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Week in Review: 10/26/14

Movies I Watched in the Last Week

1) Fright Night Part II (1988) - It's not nearly as good as the first one, but I wasn't expecting it to be.  Fright Night 2 at least hit the right notes and got at the same tone as its predecessor, and that makes it a worthy sequel in my opinion.  Too bad it's so hard to track down.  I'm guessing there's going to be a box set Blu-Ray release once they finish making their third direct-to-streaming sequel to the remake?

My Rating: 3 / 5

2) No One Lives - I hate to admit it, but I kinda liked this movie.  The plot meanders, characters and their motivations are never fully fleshed out, and there's a strong undercurrent of misdirected anger and cruelty. But it was well-directed and had enough clever moments to keep me invested.  Probably this one works better as the middle entry in a Drunk Movie Marathon.

My Rating: 3.5 / 5

3) The Strangeness - God, this was boring.  I hate to drag up old movies that people forgot about if I'm just going to complain about them, but... even the hilariously mismatched claymation sequence at the end couldn't make up for an hour and ten minutes of nothing happening.

My Rating: 1.5 / 5

4) The Boogens - Mark this one up on the "cult classics you can safely skip" list.  Some good acting and great potential for horror hijinks, but it's pretty much dull and lifeless.

My Rating: 2 / 5

5) There's Nothing Out There! - One of those Troma-distributed movies that's not actually as bad as Troma's catalog would suggest, TNOT! just barely falls short of being an enjoyable movie. It's clever enough to write some decent jokes, but it's not quite clever enough to be totally funny.  I'd love to see the director try this movie again with a bit more experience and a higher budget.

My Rating: 2.5 / 5

6) Splice - I've got so many mixed feelings about this movie.  It's not all bad, but it's not very good either.  I'll have to work this out in another blog post sometime, I think, but in the meantime I'll just say that it's a deeply flawed horror movie that's worth a watch.  Just don't try to think too hard about it or you'll end up vomiting in disgust.

My Rating: 3 / 5

7) Wake Wood - I liked that this was a low-key horror movie that focused on a family drama, because that allowed it to be subtly effective and gut-wrenching.  But I hated that it focused more on blood effects than on characterizing its victims / townies.  You end up with a so-so movie that feels like it was made by some very smart and talented people who should've done a lot better.  Great atmosphere, though.

My Rating: 3 / 5

8) Cheap Thrills - Not really a horror movie, so I shouldn't have watched it this month.  Still, this was a solid movie.  I'm not sure I understand what the point was - and maybe that was the point - but it was a terrifically made movie about a guy digging himself inescapably into a horrible hell-hole.  That's a good date movie, right?

My Rating: 4 / 5

9) Machete Maidens Unleashed - At last, a documentary to back up all the things I keep saying about B movies!  MMU explores the history of low budget filmmaking in the Philippines.  It's a great topic and the movie dives into some incredible backstory on an entire subgenre of movies that has largely been forgotten about.  It's amazing to see how low budget exploitation films have changed over the years.  Back then, they'd get real people and put them in real peril while paying nothing... today they'll just go in somebody's backyard and say, "We'll fix it with computers later." Sigh....

Anyway, the only thing I didn't like about this movie is that it didn't get into enough detail about the politics and culture of the Philippines.  It started to get more into that topic by the end - particularly when they discussed the way the Filipino government was trying to mimic the model of exploitation film for political goals - but then the movie ended just as it was getting really good.  Too much great content for a single movie, I guess.

My Rating: 5 / 5

Total: 9 Movies

Minutes I Spent Writing in the Last Week

1) Bill Roman Is Being Oppressed - About 1 hour of story planning for Novel Writing Month 2014.

Total: 1 Hour

The Winner:  Movies...

Y'ever stop and look at exactly how you spent your time at the end of a week and you realize how much you've wasted?  I could've at least been watching something better than The Strangeness.