Monday, November 03, 2008

This year's Halloween was...

Brilliant :)

Watched a couple of horror movies that, while fun to watch, were not all that good. Me and Cosmic had about a million and one movies to pick from, but ended up going with Pumpkinhead and Zombi 2 (also known as Zombie Flesh Eaters, a title I can't help but feel is a bit redundant).

1. Pumpkinhead (1988)

I don't really understand what the "fairy tale" part of the tagline refers to, but oh well. Maybe because there's a witch in the movie? We all know fairy tales are crawling with witches. Moving on.
Pumpkinhead starts with a flashback. It shows us a man desperately running from something evil through the woods, until he gets to a house. He pleads for the people inside to help him, but the mother, father and child that are inside do not move. As the man doesn't go away, the family's patriarch grabs his shotgun and threatens he will shoot him if he doesn't leave the area. The man eventually runs away, and, through the window, the child sees a monster in the shadows killing the man who previously pleaded them for help.

Fast-forward a few years, and we find that kid all grown up: he's now an adult hillbilly, with a son of his own, a little cute blonde boy with oversized glasses. They live quietly in the country, until one day, a bunch of city teenagers stop by their grocery store on their way to a cabin in the woods. You just know something bad is going to happen, and when dad has to leave the store, one of the city folks 8the asshole of the bunch) runs over the little boy with his motorbike. Despite his friends want to help the poor boy, Biker Dude has been drinking, and if he gets caught, his ass will go to jail. So he ends up making his friends hostages in said cabin, stopping them from getting help for the dying kid. When dad comes back to find his young boy dead in the field, his only thought is revenge, and with the help of the local witch, he conjures up a demon, Pumpkinhead, to carry out his revenge for him.

It was directed by the special effects wizard Stan Winston, so you know the creature looks really good - although I heard that due to his directing duties he actually couldn't supervise the creature effects as much as he wanted. The plot is not bad, and it had great potential, but to me the movie kind of fell flat. The acting was, for the most part, pretty campy, and I don't have much against that in a horror movie, but there was almost zero suspense. The creature was scary, but that wasn't explored enough (although some shots of it lurking on the foggy forest were effective), and the killings were pretty boring, in my opinion (I know I'm sounding like those video fanatics from the League of Gentlemen...). The sound effects were really over-the-top cheesy, and made me laugh when they were supposed to scare me or make me feel unsafe. The cinematography was decent, and I actually think the blue and orange filters used in this movie really helped set the mood on different locations.

All in all, it wasn't the worst movie I ever saw, but it hardly impressed me. I think that, had I seen it a few years earlier, I'd probably dig it a whole lot, but for some reason, it just didn't do it for me this time. It was fun to watch though, and we laughed a whole lot.

2 out of 5 demons

2. Zombi 2 - Zombie Flesheaters (1979)

Oh wow.

Being a horror movie fan, I've heard a lot about Lucio Fulci, the italian zombie-master. His movies are not exactly easy to find, so I had only seen one of his movies before: Paura nella città dei morti viventi, or City of the Living Dead (just sounds fancier in italian, doesn't it?), and that didn't impress me much. But Zombi 2 is his most well-known movie, so I was pretty curious to see what the fuss was all about. Little sidenote: Zombie 2 was marketed in Europe as a sequel to Romero's Dawn of the Dead (marketed in Europe under the title Zombi), but it's absolutely unrelated to Romero's work. Well, except that it has zombies, of course.

The story starts with a boat sailing along the East River, apparently without any passengers or crew. When two coast guards go on board to check it out, we see there is actually a zombie inside. He kills one guard, and is then shot by the other, falls into the water - and we somehow know that's not the end of it. Next thing we know, the boat owner's daughter wishes to find out what happened with her father. On the boat, she finds a note stating her father is in the island of Matool and, teaming up with a jornalist currently investigating the case, heads up to Matool to find out just exactly what is going on there. They catch a ride from a couple on vacation and start looking for the uncharted, mysterious island. Matool happens to be a damned place, where the dead come back to life, and the 4 of them are in for more than just an investigation.

I can see why this is a classic. Despite the non-existing plot, the bad acting, and the lack of coeherence or logic, the violence is pretty high for 79's standards, and no doubt caused a lot of waves. By today's standards it's nothing that would make you flinch - but in 79, it could. It also has a lot of boobs.

Still, being a classic doesn't make it good. Yeah, it was fun seeing all the two-dimensional characters, the plot holes, the one prop-hand that was apparently used in all the scenes and the bad make-up job in so many of the zombies, but honestly I expected more. Not Citizen Kane, but you know, something better than a zombie fighting a shark. Yes, that does happen, and no, it's not as freaking awesome as it sounds - believe me, I thought I was going to see the coolest thing ever, but it just turned out to be kind of stupid and boring. The characters act in the most ridiculous ways possible, especially the women: they just stand there, screaming, whenever a zombie pops up. What, they're Banshee now, and will destroy them by sound? Heaven's sake, move those legs already. I also learned that when you throw a Molotov cocktail at a bunch of zombies, the flames go out once it hits the floor, which kinda defies the logic of the whole thing. The gore is okay, not much to complain about in that department. It's mildly entertaining trash.

All in all, there are FAR superior zombie movies out there that you should watch. I don't really recommend Zombi 2 to anyone but horror movie apreciators, or zombie fans who like to take a peek at the birth of the zombie genre.

1.5 out of 5 zombies

Let me know what movies you watched this Halloween.


Ska said...

Porque eu adoro dar-te pesadelos à noite:

É que é bem feito!!! Estavas a dizer mal "ah, o Picollo é feio e não sei que mais". Vai buscar!

nakamura_michiyo said...

Pfff não conhecias a tranformação do Son Goku em Super Guerreiro Cabeça de Espargo? Pfff... quer dizer... horrível. Isso é horrível. Tá bem piorzinho que o Picollo :\ Acho que os tipos pararam de fazer uma adaptação do dragon ball e em vez disso fizeram uma aposta a ver quanto conseguiam afastar-se do material de fonte e cá para mim estão a fazer um trabalho do caraças.

Ska said...

btw, o trailer do watchmen já está a passar. Antes do quantum of solace. Sempre se mantém o 2009

nakamura_michiyo said...

Yep, também já vi :) Foi um lindo momento. Tive pena de não estar a ver o filme no Arrábida, com um ecrã grande como deve ser, mas foi bem lindo à mesma!

Black Math said...

indeed the Greatest halloween ever!! :)
and we have TONS of halloween-ish movies to watch till next one ;)

love ya <3