Thursday, October 6, 2011

American Horror Story

So as many of you probably already know, last night saw the debut of Ryan Murphy's newest mess with your head spectacular American Horror Story. And sure there's only been one episode but I am exciiiiiiiiiteeeeeed. Pilot episodes are usually a bit shaky, and sure there were things about the pilot that could have been... better. I know I'm in the minority here, but I could have done with MUCH less naked Dylan McDermott. But overall. When it was over I had a whole "WHAT DO YOU MEAN I NEED TO WAIT A WEEK FOR THE NEXT EPISODE????"

Okay, so here's the obligatory synopsis for those of you who weren't lucky enough to catch it, or haven't heard of it, or fall into both categories. It's about this house, all right? This freakishly BEAUTIFUL house in Hollywood, which, of course, everyone who moves into dies really badly. And some people who just stumble into it die pretty bad too, as you see within the first five minutes. The Harmons, our American family who we are going to be sharing our living rooms with every week, move from Boston to said house. They're starting over because Ben (Dylan McDermott) can't keep it in his pants, so his marriage is in need of saving. Wife, Vivien (Connie Britton) is a slightly twitchy ex-cellist, who, while I wasn't too annoyed by, really reminded me of the kind of people that I get cornered by when I occasionally go to Whole Foods, who want to spend five years telling me why I shouldn't drink out of plastic water bottles, and I end up crying or going all Patrick Bateman on them and have to find a new grocery store.

Then there's the daughter, Violet, who I haven't seen in anything, but I probably have warmed to the most, just because I feel like back in the dark ages when I was a teenager we would have gotten on swimmingly. There's also the insane ex-starlet neighbor played by Jessica Lange, which is enough of a reason to watch the show, the creepy house keeper, and a host of minor characters that add to the atmosphere which is already completely AWESOME only one episode in. Mainly the first episode is settling you in the characters and the house, and it does that pretty well ... expect for when it becomes the Dylan McDermott's ass show... then this girl starts to yell at her TV, and attempt to toss pants through the screen.

It's moody and beautiful, and the music, oh sweet jesus, the music. I shouldn't be surprised that the music selection is so wonderful, it is from the team that gave me my number one guilty pleasure show Nip/Tuck, and while many will like to argue with me that Nip/Tuck was trash (and I'm not saying it wasn't), the music was AMAZING. And I seriously could just lick the camera work.

Do I have your attention yet? Because you should be watching this show. Okay, yes, it is a Ryan Murphy show on FX, which means that there is as much violence and sex as they can get onto cable, but we're horror fans! When has boobs and gore ever been an issue for us?

I for one, can't wait to see where it goes next, and am delighted that this is my kick off into my month long Halloween celebration. Well dears and darling, it is nearing the 5AM mark, and it means that it is time for this Spooky confection to crawl into bed before the sun makes an appearance. So Ta for now.

Love and kisses,

Spooky Pie

Friday, August 19, 2011

Eden Lake (2008)

HI KIDS! Wow, I feel like it was not so long ago that I was all "yeah, I'm gonna start updating again, ALL THE TIME. Really! I mean it!" And then I promptly did no such thing. Wow. I suck. Sorry about that.

I mean, I could sit here and make excuses to you about how being a perpetual university student eats my life and I've barely had time to watch a movie lately, let alone review one. But you deserve better then my whining, so we'll skip that bit. Especially since I know that most of my fellow horror bloggers have a real life that they manage to upkeep as well as their blogs. But, like I said before, I suck, so let's move on.

Eden Lake was the movie I watched to reward myself for making it through the summer semester without defenestrating anyone. I had this whole "If I just get through finals, then I can watch Eden Lake, and eat pizza, and all will be right with the world".

I'm not entirely sure why I decided this movie was going to be my reward, but I did.

No. Wait. Scratch that. I know exactly why I decided this movie would be my reward.

And his name is Michael Fassbender.

I could watch a movie that starred him as a shut in. And the entire film would just be him pointing to various flower pots he'd collected over the years and explaining why he liked them. And I would be happy.

I would come away from that film going "Ah yes, today was a good day indeed." The man is glorious, I'm just saying.

So I set out to watch Eden Lake, and when it was over it had fully solidified for me two facts with which I was already pretty certain of going into it.

1) Michael Fassbender is an exquisite creature who should always do movies that involve him getting shirtless, and preferably, wet.
2) There is no way in Hell that you will get me to go camping.
( seriously, if Michael Fassbender, Eli Roth, AND Benedict Cumberatch showed up at my door and asked me to go camping with them ... well, okay, I would go if that happened. But it would give me pause.)

