SUPER is another one of those "Hey, wouldn't it be cool if some real person in the real world became a real super hero?" kind of super hero movies. There are a few of these movies floating around like KICK-ASS and THE DEFENDER. I have only seen KICK-ASS and so far these kinds of movies have been terrific. I haven't seen THE DEFENDER but I hear good things. At least that is what the Internet has been telling me and you can always believe the Internet.
Rainn Wilson is an average Joe whose wife leaves him to be with some rich sleazy (but extremely likable) drug dealer played by Kevin Bacon. I just want to go on record here as to say that this is Kevin Bacon's best role ever in the whole wide world. He is the main bad guy in this film but he is so friendly in a weird sincere kind of way. He is bad but nice sort of. He is rather unique for a villain. He actually makes Super look more bad than he is. At least Kevin Bacon doesn't club people who butt in line to the movies with a monkey wrench. Rainn refuses to believe that his wife, Liv Tyler left him to go back to her drugged out days. To save her he becomes The Crimson Bolt.
Its interesting because he believes he is getting messages from God to become The Crimson Bolt and to tell crime to "Shut up". There is a really bizarre scene involving a "vision" where tentacles slither from the walls of his room and wrap around his body and cut the top of his skull off revealing his skull. Then the finger of God comes down from heaven and touches his gross exposed brain and implants the idea to become a super hero. This a weird scene indeed and it almost doesn't fit most of the tone of this film even though there is a great deal of violence and gore. I think its a tremendous moment in the film because there is an insinuation that maybe these visions are not from God but from his possibly unbalanced mind. The tentacles coming from the walls could have come from his memory after briefly watching a cartoon of a naked woman being groped by tentacles. The cartoon is called a hentai (I think) AKA porn for the nerd-os who are easily intimidated by real living breathing women.
I'll be honest. I wasn't sure what to expect from this movie. Most likely this was going to be a mean spirited black comedy with a lot of gross out humor and a bleak depressing ending. The beginning credits all the characters in the film are cartoons dancing a musical number. At the end of the dance number they are all catching their breath from doing the long routine just like real dancers doing a real dance number. Its funny because cartoons don't breathe. What a great little detail to add to the end. This let me know that SUPER was going to be more fun than mean. It also meant that SUPER was going to be a smart movie too.
I learned something very interesting about myself after watching SUPER. I have a super hero costume fetish. I always enjoyed Ellen Page. She is a smart and talented woman but I never found her sexually all that attractive. After seeing her in her green and yellow Boltie outfit I got to admit that she is hot. But then again if you put a teddy bear in a super hero costume I would probably "bang" the fluff out of it too. So I am not sure if it's her or the costume. These posts are getting weirder and weirder.
So in conclusion SUPER is not only excellent but one of the best movies this year. I liked it just as much as KICK-ASS. Both blew me away but in different ways. KICK-ASS had great characters and action. SUPER has the same with a smaller budget but with a genuine sincerity to it. The film is more truthful with the consequences of becoming a fighter of crime. People get hurt and people die but a good amount of good can come from going out and making a difference too. That is a nice message and I like nice messages. I think the less you know about this film the bigger the surprise is as to how good it is. See it for yourselves, folks. I can't make you go and see it. At least not until the DEATH-O Ray I have been working on in the garage is complete.
How? That is all I am asking. How is it that you can make CIGARETTE BURNS which is one of the greatest horror movies ever made and then go on and make this unwanted abortion? Yeah, I know I went for the most obvious insult when describing a film that has abortion stuff in it. So what? I'm not a real writer, folks. Who said I was clever? I can barely put my pants on in the morning.
PRO-LIFE is Carpenter's second mini feature in the somewhat just okay horror anthology series MASTERS OF HORROR. Judging by the episode I saw I would have to say the answer to my question is laziness. I know these guys have short deadlines and it probably takes a long time to make practical monster effects but still it makes you wonder when you compare the quality of the two JC episodes. CIGARETTE BURNS looks like it was directed by the master himself John Carpenter. PRO-LIFE looks as if the immature, ruins everything hack Uwe Boll machine gunned his way on set with many casualties and forced everyone to make a horrible episode and put JC's name on it. There is a stark contrast is all I am saying.
