Quickie 39 – The Innkeepers (2011)

or “Undead and Breakfast”

Ti West gave us some of the slow burniest slow burn ever with The House of the Devil. If you don’t like the gradual build of suspense to a crescendo finish from your flicks, THotD probably wasn’t your jam and The Innkeepers isn’t likely to change your mind. If you like to watch your candles burn down to that last satisfying flicker before they extinguish for good though, your goody bag is in for a treat.

“Pessimism is just a higher form of optimism.” – Luke

The Yankee Pedlar Inn is verging on closure during this, its final weekend in operation. The only remaining employees, Claire and Luke, are determined to play amateur ghost hunters during these last days in hopes of stirring up some evidence that the place is haunted. Legend says that Madeline O’Malley, a woman whose fiance left her at the altar, killed herself at the Yankee Pedlar on what was supposed to be her wedding day. Unsure of what to do without freaking out the guests and losing business, the owners instructed the staff to store her body in the basement for three days until the situation could be properly sorted. Come to think of it, I don’t think any situation can be “properly sorted” when it involves a 3 days old dead body.

With his Angelfire free website and public domain graphics, Luke has so far uploaded minimal spook footage, with a self-closing door being about the extent of it. Claire refuses to give up though, as her adorable little heart refuses to give up trying to communicate with the long deceased Madeline. With little luck catching anything beyond Claire’s own paranoia, our neophyte supernaturalites get a break when a TV actress-turned-spiritualist turns up to rent a room. With a bit of divination, she warns of not just one, but a trio of spookies that un-live there, and for a bonus she tosses in a warning that Claire should stay away from the basement…which means she’s gonna end up in that fucking basement minus her life, isn’t she?

To reiterate, Ti West is an advocate for gradually progressing stories. Whether you find it to be a suspenseful march of tension or the pace of a snail you’d rather salt is up to you. I might have been more into The Innkeepers if I hadn’t seen The House of the Devil first. For my 37 cents, West’s freshman feature had better surprises and a more satisfying finale, while Innkeepers sets a steadier pace but has a few too many jump scare fake outs for me. There are some ghastly visions to be had, but it take a special kind of ghost story to unnerve me and though I can applaud (mildly) the movie’s best efforts, I was still left wanting more. Especially from that epilogue… *blart*

At least it’s shot well. Like, really well. Oh, and Lena Dunham cameos as the pair’s barista-next-door if that means anything to anybody. No? I didn’t think so.

Moral of the Story: Never skimp on bread. You’ll always regret it… ALWAYS.

Final Judgment:

Three Stephen Gammell Illustrations out-of-Five

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Enjoy the review? Hate the review? Have a movie you’d like to see judged in The Tomb? Fill out the feedback form! Never has it been easier to make contact with a deitic being!

All materials found within this review are the intellectual properties and opinions of the original writer. The Tomb of Anubis claims no responsibility for the views expressed in this review, but we do lay a copyright claim on it beeyotch, so don’t steal from this shit or we’ll have to go all Farmer Vincent on your silly asses. © October 1st 2013 and beyond, not to be reproduced in any way without the express written consent of the reviewer and The Tomb of Anubis, or pain of a physical and legal nature will follow. Touch not lest ye be touched.

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Quickie 38 – Rabid (2019)

or “Kiss From a Rose”

Early in David Cronenberg’s film career, he wrote and directed a mend-bending think piece on social diseases starring Marilyn Chambers called Rabid. Most of you don’t need to be told this, but for anyone who could use some catching up, here ya go. Continuing from what he had started with Shivers, Rabid carried on with the infectious body horror mindfuck themes the twisted Canadian would make his signature. 40 years later, self-professed Cronenbergites Jen and Sylvia Soska, still coasting on the indie cred they amassed with American Mary, decided it would be a good idea to remake Rabid in their own image. Well, in “Animaniacs” terms, was this a “Good Idea” or “Bad Idea”? With bologna in our slacks, let’s find out.

