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.

Pet Sematary

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Lily had been begging to see this freaky ass movie for weeks. It’s Sunday afternoon, gross and rainy – so why not?

Pet Sematary was the very first Stephen King book I ever read – the summer between 6th and 7th grade. I remember vomiting the night after finishing it, but as an adult, it was more likely the after-effect of too much sugar at Astroworld…but at the time, I was convinced that the end of the book was so disturbing that it physically impaired me. My son has been trying to read it as well…again, he’s bored.

The movie, however, was a sensation to us as kids. I clearly remember renting it for a slumber party and it had us screaming! My poor friend Karen, I still feel bad about putting her through it. That one scene…the achilles heel scene…still makes my butthole pucker whenever I think about it. (My kids screeched during that scene – it was glorious!) Oh, and that bullshit with Zelda…I had more nightmares about Zelda than that freaky little kid.

The movie stands the test of time – it still shocks and repels, especially the ending. I just heard that they’re remaking Pet Sematary, riding the coattails of It, I guess. Sure, remake all of them – except Tommyknockers – that book was shit.

Cooties

One bad chicken nugget, that’s all it takes.

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More than a silly horror/comedy, I feel that Cooties functions as an allegory of those “only eats chicken nuggets” kids. I fucking hate those kids. No, scratch that – I hate the parents of those kids. I get it, kids are picky. What kids wouldn’t prefer extruded, shaped chicken goo, deep fried and maybe even dino-shaped? And yes, I fed my kids nuggets all the time – when I was feeling lazy and didn’t feel like cooking real food. But if my husband or I took the time to make real food, they sure as fuck were gonna eat it. No to cooking separate meals, no to whining, just NO. I actually know several adults that STILL just order chicken nuggets/tenders every time they go out. I judge them silently. That being said, one of my favorite breakfasts is a recipe I invented called ‘white trash chicken & waffles – it’s dino nuggets and frozen waffles, showered in syrup. It’s AMAZING.

Back to the movie, it’s so weird. It was a joy to see Rainn Wilson as a meathead, a perfect foil to the nerdy sub played by Elijah Wood. I almost busted a titty stitch when he called him a ‘little hobbit’. I was prepared to hate Alison Pill, because of how much I hated her in AHS: Cult, but she was like an adorable, store-brand Kristen Bell. The rest of the teachers were rounded out by Nasim Pedrad, Jack McBrayer (what’s his deal, anyway?), and Leigh Wannell (that Saw guy. He actually played my favorite character – the weirdo science teacher.

Trying to think of what else I could say that wouldn’t ruin it…nope, just watch it. Oh! Jorge Garcia tripping balls the whole movie – cannot miss.

This movie is straight-up insane. Highly recommend.

Elephant

I don’t trust those people at Cannes, not one little bit.

How did this get the Palme d’Or? I can understand the Best Director award – the direction of the film was masterful, with the kids in concentric circles of activity around the high school. But the top award of the whole festival? How did the audience and judges keep from falling asleep? I have a suspicion that the film was given the top award as a penance for NOT giving the award to Bowling for Columbine the year before.

On the surface, Elephant is a dramatization of the Columbine massacre…but let’s not kid ourselves – there have been enough school shootings in the last decade for this movie to be seen from a less specific perspective. In any case, in most aspects, the film is totally non-judgmental of the victims, the survivors and even the killers themselves. The controversy surrounding the release of Elephant honestly surprises me, now having seen it. It has to be one of the most emotionless, viewpointless films I have ever seen.

I do like Van Sant’s decision to avoid popular music in the film – but it was likely not his choice. What group would knowingly allow their music to be attached to a school shooting?

There were parts of the film that worked…but the parts that didn’t work overshadowed them. Why did Van Sant make the killers get all gay in the shower? There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being gay – but depicting a couple of psychopaths as getting their gay on right before they murder a bunch of people isn’t very socially responsible. And why didn’t the bulimic cheerleaders die? Oh wait, this is Gus Van Sant’s fantasy, not mine. Also, the final scene ruined the whole movie for me. What high school has a meat locker, replete with hanging sides of beef?

