Thursday, October 27, 2011


HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES is a dark but extremely colorful mental disorder of a horror film and I mean that as a sincere complement.  It's filmed like a really long Rob Zombie music video which makes sense since he filmed the dang thing.  While it is one of the first of the new wave of TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE homages it at least separates itself from the pack with Zombie's unique imagination and over the top characters and incredibly profane Kentucky fried dialogue.  Best of all this is Zombie's only work (as of now) that doesn't contradict itself.  What do I mean by that?  Well all I can say is wait until my review of DEVIL'S REJECTS.  Right now I want to be positive and heap a bunch of praise on this underrated classic.

HOUSE OF A 1000 CORPSES is about four young adults who while researching roadside attractions across America become victims of a family of crazies out in the country side on Halloween.  Immediately the film opens with a t.v. show monster movie marathon hosted by Dr. Wolfenstein.  As the movie goes on clips from several classic horror films cut into the movie adding a sense of horror culture that is lacking in almost all horror films nowadays.  I love classic horror and mixing it with the modern even though the setting takes place in the 70s is brilliant.  The old Universal films that mostly are played during October have become a tradition of American Halloween.  Those films bring up memories of past childhood Halloweens and HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES gets that.

The cast is top notch with veteran actors like Sid Haig, Karen Black, and Bill Mosely providing crazy whacked out performances.  I have no idea what Bill is saying in this movie.  All I know is that he scares the crap out of me in this.  In real life he is a real cool guy and he signed both my DVDs of HOUSE and DEVIL'S.  Same thing with Sid Haig and his Captain Spaulding character.  He is one intense clown.  Spaulding is the kind of character that you kind of want to stay on his good side.  The acting is perfect across the board.  No complaints there.

This is a much darker film.  It is WAAAAY(!) darker than the happy sunny good times hairy balls rockin n roll DEVIL'S REJECTS.  There is a good amount of humor here but all of it has a sinister edge to it.  Its not meant to be laugh out loud hilarious.  Its there to keep the film from being a constant downer.  Most horror makers keep the humor out because they believe that makes their films more "extreme".  They don't realize that the tone of a story needs to go up and down and not just down where it becomes boring and bleak.  HOUSE  has those elements of torture porn and seventies style heroics where the people who come and save the day end up dead leaving no hope for the survivors which is all we have seen before.  But then the movie gets a little more darker with the introduction of the Professor an axe wielding maniac and Dr. Satan who looks like a de-feathered vulture with a breathing mask.  This film has monsters and crazy zombie people.  These elements show a strong sense of imagination.  HOUSE gives us a lot to look at and then it gives us a little more with these characters.  They both are a couple of instant horror icons.

There is a mix of crazy images, psychedelic dream sequences and film negative photography that transitions the scenes of the movie.  Most of the time scenes will have a bunch of crazy crap cut into the scene just for kicks.  I think this is why American audiences tune out on this movie.  It maybe a little too much madness for them.  Maybe it is a little much.  Maybe Zombie isn't confident with what is happening on screen to create interest  so he puts a bunch of mindless stuff into the moments.  I think it works.  It is a little too much like a music video but I expect madness from a movie about madness.  Zombie is best at showing death in his films.  Every time you see a dead body in a movie of his it looks like a real dead body.  He makes the image as uncomfortable as possible.  He gets the message of the awfulness of death.  But we are suppose to root for the bad guys?

The one thing I don't like about HOUSE is the ending.  This a movie where the characters go through such extremes that one of them needs to make it out.  At least that would make the beginning of DEVIL'S REJECTS make sense.  How did those cops know about what was going on in that farmhouse to begin with?  I am not a big believer in Zombie's idea of the monsters being the heroes.  I am a firm believer that someone needs to survive otherwise everything that happens if fruitless.  They all might as well have died at the beginning and save us all some time.  I don't like the fact that the girl gets away only to end up back in the chair of Dr. Satan.  That blows big time.  I want to see the monsters get killed in gruesome monster deaths.  Horror makers always forget that the best part of a classic monster movie is when the monster melts, burns, gets chopped up or whatever.  Maybe it was a dream that she got away.  She thinks she gets away with Spaulding showing up and giving her a ride only to have Otis in the back seat with a knife stabbing her in the back only to wake up in a real life nightmare.  I wonder.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

LAST OF THE LIVING: The movie that doesn't want to die....

