Sunday, 26 February 2012

5 Zombie Movies I'd Rather Watch Than The Walking Dead Season 2

Let me just say I love the graphic novels by Robert Kirkman.  I think he's done a tremendous job with the story and I would recommend them to anybody.  Even the first season of The Walking Dead was fantastic, stayed somewhat true to the story and even explored new ideas with twists that brought a subtle change to an existing story.  Then the season ended.

The new season started, and much to my disappointed, not with a solid group of zombie weary survivors, who were conscious of their environment but a group of complainers, who don't have the common sense to keep their children in the line of sight.  Week after week, I would wait for the story to be gripping with some sort of urgency, but much to my chagrin, the group sat in their oasis on the farm, while zombies acted as mere walk ons and characters would make ridiculous decisions because it advanced poorly thought out plot points.  Then it came, the conclusion to the last 7 weeks and to say the least, it was sad.  Not because of what happened but because of how long it took to get to that point.  I shook my head and hoped that after the Christmas break it would get better.

Now, we're two episodes in after the break and they're introducing elements that would have been really interesting at the beginning of 2nd season.  For instance, having other survivors being the enemy, would have been a cool way to start or even a zombie moose would have been cool at this point.  Unfortunately though, the plot slowly plods along, dragging it's characters like a lacerated limb, allowing them to make horrible decisions that are totally unrealistic by people who seem to be totally unaware of the world that surrounds them.  

So if you want to see some good zombie action, with zombies! (imagine that) Check out the following:

5. Let Sleeping Corpses Lie (1974) - While traveling to his cottage, George's motorbike is damaged by Edna.    Edna is going to visit her sister, which is in the same direction and George insists she give him a ride for damaging his bike.  On the way, they stop to ask for directions and Edna is attacked by zombie.  Edna escapes and the zombie goes on and eventually kills Edna's douchebag brother in-law.  The police suspect George and Edna, so like any super sleuth team in the 70's, they seek out the truth to exonerate their names.  This movie is pretty slow moving and the George character isn't very likeable but the ending is worth the wait.  It's pretty graphic.

4. Zombie (1979) - A mysterious boat containing a zombie floats into New York.  The boat belongs to a famous scientist, so journalist Peter West and Ann Bowles, daughter of said scientist, travel to the Antilles.  They meet with Brian and Susan and convince them to give them a lift to the mysterious Matool Island.  Here they meet with Dr. Menard and discover a shocking disease that is turning the local inhabitants into zombies!  This is my favourite Fulci film, there is tons of gore and it has one of my favourite scenes, which is zombie vs shark.  The soundtrack is also killer.

3. Dawn of the Dead (1978) - With the zombie population every growing, S.W.A.T team officers, Peter and Roger convince their friends Stephen and his girlfriend Francine to escape in a helicopter to find refuge out of the city.  The find themselves in an abandoned mall and decide to make it their home for at least the time being.  George Romero directs this classic film and creates some of the most note worthy scenes in the zombie universe.  Also, Tom Savini is at the top of his game, not only in creating the wonderful gruesome effects but as one of the villains in the motorcycle gang.  It's so good on so many levels and its worth seeing over and over again.  Goblin does the soundtrack for this as well.

2. Return of the Living Dead (1985) - Two employees at a medical supply chain accidentally unleash a chemical vapor into the air that makes the dead come back to life and feed on human flesh.  This was a childhood favourite of mine and it still holds up.  The special effects are fantastic and it's got the right amount of fun and gore.  The soundtrack kicks ass as well with the Cramps, 45 Grave and the Damned.

1. Dead Alive (aka Braindead) (1992) - While on a date at the zoo, Lionel's evil overbearing mother is bit by a Sumatran rat monkey.  She eventually gets sick, dies and comes back to life to feast on there friends and family.  Lionel hides her and her victims chained downstairs in the basement, which only creates more absurd and unbelievable problems for him.  Forget Lord of the Rings,  Peter Jackson's real masterpiece is Dead-Alive, this is such a great take on the zombie genre and is one of the bloodiest films you'll ever see.

After watching theses films, you can see how there are still a number of ways The Walking Dead can redeem itself.  If they can bring back the zombies with that underlying tension of no one being safe and that they are always vulnerable to an attack, I think the series would be better.  Also, I can't wait for them to introduce the Governor and hope that hell rains down upon them, if writers can do it right.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

5 Movies with Twisted Doctors similar To The Skin I Live In

I recently watched The Skin I Live in with Antonio Banderas and I was really impressed with the story.  It has a little bit here for everybody, mystery, romance, intrigue and a certain madness that everybody can enjoy.  The beginning seems a bit wonky, but once the real story begins, it completely engrosses you.

