American Mary, Living the Dream

American Mary

American Mary is a film that I don’t think really deserves to be stuffed in the horror genre. There are horror elements, of course, like extreme body modification and a climactic murder, but this film is largely character driven. If not for how desperate the director was to sexualize Mary to hell and back, I’d consider American Mary to be nearly flawless. I’ll get more into that later, but for now, the plot.

Mary is training to become a surgeon under a hardass yet encouraging teacher, and funds are tight. For lack of any better ideas, she decides to take up working in a strip club to make ends meet. The owner, having looked over her resume, offers her $5,000 in cash to perform surgery on one of his lackeys who was savagely beaten. Unable to turn down that kind of money, Mary stitches him up and sets the wheels in motion.

American MarySoon after, she begins to receive calls from a plastic surgery addict named Beatress Johnson who is apparently looking for some unorthodox surgery for a friend. Mary turns her down initially, but she caves once the Betty Boop lookin’ gal starts offering big bucks, as that’s basically her weak point. Hey, if you can do what you’re good at and make a shitload of cash off of it, why not, right? The surgery scene is tame compared to what you’d normally expect in slasher movies, though you might have sympathy pains during the nipple removal bit. Oop, did I say that out loud? Spoiler! Ooh hoo hoo.

After finding her footing financially, one of her teachers invites her to a surgeon party, which she decides to attend. Donning a tacky and skimpy dress, she finds herself drugged and raped by her old teacher. Who would have thought, huh? Apparently he thought she had become a prostitute to make money, which… explains why he rapes her? I don’t follow that logic at all, but it sets up a revenge scene that is pretty satisfying.

American MaryMary practices every extreme body modification she can on her rapist teacher after paying the strip club’s owner to have him “acquired” and beaten. After that, the remainder of the film focuses on her body modification, and some of its dire consequences. Er, not the consequences of having body modification, but of doing them. The conclusion of American Mary could not have been better. If you end up liking the movie, I guarantee the ending will score high. No hints aside from what I’ve already said.

As for the sexualization that I mentioned earlier, I feel as though it’s unnecessary and distracts from the story. The movie is too serious to be campy, so the sexy outfits during surgery and constant boobs and butts everywhere seem out of place. I suppose mixing sex and surgery can be considered avant-garde, but the way it’s done in this film makes it seem tacky. Like they believed they wouldn’t be able to sell Mary’s story without throwing in some blatant titillation, you know? It’s a damn shame, because Mary is a likeable character. You don’t need to see her ass to figure that out. If you do, then you’re a confusing person and you’ll probably glean a lot more from the film than I did.

American MaryMatt Glasby of TotalFilm found the rape revenge to be empowering. While I do enjoy a bit of justified retaliatory torture, it tends to draw focus from the fact that Mary’s shitsack teacher probably shouldn’t have played the rape game in the first place. It’s good that he got his dick chopped off. Right, well, here’s the alt review: http://www.totalfilm.com/reviews/cinema/american-mary

Sublime: Not the Band, but Just as Trippy

Sublime

I have never been so confused in my life. What the hell is Sublime about? It just takes a whole bunch of at-the-time fears and stirs them up in one melting pot of “what the hell is going on?” Everything comes together in the end, but getting there is just a pain in the ass. One thing I CAN establish is that there are far too many freakin’ flashbacks, and that in order to make any sense of the movie, I’ll need to spoil everything. Let’s get this synopsis over with.

On the day after his big 40, IT consultant George Grieves heads to Mount Abaddon Hospital (note the conspicuous demon name) for a colonoscopy, but doesn’t quite get one. Instead, he gets a perforated colon that turns into an infection that turns into a coma that turns into a vegetable state. All throughout, he’s tormented by insane images of his social phobias or something of the sort. Begin commentary.
SublimePsyche. FLASHBACK. During his 40th birthday party, he’s given a genie picture viewer, a knife-holder that looks like a person being stabbed, and an olive tree. Even further flashback! He sees his son watching a video of an African crude surgery and gets a little freaked out. Yet another flashback! Everyone talks about unnecessary surgeries secretly performed on immigrants in order to get insurance money. Even more flashbacks! When will it end? George says he can see that his stay-at-home wife is truly happy because he can see it in her eyes, and is proven wrong.

