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Review: Excision

DVD Review

Excision DVD 001This is a film that I heard about but I had no idea what the film was about since I tried hard to avoid spoilers. This film was in the horror section and while it has that transgressive element common to horror it is also a family drama but with quite a lot more blood and gore than is typical in that genre and that is right from the opening scene. The majority of the gore is in fantasy sequences in the head of the main character.

This film follows the story of Pauline (AnnaLynne McCord), a high school senior who is far beyond merely socially awkward and is definitely has an undiagnosed mental condition. Suffering is not the correct term since it her family that do most of the suffering from her condition. She has the delusion that she is on track to becoming a surgeon and her dreams are filled with bloody necrophilic fantasies of her being worshipped as a beautiful glamorous surgeon.

Pauline’s family find it difficult to cope with her strange behaviour. Her mother Phyllis (Traci Lords) feels the burden of trying to create a normal family environment is totally on her shoulders since her husband Bob (Roger Bart) has delegated all his responsibility to her. Phyllis has little patience with Pauline’s behaviour and in a desperate attempt to civilise her she signs her up for some ritual called cotillion which Pauline desperately wants to avoid. Pauline’s younger sister Grace (Ariel Winter) has cystic fibrosis, a genetic condition that damages the lungs and often leads to a shortened life expectancy. The fact that she is beautiful, sweet and loving makes the tragedy of her condition all the worse.

Pauline has absolutely no friends at school and her classmates treat her like a freak but she really seems to have little interest in them anyway. The teachers find her exasperating with her unpredictable disruptive behaviour. Her question in sex education class about the possibility of catching an STD from sex with a corpse is treated as a juvenile joke by the science teacher Mr Claybaugh (Matthew Gray Gubler) but after seeing her fantasies it’s clearly something she really wanted to know.

I don’t know if it was because of the sex education or not but Pauline decides to lose her virginity, something she confides in with Grace who really didn’t want to know and to a god she doesn’t believe in but she pre-emptively asks for forgiveness anyway. After overhearing two classmates Natalie (Molly McCook) and Abigail (Natalie Dreyfuss) joking about size of Natalie’s boyfriend’s penis Pauline approaches the boyfriend Adam (Jeremy Sumpter) and tells him she wants to lose her virginity to him. Adam is embarrassed because he is with his friends and feigns disinterest but he phones her later and Pauline arranges a time to meet. They go to a motel and Pauline takes charge. Pauline had madesure to time her sex to coincide with her period partly to make sure she doesn’t become pregnant but she then asks Adam to go down on her with very predictable results. When it’s over Pauline has no interest in Adam and he is physically repulsed by her.

The drama reaches a terrible but almost inevitable conclusion. Her disruptive behaviour and delusions are too much for the counselling efforts of the local minister Reverend William (John Waters) whose sessions have been reduced to him suffering a torrent of abuse from Pauline. When Pauline physically assaults Natalie as payback for a prank she gets expelled and Phyllis realises she needs professional help. At the same time Grace’s condition gets worse and her doctor puts her on the lung transplant list. There is no doubt Pauline loves Grace and her delusions lead her to implement a terrible plan. This is a disturbing film but it keeps most of the fantastic gore in the world of a highly stylized fantasy in Pauline’s head but Pauline tries bringing her fantasy into the real world and the results are not pretty.

I am not sure what I think of this film. The cast did a great job and I was certainly drawn into the story. There is a scene where Pauline overhears Phyllis breaking down and telling Bob that she can’t love her daughter and this just destroys Pauline. I was a bit distracted by some of the well-known faces such as Ray Wise as the headmaster and Malcolm MacDowell as the maths teacher, both playing exasperated authority figures. Some of the fantasy scenes seemed to deliberately trying for shock and while it will succeed with some people I found it a bit silly. Despite my misgivings I think it is worth a watch

Rating 7.0/10

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Posted by on January 29, 2013 in Entertainment, Film

 

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Review: Inbred

DVD Review

Inbred DVD 001This low-budget British bad taste gory exploitation horror has a nice streak of dark humour and is fully aware of how ridiculous and over-the-top it is. It is strongly influenced by a love of the gory backwoods American horror films like The Hills Have Eyes and Texas Chainsaw Massacre but mixed with the influence of the British comedy series League of Gentleman.

