Only God Forgives Review: Refn took a big risk

From the director that brought us the brilliant film Drive back in 2011 starring Ryan Gosling, he now has released his next eagerly awaited film Only God Forgives. But with his last great film, expectations would always be high for whatever came next. But the question is, has it delivered?

Only God Forgives poster

Only God Forgives poster

Only God Forgives isn’t your everyday normal film. It’s actually quite the opposite if honest. The plot of the film centres around Julian and Chang. Julian is an American who moved has moved to Bangkok with his brother Billy. Their main source of income is by dealing drugs. The film opens with Julian’s brother walking around Bangkok at night, which he ends up raping and killing a sixteen year old girl. This is where our other main character enters, Chang.

Chang is an police man who isn’t as young as he use to be. He arrives at the scene of the crime where Billy is being held. Chang tells the daughters father to do what he wants to Billy, in which he ends up murdering him. Chang then takes the father to an isolated place with two of his other officers and punishes the father by taking out a sword and chopping half of his arm off. Telling him that this is what he gets for making his daughters prostitutes.

A bit later on Julian’s mother arrives in Bangkok because her first born son Billy has passed away.  She sets the task of getting Julian to kill the man that killed his brother. This begins a chase of revenge through the city of Bangkok.

The cast in Only God Forgives is a fantastic cast, it stars Ryan Gosling as Julian, Vithaya Pansringarm as Chang, and Kristian Scott Thomas as Crystal. Everyone performs brilliantly, and the most stunning performance comes from Vithaya Pansringarm as Chang. Who plays the role flawlessly.

Vithaya Pansringarm as Chang!

Vithaya Pansringarm as Chang

Something that many critics have noted about Only God Forgives is its lack of script throughout the entire movie. There is such a lack of talking in the movie that it feels weird when people onscreen are having a full blown conversation. But what Refn was trying to do was to tell you, a story visually. He doesn’t want the characters to tell you, he wants to show you through weird dreams that Julian has and what is happening onscreen. And I think this was a risk to take. The whole way he went about in the movie was a risk. He could of played it safe and done something like Drive again, but he took a different direction. He wants to tell you the story of Julian and Chang through cinematic shots, instead of just a script like normal movies would. And I believe he pulls this off, very well actually. It is for sure differently, but Refn manages to pull it off.

When I think back over the movie and what my thoughts of it are, I haven’t got much problems with it being honest. One of my main issues with the film is a torture scene involving Chang. The scene got its point across within the first few minutes of it, but Refn seemed to drag it way out just for ‘shock value’ I believe. Though the scene is very well done, it is dragged out and could be cut down significantly.

A still of Julian

A still of Julian

But the best part of Only God Forgives isn’t the acting, or the plot, it’s the beautiful cinematography. Some of the shots in this movie are literally outstanding. With the blend of the night sky and all the different neon colours and signs around Bangkok, it really adds a whole lot more to the film. The music in the film is great as well, especially during an important moment with Julian and Chang.

Only God Forgives has been getting a lot of bad rap since it was first shown, it was boosed at Cannes and is now seeing a very low score of 36% on Rotten Tomatoes. My main thought about the film is, it is certainly not for everyone. If you enjoyed or even loved Drive, which was Refn’s previous film with Gosling, it doesn’t mean you will like this. It is a totally different film and has a totally different style.

All in all, Only God Forgives managed to tell a very interesting story with absolutely stunning cinematography, great music and brilliant performances by all the cast. It also managed to wrap up the end with not leaving a cliffhanger or anything and finished it with a real nice touch. So far it is one of my favorite moves from 2013 and that’s why I give it, a:

Overall rating: 9/10

A Look Back At: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 poster

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 poster

Did you know? In the poster above, which was used for the promotional purposes of the film, the group shot of the family are in the exact same positions of the poster for the film The Breakfast Club.

When the original The Texas Chainsaw Massacre released back in 1974 it was a cult hit, and it gained die hard fans. Fast forward twelve years later and its sequel releases. It would always be hard to outdo the original, and even more so with comedy elements added to the film. Would this turn out to be one of the best horror sequels of all time? Lets find out, as we a take a look back!

In The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, the plot centres around a young radio host (named ‘Stretch’) who ends up hearing Leatherface (and co.) murdering two guys in their early twenties as they called into her show. She then teams up with Lieutenant ‘Lefty’ Enright, (played by Dennis Hooper) who is trying to figure out who murdered the two guys. After Stretch plays the recording of the two males dying all day on her show, Leatherface and co. show up at her radio station to make her their next victim while Lieutenant Enright hunts the family down.