Dr. Ledgard (Banderas) is a brilliant plastic surgeon who is in the process of creating a synthetic skin that can with stand any damage.  However, the woman that he is secretly testing the skin on is volatile and has to be kept locked away in his clinic.  We learn throughout the movie, how Dr. Ledgard's tragic past has brought her into his life and may be the key to his scientific breakthrough.

Here are 5 films where doctors take things a little to far. 

5. Re-Animator (1985) - Medical student,  Herbert West arrives at Miskatonic University, rents a room from Dan Cain and converts the basement into his lab to secretly continue his work on re-animating the dead.  Faculty member, Dr. Carl Hill and West have a falling out, with West accusing Hill of stealing his mentor's theory on Brain Death.  Dan discovers one of West's experiments, a re-animated cat and West enlists him to help defeat death.  This is a campy version of H.P. Lovecraft story, but it is really funny and there is a ton of gore.

4. Frankenhooker (1990) -After a terrible lawnmower accident, Jeffery Franken is left with only the head of his fiance Elizabeth.  Luckily, Jeffery is a medical dropout who likes to play with dead things and concocts an idea of how to bring Elizabeth back.  He will rebuild her using the body parts of dead hookers, unfortunately once she is revived she isn't the same Elizabeth.  There are some good laughs and ending is totally disgusting with some interesting special effects.

3. Boxing Helena (1993) - Unable to come to terms with the ending of his romance with his girlfriend Helena, Dr. Cavanaugh devises a plan to keep her in his life forever.  He amputates her limbs and keeps her hidden in his mansion.  This movie has some good scenes and even though Helena has gone through some horrible mutilation, she still finds time to criticize Cavabaugh's short comings. 

2. The Human Centipede (2009) - Dr. Heiter kidnaps and stitches three people together to create the first Human Centipede by connecting them through their gastric systems.  The concept itself is pure madness but that's what makes it so enjoyable and secretly, we all want it to work.  Definitely, a gross movie but a must see for any horror enthusiast.

1. Eyes Without a Face (1960) - Dr. Genessier and his assistant Louise kidnap woman and removes their faces.  He then tries to graft the victims face on to his daughter Christiane, whose face was destroyed in a car crash and needs to wear a mask to hide her hideous face.  None of the faces take, the victims are dying and the police are hot on their trail.  This is the film most similar to The Skin I Live In, the pacing is slower but there are some gruesome scenes and the make up is done quite nicely.  I like it too because it's black and white and the use of shadows are more prevalent, which it gives the film a good look and makes it that that much more scary.


In these films, these doctors are just trying to do the right thing.  Be it for love, revenge or the chance to create a new of species of pets(?).  Perhaps they were a little over the top but everybody gets wrapped up in what there doing.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to put my turducken in the oven.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

5 Weird and Sick Love Movies (It's For Valentines Day!)

Since Valentine's Day is coming up, I thought I'd share a list of bizarre and sick movies with you.  So, when your girl/guy friend says "Hey, do you want to watch another Hugh Grant, 18th century, high school, girl takes off the glasses and lets down hair, stomach turning, everything works out at the end, bullshit movie?"  You can finally say, "No thanks, let's watch something different" and you can suggest one of these fine titles.

5. Deadly Friend (1986) - College student Paul Conway and his mother move to a new city.  Paul is studying artificial intelligence and neurology and has built a himself a remote control robot named "BB", which shows some signs of autonomy.  He becomes friends with the girl next door, Samantha (Kristy Swanson) and Tom is college buddy.  On Halloween night, they crack the lock on the gate to the reclusive Elvira Parker (Anne Ramsey) so they can ring her doorbell to scare her.  After they ring the bell, alarms are sounded, the three hide behind the porch but poor "BB" reactivates himself and is gunned down by Elvira.  Later on, Samantha's abusive father beats her so badly she is barely alive, so  Paul and Tom steal her body and insert "BB"'s AI chip into her brain.  Now, somehow, possessing super strength and only having mixture of her own and "BB"'s memory, she goes out to avenge their deaths.  This isn't the best Craven movie but the story is interesting and a child hood favourite of mine.  Anne Ramsey is the perfect, mean old lady and Kristy Swanson is one sexy robot killing machine.  What more could you ask for?

