A Bomb in the Lasagna: “Troll 2″ is the Right Kind of Horrible

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Judging by my last two reviews, my Octoberween theme is apparently concerned with the “treat” side of this while “trick or treat” concept. Originally, I was going to do a 180 from my previous reviews and look at a Criterion horror movie like The Innocents, but then when I realized it wasn’t available on Hulu Plus yet, I decided to commit to my theme and watch the horror legend and perennial contender for the coveted prize of Worst Movie Ever: Troll 2.

Metro Goldwyn Meyer

Metro Goldwyn Meyer

The plot: The Waits family is leaving their busy suburban life to vacation in the rural village of Nilbog, with the intention of, as father Michael (George Hardy, now a dentist) puts it “living like peasants” because this family apparently doesn’t understand vacations are supposed to be fun. While most of the family is excited to do some grueling peasant-livin’, youngest child Joshua (Michael Stephenson) is less enthused, mainly because his deceased grandfather Seth (Robert Ormsby) has warned him that the town is run by shape shifting Goblins. Goblins, being vegetarians, lure human prey by assuming human shape and feeding their targets poisoned food that turns them into vegetable matter before the Goblins can eat them. Sure enough, there’s more to the town of Nilbog (spell it backwards) than meets the eye. It’s up to Joshua and the ghost-that’s-occasionally-alive-again of his grandfather to prevent his disbelieving family from the clutches of the goblins and their evil leader Creedence Leonore Gielgud. But will Joshua be able to save his family? And more importantly, will Elliot (Jason Wright), the boyfriend of Joshua’s sister Holly (Connie McFarland) finally stop hanging out with his friends long enough to give them some alone time, despite the fact that they followed the family up to town in an RV?

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The Tuesday Zone: ‘Empire of Passion’ Has Problems

The Tuesday Zone

Hour of the Wolf (Vargtimmen)Eyes Without a Face (Les yeux sans visage) | Empire of Passion (Ai no borei)

This month I am looking at the strangest horror movies I can find from around the world, and this week brought me into unfortunate territory. I cannot purport to know much about horror in Japanese film history, but this first foray is very troubling because, while the horror is at times potent, the very basis is emblematic of horror of a different sort—that of a director not understanding the very principles of his own story. Warning: this article focuses on some graphic material and discusses some heavy topics, namely in the realm of sexual assault. The content, although having no naked or violent images, definitely covers NSFW territory, and deals with topics such as sexual assault and abuse in some detail.

Argos Films, Oshima Productions, & Toho-Towa

Argos Films, Oshima Productions, & Toho-Towa

First of all, Empire of Passion (1979) has a horrifically misleading title. Its Japanese name is Ai no borei, or “Love’s Phantom,” which isn’t much better. Every article and webpage about the movie does not seem to pick up on the incongruity between the name and the actual story, with Wikipedia, IMDB, Criterion, and the New York Times using words like “lover,” “affair,” “seduction,” and “romance” to describe what is in truth a story about rape, abuse, and sexual violence. Even the director, Nagisa Ôshima, does not seem to be aware of this, though, which only adds to the problem. Continue reading

Mindless Action Mondays: The Sound and The “Fury”

MindlessActionMondaysBy Drew Parton

This weekend, I went to go see the new Brad Pitt movie Fury, or as I’ll call it:

TANK PORN: THE MOVIE

Columbia Pictures

Sony Pictures

Fury follows the crew of the titular M4 Sherman tank during the waning years of WWII. After losing their assistant driver, an untrained rookie named Norman (played by Logan Lerman) joins their ranks and is thrust into the brutality of war. The crew, who have been together for three long years since the North Africa Campaign, is initially reluctant to accept Norman, but eventually they all become one big happy family scalping Nazis.

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

Wrong movie…

Aldo Raine jokes aside, Fury is a visceral and raw war film punctuated by intense action and surprisingly astounding performances. Please note: From here on out there will be spoilers. I will do them TV Tropes style, so in order to view them, you’ll have to highlight them.