Though that is the plot for TCM2, director Tobe Hooper and co-writer of the original TCM Kim Henkel had thought up a plot for the sequel which involved a town of cannibals instead of just the family we got in the first film. It was also known that it would be a satire of film Motel Hell which itself was a satire of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. A name was even given to the sequel, “Beyond the Valley of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre“. But the studio Cannon Films Inc. disliked the screenplay so much that a new screenwriter was hired. They then ended up with the plot for the film we have now.

Actor Jim Siedow welding a chainsaw.

Actor Jim Siedow welding a chainsaw.

Did you know? Not only is Jim Siedow the only actor that was in the original film that returned, but TCM2 was his very last film.

Though The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 has a totally different direction from the original, at the heart of the film, it is still very entertaining. And it is certainly better than the other sequels that were made later on down the line. When you think about it, with Hooper leading the film it couldn’t be actually that bad. The man has done so many incredible films, that he can even turn a classic slasher movie into a comedy movie, and still managing to keep the most important character, Leatherface, true to his roots but giving him a little bit more soul.

One of my minor problems with the film is that it gets very cheesy at the end, and I felt that it was kind of dragging out. Even with a running time of 101 minutes (note: the original was only 83 minutes) it felt like it was being dragged out, and some shots like the very last shot with Stretch, it could of been done better or even just cut altogether.

Even with my problem with the film going on a little bit too long, it is filled with goodness. There is many laughs to be had, and a great chainsaw battle in the movie too. But one of my favorite things about this movie would have to be Leatherface, I believe he is a better and even more of a ‘person’ but yet is forced to do things by his very sick family. It’s very clear in multiple (two in particular) scenes that he has some sort of feelings for Stretch, may they be sexually urges, or that that he actually cares for her. I think this makes him much more of a likeable character than the Leatherface we saw in the original who has basically no lines of dialogue at all and is just out to kill people. You get nothing more there and I can see why he was that way in a slasher film, but I do think he portrayed better in the sequel. I liked him way more, even with the few hundred (thousand) people he murdered.

Our favorite chainsaw wielding killer, Leatherface!

Bill Johnson as Leatherface!

Did you know? Tobe Hooper wanted Gunnar Hansen who played Leatherface in the original film, to comeback in the sequel to play him again. Hansen was up for playing the part, but he wouldn’t play him unless he was payed more. It was then decided to not bring him back and get Bill Johnson to play Leatherface.

At the end of the day, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 isn’t a sequel that just copies the original and lives off its glory. It’s a film where chances were taken and they paid off very well. It’s not the best sequel in the world, but it is one that any fan of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre series should see, or just a horror fan in general.

Questions you may ask:

Should I watch this?
If you’re a fan of the horror genre in any way, or even just saw one of the TCM films and liked it, this sequel is definitely worth a look. I know when people hear about the comedy elements it kind of scares them away because the original film was (and still is) a landmark for the slasher genre, and now that comedy was incorporated into the sequel they automatically think it will be bad. But it’s not! Trust me, it’s a film that is very entertaining and fun to watch!

Is the rest of the franchise worth watching?
This is a tough question, because this franchise is very…mixed and matched. The original film is brilliant, and if you haven’t seen it already, that is the one you should start with. The second (which I discussed here) is also very good. The third film is…okay at the most. Even in the unrated version it is scared to show deaths, you always get that crappy ‘you can see the death!…in the shadow’. As for Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation? It’s a very, very bad film that you can totally miss out on. Even though the cast is impressive with Renée Zellweger and Matthew McConaughey starring in it, it doesn’t make up for how overall poor the film is. The remake and prequel to the remake are both good films that can be enjoyed.

V/H/S/2 Review: It had a lot of potential.

image-VHS-2

When the first V/H/S released, it got a lot of praise from critics because of its low budget and original interesting stories. While it did have some minor problems, people still enjoyed. Now that V/H/S/2 has been released, does it follow its originals footsteps or has it gotten lost in the mist of everything?

Like the original, V/H/S/2 is an anthology horror movie. It has one main plot which is called Tape 49. The main plot involves two private investigators who have been given the job of investigating the disappearance of a young man who is in college. As they arrive at his house, where he lives. They enter and find numerous VHS tapes by a TV. As one of the investigators called Larry goes and searches the rest of the house, the other investigator Ayesha sits down to watch the tapes. This is our main plot, and also where the short stories begin.

The first story is called “Phase I Clinical Trails” and its plot is that a middle aged man who was in a car accident loses some of his vision. The story then starts off with our main character in hospital and regaining his vision because his old eye was replaced with a new one. The trick is that the new eye is actually recording everything from the mans point of view, and this is where the ‘found footage’ aspect of it plays in. The story then progresses on, and the man begins to see things. 

