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Thread: Fright Fest 11 - Franken Berry Turns Your Poop Pink

  1. #101

    Re: Fright Fest 11 - Franken Berry Turns Your Poop Pink

    Day #19
    Title: Midsommar
    Country: United States/Sweden/Hungary
    Year: 2019
    Director: Ari Aster




    After a loss in her family, Dani travels to Sweden with her boyfriend and his friends to experience an authentic old custom festival unaware of just how authentic it will be...


    It was just one year ago that Ari Aster made his name in horror with the release of his first feature length film, Hereditary. In the eyes of many, including my own, Hereditary was a modern classic, one in which I not only rated 10/10, but also ranked it as the film of the year. One year later and Aster is back with an even more ambitious project, but one that still follows some of the biggest strengths shown in his first film.

    If you were to give Aster a title, it would be that of ‘The King of Anguish Horror’. The depths of despair that Aster went to in Hereditary were greatly helped by the incredible acting performance of its star, Toni Collette. If you thought that you’d be given a reprieve from this sort of horror in his follow-up, you were badly mistaken. While the true anguish in Hereditary came around the midpoint of the film, Midsommar doesn’t waste any time reaching that point. The film’s star, Dani, receives truly the worst news that a person in her position could hear. Going into Midsommar, I knew very, very little about the film, but I was aware of something happening to her at the start of the film to kick off this emotional journey. The reveal of what truly happened felt like a punch in the gut as the camera slowly pans through a house, no longer hiding its secrets that was initially kept from Dani and the viewers in the opening ten minutes. Being that I just know of Florence Pugh (Dani) from playing Paige in 2019’s Fighting with my Family, I was blown away by how well she performed in these all crucial scenes of showing anguish in the aftermath of a horrific event. Again, she’s forced to try to compete with Collette’s performance in Hereditary, so to hold her own, in some scenes, was impressive.

    While it’s not an Aster film, while watching Midsommar, I viewed its main story as being similar to the one that Thomasin went through in another A24 released film - 2015’s The VVitch. As their most basic level, both Dani and Thomasin are lacking that critical family support. Their troubles lies in the fact that they need that support and due to not having it, they stray further and further from the characters that they begin the film as. By the end of the films, both characters have found new families to be among, whether it’s a good or bad thing. Rather than being the heroines of their own films, Dani and Thomasin are neutral victims, who do not commit any crimes, but ultimately have to choose a new path if they look to survive.

    In general, many of my thoughts on my first watch of The VVitch mirrors my thoughts on Midsommar. When I first got out of my theater showing of The VVitch, I didn’t know what I felt about the film. It was clearly a well made film, but did I actually like it? With Midsommar, it’s such a bizarre film that feels all over the place. Hereditary could get pretty crazy, especially in the final act, but it was still grounded in a reality that I was familiar with. An American family dealing with life after loss and all that comes from grief. Obviously, I can’t relate to the lengths that that film went, but at its basic level, I identify with what the family went through. Midsommar took me out of my comfort zone in a country I’ve never been to, introducing me to customs I was entirely unfamiliar with. I wonder if Europeans, especially Swedish, will have a different experience while watching Midsommar due to being able to recognize certain aspects, regardless of how small, better than I would.

    While this core story of Dani dealing with the anguish of grief and then the aftermath of a relationship that had already turned sour long before the opening event of the film took place, the rest of the film felt like a never ending series of vignettes. Many of these events weren’t so much horror, but rather exposing the viewer to a world in which it wasn’t familiar with. I’d also say that I had a little problem with the length. Clocking in at just under two hours and ten minutes, Hereditary was already a longer than average horror film. Midsommar was twenty minutes longer than Hereditary. Perhaps had the narrative been stronger for me, like in Hereditary, I would have been more invested. Instead, it was a long tease where you knew that things would progressively become more and more crazy, but the viewer had to sit through a lot to get there.

    As talented as Aster is, his cinematographer, Pawel Pogorzelski, deserves a massive amount of credit for bringing Aster’s vision to light. Pogorzelski also worked with Aster on Hereditary, so you know even before going into Midsommar, the camera shots are going to be fantastic. I really hope that this duo continues to create films together because it’s going to be difficult to imagine an Aster film without Pogorzelski’s eye. Much like in Hereditary, most of the horror of Midsommar comes in unexpected moments. Aster seems to relish in catching the viewer off guard or at least creating the tension that something bad is going to happen, but then having the horror being something different from the expectation. The sheer brutality of suicides during the ceremony on the cliffside was insane. Can we all agree that long shots on a mangled head is becoming Aster’s trademark shot?

    Overall, Midsommar will be a film in which I will have to watch multiple times before settling on an opinion on the film. Yet again, Aster had made a very well made technical film, but it went to such weird lengths that I’m not sure If I was enjoying it all. Elements like the anguish shown in the opening of the film, what an absolute lowlife Dani’s boyfriend Christian could be, and shocking displays of horror all are what worked for me. Even if I’m not touting Midsommar like I did with Hereditary, Aster (And A24 Films) is still creating truly unique horror for those who wishes to see something different. Aster will continue to be a fascinating figure to keep an eye on as he continues to grow as a filmmaker. If there’s one thing you can expect out of an Aster film, it’s the feeling of being emotionally broken. As long as that continues to be his intention, he’s succeeding as a filmmaker in my eyes.

    Grade: B

    Fright in Motion:

    Spoiler:


    ---

    Coming up next, it's taken eleven editions of Fright Fest before a simple question could be asked - do you like scary movies?

