V/H/S/2, Mega Murder Mayhem

VHS2

V/H/S/2 was alright.

What, you want more from me? It’s a sequel of a compilation of horror shorts filmed by people who sometimes don’t know what they’re doing. This time around, the quality fluctuates rather noticeably. I’ll run through each short independently for the sake of keeping things clean and orderly, okay? Okay. Oh, and yeah, beware of boobs. There are plenty. Maybe? Nah, just two sets. Four total. On two different people though.

The overlying story. It revolves around two people trying to blackmail a guy and find some lady’s son. Also boobs at the very start. Best chest forward, right? They end up watching a bunch of home movies. Everyone dies. 4/10 for tying things together but doing so very plainly. A guy shoots his jaw off, which is pretty cool.

VHS2Robot eyeball story. A man has a synthetic eye installed into his brain, and it has a camera because the company that gave it to him decided that they want to test it that way. Privacy is overrated. The guy starts seeing ghosts, a girl comes over and says that spontaneous sex will scare ghosts away, but then it doesn’t. Everyone dies. 5/10 for an interesting camera concept, but icky mirror gimmicks and arbitrary boobs.

Cyclist zombies. They don’t actually ride bikes. A cyclist puts a bunch of cameras on his helmet and bike, and then stops to save a woman who is actually a zombie. She bites his neck-meat and they go around eating people. Main zombie guys blows his face off with a found shotgun after getting a call from his girlfriend that reminds him of his humanity. The girlfriend is only ever on the phone, so she doesn’t die. 5/10 for zombie 1st person perspective, but generic enough that the magic fades quickly.


VHS2Indonesian pedophile cult
. This one’s pretty neat. A film crew explores a cult of the aforementioned nature, which is led by a character titled Father. They learn about the unusual practices that occur within, and then the only female crewmember turns out to be pregnant. Things quickly spin out of control as Satan explodes out of her uterus. 7/10 for being interesting despite crappy effects and an obnoxious, Blair Witch-Beelzebub hybrid ending. Oh, also, almost everyone dies.

Naked beige alien invasion. I hate everyone in/everything about this short. It’s about a bunch of annoying kid-friends interrupting people having sex and then being caught masturbating. And then naked beige aliens come in and eat everyone. -255/1 (you didn’t think the numbers actually measured anything tangible, did you?) for being the worst possible cinematographic amalgamation of kitschy horror clichés I’ve ever detected with my ocular accoutrements. That last sentence gets 10/10. And yes, everyone dies. Including the kid that got abducted.


VHS2V/H/S/2. It’s alright
. Skip the zombie and alien bits, alright? VHS the first had it goin’ on, what with its glitchy serial killer, naked harpy lady, lesbian neck-slasher, and- well, the generic screaming ghost girl was yuck, but the ratio of good minis to bad is superior to its descendant. You should watch both right now, one after the other. Do it. You’ll love it.

OH. Well, ex-CUSE me Kofi Outlaw of ScreenRant. I guess the SECOND one is better! It sure is all STREAMLINED and EFFICIENT! Nah, I’m just being facetious. Comparing them two movies is basically weighing two lard-filled balloons on a scale to see which one is heavier. I mean, even if you found out… they’re still just lard-filled balloons. You can probably blow it up for a laugh, but it’s only good for one go. Terrible allegory aside, here’s the link for the review by Professor Cinematograph: http://screenrant.com/vhs-2-reviews/


Evil Dead, Splatstick Horror

Evil Dead

Splatstick. That term is almost as funny as Evil Dead itself. The remake, mind you, done by Sam Raimi. I swear, this guy’s got the most morbid sense of humor I’ve ever encountered. And that’s actually pretty nice, you know. Most horror movies try to be genuinely scary and thus wind up taking themselves a little too seriously, but Evil Dead is a drastic turn in a different direction. Well, sort of. It’s a gross-out jump-startle fest that’s meant to be taken with a grain of salt.