I went into this film convinced that camping is evil. I am a girl of my creature comforts. Don't get me wrong, I love nature, I do; but at the end of the day I like to come home to a hot shower and a clean bed that consists of a pillow-top mattress, with an extra layer of padding on top of that to make it all marshmallow-y. It was long ago established by one of my best friends that in some sort of a grimy hostage situation I would get us all out by the sheer fact that 24 hours without soap would make me go bat shit crazy, and punch a hole through the nearest wall through which me and my fellow captives could escape.

Long story short, me and camping are like oil and vinegar. But enough about me, let's move on to this movie about people who are crazy and actually enjoy camping and sleeping on the ground and other madness.

Meet Jenny (played by the always adorable, even when portraying a complete psychopath, Kelly Reilly) and Steve (played by Michael "sexy shark" Fassbender). Jenny is a school teacher, and I have no idea what the Hell Steve does for a living, maybe he's a swimsuit model or does toothpaste commercials or something, maybe he just gets paid to sit around and look pretty, who knows. They decide that they're going to escape to a remote lake for the weekend that Steve used to go to when he was younger or something.

Steve has the master plan of using the opportunity of this little get away to finally pop the question to Jenny. Because sleeping in the dirt is some people's idea of romantic. It's not mine, but we established that.

There are, at this point I should note, layers of foreshadowing and foreboding occurring now. In the night that they first arrive, apparently to spend the first night in a little B&B, because SLEEPING ON THE GROUND ISN'T FUN, the locals come off as ... prickly to say the least. The couple are either ignored or treated to clipped responses, and then get to enjoy the fine folks being generally awful and back handing their children. Now maybe this is the naive little California girl in me talking, but I thought that trailer trash was something that just happened here in the states. Apparently England has it too, well color me surprised.

The next bit of "this is your sign, just turn the Hell around and go back NOW" comes when they actually reach the titular lake, only to find the surrounding area fenced off to be redeveloped into a gated community. Jenny, in an unknowing voice of doom asks at this point "Who are they so afraid of?"

Oh Hunny. You don't even know. You don't EVEN know. Just let me hold you.

When they get to the lake is when we meet the band of merry miscreants who will be our antagonists for the evening. Hoodies. Yay hoodies!

What starts out as a minor confrontation between Steve and the leader of the pack of delinquents, Brett (played by Jack O'Connel, who I can't hate, because he will always be Cook from Skins for me, and I love Cook from Skins), which escalates to their car being stolen and demolished, which FURTHER escalates to the teenagers hunting Jenny and Steve through the woods.

Because camping is bad.

If you go camping you will be hunted down and tortured by psychotic hoodlums.

That being said, I hesitate to classify Eden lake under the umbrella of "torture porn". Because unlike many of the films that are classified as such, the torture isn't really the central focus of the film. It's more in the vein of a thriller in the sense that more of it is about the chasing and the game of cat and mouse and by today's standards, the violence is really quite tame.

The aim here, I believe, was not to make the violence itself be what is shocking to the viewers, but have the perpetrators of the violence and the victim/villain relationship be what makes you honestly uncomfortable. It's incredibly common for a movie to pit adults against one another, but less common to have a group of minors be the antagonists - which can make the viewers uncomfortable on two fronts: First, the idea of what many people consider to be children acting in such a fashion, and Second, the idea that adults would be forced to retaliate, and how far would you be willing to go against a group of, so called, children?

That dynamic is considerably more rare. Though it has been called up in such films as The Children and Who Can Kill A Child, or even such instances at The Bad Seed and The Omen. A plot line in which adults know they must fight back against the younger generation has a way of making an audience a little squirrely.

There is, I feel worth noting, a very interesting psychology within the group of teenagers. The leader of the gang has rather obvious psychosis - in a crazier then a shit house rat kind of a way. But he is not, cut and dried, the worst of the bunch. A fair number of his comrades are equally happy to hunt down and potentially murder Jenny and Steve. And then there is the lone female of the pack, who records the acts of atrocity on her cell phone without so much as a blink.

If Horror Movies are the forum through which movie makers air their fears and dissatisfaction with the world, then Eden Lake can be seen as following in the footsteps of George Romero's trend of social commentary. The message at the core of Eden Lake is not just the fear of what today's youth is becoming; but also a horror at the generation that not only raised them to be such monsters, and then washes their hands of them when they begin to act in the manner they were taught.