In all honesty I really liked LAST OF THE LIVING.  It's kind of funny, the characters are kind of interesting and the overall story concept is kind of unique.  Yeah, that is quite a few "kind ofs", isn't it?  I guess I can't really recommend this movie.  That really sucks because there is talent here.  There is a spark of creativity.  The problem is that the whole film isn't as good as it thinks it is.

The story is about three dudes who are the last of the living.  They spend the majority of the movie living their daily lives in the middle of a zombie apocalypse.  They go to the store, watch t.v. and play video games.  Apparently during a zombie apocalypse the electrical grid is just fine.  That is very fortunate for our heroes.  When they get bored of the mansion they are squatting in they move to a new one.  This is where the movie decides to introduce a plot into the mix to try to keep our attention about a female scientist trying to get blood from a zombie to a research facility on an island. 

This movie has its humorous moments.  Some of the dialogue is witty or at least amusing.  There is a lot of great music spread throughout the film giving you hope that the movie will get better.  But it doesn't.  The energy of the film kind of plateaus and then towards the end descends into fart jokes and one extremely weak ending.  The movie just stops.  Things get kind of crazy at the end there and the movie decides to not go on anymore leaving the audience with that "WTF WAS THAT!" feeling in their gut.  LAST OF THE LIVING doesn't seem to be a completed film.  It probably needed to go through a few more script changes before anything was put to film.  It wants to be the New Zealand SHAUN OF THE DEAD but it poops out.  The whole movie seems under developed.

For a low budget movie, LAST OF THE LIVING tries to entertain but at 87 minutes of run time the movie just drags and drags and drags and they haven't even gotten to the island yet.  You get tired of the film about halfway through when you realize that nothing is happening quickly at all.  Actually by the end you can forgive the abrupt mindless ending because at least the movie is over.  The quirky shenanigans of our heroes is not enough to keep your interest.  The film has a sickly green tint to it that mucks up the photography lessening the value of the cinematography making everything look boring. 

I guess if you like zombie movies and can forgive a lot of it's short comings then I can somewhat kind of sort of recommend this rip off of SHAUN OF THE DEAD.  Just don't be expecting to hang a poster of this one on your wall in your parents basement anytime soon, Nerd-Os.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011


THE WILD HUNT is not a horror movie but it is kind of close.  Its a serious film about the dangers of blurring the line between fantasy and reality.  I didn't know much about this film when I bought it.  All I knew is that it was a psychological thriller about LARPERS.  We horror geeks know that the term "psychological thriller" means boring but us judgemental jerks who fear things we don't understand know that "LARPERS" means hilarious.  How can you make a serious film about grown ups playing live action role play?  I mean lets face it, 100% of us would have taken the material and push it to more of a comedy film than dark relationship drama turned tragedy.  I know I would.  But what we would have done is completely ruin a truly unique story that is nearly impossible to predict.  The originality would be ruined forever.  What I am saying folks is that this is a story I really haven't seen before or at least presented in this way in this setting.

Erik is a young man who takes care of his sick father.  His relationship with his girlfriend, Lyn is deteriorating.  He loves her but she wants something more than a burned out life with Erik.  Basically she is replacing their relationship with Live Action Role Play.  She leaves him at home and goes and spends weekends in the woods at some super elaborate LARPING camp that has castles and huts and viking ships and other medieval times stuff.  They go all out over there which only adds to the reality of their fantasy.  Lyn is a princess in LARPING TOWN (which is what I call the place) and she enjoys the attention she gets especially from the Shaman who is like a bad guy who is the leader of some nomadic tribe.  In the LARPING world she is his captive and she is a very important part of a ceremony called THE WILD HUNT.  Unfortunately for Erik, Lyn is a woman and doesn't like to give definitive answers on the status of their relationship. Gee, that kind of sounds familiar.  He fears that she is cheating on him with the other nerds so he goes on his own personal weekend quest to find her and doing so leads to a series of events that lead to bloodshed.  Its good stuff is all I can say.

