03 April 2012

THE HILLS RUN RED/2010/WILLIAM SADLER

On one level 2009’s The Hills Run red is not really too bad a bad masked killer movie. The killer is creepy enough and the violence is anything but subdued. The acting is okay and even features William Sadler as the evil film director Wilson Wyler Concannon, whose infamous slasher film The Hills Run Red, has become a thing of myth and the object of a quest by a group of teens. The killer, Babyface, is genuinely freaky and one of the better such evil entities I have seen in a while. But on on another level the film is irritating. In particular I had some issues with the editing style. Often a simple scene of two characters talking is punctuated by sudden loud audio effects and choppy, jumpy scenes of Babyface killing somebody or up to no good in some manner. It is really overdone and this style of editing is more suited to a heavy metal music video I think rather than being injected constantly into a full length film. Some scenes edited like this are appropriate, but it simply over done and there is no reason people cannot watch two or three characters interacting without having to be jolted by brutal audio/video effects. Another issue is that in some scenes the violence becomes a bit too much. I mean I am not against violence but again we get into the whole “torture porn” deal where we have to watch someone slowly and brutally tortured. While this can make you winch and squirm it is not really scary. Not atmospheric or clever in any sense. And we do not expect Fellini here or course, but the film falls back over and over on these editing gimmicks and utterly over the top violence to keep the pace rather than exploring the story more effectively. But then again, it is a standard formula with big city teens going into the remote country side sticking their noses into the business of the local hillbillies and looking for things they should not be and getting more than they bargained for in the end. Some of the issues with this predictable formula are voiced, in an attempt to add some humor to the dark story, by teen character Lalo. But the high-strung teen character voicing his concerns over the group falling prey to slasher film clichés has been done over and over and has itself now become a slasher film cliché.

An interesting point here, and one I began to notice when I review the film Amusement a few posts back, is the use of foreign locales for rural US. The film is shot in Bulgaria and probably used local film crews for some of the work, including set designs and maybe some of the editing and cinematography. Not really sure. The film does not look bad really and there is some talent going on in front of and behind the camera, but ultimately the film is too bleak and violent, lacking any humor or satire, to really enjoy.

01 April 2012

MY BROTHER THE VAMPIRE (MEIN BRUDER DER VAMPIR)/2001

My Brother the Vampire (aka Mein Bruder der Vampir or Getting My Brother Laid) is actually a 2001 comedy/drama and not a horror film. But I thought it was some sort of horror film or psycho thriller when I went into it and so in a weird way I feel it is appropriate to do a short little review of the film here at Necrotic Cinema, which is in dire need of new posts anyway since I moved it over to the new URL. In fact this will be my first new post at the new address. While not a horror film in that nobody dies or there is no supernatural element or monster or psycho stalker, the film is still eerie and creepy in a way. Because, well, it is German. You know that can be pretty scary stuff. Nietzsche and Wagner and Kraftwerk. Dark and brooding. Depression is scary. And this little film is full of all sorts of Teutonic angst in the form of sexual frustration and the desperation a soon to be thirty year old mentally retarded guy named Josh needing to get himself a “corkscrew” (a cute little term for a loveless one night stand) as soon as possible. Josh is not only a bit slow in the noggin but he also believes himself to be a vampire, the “Prince of Darkness” he calls himself. I thought when I got this that he was going to be killing off people in a deluded state -ala Martin- and sucking their blood throough a straw or something. Ah, nothing of the sort happens.

What does happen is even more shocking! I defecate thee not. His 15 year old sister Nicole is “on the verge of womanhood” (according to one of the few reviews of this film I could find online in English). Now what this means is she wants to get laid herself. You can’t be on the verge or manhood or womanhood I guess without getting yourself sodomized or something anymore. Nicole has taken an interest in a local small time crook who, with the help of his little gang, likes to hang people upside in the local playground and rob them of spare change while pantomiming weird cabaret songs. Not having too much trouble in the sex department is big brother Mike who is not retarded and is long past the verge of manhood. He is boffing new girlfriend Nadine in the attic bedroom while Josh and Nadine peep in on them. Mike soon takes it on as his brotherly duty to get his mentally handicapped brother laid, even if it means sharing his girlfriend or finding him a kinky cosplaying prostitute. And if none of this works, he will show Josh how to yank his bratwurst to some high quality Euro porn, complimenting him on his technique as the two guys go at it.

The local small time punk finds Nicole too kinky for his taste and Josh is more interested in Nadine than porn or prostitutes. And by the end of the film both Nicole and Josh finally wind up having sex… with each other!!! Yes, we are talking about incest between a 15 year old girl and her mentally retarded brother. See, I told you these Germans were some scary ass people. You can’t be responsible for two world wars and not have some twisted ass views on sex and relationships and how to manage the handicapped. The film is full of odd little scenes that you typically see only in European films and which you either will find artsy and elevated or you will respond, like my wife did, by exclaiming, “…what the hell is this movie about!” I was actually leaning somewhere towards the artsy, elevated side myself but I did not tell her that. I don’t know any of the actors or the director and doubt I will ever see them in anything again so I did not mention their names, and also because I have to keep looking back and forth between here and IMDB to spell those complicated German names. The film is well shot and edited. The acting is not too bad in a European type of way. Check it out but don’t expect to see anybody getting their jugular veins punctured. This one is a bit weird enough and obscure enough to wind up here at one of my blogs. Oh and by the way, I actually love the Germans and all that Schopenhauer and Kafka stuff. Just kidding earlier.