If I’m honest, the whole idea of how we are viewing what is going on (through his new which has a recording functionality) is actually really cool and innovative. But that is the extent of cool and innovation in this story. I was actually guessing what was going to happen before they did, which is never good. The story just never does anything interesting, and then half-way through a new character gets added which is totally irrelevant. She introduces herself as Clarissa and says she understands what is going with our main character. But if you took her out of the story, we would miss nothing at all. Simply because all she adds is nudity which seems to be more important in horror films these days than the actual plot. The ending of the story is average, nothing too good or too bad. Just very ‘meh’. Overall, the story just isn’t interesting and charts the same ground hundreds of horror movies have before.

The next story up is “A Ride in the Park” and it starts off with our main character going on a cycle in (surprise!) a park while filming it all with a ‘Go Pro’ camera. At first it’s kind of hard to see where the film is going, but then it quickly takes a turn where our main character is stopped by a woman who is covered in blood in the park. A few seconds pass and then, she takes a big chunk out of our main character. She’s a zombie. And now our main character is too. This is the ‘twist’, it’s a found footage movie taken from the point of view of a zombie. And while the idea hasn’t been done before, it is for a reason, because it isn’t the slight bit interesting. Most people who watch this movie know what zombies do…they eat people. They aren’t smart, which brings me to a problem with the movie. I can’t really discuss it because it is a spoiler, but throughout the movie the zombies are stupid and can barely do anything but eat people (that’s okay), but then at the end of the movie somehow the zombies can actually think and do things.

The opening scene to "A Ride in the Park".

The opening scene to “A Ride in the Park”.

This story is boring, and that is the main problem with it. Everyone knows what zombies do, they are an interesting factor when our main characters are trying to escape or defeat them. But when we are on their side, and seeing from their view, it’s nothing but boring. And that is probably why we don’t see a lot of found footage movies that are taken from a zombie perspective.

Our third story is “Safe Haven” and easily one of the most entertaining and gory stories out of the entire lot. The plot is based around this cult, and more so the leader of the cult. A documentary crew is interviewing the leader of the cult at a restaurant at the beginning of the story, and they ask could they interview him back at his house where the cult lives. Although the plot doesn’t seem too interesting at first, it actually does something smart. It doesn’t show all its cards straight away. The movie still has more story to add, which will change it drastically. The movie is just super gory by the end and keeps surprising you which more and more outrageous stuff. Overall, a very entertaining and gory story.

The leader of the cult in the story, "Safe Haven".

The leader of the cult in the story, “Safe Haven”.

The final story of the film is “Slumber Party Alien Abduction” and what is it about? Well, it is exactly what the title suggests. The parents of a girl who is in her teenage years and a boy who is around 10 or so, leave the two home alone as they go away for the weekend. What starts off as playful messing between the siblings, ends up being interrupted by aliens who try to abduct them. While we’ve all seen alien abduction movies, this one is still very fun. It’s more lighthearted and has a bit more comedy to it while most of the others are serious. So, it is nice to have that break. Also, the way the story is shot is a bit all over the place, it goes from just someone just holding the camera to putting the camera on a dogs head and we are seeing what it sees. While I don’t mind it switching too much, I think just sticking with one or the other would have been better. The story is fun, and that is the best way to describe it. It’s just fun.

A scene from "Slumber Party Alien Abduction".

A scene from “Slumber Party Alien Abduction”.

One of my main concerns going into this film at first was that I was scared that it was going to feel rushed. And I’m afraid I do think that has something to do with the overall value. And there is word on the internet that the film was “rushed late into production in 2012″ which only makes me believe more, if more time was given we could of had a better movie. Because V/H/S/2 isn’t a good movie, unlike the original which is. I wanted to like it so much, being a big fan of the original. But when you have an ‘okay’ main plot, two really bad stories and another two decent stories that still aren’t anywhere as good as ones from the first movie? Overall, it just doesn’t add up to a good movie.

Rating: 4/10

A Look Back At: Psycho IV: The Beginning

"You've met Norman...now meet mother!"

“You’ve met Norman…now meet mother!”

The fourth film in a franchise, that is when people begin thinking the series, characters, and stories are all getting old and most of all, milked. But is that true with Psycho IV: The Beginning ? Lets find out, as we take a look back at it.

Psycho IV is the Psycho film that takes the bravest risks in the entirety of the series, it takes its lead Anthony Perkins as Norman and casts him in a sub-role, making him the narrator of the story we will be seeing. The story behind the main flashbacks to Norman’s childhood is that Norman has finally been let back out into society and now has a wife and lives with her. He hears the topic of a radio show being about matricide, and calls to give his opinion on it. This is where the real story starts.

