Tall Men (7/10)

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Terrence Mackleby is an earnest but not-so-bright man who may have killed his girlfriend when he was a boy. He is now a grown-up who works at a warehouse with Lucy the wallflower, Edith the conspiracy theorist, and Lee, who plays cribbage and is creeped out by the conspiracy theorist after making the mistake of sleeping with her. Terrence has just declared bankruptcy due to his overwhelming credit card debt. After going on a date with Lucy the wallflower, he receives an offer for a special credit card with a 4% interest rate, which he gets and uses to buy a new car. Soon after, he starts seeing shadowy tall men following him, and he is fired from his job by his boss, who is sporting some new bruises on his face. To add to his desperate situation, he learns that the terms of his new credit card are not what they seem, and he starts to see and hear some really strange things.

While this is a little slow, and certainly over-long at 2 hours and 13 minutes, it’s still an entertaining slice of whimsical dark humor. The atmosphere is stylish, the acting is good, and the concept is original. Worth a watch for those that enjoy a more cerebral, psychological horror film.

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Beyond the Gates (8/10)

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Gordon and John’s father has been missing for 7 months. Gordon, with unfortunately fully-clothed girlfriend Margot in tow, returns to his hometown and reunites with John to liquidate their missing father’s old-school VHS video store. There, they discover a VHS game with the titular title of “Beyond the Gates”. Back at the old man’s old homestead, they pop in the tape and find themselves playing against a beautiful but mysterious woman, played by the legendary (and still smokin’ hot) 80s horror icon, Barbara Crampton. While the game promises to reveal the fate of their father, they find that the answer may cost them dearly.

This movie doesn’t pretend to be anything other than it is — a throwback to the glorious days of 80s horror movies and gaming. We’ve got VHS tapes, a video store, a lovely synth soundtrack, and even the Crampton herself. What we don’t have is titties, but everything else is good enough that I can (grudgingly) give that a pass, even though cutie-pie Brea Grant as Margot is just begging to be objectified. Sigh. Anywho, this is spot-on in tone, photography, lighting, and whatnot. While things do wrap up perhaps a little too neatly, it’s still quite a nice romp through the VHS golden age. Definitely worth a watch.

Electra Love 2000 (5/10)

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Watching Troma’s “Electra Love 2000”. I think I have uncovered a forgotten masterpiece of campy crap.

What the hell is happening?

Holy shit this is dumb.

I’m still not sure if this is good dumb or bad dumb.

I’m leaning toward bad dumb.

If we could get some titties up in here my opinion might shift.

And now it’s a musical.

Wait, is that Kim Greist?

No, it’s not.

“Dope-addicted street-stroller.” That’s a new one.

Wait, is this based on Hamlet?

I think this is based on Hamlet.

Or maybe Hamlet is based on Electra. Either way, it seems similar.

Ho’s got hooked up with a new, scrupulous pimp.

This is getting very Shakespearean.

Definitely good dumb. Maybe not even dumb at all. Still no titties though.

Pimp Shakespeare: “Life is a hell for me. I don’t even have sex any more. Do you know who washes dishes every night around here? I do. And you call me scum.”

Ho: “If you leave us, baby, the one dry candle in our dark lives will dematerialize into the infinity of non-being.” Whoa. Deep.

Ho: “We hate men, and men hate us. That’s why we get along so well.” Oh hey, titties!

Ho, with titties out: “I knew this guy once, and he believed in the concept of enemies. And he was going to be married. And then one night he listened to the president speak on television. ‘The Enemy is Evil. The Enemy commits atrocities against his peaceful neighbor. We must rush to the aid of the peaceful neighbor. Defend peace, defend freedom, defend your God, your home, your kitty cats, your trash cans.’ And he believed him. And now he’s dead, and his fiancee is a whore. That’s the joke.” Nice titties.

Ho: “Revenge for the past isn’t good.”

Boom mike.

“The promises you make as a child are the ones you must keep.”

“Vengeance is a fire that burns inside her.”

“This is a matter for doing, not for thinking.”

This is definitely a masterpiece of something.

“How can an idiot like you beat a genius like me?”

“Divide, and conquer.”

“When we find we’ve been going in the wrong direction, we must stop, and reverse ourselves.”

Oh, weird erotic poetry!

