Fangs of the Living Dead- 1969Reviewer: Indy McDanielRating: 1Director: Amando de OssorioWriter: Amando de OssorioCast: Anita EkbergGianni MediciDiana LorysRosanna YanniCesar BenetRun Time: 88 minutesMPAA Rating: PGDate Reviewed: October 11th, 2007Plot: A beautiful virgin inherits a castle, but when she arrives at it, she finds that the inhabitants include a strange nobleman and a bevy of beautiful women she suspects may be vampires.Comments: This is probably about one of the worst vampire movies around. Take Dracula, rip all the best parts out and toss them in the garbage, hire a bunch of sub par actors who all look alike and add in a bunch of really poorly done attempts at comic relief and you've pretty much got this movie. The basic plot is just ridiculous, and once the movie gets going it pretty much just keeps falling apart more and more. There's no real character, there's no coherent story and there isn't even any cheesy bits to poke fun at. It's just increasingly boring.Vampire movies tend to vary from good to bad. There's never really a set list of rules for them either. So pretty much, even though vampires are a sub-genre of horror movie and they've got their certain cliches, there's still a whole lot of freedom you can play around with. And even if you decide to just rehash Dracula in your vampire movie, that's still fine, cuz Dracula's a great story. However, where it starts to get lame, is when you take Dracula and mutate it so much into something else that the only way it becomes even remotely similar is by someone saying, 'Oh yea, this is like Dracula... only really, really bad.' That's about the time when it's obvious you've gone horribly wrong.The character motivations seem to be about nonexistant, partially because they make no sense but mostly because there's really no time spent on developing any of the characters. There's a half-assed attempt at explaining some of the history, but even that just culminates into a pointless flashback sequence. It really doesn't help matters that there's about four female characters (I think) and they look like two sets of twins. There's two red-heads and two dark-haired chicks. The guys are a bit more diverse looking at least, but their characters are even flatter then the chicks, since the chicks at least have massive bussoms to keep from being too flat. See what I did there? I made a boobie joke out of how flat the characters are in this movie. Seriously, though, the breasts are the only full thing about these characters.To make matters worse, there's a whole series of semi-intentional comic relief segments that just completely fail on all levels. It breaks down any chance of developing a creepy atomosphere or getting any real horror elements going, which there weren't any to begin with. And beyond that, the stuff just isn't all that funny. It's really more pathetic then anything, like they knew the movie wasn't working as a horror movie so they started trying to make fun of it halfway through, as if that would somehow help the movie become less sucky. It doesn't. It makes it more sucky.Overall: I haven't seen every vampire movie ever made, but this one definitely ranks as one of the worst I have seen.
The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave- 1971Reviewer: Indy McDanielRating: 2Director: Emilio MiragliaWriter: Fabio PittorruMassimo FelisattiEmilio MiragliaCast: Antonio De TeffeMarina MalfattiErika BlancGiacomo Rossi-StuartEnzo TarascioRun Time: 103 minutesMPAA Rating: RDate Reviewed: October 10th, 2007Plot: A wealthy English lord is suffering a mental breakdown following the death of his red-headed wife, Evelyn, whom he feared was cheating on him. He tours local bars and dives, scouring for lovely red-heads willing to come back to his decaying castle in the country, where he seduces them, then tortures and kills them. His friend the doctor talks him into marrying again to help heal his slowly-rotting mind, which he does--but are the doctor's orders really what he needs?Comments: This movie is pretty much comprised of three different other movies all smashed together. The problem with that, other then there's just too damn much going on, is that all three of the movies used to make up this one are really cliche and unoriginal. Add in a slew of pretty hammy actors and a series of about ten different twist endings back to back and the movie pretty much stumbles down a rocky road before falling flat on its face. Add in the fact that there really isn't all that much horror in here at all, and this movie's about as bad as can be.That's not to say the whole movie is a complete waste of time. It actually starts out in a relatively interesting, if somewhat unoriginal, way. At first, it seems as though it's going to be