11 January, 2009

Horrorfest - Part 1

And it begins. Overall, I was quite impressed with the quality of the movies tonight. I had heard that After Dark had put more effort into getting better titles this year, and if the three films I saw today are any indication, it shows. I hope the rest of the titles are up to snuff.


Slaughter was my least favorite of the three movies I saw today - not to say that it was actually bad. It's about a girl who moves into the city to restart her life after getting away (supposedly) from an abusive boyfriend. She befriends a farmgirl and even moves onto the farm with her, only to find out that not all is safe on the farm.

A couple things confused/bugged me about this film. Firstly, the main characters made a point of needing fake id's to go out clubbing, and yet they clearly looked old enough not to need them - in other words, fake teens? Secondly, I was kind of disoriented by the fact that the characters would seemingly switch between being out on the farm, and shopping (or clubbing or whatever) in the city - multiple times per day - like as if the city were just down the street from the farm or something. And thirdly, I have to say it bugged me that "sexy farmgirl" was having sex with the ferrari guy *with her clothes on*. For a horror movie, this is unforgivable.

The majority of the story may have been so-so, but I have to say that the ending really redeemed this title. I'm gonna go ahead and try to piece together the details of the plot, so if you're worried about spoilers, stop reading now. The film unambiguously sets up sexy farmgirl's rough 'n tough farmer father as the villain, but we get quite a treat of a twist-up (or two or three) near the end. It's a little ambiguous as to who did what, but if we can trust the farmer father's words (which isn't a certain thing), he wasn't the killer, his daughter was. What /is/ clear is that they're both pretty messed up, if you consider all the evidence. But what makes the ending so much fun is, firstly, how it goes back and forth - she's gonna make it! she's never gonna make it! - and how in the very end, the villain gets her victory - and in quite brutal fashion, too. This one's definitely got the "exploitation ending".

At any rate, it turned out to be more than the typical "farmer splatter story" I was expecting it to be, and some of the scenes in the slaughterhouse, with the pigs and the darkness, were actually quite creepy. I'd say it's worth a spin - for the ending alone, if nothing else.

Perkins' 14

This was a good one. It's got an interesting concept, and it's executed strongly. There's a lot of emotion - a lot of humanity - in this film, and it's played well by Patrick O'Kane in the lead role of Officer Hopper, who lost his son to a serial killer who was never captured, ten years prior. Also, Hopper's daughter Daisy, played by Shayla Beesley, is a likable character - and lo and behold, she can actually pull off being a teenager! Actually, in some of the darker scenes, I was surprised at how much she looked like a younger version of Maggie Gyllenhaal. Weird. While we're talking about the cast, Richard Brake was pretty creepy as the titular serial killer, Ronald Perkins. It's a shame he actually only plays a short role in the film, because I would have liked to see him have a bigger part. (In fact, it would have been nice if he had survived long enough to explain just what the hell he did to the victims he abducted...)

And on that note, let's talk about the plot. Perkins abducted 14 kids ten years ago and was never caught, nor were any of his victims found (dead or alive). It's revealed that his stunt was actually an elaborate (and effective) plan to get back at the society which took his own parents' murders lightly, writing the incident off as a murder-suicide instead of making an effort to find the killer. It's not entirely clear just what Perkins did to the kids he abducted (other than having kept them in cages), and even whether or not they were ever killed, but in the ten years since the incident, they've transformed into murderous (yet intelligent) zombies. Perkins is actually a pharmacist, so it's not /that/ far off to suggest that he may have perfected the Rage virus, since his zombies seem to be quite like the ones from the 28 series. Of course, I say that as a positive thing.

Exciting movie, the best part is the whole section around when Perkins is killed. Officer Hopper gets all his rage out and then it's like, ok, you got your "revenge", what are you gonna do with your life now? And then all hell breaks loose across the city. And the ending's pretty good, too. Not very forgiving. I kept wanting to tell Hopper to let it go, that he didn't have to put that much meaning into what Perkins did - that Perkins is just another sick freak doing terrible things, that Hopper should forgive himself for not being able to save his son - but this is a tragedy story, simple enough. And I do like a good tragedy.


Simply put, Autopsy was amazing. Pretty fucking incredible. No deep morals or any of that shit, just hardcore FUN! This was an exploitation film, and it had style. I saw in the credits that Dario Argento was given special thanks, and in retrospect, I can totally see the influence there. This film just has style in spades. And oh my god, it is so over the top!

So what's it about? A group of young coeds are heading home after partying it up at Mardi Gras in New Orleans (told in innovative fashion through a wild selection of snapshots during the opening credits) only to crash their car out in the middle of nowhere. Luckily, there's a hospital nearby, but unluckily, it's not your normal kind of facility. It's actually being run by an insane doctor and his few sadistic assistants, who are working on some bizarre and gruesome cure for the doctor's wife's cancer. Unfortunately for the coeds, they don't find this out until much too late. They enter the hospital hoping to get patched up after their accident, only to get split up one by one, and end up brutally murdered, with their organs harvested (though not necessarily in that order >;).

Lots of gore in this movie, I'm not gonna lie. But there's so much style in its over-the-topness that you can't help being just as shocked and amazed as you are disgusted by some of these scenes (well, I was, at least). My favorite part was when the naked guy jumps on top of the one girl and tears his torse open and starts ripping his organs out on top of her. Good god, you can't make this stuff up! There's some humor in there, definitely, like when the one guy asks the doctor if he's gonna be okay, and just before putting him under, the doctor says "I don't think so".

This film is just fantastic. I don't think I've had this much fun at a horror movie since I saw the Grindhouse throwback by Rodriguez and Tarantino a couple springs ago. Go see Autopsy!

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