Sofa

Spitting Out the Demons Part II – Hiding Behind the Sofa

So I figured, since I’m giving you the rundown of my movie backlog and trying to work on organising my reviews a bit more, I figured I’d write this particular blog on some of the horror films I’ve recently caught. So here we go, once again, with the review.

Fright Night (2011) – For the sake of transparency, I’ve not seen the original Fright Night, or its sequel, so my expectations of this particular film were middling to low at best. You know the set-up straight off: “kid finds out his neighbour’s a vampire, tries to get a stage magician to help…” Where this film surprised me were its writing (from Buffy alumnus Marti Noxon), strong performances from Anton Yelchin and Colin Farrell, and that it actually had palpable tension in places, along with the many laughs gleaned from David Tennant goofing on Russell Brand. This, folks, is how you do it.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)This, sadly, is not how you do it. I really wanted to like this film, but at every turn it simply failed to gel. A competent cast including Rooney Mara, Thomas Dekker and Clancy Brown, a very well-cast if a little on-the-nose villain and a veteran (music video) director were hampered by shoddy scripting, shonky special effects and an utter lack of tension in any of the supposedly ‘scary’ sequences. And the editing – God, it’s like it was cut together with garden shears. An utter waste of my time and those involved.

Dawn of the Dead (1978) – And we’re back on the good foot again! To say the original is a classic, that George Romero is an artist, is almost too big an understatement. Almost. I squirmed, retched, jumped and covered my eyes more in this one film than every other horror film I’ve seen – combined. Special mention for Ken Foree as Peter (later of Kenan and Kel fame for all you tweeny boppers), David Emge as the best zombie victim ever, and make-up maestro Tom Savini’s cameo as a biker. What more is there to say, really? Romero. Zombies. Classic. Fucking. Nuff. Said.

I'm Raggedy Adams. Hear me roar.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Sweating Out the Demons – Part I

Sweating Out the Demons – Part I
Ugh. Okay, here’s the thing. I haven’t not been writing this blog on purpose. I haven’t even not been writing it because there’s been nothing going on worth blogging about. If anything there’s been too much going on. But since my usually hectic schedule became even more hectic, and my commitment to watching the entirety of Twin Peaks spiralled out of control, I’ve found my backlog of reviews getting bigger and bigger. So, since I haven’t got the time to provide my usual level of detail about why a film is good, I’m going to review every film I’ve watched over the last three months or so, and I’m going to do it in no more than 100 words per film, with a view of this becoming my regular format for all my reviews. So here goes.

Network – The closest thing to a definitive movie about the corrupting power of the media on any kind of intellectual dialogue or sense of individuality. Aging anchor-man Howard Beale (the late Peter Finch in an Oscar winning role) is fired from his network for having low ratings, only to be re-embraced as a “mad prophet of the airwaves” when he threatens to kill himself on camera and his rants become an overnight wet dream for the atavistic board of directors. William Holden, Faye Dunaway and Robert Duvall co-star, with masterful direction by Sidney Lumet and caustically funny scripting from Paddy Chayefsky.

Wow. That was easy enough. Let’s run with this a little.

Tucker and Dale vs Evil – One of the best horror comedies I’ve seen, and that includes Shaun of the Dead and Evil Dead II. In the logical reverse of Deliverance, Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine play two well-meaning but na├»ve hillbillies vacationing at their rundown cabin in the woods, and whose innocently intended words and actions are mistaken by a group of imbecilic college kid sterotypes for those of the stereotypically murderous and rapacious variety, resulting in the group being killed off in increasingly bizarre manners. This is what Scary Movie would be like if it was written by someone clever.

Hobo With a Shotgun – Umm, well, it’s got Rutger Hauer in it. He plays a hobo. With a shotgun. Okay, fine, it’s not the most complex movie on my list, but I happened to find it fun as a no-holds-barred Troma-esque splatterfest. But save for one very powerful scene involving Hauer soliloquising as only he can to a ward of newborn babies, this is Exact What It Says On The Tin territory: schlocky fun if you’re into gloriously over-the-top violence, not a lot for those who aren’t. Still, not bad for something that started out as a fake trailer.