a story about a man who's haunted by his dead wife and is taking it out by luring other women who resemble her back to his castle-like mansion where he whips them and kills them. Not original, but it's at least approached in what seems to be a pretty interesting and entertaining way. The plot lags out, though, and quickly switches gears. After that, it goes through several more twists and turns, none of which making much sense until they finally attempt to wrap everything up in the end with even more convenient and illogical twists.The acting is all melodramatic and snoozeworthy and none of the characters are very interesting or likeable. Instead, there's just a collection of very plain, very borying characters who stroll around doing things for no discernable reason. One problem is because there's a whole lot of stuff that's based one what happened before the movie even started that's never even properly gone over. They say about five different times how the main guy suspected his wife of cheating on him, but then they also say he left her, she left him and that she's dead and buried on the property where the castle is at. It's hinted that he killed his wife, but if so, then why does he seem to only hesitate killing the other chicks when she appears to him and tells him not to? The motivations and implied haunting just confuses everything even more, and not in a good way.The horror elements are all just tricks to make the audeince suspect that there's something supernatural going on, when really what's actually going on is pretty lame. Which sucks because just before the reveal, the 'zombie' Evelyn actually looks pretty cool and creepy. Unfortunately, we only got to baske in the creepiness for about thirty seconds before it's all revealed as a fraud. From that point on, the climax is essentially a rapid fire set of scenes that proceed to explain, re-explain, twist and turn the plot around until it's just a jumbled pile of shit. To make matters even more confusing is the fact that everyone seems to know the main guy is killing chicks, but no one seems to give a shit. What up wit' dat, yo?Overall: An interesting beginning and a lot of gratuitous female nudity is about all there is to get outta this movie. Whether or not that's enough to actually encourage you to sit through this jumbled mess, well, that's up to you.
Terror of Mechagodzilla-1975Reviewer: Indy McDanielRating: 8Director: Ishiro HondaWriter: Yukiko TakayamaCast: Katsuhiko SasakiTomoko AiAkihiko HirataKatsumasa UchidaGoro MutsumiRun Time: 83 minutesMPAA Rating: GDate Reviewed: October 7th, 2007Plot: Aliens rebuild Mechagodzilla with the help of a demented scientist who has discovered a creature called Titanosaurus, which they intend to team up to defeat Godzilla.Comments: This was the last movie of the original Godzilla series. Fitting that it was directed by the guy who helmed the original. This one is actually really well done, too, managing to sidestep a fair amount of the silliness that Godzilla had managed to stumble into over the years and actually put out a pretty well constructed plot. The whole series more or less followed a timeline, but this is really one of the few that was a direct sequel of the previous film. All the other 'versus' series could pretty much be taken as stand-alone films, but Terror of Mechagodzilla is really a companion piece to its predecessor, Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla. The plots tie into each other, and even Godzilla's actions are directly influenced by the previous encounter he had with Mechagodzilla.Adding in a new baddie for the movie was another slick move to make, and Titanosaurus is actually pretty cool. He's fairly good at kicking some ass and taking a pounding, too. That's a good thing, considering that the first half of the movie has Godzilla totally absent and Mechagodzilla in a secret base being repaired. So it's up to Titanosaurus to keep the kaiju action going along. Even then, the first half of the movie really has virtually no giant monster action. Instead, it focuses a whole lot on plot and character development, and it actually works really well. It helps to sympathize with the characters and understand where they're coming from, and the time taken to develop them over the first half of the movie really works out.All that being said, there's still quite a bit of cheese factor to the movie, as well as plot information that makes little, if any, sense. When the monster fighting actually does get going, it doesn't actually get all that cheesy, though. Instead, the fighting is actually pretty brutal and it definitely makes up for the severe lack of monster action during the first half. The cheesiness comes in with the evil aliens trying to take over