  2. #102
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    Re: Fright Fest 11 - Franken Berry Turns Your Poop Pink

    I absolutely loved Midsommar and it’s craziness. I was actually wondering when you were gonna do the movie (or entire series at that) coming up


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  3. #103

    Re: Fright Fest 11 - Franken Berry Turns Your Poop Pink

    Quote Originally Posted by Slick Mitch View Post
    I was actually wondering when you were gonna do the movie (or entire series at that) coming up
    If the activity is there in the replies to the review, I'd be willing to turn it into a full series review over the next four days. I do have a different horror series in plan to either cover in full on Halloween day or at least cover three films from the series on that day. Five movies in one day would be the most I'd ever cover review wise in Fright Fest history. I don't know if five reviews in one day is reasonable.

  4. #104
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    Re: Fright Fest 11 - Franken Berry Turns Your Poop Pink

    I really enjoyed Midsommar when I watched it a couple weekends ago. I quite like Florence Pugh so that helped. But the visual style of it just really worked for me. The long shots that just create that sense of dread and foreboding so effectively. One of my favorite shots was as they drive up the road toward the village and the view flips....
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  5. #105

    Re: Fright Fest 11 - Franken Berry Turns Your Poop Pink

    Day #20
    Title: Scream
    Country: United States
    Year: 1996
    Director: Wes Craven




    A maniac tries to use his horror knowledge to terrorize and kill the teenagers of Woodsboro.


    Throughout the 1980s, slashers ruled the world of horror to the point that slashers were all that people thought about when it comes to horror back then. Yet, despite the popularity of such figures as Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger, the popularity began to die down in the late 80s with the slasher sub-genre seemingly being dead by the start of the 90s. When all three of the heavy hitters from the slashers attempted to find success again in the 90s with Jason Goes to Hell, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, and The Curse of Michael Myers, none could find the popularity that they once had. Instead, in 1996, the partnership of Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson finally found a way to make slashers popular again with their incredible release of Scream. To me, the key to Scream’s success wasn’t that they proved that slashers weren’t actually dead, but rather Williamson’s script offered a slasher, but with fresh twists that made the sub-genre feel original again.

    So what was it that made Scream feel so original? I feel as if Scream introduced two key elements that made it feel entirely different from every slasher that came before it. The most obvious being that it was a meta film. This isn't your typical slasher where characters made foolish decisions and the viewer were just expected to go along with it because that’s what happens. These characters were not only aware of horror movies, but some characters were even experts on the horror film formula. It’s one of the more classic scenes in Scream, but Randy going over the rules to survive a horror movie is a fantastic job of addressing the tropes in horror. Throughout the film, there’s all of these references to various horror movies with characters trying to connect the happenings of the movie to what has happened in other movies. At times, this can add to the fears as well. For Casey, she’s presented the task of answering a fairly simple horror question, but one with grave consequences. If she wishes to keep her boyfriend, Steve, alive, she has to correctly guess the killer in Friday the 13th. For any horror nerd watching the movie, it’s an easy question. You either answer the question directly or you give an expanded answer of initially saying Jason Voorhees, but make mention that the killer in the original movie is Mrs. Voorhees. However, when you’re put under as much stress as Casey was, can you really depend on your own horror knowledge and to think clearly enough to remember the conditions of stating the correct answer? Any time a character can be forced into such a tense fueled situation, where they just can’t relax because they’re so terrified, I find to be a scary thought. The other condition that made Scream feel so original is the big reveal that there wasn’t one killer, but rather two. I’m sure you can probably find other horror movies with two killers prior to Scream, but the 1996 slasher is what popularized it. Suddenly, by introducing the idea of multiple killers, it makes predicting the killer all the more difficult. How are you supposed to be able to correctly identify a killer when you don’t know how many there are? In the case of Scream directly, it makes it all the more difficult to eliminate possible candidates because even if a character wasn’t the killer in one scene, it doesn’t mean that they weren’t in the next one. This concept of the two killer formula even allowed the Scream franchise to add a new twist by only utilizing a single killer in the third installment. By the release of Scream 4, how is anyone supposed to be able to guess who is the killer when the series has made a name for itself by never letting you be confident at the number of killers? These two elements helped Scream feel so different from just all of the slashers of the 80s.

    As I’ve watched Scream many times over the last twenty plus years, it’s always fun trying to look at it in a different light. In the case of this latest watch, I tried to identify who I would consider to be the top suspects as to the identity of Ghostface. I ultimately came up with three top suspects and an honorable mention. The honorable mention is simple Tatum. She really struck a chord with me with her fight against Billy and Stu about whether or not the killer could be a woman. Add in the fact that it was revealed that Stu once dated Casey and Tatum took forever to finally arrive at Sidney’s house, after Ghostface had appeared, it seemed like enough evidence to at least draw some suspicion. My main three suspects though, were Stu, Dewey, and Principal Himbry. Starting with Himbry, not only was he overly aggressive when dealing with pranksters in school to the point that his discontent for the youth would explain why he’d possibly try killing them, but there’s a brief moment when Sidney is interviewed in the principal’s office by the police, Himbry made a deliberate action of touching Sidney’s chin, to which Sheriff Burke took notice. That little action would have been enough of a clue that Himbrey was the killer in an 80s slasher, but since Scream was self aware of these tropes, he can’t be the killer. Then there’s Dewey. Although a lovable guy that seems to only want to help Sidney, he keeps disappearing and reappearing at the right moments. Case in point, when Ghostface called Sidney up when she was staying at the Rileys, it happened after Dewey went to his bedroom and he only came out of his bedroom just after Ghostface hung up his phone. Boy, that sure was a coincidence. In general, any overly nice characters seem to be a decent possibility for being revealed to be a sick killer. It’s why Dewey was my #2 prediction. #1 was Stu. Stu was suspicious from the very start, but more importantly, he kept disappearing without being killed. In a typical slasher, a jerk character like Stu likely would have died during a sex scene or something similar for a character like that. The brilliance of Scream having two killers makes it so that even if Stu was an obvious killer, his obviousness change the fact that the two killer reveal will still take the viewer by surprise.