“I would strongly suggest staying away from mirrors for now.” – Dr. William Burroughs

Rose is a seamstress for the infamous Haus of Gunter designer clothing firm, whose newest campaign, “Schadenfreude” is just a knock-off of Zoolander‘s “Derelicte”. Her dream is to become a top tier designer, but that’s the problem with dreams – once we wake up, they’re over. And her boss, the eponymous Gunter of Haus of Gunter, is sure to remind Rose just how much her life is not a dream via frequent dressings down (no pun intended) in front of her co-workers and berating every design she presents him as “amateurish” and “mainstream”. At the end of her rope, her life is in need of an ’80s romantic-comedy style overhaul! Instead she gets into an auto accident that, given she was driving a Vespa, she’s lucky to have lived through! Provided you see having your face and torso mutilated as “lucky”, of course.

Desperate to fix her form, Rose signs up with a Transhumanism hippie clinic for an experimental plastic surgery procedure utilizing stem cells to turn our ugly duckling-turned-mangled duckling into a mad science swan. What appears to be a rousing success at first gives our heroine the confidence that comes with looking your best (she basically gets a new haircut and dumps her glasses), allowing her to catch the fashion hungry eye of her boss and strapping rockets to the elevator of career success. On the downside though, the procedure has also left her with staggering hunger pangs, a lustful hunger for human blood, and an affliction of super rabies that leaves her in a Typhoid Mary scenario, infecting every guy she sinks her teeth in while prowling the local after dark man-meat market.

Unlike the original movie from which this simulacrum takes its story beats, this remake plays things relative straight-laced before ramping up the crazy in the final 10 minutes. Fortunately, it doesn’t go off the rails with an “out of nowhere” twist in the finale, opting instead to plant the proverbial seeds throughout the movie for those paying attention. It works because odd moments actually lead to satisfying payoffs rather than just dangling them like despondent Munchkins in the background of the Wizard of Oz set. Additionally, the practical gore effects did the trick for my personal bloodlust, so kudos on that.

On the pendulum’s downswing though, the cast as a whole is pretty weak, parts of the plot and the actions of certain side characters were jarringly stupid, the majority of the movie lacks the bite of the original, and finally, if you can’t afford to shoot a convincing city-wide quarantine, maybe don’t make it such a major part of your third act. Work within your limitations, kids. Save the boarding house reach for smaller stakes, like when your grandma’s hearing is so far gone that you’re better off just getting the salt for yourself rather than asking her to pass it for 10th time.

A middling effort in the grand scheme of things, the sisters Soska may want to take less risks along the lines of half-hearted remakes of their heroes’ works (or just outright terrible sequels like See No Evil 2: See Harder) and wait until they have some more original fare to show off. Being female twins that love horror movies is a great publicity gimmick, but we (I?) still need to see them back it up with more original ideas of their own if they want to make a memorable mark on the genre they love so much. Here’s to whatever’s next on their menu!

Moral of the Story: We’re always told to never meet our heroes, but perhaps “never remake your heroes” should be an addendum to that old adage.

Final Judgment:

Three Old Yellers out-of-Five

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Enjoy the review? Hate the review? Have a movie you’d like to see judged in The Tomb? Fill out the feedback form! Never has it been easier to make contact with a deitic being!

All materials found within this review are the intellectual properties and opinions of the original writer. The Tomb of Anubis claims no responsibility for the views expressed in this review, but we do lay a copyright claim on it beeyotch, so don’t steal from this shit or we’ll have to go all Farmer Vincent on your silly asses. © October 1st 2013 and beyond, not to be reproduced in any way without the express written consent of the reviewer and The Tomb of Anubis, or pain of a physical and legal nature will follow. Touch not lest ye be touched.

Quickie 37 – The Devil’s Rejects (2005)

or “The Three Amigos”

Continuing my tribute to Sid Haig/build up to 3 From Hell, here comes Rob Zombie’s sophomore feature. While most would consider it a sequel to House of 1000 Corpses, others would call it its own movie, only featuring characters from that flick, since the style and tone of the movies are radically different despite being helmed by the same writer-director.

“I have some top secret clown business that supersedes any plans that you might have for this here vehicle.” – Captain Spaulding

5-15 months (I don’t know for sure, I didn’t write it down) following the events of House of 1000 Corpses, the Ruggsville, Texas police department has finally figured out who’s responsible for all of the dead and missing people that the area’s no doubt been rampant with for YEARS. Surrounding the Firefly compound, the pigs lay siege to the joint and spend a few hundreds rounds of ammo turning the place into the white trash ranch equivalent of Swiss cheese…that’s been shot at with an SMG. And I don’t mean Sarah-Michelle Gellar.