Five estranged friends come together to help the sister of the almost main character break her addiction to… to whatever drug it is she’s using. Likely heroine. They vow to keep her there even after she begins withdrawals, because last time they let her go during her healing process, she OD’d  so badly her heart stopped. I’ll list off the characters for your convenience.

  • Mia: Main protagonist. Heroine junkie going cold turkey.
  • David: Mia’s brother. Good intentions, but a little dumb.
  • Eric: Sexy-ass hippie teacher with aviator-looking glasses.
  • Olivia: Voice of reason nurse. Doesn’t last too long.
  • Natalie: David’s girlfriend. Virtually no relevance/purpose.
  • Grandpa the Dog: Is a dog. Doesn’t survive.

Evil DeadMia complains of a foul stench, which causes everyone to blame her withdrawal. Then Grandpa uncovers the secret basement where the prologue exorcism took place. Dead cats are hung from the ceiling, and Eric discovers the Evil Book. And reads from it after taking graphite rubs from some of the pages. Utter. Stupid.

Oh, right, that reminds me. They kept the tree scene, but it’s a little different. It isn’t graphic by any means, but it’s rather… intense. Yeah. Anyhoo, once Mia gets tree’d, she gets possessed and shit starts going down. From this point on, you have to start worrying about jump scares and visual gross-outs. Worse than the vine thing. Much worse.

There are several things about this Evil Dead remake that I really, really like. The first is Jane Levy’s performance. She plays Mia, by the way. And, er, Randal Wilson plays the “Abomination Mia,” but as a singular character, she earns all my love. The expression she makes when telling her brother about the evil presence… Hoo. Gives me the heebie-jeebies just thinking about it.

The second thing I like is that CGI was only used when absolutely necessary. Everything else was done with makeup effects or props. There are a number of CGI scenes, but they never go over-the-top. I mean, over the top with the CGI, not with the violence. All the violence is over the top. Point being, every goddamned scene that wants to make you cringe will make you cringe. See it in theatre.
Evil DeadThe third and final thing I absolutely love is the demon summoned from the souls taken in the cabin. It doesn’t get a lot of screentime, but it’s too many kinds of badass. I can’t stress that enough. Can’t say any more, though; spoiler-heavy talk is a no-no.

I recommend this movie to anyone who wants to say “Eww! Why?!” while laughing their rumps off. It’ll scare you while giving you the giggles. That’s something to be proud of. Evil Dead! Nice one, Raimi.

Julianna Ross of PolicyMic, your review is spectacular. It’s great! Really. I didn’t even notice the lack of god-awful horror movie cliches. The blonde never even gets half-naked, no sex scene, no obligatory sex scene, no legitimate nudity (you’ll notice the final demon has no nipples, just breast-like structures), and the crowning moment of badass is actually pretty damned badass! Sam Raimi, four thumbs up. Full credit. Encore. Er, but the uh, tree scene… Right, well, anyhoo, you should probably rea

d this right here: http://www.policymic.com/articles/34587/evil-dead-movie-review-why-it-s-almost-a-feminist-film

V/H/S, Who Likes Short Shorts?

V/H/S

V/H/S. I’m pretty sure I’d have never stumbled across this movie if I hadn’t been fatally bored while skimming through Netflix’s selection of god-awful horror movies. You see, V/H/S is a testament to horror movie stereotypes. All the female characters have to be sexy, all the male characters have to be horny assholes, and fucking everybody has to fucking say fucking fuck as fucking much as fucking possible. Also, if this movie was a swimming pool, you’d be absolutely drowning in boobs. It’s too much.

V/H/SV/H/S is a compilation of horror shorts done by various directors. There’s no consolidated theme aside from the “tie it all together” main story. A bunch of crooks are hired by an anonymous person to burgle someone’s house and make off with a single VHS cassette. While they’re searching, they discover a dead body sitting in front of a bunch of TVs, which are surrounded by dozens of VHS cassettes. While they search through them, you get to see the shorts.