Four young offenders are taken to Mortlake, a remote village in North Yorkshire by two social workers Kate (Jo Hartley) and Jeff (James Doherty). Kate is fairly laid back and treats the teenagers like normal people but Jeff is one of those pushy idiots who create more problems than they solve with unworkable ideas of what is best for people. The young offenders are Dwight (Chris Waller) a knob-head who thinks he’s hard and is always acting up, Zeb (Terry Haywood) a weasely boy who is easily led into trouble, Tim (James Burrows) an arsonist who is the angry rebel type and finally Sam (Nadine Rose Mulkerrin) a withdrawn young woman. None of them are particularly pleasant people but then I suspect the film is not siding with them.

Jeff drives them though the town past the pub which is called The Dirty Hole and leads to several crude jokes. They arrive at a run-down farmhouse where they are supposed to be staying. Jeff confiscates all their mobile phones which is an idiotic thing to do but necessary to the story. They clean up the farmhouse then as a reward Kate and Jeff take them to the pub which is strange since none of them are 18 years old.

In the Dirty Hole the locals go quiet as they enter. These locals are all messed with crude variations on the inbred village idiot make-up with wild hair and teeth all sorts of messed-up. I would not be surprised if there a few familiar faces hiding in that make-up. The pub landlord Jim (Seamus O’Neill) clears a table for them and he looks normal compared the rest of the locals. Jeff goes to bar to see if they can order any food but Jim says all he has is homemade pork scratchings, a revolting English pub snack at the best of times but when the flavours come in hairy or smelly it’s a lot worse. Kate tries ordering cokes for everyone but all they get is homemade lemonade

Sam goes outside for a smoke and she attracts the attention of Gris (Neil Leiper), an over-excited local pervert with mange who tries to interest Sam in his carrot. Sam humours him but is feeling intimidated so she goes back into the pub. Gris follows her in but Jim throws him out and apologises to the group promising that Gris is harmless.

The next day they hike up to a salvage yard full of train carriages. As part of the community service sentence they have salvage anything valuable from the carriages so they split into two groups. Jeff takes Dwight and Zeb while Sam and Tim go with Kate. Dwight isn’t interested in salvage so he just sets about wrecking the train and Zeb copies him. Tim claims to know about trains and so he and Sam go into one to find copper while Kate waits outside.

Kate ends up wandering off thinking she hears noises. Tim and Sam spot a fire and go to investigate. They find a goat burning to death on a fire with another goat tied up beside it. Tim frees the other goat but it runs into the road where a truck runs it over, splattering it all over the road. Tim and Sam run back the salvage yard but the guys in the truck come after them. Kate sees them getting caught by Gris and his two pals and he’s getting suggestive with fruit and vegetables again.

Kate comes to the rescue with a spade that she smacks over Gris’s head then she holds him to the ground with the spade at his throat and makes his friends let Tim and Sam go. She only lets Gris up when Jeff arrives to find out what’s going on. Gris claims he was only mucking about and claims back the tools they were using to wreck the carriages. He leaves with his pals but after Dwight shouts insults at him he starts running back. Jeff chases him off with an iron bar.

Jeff ends up falling over on to a sharp piece of scrap metal that cuts into his thigh and must have severed the artery. Kate binds his leg with a belt and they get him into a wheelbarrow while Gris and his pals just laugh at them. They head into the village to try to get help but instead find themselves the main entertainment in a grisly show put on for the locals.

This film is just so over-the-top and relishes the bad taste gorefest of its plot. In some ways it reminds me of the exploitation of William Herschell Lewis’s 2000 Maniacs and that goes for the sick humour of the cannibalistic locals. Fans of British soap Emmerdale may be shocked to see Dominic Brunt (Paddy) playing the chainsaw wielding Podge who dances around with his chainsaw like Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The special effects look quite icky and re mixture of physical effects with computer enhancements and they are pretty well done. This film is certainly not for the squeamish it is recommended to fans of gory backwoods horror

Rating 6.0/10

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Posted by on January 20, 2013 in Entertainment, Film

 

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Review: Hostel Part III

This series of films has had very hard ride from mainstream critics and the first two films are often quoted as examples of torture porn. There is no denying that graphic torture scenes are portrayed in the films, performed by people who are paying for the perverse pleasure of hurting and killing people. But these people are the antagonists of the films and the films are not told from their perspective. This film actually has more of a story going on than in the earlier two and I think it makes it less cold and brutal than the previous films and bit more mainstream.

