Friday, January 20, 2012

PROMETHEUS IS COMING!

  I have been a fan of the Alien franchise since its inception, from the films to the toys.  Alien cemented my interest in the artwork of HR Giger, though I was familiar with the Swiss artist's work on a cursory basis.  Alien was my introduction to the work of Ridley Scott, who rarely disappoints.  Later installments of the franchise may have had greater production values or more impressive special effects, but Scott's Alien is still the best.

 But, based on the trailer of the next installment by Ridley Scott, my loyalty to the original may have some competition.
 Very little is actually being said about the film, slated for release in 2012.  It is related enough to the Alien franchise to be considered a prequel, though the trailer seems to focus on the "Space Jockey" alien seen briefly in the original film (ship and alien designed by HR Giger).  A human vessel, The Prometheus, is carrying a team of researchers who are chasing information related to the origins of mankind.  Their journey takes them to the far-corners of the galaxy, where they encounter something terrifying.
 Beyond that, it has been suggested that Scott will be offering some information about the beginnings of both humanity and the "xenomorph" from the franchise.  The infamous xenomorph will not actually be in this film, or at least that is the word at this point.  Regardless, just based on the trailer alone, the film looks epic.

 This site appears to be the best for updates on Prometheus.  The link takes you to a detailed breakdown of one of the trailers. http://www.prometheusnews.net/movie/prometheus-trailer-breakdown/


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Movie Review: Demoniacs

 In 1970s, some people in France got together to make a film.  The film, Demoniacs, was supposed to be a classical horror film, a film about evil people, ghosts, shipwrecks, and the Devil.  Instead, Demoniacs is a soft, soft-core porn with a plot that is barely comprehensible.

 The film is set in the times of ocean-going merchant vessels.  Our 4 baddies are introduced right at the beginning of the film like a football team coming onto the field.  There is the Captain, the leader of the crew who is rumored to haunted by his past victims.  His lieutenant is Le Bosco.  This means "the boatswain", or the supervisor of the deckhands on a boat... in other words he is the highest ranking of the peons.  Le Bosco is the Captain's rival as well as his right-hand man.  Tina is the only female member of this band; a perverse and bloodthirsty prostitute.  Finally, there is Paul.  Paul is a lumbering idiot who sucks up to the rest of the band. and leverages the other three against one another.  The men seem to be former sailors.

 The enterprise the four engage in is called "wrecking".  The go out on shore at night and lure ships into the rocks with lights, then plunder the wreckage for valuables and kill the survivors.  The film opens after one such incident.  Paul and Le Bosco bring a trunk onto the beach, and they discover an odd necklace among the items of clothing within it.  The Captain puts it around Tina's neck.  Then, two women (refferred to as "girls" in the film) appear on the beach in their bedclothes, survivors of the wreck.  Paul and Le Bosco proceed to beat and rape the two survivors while the Captain and Tina watch and have sex themselves.  They then kill the two surviving women, one being bludgeoned with a stone to the skull. 
 All this goes down in the first five minutes.  We are treated to all the female actors' breasts and prolific pubic foliage, and the Captains saggy old ass.  It was the 1970s, when women had so much pubic-hair that they may has well been wearing fur skin bikini bottoms.

 The only upside to this film is that there is almost no dialogue.  The above transpires with nothing but grunts, gestures, and screams between the actors.

 The film switches to a brothel/bar.  The bar is the 2nd of four total locations in the film; the beach, the brothel, Tina's room, and the ruins.  The bar is decked out in cheesy spook-house decor; skeletons and skulls, vampire bats, and a weird life-size paper-mache woman spread-eagle with a gaping vagina hanging on the wall.  The Captain is drunk, and begins seeing the dead girls and on his table and around the bar.  He begins to freak out.

 The brothel's madame appears, boldly speaking about the evenings incidents and even signing a song about it in front of the crew.  She is not only a whore, she is also psychic and plays the piano.  This just sets the Captain off further, who is subdued by Le Bosco before he confesses to the crime in front of everyone in the bar.  While all this goes on, we are treated to four more pairs of breasts as the whores cavort with the clientele.  Throughout the film, it appears that only two or three of the female actors were not paid to do a topless scene. 

 Meanwhile, the girls not only survived their assault but somehow fight the ocean currents and the thick seaweed (which becomes a source of peril later in the film) to find themselves at the "cursed" ruins near the seaside village.  The ruins are rumored to imprison the Devil, and the villagers are deathly afraid to go there, yet these ruins have one of the nicest and most manicured lawns you will ever see.  In the ruins, the girls meet a clown.  The clown says nothing, and leads them deeper into the ruins where they meet a hippy.  The hippy gives the clown permission to tend to and care for the girls, explaining that the clown costume is meant to frighten-off the locals.