And honestly, Jack O'Connell's performance is damn good. You really believe that he will go twenty kinds of ape shit on you if you cross him. And yeah, I was a little biased, like I said before. And sure, in multiple parts I was like "nooooo, he doesn't mean it, not my Jack." Damn my love of skins.

And really, characterization is the strong point of Eden Lake. Even though I have read a fair deal of reviews that contradict this statement. No. You guys are wrong. I can't hear you. Lalalalalalalalalalalalala.

The characters are developed just FINE thank you so much. You really really like Jenny and Steve. You're rooting for them. Goddamit, you WANT them to make it out okay and get married, and go live somewhere very very industrialized and NEVER GO CAMPING AGAIN. I was definitely pulling for them, and no, not just because Michael Fassbender is much too pretty die somewhere that dirty.

And really, if you want to get into characterization and psychology. Let's look at Jenny for a minute.

Kelly Reilly is really a very underrated actress. Who I really should gave a grudge against for the simple fact that she has the ability to keep getting cast in rolls where she gets to make out with Spooky's favorite boys. Seriously - Dead Bodies with Andrew Scott, Sherlock Holmes with Jude Law, and now Michael Fassbender. You bitch. No, I'm kidding, I love you.

Jenny begins the movie as this fragile, non confrontational character. While Steve is ready to tell people off and huff and puff when things irritate him, Jenny is just as happy to let them blow over so no one needs to raise their voice. But as she is pushed she grows from mousey damsel to the sort of heroine you hope for in these kinds of movies. And did I mention she does this all in some of the cutest dresses I've ever seen? Sure, I don't think most people of the camping-oriented persuasion would find her clothing choices good for the great outdoors, but meh. If anything I think the choice to have her run through the movie in demure, feminine clothing, was kind of a brilliant choice.

It's like they said "look at her, she's supposed to be this delicate thing who has small animals do her hair in the morning as she sings. But look what she can become." In this aspect Jenny is much like a heroine in a fairy tale like the Brother's Grimm. But not by Disney. Not by a long shot.

And much like a Grimm's fairtytale you do not just walk away from Eden Lake feeling good about the world. You feel like you need to take a long shower and then watch kitten videos on Youtube for the next three hours. You feel disoriented and more then just a little uncomfortable.

And for that I really do have to applaud them.

Okay, Okay, so strictly speaking, Eden Lake is NOT what I would consider "my kind of a horror film". If you know me, you know I like my horror movies a bit more in the supernatural and psychological department, and less in the "BLOOD BLOOD EVERYWHERE" fashion. Especially since I feel like these days you can't throw a rock without hitting a movie that is just about blood.

I've got news for you Horror Movie Industry, blood all over the place doesn't scare this girl. Hell, that's just a typical Friday night in the Pie household. I think you sincerely underestimate the sheer volume of bandages this girl goes through on a weekly basis. When you're as accident prone as me, blood is about as shocking and uncommon as a roll of toilet paper.

That being said, Eden Lake is not a bad little film. It has a message and it gets it out there. And from a cine-phile point of view it is shot BEAUTIFULLY. I know you can't tell from my grainy screen caps, but there are points when the camera pulls back to show wide angles of the all the nature and is AMAZING. The framing of shots and the subtle score of the film are really just lovely. It's odd to think of a horror movie as pretty - especially when people are getting brutalized and hobbling through a forest caked in their own blood, but seriously, it is PRETTY.

While I don't see myself running out to buy Eden Lake, I don't consider the evening I spent watching it to have been a waste either. And let's not forget the valuable message it has brought to us all:


I know this girl won't be any time soon.

Well, until next time kiddies.
Stay out of trouble AND the woods.

Hugs and Kisses

Spooky Pie

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Geek flail time of the Fang-banger persuasion

Okay, Okay, Okay, Okay, so I am more then a little aware of the fact that I made a pretty damn similar squee-filled post last year. But here's the fact of the matter my chickpeas, I love this stupid show like a bad habit. And, as any of you who watch it may know, last season, like those before it, ended in one hell of a cliff hanger. So For almost a year I've been impatiently awaiting the return of my favorite psychic waitress and her undead vampire beau.