The action this time is in Las Vegas among the casinos and strip clubs and casinos that are also strip clubs. Scott (Brian Hallisay) is about to get married so his Best Man Carter (Kip Pardue) takes him for a stag weekend in Las Vegas were they meet up with two other friends Mike (Skyler Stone) and Justin (John Hensley). They start at a casino and meet two escorts Nikki (Zulay Henao) and Kendra (Sarah Habel) who tell them about a club off the strip. The four friends party with the two girls but when they wake up next day their friend Mike is missing.

Mike is the latest victim of the wealthy torture & murder perverts of the Elite Hunting Club. Since this is Las Vegas the torture is a brightly lit show with an audience who can bet of various things like what he’s going to say to beg for his life or what tool will be used to torture him. Other Vegas elements are also present such as the nearly naked waitresses serving drinks to the evil rich bastards.

After several hours Scott is really concerned about finding Mike so using the internet Justin traces the address of Nikki who he was last seen with. They break into her trailer but there’s no sign of them there. They get caught by Kendra and her large angry friend. Kendra says that Nikki is missing too so she goes with the three men thinking they will find Nikki and Mike together.

Kendra is the next victim on show and she has been forced into a cheesy cheerleader outfit. Her death by huge bugs reminds me more of the sort of deaths in the Dr Phibes films than Hostel. There’s the appearance of a sub-plot with a member of the club pursuing a petty emotional agenda that risks exposing the Club to the authorities. I just felt that the EHC had become joke version of what they had appeared to be in the previous films.

The film is well shot and was entertaining enough but it has lost some of the grungy sleazy edge that the first two films had. In those films I really winced during the torture scenes because of my empathy with the pain being experienced by the protagonists and I didn’t get that with this film.

Rating 6/10

 
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Posted by on January 31, 2012 in Entertainment, Film

 

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Review: Day of the Dead

The third film in George Romero‘s original dead trilogy is the only one I got to see in the cinema. It was not popular at the time but I really liked it from that first viewing.

A woman stands alone in an empty room with only one feature, a calender on the wall with most of the days of October crossed off. She approaches it and crosses of another day when arms burst through the wall to grab her and she suddenly wakes up. Sarah (Lori Cardille) is in a helicopter with soldier Miguel (Anthony Dileo Jr.), electronics expert Bill McDermott (Jarlath Conroy) and pilot John (Terry Alexander). They are flying around a city looking for any sign of living people amongst the hordes of walking dead. They don’t find any living people but they do find out that Miguel is cracking up with the stress.

They go back go the base, an underground government storage facility in a disused mine that has been adapted into lab to investigate the zombie problem and trying to find a cure or some other solution to the problem. Sarah is one of scientific team and they have small squad of soldiers to keep them secure. While they were gone the base commander Major Cooper was killed and now Captain Rhodes (Joseph Pilato) is in charge. Steel (Gary Howard Klar) and Rickles (Ralph Marrero) need Miguel’s help to get zombie specimens from the holding pen. Sarah tries to tell them that Miguel is too tired but they are short-staffed and he’s needed. She offers to help instead but Steel doesn’t want a woman involved. Sure enough when Miguel has a zombie held secure by a noose on a pole he drops the pole and the zombie almost manages to attack Rickles but Sarah steps in and grabs the pole. Steel grabs Miguel by the throat and holds him over the zombie pen threatening to kill him for his carelessness until Sarah uses her machine gun to make him stop.

Sarah takes Miguel back to their shared quarters (he is porking her and the other men hate him just for that). She sedates him then goes to talk with Fisher (John Amplas), another scientist, about what happened while they were gone. He is arguing with Rhodes about the poor conditions they have to work in. Rhodes argues back that his men take all the risks and there’s been no progress to show for it. He can see that the scientists need the military but he can’t see what the military need the scientists for.