With the color drained out of the THE WILD HUNT leaving only dominate white and grey colors I kind of thought that this was going to be a slow bleak film.  This was going to be one mean spirited hell of a film but it isn't.  While there isn't much color to the picture quality THE WILD HUNT shines with interesting colorful characters.  You have a nerdy jerk king, a ref dressed like a fairy, an evil shaman, a guy dressed in full knight in shiny armor who gets winded from running around in a metal suit and best of all Erik's older brother Bjorn.  Bjorn is a legend in the LARPING community.  Bjorn is wonderful.  He is so full of life and thunder.  He helps Erik get his girl back through the rules of LARPING.  He is a fun and tragic character too.  Even when things are getting serious around him he still tries everyway he can to bend what is happening around him to fit into his overactive imagination.  He doesn't want the fantasy to be interrupted.  When things get really bad we see how much of a real hero he isn't when his brother needs his help.

The Shaman is just a guy trying to keep up the fantasy too.  He is just like Bjorn but isn't as over the top.  The Shaman doesn't play the over the top loud mouth villain.  He is much more subtle to the point of  tricking Lyn into thinking she is about to be murdered for the Wild Hunt.  You can see him test the line between real and fantasy.  When the good guys bend the rules to steal Lyn it is he who goes off the reservation.  He and his clan all take things way too far and become the characters for real.  Horror happens.  What is really neat is when he realizes what he has done and becomes himself again.  You can see that he knows he has gone too far and suffers the consequences losing everything that he has fought for.

The movie isn't completely dark and gloomy.  The film recognizes the silliness of what these grown ups are doing.  There are comedic moment throughout the film.  It is a funny movie at times.  The story builds and builds and doesn't become a simple dumb thrill ride about two people running from some nerds that have gone crazy from playing LARPING.  THE WILD HUNT is one of the smartest films I have seen in a long time.  The movie makes me think.  And the more I think about this film the more I love it.  With the exception of the bleak cinematography I really don't have any gripes about this film.  Its darn good stuff.

Could something like this happen in real life?  Normally I would say, no.  But then when I think back on my time playing CALL OF DUTY I realize that I never played an online match without a bunch of people "rage quitting".  You know that most people who play these games are a bunch of nerd-os.  And you know that a lot of them play LARPNG stuff.  My question is this.  What do these rage quitters do when they can't rage quit out of LARPING?  Lesson learned:  Don't trust a nerd.  THE END.


Sunday, October 16, 2011


FLIGHT OF  THE LIVING DEAD................I'm just going to use my imagination really really hard and pretend that the creators didn't in some way try to cash in on the not-so-successful SNAKES ON A PLANE hype that lasted about ten seconds.  The reason why I say that is because I ended up really liking FOTLD.  For a low budget crappy movie this is one isn't that bad.  It has a good sense of humor and there is a high level of excitement to the film.  It doesn't get bogged down in melodrama of overly long character development blah-blah-blah.  Its about zombies on a plane and what you do when you have zombies on a plane.  You shoot them in the face.....and the nuts apparently.

There are some recognizable faces and some generally good performances sprinkled throughout the film to keep the bad performances at bay.  Remember the bad guy from KINDERGARTEN COP? Guess what. He is one of the heroes in FOTLD.  (Along with some guy who looks like Nathan Fillion's older brother.) That is pretty cool, eh?  And yes, I do consider his performance good.  While most of the film is limited to interiors of a plane the movie still manages to not look boring or stale thanks to a great use of color and some creative camera angles.  Yeah, they do use some of the same creative camera angles a little too much but that is a small complaint and only noticed by people who have too much time on their hands to notice such trivial things.  All I am saying is that you get to see a lot of people get pulled down the same hole in the floor over and over again.