The movie starts off with a young girl seeking refuge in an abortion clinic (In the middle of nowhere? Really?) from her overly religious father. She wants an abortion because she knows she has a lobster growing inside her. She says that God wants her to have the abortion and the doctors are all like "okay, freak" but they don't say that out loud because that would be rude. Ron Pearlman is the dad and he is one of only two good things about this movie. He believes the voice of God is talking to him. This propels him to go all out to "protect the baby". With his three sons they storm the abortion clinic trying to save his daughter from getting the abortion. The story is a neat concept but the execution is lazy. It is like Carpenter got too use to sitting in chairs on the sets of the remakes of his work just to "extend his hand to accept check". Where is the passion?
The look of the film is flat. Yes, it is a t.v. show but these are not the usual kind of episodes you see on your magical moving picture box. These are mini movies by the horror greats. Their style and unique approach to horror is suppose to be showcased in every episode. Watching CIGARETTE BURNS I could tell that Carpenter directed it. It has that "Carpenter-esque" feel to it. Its hard to explain. Most of you know what I am saying. Either you love film or you like the TRANSFORMERS movies, is all I am saying. There really isn't much to look at in PRO-LIFE. The sets are hallways, waiting rooms, a parking lot, offices and surgical rooms. Its not that inspiring. How would you like to watch a horror movie about waiting in an abortion clinic?
The acting overall is weak sauce. Yes, the two leads are good, Pearlman is excellent, but I get that "Here comes the local community actors" vibe from everyone else. I don't think Carpenter spent too much time with the secondary characters especially the angry dad character. He is an angry dad so he is angry all the time. He is just a stereotype. He is not a real person. He, his daughter and wife along with the clinic patrons and Pearlman's sons drown out all the good actors. Most of them have no purpose. Almost all of their deaths are off screen. In fact I am not sure if some of them even died. Did the mother and daughter die outside trying to escape? Did the two women in the surgery room die after the demon arose from the floor? There is also this weird screen misdirection at one point where the first son is shot in the neck by the head doctor. Pearlman's son is dying. He is not dead but instead of trying to save his son's life he just holds him and kisses him as if he were dead while blood gushes (very fakey like I might add) from his wounded neck. GET THE KID A FREAKIN BAND-AIDE FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! It's a weird moment.
Speaking of weird. How embarrassingly bad is it to see Ron Pearlman with a doctor's leg over his shoulder as if he were banging the doctor missionary style over a desk? The doctor is a dude by the way. Why did they think that this would be a good scene? PRO-LIFE tries to up the ante with the gore and unpleasantness by having the doctor's crotch cut open and a vacuum shoved up his taint to suck out his insides as if he were being aborted. This scene along with the gorier moments like the burning afterbirth and head blastings all feel forced on the audience. None of it feels like it is produced naturally from the development of the story. Here is a bunch of gore and gross stuff because this is a horror movie and horror movies have gore and gross stuff in them.
The ending is over way too quick. The scene where Pearlman comes face to face with the demon should have been a memorable and deeply traumatic scene. After murdering all those people it is revealed that the voice he was following was not from God but from a demon. Pearlman looks sad for a moment and then the demon approaches and then the scene cuts away leaving the audience to assume that Pearlman was killed. We don't even get to see Pearlman die! This is the most important scene in the film and it is barely leaves an impression. More time should have been spent building up to this moment. Pearlman's reaction should have been more towards extreme despair like Luke Skywalker in EMPIRE STRIKES BACK when he learns that Vader is his father. I will say that the second thing I like about PRO-LIFE is the demon itself. What a great creature design. Its big and it looks real. The baby looked like crap. It's crab legs with a doll's head on it. Big whoop. All it did was make me not want to eat at Long John Silvers anymore.
PRO-LIFE tries to teach us that those who kill in the name of God are doing the devil's work. It's a great message but none will hear it because they are distracted by the lazy special effects, the lazy dialogue, the lazy cinematography and the lazy direction that permeates the entire run time of this movie. Where is the haunting or at least entertaining John Carpenter musical score? PRO-LIFE doesn't feel like a Carpenter film and that is why I don't like it. All the elements are gone even when they are there. I guess the concept for PRO-LIFE was ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 meets THE THING but it barely comes across like that. Everyone seems to hate on GHOSTS OF MARS but to me that is one of his good ones. The reason being is that you can clearly tell that it was directed by John Carpenter himself. It has the Carpenter score. It has the Carpenter cinematography. It has memorable characters played by great and greatly underrated actors. Despite it's flaws it is still good because of his style. PRO-LIFE is BODY BAGS terrible. That's right. I just compared it to BODY BAGS. Now what the flip was the deal with that movie!?! I guess they all can't be good. Maybe like all of his films I just need some time to appreciate PRO-LIFE. Maybe in twenty years I will join the ranks of all those critics that crapped all over Carpenter's early work back in the olden days only to later hail it all as classic. Of course probably in twenty years I will be dead. That's a weird thing to think about.