PRESENT. George is experiencing vivid hallucinations based around his social fears. In his comatose delusion, he believes he has received an unnecessary surgery in the place of an immigrant with a similar sounding name, and as a result, he sees some pretty hilarious stuff. He sees his daughter making out with some goth chick called Ravyn, and then he gives a touching speech. Then he finds out he’s lost a leg. The nurse that’s been taking care of him suddenly decides to diddle him, and he finds out that she’s got an olive tree tattoo on her back. Relevance? No idea. Must be profound.

SublimeNext up, he goes to the “in construction” East Wing of the hospital and uncovers the illegal surgery operation, only to be captured by a black doctor who slices the skin between his fingers and goes on a gigantic rant about being black, and making fun of George for being xenophobic. The entire scene is stupid and annoying and it drags its ass and serves no real purpose. Then, George suddenly remembers a seemingly irrelevant conversation he had with his wife about dying in his dream and subsequently dying in real life. So he breaks the imaginary window and jumps to his imaginary death. Then he dies in real life.

That’s all I’m giving you. Do I think it’s a good movie? No, absolutely not. I don’t find this movie scary, deep, or even the slightest bit interesting. It’s a 113 minute yawn fest that tries to preach about at-the-time close-minded phobias, but winds up offering little more than an a heap of moldy ideology. Lesbian jailbait, sexy nurses, sadistic black men, poor immigrants getting cheap surgeries for made-up illnesses! It’s like someone plucked stereotypes from a hat and threw them in all motley. In short, Sublime is a terrible movie. Don’t waste your time.

Lee Roberts of Best Horror Movies calls Sublime thought-provoking; something that not a lot of people get. While I don’t get it (because it feels like Quentin Tarantino mixed with booze and narcotics), I think its message was better understood at the time it was released. So hey, I may have been harsh with Sublime in my review, but it can be put in a better light. Maybe. Check out the friendlier review here: http://www.best-horror-movies.com/review?name=sublime-2007-review

Melting Down House of Wax

House of Wax

House of Wax is about on par with most of the lower quality horror movies I’ve reviewed. It’s got little to no characterization, a vaguely interesting plot, and loads of grody thrills. Though obviously not a cinematic masterpiece, it accomplishes most everything it sets out to accomplish via graphic violence and partial nudity. Surprise surprise, there are actually no bare breasts in this movie, despite the fact that Paris Hilton is in it. Better news? She dies. Not before prancing around in her underwear, of course, but all the same.

The characters in House of Wax are all equally detestable aside from the one who survives… and her asshole brother. He’s technically a survivor by proxy. The only reason I’m telling you which of them survive is because you’d see the end coming miles away. Paris Hilton NOT being killed? You can’t seriously expect that. Carly and Nick Jones are the twins, Nick being the utter and complete asshole, and Carly being the neutral nice girl. Blake and Paige are the horny mostly useless couple. Wade’s the sacrificial lamb that wants to hook up with Carly. Everyone else doesn’t really matter.


House of Wax
They camp in the middle of nowhere, get their car trashed by some redneck, and wander into a middle of nowhere town called Ambrose. They discover a museum called the House of Wax (ooh, movie title) and a huge collection of incredibly detailed miniature and life-sized wax sculptures within. It’s creepy at first, but gets even creepier when Bo, the self-proclaimed owner of the town’s only gas station, locks Wade in his house. This is about when the gore begins.

Vincent, Bo’s facially deformed brother, slashes Wade’s Achilles tendon and then coats him in hot wax, making a sculpture out of him. As Carly soon discovers, ALL the human sculptures contain dead bodies. They also contain maggots and rotten chunks and stuff, so whenever they break, which they will, yucky yucky ensues.

Paris Hilton gets stabbed through the head with a rusty pipe. That is the single most amazing part of the movie. Striptease? No thanks. Running around in her underwear and flaunting her tits as if they’re something the audience wants? I said good DAY, sir. No. Metal pipe jammed between her eyes? Sure thing. Her outfits, demeanor, and general presence justify this in entirety. I don’t like her at all.

House of WaxI would like to cover one horror movie anomaly, however. In most movies, a crippling injury means death. Someone goes blind, breaks a bone, loses a finger, or is otherwise disabled in some way, they’re going to die VERY soon. Carly loses the tip of her index finger, which honestly isn’t as bad as having a foot cut off or an arm broken, but still. She’s a House of Wax survivor. Kind of impressive.

Issues with this particular movie tie firmly to the characters. Despite being detestable, they’re also forgettable. Most offer little more than poor humor or suggestive scenes before being horribly murdered. Even the antagonists are boring. Bo and Vincent may be separated Siamese twins played by the same actor, but who gives a crap? Any attempts at characterization fall flat because of how fast everyone dies. If you’re just in it for the thrills, the movie is satisfactory. If you want legitimate quality… sorry. House of Wax is not for you.