As far as zombie carnage goes there is a lot of it.  Zombies are everywhere.  They crawl through vents, smash through mirrors, claw through the floor.  One takes down a fighter jet!  People are bitten and quite often find themselves torn to pieces in their seats.  This not a plane you want to be on, folks.  Thankfully there are a couple of cool dudes whose jobs require them to carry guns wherever they go to shoot the zombies for our entertainment.  They do kill a lot of zombies which is the biggest reason why I like this film.

I don't really have a lot to say about FLIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD.  (Because I am a terrible writer.  Hee-Hee!)  I was just surprised at how much I ended up liking the film.  Its a crazy film but it doesn't go shark-jumping-out-of-the-ocean-and-eats-a-jumbo-jet-Syfy-Channel crazy or giant-snake-eats-an-entire-train crazy.  I guess it comes close a couple of times with the fighter jet and all.  The movie is slightly creative enough not to call itself ZOMBIES ON A PLANE.  If you are big into zombie films give this one a try you might just agree with me for once.  I do believe that this is probably the first zombie movie where a zombie dies by being shot in the balls.  Think about it.  Doesn't it make more sense to shoot a male zombie in the junk than in the head.  I mean we are suppose to shoot them where their brains are, right?


Friday, October 14, 2011


I guess when you run out of ideas for your slasher series you send them into space. Just ask Pinhead and the Leprechaun. But that doesn't mean that JASON X sucks.  You call it a dumb slasher movie in space but think about it.   ITS A DUMB SLASHER MOVIE IN SPACE!  How cool is that? And it features the most badass slasher of them all Jason 'Will You Die Already' Vorhees.  This is a fun, badass, highly creative monster flick and it needs to be acknowledged as so.  We see Jason fight soldiers, horny teens, a nerdy robot with boobs, space marines, one astronaut, and David Cronenberg!  Think about that too.  David Cronenberg is in a FRIDAY THE 13TH film!

I am just going to assume that they took a rejected script for a FRIDAY THE 13TH film and changed the word "camp" to "space ship".  Jason kills people on a space ship instead of Camp Crystal Lake is the story.  But there is more of a creative mind put to the making of this film.  JASON X makes fun of itself yet still embraces it's the cliches from the past.  The film is more self aware kind of like SCREAM making references to the usual horror movie staples like peeking your head out to check to see if the coast is clear (which always means you die) or at the end two teens see a "falling star" and say "Lets go check it out" which is the usual excuse characters in horror movies use to find themselves with major impalement issues.  While you are watching a FRIDAY THE 13TH film, JASON X is made more like a science fiction film than a slasher flick.  Take notice of the words on the screen at the beginning of the film filling us in on the setting of our story.  The lettering is all computer text typing itself on the screen like a running program.  That is something you would see in ALIEN.  Pretty neat, huh?  Oh, yea and there are space ships and outer space stuff also emphasising that this is a science fiction movie.

There are times when a character is about to die and then suddenly the troops show up and save the day.  That is a little unusual for a FRIDAY film, don't ya think?  You can see how the film plays with the "beats" of the slasher film.  Certain times someone is suppose to die then suddenly they don't.  I like that a lot.  I like the part when a space marine guns Ol' Hockey Face down and impales him onto a hook then lifts him into the air and just for good measure shoots him in his undead legs.  A character is behaving in a smart fashion and still gets killed because he doesn't understand what he is dealing with.  That makes me think.  What exactly is Jason?  Is he a zombie or just just a really pissed off 500 year old virgin.  I guess I would be pissed off too if the only way I could have sex with the ladies is to stab them in the face repeatedly with a large machete.  Sucks to that!

My only real gripe about JASON X is the casting of the space marines.  Instead of badass hard as nails men we get pretty young actors that try to act tough but come off as nothing more than horny teens with guns that look too big for them to handle.  Seriously a couple of them look like freakin underwear models with attitude.  Not very badass.  But that isn't too much of a complaint.  There is kind of a Jar-Jar Binks comedic relief character but honestly I found him to be pretty funny and they kill him off fairly soon as to not allow him to get annoying.

