Monday, 18 July 2011

Double Bill Mini Musings: Decidedly meh, even rubbish...

The Incredible Melting Man:
For some reason three astronauts have gone on a mission into space to gawp at the sun from nearby Saturn, then something happens and the sole survivor is back on earth and has been transformed into the eponymous purveyor of immovable carpet stains. The flick is really only worthwhile for fans of naff genre flicks, or - more admirably perhaps - Rick Baker's gloriously gloopy make-up effects work. Baker's work is the real draw of the flick - indeed there are numerous scenes where we just sit there and watch the titular enemy of Cillit Bang, drip runny snot-like blobs of gooey flesh from his form (the final meltdown is good fun after an all-too-long, not-terribly-exciting chase sequence).

When it comes to the script, and indeed the acting, I can't tell whether it's deliberately - or accidentally - trying to be a bit pants. It's like the movie is trying to be tongue-in-cheek, but the jokes (if you can be so generous) seem to have been lost in translation to any of the actors, whose performances are wooden to say the least ... its as if they're trying to be the antithesis of the very much fluid lead. When the gloop isn't glooping, and when heads aren't getting lopped off, it does get rather tedious ... which is a shame, because in terms of production design it's pretty good (they certainly squeezed every drop out of their time at industrial locations).

The Hills Have Eyes II:
Wes Craven's original was pretty good - not great, but good - and the Alexandre Aja remake has been one of the rare instances in which a remake has been worthwhile. However, Craven's sequel is a woeful mistake (mirrored by the unconnected sequel to Aja's remake - featuring the worst military recruits America has to offer - which was beyond crap). Making liberal use of flashbacks to the original film (including one for Beast - the dog from the original movie!) to pad out the skimpy running time (which, ironically, moves by slower than a glacier), the vast majority of the new footage is risible at best - a bunch of cardboard teens (who are off to the desert to race dirt bikes) yomping around the wrong part of the desert being total morons.

There's initial - very brief - promise when the flick begins with one of the survivors of the original moving suffering mental anguish several years later, still trying to cope ... but what could have made for an interesting personal struggle is ditched after 15 padded-out minutes in favour of idiots making useless decisions (except for the aforementioned survivor, who makes the only smart choice in the entire movie - to not go to the ruddy desert!). Hills II is one of the worst examples of the horror genre - when those who moan about the genre dismiss it off-hand, it's movies like this that they're referencing - utterly witless, inane, bore-fests with little merit even to die hard horror hounds.

However - there is one plus - the soundtrack. Having not noticed in the credits, a short while through I recognised the unmistakable similarity in feel to the soundtracks for the early Friday 13th films - and sure enough, Harry Manfredini scored this stinker, and while the movie is indeed a rotten load of old nonsense, the score is classic, chilling, Manfredini.

It's a strange thing - Wes Craven had done so well with the likes of Last House on the Left, the original The Hills Have Eyes, and A Nightmare On Elm Street, but what on earth was he thinking with this?! That said, as bad as it is, it's not even as atrocious as the unforgivably wretched 2007 follow-up to Aja's 2006 gore-ific irradiated remake.

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