Army of the Dead

 

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I never thought – as a parent – that I’d have to warn my children of the dangers of “road head” over dinner, but here we are in 2021 and Zack Snyder just made me have that conversation!

Sure, there are plotholes you could drive a hummer through…but Army of the Dead is a load of fun, from beginning to end! I am absolutely a Vegas aficionado and thoroughly enjoyed the work they did to make fallen Vegas feel real. The credits were absolutely the best part of the whole film. I giggled like a madman as soon as I heard Richard Cheese – welcome back from Dawn of the Dead! All of the music was on point. Not only was my favorite Elvis song, Suspicious Minds, featured prominently, but there were some spicy covers I’d never heard before. Excuse me while I pause and make an Amazon Music  playlist for this movie…

No spoilers, but it was a TREAT to see Garret Dillahunt play against type in a genre he’s so known for. He became the absolute heart and soul of Fear the Walking Dead and the show just won’t be the same without him. I also never knew how much I needed to see a zombie tiger, a definite Walking Dead missed opportunity. In fact, there were a few other nods to The Walking Dead: Easy Peazy Lemon Squeezy, Dieter’s bat. I also loved that Army of the Dead brought us an entirely new type of zombies – smart, fucking zombies! That comma was intentional, because these zombies are smart and HAVE SEX. Although we don’t get to see it…trust me, they are totally doing it. (I just remembered the zombie sex in Dead Alive! Oops!)

Let’s talk about the late addition of Tig Notaro to the cast…her character was one of the funniest and I really cannot imagine Chris D’Elia in her place. The technology was so seamless that we wouldn’t have known she was added in later…can we please digitally replace all sexual predators with Tig Notaro? Let’s make #tigtoo happen!

I’m looking forward to the inevitable sequel, but also the other pieces of this universe. I’ve read that Zack Snyder is building a whole “Dead” universe for Netflix, including an Anime prequel about the fall of Vegas and a prequel about Dieter’s safecracking career. One can hope that James Gunn finds some time in his busy schedule to collaborate…

Night of the Demons (1988)

 

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How have I never seen this before? My husband decided to torture us with this 80s classic.

Notable cast is…Kurt Kelly from Heathers and the one and only Linnea Quigley. What the fuck, lipstick titty?

Angela is the goth queen we all deserve. Yes, the film takes place on Halloween, but why do I feel like she dresses like that every day? Sal’s face during her bizarro dance scene was the exact look on every normie’s face when they wandered into The Church. [NOTE: The Church was goth club in Dallas, active during the 90s and early 00s. Author may have looked as nutty as Angela did while dancing there.]

There are some great lines (“Eat a bowl of fuck!”, “Do you guys have sour balls?”), as well as some truly ridiculous sight gags. The effects are about what you’d expect for the 80s…except for the demon at the end…that demon looked like a claymation crawfish! This is a horror CLASSIC, dammit! And there are two sequels out for us to enjoy!

I had no idea that they remade this in 2009 with Shannon Elizabeth. I bet it sucks.

Children of the Corn (1984)

 

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Yes, yes…I KNOW they remade Children of the Corn several years ago…but WHY would I watch THAT when I can torture my kids with the original?

The kids and I had a lively discussion as to whether Isaac or Malachi was creepier. I was steadfastly on team Isaac, because he talked like a Televangelist and clearly had the face of an old man (duh, the actor was a very short adult), but the kids said Malachi, mostly because of the ginger mullet. Even my husband piped up for team Malachi, claiming that Malachi was the origin of claim that gingers have no soul. Isaac wore that scary ass hat, like the preacher in Poltergeist 2…Isaac also rose from the dead after his ride on the rocket powered corn crucifix.

I forgot about the rocket powered corn crucifix…that is my favorite part!

My least favorite part? I was super scared by the tunneling under the dirt when I was a kid…that scared the bejeesus out of me and it STILL raises goosebumps when I see it.

Not only does Amazon Prime Movies have the original to watch, but ALL of the sequels…I don’t think I can handle all that corn.

Midsommar

 

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Of all the casualties of COVID-19, one of the most painful losses has been my desire to write…at the very moment I’ve been watching more films than any point in at least the past decade, I lost all desire to write about them. Part of the issue was that I haven’t been watching much of substance…but Midsommar changed all of that.