the world. First off, their grand scheme is to use Mechagodzilla and Titanosaurus to destroy Tokyo and then rebuild their own alien city over top of it. Somehow, they figure this'll make them undisputed rulers of Earth. It seems like they didn't really think through it too well to count on Godzilla showing up to wreck their plans, so they come up with a half-assed plan on using Titanosaurus to weaken Big G before sending Mechagodzilla in to finish the job. That doesn't work out either, so then they just have both monster attack Godzilla at the same time.Also, apparently, the aliens like to kidnap random humans, lock them up in their base and cut out their vocal chordes. I think this might have something to do with the fact that the aliens' true faces look like something outta Planet of the Apes, but aside from that, there's no actual explanation of why they have these prisoners or why they cut out their vocal chordes. The aliens aren't all dumb, though. They've seemed to master the ability to repair wounded and/or dead humans by turning them into either partial or whole cyborgs (it's never really determined which). This fact is shown in detail (in the original Japanese version), in a scene depicting the female lead topless with the alien scientists poking around in her mechanical guts. Gratuitous female nudity aside, it's actually a pretty cool special effect scene, although a bit creepy since the girl's father is standing by watching the procedure on his half-naked daughter.Overall: A nice end to the original Godzilla series. There's nothing overtly final about it, but there does seem to be a kind of feeling towards the end that this is it, at least for the next 9 years.
White Zombie-1932Reviewer: Indy McDanielRating: 7Director: Victor HelperinWriter: Garnett WestonCast: Bela LugosiMadge BellamyJosephy CawthornRobert FrazerJohn HarronRun Time: 67 minutesMPAA Rating: UnratedDate Reviewed: October 5th, 2007Plot: A young man turns to a witch doctor to lure the woman he loves away from her fiance, but instead turns her into a zombie slave.Comments: A year after starring in the role that would make him a horror legend, Bela Lugosi stars in White Zombie, which (aside from being the inspiration for the band) is the original zombie movie. This is pre-Romero zombies, which means it's all about voodoo. The movie takes place in Haiti, although I think it might just be a mythical version of it, since there seems to be primarily white people living there and there's big, creepy castles. Not exactly what you think of when you think Haiti. Still, we can set that aside for some interesting storytelling, good acting and some creepy zombies.After poving himself capable of being a total badass as Dracula, Bela's still just as menacing and charismatic in this flick. As became his trademark, he plays the main villain, who's crafted himself a gang of zombies from former enemies. The process of zombiefying people isn't too clearly explained, although it seems as though it has to do with certain mind control powers that Bela's character possesses, since most of it involves him making wild-eyed glares into the camera and gripping his hands together. It's as effective as it was atmospheric and Bela really steals the movie from the other characters. That's not to say that the other actors don't do an impressive job. Madge Bellamy, especially, is good as the young wife turned zombie girl under Bela's control.The main plot of the movie is pretty interesting, explaining the concept of the zombies and establishing the relationships between the young couple, the man they've come to see in Haiti and Bela. It's mainly a love triangle between the bride's husband and the man they've come to see, who makes a deal with Bela to get her for himself. Things don't really go as he liked, though. Bela claims to have other plans for her, but that plotline never really follows through, so what his ultimate plan with her is, isn't ever revealed. The rest of his zombies are basically just thugs and workers for his mill, but it's unlikely he's planning to use the chick for that.The music is well done and effective. Some of it may sound familiar since this is the movie Johnny Depp and Martin Landau are watching in Ed Wood. It sets a nice mood for the movie, very symphonic and totally unlike a lot of the scores of modern movies. Even the ones that do tend to use symphonies to compose their scores don't really have the same feel as this and it adds a good mood to the movie. Overall: For the first ever zombie movie, this one's pretty good. Although, the voodoo-style zombies have a tendency of being more boring then the more modern flesheaters, this one keeps a pretty good pace and watching Bela smoke through dialoge is always fun.