The title of the film might refer to the phrase “elephant in the living room,” meaning a problem too big to deal with in any of the traditional ways. Someone should let Mr. Van Sant know that making a boring film about school violence may win awards, but does little towards a solution to that violence.

The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane

I can think of few things worse than getting molestered by Martin Sheen.

Apparently, Jodie Foster feels the same way, as she spends the entirety of the film trying to dodge his attentions. Jodie plays Rynn Jacobs, a 13 year old girl whose father is always in his study “working.” As people become curious about her situation, they unfortunately find that “curiosity killed the cat.”

The only distracting thing about the movie was Jodie’s ratty ass wig. She’s got beautiful blond hair – what’s the point of that scraggly ass weave? Was it so it would match the (obvious) body double for the nude scene?

Jodie Foster was never really a child, was she? She was always an adult trapped in a child’s body, whether literally (Freaky Friday) or figuratively (this movie and Taxi Driver). And although I really cannot stand some of her career choices – Contact is one of the top five worst movies EVER – I think I actually kind of like her. I like her choice to keep her personal life private. She’s also the only actress that I can think of that views acting as a 9-5 job and that she can leave at the door. She might possibly be the only actress on the planet without a narcissistic personality disorder. As a sidenote, I will shoot IN THE FACE, anyone who compares Jodie Foster with Lindsay Lohan. Freaky Friday is the ONLY similarity. Jodie Foster was at Yale at 20 – Miss Lohan feels that snorting strawberry flavored cocaine and humping studs like Wilmer Valderrama is much better way to spend her time. People cannot honestly believe there’s an Oscar in La Lohan’s future…the best she’ll be able to do is get an award for best macaroni artwork during her next stint in Rehab.

I feel like a total pretentious dick saying it, but movies in the 70s had a total different view of kids than they do today. A movie like this just couldn’t be made today. Sure, there have been a couple movies recently with killer kids, but they’re all from the puritanical Bad Seed/Omen model. They were killing because they were evil – not to survive like Rynn. And certainly none of these homicidal little bastards were sympathetic or liked listening to Chopin. And don’t even get me started on bizarre fundamentalist bent that Hollywood is taking here lately. We’ll never, ever, EVER see a film with a nude 13 year old again – even with a body double. On the bright side, maybe that will save us from an unnecessary remake of The Blue Lagoon.

Poison Ivy: The New Seduction

If I ran into Jaime Pressly in a dark alley, I would slowly back away until I felt it was safe to run. As soon as it was safe, I’d haul ass, move to another country and change my name.

Jaime Pressly stars in the third Poison Ivy Movie as Violet, the sister of Drew Barrymore’s character, Ivy, from the first film. Violet makes Ivy look like fucking Strawberry Shortcake. Violet returns to the Greer household for revenge on the family that fired and evicted her slutty mother years earlier. It seems that skank is a hereditary trait.

Violet is welcomed back into the house by Joy, her old best friend. Within days, she seduces Joy’s boyfriend, gets him back on drugs, fucks Joy’s dad and kills the housekeeper. Also – she has a job as a dominatrix. When Joy walks in on her dad tied up and Violet whipping him, the fun really begins.

Michael Des Barres plays the father, Ivan. Although he is slightly less gross than Tom Skerritt, I still wouldn’t fuck him – although I might have considered it 20 years ago when he played the bad guy in Ghoulies.

Jaime Pressly doesn’t cop out and use a body double like Drew Barrymore. Strangely enough, the internets tell me that Jaime Pressly actually WAS Drew’s body double for the original. Weird – they don’t even have the same body types. Anyway, she spends at least half the movie topless or totally naked. This movie was made before she started taking skin care advice from George Hamilton, so she looks really pale, but gorgeous. She almost reminds me of Traci Lords, able to go from sweet and innocent into a total whorebag in about 8 seconds.