There is SO MUCH to unpack in Midsommar. It’s not your average “scary movie” – in fact, it’s not scary at all. It’s more like a trip to IKEA on mushrooms….if you’re not in the right state of mind when you start, you’re gonna have a bad time. (The same is true about shrooms and IKEA each on their own, I guess?) “Suspenseful” is a better description, because with every Swedish atrocity performed, you are incredulous and wondering how far they will go. There’s definitely some gore, but the gore isn’t what will shock you. For example, my kids were far more grossed out by the pube pot pie, than by the blood eagle.

I will point out that every time I said that “Christian is a shitty boyfriend,” my husband responded that all the characters are shitty and unlikeable. That may be true…but Christian is extra shitty.

By the end…I was straight up cackling (just like you, Andrew Delaney). Maybe it’s my dark sense of humor…or maybe it’s that I’m about 1/4 Swedish? Or maybe it’s because I understood Dani’s struggle? It’s hard to be surrounded with people who don’t “hold” you. I feel like my college relationship was a lot like Dani’s…too bad we went to Amsterdam instead of Harga.

So…this is obviously not a very long or a very complete review…baby steps.

The kids really liked it, I think. My daughter kept saying, “This movie is weird,” but she didn’t give up on watching. They are demanding Hereditary next…I cannot say no to sampling more Ari Aster. Also, a shout-out to Eli Roth’s History of Horror – his show has given the kids a horror watch list a mile long. I started them on Cabin Fever and they were laughing and screaming. My son is wanting to go straight to the hard stuff – Audition, etc…but again, baby steps…

Dead Ant

 

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Never pee on an ant on sacred Native American lands after taking cursed peyote.

I mean, that’s just common sense, right? Well, apparently, the members of 80s Glam Rock Band Sonic Grave do not have any common sense. And especially don’t buy Peyote from the guy who played Horse on Twin Peaks. He will totally fuck you over.

I only recorded this because Sean Astin & Jake Busey are in the band…and their manager is Tom Arnold. And still, with those low expectations, I was still disappointed.

The film was pretty boring and dumb, but there are moments that had me guffawing. The end is pretty funny because you finally get to hear the band play. They suck so bad, that the giant killer ants commit suicide to escape their shitty music. Sonic Grave does have a song that isn’t shitty – it’s called “Side Boob” and it’s a pretty good jam.

Leprechaun Returns

 

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A direct sequel to the first Leprechaun, would you be surprised to hear that Jennifer Aniston is nowhere to be found?

You know who WAS around from the first film? Ozzie, better known as Francis in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. Turns out that Jennifer Aniston’s character died of cancer, so her daughter comes back to the VERY SAME HOUSE, which is now an environmentally conscious sorority house. It’s exactly 25 years later, and very bad Leprechaun things start to happen…

I was ready to be fiercely loyal to Warwick Davis’s portrayal of our Leprechaun hero, but it turns out that the new Leprechaun, played by Linden Porco, was pretty consistent with the OG Leprechaun. He was silly and brutal and full of limericks.

This one character gets stoned and yells at goats. I feel that in my bones. She also takes a Leprechaun selfie – that must be some goooood shit. And then this other guy takes a leprechaun selfie – and he wasn’t even high. What the fuck is wrong with kids today?

There were some good chuckles in this one, like when the Leprechaun finds some Crocs and gets offended. He wasn’t impressed by their Prius either.

Unlike the abominable Leprechaun: Origins, Leprechaun Returns is a throwback to the original Leprechaun films and is a worthy installment in the series. There are a few major laughs and a few truly stomach churning moments.

Zombie Tidal Wave

 

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Good lord, this film was a boring-ass stinker!

Look, I get it. Why not try to capture the “lightning in a bottle” success of the Sharknado films and put Ian Ziering in another water-based disaster situation…it just did not work. Zombies are just not cut out to be an ocean invasion.