I will give you one guess as to what two movies this movie is not spoofing. Seriously why would you call this movie SATURDAY THE 14TH STRIKES BACK when it has nothing to do with FRIDAY THE 13TH or THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK? I like how the poster says "WARNING: THIS MOVIE STARTS WHERE THE OTHERS CHICKEN OUT" That's cute since this movie DOESN'T EVEN START WHERE THE FIRST ONE ENDED! It is also extremely disingenuis since this comedy is about as scary as an episode of PEE-WEE'S PLAYHOUSE. In fact this entire movie looks like an episode of PEE-WEE'S PLAYHOUSE. Nice poster too, Morons. Next time I produce a film I will insist that the poster is drawn and colored with crayons by a ten year old.
SATURDAY THE 14TH (sigh) STRIKES BACK is about a boy about to turn 16 and happens to be the Prince of Darkness or something. Apparently the devil chose this kid to take his place when the kid turned 16. The kid doesn't want to be evil though. He is a good kid and doesn't want to destroy the world. Man is this stupid. What a completely uninteresting story. There is this crack in the basement of the kid's house where evil monsters magically appear from. They don't really kill anybody like the kids annoying relatives. The monsters just hang around and do stupid stuff. For instance the boy has a fat uncle played by the fat principle from BILLY MADISON who ends up magically having a submarine in his stomach. The running gag is that he keeps making submarine sounds from his mouth as if there really is a submarine in his stomach which there is. Folks, just trust me. I am not making any of this up. This is the humor we have to deal with. This vampire chick shows up first in the boy's room and breaks out into a song about not liking to drink blood and wants to be good so she won't be a vampire anymore. I didn't know this was going to be a musical and neither does this movie because this movie only has one other song number. Obviously when they were filming this movie there was a script change because all of the sudden the vampire chick is evil and wants the boy to take the devil's throne. The whole movie is a mess. By the way, the second song number involves the main character running through a miniature golf course being chased by monsters. Bravo.....
MY FAVORITE MARTIAN is in this movie too. I don't know why. He could do so much better. I guess everyone needs to work every now and again. He is the boy's grandpa but not really. He is a wizard that helps the kid make the right decisions. Ugh! It is so painful to write this crap. It's so stupid. Why would the devil choose some nice kid to be his heir. Why not some kid who puts cats in microwaves and thinks THE MISFITS play better songs than JEM? Wouldn't that make more since than some boy scout.
Every attempt at humor is an embarrasing failure. Why does the mom serve meals that are nothing but junk food? Is that suppose to be funny? WTF!?! While watching this movie I felt embarrassed for everyone that was in this movie. Remember in BILLY MADISON when Billy breaks out into song from out of nowhere. The film suddenly becomes embarrassing to watch especially when you are watching it with your friends? For a moment everything becomes really awkward and uncomfortable and you immediately disown the film for a brief time as to not let your friends think you were uncool. That uncomfortable feeling is what you experience the whole time you watch SATURDAY THE 14TH (sigh) STRIKES BACK. Avoid it as if your life depended on it. Were they trying to make a children's film? There is so much of this movie I just don't get. How can the guys that made this film not know what a spoof is? Thanks for the pain, idiots.
Oh, childhood memories you have let me down yet again. I remember SATURDAY THE 14TH being a funny, imaginative, scary movie that was high on creepy atmosphere and laughs. But back then I was five and stupid. Now that I am old and narcissistic I can clearly see what a boring, incredibly naive piece of schlock this movie is. Its so tongue-in-cheek that the tongue has pressed through the cheek creating a large amount of trauma and blood loss and there are all these people standing around shocked into petrification that nobody can help but watch the ugly mess unfold before their very eyes until the damnable thing dies. In other words this movie is grossly bad. I can't even give it a pass for nostalgic reasons.
