‘Prometheus:’ Neither Fish, Fowl Or ‘Alien’

What I referring to is in interviews how Ridley Scott often says that he feels as if he’s taken the Aliens as far as he’s able–keeping in mind that Prometheus as originally written was firmly entrenched in the Alien universe, till Damon Lindelof joined the project and excised most of those elements from Jon Spaiths’ screenplay–yet he keeps throwing in ideas peripherally related to Alien, though not nearly enough to satisfy fans of those movies.

And while I hate to sound to sound cynical, it feels to me that he knows damn well that fans of the Alien franchise–hungry for new material–will see just about anything that has xenomorphs in it.

And I get that “Alien fatigue” may have set in and that Scott feels as if he’s taken the property as far as he possibly could.  That being the case, why not leave it alone and let someone else handle it; though admittedly the Alien sequels done by other directors have been uneven at best, with Aliens being the most watchable and Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem the least.

And while I wouldn’t call myself a fan of either Requiem or to a lesser extent, Alien: Resurrection, I’d rather see the movies embrace the material wholeheartedly and unashamedly, as opposed to the tentative way that Scott seemed to approach Prometheus, and how I am reasonably sure he’ll approach Paradise, its sequel, as well.

Though what’s really odd is that Ridley Scott intends to include Aliens in Paradise at all, which bothers me because, while Prometheus is a gorgeous to look at–it winds up being neither fish nor fowl.

Or maybe I am irritated over Vickers running in a straight line when the Juggernaut happened to roll in her direction.  Or how the pseudo-Facehugger not only survived decontamination in the Med-Pod, but somehow thrived.  Or…since showing is always preferred to telling, why don’t I just let CinemaSins give you a guided tour.

‘Late Phases’ Trailer

I know that this is going to sound odd, but I have a pressing need for Adrián García Bogliano‘s Late Phases to be a entertaining, well-done horror film, of the werewolf sub-genre.  For a start, I have seen Bogliano’s Here Comes The Devil, and it’s pretty mediocre.  I haven’t yet seen Cold Sweat–it’s currently on #Netflix, though for whatever reason I have had a only passing interest.

Late Phases has been getting quite a bit of good buzz, so that’s at least reassuring–then again, so did Here Comes The Devil, so I guess that I shouldn’t get my hopes up too much.

More recently, I have seen Annabelle and Ouija, neither of which meets my strict definition of what a horror film could–or should–be (which is that the film doesn’t necessarily have to be overtly gory, or even violent–though it helps–but it does have to be suspenseful, create a sense of tangible unease and/or discomfort, and make the viewer uneasy and perhaps most importantly, get the blood racing, pardon the pun).

Late Phases stars Ethan Embry–an uber-talented and extremely under-rated actor if there ever was one–and Nick Dimici (Stakeland) which makes me want to see it even more.

What’s In A Name?

Gallows HillWhat’s going on with #Netflix and movie titles?

I’ve just finished watching one of the most recent horror movies to turn up on the streaming service, Víctor García‘s The Damned (a decent horror film, though the story treats some pretty outlandish material in a very reverential fashion, when perhaps a more “comedic” approach, in the vein of Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead, would have suited the material better).

Though the premise of the movie is an interesting one, which revolves around a witch who can’t be killed because doing so would enable her to possess whomever did so, while she kills for pretty much the same reason.  The Damned is also much more entertaining– and with much better cinematography–than another film García helmed, Return To House On Haunted Hill).

While The Damned is a more immediately recognizable, as well as dramatic, title, the house were the story takes place is called Gallows Hill, which also works when you take into account what a ‘gallows‘ actually is.

What’s a bit odd is that if you type inGallows Hillinto the Search box on the Netflix site, The Damned comes upThough if you type The Damned, or just ‘damned,’ it doesn’t, which is a bit confusing.

The Evil WithinThe only other time that I can recall this happening was when watching the movie Mine Games, which was originally titled The Evil Within.

Though what’s a bit weird is that, unlike in the case of The Damned, if you type ‘The Evil Within’ into search on Netflix, nothing comes up, though it works fine if you use Mine Games.

This weirdness around their titles doesn’t distract from enjoying either movie, though it is a bit strange.

Comforting Skin – Review

Comforting Skin poster

“”Comforting Skin” is a decent movie, yet why do I feel gyped?”

Derek Franson‘s Comforting Skin is actually a pretty decent thriller, though its biggest problem is that it advertises itself as one thing, when in actuality it’s something else.

If you look at the trailer, it feels to me like a horror movie in the vein of Psycho or Magic (or some other movie where someone loses their mind, and goes on a killing spree).  As if that weren’t interesting enough, her tattoo talks to her (voiced by Victoria Bidewell, who also plays ‘Koffie’).

In theory it sounds like a great movie, that is till you actually see it, when it becomes fairly obvious that Comforting Skin, while a thriller, isn’t a horror movie.  Horror-adjacent maybe, but a horror movie?  Not at all.

Koffie is a single woman who who lives with a friend, Nathan (Tygh Runyan) whom she appears attracted to, though she doesn’t let on.  Nathan is an actor, which is fitting because his hair looked like he was in an Off-Broadway production of Streets Of Fire (which is a bit unfair though it was distracting as hell).

