Friday, 10 August 2007

Balls deep in movie ponderings...

So what the hell have I been up to for the past 10 days?

Well, apart from generous helpings of Rainbow Six: Vegas on the 360, STALKER on the PC, finishing Chuck Palahniuk's latest book "Rant", starting to read "American Psycho" and gearing up to write a new script, I've been deep in catching up on some movie viewing - and there's still more to watch.

But for starters, here's the shit ones pondered over first:

Night of the Living Dead 3D:

Another pointless remake, another chance for some douchebag to rape the good work and name of George A. Romero...if only he was a better businessman, we would have been spared from having to watch idiotic people pushing things into the camera lens to amp up the 3-D nature of the film, which is utterly pointless as 3-D will only become awesome when James Cameron says so. This isn't even a case of 'so bad it's good', sadly not...Children of the Living Dead, or Zombie Nosh, those are so bad they're...well, not good, but you can watch them and take the utter piss out of them with some mates, or just laugh *AT* them for being such garbage. But Night3D isn't that, it's just bad. The best thing about it is Sid Haig, but even he suffers due to a rubbish script and all the usual trappings of a dull, unimaginative gimmicky band-wagon chasing remake. 'Nuff said. the in-between...

August Underground:

Intensely hard to get a hold of, it certainly defines underground indie filmmaking...and it's understandable why it's so hard to find. I guess the point in the film is to make a horror movie that really shows disgusting horror not to be enjoyed - but that's not exactly new, we've seen it before and since and pulled off *with* a plot involved. The problem with AU is that there is such a small semblance of a plot, that there isn't enough of a *movie* to grasp on to, to get through the gut wrenchingly vile splattery violence on show. But then again, you could just say - but that's the point of the movie - and I guess that is indeed the case, or at least part of the puzzle. The trouble is that this point is made incredibly quickly, to the point that all violence past the 5 minute mark is merely flogging a dead and abused horse. It feels unnecessary, even when trying to make a point.

The film British film "Boy Meets Girl" is an example of a 'disgusting horror' film which actually has a plot, but said plot isn't exactly meaty, however it is positively obese by comparison to AU. Surely, if horror is a sensation, a mental state, a feeling, a horror film should assault the mind, rather than the stomach? As I said before, a good point is made about violence in the first five minutes, beyond that the horse is flogged for a further hour. At least after the horrid first half hour the remaining 40 minutes are far easier to sit through, mainly due to a variety of seemingly almost pointless scenes - but I guess the point is that as the film is essentially a single uncut videotape in a nutter's camera, it is going to be random...I find it to be a problematic film, it's neither one thing nor the other, at least that's how I see it.

I will say that the gore was very convincing, a good chunk of that coming down to the performances by two blokes we've never heard of before pretending to be absolute psychopaths. This is one of those films a horror aficionado digs out through sheer curiosity factor, but for anyone who shudders at the thought of had better just remain curious, or at least be prepared for an uneasy time...a very uneasy time.

Anyway, enough of that, onto the goodness...

I Want Candy:

Well, perhaps not goodness, but a decent enough Brit flick to watch once and leave it at that really. Although I have to say I personally didn't dig the representation of film studies courses in the film, although most likely that is how *some* of such courses are really like across the country, although I personally had a completely different experience and loved every minute of it (even when tugging my hair out over my Dissertation, or trying to justify the inclusion of Full Metal Jacket in an essay mainly about Saving Private Ryan) ... basically, I felt it was the "easy" option of representing a film course, the smug lecturer who thinks he's shit hot and popular when he isn't - well that wasn't my experience at UEA, the lecturers were genuinely nice people, you got on with them well or at least fully respected them, hell, you might even have a beer with them from time to time at the student bar.

Interesting that I've ended up talking more about my personal annoyance at the rather 'copy and paste' representation of film courses rather than the film itself, but as I said, there are no doubt film courses in the country which are like that, perhaps even many and UEA is one of the few exceptions - who knows. Anyway, I'll leave my UEA Patriotism to one side for now and just say that I Want Candy is good enough for a viewing, not that memorable, but not that shit either. Worth a viewing anyway.

The Monster Squad:

Long have I been searching for a film I saw as a child which, to my best and fullest recollection featured a creepy house and the colour green and red, and possibly a model version of said creepy house, possibly within said creepy house, as a bunch of kids try to ward off monsters. Perhaps my mind muddled it all up and it was in fact The Monster Squad, but I certainly don't remember seeing it as a child, but then again why would I if I'd only seen it once? Anyway, cheesy 80's kids fun with Jon "Uncle Rico" Gries playing the human version of the Wolf plays out like a wannabe Goonies, but I can't be arsed to IMDb me up some dates to see which came first...solid enough idea, good for a watch, but not remembering it from my childhood, I don't have an attachment to it - not like I do with Short Circuit 1 & 2, *Batteries Not Included, The Money Pit (Hanks) and Ghostbusters 1 & 2 (amongst many others) anyway.

...okay, now the top two of the bunch...


