Monday, March 21, 2011
MARTYRS is a cold, cruel, stale piece of film making. To be fair it is well acted and it is shot well enough if nothing special. The special effects are great and very effective. It will disturb you. On a technical level the film is just fine. My major complaint stems from how unoriginal the film is. There really isn't much of a story here is there? Think about it. Is there really a plot to this film? If so, what is it?
In a nutshell MARTYRS tells the story of a young girl (Lucie) who escapes a crazy family that was torturing her. She grows up in an orphanage and makes friends with another girl (Anna) who I guess is in love with her. To be honest both these girls look exactly the same to me. Just look at the picture above. After recognizing the crazy family that tortured her in the newspaper, Lucie shows up to their house and shotguns the whole family kids and all. Anna shows up after and is appalled by what her friend has done. Then the middle of the movie is about finding excuses to linger around the house until Lucie kills herself leaving Anna alone to discover a hidden torture chamber. Suddenly these weird religious people show up who I guess never knew that there was such a thing as the New Testament in the Bible. The reason why I say that is because they capture Anna and lock her down in the basement where they spend the rest of the movie torturing her to the point where they skin her alive. Why? Because she is the martyr to pay for all their sins so they can get into heaven. I think that was what was going on. I'm not sure because after they show poor Anna without any skin and still alive I fainted. That's right I'm a wuss. In my defense though I would like to point out that I hadn't eaten for twenty four hours and that has a tendency to happen to me when I don't eat.
See? There is no plot. There is only a series of events to make an excuse to show some poor girl skinned alive. The whole thing is padding. When the movie gets too boring someone (usually Lucie) starts to bleed to keep us interested as if all we want to see is blood. After the family is gunned down Anna discovers that the mom is still alive. She tries to help the mom escape. So you have this long segment of the two trying to walk down the hallway as slowly as possible and of course Lucie shows up and kills the mom. I have noticed that this kind of segment happens in a lot of horror movies that are fixated in one place. In HUMAN CENTIPEDE the escaping girl goes back and tries to drag her friend out of the house to only get caught again. In THE STRANGERS Liv Tyler hurts her leg so she has to crawl around the front yard so the movie can go on longer than it needs to. These movies would be over in five minutes if people had working legs and the smarts to just walk away.
I think its unfair to call movies like HOSTEL and the SAW franchise torture porn. They do focus on torture as the main attraction to their horror. But those films have style, originality (sort of) and stories with plots about escaping and discovering that stupid twist ending crap that keeps happening and never ends even though they say its the last one. They made SCREAM 4 who is to say they won't make SAW 8? My point is that there is more going on with those films whether you like them or not. I happen to really like the first SAW and the second HOSTEL big time. MARTYRS simply tries to out do HOSTEL in the "disturbing department". HOSTEL did the "cutting the eye off with scissors" gag. MARTYRS did the "skinning a girl alive" gag. Also I don't hear anyone talking about how this film blatantly steals from THE GRUDGE. Yea, Lucie is kind of screwed up on account of her childhood torture. She sees this demon lady that keeps attacking her throughout the film. At first you might think that MARTYRS is kind of a supernatural ghost story. The problem is that we have seen too many movies and we know already that the creature is just in her mind. Twist fail. The way the creature crawls and slides into view in that weird disjointed way is so THE GRUDGE or THE RING. Gorewise, MARTYRS isn't anything you haven't seen before. Think HELLRAISER minus the awesome Cenobites.
MARTYRS is the best example of the term "torture porn". The last few minutes of the film is nothing more than some poor girl chained to a chair or wall getting beat up. She can't escape she just gets tortured. That's all. There is little difference to this film and junk like FACES OF DEATH. (yes, I know its fake) Does anyone know how easy it is to make a movie like this? Watch some random horror movie and then take the most extreme aspect of the film and make a whole movie around that. How about having a girl get autopsied for two hours while she is still alive? Yea, that's horror! The first hour this crazy doctor cuts open her stomach and chest but keeps her alive to feel everything and then the last hour he starts cutting on her face. Yea, that's hardcore! And you know what? The gore hounds would probably hail it as a triumph in thoughtful, disturbing extreme cinema. They will strive to find a deeper meaning to all that they have witnessed deeming it a metaphor on sexual repression to impress their college professors.
To me MARTYRS represents what is wrong with most modern horror movies. It revels in its cruelty as a way to be noticed. Its not fun to watch. It fails in the scare department. There is not one moment of levity in the entire running time. Its bleak, bland and really boring. Its way overrated to say the least. Yes, it is disturbing but there is more to this genre than being extreme. Its just one long suicidal thought. You know somebody saw this movie and said "Hey, I can make a horror movie way more extreme than MARTYRS! I think I will call it A SERBIAN FILM!"...................sigh.
Sunday, March 13, 2011
THE LAST LOVECRAFT is about three nerds who save the world from sea monsters. Just because you never heard of it doesn't make it a bad movie. This movie is really quite good. Its a small film with limited locations but the overall look of the picture seems bigger. There are a couple of places near the beginning that kind of give you that "I'm watching RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK" feeling. But in a good way and not "you ripped this off" way. The movie mixes horror and humor perfectly together to form a new word called "horrumor". Lets pretend I didn't just write that and move on. I'm just saying that when it wants to be funny its funny (most of the time) and the horror element works too but doesn't take itself too seriously.