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Second Breakfast Octoberween Double Feature: The Price Is Right!

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Let me tell you something. If you spend enough of your life writing online articles about Vincent Price movies, then sooner or later you’re going to reach an important impasse: you’re going to have to ask yourself, after four or so articles, how it is, exactly, that you’ve never done a double feature. Well, friends, I recently reached that impasse. I recently asked that question of myself. I recently came to the following answer.

Tower of London (1962)

Tigon Picture Ltd. 78 minutes? Have you ever seen a movie use its runtime as an advertising point before?

Tigon Picture Ltd.
78 minutes? Have you ever seen a movie use its runtime as an advertising point before?

The Plot: Based loosely on Shakespeare’s history and even more loosely on actual history, the film follows Richard, Duke of Gloucester, later Richard III (Vincent Price), on his murderous ascent to the throne. In case English regal history just ain’t your cup of tea, Richard was born a hunchback and scorned by his family and social peers alike, despite his nobility. Perhaps as a form of compensation, he decided it’d be somewhat validating to become king of England, although he was pretty far down the line. How do you jump ahead of the line? You murder about ten people: men, women, and children. Duh. And then you recede into madness as you’re continually haunted by the ghosts of slaughtered innocents. Again, duh. Continue reading

SciFridays: “Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant” (2009)

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

Baddie – Teenagers. It’s always teenagers.

Lesson – Vampirism is not the best way to go through puberty.

Continuing in my chosen theme of Octoberween (vampires), but not in the theme of SciFridaysI made an impulsive decision to watch this movie based on the fact that the cast is stellar and it appears to feature a lot of John C Reilly, who is one of those actors that just shoes up in weird places. I now understand that this was at some point a book, but I have not read the book, so, uh, that. 

Vampire’s Assistant is, at its core, a coming of age movie featuring two boys, one slightly more mature than the other. When I say ‘coming of age’, I do not mean in the brutal apocalyptic sense that Stakeland is a coming of age movie. This one is much more-so the candy-coated cousin, landing somewhere around a poorly-marketed tween movie and some heavy handed morals. I’ll admit, I made it through 20 minutes of this movie before calling it quits and having to start again. Somewhere between Willem Defoe doing his best Vincent Price and John C. Reilly’s quirky-but-dangerous vampire and Salma Hayek’s bizarre bearded lady…I got lost. Plus, and I don’t yet know the reason for this, you are absolutely not rooting for the kid and his annoying best “friend”.  Continue reading

A Bomb in the Lasagna: “Creepshow” Offers Laughs, Scares, and Wacky Hillbilly Stephen King

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Welcome boys and ghouls, to another spine-tingling, pulse-pounding, spooky-scarifying issue of A Bomb in the Lasagna! It is I your humble, horrifying host of horror movie reviews., the Bomb in the LaZombie ! Enter freely and of your own will and together we’ll take a senses-shattering journey into….A REVIEW OF CREEPSHOW!

Warner Bros

Warner Bros

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The Tuesday Zone: ‘Eyes Without a Face,’ a Horror Fairy Tale

The Tuesday Zone

Hour of the Wolf (Vargtimmen)Eyes Without a Face (Les yeux sans visage) | Empire of Passion (Ai no borei)

Eyes Without a Face (French: Les yeux sans visage) was not well-received when it was released in 1960. I’m not surprised. The movie works with tropes from the horror genre (e. g., an egotistical mad scientist who will do anything for his work), and has a level of gore shocking even by today’s standards. However, it’s also incredibly thoughtful, full of disquieting imagery, and riddled with poignant questions. This type of movie cannot pass for what critics might write off as a B-movie, but it’s also too entrenched in ideas from a “minor genre” for those critics to accept it. They couldn’t just say, “Oh, well that was trashy.” They had to dispel it, loudly (one critic was nearly fired for admitting she liked the movie), because it brought up so many conflicting feelings between what a horror film should be, and what Eyes Without a Face is.

Champs-Élysées Productions & Lux Film

Champs-Élysées Productions & Lux Film

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