    In my list of possible suspects, there’s a few notable omissions. For starters, Sidney’s dad. Even way back when I first saw Scream when renting the VHS tape, her father being the possible killer never made much sense to me. Sure, the film tried to frame him in such a way that it made sense seeing as it was the one year anniversary of his wife dying, leading to him losing his mind. However, if Sidney’s dad was the killer, why would he be going after teenagers? Everyone who was killed was someone connected to the teenagers of Woodsboro. As much as I Ioved the character of Randy, as he was my favorite in the franchise, I wouldn’t say he ever stood out as a possible suspect. Sure, he had the the tie of being someone who had a crush on Sidney and a love of horror, but he was simply some horror geek. The film never expanded on the evidence against Randy. Then there’s Billy. Without question, Billy was the most interesting character in the film. Back in the 80s, this bad boy boyfriend would be either a top suspect or killed off in a predictable death. Instead, the film chooses to direct so much of its attention, with only Sidney’s dad getting as much suspicion thrown his way, towards Billy, to the point that all doubts on Billy are quickly squashed by the fact that the two killer twist made it impossible for Billy to be the killer until everyone learns that there wasn’t one killer. Randy might be the one known for being the horror fan, but Randy is just a guy who watches enough movies to pick up on a set of rules for a character to have to follow if they wish to survive. Now Billy, on the other hand, he might not wear his horror fandom on his sleeves quite like Randy, but this is a guy who isn’t just a movie fan, but rather someone who lives his life by films. He’s forced to think about his relationship and the lack of sex when watching The Exorcist on TV because it’s edited for cable. He bluntly tells Sidney that their lives is a movie. His entire logic for setting up the kills is all built around his movie obsession. Re-watching the film, there’s a clear difference in approaches to movies when it comes to Randy and Billy. Yet, Randy is the one who is credited as being the cliche movie geek. How strange.

    Of course, you can not talk about Scream without discussing its opening scene. Clocking in at twelve minutes long, this is one of the most iconic and greatest openings in a horror movie. Playing out as an entire short movie, itself, it’s a simple telephone call that gets progressively more disturbing the longer it goes on. The whole line of, “What’s your favorite scary movie?” is one of the more legendary lines in cinema. Of course, there’s the whole Psycho appeal of showcasing a major star, in this case Drew Barrymore, seemingly as the main star, only to kill her off early on. Once you’ve watched the film and are going back for a re-watch, the long shot of the tree with a swing slowly rocking back and forth becomes an eerie shot. Speaking of re-watches, an appeal of re-watching Scream 1-2, 4, is discussing with others the speculation of which killer was portraying Ghostface at any point. For example, in the original Scream, the most obvious identity of Ghostface came when Billy was apparently attacked by the mask wearing killer. Considering the fact that there’s two killers and if Billy wasn’t Ghostface in that scene, then clearly Stu was the killer in that moment. In the opening scene, I wonder what would have been worse for Casey? Removing Ghostface’s mask to reveal her ex boyfriend, someone who she used to care about and trusted or removing the mask to just find a classmate, perhaps someone she saw around campus, but never talked to before? If it’s Stu, it likely would have been heartbreaking, but had it been Billy, were Casey’s final moments of life pure confusion? The most tragic and horrifying moment of the film takes place in this opening scene as well as Casey’s parents come home to find their house in a mess with Casey’s poor mother hearing her daughter’s final breaths of life when trying to call for help. Between that and Casey’s mother walking out of the house to find her daughter hanging from a tree, guts pouring out, the opening really showcases some disturbing ideas.

    Despite my overly positive review of Scream, I haven’t always had such a favorable experience with the film or its franchise. When it comes to my horror history, it began in the early 90s as a child, discovering horror for the first time with my sister and cousins. These would be movies like Child’s Play 1-3, Friday the 13th Part 3, and A Nightmare on Elm Street 2-4. For the next several years, I never truly got into horror, being far more likely to rent a wrestling tape than horror whenever I went to a video rental store. When Scream came out, I distinctly remember watching the rented VHS tape alone in my house. However, watching Halloween for the first time in the late 90s and being terrified of that closet scene, yet unable to stop watching, I dove into the world of horror, trying to watch as much as I could. I blame this on my age at the time, since I was a young, moody teenager, who felt the need to be judgmental. The more I watched of horror and expanded my knowledge, the more I started to steer away from Scream and other late 90s horrors that I considered to be teenybopper crap. In my view, in those days, that was not true horror, but rather Hollywood’s cheap attempt at cashing in on repetitive movies featuring all of the hot stars from the WB. I recall even giving away my VHS copies of Scream 1-3 to a friend, because why would I, a true horror fan, ever want to watch such dire movies ever again? I was a fool. Not only foolish for failing to recognize all that Scream brought to horror, even if I’m still to be critical of those slashers that came in the aftermath of Scream, but also being foolish for thinking one type of horror is better than another type. At some point, and I can’t even recall when, I ended up giving the Scream franchise another try, this time years after the fact where I was perhaps a tad bit more mature now as an adult. Now that I wasn’t trying so hard to know what real horror was and what was just teenybopper trash, I was able to once again appreciate Scream and its franchise. Well, perhaps not so much with Scream 3. In hindsight, besides just immaturity, I chalk up this troubled history with Scream as desiring for horror to regain its grittiness that it had lost in the mid 80s. Once that grittiness returned to horror in the mid 2000s, what exactly was I truly hating Scream for?

    Overall, Scream is one of the most important horror films of the modern age. A film in which kicked off a new boom period for slashers, even if those films failed to understand what truly made the self referential Scream work. It’s a movie filled with legendary moments from the opening scene, to many quotes, to just using a voice modifier to toy with your future victims. It may not have always been a movie that I love, but I’m now able to just sit back and enjoy it for all of its creativity. Wes Craven’s legacy may be closely tied to creating the iconic horror killer of Freddy Krueger, but Scream ensured that Craven would be known for a second legendary killer in Ghostface.