Otis and Baby evade capture thanks to an escape hatch (which they all could have used if they’d just run in the first fucking place!), leaving a wounded Mother behind to be arrested and titanic brother Rufus to be gunned down despite his potbelly stove-turned-Iron Monger Mark 0.5 battle armor. While mom is tortured by the vengeance-fueled Sheriff Wydell (self-appointed nemesis of the Fireflies whose brother was killed in the previous feature) in his crusade to find the escapees and bring them to holy bloody murder justice, O & B reconnect with Baby’s daddy, Captain Spaulding, and the trio go on the lamb. Well, after they exact acts of Master Sardu arousing sadism upon some unsuspecting victims.

Wydell’s campaign of retribution leaves a handful of dead hookers and a gutted Mother Firefly in its wake with the Sheriff himself Bond villaining himself to death when his overindulgence of revenge ends with the bad guys getting the upper hand. The grisly family vacation ends with these cast-offs of Satan’s service driving headlong into a lead curtain of tax payer gunfire, blasted into them by a roadblock of cops with various styles of ’70s facial hair, all to the tune of “Freebird”. It’s all a bit silly, as we’re supposed to feel bad for these violent psychopaths who finally give up and opt to go down guns blazing like anti-heroes when they’re literally some of the most terrible people burned to celluloid.

Devil’s Rejects set a standard for Rob Zombie movies that many feel he hasn’t come close to reaching again, with another amazing performance by Moseley as the charismatic demon in a man skin, Otis Driftwood, along with more over-the-top fun from Sid Haig and Sherri Moon-Zombie as Spaulding and Baby respectively. Even if you’re not a fan of the man, you can appreciate that his movies are always opportunities to put more money into the bank accounts of b-movie alumni like Ken Foree, Michael Berryman, Danny Trejo, William Forsythe, Moseley, and his own wife Sherri (whose teeth look irritating perfect for a white trash scumbag, like, “just finished using a Crest White Strip” perfect), and of course, Haig (RIP). Sadly, when she demanded a higher paycheck for Rejects, veteran queen b Karen Black (RIP also) was replaced by Leslie Easterbrook, best known as the blond jug-her-naut Callahan in the Police Academy series.

While 1000 Corpses has a cult following of its own, Rejects has found itself a more mainstream appeal, presenting itself as a down ‘n dirty crime thriller instead of “some trippy horror shit”. There are no colorful costumes, no teenage pothead victims, and no Dr. Satan camp. There were scenes of Dr. S shot for the movie (which included Rosario Dawson as a nurse *cartoon wolf freak out*), but Bobby made the right choice in trimming the proverbial fat on that one. Rejects benefits greatly from Zombie reining in the spastic camera work and manic storytelling in favor of a much grittier and grimier coating of realism, painting the titular trio in a much less clownish (no pun intended), more genuinely disturbing light. One thing Zombie doesn’t shy from is his almost signature usage of close-up shots of grainy news footage. I’m guessing Rob sat a little too close to the TV growing up… 

Moral of the Story: If I never see another clown sex scene, my eyeballs will thank me…and hopefully return to my custody full-time rather than just on alternating weekends.

Final Judgment:

Four Scoops of Tutti Fuckin’ Frutti out-of-Five

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Enjoy the review? Hate the review? Have a movie you’d like to see judged in The Tomb? Fill out the feedback form! Never has it been easier to make contact with a deitic being!

All materials found within this review are the intellectual properties and opinions of the original writer. The Tomb of Anubis claims no responsibility for the views expressed in this review, but we do lay a copyright claim on it beeyotch, so don’t steal from this shit or we’ll have to go all Farmer Vincent on your silly asses. © October 1st 2013 and beyond, not to be reproduced in any way without the express written consent of the reviewer and The Tomb of Anubis, or pain of a physical and legal nature will follow. Touch not lest ye be touched.