The story focuses on Norman’s childhood and teenage years with his mother, with Henry Thomas playing young Norman Bates. And Henry really does a stellar job of being a young Norman, he has that ‘weird crazy’ vibe that Perkins brought into the role with earlier Psycho’s. The story starts just as Norman’s father dies, and goes up to where Norman kills both his mother and her new boyfriend. The story is very interesting, and we get to know how Norman became the killer that he did.

We also get to know Norman’s mother, “Norma” who is played by Olivia Hussey and does an outstanding job. She is a believable person, and you can begin to see where Norman gets this sick and twisted way of life from. It’s brilliant seeing her on screen. But Olivia didn’t even have to audition for the part as Norman’s mother, she was directly offered the role and accepted it immediately.

Though Psycho IV’s plot focuses on Norman’s early life, it wasn’t always planned to be about that. Anthony Perkins and the screenwriter for Psycho III Charles Edward Pogue, had originally pitched a plot that had Norman escape from a mental asylum with a ‘mute patient’. When Norman gets back to the Bates Motel, it has been changed into a tourist attraction for horror weekends. Then the actor that is suppose to play Norman Bates at the attraction ends up quitting, and actual Norman Bates gets the job and plays himself. Psycho III writer Pogue, said before that it was planned to be a black comedy but Universal didn’t like the idea.

[Norman was asked what is his name] Fran Ambrose (Radio host): "Well, we have to call you something..." Norman Bates: "You can call me Ed."

[Norman is asked what is his name]                        Fran Ambrose (Radio host): “Well, we have to call you something…”
Norman Bates: “You can call me Ed.”

At the beginning of the movie where Norman phones into the radio show and says his name is ‘Ed’, it is widely known that the original book ‘Psycho’ written by Robert Bloch, based the character Norman Bates on the real life serial killer ‘Ed Gein’.

One of the many things that is noticed in Psycho IV is that the film doesn’t follow the story from the second or third movie which involves Mrs. Spool. Joseph Stefano who you may have heard of before, was the writer for Psycho IV. But Stefano was also the writer for the original Psycho as well, and this is why he ignores the two other sequels. He wanted to use the original film as the source material and make Psycho IV: The Beginning a sort of ‘direct sequel’.

Something that both the original Psycho and Psycho IV have in common is that they both wanted to have the ending as a secret. With the original film, Hitchcock had all of Bloch’s Psycho books bought so that people couldn’t read the book and figure out what the ending was (hence one of the taglines for the film “Don’t give away the ending – it’s the only one we have!”).

But Psycho IV took the same care for the ending as Hitchcock did with the original. In the first broadcast of the film, Janet Leigh explained that several different endings were shot so that if one of the endings were spoiled and it was released to the public, they could scrap that one and use a different (already shot) one.

After Psycho IV did first air, rumors started going around of a fifth film. One of the biggest rumors was that in the next film Anthony Perkins would be absent and that his new born son would be the ‘star’ of the film. And it was even said that the film was already in development. But this turned out  false and the next film to release would be Gus Van Sant’s remake that cast Vince Vaughn as Norman Bates.

Though Psycho IV: The Beginning isn’t the best of the sequels, it still brings in a original and interesting plot by taking us back in time to when Norman wasn’t like any other teenager. Though at points it relives some of its past films glory and plays it safe in areas, it is still a good film to be seen and there’s worse Psycho films you could see (the remake).

Questions you may ask:

Should you watch this?
It really depends, if you have a fondness for the franchise then I’d say yes you should see the fourth film as it still is a good sequel and holds up to the name. But if you dislike the sequels and like the original film, I’d say give it a chance to be honest since the writer of the original wrote this. Anthony Perkins also said when he first saw the film that it was “the best out of all the Psycho sequels”. If you never liked any of the movies, then no, don’t waste your time on this.

Is the rest of the franchise worth watching?
Without a doubt I think it is. For me, it is one of the best horror franchises that has actually stayed true to its original and told interesting tales. Of course the original is normally known as the best film of the lot, but I do think Psycho II is up there with it. It focuses a whole lot more on Norman as an actual person and you get to know him more. Psycho III is a direct sequel to II and is also good, but unfortunately not as good as it could of been. But yes, the whole franchise is worth a watch and it holds up unlike many other old horror franchises wouldn’t.