Its the high level of imagination that sets JASON X above all the rest of the FRIDAY films.  It has a sense of instant classic.  It is a colorful sharp looking film yet has a slight dingy low budget feel to it.  It reminds me of Roger Corman movies like GALAXY OF TERROR or FORBIDDEN WORLD especially when Uber Cyborg Jason makes his appearance at the end.  Just when you think the film couldn't get anymore badass he goes and gets an up grade.  What a bastard.  I do like seeing Jason get blasted to pieces by that nerdy girl android in the Matrix get up.  Thanks JASON X.  You just discovered a new fetish.  Classic Monsters getting the crap kicked out of them by hot chicks.  If I start a porn website that is what it is going to be about.  What do you think?

Oh, and the best thing about JASON X is KANE HODDER IS PLAYING JASON!  There is no one that can play him better and that's all I have to say about that.

Jason (X)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

MURDER PARTY! Make this one a Halloween tradition along with FEEDING FRENZY.

MURDER PARTY is a great example of how low budget horror can be far better than all the high end expensive big studio horror movies put together.  This is a fantastic film.  Its a comedy that is as clever as it is splattery.  Most of the movie takes place in one large room in a warehouse with a bunch of people standing around and talking.  Its kind of like RESERVOIR DOGS but with art students instead of gangsters.  The film is never boring though.  The characters are interesting and unique.  They have your attention throughout the film and the writing is hilarious.  MURDER PARTY is one of those films where you are not sure where it is going.  This isn't the same kind of story that has been told a hundred times before.  This is something new. 

So the story goes as follows.  Our hero Cardboard (that is not his name in the movie.  I am calling him Cardboard because in the LARPING world if you make your costume out of cardboard the nerd-os will make fun of you and call you Cardboard.  Watch DARKON for more information on LARPING.) finds a Halloween party invitation for anyone blowing in the wind.  At first he doesn't want to go but his cat takes his seat in front of the t.v. and Cardboard is too much of a push over to kick the cat out.  So Cardboard goes to the party dressed like a knight in shiny cardboard and duct tape.  I got to tell you, if I had the creative skills I would go as Cardboard for Halloween this year.  Its a great costume.  I wonder if anyone would know who I was suppose to be.  Anyhoo, soon as he arrives to the party he is captured by a group of art students who are going to kill him in the name of art.  The movie then becomes kind of like the BREAKFAST CLUB in that these characters start to get to know one another until they push the wrong buttons on the wrong guy and all hell breaks loose.

I am not sure if younger audiences nowadays would find a movie like this entertaining.  MURDER PARTY maybe a little too retro for the kiddies.  Would they know what movies their costumes are from?  I am concerned that intelligent comedies are lost on the generation that flocked to the screens to see VAMPIRES SUCK.  Do kids even love Halloween anymore?  This movie is a celebration of the holiday.  The overall vibe I get from the film is that all these people in the film are friends and they are making a movie about the time of year they love most.  This film is extremely fun to watch.  It is as if you are friends with these people and you are there participating in what is happening.  You get their jokes and fall in love with their eccentricities.  You kind of root for everyone in the film even though they just kidnapped some poor bastard and are going to kill him to satisfy their egos.

MURDER PARTY is filmed well.  The camera isn't distracting while capturing the dingy detail of the New York ghetto area.  For a low budget there is nothing amateurish about it.  These guys know what they are doing.  I was really impressed with their use of blood too.  There is a lot of it in this movie but it isn't overly used even when things turn into a bloodbath.  The blood is effectively used to get the point across.  There are of course some wonderful practical make-up effects too.  The most talked about one is the melting werewolf mask on the guy's face gag.  His mask catches fire and when it is finally put out the mask breaks apart but parts of it are melted to his face.  It's awesome and perfectly executed.  You can see the effort and love put into every aspect of this film.  I really can't praise the film enough.