So a cult of fish faced people find part of a key that can open up a city under the ocean that contains Cthulhu who is a giant alien like I said before. The movie explains the back story in comic book form which I thought was pretty cool. The back story goes like this. Cthulhu came down from space millions of years ago during the time of the dinosaurs. He wanted to make himself god over the earth. Sadly, there was already another alien race of googly eyed slugs that were here first. War broke out and eventually a giant asteroid came down and wiped out all the dinosaurs and forced Cthulhu back down into his underwater city. The slug aliens hid out in the mountains now called THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS. Cthulhu now waits for his followers to reunite two parts of a key that can release him from his underwater city. A secret society that wants to protect the earth from Cthulhu has one part of the key which they give to one of the nerds because he is the last Lovecraft and only he is immune to the sea monsters' powers. I don't know about you but the whole damn thing sounds like Scientology to me.
Now I am not a nerd. I am too busy snorting chicks and "banging" large piles of cocaine to get into all this Star-Wars-Lovecraft-Lord-of-the-Rings-Lazer-Tag talk. I don't even know what "blogging" is. But if you asked me, I think that this movie does the whole Lovecraft myths justice. The horrors of the deep coming into our world are well displayed with extremely impressive practical make-up and creature effects. The monsters aren't all computer generated. They are realistic and kind of scary. Cthulhu has a General who is after our heroes. He is kind of a red-fish-faced-with-tentacles-Darth-Vader type. He is a badass and for some reason he struts around in a t-shirt that features a drawing of a unicorn sporting two machine guns and looking at you like you better give a F@$K. For some reason that just cracked me up. Maybe you won't find that as funny as I did but then again I am stupid. The special effects are great with some CGI here and there and big time at the finale but its not too bad.
The only thing I feel like complaining about is how short the movie is. It kind of ends rather quickly with very little build up. There should have been more back story to our heroes just to see more of their antics and to pad out the time. The movie does jump right into the action rather quickly. Maybe the movie is just the right length but I was just too enthralled with all the excitement that I lost track of time. I think that's a good sign the movie was good, don't you? I do like how they jettison the whole love interest subplot which most movies like this always have. Its too cliche and obvious. Kudos to them for leaving it out. Honorable mention goes to the sea captain in the desert and his first mate Gary. Those are two funny people. Watch the movie to find out why.
If you love the literary works of H.P. Lovecraft then you should love this movie even more than I did. Stop doing the whole L.A.R.P.ing thing and go out and buy this movie. It needs a sequel. As an added bonus this will give the studios the balls to green light Guillermo Del Toro's MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS movie or whatever it was he was working on. You demand it. I demand it. The big green tentacle face jerkola at the bottom of the ocean demands it as well. Go forth and buy this movie. And while you are out there try not to get fish raped. It sounds like an awful experience....Unless you are into that kind of thing......Perv.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
ALIEN VS. NINJA is exactly what the title says only to be accurate it should say ALIENS VS. NINJAS VS. ZOMBIES CONTROLLED BY SEA MONKEYS. I swear this is the first movie ever that you see actual sea monkeys. Those little guys are bastards. There are these ninjas who are sent out to investigate a crashed meteor and low and behold we spend the rest of the movie fighting aliens. Its pretty cool overall. The fights are mostly impressive if a bit over the top. Plus as an added bonus there is some ALIEN VS NINJA SEXUAL INNUENDO. Lets not go there shall we?
The beginning of the movie has a shot of a tall palace and these cartoon ninjas start jumping out of it. At first I thought this was just a production company banner appearing to let us know which company financed the film, but no, this is the actual movie. So it starts off immediately on the wrong foot. Soon after that all these ninjas are fighting our hero ninja and he kicks all their butts in awesome C.G.I. badassness. Yea, there is a lot of C.G.I. in this film and it is of the SYFY original movie quality. The movie itself looks a bit flat almost like it was shot on home video only in digital. You kind of get this feeling like you are watching a bloody version of POWER RANGERS. When they don't look like sea monkeys the aliens are of the fake rubbery-man-in-a-costume variety. They look like they should be duking it out with Godzilla in a burned down city made of cardboard. I don't like their design. They need to be big kick-ass scary, not a bunch of Pokemons.
There really isn't much to say about this one. It was a fun watch. It's not as great as the Internet led me to believe but I am proud to add this to my blu-ray collection. You will see a lot of crap you haven't seen before mixed in with a lot of crap you have seen before but overall it will be an enjoyable experience.
Oh, yea before I go. If you are making a movie and at the end you have a final battle with some kind of pop song sung in Japanese playing over the action, please don't have the subtitles translate the song. Its very distracting and really weird. I missed most of the end fight because I was reading the song subtitles and wondering why all these Japanese songs mention flower petals and wind. I don't need every single thing translated, thank you. I may have a blog but I am not that big of a nerd.