Is there any other movies like this I may like, that are similar to this?
Yes, and there is such a wide range of options too that I possibly couldn’t even begin to list. You have your classic slasher horror movies that all took influence from Psycho in one way or another. You have your Friday the 13th’s, Halloween’s, Texas Chainsaw Massacre’s (which are also loosely based on Ed Gein like Psycho) and such. There is no shortage of slasher films out there.

 

Still if you have any questions, comments, or opinions, please leave a comment below or contact me directly at ‘andyaylesbury@hotmail.co.uk’.

Thank you for reading!

A Look Back At: Man Bites Dog

“Once I buried two Arabs in a wall over there… Facing Mecca, of course.”  - Benoit Poelvoorde

Ben, in between thoughts.

Ben, in between thoughts.

The serial killer we follow (Benoit Poelvoorde, aka. Ben) in Man Bites Dog isn’t our everyday normal serial killer, he is a very funny and at moments, a light hearted fellow. One word that describes the movie well is ‘bizarre’, because it truly is. The movie will quickly shoot from Ben joking around, to him suffocating a child with a pillow. Some people see it as a black comedy, but there is much more here than just jokes.
The plot in Man Bites Dog is as simple as you will get, we (us the viewers) follow Ben, a man who kills people for a living and also for pleasure. Rémy and André are filming Ben, and that’s the view point we get, so before you ask, yes, it’s a ‘found footage’ type of film. But the film doesn’t ever use camera tricks that found footage movies now would, instead, it focuses on the most important person which is Ben. At first Rémy and André are just shooting what Ben does, but as the film goes on, the line between shooting what he is doing and actually helping him in his killings becomes blurred.
The actual film makers who are Rémy Belvaux and André Bonzel (who play themselves in the movie) at the time the movie was shot, were relativity new to the movie industry. They had little money and limited resources, so they shot with what they could. In actual fact, the movie took over a year to make due to how little budget they had. Both Rémy and André ran out of money several times during the shooting and had to postpone it until they got some more. But a lot of friends and family of the two did contribute to the film so it could be made.

The main star of the show here is obviously, Ben. The man is so…weird. At times in the movie you can genuinely like him, as he shows a nice and loving side. In one scene he is playing with two small children and joking around with them, and you can’t help but smile at how nice he is. In other scenes, he is with his family and laughing, joking, hugging others, and just seeming a very nice person. So yes, he is a hard person to dislike at times.

In fact, in one essay André wrote that had information about Man Bites Dog, he said that Ben’s family did not have one clue about the actual plot of the movie. His family believed that him (André) and Rémy were just shooting footage of Ben that would be used elsewhere, but didn’t know it would be used in a film which Ben was a serial killer. Supposedly Ben’s mother was shocked after finding out.

But then we have the other side of Ben, this cold-hearted killer who doesn’t have any limits. He doesn’t have or show any sympathy to any of his victims. He just does what he has to, and it is crazy to think this is the same man who can play with children and be so nice. It’s almost like he is two different people. But deep down, he has no remorse for anything he does.
Ben clearly knows what he is doing too, at many different points in the film he teaches Rémy and André how to hide a body in a river by weighing it down, and by how much. And then quizzes them on it later in the movie. So, you can see that he is crafting them into the people he wants. Not just guys who are filming him, but people to actually help him. But even in the most tense moments, either when Ben is chasing someone down or killing someone, he continues to crack jokes.

[Ben is currently looking for a man that is hiding]
Ben: Remy, do you smell that?
Remy: No, what is it?
Ben: Chickenshit.

One scene in particular is a gang rape scene. After a night out at a local pub, Ben, Rémy and André all are walking around the city/town they live in, and Ben walks into an apartment complex and kicks down a random door to find a couple having sex. Ben holds a gun to the mans head, while Rémy and André take turns raping the woman.
This scene tends to be one of the most conversational of the movie, and in actual fact, it was a hard scene for the film makers (Rémy and André) to shoot. Both were very nervous about shooting the scene, more so Rémy. But Sylviane Godé who supported the movie let both film makers shoot the rape scene involving her. This comforted Rémy, as he was very shy about being nude in the scene.

In hindsight, Man Bites Dog such an original movie and shows that twisted people such as Ben can quietly fit into society and be himself, but then at times, lose his mind almost and do unspeakable things. I would delve deeper into the movie but I don’t discuss spoilers in these ‘A Look Back at:’ as that would take away things from people who have yet to see the movie and will do at some point. Man Bites Dog is a brilliant movie that had basically no budget and no big stars, but proved you can still do great things without both of them.

Ben, giving Remy some vital advice.

Ben, giving Remy some vital advice.

Questions you may ask:
Should you watch this?
Yes, if you haven’t seen Man Bites Dog yet and find it the slight bit interesting, then it is a must-see. It is hard to watch at times because of some killings, but its dark humor and fantastic life of Ben is enough of a reason to watch.