Quickie 36 – Terrifier (2018)

or “Mime Crimes”

Having never seen All Hallows Eve, I had zero prior exposure to Art the Clown before Terrifier. For those not in the know: Art has taken the horror community by storm since the release of this movie, which is his first solo feature. Not nearly as terrifying as the moniker would suggest, I think it would’ve better been served going by the original full-length title of the “Canterbury Tales” story it’s based on: “Terrible Crap That Should Be Burned In a Fire”.

“You have to come with me now. There’s a dead woman in your basement!” – Cat Lady

The synopsis for this flick is probably one of the simplest that even an over-explainer like me can shit out in a single paragraph: the titular terrifier Art is a guy dressed up as a monochrome merrymaker (with a critical case of gingivitis) who carries a garbage bag of stabby and bludgeony weapons around with him and kills a cast of fodder that’s just as 1-dimensional as the mute jester marauding them. Yep, I said “mute”. Your slasher movie main event is a killer clown who doesn’t fucking talk. Face? Meet palm. You two will have plenty of time to get to know each other while we wait this thing out till the end credits.

Goth Pagliacci’s aforementioned garbage bag must be the Heftiest Hefty that Hefty has ever Hefted, because despite being filled with sharp instruments, you’d think the damn thing were filled with some much lighter, much less “clanky”, much duller material. In fact, you could show me that it was actually just packed with shredded paper and the most reaction you’d get from me was a shrug. Not even a full on Toru Yano shrug, but a solitary shoulder tremor that someone with Parkinsons might get after a sneeze.

Making matters worse? Nobody got the memo that no one’s given a shit about torture porn since 2010, so we get a particular scene of misogynistic mutilation that neither shocks nor “pushes boundaries”, but instead overcomes the collective senses with a heavy fog of Try-Hard flavored vape pen discharge. Unfortunately, I’ve seen plenty of people online voicing their love for this flick like it’s the next coming of Freddy Krueger, so don’t be surprised to see half-a-dozen sequels of more basic bullshit. Oh well, as I’ve been told over my Suspiria review, there’s no accounting for taste. *shrug*

Moral of the Story: Just because your entire business revolves around horror movies doesn’t mean you know dick 1 about how to MAKE one. For shame, Dread Central.

Final Judgment:

1 Turd Costume out-of-Five

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Enjoy the review? Hate the review? Have a movie you’d like to see judged in The Tomb? Fill out the feedback form! Never has it been easier to make contact with a deitic being!

All materials found within this review are the intellectual properties and opinions of the original writer. The Tomb of Anubis claims no responsibility for the views expressed in this review, but we do lay a copyright claim on it beeyotch, so don’t steal from this shit or we’ll have to go all Farmer Vincent on your silly asses. © October 1st 2013 and beyond, not to be reproduced in any way without the express written consent of the reviewer and The Tomb of Anubis, or pain of a physical and legal nature will follow. Touch not lest ye be touched.

Quickie 35 – Friday the 13th: Vengeance (2019)

or “The Shit Hits the Fan (Film)”

Touted as “the most successfully Kickstarted Friday the 13th fan film of all time” (like one of those Guinness Records they put at the back of the book because no one cares), Vengeance debuted for free to online streaming services on September 13th. Yes, it was indeed a Friday. I had heard very little about this not-for-profit indy flick (that cost $50,000 of backer bucks) until the date of its release, as many members of the Joe Bob Briggs Facebook fan page posted in fervent hype for its debut. As nigh-lifelong lovers of the merry murderous misadventures of Jason Voorhees, my Evil Dead Bride Krix and I gave it a go and, well…we’re not mad at you, Vengeance, just disappointed…gravely disappointed…“fuck you back to Hell” disappointed.

“You’re not my son!” – Elias Voorhees

Jason (or at least an upper tax bracket Spirit Halloween costume version) is back and once again killing people in the general area of Crystal Lake. He’s not alone though, as his long lost daddy Elias is also stalking the region and dispatching of victims of his own. Because…like father like son…I guess? Meanwhile, no sooner have the killings started again, but who other than Tommy Jarvis suddenly disappears without a trace, leaving his daughters Ashley and Angelica concerned for poppa’s well being. Ash (the older of the two) gathers the offspring of other F13 survivors to hunt down and kill Jason once and for all, making for a big clusterfuck of a family affair.