I actually kind of liked this one in a totally ironic way. I afraid I’ll be disappointed by 2nd installment starring Alyssa Milano…I’m keeping an eye out for it though.

Poison Ivy

Remember when Drew Barrymore was skanky?

Poison Ivy was the epicenter of Drew Barrymore’ skanky period. It opened up the door for gems like The Amy Fisher Story, Guncrazy and Doppelganger, not to mention a layout for Playboy. By the late 90s, romantic fare like The Wedding Singer and Ever After rehabilitated her image and I doubt many even remember her teenage skank period. It’s sad, because her skankiness was truly glorious to behold.

Drew is awesome as the poisonous Ivy, who befriends a vaguely dykey loner, Sylvie – played by Sara Gilbert. Pretty soon, Ivy has moved into Sylvie’s house and is sucking up to her dying mother. She then sets her sights on Sylvie’s dad, played by Tom Skerritt. Now, if I was going to fuck one of my friends’ dads – and NO, I have never even considered it, because EW – I sure wouldn’t fuck him if he was Tom Skerritt. He’s just gross and creepy. I’m pretty sure he used a butt double for the sex scene at the end, because if it was really a man that age, his balls would have been bouncing around somewhere near his knees. A body double was used for Drew as well – disappointing. She didn’t have a problem stripping down for Playboy, so why not here?

The 90s were truly the golden age of teenage skanks. I still haven’t seen The Crush, in which Alicia Silverstone tries to seduce the totally fuckable Cary Elwes. Now that’s a seduction that makes sense. Rose McGowan outskanks Drew in The Devil in the Flesh and kills WAY more people. There’s also American Beauty, Wild Things and the remake of Lolita – the prototype of all teenage skanks.

Poison Ivy has spurred a couple of sequels, starring notable TV skanks Alyssa Milano (who also starred as Amy Fisher in a competing TV movie) and Jaime Pressly. My husband has warned me that Poison Ivy 2 is horrific to watch, but Alyssa Milano is naked most of time. I’m also a big fan of Jaime Pressly’s bitchery, so I might have to check them both out.

The People Under the Stairs

I figured out who THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS are. Remember all those second and third tier hair bands from the 80s? Most of them had an “-er” in the name – WingER, TrixtER, SlaughtER, CindERella, etc. When grunge hit the scene in 1991 (the very year this movie was released), hair bands went out of fashion and were no longer profitable. The record companies traveled from London to Tokyo to Paris to Hollywood – all over the world – capturing their “investments.” (They used Super Models as bait – that’s why they were such easy pickins.) The rockers were sold into slavery before their buzz had even worn off – and that’s how they came to be known as THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS.

THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS are eventually liberated by their messiah – the little kid from Moonwalker. He was sent by Michael Jackson to liberate the hair bands, as the gloved one had great pity for them, having previously been imprisoned by a record exec – the “very devilish” Tommy Mottola. Michael Jackson invited the newly free PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS to come live with him at Neverland Ranch, where they could all find jobs as animal caretakers. THE END.

Okay, that’s really not what the movie is about. But it makes about as much sense – so you’re better off if you just pretend.

My main interest was in watching Nadine and Big Ed play Mommy and Daddy. (If you aren’t a Twin Peaks fan, you’ll have no idea what I’m talking about.) I thought Nadine was nuts, but she’s nothing compared to Mommy. Mommy also has that crazy eyebrow thing going on – wildy varying from scene to scene. Crazy eyebrows = crazy lady, remember?

My husband DVRed this movie for me to watch, since I had mentioned that I had never seen it. When it was over, I asked WHY – since it was kind of crappy. He said because he cannot stand this movie and it causes him physical pain to watch it. I know, I don’t understand either.