(yes, I'm aware there is a lot of seething internet debate about who Sookie belongs with, and I'm getting into that here other then to just get out of the way that I have always been a Sookie and Bill girl, always will be, and no I am not going to argue about this with you)

So when, a few months ago, a teaser trailer was release, featuring Say Hi's "Devils" I may have gone a little bit mental

But I don't think I should be held responsible for the lethal combination of music I love and my favorite trashy TV show. I mean, really, a girl can only take so much. And really, True Blood is an almost overwhelming combination of more things I love then I would care to admit. So I'm bouncing like a kid who didn't take her Ritalin because ON SUNDAY THE WAIT IS OVER AND MY TRASHY VAMPIRE SHOW COMES BACK. DO YOU GET HOW AWESOME THAT IS??? THAT'S LIKE FOUR DAYS! THERE IS A LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL!

And if you aren't psyched, seriously. Get psyched. Watch this damn trailer and get psyched.

And if you still aren't, then Jesus take the wheel, because there is no pleasing you. But keep your negativity to yourself my friend, I will have no raining on my True Blood parade. Especially with how royally my horror TV shows have disappointed me this season, and yes, I'm looking at YOU Supernatural. My only current regret is my lack of proximity to my fellow True Blood nerd friends, because otherwise I would probably be having some sort of ridiculously stupid premiere party with bite mark cookies and Hawaiian punch. Oh well, maybe this girl will have that party by herself.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Insidious (2011)

Dear Insidious,

what in the seven hells am I going to do about you? I have such conflicting feelings about you. Let's get one thing straight, you are not, by any stretch of the imagination a good movie. You are most certainly the exact opposite of that. The problem is there were definitely things about you that I really liked, and I feel like you had the potential to be a good movie and you just sort of went "OH GOD! WE CAN'T BE HAVING NONE OF THAT!!!!" and just threw your hands up and went squealing all the way to the dumpster where this film inevitably ended up.

But I'm getting ahead of myself, as I'm like to do. I'll blame it on my long absence from this blog and just missing all my Spooky Dos so damn much.
(seriously kids, how have you been? Mama's sorry she hasn't checked in on you)

The premise of Insidious is initially a rather simple one. Laughably so. Like you would look at the synopsis and go "wow... because THAT'S never been done."

Renai and Josh Lambert are a young couple who have just moved into a new house with their three children Dalton, Foster, and baby Cali. The house is question, looks like one that I've seen at least 7 horror movies take place in, and so I immediately question their collective wisdom in moving into it. I mean really, the interior looks just like the freaking house that they shot House of the Devil in... which should have been a tip off for me, since I was just so fond of that movie.

Shortly after they move in all sorts unsettling things start happening: Doors open and close on their own, phantom voices start talking through the baby monitor, you know fun stuff. And then Renai and Josh's son Dalton falls into a coma with no medical reason behind it whatsoever. Renai gets progressively more hysterical, and justifiably so, and is convinced that everything horrible happening to them is because the house. Josh, however, poo poos the whole thing until Renai finally has a big fat hysterical melt down and then he changes his tune to "oh damn, maybe we should move."

... yeah. Maybe you should.

So they move into a significantly less creepy, and smaller house. Why they needed to live in a house with eighty rooms to begin with was totally beyond me, but hey, I didn't write this movie. And all seems to be going better for everyone, except that Renai starts seeing a whole NEW bunch of dead things, all of which seem concentrated around their son Dalton.

Long story short, they end up calling in paranormal experts that made me feel like I was watching The Ghostfacers spin off of Supernatural. (It's okay if you didn't get that reference, I still like you). And it turns out it isn't the house, or houses, that are haunted, it's THEIR SON, because no one saw that coming. And all the spirits are drawn to the fact that there is essentially and empty living person that they want to cram their fat selves inside and take a stroll.

So here's the problem. If that was just the movie I would have been totally cool with it. Sure, it's a little predictable, but hey, that's fine. But then it turns into SOMETHING ELSE ENTIRELY and the last third of the movie turns into this really convoluted story about astral projection and demons, and lots of little sub plots get introduced only to be promptly forgotten.

And I end up thinking "Why couldn't we have just stayed with the ghosts? I liked the ghosts! The ghosts were GOOD", and it's true, they are. There are some genuinely spooky scenes of the ghosts that remind me of why Thirteen Ghosts is such a guilty pleasure for me; the ghosts are so DAMN COOL.

Not to mention the fact that title sequence was actually pretty nifty. It felt like a complete homage to the supernatural horror films of the 1970's. So I actually got my hopes up way too high because I thought for a hot minute that Insidious was going to be a new awesome cult movie that felt like it was made thirty years ago. And they had a fairly decent cast, Rose Byrne is absolutely lovely and fragile as Renai, and while it's taken me forever to stop thinking of Patrick Wilson just as "that pedophile from Hard Candy", he didn't too bad either (and I warmed to him considerably after Watchmen). Plus Barbara Hershey and Lin Shaye, who is no stranger to the horror circuit.