Redeye-2005Reviewer: Indy McDanielRating: 6Director: Kim Dong-binWriter: Lee Yong-yeonSeong Gi-youngCast: Shin-yeong JangJi-min KwakDong-kyu LeeHye-na KimEol LeeRun Time: 98 minutesMPAA Rating: UnratedDate Reviewed: October 4th, 2007Plot: When a new stewardess joins the night shift crew of the train, she finds that some seemingly paranormal events occur during the train's night run. As the film continues, we see that the train has more hidden secrets, and it is suggested that these mysterious events are related to the crash of the same train several years ago. The "haunted" train eventually becomes a living thing and begins to claim victims.Comments: Haunted trains aren't really a common thing. Usually, it's houses or hospitals or even prisons, but trains really don't seem to be high up on the potentially haunted locations list. Still, trains do seem to have a certain odd creepiness about them. Maybe it's the narrow corridors, or the fact that you really have no control over your means of travel, or maybe its the rackety-rack of the train running over the tracks. Maybe a mixture of all that, not really sure. Either way, trains are effective horror locales that seem to be pretty underutilized. Redeye actually manages to use the location pretty effectively to come up with a pretty interesting ghost story.Things move along at a moderate pace, never getting so slow that it gets boring, but not moving so fast that stuff gets confusing. The explanations of what's going on are scattered along the movie, so some of the stuff is pretty easy to figure out, while others aren't fully explained until the end. There's a fair amount of the traditional Asian ghost tricks, and a few of them are pretty creepy, although something seems a bit off about it. The jerky ghost movements, which are usually really unnatural and unnerving, at times seem like just poor re-creations of other movies' jerky ghost movements. Still, it looks kinda cool, it just doesn't achieve the same level of spookyness.The special effects are mainly limited to interesting camera tricks and visual effects as opposed to blood and guts. There's really not much gore or even onscreen violence in the movie at all. Still, it does manage to get up some level of intensity in the killer ghost scenes. Unlike most Asian ghost stories, not all of the ghosts are evil in this movie. The ones that are seem to be a mixed batch. Some actually have some genuine reasons why they're doing what they're doing while another just seems to be the stereotypical pissed off ghost. The passengers and train workers are, for the most part, interesting, with their one little quirks and subplots, although there are a few that weren't really explained all that well.Towards the end of the movie, as more things are discovered and explained, the pacing picks up but the scares pretty much disappear. Once everything becomes clear, it's pretty much wait and see how everything wraps up. The ending isn't bad, though. In fact, it's actually pretty grim. Things seem to come full circle and just because the issues of one set of ghosts have been resolved, doesn't mean the train is any less haunted.Overall: Not a bad Korean ghost story. Certainly better then the other movie by the same name that happened to come out the same year as this. Worth checking out.