Bidewell is a pretty actress, though not incredibly so.  She makes up for being somewhat conventionally attractive by being very bold, and unafraid of nudity in service of the story.  It was refreshing to see, especially for a woman that has a few curves and doesn’t look anorexic.

Koffie was feeling a bit insecure, after going to clubs night after night, yet having no one to show for her efforts.  Seeking to shake things up, she gets a tattoo and hopes that it’s the beginning of a change.

And it is, though not of the sort she expected; which leads to the biggest problem with Comfortable Skin–besides not being a horror film, despite coming off as one in the trailer and the poster–namely that the whole tattoo subplot is unnecessary to the movie.  You could excise it like an unwanted growth, and things would unfold pretty much the same.

Which is a pity because the last thing that I recall seeing about tattoos that drove people to murder was the X-Files episode, Never Again.

So if want to see some killer tattoos, I guess I’ll have to watch it again.

 

 

Comfortable Skin is currently on Netflix.

The (Un)necessary Remake Dept: DeepStar Six

No, DeepStar Six, isn’t the latest Ultramarionation feature from Jamie Anderson, but a undersea horror movie from Sean Cunningham (Friday the 13th) that was followed in quick succession by George P. Cosmatos’ Leviathan, and culminated five months later in James Cameron’s far superior The Abyss.

DeepStar Six revolves around a US Navy mission to place an undersea missile sled on the ocean floor; an action that only makes sense when you take into account that the United States was approaching the end of the Cold War with the Soviet Union.

Dr. Van Gelder (Marius Weyers) is there to ensure that the missile platform is built before they leave the base, the time for which is rapidly approaching.

Unfortunately, the project is behind schedule, so he’s doesn’t have time to putter about.

The area where he choose to place the sled is suspected of having caverns underneath it, which Scarpelli (Nia Peoples) wants to take time to explore, though Dr. Gelder isn’t interested.  Sure, properly surveying the area could have saved them quite a bit of trouble, but what specialist worth their salt let’s safety concerns trump completing a project on time.

Which shouldn’t be a surprise considering one of their own crew, Snyder (Miguel Ferrer, who if James Spader was unavailable to play Ultron in the upcoming The Avengers: Age of Ultron, should have been on speed dial) is fraying at the seams and should have been evacuated to the surface weeks ago.

And speaking of Ferrer, he’s easily the most convincing character in the entire movie which is why it’s such a pity that he so explosively loses it toward the end.

Another awesome addition to the movie is someone whom you never see, but who’s presence is felt throughout the entire movie, and that’s the awesome score by Harry Manfredini (who’s theme for War Of The Worlds: The Second Invasion has to be one of the best television themes EVER.

Seriously.  It’s that good.

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‘Kingdom Come’ Trailer

I am jonsin‘ for a entertaining horror movie.  Recently two new ones from Blumhouse Pictures (The Conjuring, Insidious, Insidious 2, etc), Mercy and Mockingbird (review coming soon) turned up on Netflix, and to say that both were underwhelming would be an understatement.

Though Blumhouse seems to be innovating in a genre all its own, which is hard to describe because it’s not Horror–they may be called that, but if something is going to be called “Horror” I’d like to think that it’s at least scary–though “Mildly Disquieting” is more fitting, though I can understand why it’s not something that they use on their posters.  The thing is, I am not even necessarily talking about gore (though I wouldn’t complain if there were more) because you can have a pretty horrific movie without a drop of blood if it has an engaging story and full-bodied characterization.

Then again, if the Paranormal Activity films have shown us anything, it’s that there’s a huge audience for thin, wispy plots and jump scares.

So I am posting this trailer for Kingdom Come, a movie that I would bet money won’t appear in wide-release, though it looks ambitious enough that maybe it should.

‘Mine Games’ Review

Mine Games movie poster

“”Mine Games” Is A Well-Done Thriller That Doesn’t Overstay It’s Welcome.”

Mind Games is a pretty savory bit of murder and seemingly random violence that from the start drops hints designed to lead you in one direction, while the narrative heads in another.

It’s a pretty clever movie in other ways as well.  For instance, one character is a apparently grabbed by someone in an abandoned mine, or was she?  Whomever it was left bloody fingernails across her ankle, seemingly no one else can see them.

The weird happenings continue to pile up one one after another, till there can be only one answer, no matter how unlikely or impossible that answer happens to be.

If I were to compare Mind Games to any other film it would be Cabin In The Woods, though I am not implying that that it’s as entertaining as that film, because it isn’t.  It’s not nearly as fantastical, though it has a few surprises up its sleeve.  It’s also well-cast, and like that film, revolves around a group of young people that are visiting a cabin in the woods that belongs to one of their relatives.

Though the characters don’t feel disposable, they’re also not quite as fleshed out as I would have liked because I have seen the movie twice, but I still can’t tell you anyone’s names, though to be fair that may have more to do with most of the actors being unfamiliar to me than anything else.

Though I recognized one–he wasn’t a big name, but at least was visually familiar; while another was a dead ringer for Shawn Ashmore, though I am pretty sure it wasn’t him.

As I said, it’s not quite the thrill ride that Cabin In The Woods is, but it’s also not as self aware as that movie was as well, which is a good thing.

Mine Games is currently showing on Netflix.