    Grade: A

    Fright in Motion:

    Spoiler:


    ---

    Coming up next, one of the most unlikely killers in horror history.

  6. #106
    American Ninja

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    Re: Fright Fest 11 - Franken Berry Turns Your Poop Pink

    Perfect timing, I just picked this up and plan to watch it when I get back from Houston later today. I always thought Scream was pretty cool but I hated the impact it had on horror movies and how everything tried to be like it. I was glad when that Breakfast Club era was over.

  7. #107

    Re: Fright Fest 11 - Franken Berry Turns Your Poop Pink

    Quote Originally Posted by ShinobiMusashi View Post
    Perfect timing, I just picked this up and plan to watch it when I get back from Houston later today. I always thought Scream was pretty cool but I hated the impact it had on horror movies and how everything tried to be like it. I was glad when that Breakfast Club era was over.
    Its impact is a double edged sword. On one hand, it inspired a lot of crap, but at the same time, it revitalized the horror genre. The first half of the 90s was not a popular time for horror. Whether the movies being released in the aftermath of Scream were good or not, at least horror was being made and raking in the money. In that time period and of that type of horror, I'd say the next best film was The Faculty, coincidentally another film written by Kevin Williamson and covered back in Fright Fest 7. Not everything Williamson wrote was a hit (I'm looking at you I Know What You Did Last Summer), but if he was writing it and he had a good director, whether Craven or in the case of Faculty, Robert Rodriguez, quality could be made. The real problem seemed to stem from people trying to imitate Williamson's style without fully grasping it. Sometimes it turned out to be fine, such as in Fright Fest 6's Halloween H20, but most of the time it just didn't work.

    I've seen others make the claim that what made Scream work, when it came to being self referential, is because it was built into the story. The film is filled with movie obsessed characters, including the killers. Other slashers of the time period tried to be self referential without having any reason to be.

  8. #108

    Re: Fright Fest 11 - Franken Berry Turns Your Poop Pink

    Day #21
    Title: Rubber
    Country: United States
    Year: 2010
    Director: Quentin Dupieux




    Why has a tire come alive and began attacking people? No reason.


    Thinking back to 2010, I seem to recall a decent amount of attention for Rubber. For a film with such a small budget of $500,000, it’s understandable why it would generate some talk when it’s literally a movie featuring a killer tire. When learning of the concept, how could one not be curious about it, whether you’re actually going to go through with watching the film or just having a passing opinion on the concept. My vague memories of my initial watch of it was that while I was humored by the idea, the film was ultimately too dull to be talked about any more than the original discussion regarding the concept.

    No reason. At the start of the film, the host of the film, who later is introduced as Lieutenant Chad, exposed the history of movies with how often things happened without any reason. Why was the alien in ET brown? No reason. Why did the couple in Love Story fall in love? No reason. In a unique take, it’s the film’s message to its viewers that Rubber is ultimately a film that doesn’t have any meaning. Yet, that, in itself, becomes its meaning. The entire movie seems to be a message towards the film industry and how little things truly matter. The sub-plot of Rubber even features a group of onlookers, watching the events of the film and commenting, becoming the surrogate viewers of the film. At times, the onlookers can be snarky and says things that the viewer will likely be saying. To say the least, Rubber is a super meta film.

    Despite this, with this latest watch, I couldn’t work out whether I believed that this was a positive or negative film. I’d like to think that this is writer/director, Quentin Dupieux, super deep dive look at Hollywood, poking fun at itself in a loving manner. If that’s the case, Dupieux is trying so hard to come up with a fresh idea, while having that creative idea built around appearing as if he’s not putting in any effort. Rubber is less for horror fans as much as it’s geared towards surrealists. They know what Hollywood can offer, but would rather explore new concepts and creativity through film. Some might call these fans pretentious, but my thought process is that as long as you’re getting something positive out of Rubber, does it matter if you’re trying too hard to be clever?

    I’d like for that previous paragraph to be true. That would at least be a positive spin on this project, even if I found myself not entranced by such an unusual film. However, with this latest view, I couldn’t help but view the film in a negative light. Instead of a bizarre love letter to cinema, Dupiuex instead comes across as bitter towards not only Hollywood, but also to moviegoers. With his instance that there’s no reason for anything in Rubber, Dupiuex is taking shots at Hollywood, believing that all of these films are so uninspired. Worst yet, by having the onlookers constantly make comments regarding the events of the film, he’s taking shots at the viewer towards those who aren’t able to simply shut up and enjoy his works of art. Earlier in the month, I raved about One Cut of the Dead and how it not only inspired me, but reminded me my love for movies. Rubber fills me with such negative feelings inside as a filmmaker lashes out against everyone. Whether a movie is good or bad, in most cases, you want to feel uplifted at the conclusion of a movie. For example, I own Leprechaun: The Complete Movie Collection on Blu-Ray. The Leprechaun movies are generally pretty awful, but on the Blu-Ray is a series of documentaries entitled, Leprechaun Chronicles. Each volume of the Leprechaun Chronicles looks back at one of the Leprechaun films with interviews with the cast and crew. The people behind the films are very honest in admitting the faults of each movie, but they look back at the movies with such fondness that I couldn’t help but appreciate the Leprechaun movies more. The movies may be bad, but the people behind the franchise had fun and ultimately, fun is what every moviegoer should want out of their latest movie watch. Instead of adding fun, Rubber instead made me feel as if movies are pointless and everyone involved, both in the studios and viewers, contribute to why movies are awful. Is this take on Dupiuex’s intentions wrong? Perhaps, but maybe what matters more is not that I’m wrong, but that I was given the impression in the first place.