The acting is on par with B-horror movie shockumentaries. I can personally guarantee that you won’t like anyone, and that everyone you see will probably die or kill someone or be involved in killing someone. Sometimes it’s predictable, sometimes it isn’t. That’s the benefit of having a bunch of shorts as opposed to one long movie.

V/H/SAt this point, you’re probably thinking either, “I’d watch this because it sounds so bad it must be bad-good,” or, “I have better things to do with my life.” I won’t say V/H/S is a good movie, but it’s both interesting and scary. It feels like you’re watching a compilation of urban legends in the making. The effects, which are consolidated into one “camera visual glitch” category, do what they’re meant to do and don’t overshoot their bounds. The video quality’s going to be low and shaky, but that’s the shockumentary genre for you.

Speaking of genre, the shorts are quite varied, each encompassing a different malevolent entity. In one, a cult. In another, a monster disguised as a human. In yet another, just a person. It keeps you guessing, though the first view will be highly disorienting because of the lack of continuity and forgettable characters.

I’ll toss you some cliff notes before stapling on the alternate review. V/H/S is interesting and scary, enough so that you won’t feel like you’re wading through tits and f-bombs and excessive gore. You will be, but you’ll be distracted, so it all works out in the end. Hopefully I’m not setting you up for disappointment. I don’t think I am.

V/H/SStacey Buchanan of Horror-Movies.ca spoke highly of V/H/S, which is actually kinda throwing me for a loop. I couldn’t tell you if it deserved the 4.5/5 stars she gave it, but I can say that the dull parts of the movie don’t last very long. Hell, if you like it for one short, then the movie’s done its job. Here’s the review link: http://www.horror-movies.ca/2012/05/vhs-review/

RoboCop, Big Bad Business


RoboCop
RoboCop is a classic of sci-fi corporate/criminal warfare. With a greater plot and cluster of subplots to direct the audience’s attention, the odds are you’ll have a lot to catch up with if you miss a part. Mixing stop-motion, spiffy makeup and badass outfits, RoboCop is as much about the flash and flair of the cybernetic age as it is about the complex sequence of events that lead up to the death of the a member of Omni Consumer Products.

Dick Jones presents to the chairman of OCP a new line of mechanical law enforcers, the ED-209. During its exhibition, it murders an executive attempting to perform a disarming procedure. Thus, Bob Morton steps in and offers up RoboCop, the revolutionary cyborg police officer. Since nobody is quite willing to sacrifice their body for the sake of this project, Bob turns to the Detroit police. He keeps tabs on high-risk operations, eventually nabbing Alex Murphy as his candidate.

Murphy has a bad run when trying to take down notorious crime lord Clarence Boddicker at an abandoned warehouse, and is shot to death. Bob’s crew claims the corpse and builds it into RoboCop! Crime gradually begins to taper off with this big guy on duty. Only, despite his memory wipe, he’s starting to flash back to his past, little by little.

RoboCopOff on the side, Bob makes some unpleasant remarks about Dick, which earns him an assassination by none other than Clarence himself. Apparently, Dick is in deep with several crime families, and he’s looking to lead the company after the old CEO dies. Ruling with an iron fist, likely enough. Unfortunately for Dick, Murphy’s memories lead RoboCop back to Clarence, which could expose the entire operation.

When RoboCop tries to reveal the video he recorded that documented Clarence’s admission of working with Dick, the secret fourth protocol disables him. Dick then activates ED-209 in an attempt to destroy RoboCop, which fails miserably. But with this protocol in place, how can RoboCop arrest the man who set all the loopholes in place?

That about covers the almost non-spoiler synopsis, anyway. As for the quality of the actors, props, effects… It’s about on-par with what you’d expect from a late 80’s sci-fi movie. Stop-motion, borderline silly lines from the robo-cop, criminals with enough spunk to do stand-up comedy. You get the concept. In this particular movie, however, these things blend and flow; no sudden stops to realize how stupid something is. It’s a classic for a reason, kay?

