Review: ‘Dance of the Dead’ (2008)

Note: This review is also featured on Send More Cops.

There’s more to a zombie movie than brain-eating, dismemberment, and finding clever ways to dispose of the zombie threat.

Granted, there are a lot of people out there who want nothing more out of their zombie flicks.  No matter how idiotic the rest of the movie, if we get a good crowbar-through-the-forehead gag, they’re satisfied.  They’re also stupid, and probably enjoyed the Day of the Dead remake.

What made George Romero’s zombie films as successful as they were had a lot to do with a very important point that a lot of people tend to skim over: What happens when the zombies are off-screen.  Because if you can’t give a shit about the characters involved, what’s gonna make you care when they’re threatened by some flesh-eater?
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‘Hellboy 2’ is better than everything.

It’s currently 3:15 am. I have to be at work (for a double shift) at 11:00am. Realistically, I should be in bed right now, catching up on some much-needed beauty sleep.

I should have come home after work tonight and gone to sleep at a responsible time. But I just couldn’t wait.

I should wait until tomorrow night and just write a full review of Hellboy II: The Golden Army. But, by then, you will have probably already seen the movie yourself and drawn your own conclusions.

But I can’t sleep. Not without getting a few thoughts on this movie out in to the world. I can’t stop thinking about the movie. I want to live in Hellboy’s world. I want to shop in the troll market.

Hellboy 2 is an absolutely wonderful movie with more imagination than any other film you’ve seen this year. It’s breathtaking in its wonder and its magic. Guillermo del Toro is a genius with a mind that works unlike anyone else’s. And in Hellboy 2, his mind is splattered across the screen in a way that he hasn’t been able to accomplish before, for a variety of reasons.

I may one day try to write that full review that I mentioned (if I can put my love for this movie into words other than saying “I want to make love to this movie”). But until then, know this: When you see this movie — and you should, you need to — you will fall in love with it. If you don’t, then you’ve forgotten what wonder is.

Now, I’m going to bed with visions of Tooth Fairies dancing in my head.

Final Girl Film Club: Tobe Hooper’s ‘Lifeforce’.

Lifeforce (1985)

What the hell was that?

Okay, I’ve got to admit it. Before Lifeforce was chosen as the latest (and my first) entry in the Final Girl Film Club, I really didn’t know anything about it. I mean, yeah, I’d heard it mentioned in passing, but I pretty much thought that it was considered just another of Tobe Hooper’s failed directorial efforts (read: Everything that’s not Leatherface- or Spielberg-related). Oh, but it’s so much more! We’ve got boobies, space travel, giant bat creatures, boobies, zombies, Patrick Stewart, space vampires, and boobies! Really, what more could you ask for in a movie?

Oh. A coherent plot? Well, erm…

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Greensploitation Classic: Frankenheimer’s ‘Prophecy’

Prophecy (1979)

Somebody should’ve shown Prophecy to M. Night Shyamalan. This is how you do environmental horror, sir. Actually, I’m going to start referring to this kind of film as “Greensploitation.” I’ve got a feeling we’ll be seeing more of these in the near future what with how enviro-conscious everyone is these days.

Ah, but Prophecy was made in 1979 yet still manages to be…erm… topical? Sort of. I don’t know that mercury poisoning was ever a huge issue in New England, but since in 1979, I was… not alive… I can’t say for sure.

I mean, yeah, ingesting mercury is really bad for you, but I don’t think it causes the kind of genetic mutation that this movie depicts (which, basically, is ManBearPig).

Anyways, for those of you who don’t know, Prophecy (no, not the Christopher Walken one; stop asking me that) spins the tale of a doctor and his cellist wife who are asked to do something in the woods involving a logging company and the Indians who are protesting having their trees chopped down. I’m not sure what because I wasn’t listening. Oh, but why send a doctor to do this? Because he’s good with people. Forget the fact that he’s got no experience in environmental science or anything like that (though he inexplicably knows a whole lot about nature-type things, more so as the film moves along). Turns out that something in the water is causing craziness to happen, which the doc is first tipped off to when he sees a duck get eaten by a fish. Which is, ya know, backwards.

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Wha’happened?! (Or: My 2nd attempt to review ‘The Happening’)

The Happening (2008)

I’m really going to try to be nice about this (at least, nicer than I was on my first attempt).

I’m not sure what happened to the promising young director who brought us The Sixth Sense a few years ago, but surely this atrocity wasn’t really directed by the same guy.

I mean, I’d heard that The Happening was bad, but I didn’t expect this. I’ve always been a fan of M. Night. I mean, I even liked The Lady in the Water, a movie that was pretty much universally hated. So, I thought, maybe when I saw the also-universally-hated The Happening, I’d like it too!

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My review of ‘The Happening.’

Fuck this movie.

John Carpenter sucks the life out of me.

Vampires (1998)

“How do you like your stake, bitch?!”

That line, uttered by Daniel Baldwin (he’s the fat one!) is either really cheesy or really awesome. I can’t decide.

And that’s sort of the problem that I have with the whole movie.  It’s got a cool concept.  Vampire slayers, hired by the Catholic church, are hunting down the original vampire before he gets his hands on an ancient artifact that will allow him to walk around during the day.  It’s not super-original, but how original can you really get in a vampire movie?  The premise, along with the location (the southwestern desert) has a lot of potential for a pretty unique vampire tale, a vampire Western of sorts.  And that kind of seems to be what John Carpenter was going for here.  Unfortunately, by this point, Carpenter had apparently run his creative well dry, and Vampires is left with no style, no atmosphere and no scares.

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