Does it hold up to this day?
It’s not all that old anyway, the movie was released in 1992 so it’s not that much of a problem to begin with. But yes, it does hold up to this day and like I said above, it’s worth your time if you find it interesting.

Is there any other movies like this I may like?
There isn’t a whole lot of movies like Man Bites Dog, but you could like Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer which is kind of like it but I’d still call Man Bites Dog a much better movie. Another movie you may like is Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon which released in 2006 and follows Man Bites Dog heavily. It obviously got a lot of influence from it, so it is like it but is a bit more light hearted and cheesy all around. Nonetheless, still a movie you may enjoy.

Still if you have any questions, comments, or opinions, please leave a comment below or contact me directly at ‘andyaylesbury@hotmail.co.uk’.

Thank you for reading!

A look back at: Eraserhead

Image

David Lynch, mostly known for his films that lack any sense and challenge the viewer to put the puzzle back together to discover what the movie was actually about. And his debut film Eraserhead is no different. But does it still hold up to this day?

Eraserhead is a movie that doesn’t rely on its plot really, in fact, it barely has a plot. But it gives you just the bare minimum to have some sort of understanding to what is happening. Our main character is Henry Spencer, and he is currently taking time off from work (a holiday as it is put in the movie). His girlfriend called Mary, and they are just after having a child together. But their child isn’t any ordinary child, the child is some sort of deformed, mutant child. We follow Henry as he struggles through this time.

Image

One thing to note about Eraserhead is, it is a very quiet movie. In fact, David Lynch had a lot of trouble getting financial help from the AFI (American Film Institute) because the script for the movie was only twenty pages long. Lynch did end up receiving a grant from the AFI after about three years of production when he eventually ran out of money. Terrence Malick (director/writer) screened Eraserhead for a “potential financial backer” at one point, and he walked out calling the movie, “bullsh*t”. But what the movie does do is, it focuses on sound, imagery and mood instead an deep plot. In lots of scenes in Eraserhead there is very little dialogue between anyone, let alone Henry and Mary (who are the focus points, Henry more so than Mary). Even for the first ten and half minutes of the movie, there is no talking at all.

But what Lynch loves to do in his movies is blur the line between reality and dreams/nightmares. And this is where it all started, at sections of this movie it is near impossible to tell whether or not something happening is real. And it is a recurring theme throughout, if you don’t like confusing movies, you won’t only not like Eraserhead, but you’ll most likely dislike the majority of Lynch’s work (apart from some).

One scene in-particular where you (the viewer) can’t really tell what is reality and what is dream is, when Henry opens up his mutant child and stabs him/her/it. This makes the child grow huge in size, its head becoming bigger and bigger and bigger were it is nearly the same size of Henry’s room.

Which leads to another point which is, many of the dream/nightmare (type of) sequences do not have any sort of narrative. You aren’t sure on how these sequences impact the overall story, or how they will later on in the film. Nothing is explained for you in Eraserhead and that is the way Lynch wants it.

The film is very confusing and has lead to tons of discussions on different internet forums, with people throwing in their own interruption of the movie and hopefully having it somewhat correct. A lot of people think the first section of the movie is suppose to mean how tough parenting a child can be, and how much time and effort goes into it. But in the second half of the film is where people tend to get lost along with the meaning.

But since 1977 when the film first released, not once has Lynch said what the meaning of the film actually is. Only in the 2000 release of the film on DVD, Lynch said that “no one has come close to the true meaning of the film.”

But just because Eraserhead lacks a script and a meaning (until Lynch, if ever, tells us) it doesn’t mean it’s a bad movie. It’s filled with terrific sound design, directing and writing. For its time it also has unbelievable special effects. And Lynch done all these duties himself, which tells you something about how great he is.

I have seen tons of horror movies, I have seen tons of torture porn movies and most of all, I have just seen a lot of messed up stuff in movies. But Eraserhead is one of the few that really made me feel extremely uncomfortable. Everything about it is creepy, and even a bit scary at times. From Henry’s mutant baby to his horrid nightmares, it really got me on edge for the majority of the movie.

Questions:

*Should you watch this? If you haven’t seen Eraserhead yet and find it somewhat interesting, then yes, it a must see. If you like David Lynch’s previous work and think you could like this, then yes it is at least a watch. If you don’t like confusing, very weird and David Lynch type of movies then no, you are better not wasting your time on it. I’ve seen a lot of people just think it is a bunch of random shots strung together with a very basic plot and they think it was an utter waste of time (which is fine, mind you). So, find out what group you are in and then choose to watch or not!