RoboCopThe final bit of commentary I have for RoboCop is: Doin’ it right. If you don’t know how to go about making a cyborg, do it in as vague a way as possible. That way people can’t say you did it wrong. How clever, says this observer.

For those who are more aware of corporate and political matters, James Berardinelli’s review is the one for you. He describes the movie as a “biting satire of big business practices.” Looking back after having viewed RoboCop again, I certainly do agree. But that hardly matters, since I’m about as aware of business crap as I am of how Mark Wahlberg keeps getting acting jobs. Non sequitur zing! Here’s the link, before I get too distracted: http://www.reelviews.net/php_review_template.php?identifier=1716

Dracula 2000, Not Quite Bram Stoker


Dracula 2000
, despite its sci-fi sounding name, is a contemporary rendition of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. It is dark, religious, surreal, and sexy (painfully so), to say the very least. While it could have very well been the resurrection of the vampire movie genre, it did have some sharp shortcomings that managed to anchor it away from glory.

We begin with a heist, in which several smugglers break into the vault of Abraham Van Helsing, hoping to make away with something of value to sell out of country. Unfortunately, all they can find inside are dusty books, furniture, crucifixes, and an ominous coffin surrounded by traps. Figuring that the coffin contains whatever treasures they’re hoping for, they blow the vault and escape.

A disorienting leap into a vivid nightmare of a bland looking girl named Mary nearly derails the suspense of the last set of scenes, but the save goes to Dracula for making a micro-appearance. Just an introduction interlude leading up to the Vampire Lord’s grand return while the smugglers fly him back. Gerard Butler shirtless. Right on.

Dracula then proceeds to haunt Mary’s waking dreams while slowly accruing “attractive” (yucky) female followers via the bite of night, I’ll call it. He only gets guy followers because of his initial bloodthirst, and they die quickly anyway. It’s all about the sexy girl vampires, right? Besides, Gerard Butler! He don’t need no competition.

Abraham books a flight to follow the smugglers, leaving his partner Simon to ponder just what the hell happened. Instead of running the business in Helsing’s stead, he follows him to find out just what. His travels cause him to cross paths with Mary, whose nightmares have been worsening because Dracula’s out and searching for her. Their connection (Mary and Drac’s) remains unspoken until the final parts of the movie, and they do register as quite the spoiler, so I’ll leave you in the dark for that one.

After a while, the plot spirals downward into one great vampire hunt, and Abraham Van Helsing winds up dead, one of the more disappointing parts of the movie. Simon and Mary face off against Dracula and his vampiress trio, discovering his origins and just how to destroy him. But with his power returning so quickly, do they stand a chance against him? Well, I don’t know, you watch the movie and tell me.

A few words on actors, then I’ll leave you to it. Christopher Plummer makes an excellent Helsing. I found that I preferred him out of all the other characters. Justine Waddell is probably the low point of the cast, by my speculation. Her performance is dull, almost lifeless, and clashes with that of Plummer and Butler. Hell, even Jonny Lee Miller (Simon) manages to overshadow her. Basically, if not for Mary, Dracula 2000 would actually be a pretty okay Dracula spin-off..

Oh, and one final thing. Omar Epps, who plays Marcus, the head honcho of the heist brigade, is hilarious as a vampire. He goes from cold, calculated criminal to fangly standup comedian instantly. Absolutely brilliant.

According to James Berardinelli of ReelReviews, Dracula 2000 is basically a butcher job of every last aspect of the original Dracula, Gerard Butler doesn’t do his part justice, and everything else fails just as badly. I suppose you could say my review was a mite lenient because I (don’t hate me) have yet to see the original Dracula. Here, distract yourself with this before they start throwing rocks at me: http://www.reelviews.net/movies/d/dracula2000.html

The Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence Wants to Offend You

The Human Centipede 2You think I’m joking? I watched The Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence on Netflix instant-view, and I lament to say that this black and white shock-reliant film will either disgust you morally, visually, or in one or several of many other ways. That’s pretty hard nowadays, because a lot of kids have already seen people get ripped apart in Hellraiser, brutally mutilated in Hostel, gutted and hung in Scream, so on and so forth. All the same, this film managed to bother one of the most jaded people I know: Me. I thought that was impossible.