The movie crashes and burns almost instantly as the credits pop up over a freeze framed haunted house and each name is introduced with some poorly animated animal like a snake or bat crawling or flying on the screen like this was some kind of kids movie. The animation is bad, folks. Like they didn't have time to finish it but they went with it anyways because it was the early 80's and no one thought that they would invent the Internet so some guy with too much time on his hands could write a blog post to point it out. After the credits roll we are "treated" to scene after scene of painfully bad humor involving monsters running around in a house trying to get a book that has powers and the newly moved in family doesn't seem to notice except the boy of course. There are two draculas also trying to get the book. I really have no idea what is going on in this movie. Nothing makes sense. There are too many holes to count. Nothing visually leaves an impact on your memories. Its a forgettable mess of boredom.
SATURDAY THE 14TH has an innocent quality to it. It is as if who ever wrote LEAVE IT TO BEAVER or HAPPY DAYS wrote this movie. Look at the title. Doesn't the title imply that this would be a spoof of at the time modern slasher flicks like FRIDAY THE 13TH? But there is no spoof to be found. If you think about it this movie isn't a spoof at all. It is just a really bad comedy that has monsters and draculas in it. Did an 8 year old write this? Wouldn't it be funny if a shark monster tried to grab this girl at night but when she enters her room it is too foggy (for some reason) for the monster or the girl to see each other so the two walk around in circles just missing each other barely. That is what happens, folks. I kid you not. You can see the immaturity or naivety of the makers who made SATURDAY. I don't see how a script this pointless or unfunny could have been given the greenlight.
I guess if you look closely at the cover that the dracula on the cover is really just a really green dracula and not a dracula creature from the black lagoon. But come on, folks. At first glance that is what it exactly looks like. I wish this movie was good. I can't believe I actually remembered this movie from my childhood because I just watched the damn thing on DVD and I don't remember much at all. Heaven help me, there is a sequel and I have seen it.
WHOA, title! Calm down. You don't have to be so serious. Can't some of those guys on the cover there live? Heck, one of them commited suicide in real life. Can't you give that guy a break? What? No answer? You truely are a cold and cruel title. Damn you, title. Damn you to hell! That is an awesome title though. I would argue that it's the greatest title ever. Have you ever heard of a better title for a film?
So KILL THEM ALL AND COME BACK ALONE is about Mac Kay (played by the Rifle Man himself, Chuck Connors. I'm going to call him Chucky from now on because I am an A-hole) who recruits a bunch of hooligans who specialize in being bad and getting themselves into (and out of) crazy situations that involve a lot of jumping, punching, shooting, exploding and other volatile shenanigans. This is a "men on a mission" movie. Their mission is to steal a bunch of gold from a Union army fort for the confederates. Chucky is given specific orders by Lynch (played by the great Frank Wolff) to kill his crew of cutthroats before returning from the mission.
The movie as a whole is pretty good. Its not great though. Despite how serious the tone of the title is this movie is a little more fun in nature but not too much. There is a lot of action but it does get a little too repetitive especially when they use the same shots but from different angles. Too many times you see the same guy fly into the air or twist and spin dead. There is a lot of brawling in this movie too and those get to be a bore. What makes this movie stand out however is the gun fights. They are large with many extras dieing in over the tops ways. Enzo G. Castellari directed this sucker. He is the guy who directed the original INGLORIOUS BASTARDS. He is a little more of a creative director when it comes to action. I kind of think of him as the Italian John Woo with many stunts and explosions in his shootouts.
I think the only real disappointment I have with this film (besides the fact that there is a (sigh) acrobat in this movie) is the fact that ol' Chucky Connors doesn't try to kill his own men. Even though he himself doesn't mind killing for the sake of gold Chucky has a slight honourable streak to him. The second he gets the gold secure he leaves his men behind instead of killing them. This leads to them all including Chucky being captured and discovering that Frank Wolff was going to steal all the gold for himself. Instead of Chucky having to kill them all most of men die escaping the federal prison and the rest by each other. I would have liked to have seen a movie where Chucky did kill them all and actually come back alone. Its not like any of them are good guys. It would have made for a slightly more darker film.
If you like Italian Westerns and are looking for something with a lot of action and not much story then I highly recommend this one. Its not great like INGLORIOUS BASTARDS but its kind of close. Its cool to see Chucky Connors in a lead role again.