Varan the Unbelievable- 1962Reviewer: Indy McDanielRating: 3Director: Jerry A. BaerwitzIshiro HondaWriter: Sid HarrisKen KuronumaShinichi SekizawaCast: Myron HealeyTsuruko KobayashiClifford KawadaDerick ShimatsuKozo NomuraRun Time: 67 minutesMPAA Rating: UnratedDate Reviewed: October 3rd, 2007Plot: In an effort to find an economic means of purifying salt water, a joint U.S.-Japanese military command is set up on an isolated Japanese island where an unusual salt water lake is situated. However, their purifying experiments arouse the prehistoric monster Obaki from hibernation at the lake's bottom, and it proceeds to attack Japan.Comments: What we've got here is a kaiju movie suffering from a fatal dose of American monster movie cliches. Like the original Godzilla movie, this one got re-edited and had a series of extra scenes added into it for American audiences. Unfortunately, unlike the alternate Godzilla version (which still works nicely), Varan just kinda fumbles around and makes things silly and confusing when they're not outright boring. The main character, an American scientist who also seems to have some kind of military connections, is a total moron and pretty unlikeable and what's worse is, he's really the only character in the whole movie. There are others, but there's no development or interesting things that happen with them.Just about the first half of the movie involves the scientist guy's experiment, which involves removing salt from salt water. The logic behind this is hardly even thought through, it seems. The first question would be why, aside from the convert salt water into drinkable fresh water, although I'm pretty sure there was already a method of doing that. And besides, what's the point of transforming an entire lake from salt to fresh water? Also, the small village near the lake apparently uses it to bathe and drink from. If the village is drinking salt water, then they'd all be dead by now, hence the reason why you have to convert it to fresh water before drinking it. When the scientist finally gets around to testing his wonder chemical on the lake, he notes that the fish in the lake start to die, as if it's the chenical that caused them to die. Chances are, it's the fact that they're salt water fish and you just totally annihalted their habitat, you asshole.The monster is pretty poorly described, and although he looks pretty cool at some times, he really doesn't do a whole lot. In fact, his name isn't even Varan. It's Obaki, which doesn't even sound anything like Varan. Unlike Godzilla, he tends to spend his time just chilling in lakes and occasionally lumbering through forests. He never really reaches a city to destroy until the very end, and even then, he only comes out of the water for a couple minutes before retreating back underwater again. All in all, he's a pretty lame monster, but somehow he manages to scare a Japanese soldier to death. The fact that he was scared to death is evident by the look on his face, or so the American scientist says, even though the dead soldier doesn't look scared at all. He just looks really bored.Even the original music of the movie gets subverted for really poor replacements. There's still brief clips of the original music in the movie, which just makes it even more weird. The music also tends to just cut out halfway through a scene. In one particularly bad bit of editing, the original music can be heard for brief moments as a Japanese naval officer yells. The ending is particularly sudden and poorly constructed, using the same chemical that woke up and pissed off the monster to kill it, when there's really no evidence that it'll have any effect at all on the thing. And since the annoying American scientist is stuck in a jeep out by the village, he has to tell other people to fill up a truck with the surplus chemical and drive it up to the monster. This is all done by another American character who hasn't been introduced or even mentioned until the end of the movie. Finally, Varan (or Obaki, whichever it is) gets sick and tired of all the crap he's been put through and decides to head back out into the water and chill for a while. Of course, the American scientist sees this as his chemical being an effective weapon against the monster, so there shouldn't be any trouble from him ever again. Now it's time to take his Japanese wife over to California and continue testing his absolutely useless chemical and potentially wake up another giant monster.Overall: Pretty disappointing monster movie. It's mostly stupid plot over any actual monster fun, and any monster movie that can't even keep the name of its monster straight from the title to the movie probably isn't gonna be that great.