*Does it hold up to this day?
Yes, Eraserhead does indeed hold up to this day and still remains as one of the most disturbing, weird movies ever made. And there has been a lot since 1977 too, which says something.

*If I liked this, what other movies from the director would I possibly like?
Lynch has a lot of messed up, confusing films that are all great. Blue Velvet, Lost Highway, Inland Empire and Mullholland Drive are all great movies that you could possibly enjoy. Lynch also done a short called Rabbits too which clocks in around 40 minutes long and too is very confusing, and still has that Lynch feel with the short runtime.

If you have any questions, comments, or opinions, please leave a comment below or contact me at ‘andyaylesbury@hotmail.co.uk’.

Thank you for reading!

Is Ash coming back from the dead?

Image

The director of the three Evil Dead movies, Sam Raimi has said “I would love to make Evil Dead 4. My brother and I plan to work on the script this summer.” This giving long time fans of the series hope that another Evil Dead movie with Ash (Bruce Campbell) could possibly happen.

But after saying that, Sam Raimi has kind of gone back on what he has said. “Those guys made me say that. I am thinking about it but a crowd goes ‘Come on Sam, do it!’ so I said ‘Okay, I guess I was talking to my brother about it.’ But I feel like I was pushed into saying that, a little bit. In the hallway today I joked with Ivan, ‘Get working on that script!’ but I really don’t know.”

So where does that leave the chances of a sequel to Army of Darkness? Well no one really knows except Sam himself. But he has also said that he feels like the fans are forcing him into doing a sequel. “I’m afraid that every time I talk about it people get really mad at me when I don’t follow through with it. I would like to work on the script over the summer, that much is true. But the reason to come back and do it again is only that they’re making me, those fans.”

What’s your opinion on this? Would you like a sequel?

The Recent Barrage of Party Movies

Image

Party movies have been around for a long time now, as far back as1978 when Animal House first came out and was a smash hit among the public. And since back in 2007 when Superbad released, there has been a revitalization of the ‘party movie’ scene with movies like The Hangover, The Hangover: Part II, Project X, and the upcoming 21 and Over. But there seems to be a minor problem with the recent barrage of them…they all do the same thing as previous movies and never change anything except the characters.

Superbad kind of set the bar for party movies again, that can be said and it also can be said that it’s a fantastic comedy movie. It was something new again, a plot that has us cheering the less popular guys in college and wanting them to succeed. What is Project X‘s plot again? Oh yeah, it’s about three guys who want to throw a big house party since their parents are away. It does seem familiar, huh? It’s so similar that it could be renamed, Superbad: The Found Footage Edition and people would probably understand. There is nothing knew there, and when you look at the new movie 21 and Over and some of the reviews coming through, it all points to ‘it’s the same story copied and pasted, the same cliché characters copied and pasted with different names’ and so on and so on.

Why people go see these movies and actually spend their hard earned money on them, to support them and actually fund future movies that are just cash-grabs. The Hangover is another example of a movie that is caught up in money and forgets to actually build on a sequel, The Hangover: Part II done nothing different than the original except change the location and the one character that is missing. And what is in the works now, and coming in the summer? The Hangover 3 and why? Because (mostly) it’s a quick cash-grab that the studio know they can just rope in more of the same crap of the original with no innovation.

Yes, a party movie is suppose to maintain the focus, the party, but it’s also not suppose to copy every other movie that is a party movie too. Which the recent barrage of party movies have been doing. They all just copy each other and wait for the money to pile in.

If any type of movies need to die, it’s these ones.

It’s time to leave the Alien franchise alone

Image

Since the first Alien movie back in 1979 released creating the now legendary Xenomorph, infinite movies have learned and taken inspiration from it and it’s sequels. But since the second movie Aliens the series has been hurt continuously. Is it time the Alien should be left alone?

Since Ridley Scott brought us the stunning sci-fi horror movie the genre has never been the same, the epic build-up to the chestburster scene that no one saw coming to the amazing role Sigourney Weaver played as Ripley, a strong powerful female character that stayed in through-out the franchise. Not many people thought that Alien could be topped but director James Cameron took the job of trying to. What he done with Aliens is made it one of the best sequels in cinema history. Changing the original sci-fi horror feel to more of a sci-fi action movie with elements of horror mixed in it. With Aliens, Cameron brought of a ‘crew’ vibe, having a range of different characters all having their own traits and concerns. He didn’t solely rely on Ridley to be the main star of attention, but in the second half of the movie brought her into the spotlight. But with what happened at the end of Aliens, it left an opening for a sequel if there was going to be one.