I won't lie I actually yelled in the theater when this movie ended. That's how much just "OH WHAT????" it built up in me.

It could have been amazing, instead it just turned into a really really weak attempt to become M. Night Shyamalan's ugly stepsister. I mean, good grief Insidious! Get some self respect! Look at your life! Look at your choices!

It's like they were writing the script and got to the last one third and just all looked at each other and went

"Oh God! What do we do now???"

"Give the bitches some weird demon nonsense! Bitches love weird demon nonsense!"

Which is erroneous you guys. At least this bitch was impressed anyway. And few things annoy me more in a movie then wasted potential. And if you were going to just throw some nonsense in at the last minute, at least make it like, the Cthulu or something.... or, you know, Benedict Cumberbatch.

Okay, so I'm going to collect myself and take some deep breaths now. You kids be good until I come back.

Love and kisses,

Spooky Pie

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Guess who's back? Back, again. Spookys' back, tell a friend

Hello Internet Dears and Darlings, I feel like its been ages since we've spoke. Which is, mostly, because this last semester completely kicked my ass, so all the time I'd usually had to be watching horror movies and inflicting my opinions of them on the populace at large was taken up by, blech, college.

But moving on, what's new.

Well, a BRAND SPANKING NEW TRAILER FOR DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK is out now. And after tons of "it will come out later", "it will come out in winter", "it is always winter in Canada", there is now the official release date of August 26th (or the 12th? There still seems to be some conflict on that). And you had better believe that this girl will be doing her damnedest to find her way into a midnight screening.

Other then that, I have a whole backlog of things I've been meaning to review but haven't had time to, so hopefully that will be rectified over then next few weeks. Not to mention a whole dastardly long netflix queue full of shiny shiny horror movies I've yet to watch. So let's expect to see more of each other over the summer.

Hugs and Kisses

Spooky Pie

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy "Fuck you if you're single" Day

get the bitch a Krampus, bitches loves Krampus

Yeah, so, have a good thing....


I'll follow you until you love me

Spooky Pie

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Exquisite Corpse (novel) - 1996

In a totally unbeknown to me coincidence, I sat down to write this review today and noticed that many of my fellow horror bloggers have been participating in "Women in Horror Month". I didn't even know that there was such a thing, but it seems mildly serendipitous that I should be reviewing a book by one of the undisputed Queens of horror during in such a month, Poppy Z. Brite.

Now, before anyone, especially Z, jumps down my throat for that statement, allow me to qualify it a bit. PZB has, for many years, toted herself as a "gay man in a woman's body", a statement that she got TONS of shit for over the years. And currently Z is attempting to undergo the Female to Male transformation, HOWEVER, Z has even described that from a young age she identified as a "musical loving Queen". So weather as a biological woman, or as the gay man she has always been beneath her skin, I feel that the title of "Horror Queen" is one that PZB should wear with honor.

Now, that all aside, let's get onto the meat (oh God, that was a regrettable turn of phrase to use in context with this book) of the review.

If you strip Exquisite Corpse down to its bones, (another regrettable phrase, wow, I'm batting zero), it's a love story. A really, really, twisted love story. Even though the two lovebirds in question don't even meet until a little over 3/4 of the way through the book; it's clear, in retrospect, that everything that comes before their meeting is Z foreshadowing their eventual romance, they are each other's destiny if you will. And if you won't, then take it outside, your negativity is bringing down the room.

In a relationship that would put Bonnie and Clyde to shame, our protagonists Andrew Compton and Jay Byrne are two serial killers with the Atlantic Ocean between them. However, as they discover when they finally meet up, they are cut from the same cloth, as they are incredibly similar in their preferences. The main difference between the two - Andrew likes to kill boys, then screw them, then keep 'em in his flat until they smell, at which point he throws them in the Thames.

Whereas Jay likes to screw boys, then torture them to death, and then, finally, eat them.


However, it stands to reason that Jay must be a good deal craftier, because while we begin the book with Andrew wasting away in a British prison, Jay is rumbling the about the streets of New Orleans, picking up transient pretty boys. The first part of the book mostly parallels between these two, Andrew's goings on in England versus Jay's in America. And whilst Jay is busy seducing his dinner, Andrew is pulling off an elaborate jail break that involves fooling everyone into thinking that he's dead and then busting out of the Morgue and pretty much slice 'n dicing his way to the airport. And without spoiling much of the journey of the book for you - he ends up in New Orleans.