I mentioned FEEDING FRENZY in the title of this review because I think the best double feature to watch with your friends are these two movies back to back.  You will have a fun night.  These two films make you excited for horror movies again.  They are well made and deliver on the goods.  I am going to make it a tradition around here to get a bunch of peoples to come over and watch FEEDING FRENZY and MURDER PARTY.  Think about it.  Is there a better double feature pairing?  I don't think so.  Support these films.  You won't be sorry unless you find TWILIGHT parodies hilarious.  Then you are a dildo.  Don't be a dildo.  I learned that you don't want to be a dildo from watching MURDER PARTY.


Monday, October 3, 2011


I was reading a movie review of a "found footage" horror movie called UNDOCUMENTED.  It was more of a positive review even though the writer didn't like much of what was happening in the film.  He seemed to agree with the political agenda of the film more than the film itself.  The movie sounded like a bunch of people getting tortured and that was the bulk of the horror.  The writer went on to say that he doesn't like to call "torture porn" torture porn.  He calls it "torture horror" because the idea isn't to sexually turn on the audience.  I know the guy was trying to be smart and separate himself from the overly used term.  In a way he is right.  But in a more accurate way he is wrong.  So yea, I am basically just going to give my opinion on what I define as torture porn.  HAPPY HALLOWEEN TIME!

The word "porn" is a little misleading.  We immediately think about sex because that is what happens in porn, right?  But that is not what the word "porn" in "torture porn" is referring to.  Think about what happens in an adult film in terms of story pacing.  Keep in mind that I am not talking about porn that features two chicks, some douchey guy with stupid tattoos and a couch or sometimes when they are being creative with location a staircase.  I am talking about story driven porn.  You know, all those scenes you watch with the fast forward button firmly pressed until you get to the good stuff.  What I am saying is that the story stops completely and the film focuses on a single act for a long period of time.  The banging.  The same thing happens in musicals.  People are talking progressing the story until everything stops and they all start singing about one thing that is going on in the movie for five minutes or so.  I wouldn't however suggest that we start calling it "torture musical" unless we were actually talking about THE GLEE or THE MOULON ROUGE.

Basically what happens in a torture porn is that the main character spends a great amount of the film's running time trapped in one location.  Usually they are tied to a chair or table.  (Now a lot of you folks out there might find the bondage aspect a big turn on.  All I can say is good luck with all that.)  The dialogue is reduced down to nothing more than crying and pleading.  It gets irritating really fast.  Then the film tries to out "extreme" all the other horror movies out there.  I call this bad writing.  It is the biggest thing wrong with horror nowadays.  There really isn't a good story just a story concept.  Example:  Teenagers go into abandoned hospital to film low budget horror movie.  Mad doctor kills them in the face with different medical instruments.  THE END.  There are no interesting characters and there is no story.  There is just an excuse to get people murdered horribly in a creepy location.  I get why horror directors at one time were considered one step above porn directors.  Torture porn spends more time on the act of torture than telling a story.  That is torture porn.

I blame THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE.  Yea, I like that movie too but it seems to me that a good chunk of the horror community's horror education goes only back to that movie.  Anything before that isn't extreme enough for them.  They see horror as more gruesome than scary.  I see too many films inspired by TCM.  TCM starts off with a bunch of kids who run afoul a family of cannibals.  The movie builds on the hot dry dingy atmosphere and delivers some shocking horrors BUT(!) then it descends at the end to nothing more than a girl tied to a chair pleading for her life.  Thankfully she breaks free and escapes so the movie can end.  THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE created the formula that a lot of film makers copy.  I could name hundreds of films that are similar but you know them already.