Martin is an obese bug-eyed security guard who was molested repeatedly by his father. He saw the film The Human Centipede and grew obsessed with it. So, he began bashing people’s heads in with crowbars, kidnapping them, stripping them naked, and storing them in a shoddy warehouse. Teenagers, parents, hookers, metal-heads, businessmen, even a pregnant woman. Yeah, they definitely exploit her for shock. I’ll get to that. He even tricks one of the original actresses from Human Centipede into coming to his warehouse by offering her a role in a phony Tarantino film.

The Human Centipede 2You know what, I’m going to cover all the extreme shock parts of the film right now, just so you’ll know for certain as to whether or not you want to see this. This is the LIST OF NASTIES:

  • Martin masturbates with sandpaper. You don’t see much, thank god.
  • Martin shatters his mother’s skull with a crowbar. Very graphic.
  • Martin cuts his victim’s knee ligaments with a kitchen knife and scissors.
  • Martin smashes his victims’ teeth in with a hammer.
  • Martin staple-guns his victims, mouth to anus.
  • Martin force-feeds the actress by shoving a tube down her throat.
  • Oh, and he rips her tongue out with pliers, too.
  • Martin injects everyone with laxatives and has a shit party, then vomits.
  • Martin rapes the person in the back of the human centipede.
  • The pregnant woman starts to go into labor and escapes into a car, where she gives birth. Then she crushes the infant’s head by flooring the gas.
  • Martin has a centipede inserted into his ass.
  • Martin gets mad and kills literally everyone by shooting them in the head or sawing their heads off with a kitchen knife, pregnant woman aside.
  • Martin doesn’t even die. He just gets ready to start it all again.The Human Centipede 2

Do… I really need to go on? This movie is probably one of the worst things you’ll ever see, unless you’re into scat fetishism, killing newborns, genital mutilation, and crude surgeries. I won’t judge you, you can like what you like, but I personally found this movie to be a disgusting black and white artistic statement on just how low movies are willing to sink to get  your attention.

That’s all I have to say. Please don’t get this movie. Please? There are better things to do in the world than sit and watch this disgusting spectacle.

Kill Bill, but Not Just Yet

Kill BillKill Bill is Quentin Tarantino’s unreasonably corny and ultra-violent revenge action thriller. I’m not sure whether to warn the squeamish or the non-squeamish, considering the violence is both excessively morbid and pretty damned stupid. I suppose I could get into the nitty-gritty of that first, but it would really do the movie justice if I started with plot.

The Bride,” as the character Uma Thurman plays is called, was assaulted on her wedding day by the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad. Though she’s now retired, she used to belong to this squad, working under the guidance of an enigmatic man named Bill.  From initial speculation, The Bride and Bill must have had a thing going, because he crashed her wedding with the rest of his squad, murdered everybody, and shot her (during the later stages of her pregnancy) in the head. However, she didn’t die. She wakes up, finding a metal plate in her head and her baby nowhere to be found, and revenge on her mind.

One by one, The Bride hunts down those responsible for her “murder” and delivers to them the fullest extend of her vengeance. In the much loved Tarantino style, the Deadly Viper Assassins go down in a blaze of bloody fury. Vernita Green’s the first, dying from a knife to her chest in her own home. Not very exciting, but if you look closely enough during the fight, you can see Vernita’s rubber knife flopping around. Heh.

Kill BillThen The Bride goes to Japan to get a sword from Hattori Hanzo. That’s really the only part of the movie that doesn’t involve blood splurting out of ragged katana wounds like a crimson fire hose, or people firing guns through cereal boxes only to have a four inch dagger buried into their chests.