First off, these zombies were blue – they looked like goddamn herpes-infected Smurfs. Per the plot contrivances, they were blue because of phosphorous dumped into the ocean. Sure, Jan. Some of them were super-fast and some of them were super-slow. I stopped paying much attention, but they were really hard to kill, until the end of the film, then all of a sudden, they were easier to kill? I don’t even fucking know.

Don’t bother with watching this one – there’s no humor in this one AT ALL, nor are there any silly celebrity cameos – it’s a total waste of time.

Friday the 13th: Part III

 

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Although released to the theaters in 3D, Part III is one the most boring installments in the series.

The film wastes so much time with the motorcycle gang. Why even bother having them harass the kids at the convenience store, other than to show what pussies the kids are? Or maybe it was just an excuse to add some unsympathetic victims to the body count? Or a deus ex machina to get gasoline out of the van?

This is the film that gives Jason his iconic Hockey Mask, stolen from Shelly, the prankster.

The final girl, Chris, had previously survived an encounter with Jason in the woods…but when was that? Was it in-between the first and second films, when he was mourning his mother? And why is she imagining Mrs. Voorhees (with her head) dragging her into a lake at the end?

We DVRed this one for the kids off SyFy and it’s edited all to hell. We actually got the whole series, up to Jason X in one shot…so I guess they’ll miss out on all the good stuff.

Santa Jaws

 

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What in the shit?

Rest assured, Santa Jaws is exactly as bad as I thought it would be. I had zero expectations going in, expecting some mindless, season-appropriate entertainment on Christmas night and this film fulfilled those expectations.

This kid gets a magic pen and it brings drawings to life, so he draws “Santa Jaws”, a killer shark that wears a Santa hat on its fin. Santa Jaws comes to life and eats his Grandpa, and then slowly works his way through the rest of the kid’s family and friends.

Throughout the film, Santa Jaws also acquires a Narwhal-like peppermint horn and festive teeth made out of Christmas lights. The protagonists attempt to conquer Santa Jaws with baked turkeys full of gunpowder. What kind of Christmas party requires 3 baked turkeys and several buckets of gunpowder? Outside of Texas, of course – that’s a totally normal party set-up here in the Lone Star State.

Per my husband, Santa Jaws is one of THE WORST films he has ever seen on SyFy and he has seen them all, from Mansquito to Sharknado.

On a side note, I found “Santa Jaws” wrapping paper on post-Christmas clearance at Target today. I totally bought it.



It Chapter Two

 

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Bill Hader is a National Treasure. His portrayal of the grown Richie “Trashmouth” Tozier was the glue that held this film together.

Not to say that it was falling apart by any means, but the second half of the film was missing the the taut tension of the first. By the time it came time for the group to hunt Pennywise, I wanted them to just get it fucking over with already.

Overall, the casting was very, VERY good. Not only were excellent actors selected, but the actors chosen were physically and tonally similar to their young counterparts. The only one that I had a bit of disconnect with was Ben Hanscom, but that might just be because I loved John Ritter’s portrayal so much.

People LOVE to bitch about how the movies don’t measure up to the book – I’ve been guilty as well. I’m not even mad about the pluses and minuses to the story for the film adaptation, except for a single detail – Ben’s story. I loved the tiny revenges in his story and was looking forward to hearing it. I also loved the callbacks to the TV version, including my all-time favorite line, “Kiss me, fat boy.”

Speaking of details from the book, I was shocked that the film started off with the story of Adrian Mellon. Adrian’s brutal assault is more gut wrenching and hard to watch than any of Pennywise’s attacks. Wait, except for Spider-Stan – I did NOT enjoy that fucking creepfest AT ALL.

Throughout the film, one of the running gags was giving Bill Denbrough shit about not being able to write a decent ending, also a common criticism of Stephen King (I tend to agree, although it gives me a chuckle to remember how he circumvented this criticism in the Dark Tower series.) I was fully prepared for the digs to be a set-up for changing the ending here…and I wasn’t disappointed. As convoluted as the book ending was, and as ridiculous as the TV version ending was, it wasn’t hard to improve upon. I feel like the screenwriters got it right here, and gave a more philosophical and proper end to the film.

Like the first film, we also bought this one on DVD – it’s worth owning. I’m also looking forward to checking out the special features and behind-the-scenes stuff.