“Between the opening of of mother’s birth and the closing casket of death. And those that do not see me, do not know the happiness they have missed.”

“I sometimes think that all of us are artists that never were.”

“Political economy is an exciting field for many.”

“Oh, ménage à cinq!”

“Are you such a civilized man, your soul can’t be touched?”

“You would be surprised at the number of things that seem wicked from the outside, but are actually quite nice from within.”

Boom mike.

“I’ve always tried to seek being from nothingness.”

Fuck, I’m out of wine.

“That is my curse. I have found too much truth. People talk a lot about truth, but they won’t pay a penny for it. Lies, they’ll pay millions for.”

“In plain English, why don’t you have the guts to murder the man that killed your father.”

“I’m a free man and I determine the meaning of this game, and it means nothing to me.”

“Cops don’t protect you, Insurance agents don’t protect you. Your deodorant doesn’t protect you. And your magic charms really don’t protect you.”

“The gods destroyed us long ago.”

“She has no tricks, she is as simple and clear as the water.”

“Fuck fate, we’re free!”

“Those of us who declare ourselves free, we’re just fools.”

I wish I had more wine.

“The men from the hunger charity are still waiting.”

“Send them in, and send in the lunch.”

“I’m as busy as a call girl on Valentine’s Day.”

There seems to be a lot of crosstalk on the audio track.

“Let me tell you, it is heaven and hell, it is sublime and terrible.”

Golf club scissors fight!

“A toast to justice! For one day, she was not blind.”

“The fighting has ended, but the echoes of bombs keep screaming inside my head.”

“Because you’re beautiful even the lies that fly out of your mouth sound pretty, like the truth. But I know better.”

Well that was different.

The Autopsy of Jane Doe (8/10)


We open with police arriving at the scene of a multiple homicide in Grantham, Virginia. After surveying the scene and finding several people dead from considerable violence, the sheriff is summoned to the basement, where forensics techs have discovered the nude body of a young woman, partially buried in the dirt floor. The sheriff take Jane Doe to the local  morgue, run by a father (played by the always-great Brian Cox) and his son (played by some guy), interrupting the son’s plans for a hot date with a chick that likes to look at corpses. At first, the corpse seems immaculate, but the father and son team soon finds bizarre and disturbing internal injuries. As they dig deeper, a storm rolls in and strange things begin to happen in the creepy and labyrinthine old morgue.

First off, kudos to Olwen Kelly for laying around nude and dead for most of the movie and not even looking like she was cold; that’s some fine work right there. This was very good, with a great old-school vibe and lots of creepy and atmospheric moments. There were, however, a couple of things that kept it from being great. Without going into too much detail, I will say that it went a bit heavy on foreshadowing a couple of things, and there was a bit of exposition that seemed unnecessary and smacked a bit of political agenda. Other than those minor missteps, this is a fine effort. I don’t think it quite lives up to the hype that it has gotten, but it’s still well done and certainly worth a watch. Also, nice boobs, even if they were dead.

Darkside Witches (5/10)

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So, this movie opens with some witches being burned at the stake, in a historical fashion. Then, there’s a hardcore sex scene, complete with a squicky demon blowie unhappy ending. Then a bunch of boring stuff with priests and some science chick trying to get to the bottom of the demon attacks. And bad dubbing. And more attacks from penis-chomping lesbian demon witches out for revenge. And tons of nudity. This one kind of has it all! Except for, you know, a budget.

Best line: “Welcome to slavery, you cocksucking sinners!”

Solo (7/10)

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New-school take on an old-school formula. A teenage girl who has suffered some sort of trauma involving water takes a job as a counselor at a lakeside kids’ camp, presumably as a way to face her inner demons or some such. As a new counselor, she is required to do a “solo” – two nights camping on her own on an island away from the others. But is she really alone?

So this is another entry in the “survival horror” genre, as the girl faces off against a threat on the island. Ultimately, the success or failure of a movie of this sort boils down to two things: Is the threat credible and interesting, and does the protagonist make reasonable choices to combat or avoid the threat? Yes, and yes. It’s also very lean, moving the story along with little exposition, while still establishing the characters well enough that you can understand their motivations and have at least some concern about their survival. Overall, not the most original story, but very watchable and well made, and with at least a couple of interesting new ideas. No boobs though.