Be warned, fellow Friday fans, Vengeance doesn’t just take liberties with the lore of the Friday the 13th franchise so much as roofies its drink and does obscene, disgusting, morally vomit-inducing things to it. The whole tale reeks of lazy fan fic worse than the shit I used to hack together in high school. Part of the movies’ charm was gonzo shit happening that never needed an explanation. It took the ”MST3K” approach of “repeat to yourself it’s just a show, I should really just relax”. Vengeance tries to fill in gaps that no one ever asked to be filled. If someone wanted to super glue arms to the Venus de Milo, they’d be booed back to the toilet store they part-timed at. Not equating slasher movies to 500 year-old works of classical art, but the metaphor is apt.

Even if perverting Jason’s legacy for the sake of aggrandizing some fanboys’ fantasy booking doesn’t grind your teeth down to the nerve endings, the execution of the movie itself is botched harder than one of those nightmare scenarios where someone on Death Row gets shot up with the wrong cocktail and takes an hour to die in utter pain and agony. The cast is packed with more extras than you can shake an occupied sleeping bag at, just so it can boast “the biggest body count of any Friday the 13th movie!” (that isn’t a Friday the 13th movie, no matter how many fucking stars you wish upon). The biggest problem? These people aren’t characters, they’re fodder. Jason isn’t about body counts, he’s about slaughtering people we’re supposed to establish some sliver of a connection to in classic “one by one” fashion. This version just mows down groups of people with little-to-no aplomb. An entire chain gang gets hacked down in less time than it takes Gummy Joe to brush his tooth, and not one of these hardened criminals puts up anything resembling a struggle. Crappity crap crap.

For anyone who denounces slasher flicks as “just blood and tits trash”, Vengeance only affirms their argument. It butchers the genre down to its base components and throws any of the edible bits straight down the garbage chute. What’s left isn’t even good enough to make it into the hot dog grinder. It’s an insult to fan films and a waste of other peoples’ money. The only redeeming factor? Nobody needs to pay to watch it. It’s 90 minutes of your life you’ll never get back, but it’s better than drinking bleach, I suppose.

Moral of the Story: The real fans are the one who don’t treat the object of their affections like R. Kelly treats under-aged girls.

Final Judgment:

1 Burning Pile of Fan Money out-of-Five

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Enjoy the review? Hate the review? Have a movie you’d like to see judged in The Tomb? Fill out the feedback form! Never has it been easier to make contact with a deitic being!

All materials found within this review are the intellectual properties and opinions of the original writer. The Tomb of Anubis claims no responsibility for the views expressed in this review, but we do lay a copyright claim on it beeyotch, so don’t steal from this shit or we’ll have to go all Farmer Vincent on your silly asses. © October 1st 2013 and beyond, not to be reproduced in any way without the express written consent of the reviewer and The Tomb of Anubis, or pain of a physical and legal nature will follow. Touch not lest ye be touched.

Quickie 34 – Suspiria (2018)

or “Saturday Night Fever Dreams”

From the writer of less-than-stellar remake The Invasion and the director of Call Me By Your Name, this Amazon Studios remake (revisioning?) of the Dario Argento horror classic had a lot to live up.

“A delusion is lies that tell truth.” – Dr. Jospeh Klemperer

The Markos Dance Company is one of the most prestigious studios of its kind in all of Europe. Located in Berlin, its head instructor Madame Blanc somehow managed to keep it and its female wards free of Nazi interference in World War II: War-tastic Boogaloo. Going strong as ever in 1977, their prize student Patricia has gone missing to the great concern of her psychiatrist, Dr. Klemperer. Ranting about witches and being groomed for sinister intentions by the school’s staff, the notion that she’s simply joined an underground band of revolutionaries embroiled in the social upheaval permeating Berlin at the time seems a good enough story for the company to maintain plausible deniability. Dr. K though? Not so much.

Amid the mysterious happenings at Markos, American amateur dancer Susie Banion has just rolled in seeking a position with the troupe. After acing her audition (despite no formal training), she’s accepted and embraced by Miss Blanc and quickly makes her way up the ranks due to the recent absence of Pats, being so bold as to volunteer as the new lead in their big upcoming production! Now the young Mennonite from Ohio is the one being groomed for great purpose by Blanc and her staff, but will she figure it out soon enough to escape with her innocence intact? Not before a LOT of German interpretive dance!