Godzilla Against Mechagodzille- 2002Reviewer: Indy McDanielRating: 4Director: Masaaki TezukaWriter: Wataru MimuraCast: Yumiko ShakuShin TakumaKana OnoderaKoh TakasugiYusuke TomoiRun Time: 88 minutesMPAA Rating: PG for sci-fi action and some languageDate Reviewed: October 3rd, 2007Plot: After the appearance of a new "Godzilla", the Japanese government builds a robotic Godzilla to stop the beast.Comments: This is the fourth movie involving Godzilla going up against a mechanized version of himself, and it's probably one of the weakest ones. The plot and character motivations are highly confusing and illogical and it really brings down the movie as a whole. To make matters worse, there isn't a whole lot of action in the movie, and even the couple fight scenes there are aren't all that entertaining to watch. The costumes and most of the special effects are at least enjoyable and the music is well done.This movie came along during a strange era of Godzilla movies. Each new installment being pretty much stand-alone, only refrencing the original 1954 movie. This makes for some potentially interesting storylines, and this movie actually does have a potentially interesting storyline. The concept of taking cells from the dead Godzilla from the 50's and using them to create a bio-robot to fight this new Godzilla is interesting in concept. The problem is, the execution is pretty drawn out and boring, not to mention highly convenient to the rest of the story. Godzilla shows up and wrecks some mountain side road before taking off again which in turn causes the creation of Mechagodzilla. But it takes a long ass time to get Mechagodzilla built, so Godzilla decides to stay in the ocean the whole time, but as soon as Mechagodzilla is finished (and I mean, right as soon), he shows back up.Mechagodzilla looks relatively cool, although more or less like the previous versions, aside from a pretty lame jetpack/missile launcher thing attached to his back which, for some reason, is painted bright blue in contrast to the metallic silver of the rest of him. To make matters even more ridiculous, is the fact that Mechagodzilla isn't even called Mechagodzilla for most of the movie. Instead, he's referred to as Kiriyu. Why they call him that is never really explained, and it seems to arbitrarily switch back and forth between Kiriyu and Mechagodzilla. To make things even more baffling, they advertise MechaG's massively powerful Absolute Zero cannon, which essentially flash freezes stuff, but when they go in to fight Godzilla, instead of just using the cannon, they screw around with the other weapons systems which have little to no effect on Godzilla and just waste time.The Absolute Zero cannon and its supposed ability to dominate over all other weapons seems to make designing Mechagodzilla pretty pointless. If they can build this big freeze ray, why not just build the freeze ray instead of mounting it in the chest of a giant robot? The controlling system for Mechagodzilla seems even stranger and more complex then necessary. Apparently, it's controlled remotely from computers in a main HQ building, but it's also controlled by a lone chick in one of three jets that carry Mechagodzilla around, but it can also, if necessary, be controlled from inside Mechagodzilla. Also, Mechagodzilla only has enough power to run around for about an hour, then the planes have to juice him up by sucking power from the surrounding city. Not exactly sure how that's supposed to work, but somehow it does.Godzilla, in this movie, is pretty much just a giant punching bag for Mechagodzilla. He doesn't do a huge amount of fighting. Mostly he just stands there and lets missiles smash into him without any real reaction. After one really brief fight and another slightly longer one, Big G decides he's had enough of this annoying robot and heads back out to sea. Mechagodzilla is half-destroyed, Godzilla is only slightly wounded, and yet, somehow, the movie tries to pass this off as a major victory against Godzilla. Your highly expensive weapon is trashed, as is the majority of the city you were trying to defend from Godzilla, and Godzilla's still out there to come back and wreck some more shit. How is this a victory again?Overall: The plot is thin and illogical and there's really not enough action going on to keep things interesting. I guess there's really only so much you can do with the Mechagodzilla concept, so they start to just seems like variations on the same thing after a while.
The Mad Butcher- 1971Reviewer: Indy McDanielRating: 5Direcotr: Guido ZurliJohn IrelandWriter: Dag MolinRobert OliverKarl RossCast: Victor BuonoBrad HarrisFranca PoleselloKarin FieldCarl StearnsRun Time: 81 minutesMPAA Rating: RDate Reviewed: September 16th, 2007Plot: After being released from a mental hospital, Otto returns to his old job as a butcher. He tries to adjust to his new life, but after a bitter argument with his wife, he accidentally kills her. Fearing he will be sent back to the hospital, he grinds up her body and sells it as sausages. As friends and relatives start asking questions about her disappearance, they too start ending up in the butcher's display case.Comments: What better place to set a movie about people getting turned into sausages then Vienna, home of sausages. There's a sort of quirky humor that seems to go through the whole movie, focusing mainly on Otto, the mad butcher. At the beginning, he's just being let out of an asylum. Why he's been sent there isn't very clearly stated, aside from some sort of altercation with a customer. Why he attacked the woman isn't clear, either, but later on, after they introduce her, it's fairly obvious why, since she's incredibly annoying. Apparently, in Vienna, if you attack someone you have a choice between going to jail and having your wife committ you to an asylum for like three years.Despite being saved from jail time, Otto isn't too happy with his wife for tossing him in the looney bin. He gets out anxious to start butchering again, and not just the meat in his shop. At first, he's content to just beat up on his brother-in-law and move into the room above his butcher shop, letting his wife stay in their house alone. It's not too bad of a gig, especially since the woman