O-Ren Ishii is the half-Chinese half-Japanesese American born mob boss of the Crazy 88. She kills people a lot, which is why she’s still the boss. Unfortunately for her, she took part in the kicking of The Bride’s ass, which  earned her a one way trip to being irrevocably dead. The Bride slaughters every last one of her gangsters with Hanzo’s katana, making blood shoot out everywhere like some morbid new age artist’s masterpiece. Then, afterwards she chops the top of O-Ren Ishii’s skull off so her brain is sticking out. I forgot to mention, Lucy Liu plays O-Ren Ishii, and the skull-chopping scene would have been epic if not for the fact that it was so gosh darned silly.

Flashback (because this is a Tarantino review of a Tarantino movie) to the origin of O-Ren Ishii. Her dark and brooding past: A gangster kills her family, she kills the gangster, then becomes a world-renowned assassin. That catches Bill’s attention, and she becomes a part of his super-secret boy band. The Japanese anime style in which this is presented makes the violence almost more extreme than that of the live action movie itself. It’s awesome if you can get over how overdone it is.

Kill BillSo, uh… That’s about all there is to the movie. Violence, violence, and more silly, willy-nilly violence. I guess if you’re into that sort of thing it makes for a good watch, but I’d guess that most people just watch it for a good laugh if they’re in the mood for one of the crappier Tarantino flicks. I’m not saying this one is horrible, I’m just saying it could afford to be a lot better.

There’s a sequel, you know. The final chapter. If you make it through the first, you’re going to HAVE to see the second, just out of morbid curiosity. Very morbid curiosity. My personal recommendation, don’t see Kill Bill Volume One if you’re going to try to take it seriously. You’ll regret it. You should see it anyway, though, just to lower your standards a tad.

Mirrors: An Idiot Reflected is Just as Dumb

MirrorsI don’t hate Mirrors. I really don’t. I just hate every single actor and actress they put in there. I hate them, and I’m very sad that some of them survive. I’m very happy that bad things happen to them. They come off as very annoying, because they follow the horror movie clichés to the letter. I really don’t hate Mirrors, but thanks to the cast, I do. I feel bad for judging a bad-bad horror movie, but sometimes it feels good to just hate on a deserving one. On with the review, then.

Benjamin Carson is a night watchman at a mall, the Mayflower, that just burned down. He ditched the the police force because of his drinking and the subsequent violence that wrought, and he’s on powerful medication to keep his urges suppressed. Amy Carson, his wife, asks that he stay away from the family until she feels he’s ready to come back. For now, he lives with his sister Angie in her apartment.

So, the clichés start to kick in when he begins to witness unusual imagery in the unusually clean mirrors. From the beginning, we know that the original caretaker was murdered by the mirrors killing his reflection. Or… something. So then, the mirrors begin to haunt Ben with terrifying images. He finds the original caretaker’s wallet, and discovers that the mirrors want someone by the name of Esseker.

MirrorsI’d like to point out that all throughout the course of the movie, all of these scary incidents are relayed from Ben to Amy and Angie, and neither of them believes him. Amy thinks he’s hallucinating because of his medication, and Angie just thinks he’s under stress. Ben even manages to drop the “I’m not crazy” line, which pissed me off to the extreme. I don’t like the crazy gambit in horror movies, not at all. It’s choppy, irritating, persistent, and adds nothing to the movie’s plot aside from a sense of solitude, and that’s not really worth it.

ANYWAYS. The mirrors kill Angie, which really pisses Ben off. They even start to threaten his wife and kids. He starts to investigate Esseker, finds an asylum connected to the Mayflower’s lower area, and finds that Anna Esseker was a patient in there, being treated for schizophrenia. Some mirror shenanigans go down in the Carson home, and Ben winds up finding Anna and forcing her back to the hospital at gunpoint.

