BRIDE of HHMC, PART THREE
Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride
Since his previous stop-motion adventure The Nightmare Before Christmas left female Hot Topic shoppers perpetually wet for the better part of a decade, it made sense that Tim Burton would eventually return to that well someday. Corpse Bride is assembled with similar care, with the added benefit of advances in technology lending it a more fluid look. The songs by frequent Burton collaborator Danny Elfman are largely forgettable this time, but then again Corpse Bride is less of an overt musical than Nightmare, with the small handful of tunes used primarily as vessels for delivering exposition. The story is packed with little horror references, and the colorful characters that populate the land of the dead are funny and creative. It’s an entertaining and clever little flick, and while it will never get out from under Nightmare‘s shadow, it’s probably my favorite of the two. 4/5
- Have a drink (21 & over please!) every time a character loses a body part. Finish your drink when the prick unwittingly chugs the poison.
Audition might be the slowest-moving horror pic I’ve seen yet; the entire film is basically a build-up to the final 15 minutes, but the finale is that much more potent because of it. The setup is almost like something out of a romantic comedy: a widower is encouraged by his teenaged son to get out there and remarry, and so his film producer friend creates a mock “audition” for a movie as a forum for meeting potential brides. Only, his friend detects something is off with the seemingly sweet, soft-spoken woman he favors most – her résumé seems fabricated, and her previous employer has strangely gone missing. This doesn’t stop our lovelorn protagonist from continuing to see her anyway, and we know something ain’t right with this chick when we see her staring at the phone for days on end awaiting his call, with what appears to be a body tied up in a sack in the background. Though relatively brief, the torture sequence that occurs in the final few minutes has nevertheless made its way into horror history. Though it refrains from showing every macabre detail, the sick, gleeful look on the girl’s face, coupled with some choice sound effects make it seem more visceral in hindsight. The final act also nosedives into psychological horror, as the drugged, paralyzed guy begins having a lengthy series of hallucinations that eventually has us wondering if any of this is even happening to begin with. Maybe it’s because it doesn’t feature any ghosts with stringy black hair, but Audition remains one of the only Japanese horror (or “J-horror”) pics I can think of that made a significant impact in the states, yet hasn’t yet received an American remake. Maybe that’s a good thing. 3/5
- Drink every time you see a phone, and whenever you see a severed body part. Finish your drink if you don’t look away during the torture scene cause you’re a sick fuck.
Children of the Corn
Hard to believe there have been nine Children of the Corn movies to date (including a made-for-TV remake) all because of a short story Stephen King wrote, probably while on the shitter. It’s kind of like a more redneck version of Children of the Damned, where a young Linda Hamilton and her Michael Bay-lookalike boyfriend get stuck in a desolate Nebraska town where the kids have murdered almost all of the adults, under the zombie-like influence of Isaac, their leader. Isaac looks like Damien from the second Omen movie if he got lost in Amish country, and his slight lisp and higher pitched voice make you wonder why none of the bigger kids simply stuffed him in a locker instead. (Isaac is played by John Franklin, a 5′ actor who was 24 at the time of filming, and also played Cousin Itt in both Addams Family movies.) The movie sports a fairly sadistic opening scene, and the neutral, timeless-looking Nebraska setting helps disguise the fact that this was made in 1984, but the occasional voiceover by one of the kids and a cheap imitation-John Carpenter score slather a thick layer of cheese on anyway. 2.5/5
- Drink whenever someone says Isaac’s name. Finish your drink when Michael Bay starts bitch-slapping Isaac’s right-hand enforcer, Malachai.
Suspiria is now the second Dario Argento movie I’ve seen (after Mother of Tears) and now I feel confident in saying that none of this guy’s movies make any fucking sense whatsoever. Argento’s work seems to be the pinnacle of style over substance; pesky things like plot and logic are secondary to trippy visuals and short bursts of bloody mayhem. Suspiria is the first of Argento’s so-called “Three Mothers” trilogy – three movies that are each about a different witch (or “Mother”), but are otherwise unrelated. This one concerns an American dancer who attends a prestigious German ballet school. Only, the school is basically a front for a coven of witches. Though Suspiria is generally well-regarded, I find it to be a whole lot of nothing punctuated by just a few scenes of technicolor-blood-soaked violence. For instance, there’s a pretty crazy opening murder, followed by a solid 45 minutes of talking and other snore-inducing bullshit. Suspiria ultimately gets a half-hearted recommendation for its unique and effective score (by Italian prog band Goblin, with Argento) and, of course, Argento’s typically crazy and gory kills. They’re just too little and far between. 2.5/5
- Drink every time you see blood. Finish your drink when the blind guy’s seeing eye dog goes apeshit.
One might be tempted to call Troll 2 the ultimate “so bad it’s good” horror movie, but Roger Corman’s filmography had it beat by several decades. Though it had a considerable cult following anyway, the recent documentary Best Worst Movie gave it a little extra push (I suggest watching them as a double feature, with a few friends and plenty of beer). Documentary or no, most people are probably at least privy to Troll 2‘s origins: that it was really a standalone movie about goblins (no actual troll in sight) that was suddenly given the name Troll 2 in hopes of piggybacking on the first movie’s very minor success. The acting is across the board awful, with most of the lead actors (and certainly all of the minor ones) having never acted before. The story makes very little sense too. What does register fairly well, surprisingly, is the makeup effects; though the actual goblins look like Ewoks on bath salts, some of the people-turning-into-plant sequences are pretty impressive. Or perhaps the rest of the movie simply lowered the bar enough. You be the judge! 2/5
- Drink every time someone bleeds or vomits green goop. Finish your drink for this immortal line.
Two-thirds of Silent House is a simple, bare-bones haunted house flick. Deceptively simple, actually: filmed in several large chunks, the film is carefully pieced together to make it seem like it’s one ongoing take. Therefore everything seemingly occurs in real time, which is a nice, if not entirely original, approach. Elizabeth Olson does a fairly good job at selling all of this (she’s quickly establishing herself as the talented, under-the-radar little sister of the Olson twins) as she’s frequently left alone in the freaky old house that her father and uncle are attempting to fix up and sell. For most of its runtime, the movie teeters the line between a ghost story and a home invasion flick; while it seems that it’s another human menacing her, there are also glimpses of a mysterious little girl, suggesting that either there is some paranormal shit going on, or the protagonist is losing her mind. Like so many movies of its kind, it all boils down to a “twist” ending that greatly disappoints, especially since it’s basically the same bullshit High Tension pulled several years ago. One could make a case for its effective first hour, but too many horror clichés inevitably crop up (such as using the flash from an old Polaroid camera when a flashlight isn’t available), leading to some predictable scares. 2.5/5
- Have a drink every time she hears a mysterious sound. Finish your drink every time the dad or uncle suspiciously try to hide those photos.