Then start Alien 3, the film was being directed by David Fincher and saw the main character of the first two Alien movies return, Ripley. This is the movie that saw the Alien franchise decline, with a below average plot and killing off some other very important characters from Cameron’s Aliens. The movie didn’t impress as much as the original or the incredible sequel, but laid the groundwork for the sequel that was to come later on known as Alien: Resurrection.

Alien: Resurrection is widely known the worst of the Alien movies, creating a stupidly bizarre plot wrote by Joss Whedon (who directed the now popular Avengers movie) which I think is most to blame for this horrible Alien movie we got. But yet again, Ripley returns in Resurrection and has more xenomorphs to fight off. Overall, the film wasn’t liked by the majority of Alien fans.

That is why Alien 3 is so important, while it did do some good things, like having the xenomorph born through a dog this time unlike the two previous movies, it did stuff wrong and basically gave way for Resurrection and it’s horrible plot to happen.

That’s not the end though, Ridley Scott who directed Alien, last year released a prequel to it called Prometheus. And like the previous two Alien films, this one didn’t deliver (for some people). Though there is going to be a sequel to Prometheus to continue to prequel to Alien, I think after this prequel, the Alien franchise has to be left alone.

Of course you can too mention the Alien vs. Predator franchise that done horrible and did nothing for either the Alien franchise, or the Predator one at that. It was just milking both names and it resulted in (two) bad movies.

By now the Alien name is just getting milked more and more. Like video games, the Alien franchise has had video games adaptions too. Like the recently released Alien: Colonial Marines that takes place 17 weeks after the events of Aliens. Though it’s now known as the sequel to Aliens and bridges the gap between Aliens and Alien 3 (which it didn’t do, only created more plotholes). But the game has been smashed by reviewers and is doing very bad, like the 2010 game Aliens vs. Predators. Not to mention another Aliens game is in the works by Creative Assembly.

But what I am pointing to here is, the Alien franchise has been milked enough. We’ve had enough bad sequels since Aliens and as much as I was excited for Prometheus, after its sequel we don’t need anymore prequels or explanation.

Long time fans of the franchise (like me) have had enough of these bad movies, and bad video games killing the Alien name more and more with everyone that is released.

It’s time to leave the Alien franchise alone.

Remakes: Is Hollywood Finally Learning?

In the film industry these days (and fans of it), no one is surprised when a film is going to be remade. If it’s one of your favorite movies that is being remade you will most likely react with rolling your eyes or giving a big sigh. And most fans would have the right to react in such a way, given the track record of remakes. Some remakes such as the Black Christmas, Poseidon, Halloween, Godzilla and of course The Wicker Man. These being only some of a large amount of bad remakes, are Hollywood finally understanding how to do remakes now?

If you dig through enough films you can actually find some good remakes, I know, sounds absurd right? But there is remakes out there are actually very good and better than their counterparts, there is also films coming later in the year that are remakes and look promising too.

One of the movies that is better than the original is I Spit on Your Grave, originally one of the first films that fought sexism in movies. Showing a female character fighting back against males and not be given the normal character to just sit around and look good in front of camera. But was one of the video nasties that good of a film? It’s not a great film, in fact it’s probably a mediocre film but for what it does for females and the film industry at a time that was dominated by males, it made its mark. But in 2010 the film was remade, it was being directed by Steven R. Monroe. The film of course had its negative reviews like the first film from people who hated the type of movie it was, and for what it portrayed but in all the remake done everything the original did in a much better way. The remake does add in another character as Sheriff Storch and this kind of makes things a bit more intense with what happens. Along with the added character, the film looks and sounds way better (obviously) than the 1978 version. And Sarah Butler playing Jennifer is really good too, making the role her own.

But what Hollywood seems to love to do is remake a very popular old movie and then just cash in on the name, while not putting much work into the movie itself. But with them remaking a movie that originally had an interesting premise and wasn’t executed properly, they can remake it and make it what it was suppose to be like. And if Hollywood is going around just remaking the best old movies, what is there to really build on? Remakes like Psycho weren’t bad, but they just didn’t make the movie its own. It’s just a carbon copy of the original with updated visuals and sound and that’s not what people want.

Other remakes that are coming this year like Evil Dead and Carrie could be actually really good, because they are building on the originals premise. Evil Dead seems to be taking a very serious approach with what it’s doing, unlike the sequels that had a lot of comedy scenes and were less serious.

But is Hollywood finally learning now? Will they stop remaking movies that are near perfect already?

I for one think that remakes are headed in the right direction finally, of course we will get some bad ones along the way but I think we will be seeing some better remakes than we have over the past couple of years.