At that point, something interesting happens. Something that pissed me off. This movie tends to do that. So yeah, Esseker is placed in a room of mirrors, and the demon escapes the mirrors and into her body. Because she was actually possessed, and they used the mirrors to take it out of her. Ben winds up impaling the dumb, stupid demon on a gas pipe and exploding her. It works, but he winds up stuck in the mirror world. Forever alone.

MirrorsI dedicate this paragraph to bashing on a child actor. He plays Michael. HE SUCKS. Apparently, he can see things in the mirrors. He’s the least convincing in regards to his voice and facial expressions, and he makes me want to punch him in the face. He even manages to get possessed by the mirror demon somehow, which doesn’t make sense considering the mirror demon can’t actually get into people’s minds. That said, he slashes his mom across the face with a knife. What an asshole. I hate him. Argh.

That concludes my in-depth analysis of the movie Mirrors. I can sum up the entire thing by saying I don’t like it. Because I don’t. And the unrated version doesn’t contain any bonus content. It’s actually exactly the same. Literally no difference. What the hell, man? Not worth it. Don’t buy this movie. If anything, steal it and play it when you have something else you need to do that requires background noise. Only time you’ll actually be able to enjoy it. That’s all I have to say about that.

Akira: On Telekinesis and Toddlers

AkiraYou know, Akira reminds me a lot of Chronicle, only with a much higher level of organization and chaos. It sounds contradictory, but it makes sense. I love this movie, so reviewing this will be a treat for both you and me. Unless, of course… one of us is squeamish. I certainly hope not. This movie isn’t for the faint of heart. Blood, partial nudity, harsh language, all very fitting of a post WWIII Japan dystopian setting: Neo-Tokyo.

Akira revolves around the lives of a gang of bikers, the Capsules. The two main bikers are Kaneda, the energetic enthusiastic outgoing leader, and Tetsuo, the never-does-it-right cowardly follower. Due to the military oppression in the city, there is a rebellion brewing that fights for less restrictive law. Due to the incredibly high organized crime rate in the city, the military absolutely refuses to let up. As such, things are pretty shitty for Kaneda’s gang.

AkiraThings get even shittier for Tetsuo, who crashes his in a freak incident to avoid hitting a strange little blue boy. To make matters worse and explain a few things, this blue boy is an esper, endowed with the ability to extend his willpower outside his own head. The science organization notices a similar trait in the dying Tetsuo, and decisively abducts him to begin experimentation. While Tetsuo exhibits the abilities of the other espers, he himself is much more hateful and saturated by vengeance. His days of cowardice and failure are over, and Kaneda is the first to notice Tetsuo’s radically altered personality. And, er, telekinetic abilities.

From that point on the primary concern of the military, the science organization, and even the rebellion, is the destruction or containment of the astronomically powerful esper Tetsuo. By interacting with the other espers, Tetsuo has learned of the existence of Akira, the first. Akira’s powers were said to be beyond anything anyone had ever predicted, which was seen by Tetsuo as a challenge. He does find Akira, but not as he was expecting to find him.

AkiraIt’s around this part that I start to get a little sketchy. Supposedly, Akira’s powers are linked to universal genesis and symbolic and literal birth of matter. As Tetsuo’s madness escalates, so do his telekinetic powers, until a wavelength from him and the other espers brings back the avatar of Akira. At this point, not even satellite lasers can take down Tetsuo, who has begun a fatal physical transformation. He, uh… turns into a giant fetus, hen gets sucked into a psychic singularity. I really don’t know. Kaneda winds up being sucked inside and experiencing Tetsuo’s memories, until finally Akira and the espers collectively close the rift. The resulting carnage tears a hole over half the size of the entire dystopian city.