    The entire reason why Rubber generated any buzz that it did is because of the absurdity of the plot. A movie featuring a killer tire is simply put - stupid. However, there’s nothing wrong with having a stupid film. Especially in the last couple of decades, there has been a rise in appreciation of movies that are so bad that they’re entertaining. Sy-Fy Originals has completely leaned into this demographic. Do you think there’s been six Sharknado movies because they’re good? Absolutely not! There’s been so many Sharknado films because there’s movie fans out there that enjoy laughing at bad movies because it’s fun. Rubber had a chance to be a fun movie. The concept is fun. Rather than lean into that stupid, yet fun area by going all out with the tire and his series of massacres, the film instead goes a pretentious route. It’s slow going, dull, very little happens, and never bothers having a coherent plot. It’s a shame really because the film loved crazy head explosions, undoubtedly a message to how all moviegoers want is some gratuitous violence, so that potential for fun was there. As much as I enjoyed all of the head explosions, I was disappointed by the fact that the killer’s means of slaughtering his victims was by using telekinesis. I can’t recall a single wacky moment where the tire launches itself at a victim and bounces on the head of the victim until they die. Would it be a stupid death scene? Sure, but it’s a movie about a killer tire. There’s certain expectations for films with absurd premises. Rubber falls short of delivering on those expectations.

    Overall, Rubber wasn’t a pleasant watch this time around. I knew, from my previous watch, that I was likely going to be left bored, but I was taken by surprise by how disheartened I felt. Whether it was the intention of the filmmaker or not, Rubber feels as if it’s made simply as a “Fuck you” to both Hollywood and movie fans in general. Fantastic job at all of the exploding heads though.

    Grade: D

    Fright in Motion:

    Spoiler:


    ---

    Coming up next, the longest film title in Fright Fest history. Seriously, why is this title so damn long?

  9. #109
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    Re: Fright Fest 11 - Franken Berry Turns Your Poop Pink

    Rubber is so bad I watched it off a joke and shit and was like wth am I watching.

    Spoiler:


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  10. #110

    Re: Fright Fest 11 - Franken Berry Turns Your Poop Pink

    Day #22
    Title: Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key
    Country: Italy
    Year: 1972
    Director: Sergio Martino




    After a series of murders begins to occur, a housewife is convinced that her abusive husband is behind them.


    As I explore deeper in the giallo sub-genre, I’m certainly no stranger to unusual movies. Perhaps the cultural differences of an American watching Italian films plays a role in it or maybe giallo films are just particular by nature. Whatever the answer, what I do know is that Gently Before She Dies or as it’s more commonly called - Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key (Nothing like a simple title…) is one of the odder giallos. Part giallo, part Poe inspired, Your Vice was a hyper sexual film that seemed more concerned with showing off its sleeze rather than scares.

    The layout of Your Vice took me by surprise as the trademark series of murders begins, but the killer is quickly found and killed when he attempts his second kill of the film. In fact, I’d argue that this killer was added to the film merely to add some tension to the real plot of the film as a troubling question develops. If the black leather gloved killer was responsible for the first death and was killed pretty early on in the film, who exactly was responsible for the death of the black maid? As there’s so few characters in the film, there seems to be just three suspects. Could it be the abusive husband, Oliviero, whose favorite hobby is beating and humiliating his wife. Another suspect is his forever antagonized wife, Irina, who when not being abused by her husband is left terrified by his black cat, Satan. The last suspect is Oliviero’s niece, Floriana, who shows up midway into the film without a clear idea why, but spends her time sleeping around, including with Oliviero and Irina. Always separate, because otherwise her exploits into incest would be too weird. Obviously.

    That’s essentially the film. Oliviero is such a lowlife that even in the first scene, he force feeds his wife to drink down everyone’s remaining glasses of wine at a party, right in front of the guests. There’s zero love in the marriage coming from either participant. Oliviero loves the memory of his deceased mother, where it’s suggested that they had had an incestial relationship, his cat Satan since it belonged to his mother (Insert some witty joke about Oliviero still loving his mother’s pu...never mind actually), and then openly lusting after his niece. Irina is an absolute mess throughout the film with her only regaining some semblance of control in her life at the end of the movie. Floriana might be the strangest one of all because it never seemed as if she cared about anyone, but she enjoyed creating drama and worming her way into everyone’s sex lives. Yet, Floriana is also the most interesting because while Oliviero and Irina are so engaged in their everyday lives of despising each other to the point of near murder multiple times, we don’t know what Floriana’s objective even is. This creates a lot of curiosity about whether or not Floriana may be behind the killing of her uncle’s maid, despite it happening before she arrived into town. Then again, when Oliviero and Irina went to pick her up from the bus station, she doesn’t get off the bus, but rather out of the car of someone she hitched with. In theory, that could have been a clue that Floriana was already in town, staying elsewhere, until she needed to officially make her appearance known.

    So, out of the three of them, who is actually responsible for the maid’s death? As it turns out, the emotionally unstable Irina is actually in far more control than she let on. It’s revealed that through the help of her hitman, she had her maid killed so to cast more doubt on her husband due to the fact that the first victim in the film was his lover. She hated her husband so much that she was planning on sticking around to slowly drive him to madness, but she ultimately had to cut her plan short when she discovered that Oliviero was planning on killing her. This is where I had a core problem with the story. Even though Irina technically beat Oliviero since she killed him, her idea to torture her husband was to remain in an abusive marriage where day in and day out, he attacked her, sexually assaulted, and humiliated her in front of others? Kudos to her for playing the long game, but I don’t see how she had any success in her main plan to drive him to madness. All she accomplished was making her life miserable and constantly risk being killed by him. That being said, I did like the reveal in that this pathetic character that spent the majority of the film feeling hopeless, suddenly was revealed to be in full control. Not only did she kill her husband, but she killed Floriana (And her boyfriend) in order to get back what Floriana had secretly come to town seeking, and killed her hitman (Gotta keep her secret safe) by using the plan suggested to her by Floriana when Floriana tried to offer up an idea of how to get rid of Oliviero. It’s a fun call back as i imagine Floriana didn’t think the poor Irina would ever muster up the courage to ever attempt such a thing, but Irina proved her and everyone else wrong.