In Logan’s (Richard Liberty) lab he has dead bodies everywhere. His research is gruesome and very wasteful. He has a zombie on a bench with most of the head removed and only a brain-stem left. Apparently a similar operation can pacify other zombies. Logan seem oblivious to how obscene it is and Sarah is even more upset to discover that the body is Major Cooper’s.

Rhodes has called a meeting of everyone so he can shout them all at once and show them how Captain Stick-up-the-arse is going to run things. Bill reports that he can’t find anyone on the radio which might mean there’s no-one else out there, at least not in range, or that their radio equipment is knackered. Logan hasn’t appeared so Rhodes abuses Sarah about his absence and the lack progress. He raises the subject of Miguel and how their relationship is threat to discipline. When he threatens to have Miguel removed out of the way so they can all ‘get a go’ Sarah had enough and starts to leave. Rhodes orders her to sit back down or he’ll have her shot.

There are some who argue that Rhodes was not really the villain of the film but this point is clearly where he does become the villain with his implied rape threat against Sarah to try to intimidate her. Since Sarah has still not sat down he then orders Steel to shoot her. Steel thinks this a joke and makes a gun with his finger makes a shooting noise. Rhodes flips out and pulls his gun on Steel and orders him again to shoot Sarah. John, Bill and Fisher beg Sarah to sit down and she does, to Steel’s relief.

Rhodes launches into a “why you all suck” speech, talks about packing up the whole operation and that’s when Logan appears apologising for being late and looking for food. Logan bluntly points out there is nowhere else to go so there nothing else to do but keep looking for an answer. He’s quick to rubbish Sarah’s search for cure and boasts of the progress he’s made and has bold predictions of how long it will take him. Sarah interrupts, clearly remembering the charnel house lab and Major Cooper’s body, she says its hard to say how long results will take. Rhodes agrees to give it more time but he threatens them all that he will execute anyone who challenges his command. The meeting breaks up and John warns Sarah to be careful, that Rhodes is seriously dangerous, especially to her and Fisher.

Later Logan shows Sarah and Fisher his progress with Bub (Sherman Howard), his prize specimen, demonstrating that the zombies still retain some memory of their old lives by giving a razor, a brush and a book. Fisher remains unimpressed but Sarah notices how calm Bub is around Logan. Rhodes appears with Steel and Logan continues the demonstration for his benefit. He gives Bub a telephone a prompts him to say “hello Aunt Alicia”. Bub makes a mumbling attempt to speak then he sees Rhodes and salutes him and this only succeeds in freaking out Rhodes. Oblivious, Logan caries on with the demonstration by giving Bub an empty gun. Bub demonstrates how much he knows about guns by pointing it at Rhodes and pulling the trigger. Logan has  to jump in front of Rhodes’ gun to stop him from shooting Bub. The demonstration has only confirmed to Rhodes his view that they are just wasting their time.

The soldiers are catching another two zombies and Miguel screws it up again, one zombie bites a soldier in the neck  and his gun goes off and kills a second soldier. The other zombie gets free and bites a chunk out of Miguel’s arm and Miguel runs off. The soldier that was bitten begs Steel to kill him and he does then goes off after Miguel to do the same to him. Sarah has caught Miguel at Bill and Jon’s quarters. She quickly amputates the arm above where he was bitten. The soldiers arrive and there is stand-off with John and Bill armed and ready to defend Miguel. Rhodes backs down since he doesn’t care about Miguel if they want to keep him but it is clear that battle-lines have been drawn.

Bill and Sarah return to the lab to get morphine for Miguel. There they find tape-recorded notes that record Logan’s descent into madness. They also see the animated head one of the recently dead soldiers. Logan is training Bub to operate a tape recorder and they see him rewarding Bub with something for doing well. Zombies only eat one thing – human flesh. Sure enough in the freezer is a headless corpse of a recently dead soldier that Logan has been using to reward his specimens. Rhodes and his men come in and see all this and Rhodes shoots Logan several times, killing him. They disarm Bill and Sarah and with Fisher force them to John and Bill’s quarters. Rhodes threatens to kill them if John does not agree to fly him and his men out of there. He shoots Fisher dead to prove he’s serious then gets his men throw Sarah and Bill into the Zombie pen. Having thrown away all his bargaining chips Rhodes still can’t get John to agree to fly them so gets Rickles and Steel to beat him.