Stuart Wood of CinemaBlend, I applaud you. Here I thought I was the only one feeling like I was watching a mix of Jersey Shore and Friday the 13th plus wax. I mean, I knew I wasn’t alone in replaying Paris Hilton’s death scene over and over again, but it’s still nice to hear that you found that enjoyable as well. Otherwise, this CinemaBlend review covers very nicely the thrown together teen-drama aspect of the initial stages of the movie. Here’s the link: http://www.cinemablend.com/reviews/House-of-Wax-978.html

Vanilla Sky Cruisin’ for a Bruisin’


Vanilla Sky
Holy hell I’m reviewing a Tom Cruise movie. What’s the world coming to? Oh, wait. It has Cameron Diaz? And Penelope Cruz? Well, damn. Guess this review’s gonna happen. It’s not quite a romantic comedy, but it does have humor. It’s almost a tragedy, but it has a happy ending. Vanilla Sky is a movie of mixed messages and strange twists, so hold on to your hats.

This is a story of David Aames, a man who seems like he has it all. His father was the CEO of a publishing company, and left a grand 51% of it to his son. The other 49% is owned by a group of seven directors referred to as the “Seven Dwarves,” who want to take the company for themselves. They don’t really play too much of a role aside from distant characterization of David.

On David’s birthday, his friend Brian Shelby brings a girl to the party. Her name is Sofia Serrano, and she and David hit it off while completely ignoring Brian. Julianna Gianni, David’s long standing casual-sex friend, crashes the party and sees him with Sofia. David notices and asks Sofia to stay near him so he won’t get confronted, and they wind up flirting all the way to her house. They don’t “get down to business,” instead spending the entire night talking.

Vanilla SkySo, next morning, Julianna shows up in front of David’s house as he’s getting ready to leave for work. She guilt trips him into the car, then becomes increasingly agitated as she reveals just how obsessed she is with him. David tries to calm her down by saying he loves her, but that just causes her to swerve the car off a bridge and nearly kill the both of them. By nearly, I mean she kills herself only. David survives with severe injuries to his head and arm.

He spends a lot of time alone, dealing with intense headaches brought about by the pieces of metal holding his skull together, before he decides to take over his company once more. One night, David goes to a club with Brian and Sofia, getting drunker than usual. Sofia seems to be distant from him, resulting in a fight. David passes out drunk in a gutter, then wakes up to Sofia telling him that she’ll stay with him if he cleans up his act. He finds a team to surgically reconstruct his face, and then patches things up with Sofia, making his life nearly perfect.

Then he starts hallucinating. His face somehow returns to its deformed state, and Sofia starts spontaneously appearing as Julianna. During one encounter, he beats the living hell out of her and gets arrested. In an attempt to obtain proof that Julianna is impersonating Sofia, he breaks into Sofia’s house, only to find that all pictures of her have Julianna in them instead. Julianna, thinking he’s a home intruder, attacks him. She initially insists that she’s Sofia, then leaves the room and returns AS Sofia. They start to get down and dirty, and right in the middle, Sofia turns back into Julianna. David smothers her with a pillow, then pulls it up to reveal Sofia’s face. Whoops. Confusing.

Vanilla SkyNow the even more confusing part comes in. David sees an infomercial for a company called “Life Extension,” a cryogenics organization, and his psychologist, Dr. McCabe, thinks there might be a connection. David is escorted to the building, discovering that he has signed on as a client, and has opted for an extra feature called Lucid Dream.

I’ll have to leave you off there. There are SO many twists after this point, so many that it exceeds my spoiler density threshold. There are only two things to worry about regarding this movie: Tom Cruise’s overacting, and the seemingly deus ex machina conclusion. Though not necessarily something I’d normally watch, I got a kick out of Vanilla Sky. Easy to follow and enjoy, if not a little obnoxious due to the Cruise.

Joshua Tyler of CinemaBlend gives an overwhelmingly positive review of Vanilla Sky, calling it a high point in Tom Cruise’s acting career. I would have to agree with him; just because I told you to worry about Tommy boy’s overacting doesn’t mean it’s god-awful. Just a little hard to stomach, if you’re not too familiar with how the guy functions. Anyway, here’s the link. Read up and enjoy: http://www.cinemablend.com/reviews/Vanilla-Sky-183.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.