who lives immediately across from him likes leaving her curtains open and stripping down. For a while, life is good for Otto and he spends his days carving up meat and his nights drinking wine and watching his lady neighbor. All that goes downhill when his wife, angered at having been left all alone in their house, comes in and finds him oogling the other woman. Lots of yelling and arguing eventually leads to Otto strangling his wife to death.Well, what's an Austrian butcher to do with the corpse of his annoying wife? You got it... Make sausages! The movie isn't really all that graphic, but it works that much better. You never actually see a vast amount of gore, showing the bodies getting minced up into sausages. Instead, Otto feeds the body into one end of the machine and out the other end a huge pile of sausages come pouring out. Despite the lack of gruesome effects, it's actually pretty creepy and disturbing since you know exactly what the sausages are made of. To make matters even more icky, Otto proceeds to roll his cart around, selling the sausages to customers who absolutely love the taste.The movie moves along from there, with more and more people winding up the ingredients of Otto's delcious sausages. It's both highly amusing and kind of sick watching so many people chowing down on the sausages without realizing where they came from. No one seems to suspect Otto of any foul deeds either, aside from an American reporter. There's no real reason why the reporter is in Vienna aside from to hang around the police station and annoy the cops until a big story breaks. Beyond that, there's quite a bit of poking fun at the Vienna police and Vienna in general, showing the majority of the residents to be pretty stupid. In fact, the only ones with any brains seem to be Otto and the American reporter. As things start to wrap up in a fairly traditional way, we're tempted with a pretty cool, dark ending, but alas, it pulls a switch and instead we get an almost unbearable, and predictably ironic, happy ending.Overall: It's a pretty amusing movie, with a few pseudo-gross out factors, but the happy ending sort of ruins things.
Secrets of Sex- 1970Reviewer: Indy McDanielRating: 3Director: Antony BalchWriter: Antony BalchJohn EliotMartin LockeAlfred MazureMaureen OwenElliott SteinCast: Richard SchulmanJanet SpearmanDorothy GrumbarAnthony RowlandsNorma EdenRun Time: 92 minutesMPAA Rating: RDate Reviewed: September 14th, 2007Plot: A brainy sex flick with a sense of humor, the film begins with a narrator/mummy who guides us through a number of vignettes promising to show what some of us go through in the pursuit of sexual pleasure.Comments: Secrets of Sex is a pretty appropriate name for this movie, although the American title for it, Bizarre, might be even more fitting. More of a surreal sexploitation movie then it is a horror movie. The whole thing is just so strange and ludicrous that it's hard to tell what's actually going on. One thing's for sure, if you're looking to see a whole lot of female and male nudity, then this movie delivers. If you're looking to see random images spliced in between shots of massive amounts of nudity and simulated sex, then it also delivers. If you're looking for any amount of sanity, then look elsewhere.The whole thing more or less plays out as an anthology of stories told by a mummy(?) who throws out a lot of philosphical mumbo jumbo about sex and human nature. It might make more sense if the mummy had something other then long, rambling, disjointed rants. As it is, the mummy seems only there to string a series of mini-stories together. Some of the mini-stories are actually interesting, though, if fairly underdeveloped (unlike the actresses' breasts in the movie). Others are mostly just strange and pointless, while the clips at the start and end of the movie are just, as the title suggests, bizarre and repetative.There's probably about five or six vignettes during the movie. The first and last could actually be considered horror material, involving a female photographer who's willing to go to pretty extreme measures to get the perfect shot and the last dealing with a woman who traps her lovers' souls in plants. The other stories deal with a female catburglar who gets caught in the act by the man of the house and decides to work her way out of the situation, a female secret agent charged with the task of breaking into a vault, and a nerdy guy looking for female companionship for himself and his pet iguana. They all seem to have one thing in common... an excuse to strip down the players and have them roll around in the (at one point literal) hay.Meanwhile, the crazy mummy is blabbering on about how sex is like a war and the stories represent battles, with the opposite sexes not really wanting to bone each other, but more interested in destroying each other. The concept is pretty much blatantly shown as a group of half-naked guys with machineguns advance on another group of even more naked unarmed girls. The mummy claims that men and women are constantly wanting to destroy each other, however they can't even get around to it cuz they're too busy fucking. Makes sense to me...Overall: There's about five different alternate titles for this movie, so I'll just toss in a new one that combines everything together. The Bizarre Secrets of Sex is probably the best way to describe this movie. A couple interesting stories, a lot of nudity all around and a whole lot of mind-numbing insanity.