 Some people are afraid of clowns, but this was a woman dressed as a clown... about as far from IT as one could get.

 There seems to be a prisoner among the ruins as well.  The hippy speaks to a shadowy figure in a cell, explaining that he (the hippy) will allow the girls to set him free, but only if the shadowy man promises not to harm them.  Mr. Shadow never actually says anything at this point, and might barely nod in consent, but the hippy assumes that a bargain has been struck between them.

 The girls want revenge.  Their ordeal has made them mute (for some reason), and when asked what they want by the hippy they indicate they want revenge by drawing a skull-and-crossbones in the dirt (the universal sign for revenge, apparently). 

 Back in town, several people have appeared at the brothel claiming to see the two ghostly women on the beach and roaming the village.  The Captain and crew start to seriously freak out, with only Tina, dressing and undressing as women are want to do (?) keeping her head about her and desiring to hunt the girls down and kill them again.  The whorehouse-madame/prophet-of-doom continues to discuss what she sees with the crew, twisting the psychic knife just a little bit more.

 The crew goes hunting for the girls, and finds them among the wrecked hulls of ships on the beach.  A game of hide-and-seek leads to the crew deciding to simply burn them out, and during the conflagration Tina finds the girls.  A tit-flopping wrestling match leads to the girls over-powering Tina and leaving her in one of the burning hulls while they make their escape.  The crew saves Tina in the nick of time (or, within a cunt-hair's breath of dieing). 

 The girls go to the cell were the prisoner is held.  The clown dressed them both in a loose, long-sleeved, bright colored shirt that just barely covers their asses; no shoes or pants.  They take their shirts off, getting naked before walking the city-block from where they undressed to the cell so the audience can get a nice long look at their nipples and pubes.  They let the guy out of the cell, a man who is muscular, swarthy, shorter than the girls, and dressed like Sigfried and Roy.  He tells the girls that he will give them his power, so that they may get revenge.  The transfer of power involves him having sex with one of the rape victims, and then going down on the other. 

 Makes sense to me.

 The girls have until sunrise to get revenge, then their powers transfer back to the midget-ballerina-prisoner-guy.  The girls go to the brothel, and when Le Bosco stabs one of them she doesn't even flinch.  Everyone freaks out and hauls-ass except the madame and a waitress, who serve the girls drinks.  The girls seem to be in no real hurry to get revenge.

 The three men meet Tina in her room to tell her the girls are back.  She stands in her bed, fully nude, infuriated at their cowardice, and says she will kill the girls herself.  She gets dressed, kills the madame with an axe on her way out the door, and chases the girls back at the ruins.  Tina kills the hippy off-screen, and mortally wounds the clown, who manages to warn the girls  The girls confront Tina in an area of the ruins with several plaster statues, using their powers to attempt to drop statues down on Tina.  When they succeed, they manage to trap Tina under a statue of Jesus.  The girls take the clown down to their gay fuck-buddy, who is with the body of the hippy.  Mr. Tights explains that he does not have the power to save the dieing pair, but if they choose to give up their revenge he can keep them alive until his powers return at sunrise and then heal them. 

 The girls agree, and then flee the ruins at sunrise as they are now powerless against the crew.  The Captain and Le Bosco rescue Tina, but it is Paul he meets the girls on the beach.  He is drunk, and is drinking from a ridiculously large bottle.  He swings this bottle overhead to bludgeon the girls, only to stumble, hit himself on the head with the bottle, and slit his throat with the glass on the way down to the ground.

 Yeah.  That could happen.

 The Captain, Le Bosco, and Tina find the girls near the wrecks again.  I have to ask at this point, why do these girls keep returning here?  There are people in the nearby village sympathetic to their plight.  Indeed, the Captain and his crew seemed very concerned that their crimes would be revealed, why didn't the girls simply enlist the mob to get their justice?  No, instead the Captain and Le Bosco, at Tina's urging, strip the girls nude, lash them to a wrecked hull, and rape them again.  The Captain, being an older man, finishes first, and then goes to Tina, watching Le Bosoc rape one of the girls while he fondles the kneeling Tina's breasts.  In his mad-excitement, the Captain ends up strangling Tina to death, only to be stopped too late by Le Bosco.  The Captain then slits Le Bosco's throat.