Suspiria suffers from the instant stigma of being a remake, compounded by the fact that the movie it’s remaking has a rabid cult following, compounded further by the fact that the movie’s lead is being played by the woman who starred in those fucking Fifty Shades of Grey movies. On the positive side of this, though, director Guadagnino and writer Kajganich forego any pretense of “are they or aren’t they?” regarding the status of the faculty’s involvement in the dark arts, allowing them to embrace the theme with both arms and explore the inner politics and practices of their coven instead. There’s a power struggle between those who want to grasp desperately to the old ways and those who want to progress with the times. It bluntly parallels the subplot of social turmoil in the city at the time, as well as with many areas of the world today, including, in no small way, the socio-political ideals currently at odds here in the US.

And if you don’t give a flying turd zeppelin about this type of topic interrupting your trippy-ass horror movies, I don’t blame you. This is probably one of the more divisive remakes to come down the proverbial pipeline in the last 20 years. Whatever your opinion on it, either based on your personal viewing, what you’ve heard secondhand or what your general knee jerk “I don’t need to see it to know how I feel about it”reaction, our opinions are just that – opinions. By their very nature, opinions are neither correct nor incorrect. As such, I’d like to ask that you keep that in mind in regard to my next statement: I could not find a single thing about Suspiria that I didn’t like.

HOLD YOUR FIRE!

At first blush, I thought the idea of a 2.5hr remake of Suspiria was guaranteed to be over-indulgent. That’s not just the default buzz word particularly average people use when trying to piss on productions that go over their head or that they just don’t “get”. In this case, those 150+ minutes of movie were well utilized. I wasn’t bored at any moment while sitting there watching it. When I wasn’t intrigued by the turmoil of the faction or the tormenting of our protagonista, I was enthralled by the intensity of the dancers and the way the director highlighted the contortion and outright deformity of their bodies to accomplish their movements. The rhythmic writhing and undulation, especially during the climax performance, kept my attention rapt. I was enamored in a non-exploitative way at the talent and dedication of these women and the spell their movements cast. Imagine me as a taller, hairier version of Danny DeVito at the end of the ”It’s Always Sunny” season 14 finale to get an idea of just how deeply I was drawn into these sequences.

Visually, the movie doesn’t try to play with its color scheme the way Argento’s original vision did. Aside from some eye rattling fever dreams visited upon Susie and a visual hellscape of a final act, the air of the production is very much anchored in the real world to remind us of the conflicts going on around us. Gods damn it, I can’t keep talking like this without wanting to punch myself in the stomach for coming off like such a ponce! Fuck it. I love this movie. Hours after watching it I was lying awake, almost upset by the fact that I couldn’t find anything wrong with it. For the sake of my remaining sanity, I finally gave in. For anyone who can’t forgive me for saying it, do what you need to, but for me, the 2018 Suspiria is a perfect movie.

Well, with the exception of Tilda Swinton playing an old man. The shape of her face, the sound of her voice, the intensity of her eyes, I just wasn’t able to see her as anything other than Tilda Swinton in old man prosthetics. THERE! THERE’S YOUR PINT OF BLOOD, YOU VAMPIRES! *HISSSSSSS*

Moral of the Story: Watch out for those Mennonite girls, gents! They’re freakier than their religion lets on.

Final Judgment:

Five Witchy Poos out-of-Five

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Enjoy the review? Hate the review? Have a movie you’d like to see judged in The Tomb? Fill out the feedback form! Never has it been easier to make contact with a deitic being!

All materials found within this review are the intellectual properties and opinions of the original writer. The Tomb of Anubis claims no responsibility for the views expressed in this review, but we do lay a copyright claim on it beeyotch, so don’t steal from this shit or we’ll have to go all Farmer Vincent on your silly asses. © October 1st 2013 and beyond, not to be reproduced in any way without the express written consent of the reviewer and The Tomb of Anubis, or pain of a physical and legal nature will follow. Touch not lest ye be touched.