Antibirth (10/10)

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Lou (Natasha Lyonne) and Sadie (Chloe Sevigny) are super-skanky junkies who like to party with pimp/drug dealer Gabriel. After a night of drug-fueled partying, Lou begins to show symptoms of pregnancy, even though she is sure she hasn’t had sex in months, which nobody believes because she is a total ho. Over the next few days, during which she continues drinking heroic amounts of alcohol and sucking on a huge bong, her symptoms become increasingly, and disgustingly, bizarre. She is befriended by Lorna (Meg Tilly!), who talks about aliens and weird abuse at the hands of the government. As they investigate Lou’s condition, they learn of a shadowy rich benefactor to Gabriel, who is getting girls from him in exchange for a strange new drug, which may have been given to Lou at their last party. What happened to Lou at this party? And why is Sadie spending so much time with Gabriel? Does she know more than she is letting on?

This, right here, is the shit. This is a motherfucking horror movie right here. Natasha Lyonne gives a fantastic performance as the tragicomic Lou, whose drug-laden body horror seems as much an extension of her terrible life choices as it does the result of some mysterious conspiracy. This movie is filled with bizarre characters and happenings, but they flow naturally from circumstances, never seeming like weirdness for weirdness’s sake. She views her increasingly desperate situation as just one more shitty thing that’s happened to her in her already shitty life. Even Lorna, her protector and advocate, is a freakin’ loon. It’s all just another day in the life in the seventh circle of hell that is thug life in Michigan. This is one of the most fucked up movies I’ve seen in a long time, and it is glorious.

Chopping Mall (7/10)

The Park Plaza mall has just brought its new Protectors robot security program online, and promised “Don’t worry. Nothing can possibly go wrong.” So we now how that’s going to go. The way it goes is a freak lightning storm that scrambles the brains of the Killbots. Or does it? Yeah, it does. I’m not sure why I asked that. Coincidentally, some guys that work at the furniture store are planning an after-hours party with the food court girls. As you may have guessed, mayhem ensues. Fortunately, this is the 80s, so the mall has a gun store, and our spunky kids are able to arm themselves and fight back!

God I love the 80s. They really knew what you need in a horror movie back then: Killer robots, lasers, electrocutions, oddly colored fake blood, exploding heads, flame-throwers, and boobs. Lots and lots of boobs. Well, maybe not lots ands lots, but it’s not a paucity. Anywho, this is a semi-classic Roger Corman 80s movie featuring some familiar faces — including Barbara Crampton (boobs!) and Kelli Maroney, and cameos from Mary Woronov, Dick Miller, and Paul Bartel. And the Killbots are actually pretty cool. It’s not the best the decade has to offer, but it’s not bad either. Worth a watch for nostalgia and boobs, if nothing else.

Waxwork II: Lost in Time (7/10)


NOTE: Contains spoilers for the first Waxwork movie.

First, the bad news: Deborah Foreman’s character, Sarah, has been recast. The good news: The replacement actress is Monika Schnarre, who looks like Daryl Hannah, but hotter. We’ll go ahead and mark this in the “win” column, even though I have fond memories of Deborah’s scene with the Marquis de Sade in the first movie.

This starts right where the first movie leaves off, with Mark and Sarah escaping the burning waxworks in a handy taxi. Unbeknownst to the pair, the reanimated zombie arm from the first movie’s Night of the Living Dead vignette hitches a ride and ends up back at Sarah’s place, where it kills her abusive step-dad with a hammer and then attacks her with hot dogs and mustard. She is promptly charged with murder when no one believes the killer hand story, and Mark and Sarah are forced to delve into the waxworks mythos to try to find evidence to exhonerate her, and because it’s a great way to throw them into some more homagey vignettes.

The vignettes this time around are much more elaborate, and feature tributes to Frankenstein, Alien, Evil Dead, Excalibur or something, Dawn of the Dead, Nosferatu, and others. And even though the first Waxwork was billed as a horror-comedy, this one goes much broader with the humor, getting quite slapsticky at times. Even outside the Evil Dead segment, the influence of that classic series is quite apparent, going so far as featuring an extended cameo from the man himself, Bruce Campbell. One could argue that they go a bit far with the silliness, but this is still a pretty fun movie, and it’s apparent that the filmmakers had fun making it. Worth a watch, even though there’s still no boobs.

The Good Neighbor (8/10)

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A couple of teenage douchebags decide to conduct an “experiment” on their cranky old neighbor (perfectly portrayed by James Caan) by outfitting his house with surveillance cameras and electronic gizmos designed to make him believe he is being haunted. Unfortunately, he’s already haunted by his past, and things absolutely do not go as planned.

This is definitely a “the less you know, the better” type of movie, so I’m not going to give any more detail on the plot. Suffice it to say, this is more of a multi-layered drama than a horror movie, and it is very successful in what it sets out to achieve. Highly recommended. And James Caan is freakin’ excellent.

RWD (8/10)

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Two doofuses (doofi?) with a YouTube ghost-hunting show go to investigate a family’s haunted house out in the woods, but they got the date wrong and the family is out of town. So, instead, they wander around the woods and find an old silo with a creepy underground complex below it. They investigate the complex and decide to make their latest episode about it instead of the haunted house. While wandering, weird things begin to happen, they catch glimpses of people that look surprisingly familiar, and then some sort of weird sparkly stuff comes out of a laptop monitor and sends them… back…

This was an interesting take on the usual found footage ghost-hunter shows that are ubiquitous right now, mixing in some mind-bending sci-fi concepts that I shouldn’t talk about too much for fear of spoiling the fun. The actors are also rather amusing in their doofusness (doofosity?), and the tonal shift late in the movie from deadly silliness to deadly seriousness is handled quite well. Definitely worth a watch.

Dreamland (5/10)

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A trashy white couple are driving through Nevada when they encounter UFO nuts, timewarps, a holographic WW2 soldier, a creepy ghost girl, and Alien Hitler. Weirdo super-low-budget sci-fi weirdness. Best line: “Elvis, isn’t he dead?”

So, I really have no idea what happened in this movie. Well, I have some idea, but it still doesn’t really make any sense. In any case, it was goofy enough to be sort of entertaining. Worth a watch I guess, but I watched it, so you probably don’t need to. And yet again, no boobs. What’s wrong with filmmakers these days?

The Thing (7/10)

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I avoided this when it first came out since I thought it was just another opportunistic remake of a classic movie (the irony being, of course, that 1982’s The Thing was also a remake of a classic movie, but we’ll ponder that another time). Two things made me decide to go back and check it out: It’s more of a prequel than a remake (despite having the same title), and it was written by Eric Heisserer, who wrote 2016’s “Arrival”, which looks to be quite good.

So, this does indeed explore the events preceding “The Thing” (1982), covering the finding of an alien spaceship and the accidental release of the alien survivor. While certainly not as good as the 1982 movie, it is a solid action/horror with some very creepy effects, which were an odd blend of practical and CGI. Definitely well-made and worth a watch, it captures at least some of the claustrophobia and creepiness of the 1982 “The Thing”.

Trucks (4/10)

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1997 TV movie adaptation of the same Stephen King short story that Maximum Overdrive was based on. Not nearly as horrifically and hilariously bad as MO, but still a goofy idea. Timothy Busfield is in this for some reason. Worth a watch for historical purposes if you have nothing better to do.