    While the very last scene was incredibly predictable once the police came to the house and everyone began to hear the mews of Satan, it’s a classic ending straight out of Poe’s The Black Cat (Which, it occurs to me is essentially the same ending as The Tell-Tale Heart) with Irina’s plan being foiled by that darn cat. Considering the fact that the plot was all over the place, I appreciated that the ending was grounded back into a more traditional horror light. There weren’t many kills, at least with the assistance of some sort of sharp object, but the ones we do get to see are bloody and rewarding. One even featured quite a large pooling of blood, which was more than I would have expected.

    Overall, if you’re heading into Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key hoping to be scared, you’re instead going to be greeted with an incestial love triangle where everyone is unlikable and everyone enjoys making the lives of others miserable. I believe Your Vice marks my second time watching a Sergio Martino giallo where previously I reviewed 1973’s Torso for last year’s Fright Fest. Both films are a little directionless and are hyper sexual, but while Your Vice was far more straight forward when it came to establishing the main characters, Torso was the more interesting film that featured far more tense scenes. As a result, if you have to choose between the two Martino films, I’d recommend Torso ahead of Your Vice.

    Grade: B

    Fright in Motion:

    Spoiler:


    ---

    Coming up next, it's time to learn the rules to surviving a horror sequel.

  11. #111

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    Re: Fright Fest 11 - Franken Berry Turns Your Poop Pink

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim View Post
    Spoiler:

    Looks like The Intersect is still kicking around in ol' Bartowski's head.

    I can't believe it took you this long to get to SCREAM. One of the only horror movies I'd take a bullet for. Love that flick and three fourths of the series in general. Always make time to watch it this time of year.



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  12. #112

    Re: Fright Fest 11 - Franken Berry Turns Your Poop Pink

    Quote Originally Posted by Silk View Post
    Looks like The Intersect is still kicking around in ol' Bartowski's head.
    Ellie would be so disappointed in Chuck.

    I can't believe it took you this long to get to SCREAM. One of the only horror movies I'd take a bullet for. Love that flick and three fourths of the series in general. Always make time to watch it this time of year.
    I've spoken about this in a broader sense at various points, but there's a variety of reasons why something like Scream gets overlooked year after year. Since I like trying to mix things up rather than simply reviewing movies I've already seen a bunch, there might be 31 slots open each October, but a lot of the slots gets given to movies that I've either never seen or ideally they offer something different such as being foreign. There's also the problem that the last two times I've seen Scream, it was in September 2015 and April 2018. I tend not to watch movies multiple times a year, so by watching Scream earlier in the year, by time October rolls around, I'm not interested in watching it again so soon. I can even place the blame on the readers. In the entire history of Fright Fest, there's been exactly one request for Scream and that was by a single poster was back in 2011. As Ed found out last year with Cockneys vs Zombies, if you request a movie enough times, over the course of multiple Fright Fests, sooner or later I'm likely to cover it.

    So in short, the person to blame for why it's taken me so long to cover Scream in Fright Fest is the person staring back at you in the mirror. For shame, for shame.

  13. #113

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    Re: Fright Fest 11 - Franken Berry Turns Your Poop Pink

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim View Post
    So in short, the person to blame for why it's taken me so long to cover Scream in Fright Fest is the person staring back at you in the mirror. For shame, for shame.
    I guess I always imagined you'd done it by now so I never bothered requesting them

    Throw in some Cabin in the Woods for me next year.



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  14. #114

    Re: Fright Fest 11 - Franken Berry Turns Your Poop Pink

    Quote Originally Posted by Silk View Post
    I guess I always imagined you'd done it by now so I never bothered requesting them
    If only there was a handy and highly organized list to find every movie I've ever reviewed in Fright Fest. If only!

    Throw in some Cabin in the Woods for me next year.
    I wouldn't be so quick to assume that it won't be coming this year.

  15. #115

    Re: Fright Fest 11 - Franken Berry Turns Your Poop Pink

    Day #23
    Title: Scream 2
    Country: United States
    Year: 1997
    Director: Wes Craven




    A year after the events in Woodsboro, Sidney is trying to enjoy her life while attending college, but a mask from her past looks to bring death back to her life.


    Following the monster success of 1996’s Scream, various things were put into motion, some expected and some that I feel came as a surprise. To no surprise, a sequel was rushed into production. What’s surprising about the sequel is that despite the fact that Scream was responsible for this new boom in popularity for horror movies, especially for slashers starring the hot teen stars of television, Scream 2 was released before nearly anyone else could capitalize on the success of Scream. In fact, it seems as if it was only another Kevin Williamson’ scripted film, I Know What You Did Last Summer, as being the sole film of this sort that came out before Scream 2, but even then, it only came out just under two months prior to Scream 2. 1998 would be the year that we truly saw what popularity Scream had created two years earlier with the release of Halloween H20, Bride of Chucky, The Faculty, Disturbing Behavior, Urban Legend, and even the follow-up to I Know What You Did Last Summer - I Still Know What You Did Last Summer. Yet, was Scream 2 being rushed into production a good thing?

    The big news story revolving around Scream 2 is that the script was apparently leaked online, which considering the fact that the Scream franchise relies so heavily on the big reveal of the killer(s) at the end of each film, the newest film being spoiled well in advance was a disaster. The result is that many portions of the script was re-written, now with additional fake scripts, and even Wes Craven forced to expand on the thin script when shooting scenes. The thing about Scream 2 is that while I do find it to be a highly enjoyable film, it’s also a film riddled with negatives. Yet, could every problem be a direct result of rushing to release a sequel, not even letting the script being leaked slow down production?