Simple premise - couple stay in motel from hell where owner videotapes room occupants as he and his pair of violent goons terrorise and murder the innocents to make snuff films for their own satisfaction, and to those willing to pay to sate their own interests.

Finally - a modern horror movie with a pair of fully fleshed out protagonists, in this case a couple on the verge of divorce over the death of their child. It's a good 15 to 20 minutes before we get into the main flow of the movie, so all that time is used to make solid characters you actually give a stuff about. What's more - these characters are actually smart and think about what they're doing when they're finally faced with the horrific realisation that they're next up on the snuff movie channel. These characters think about their situation, how to get out of it, what the killer's might be thinking and so on. It's genuinely tense in the final minutes as you ponder whether the film will sink into genre conventions or not, but it's also a bloody good ride throughout. Top stuff, says I...also, a bloody creepy idea.

28 Weeks Later:

Now, originally when I heard about a sequel to Danny Boyle's excellent plague film (yes, plague film, NOT a zombie film - the monsters in it are INFECTED PEOPLE, infected with the Rabies-alike Rage Virus, nobody dies during the transformation, they're capable of much greater thought from the off and they eventually die of starvation after a few weeks - 28 Days Later is NOT a zombie film, and nor is the sequel, and nor will the second sequel be either).

Anyway, with that rant out of the way (a personal pet peeve of mine), when I first heard about a sequel to 28DL, I was one of the first at Homepage of the Dead to spit my rant juice all over it, bemoaning why it needed to be made - I assumed it'd be the usual shit cash-in sequel...however, I could not have been more wrong - although sadly for the state of film, I'm not this wrong more often, because at least then there'd be many more good flicks out there.

At least the equal of Danny Boyle's original, the film really expands meaningfully on the first film as we now see the next step - what you do after the plague has hit. My only gripe with the film is that from time to time someone makes a really stupid decision, especially the daft bint at the start of the movie who thinks her man is still alive after heading out into the plague-ravished countryside five days ago - aka freaking numpty.

Aside from the odd moronic decision by side characters, it's a bloody good follow up with greater scope for devastation (including the morbidly fascinating sight of bags-upon-bags of bio-hazard waste being removed from suburban homes). It all tails off a bit in the 3rd act where it resorts to one big chase, and it is a little anti-climatic throughout when you realise barely anyone is safe, but as I said before - it's still bloody good.

Now, will 28 Months Later be the shit cash-in sequel I was originally expecting with 28 Weeks Later, or will it be another kick-in-the-balls suprise? I hope the latter...


Okay I've rambled on long enough, so I'll shut the hell up now and go thrash some more R6:Vegas, ha!


Danny Smith said...

*shakes finger* technically zombies arent dead though, but thats a bitch for another time, i STILL havent seen it but its been nothing but good news about it, but personally, as good as it was to see somethign take place in london id really like 28 months to take place in america.

Possibly in pittsburg.

Nick Thomson said...

28 Months Later will probably end up taking place in Europe methinks.

Zombies from waaaaaaaaay back in the day, i.e. voodoo zombies are not dead, although they appear to be dead and people *think* they're dead, hence where the whole mythology arose from. But those sorts are voodoo zombies, suffering under a trance or weird-arse magic.

Romero changed the default go-to zombie forever into someone who has died as a result of the infection, then become a zombie to go around munching people...more than just rug munching, haha, full blown people munching.

So my passionate rant remains intact! NYAH-HA!

So, still, the infected in 28 Days/Weeks Later are *still* humans, just really angry, infectious humans. So they're *still* NOT zombie films. HAHA!

*does that anime style triumphant stance in a low angle while laughing awkwardly "HA HA...HA HA!" while the lip synching remains well-off, mate* lol

Danny Smith said...

technically what would occur is the voodoo priest would give a,suposedly, fake drug to someone without there knowing, they appear to die ,when in actuallity go into a deep coma akin to a severe stroke, after they get buried the voodoo priest digs them up adn does something to use them as a slave, a mindless zombi

Check out the serpent adn the rainbow, brilliant zombie film, adn on about real zombies not undead ghouls. i caught it on the scifi channel years back and its really good.

Nick Thomson said...

But with voodoo zombies, everybody else believes them to be *dead*, especially after the person has been buried and then reappears walking around in a trance.

"Zombie" has more than one interpretation now, "gay" used to mean happy, then it meant homosexual, now it means both homosexual, but also "stupid". "Zombie" means both an undead flesh eater, thanks to GAR making a big splash with Night '68, and then there's slave zombies who are people enslaved by mind control...also stoners on Xbox giggling at themselves over nothing, they're zombies as well.

Now I wonder where Plague of the Zombies comes into it? They're slaves, but (to my recollection of the film from years ago) also appeared as the undead, at least I think that's what they were supposed to be, they had manky make-up and literally cardboard box constructions over their heads to make them look

But still, undead-ghoul-zombie, or mind-controlled-human-slave-zombie, neither apply to 28 Days/Weeks Later still. :p


Look at us, what a pair of nerds we are, haha.