 

Beware: Children at Play

Imagine what would happen if I took some acid and started reading Beowulf. Then switched to the bible. Then switched to Children of the Corn. Then decided to try to write a screenplay. Chances are, the results would be really similar to Beware: Children at Play.

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I did learn many things from this movie. If you are an English teacher, don’t take your son camping. And it’s also not a good idea to step right into a bear trap. When you are all delirious and maggots are living in your wounds, don’t start quoting Beowulf, because after you die, your kid will start to think that cannibalism is a good idea. Your kid also might end up the leader of a nutbag cannibalistic cult. Oh well, still better than having him grow up to be a scientologist.

Ten years later, children are disappearing from town. The god-fearing folk has seen their children wandering around the forest, but they sure won’t go in there and look for them. A famous sci-fi author comes to investigate the disappearances. The author starts nosing around – then the townsfolk start dying in really lame ways…those darn kids! They’re just hungry!

Unbeknownst to me, this is not my first exposure to Beware: Children at Play. An episode of South Park actually parodies the movie. It was the Wacky Molestation Adventure, where all the parents in town were sent away for “molestering” the children. A society of children forms, with Cartman as their leader. “Your blood will spill, Outlander!”

TROMA has brought us a horror movie that breaks one of the last great film taboos – the graphic depiction of the murder of a child. Not just one child – a dozen of them – all at the same time. It’s impossible to think of a film that shows graphic harm coming to a child. (If you think of any, please prove me wrong and email me about it!) [JD Bandy emailed me with a few examples – Fight for Your Life and Who Can Kill a Child? Thanks, JD – I’ll have to check them out!] There are plenty of movies with dead kids, hell, there are plenty of movies with mutilated dead kids, but not many will go all the way and stick a .45 in a kid’s mouth and blow his brains out. Kids are not only shot, they are also pitchforked, stabbed, clubbed and bottled…er, hit with a beer bottle. This may sound disturbing, but it’s not. The special effects are so bad, the scene is just laughable. The kids have no acting skills at all, so they are kind of going all stiff and then laying down on the ground. If I ever watch any of this film again, it will be just the last 10 minutes. The first hour and a half was boring as hell, but it was totally worth it for the hilarity of the final massacre.

Jawbreaker

Despite what you’ve heard, JawBreaker is not a Heathers rip-off. These girls are not doing the world a favor by offing the biggest bitch in school – these bitches asphyxiate their school’s Princess Di. And look damn good doing it…

I want to be Rose McGowan when I grow up – she gets the juiciest film roles, she has the best outfits at any award ceremony and she is dating Marilyn Manson…hold on, scratch that – I want everything BUT Marilyn Manson. I’ll pretty much watch any film with Rose in it, no matter how bad it is. I was prepared to sit through JawBreaker, no matter how bad it was. Luckily it didn’t turn out to be bad at all. (But keep in mind, dear reader, that I also like the film Frankenhooker!) Speaking of Frankenhooker, there is a part in JawBreaker that reminds me of it. It’s the part when Fern is considering Courtney’s proposition and has a fantasy about her being made into a beauty using the body parts of the recently deceased Liz…it also reminds me of Tim Burton.

It is like Heathers in that a lot of the film’s logic is based on the school’s breakdown into cliques and the sterotypes about them. There is also the moment when the popular girl turned pariah realizes the folly of cliques and remembers how she used to play with no longer outcast Fern when they were in 4th grade. Beyond that, JawBreaker is almost a parody of Heathers. The stereotypes are much more…um, stereotypical. The jocks are jockier, cheerleaders are perkier and for some reason, all the uncool girls are called lesbians – just like when I was in high school! Some things never change.

My boyfriend did not like this film. Or rather, he liked it when we were watching it, he thought it was okay when we were driving home from the theater and he thought it was stupid when any guy asked him if he liked it. JawBreaker will not win any awards, but it was fun, demented and bitter, so I liked it. I just wish I could get the theme song (Yoo Hoo by the Imperial Teens) out of my head.