    The biggest flaw of Scream 2 is that none of the new characters are given much emphasis nor do we learn much about them. The strangest addition being that of Buffy herself, Sarah Michelle Gellar. Although I’ve always enjoyed her character of CiCi and do believe we get to know her well enough (Movie geek, sorority girl, boyfriend is a bit of a loser), she’s ultimately kind of pointless? She might be in the film class with Randy and Mickey, but what significance did she truly have on the story? She doesn’t have any form of relationship with Sidney and she ends up being a mindless death to increase the body count. In theory, that would be fine, but while she’s given two very solid scenes where we get to know her some, it’s quite a contrast to the very little we know about the characters that are supposed to matter - namely Hallie and Mickey.

    What do we know about Hallie beyond what was just shown on the screen that she was Sidney’s roommate and a pledge? Absolutely nothing. Had Scream 2 switched the roles of Hallie and CiCi, perhaps we would have actually cared about Hallie when she was killed off. Considering the fact that in the script that was leaked online where Hallie was revealed to be one of the killers, it’s best to assume that the forced rewrites butchered her character worse than Ghostface did to her body. Then there’s Mickey played by Timothy Olyphant. Olyphant is a great actor, but he was already hindered by the fact that Mickey came across as a poor man’s Stu. The fact that he disappeared for half of the film without ever even offering up an explanation for why he knew about Derek running back into the sorority house, he was an obvious Ghostface. Speaking of Derek, I’ve never been able to be fond of the Derek character. There’s not any chemistry between him and Sidney where I view Derek as caring far more about Sidney than Sidney ever did about him. The fact that he’s with Sidney when the majority of the audience would rather see Randy with Sidney doesn’t help the likability of Derek at all. The Derek character was put in a difficult position where no one wanted him to be there, but his involvement played up nicely at the end when Sidney was put in a position to work out whether or not a boyfriend had betrayed her again.

    If there’s one new character that does succeed in a huge way, it’s Debbie Salt. For the majority of Scream 2, Salt is merely some local reporter whose sole existence is to be Gale’s constant annoyance, harking back to how Gale was perceived to be in the original Scream. It’s in the final act in which the truth comes out about Salt’s identity. As iconic as Billy and Stu were as the killers in the original Scream, Salt aka Mrs. Loomis, Billy’s mother, is likely my favorite killer in the franchise. A big part of the appeal of Mrs. Loomis that she was played by Laurie Metcalf. These days, Metcalf is likely known for a few different roles especially thanks to the success of The Big Bang Theory, but back in the 90s, all Metcalf was known for was Aunt Jackie from Roseanne. That decade long show had even just wrapped up earlier in the year. On the surface, Metcalf was tasked with an impossible challenge - portray someone other than Aunt Jackie where the viewer wouldn’t just be thinking of Aunt Jackie. Once Mrs. Loomis ditched her Debbie Salt identity, she became the best aspect of the film. Mrs. Loomis is utterly crazy, but she also has the best reasoning for wanting to kill Sidney. Unlike everyone else in the Scream franchise that has killed out of wanting fame, attention, or misguided revenge, Mrs. Loomis simply wants to kill the woman responsible for her beloved son’s death. In a fun twist, it’s the reverse Friday the 13th. In the original Friday the 13th, Mrs. Voorhees went on a killing spree out of revenge for an action committed against her son in the past. Then in the sequel, Jason Voorhees stepped up to avenge the death of his mother. In Scream, Billy partially went on his killing spree out of revenge for his mother feeling the need to flee town, while in Scream 2, Mrs. Loomis wants payback for her son’s death. There’s some sympathy in Mrs. Loomis’ character as well. She’s a mother who is heartbroken over her son’s death. A death that perhaps she feels guilt over due to the fact that her leaving town is what prompted it. However, it’s tough to accept personal responsibility for your own actions sometimes, so rather than looking in herself to process what she’s feeling, she instead believes all of her problems would be solved if her son’s girlfriend is killed off. Is the logic a little flawed? Perhaps, but the logic is still there. Hats off to Metcalf though, the viewer completely forgets about Aunt Jackie once Mrs. Loomis is allowed to come out to play.

    The opening is another classic scene in the Scream franchise and sums up my thoughts on the film pretty well. It’s greatly entertaining, even if there’s problems attached to it. Every time I’ve watched the film, I always have a problem with how Omar Epps’ character of Phil Stevens is killed by a knife through a bathroom stall wall. It’s not even though the slot where the different walls are attached together to form the stall, we’re to believe that Mickey somehow stabbed through a metal wall enough to go through the head of Phil, killing him? And to think, people make a big deal about how Michael Myers was able to suspend Bob off of the floor with a knife through the wall. Michael has nothing on Mickey! Scream 2’s biggest addition to the franchise was the introduction of the meta Stab franchise, mirroring the Scream series. While it’s a great addition, the premiere seems like such an awful experience with everyone going wild throughout the film, making it difficult to just watch the film in peace. This isn’t some screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, this was the first time all of those moviegoers were seeing the movie! The pure chaos allows for a highly convenient, but disturbing death of Maureen right in the middle of a packed theater, without anyone realizing what was happening until it was too late. I find it to be a terrifying concept, being brutally attacked in public, yet unable to get any help. Mickey again does the impossible by managing to find Maureen in a crowded theater (After already finding Phil) so that he could finish out his opening night killing spree. The other great scene happens to take place inside of a police car that is the most tense scene of the film and perhaps even of the entire franchise. If I were to come up with a shortlist of favorite scenes from the Scream franchise, the police car scene would not only be included, but it could be the scariest. My favorite character of the franchise, Randy Meeks, again gets to shine with his discussion going over potential suspects with Dewey. It mirrors his scene with Stu back in the video rental store in the original Scream. That fun value with Randy also involved a film class scene where he and his classmates, including CiCi and Mickey, discuss sequels compared to the original with the super, mega, movie geek, Randy, failing to accurately state the iconic Aliens quote. Could this be a sign that Randy’s knowledge of horror sequels wasn’t high enough to ensure his survival in Scream 2? As heartbreaking as Randy’s death is, these important deaths are so critical to retaining fear for your major characters whenever they’re put in danger. A big problem of the rest of the franchise is that the core three always survives, so why should a viewer be concerned when their lives are on the line? If you don’t sometimes kill off important characters, there’s never any reason to worry about whether or not they will survive. Randy was greatly missed, but his death is one of the most important of the franchise.