Beneath the plot line of Andrew and Jay's eventual love at first sight encounter, there are two subplots; the first of a Vietnamese boy named Tran who is interested in Jay, and has a rocky past including an abusive relationship with his psychotic, HIV positive, ex-boyfriend. The other sub-plot is the HIV/AIDS epidemic in general, to the point that it is almost a character in the work. A third serial killer, if you will. Most of the supporting characters are HIV positive in the work, and it does deal quite sensitively with the subject matter of the men who are slowly dying of the disease. And it's an interesting juxtaposition against the relatively quick, gory, deaths of Jay and Andrew's victims. And its all set against the already macabre associated backdrop of New Orleans (thanks Anne Rice), which is an apt enough location. This is essentially a modern Gothic novel, and what says Gothic better then the French Quarter and above ground mausoleums.

So on a psychological level, that was incredibly interesting. However, as you can imagine with a book about two serial killers in love it is extremely graphic. The details of the murders, necrophilia, and cannibalism leave nothing to the imagination - to the point that I occasionally felt squeamish. ME! I watch slasher movies while eating spaghetti with tomato sauce! So, really, that should tell you something.

Without sounding too prudish, I should also note that it is downright pornographic in points. If Z doesn't pull punches with the violence, then she sure as hell doesn't when explaining sex to the readers. And if I'm admitting that I got a bit squeamish with the gore, I will have to also admit that some of the sex scenes had me clutching at my pearls and lamenting my delicate modern sensibilities, in a full on southern accent.

But I don't want you going into the book, should you choose to read it, thinking it is nothing but "sex,sex,sex, graphic murder, eating people, some more sex" ... sure, there is plenty of that. But there is also plenty of interesting psychology tucked inside as well, especially since roughly a third of the book is told from the perspective of Andrew Compton, so literally, the mind of a serial killer. So, if you're interested in abnormal psychology, or serial killers this might well be your cup of tea. But, like when I reviewed Chuck Palahniuk's Haunted, I feel that it's only responsible for me to warn you that if you don't have a strong stomach you should put this book down, now, really.

It's okay, just set it down on the table and walk away. Nobody is judging you, we're all friends here.

So, if you feel like curling up this Valentine's Day with a really warped love story, then PZB delivers that. If not, I don't know, there's always Jane Austen or something. With or without zombies or sea monsters.

So until next time kids,
play nice, tip your waitresses, you know the drill.

Hugs and Kisses my Spooky-Dos

Spooky Pie

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Season of the witch (2011)

Okay, okay. Right about now you're probably going "what? Another review? Within a week? But Spooky you never do this! Are you sick?"

Well kids, the answer to all your questions is "yes", unfortunately. My few remaining days of freedom before university starts back up and I manage to get a head cold.

But hey, there are few things that are better to do than to sit around in a movie theater drinking Coke Zero when you're just a bit under the weather. Me and carbonation are like this. So when the whole "Do you want to go see 'Season of the Witch'?" came up I was like:

"oh sure."

So here's the part where I have to put in the pre-note that despite how trendy people seem to find it these days to heap on the Nicolas Cage hate, I consider myself not standing with the haters on the left, because I don't care, I find the man entertaining.

Here's my second unpopular opinion, I actually kinda, sorta, maybe ... liked this movie. But please, hold your stones until the end kids.

And keep in mind all the good times we've had...

... Please?

First off, to clear up any possible misconceptions, this is not a re-make of the 1973 George A. Romero film of the same title. This one is set during the crusades, and most specifically, the witch trials. Oh yes, and we even open with a good old fashioned one - but at least while you know that the 'villain' of the film is the supposed which, there are no pretenses that the church is the paragon of virtue in this tale.

Which is sort of what introduces us to our main characters Hell Boy and Ghost Rider Felson and Behman, played by Ron Perlman and Nicolas cage, respectively. These fine lads are two knights of the church who have recently become disenfranchised with the supposed "Holy War"; and its tendency towards brutally killing innocents.

But, generally, the church looked on deserters about as kindly as they do witches and through a series of events they get coerced into escorting a supposed witch to an abbey where priests can perform a certain rite on her, because, oh yeah, she apparently is causing the Bubonic plague.