Akira is a very unusual movie, definitely not one that can be explained with ease. I mean, I think I did a pretty good overview of the plot, but the backstory presented all throughout is a little too intense to take in with one or two views. I’m serious. That said, it is also a landmark in the production of animated Japanese movies, its prestige matched only by its content quality. While it may be a little offensive at more than a few parts, it’s a very earnest movie with a consistent plot and quirky characters. Quirky meaning anything from damningly cheerful to blatantly homicidal. You’ll love it. I did.

Get your copy via whatever means you feel is the most convenient, watch it a few times while pondering just what the hell is going on, suddenly understand it, then go “OOOOOH!” That’s the plan. Enjoy.

Silent Hill: Actually Pretty Loud

Silent HillPoint of shame, it’s a movie based off a video game, and I have not played the video game.  On the bright side, that means I have a neutral perspective on the movie, and can provide to you all the unbiased truths that a fan or dissident of the games could not. So, with that out of the way, let’s dissect the ashy corpse of Silent Hill! Yeah!

This particular movie has what I like to call a view threshold. Depending on how many times you’ve seen the movie, it can have one or many of several impacts. Silent Hill specifically has three thresholds. Creepy (I don’t care how jaded you are, those babies are scary shit, man), badass (Pyramid goddamned Head), and preachy. On average… I’d say the first two views are creepy, the next three are badass, and from then on out it becomes annoyingly preachy. I’ll give a little plot rundown so you can better understand me.

Rose is the blondie of the movie. She’s not a dimbulb, thank god, and she even manages to pull off a moment of utter badass. Her adopted daughter, Sharon, has strange dreams about a place called Silent Hill. This is a ghost town with a history stained by death from a disastrous fire. A car accident on the way there knocks the both of them out, and when consciousness returns, Rose finds herself alone. A police officer who had been tailing her wound up in the ashy realm with her, so they both of them are stuck finding the way out. The bad news is, every once so often, an alarm goes off that seems to plunge Silent Hill into a nightmare.

Silent HillI know this is all very abridged, but for the sake of my view threshold explanation and my issue with the movie’s preaching, here we go. Alessa is the darker side of Sharon, and a long time ago, Alessa was burned as a witch by a fanatical religious group based in Silent Hill. She survived, and her hatred allowed her to thrive, consuming her, the fanatics, and the whole of Silent Hill, burying it deeply within a place disconnected from the real world. Through faith, the fanatics kept the church a safe place from Alessa’s anger. But, as the viewer will see, things don’t go so well.

So, with that under your belt, I’ll explain the three thresholds. Threshold number one: creepy. First time in nightmare mode, things get really freaky. I actually quite like the visual effects implemented in this movie. Very good at evoking certain eerie emotions with very dark and complex visual aspects. However, as the nature of repetition goes, the scares lose their thrill twice in.

Second threshold, badassery. This is all on Pyramid Head and Rose’s exposition to the fanatics about the deluded depth of their devotion. Say that last part ten times fast? If and when you stop being creeped out by the ghostly pale nurse mannequins, the fist-sized beetles, and of course the wretched burnt up tweaked out babies, it all starts to look pretty awesome.

Silent HillFinally, what you’ve been waiting for since the beginning: The preachy part. Silent Hill’s got some serious anti-religious sentiment in there, I can tell you that much. Of course, to remain speculatively allegorical, the religious fanatics are made out to be excessive in all ways. Brainwashed, bloodthirsty, and without reason nor mercy. Rose plays the iconoclast that would save them from their delusion, and she does this by killing them all horribly. Alessa rode into the church through Rose’s body and exacted revenge on all the cultists by murdering them with barbed wire. Yeah, that’s all fine, but what bothers me the most is all the goddamned talking. They talk, talk, talk and talk. Preaching, shouting, so on, so forth. You can’t un-notice it. Good news is, it takes a few views to start noticing. Or, you’ll start seeing it right off the bat because of this review.

That’s that! As I said, the movie’s really shock and show. Not a lot to it. Doesn’t mean it’s a bad movie, by any means. So go out, get it, watch it, and remember the number one rule: lights off. Enjoy.

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