    Overall, Scream 2 was a great follow-up from the previous year’s Scream. While being really entertaining, it does suffer greatly from a rushed script that failed to bring the film to the heights of the original. The new characters are poorly developed where ones that should be given a lot of attention aren’t and meaningless characters are given too much effort into making them well rounded. It features the last death in the franchise that I feel had true significance while trying to help the core three grow further as characters. Scream 2 may be a mess, but it’s always been an entertaining mess. Perhaps had the film been pushed back a year, it could have really given Scream 1 a fight for the spot of the best film in the franchise.

    Grade: B

    Fright in Motion:

    Spoiler:


    ---

    Coming up next, before this film's remake gets released, let's see how the original from the 90s holds up.

  16. #116
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    Re: Fright Fest 11 - Franken Berry Turns Your Poop Pink

    I pretty much agree with your sentiments on Scream 2. While highly enjoyable, there’s many flaws. I thought Liev Schreiber’s performance was excellent and the best character in the movie with Laurie Metcalf as a close second.


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  17. #117

    Re: Fright Fest 11 - Franken Berry Turns Your Poop Pink

    Quote Originally Posted by Slick Mitch View Post
    I pretty much agree with your sentiments on Scream 2. While highly enjoyable, there’s many flaws. I thought Liev Schreiber’s performance was excellent and the best character in the movie with Laurie Metcalf as a close second.
    Cotton's character is someone who I never found myself liking in previous watches. The fact that he seemed so comfortable with the possibility of letting Sidney die made him out to be quite the villain. This time around, I looked at Cotton in a different light as one of the more tragic figures in the franchise. Before the events of the franchise, he did something wrong in having an affair with a married woman, but in theory, Cotton may have been in love. It doesn't excuse what he did, but it adds more sympathy to him when it comes to Maureen's death and his ultimate false conviction for a crime he didn't commit. For a solid year, Cotton's life was absolutely ruined due to what Sidney thought she saw. Even being released, his life isn't what it once was since public opinion will never be entirely on his side again because of past accusations. Throw in the fact that during the course of Scream 2, he's been fucked around by blatant lies by Gale and Debbie Salt and the poor guy has been put through the wringer. I guess we'll never really know what Cotton would have done had Sidney not agreed to do an interview with him to cause him to shoot Mrs. Loomis, but even Cotton just having some uncertainty on what to do is understandable, even if it seems unlikely that he would have just allowed Sidney to be killed. Ultimately, Cotton's sole purpose in Scream 2 is to be a red herring, but he's a really interesting character in this film. If it wasn't for the fact that Mrs. Loomis outshines him so much in my eyes, he may have been the best character.

    Now, his role in Scream 3 on the other hand...

  18. #118
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    Re: Fright Fest 11 - Franken Berry Turns Your Poop Pink

    Quote Originally Posted by Slick Mitch View Post
    I pretty much agree with your sentiments on Scream 2. While highly enjoyable, there’s many flaws. I thought Liev Schreiber’s performance was excellent and the best character in the movie with Laurie Metcalf as a close second.


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    Oh yea def agree and while I love the twist that Liev didnt do it and mrs. Loomis was that killer.

    Sarah Michelle though is just the cameo kill like every scream movie like Drew Barrymore, Kristin Bell, Heather Graham, and the daughter from Friday night lights. I love scream put that on espically in #1 you think Drew is gonna this lead but dies. I love scream series too the only thing that is sad is death of Randy. I mean ik hes in the 3rd in footage but not the same.

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  19. #119

    Re: Fright Fest 11 - Franken Berry Turns Your Poop Pink

    Quote Originally Posted by OMB View Post
    Sarah Michelle though is just the cameo kill like every scream movie like Drew Barrymore, Kristin Bell, Heather Graham, and the daughter from Friday night lights. I love scream put that on espically in #1 you think Drew is gonna this lead but dies. I love scream series too the only thing that is sad is death of Randy. I mean ik hes in the 3rd in footage but not the same.
    I wouldn't call SMG's role a cameo death. Barrymore was an opening death while the rest were Stab-based deaths. SMG was neither an opening movie death nor a Stab death. CiCi was a regular character, but one that ultimately didn't matter. Despite the popularity of Buffy, The Vampire Slayer, SMG wasn't even really used in the marketing of the film. It's a cheap ploy, but she didn't get her face on the posters like Barrymore did in the original Scream or Jada Pinkett in Scream 2.

  20. #120
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    Re: Fright Fest 11 - Franken Berry Turns Your Poop Pink

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim View Post
    I wouldn't call SMG's role a cameo death. Barrymore was an opening death while the rest were Stab-based deaths. SMG was neither an opening movie death nor a Stab death. CiCi was a regular character, but one that ultimately didn't matter. Despite the popularity of Buffy, The Vampire Slayer, SMG wasn't even really used in the marketing of the film. It's a cheap ploy, but she didn't get her face on the posters like Barrymore did in the original Scream or Jada Pinkett in Scream 2.
    I’ll also add that BTVS started in 1997 and Scream 2 was filmed right after season 1 (which was a short season) and if I remember correctly BTVS was still more of a word of mouth show so she was probably still relatively unknown at the time so even more reason to not consider it a cameo


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