While all this was going on Miguel has gone totally crazy. He takes the elevator up to ground level then opens the gates of the compound and lies down on the elevator while zombies rip him apart and he operates the control to take the elevator back down. This crazy behaviour is just what the film needed to bring about a climax of zombies over-running the compound. The sirens that went off when the elevator is operated had interrupted John’s beating as Rickles and Steel leave to investigate. John easily overcomes Rhodes and Torrez and takes their guns. Then he jumps into the zombie pen to rescue Bill and Sarah.

The zombies run amok around the compound and Rhodes flees and abandons his men. They get taken down by zombies one at time. In the lab area Rhodes gets chased by an armed Bub who shoots him and then as he falls into the hands of a mob of zombies Bub salutes him and leaves.

The film ends with Sarah, Bill and John flying away and relaxing on a beach of an isolated island. It is a low key ending but it fits.

I think the acting is really great but the best has to be Sherman Howard’s Bub. The scene where he’s trying to talk into a telephone seemed quite startling because I had totally bought in to Romero’s reality, where zombies don’t talk. The climax did seem a little bit forced with Miguel’s mad turn and Rhodes’ sudden yellow streak coming more from story demand rather that character developments

Rating  8/10

 
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Posted by on October 4, 2011 in Film

 

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Film Review: Slices of Life

 Or 3 Slices of Life as the film seems be called in the credits is a low-budget anthology film featuring amateur actors and lots of gore. There is also nudity too.

Synopsis: there are four stories here including the wraparound story
Sketchers – A young woman wakes up on the lawn of motel with no memory of who she is. She is told  that she works at the motel and is put back to work by the constantly inebriated owner. While there she here’s voices telling to open one of three flesh-bound books of sketches. As she reads each the film fades into to tell the story. As each story ends she find that they are describing real events
W.O.R.M – a lonely nerd working in the basement of a large marketing company thinks he has found a solution to getting people to like him but his plan goes very wrong.
Amber Alert – A pregnant woman finds herself haunted by visions young girls who have gone missing in her neighbourhood.
Pink Snapper – A brother and sister go on the run to escape a sexually abusive uncle. They find an unconscious man on the road by a large house. After taking him to the hospital they return to house and find his daughter locked up in the basement.

The amateur acting film is definitely going to be a major turn-off for most people especially in the wraparound story but I kept watching and I have to say that the stories and the special effects really made it worth the effort. This film reminds of the type of films Frank Henenlotter makes, cheap and cheesy exploitation films with gore by the bucket. If you like films like Frankenhooker or Bad Biology then you may also like this.

Rating  6/10

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B004QSQMKY

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1584730/

 
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Posted by on June 26, 2011 in Entertainment, Film

 

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Film Review: Hatchet II

Synopsis: Spoiler Alert – any discussion of this film’s story cannot avoid a major spoiler of the first movie so if you haven’t seen it and don’t want the plot spoiled then go see it first.
Now that they’re gone let’s be frank, this film gleefully follows the formula of the slasher film so closely that it’s hardly much of a surprise that there is only one survivor from the boat trip in the Louisiana swamps in the first film and this last girl standing, Marybeth (Danielle Harris) is out for revenge on Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder) – the vengeful ghostly deformed mutant from the first film. She enlists the help of Reverend Zombie (Tony Todd ) who assembles a team of victims a group of hunters to go back into the swamp to kill Victor Crowley.

In a gory slasher film the plot is just an excuse to set-up a series of grisly physical effects death scenes. This film does it with such a deliberate knowingness that it teeters on the edge between pastiche and parody (and crosses right into parody in a scene involving an unfeasibly long chainsaw). Each pair of characters get their bit of a set-up before being slaughtered in some bloody gruesome way.

There is a lot of humour in this film and that really is what carries it through. Kane Hodder does his job well but it’s Tony Todd who really stands out here as a great big ham. I enjoyed the ride even if there was little in the way of scares, just gore and gore and more gore and of course a few gratuitous naked titties.  I just wish the market for naked dick shots was a strong as the one for naked titties.

Rating comedy horror  7/10

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0051ZH40S

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1270835/

 
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Posted by on June 19, 2011 in Entertainment, Film

 

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