Chopper- 2000Reviewer: Indy McDanielRating: 8Director: Andrew DominikWriter: Mark Brandon ReadAndrew DominikCast: Eric BanaSimon LyndonDavid FieldDaniel WyllieBill YoungRun Time: 90 minutesMPAA Rating: RDate Reviewed: September 14th, 2007Plot: Chopper tells the intense story of Mark "Chopper" Read, a legendary criminal who wrote his autobiography while serving a jail sentence in prison. His book, "From the Inside", upon which the film is based, was a best-seller.Comments: This flick doesn't fall into the normal horror category. It's more of a gritty crime movie, but there's definitely horrific things going on. It's not unlike Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, although the two movies are vastly different. Still, the general concept is the same. A semi-documentary look at a pretty wild individual. While 'Chopper' Read isn't anywhere near as despicable as Henry, he's still damn intimidating. He's the type of guy that's truly frightening because there's really no telling what to expect from him. There's many portions to the movie where he seems like a genuine 'good bloke' as he says in the movie, but his behavior switches from nice to deadly so quickly that there's really no telling what he's going to do.Chopper's actions, though, unlike Henry's, aren't delt out to genuinely innocent people. He's more of a vigilante then anything else. A real-life Australian Punisher, although his motivations behind why he does what he does isn't ever really delved into. Pre-Hollywood Eric Bana plays Chopper and this is arguably the greatest role he's ever done. He absolutely sells it as Chopper and without his performance, the movie would have fallen flat. For it to work, you have to be simultaneously rooting for Chopper while being scared shitless of him, and Bana pulls that off perfectly. The rest of the actors do an equally amazing job, too. I can't think of anyone who was subpar in here. Everyone did good and meshed well.The writing, and the dialogue especially, was particularly great. This is like, what if Quinten Tarantino wrote in an Australian dialect? The dialogue is just really snappy and natural sounding and there's some fantastic lines. It helps keep the movie flowing at a nice pace and even adds a fair amount of humor to the situations, which otherwise, would be very grim. And they still are grim, but it's like, that little bit of humor makes it seem alright for a moment, before everything gets even darker again. This is one of those few occasions where some great dialogue gets blended with really good performances to create a genuinely intense piece of cinema.The violence is as sudden as it is brutal, too. Especially with Chopper's mentality, there's really no telling when he's going to go off, or when one of his vast number of enemies is going to come after him. Even when it seems like, without a doubt, some bad shit is about to go down, sometimes it won't. And going in the exact opposite direction, there are a few other points where everything seems relatively fine, and out of nowhere bad shit does, indeed, go down. The gore is sparse, but it's really well done and gruesome. Watching a fellow inmate slice off Chopper's ears, while he sits there and willingly participates, egging the guy on, is one scene that particularly sticks out. Not just because of the brutality, but Chopper's reaction to the maiming.Overall: Intense, brutal and even somewhat hilarious in parts. Chopper is well worth checking out.