Ironically I don't put the first SAW or the HOSTEL films in the torture porn category.  Maybe I am being hypocritical or naive because there is big time torture in those films too.  In fact the main horror is experiencing the torture.  But neither film lingers too long on that aspect.  In fact SAW stylishly(?) fast forwards through the extreme moments.  To me those films had more going for them.  They take place in more than one location, SAW had an interesting villain with elaborate contraptions of death similar to THE ABOMINABLE DR. PHIBES.  HOSTEL was creative enough to have Takashi Miike make an appearance and both films have some neat visuals.  SAW had the lumbering villain in the cloak who spoke through a creepy puppet for some reason.  He wasn't trying to kill but to hand down life lessons.  You can see a little more thought put into the film.  Just in general I think there is more imagination in both film series.  HOSTEL part 2 had two parallel story lines that come together at the end with a unique conclusion.  Would any other American filmmaker end his film the way both HOSTEL films end?

A good porn director focuses on the build up to sex because that is the more interesting part.  The audience's imagination and anticipation keeps them interested.  A good horror director does the same.  It is imagination that makes a horror movie good not just a bunch of gross out stuff.  If you just went by gross stuff on screen then couldn't you consider FACES OF DEATH horror.  I wouldn't.  I would call it just a bunch of dead old people getting cut up on.  Who wants to watch that?  That should be called "autopsy porn" or something.  By the way I used the word "porn" seventeen times in this essay.  Oops!  I mean eighteen.



Sunday, October 2, 2011

JOHN CARPENTER'S THE WARD: It's Good! Too bad it takes place in THE WARD!

John Carpenter's THE WARD is a return to true form for one of my favorite directors.  The movie is really good.  Even with the absence of the traditional John Carpenter keyboard music that he is second best known for THE WARD can't help but feel like a genuine piece from the master.  The direction, the characters, the acting all perfect.  After the wonky PRO-LIFE I was afraid we had lost our beloved director forever.  Unlike other older directors (Romero, Lucas, Spielberg) who were great back in the day but now seem to have a hard time incorporating new technology with their film style, Carpenter manages to use the modern FX without his film looking artificial and all CGIy.  The ghost in the film looks like a ghost and not a freakin cartoon.  The movie looks like it takes place in the 1960s and not just a bunch of people dressed like they are from the 1960s standing in front of a green screen with digital 1960s backgrounds digitally inserted in the back.  You would think that with all this praise that I would pardon the film's biggest flaw and go on with my "la-de-da" life but I can't.  I just can't.  After all these years of being a giant jerkola I can't bring myself to ignore my biggest complaint of the film which is..........?????

Out of all the places to set a horror movie why, oh, why does it have to take place in an insane asylum?  First off there are a billion-million-gazillion horror movies that take place in asylums.  None of them are good.  At least John didn't call it THE ASYLUM.  It is the most uncreative place to set your horror movie.  Syringes, hospital beds, arm straps, electro therapy, doctors, nurses, flickering hallway lights, straitjackets pills and more pills are all common things you see in these films.  And all of them are cliched and boring.  Watching these films are about as thrilling as actually sitting in a hospital waiting room with no WEEKLY READER to pass the time with.  Those images don't scare anymore.  They leave no impact.  How many times do we need to see red blood splattered across white walls or sheets?  So clever.

What kind of story happens in a horror movie that takes place in a psyche ward?  Basically there are two kinds.  One is that the threat is real.  The second is that everything that is happening is only happening in the main character's head and we don't find out until the end with a bunch of psychological mumbo jumbo bull hockey.  Those of us who watch a lot of horror movies know this and we can see the ending coming from a mile away giving us little surprise.  One simple sentence nonchalantly uttered from a secondary character is all that is needed to reveal too early the twist.  THE WARD is no different but I will say this.  At least THE WARD doesn't draw the twist ending in crayon for all to see during the opening credits of the gosh darn movie! *cough-IDENTITY-cough*

You can tell that Carpenter put some time and thought in to making THE WARD.  There really isn't anything in the film to complain about.  He is back and I can't wait for his next movie.  My problem is the familiarity with everything I was seeing.  I got the weird "I'm watching SUCKER PUNCH again" vibe.  That's an awful feeling, folks.  One that I never want to feel again.  Maybe if SUCKER PUNCH hadn't metaphorically kicked me in my metaphoric balls I would have enjoyed THE WARD more.  Who knows?  And, yes, ladies I have real balls to go along with my metaphoric balls too.