But our boys, they be chivalrous, so they only agree to go along if the girl gets fair trial. The merry little troupe is fleshed out by another knight, a boy who wants to grow up to be one, and priest who is, shock, a complete douche bag, and a merchant because he knows the land.

Along the way there are plenty of "is she a witch?" "Isn't she a witch", "Is she bad?" "Isn't she bad?". And lot's of Ron Perlman being a bad ass that you really ought to think a moment before trifling with.

Okay, so maybe not a very complex plot, but, you know, that can work sometimes.
And honestly, after my last foray into cinema with The Church I have to say that there is something to be said for a movie that makes sense and doesn't just leave me wailing: "WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED HERE?!?!?!" for two hours.

So I'm not sure if I should attribute it to the fact that sometimes I go to movies just to shut my brain off and be entertained, or maybe that I went into it with basically zero expectations; but I just couldn't hate this movie.

So yeah, it's not going to win any awards for being the most brilliant to ever grace the silver screen, but it does make a for a fun night.

I just realized that this was pretty short as far as my reviews go, but eh, it's better than just going on and on and on and on...

Also, I think that I need to watch something that has nothing to do with the freaking crusades next or I may well go daffy.

So that's all I got, I'm off to have a hot cuppa and watch the Buffy marathon that's running Chiller right now, and winge about like I'm on my death bed.

Because I believe that's standard protocol when you have a cold ... or something. Nobody tells me anything.

So until next time, hugs not drugs, tip your waitresses, you know the drill.

Hugs and Kisses,

Spooky Pie

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Church (1989)

So, in the general spirit of thing, when Miss Stacie Ponder over at Final Girl announced that The Church was going to be the new film for Final Girl Film Club I decided to show my individualism by promptly hopping my spooky bum onto the bandwagon. Hush you, hush.

The trouble is, I watched said film club movie and then went "Wow ... what the Hell am I even going to say about this?"

What indeed, my darling Spooky Do's?

I've had almost 48 hours to digest this movie and I still have no idea what the hell it was I watched. I think the big problem was that it was a Dario Argento film, in the truest sense.

Now, you might be saying "But Spooky! Isn't Suspiria one of your favorite horror movies EVER?", and you're not wrong random person I don't know, it is. However, I think I may have been truly spoiled by the fact that Suspiria was my first Argento film. So, of course, I saw it, I adored it, I decided I needed to try and get my sugary little hands on as much more Argento as I could.

I mean, if the man was capable of the masterpiece that is Suspiria, his other works must be great too! Right?

After spending one of my coveted "apartment to myself" weekends watching such examples of his films as Deep Red and Opera, I can safely say that, no, no this isn't the case at all.

Argento somehow stumbled onto something beautiful and awe-inspiring with Suspiria, and true to the old adage, lightening didn't strike the same place twice. His other films struck me as largely plotless jumbles, with some occasional jarring music thrown in, and liberal amounts of thick, almost play-doh looking blood. Yes, he has a good eye, and yes each of his films has instances of absolutely gorgeous cinematography and framing, but if you remember my review of Parasomnia, you'll recall my sentiment that just making the movie pretty won't necessarily make me able to sit through it.

And I'm sorry to say, like the other aforementioned films, I found The Church to be much like that.

Okay, well here's the part where I try to explain the thin amount of plot that there was. Because, really kids, I did just feel like this was one huge jumble of "WHAT??? WHAT??? WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?!?!?".

All right, here we go. So we start out with a bunch of knights who have apparently tracked down a village of witches? Maybe? This doesn't really get explained. One of the village girls offers the leader of the knights water, and he freaks the Hell out because it's tap and he only drinks imported bottled water from the Swiss Alps.

So him and all his apeshit knight friends kill the whole village, and throw them in a giant hole. Then one of the lead knight's advisers has the AMAZING (and by amazing, I mean incredibly stupid), that the only way to purify the land that this den of sin was they have to build a church right on top of it.

I don't get the logic, but hey I wasn't a bat-shit crazy person in the middle ages.

Also, I really felt like at some point it was just going to degenerate into the Spanish Inquisition.

But Monty Python may possibly have been too culturally accurate for this film. I'll let you take minute to soak that idea up.

Moving right along...

We cut to "modern times", or at least the eighties, and the titular church that was built atop the bodies of the non-Evian drinking hippies that the knights slaughtered.

The amazing Plastic Librarian, a.k.a Evan I-don't-have-a-last-name is starting his first day of work cataloging at the church. He seriously looks like a kind of deranged Ken doll. En route a girl restoring a fresco drops her art supplies on his head, so he asks her out.