 As the sun and the tide rise, a procession of monks arrives on the scene.  The tide has already claimed one of the girls, and the Captain, suddenly remorseful, tries to swim out to rescue the other, only to have both the girl and himself drown in the rising tide.

 The End.

 Demoniacs was a nearly 2 hour waste of my life.  The gratuitous nudity, while welcome in any situation, was not enough to make this film worth the watch.  From what I have read, this may also be one of director Jean Rollin's better films.  I am still trying to figure out what any of this had to do with demons as inferred by the title.  Watching the paint behind your television fade would be more entertaining than this film.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Movie Review: Silent Hill

 Of the many films based upon a video-game, Silent Hill is one of my favorites (along with Resident Evil and Doom). The film stands out for its rich cinematography and convincing special effects.  The viewer is quickly immersed in the frightening environment.  Fans of the game will not be disappointed.

 The film starts out by establishing a little background.  Rose and Chris are adoptive parents of a little girl, Sharon.  Sharon sleepwalks, and during her episodes she talks about a place called "Silent Hill".  Her episodes place her in grave danger, as we see in the opening scene of the film when Rose and Chris narrowly rescue their adopted daughter from plummeting to her death off a cliff.

 Rose is determined to discover what is tormenting her daughter, and she believes the answer is in Silent Hill.  It becomes apparent later in the film that Chris is opposed to the idea.  Rose and Sharon leave without Chris's knowledge, and head for the remote former mining town.

 Chris discovers a wealth of information that his wife has discovered on her computer.  30 years earlier Silent Hill was a town in West Virginia which suffered an underground fire, killing many of the residents and making it uninhabitable.  It is considered one of the most haunted locations in America.  The location is cordoned off by the local authorities.

 Rose and Sharon stop at a gas station in not far from the one road that leads to Silent Hill.  Rose notices that Sharon's drawings now feature images of buildings and people on fire, and when she confronts her daughter about these drawings Sharon begins to cry and insist that she did not draw them.  This draws the attention of a female police officer, who attempts to question Rose but is waved-off.  Chris has been trying to contact Rose to no avail, but Rose calls him when her credit card is declined in the gas station.  It becomes clear that Chris may have also called the local police in search of his wife and child.

 Rose and Sharon leave the gas station, only to be pulled over by the female police officer a short distance down the road.  As the officer approaches the car, Rose sees that the turn for Silent Hill is just ahead.  She tells Sharon to buckle-up and she speeds off, with the police officer on motorcycle and in pursuit.  Rose breaks through the gate that blocks to road to Silent Hill, and seems to lose the officer in the distance.  Suddenly, a young girl appears in the middle of the road and Rose swerves to miss her, crashing her vehicle.

 From this point forward, the movie roughly follows the video-game, with Rose taking the place of Harry, the game's protagonist.  Rose finds herself chasing what she believes is her daughter, and during her pursuit encounters both the strange residents of Silent Hill and reality-shifts that turn the drab and burnt-out environment into a hellish nightmare.  The film is not without its surprises.  Although it takes us through many familiar locations (such as the elementary school), it also draws from other games in the Silent Hill Franchise and has a twist in the story that makes the film stand out from the game. 

 The film has no lack of gore.  At one point, a young girl is captured by a giant creature on the steps of a church.  She is completely disrobed with one brutal rip of her clothes, and then a moment later her skin is completely removed by the same motion.  Blood-spray filled the air and blood spatter covered the screen.  Another woman is later depicted having barbed wire being driven into her crotch, through her body, and out the top of her head resulting in her being sawed in half vertically.  The highly detailed and well-executed special effects make scenes like these even more gut-wrenching.

 Whether intentionally or not, the films most significant cultural impact was its depictions of the "zombie" nurses.  In the game, these creatures appear as nurses in the hospital which have a parasite attached to their backs.  They are drawn toward movement and light, and are barely able to stand upright.  Their uniforms appear to be standard nurses attire with cardigans.  The film's version is hyper-sexual in comparison.  The nurses are depicted with their heads and faces completely obscured by a wrapping of stained bandages.  Their uniforms are curve-crushingly tight, pressing their breast until they spill out over their collars.  Their jerky and quick motions and moaning has an almost erotic quality.  The image has become iconic among fans of horror films.

 The end of the film is my only real complaint.  The film finishes on a down-note.  Though the protagonists are successful, it appears to be only a moral victory. The end of the video-game, though different, had the same kind of hollow "you won but..." feel to it.  Otherwise, the film was wonderful.