Saturday, January 17, 2009

Capsule Reviews, Including Salo!

Salo: The 120 Days of Sodom


Being an adventurous filmgoer interested in extremely controversial films, I was eager to see Salo. I had seen most of the “big names” on the “most disturbing movies of all time” lists, except for this one. Unfortunately, this movie is garbage. It’s poorly written and a complete waste of time. It has zero character development, despite there being about a million characters. It’s way, way, way, way too long and has virtually no story. It’s exhaustingly repetitive. It’s mind-numbingly boring and totally fails to engage the audience. It’s not entertaining in the slightest. It’s a chore to sit through. In fact, I fast-forwarded through much of the second half of the movie, just because so very little was happening.

The film is indeed extremely disgusting and unnecessarily gross: the entire thing is little else than scene after scene of gratuitous rape, child abuse, and people eating copious amounts of shit and urine. Does it deserve the title of “most notorious film of all time?” In my opinion, no. In The Realm of the Senses is far more disturbing (especially in the sexual sense), far more explicit, and also a far superior film. Salo is laughably pretentious (supposedly a “critique of fascism”—gimme a break! How many turds did Mussolini eat?!) and should be avoided at all costs. It’s exactly the kind of steaming pile of shit that the film’s characters are so obsessed with eating.

Note: many of the users on IMDB aren’t impressed with this movie either.

Trip With The Teacher (1975)


A bunch of biker dudes harass a school bus full of hot chicks out in the middle of nowhere. Rape and killing ensues. It is what it is: a low-budget exploitation flick. It’s not as good as Malibu High, but may please some fans of the genre.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

More Capsule Reviews

I coughed these ones up rather quickly..

Blade Trinity
A mostly unremarkable rehash of the first two Blade films, both of which were superior. Ryan Reynolds has some funny one-liners, and there’s plenty of vampire slaying, but hardly any new stuff here. Stick with the first two and don’t bother with this one.

The Serpent and the Rainbow
Bill Pullman (or whatever character he’s playing…hell if I know!) finds himself searching after some magic powder that brings people back from the dead. There are some really effective, chilling scenes here, especially the one where he’s buried alive. Unfortunately, it’s pretty anti-climactic and underwhelming. Horror fans desiring something to buy should look elsewhere.

Death Race
Jason Stathum (or his character…whatever) is framed for his wife’s murders and thrown in a prison run by an evil biznatch who promises to let him out if he races other cars in a death-battle, street-match, pay-per-view kind of thing. He accepts, and so we watch cars race and shoot at each other and blow each other up and smash each other. If you like loud noises, street racing and destruction, this one is definitely for you. It’s watchable and may help kill a few hours. Am I going to give it a staunch recommendation? Nah.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Capsule Reviews For The Week!

The People Under The Stairs (1991)

This early-90's Wes Craven film tells the story of a botched robbery, and a 12-year old boy who discovers the terrible secrets contained behind the walls of the house. The parents are guilty of child abuse--the most crazy, outrageous forms of child abuse known to man. They keep cannibals in the basement, for cryin' out loud! While the movie is a decent time-killer loaded with plenty of weirdness, I didn't think the attempts to blend it with comedy worked very well. I can partly see why the "comedic" side was thrown in, as the movie was pretty campy and over-the-top, but...I don't know. The humor also seemed to wreck the movie a little bit.

Cube 2: Hypercube

This movie has a bunch of panicky people are stuck in a giant white cube, with no idea what's going on. I haven't seen the first Cube (yet), but got enough of a cheesy kick out of its sequel to recommend it to sci-fi fans who don't have through-the-roof expectations. There were some pretty effective, creepy scenes (including the alternate universes, the Cube sex, etc) in this bugger. Just ignore the lousy ending.

Cube Zero

Despite being more gruesome than Cube 2, Cube Zero lacks its level of atmosphere and creepiness. I did like the new angle put on the whole thing, where we get to actually see what's going on "behind the scenes" of the monstrous Cube horror show. Watchable, but not as engaging as Hypercube.


When a dad's only son is accidentally killed by a bunch of careless morons on dirt bikes, he goes to some creepy old lady (in a scene that reminded me of Sleepy Hollow) and has her conjure up some pissed-off demon thing to waste the pricks. This movie has great build-up, but very little pay-off. The killings are average, and the special effects not especially breath taking. Still, I can see how it's "camp value" might appeal to some viewers.


A pregnant woman is terrorized by a deranged lunatic in her house on Christmas eve. Consider yourself warned: the killings in this movie are extremely vicious and nasty, and it's one of the most violent and gruesome horror movies to come out in years (the Saw and Hostel movies are kid's stuff compared to this thing). I don't think I've seen a movie this intense since Irreversible. On the other hand, this is undoubtedly the best horror movie to be released since 2003's High Tension, which just goes to show that foreign countries are way better at making horror movies than the US. Inside scared the living hell out of me, and gave me a feeling of dread I haven't felt in a very long time. The ending and final image are as haunting as it gets. This is horror at its very best.