This is my flirtation method too kids, someone throws things at me and I think "HOT DAMN!" Obviously, Evan, like me, still assumes that the romantic world still operates like it did in Elementary school and you have to wait for someone to hurl something at you before you can tell whether or not they like you.

Evan then makes his way to the library, where he meets Lottie, played by Asia Argento, Dario Argento's daughter, because for some reason he likes to cast her in really uncomfortable roles, all things considered. Lottie lives in the church because her father does ... something. He's a Sacristan? I'm afraid I'm showing my ignorance because I had NO IDEA what that was, but hey, whatever, I don't imagine it's going to come up much.

Evan ends up uncovering a text that promises him eternal life if he unlocks something beneath a stone with seven eyes. This, obviously, is going to end well. Because, apparently, under the stone is Argento's version of Whedon's Hellmouth.

yes, I know this pre-dates Buffy, but Buffy is A LOT better, so therefore I am going to give Joss the props here

So Evan unlocks the evil door, and get possessed.... I think. Or he just decides to be a pedophilic rape fiend for the fun of it. I don't know. The man is weird. But this is a little strange, because you really got the feeling that the film was going to be about Evan with-no-last-name, and the art supply throwing girl. But apparently Evan is just there to be a sweaty perverted device to move the film along.

Apparently, and I'm as shocked as you are here, the real main characters in The Church are Lottie, and Father Gus, the black priest and ONLY ATTRACTIVE MAN IN THE WHOLE MOVIE. I am supposing that the reason behind this is that him and Lottie are supposed to be examples of untainted good in the face of the evil leaking out of the hole under the church.

That's a bit confusing though. You know next to nothing about Father Gus, other than that he likes archery, and has really strange visions about a sprinting, dwarf version, of one of the extra's from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. But okay, he's a priest, he gets some slack. But Lottie? The child is like twelve, and she sneaks out every night to do drinking, dancing, and I'm sure whoring. I'm pretty confused on why she should be a moral compass. But hey, what do I know, I didn't write this movie. Obviously, if I did it would star Eli Roth and Benedict Cumberbatch. Like all movies I would make.

Apparently when the church was created, it was made with some sort of self destruct function that would activate if the evil within the church were released. Well, that kicks off, and the church seals itself up. This traps all aforementioned people, as well as a bunch of kids on a field trip, a biker couple, a film crew doing a modeling shoot, and an old couple inside the church.

So then comes the choice; either activate the "kill switch" and destroy the church so that the evil doesn't destroy the outside world, or let it take its course, and it'll probably wipe out everything on earth.

While this pot is boiling, everyone in the church starts being effected by the evil and essentially going balls crazy. And here's where any sort of sane plot we might have had put up its hands and walked away in defeat.

Because from here on out, it's people hallucinating, stabbing other people with gate partitions, molesting each other, decapitating their spouses, and performing candlit satanic rites in the nude.

Is my earlier assessment of "What the Hell even just happened here?" beginning to make some sense?

I think my brain kind of checked out somewhere between the bizarre plastic-wrapped orgy and the man hallucinating that there is a giant fish trying to eat his face.

Like I said before:


Dear God on a tuna melt, what was this all even about?

I don't know, I really just .... ack. I don't know at all.

But, like I said before it is pretty to look at. So, in fact, when I was going back to screencap it, and I just had my iTunes on, and the movie audio on mute it wasn't all that bad. While Argento misses the mark with a fair amount of things, the man knows how to set up a film so that it looks like a piece of art.

Usually I can sit down and figure out the message behind a horror film. Because they are a common used medium for such a thing. Look at the Romero zombie films and how full of social commentary they were, or even the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers, or films like Kairo and Suicide Circle which reflect Japan's concern with the increasing lack of connection the country's youth possesses with itself as well as as a whole.

If The Church had any sort of a message I will be damned if I could decipher it.

I'm not going to lie, I think I've run out of everything I can say about this movie other than just tons and tons of ellipses indicating awkward pauses as I open and close my mouth trying to figure out what to say about the damn thing.

I guess it's not a terrible movie, and if you wanted to put on your favorite CD and just have something to stare at, some of the visuals are pretty hypnotic, so that might not be a bad day.

But this girl's head still hurts from how much she was scratching it after watching this one. I'm going to have to go catch up on Dexter now or something to get rid of the weird taste that The Church left behind.

So, until next time,

Hugs and kisses kiddies, and stay in school

Spooky Pie