4. Dellamorte Dellamore (1994) - Rupert Everett stars as a grounds keeper at a cemetery, where the dead come back, once they've been buried.  Along with this mentally handicapped henchman, Gnaghi, Everett waits during the night after a funeral to put the dead down again.  At a funeral, he falls in love with a young widow, but while consummating their relationship in the graveyard later that evening, her dead husband rises and bites her.  She passes and Everett stays closely waiting for her to rise, when she does, he shoots her.  Later, she rises again and Everett realizes she wasn't dead the first time.  His life then spirals as he sinks deeper and deeper into depression. This is a great love story for not only the Everett character but there is charming subplot with Gnaghi as well.  Good gore, zombies and it's funny in an Evil Dead kind of way.

3. Wristcutters: A Love Story (2006) - Patrick Fugit stars as Zia, a depressed teenager who kills himself after his girlfriend Desiree breaks up with him and finds himself in an afterworld occupied by people who have commited suicide.  While at work, Zia hears that Desiree offed herself shortly after his funeral and is looking for him in this new world.  He sets off on an adventure to find her with his russian rocker friend Eugene (Shea Wigham).  Along the way, they pick up Mikal (Shannyn Sossaman), who is looking for the People in Charge because she believes there has been a mistake and wants to be sent back. This movie has an interesting cast, Will Arnett, Tom Waits and the music for Eugene's band is Gogol Bordello.  It's a terrific black comedy with some quirky twists.

2. Black Devil Doll from Hell (1984) - A lonely religious woman buys a doll at a pawn shop, after the clerk tells her it grants people their deepest desire.  She bring it home and the puppet comes alive and of course it's evil.  The evil puppet ties her up and has sex with her.  After the puppet has sex with her, it disappears (even though the clerk, said the puppet has returned to the store 5 times) and she goes into a sexual frenzy trying to reclaim the feeling of puppet sex, that no regular man can give her.  This movie is cheap looking (home video), sounding (Casio keyboard soundtrack) and the camera work is awful (they spelled Photography wrong twice, in 2 different ways).  However, the puppet work is good and it's funny to watch an evil puppet have sex with someone.  The movie is only 70 minutes, and if you like weird shit than you should check it out.  There is no trailer, so I found a clip.

1. Nekromantik (1987) - Rob works for a company that removes dead bodies, when they are found in outdoor areas.  This is great for him because he is then able to steal bits of the bodies for him and his girlfriend.  On one excursion, Rob decides to risk taking a whole (almost whole) body home and he and girlfriend make love(?) to the corpse.  He gets fired from his job, his girlfriend leaves him and takes the corpse and then his life gets weird.  This movie is crazy, it is low budget and gross as fuck.  I almost busted gut when I saw them create a penis for the corpse, with a metal rod and then put a condom on it.  Cuz,, if your going to have sex with a dead person, you might as well be safe.  This movie is not for everybody but it is an interesting story of the weirdest caliber.  Even stranger, there's a sequel.

After you are done watching any of these films, look at your significant other and if they are still there sitting beside you, then maybe you found the right mate!

Saturday, 4 February 2012

5 Band Movies That You Gotta Rock Out To

I love band movies, the idea that your band can play that one special gig and you will be the next big thing or the ability to watch a band trying to make their big comeback and see how everything goes wrong or even the idea that if you can get your favorite band to play at your high school, the music will crush all authority figures in your life and you can be free for all life's oppression.  I like those ideas and sometimes I wish they were true.

Here are 5 of my favourite Rock Movies that you gotta rock out to:

5. Rock 'N' Roll High School (1979) - PJ Soles plays Riff Randell, the Ramones biggest fan evvvver,  goes to Vince Lombardi High School, where they keep losing principals due to the excessive playing of rock 'n' roll.  The school board brings in Principal Togar, who hates rock music and vows the end this rock craze.  When Principal Togar and a group of parents try and burn a pile of rock records,  Riff Randell, with help of the Ramones and the other students take over the school to try a stop the tyrannical administration.  The Ramones are great in this movie, they had just finished working on "End of the Century" with Phil Spector and their is some great footage of them performing.  The movie is fun, this again is a Roger Corman film, so there's some weird stuff going on in the background and there are some great cameos,  so keep your eyes open, and you might even see a giant mouse.

4. CB4 (1993) - In this hip hop "rockumentary", it follows the rise of MC Gusto, Stab Master Arson and Dead Mike from the gangsta group called CB4 (Cell Block 4).  Through the narrative of MC Gusto, we find out that Cell Block 4, may not be who they say they are.  This film does an excellent job in mirroring what was going on in hip hop in the early 90's with the explosion of gangsta rap and the PMRC trying to stop bands.  Phil Hartman (RIP) is great as the Senator, who is trying to stop CB4 concerts, at the same time of a re-election.   And again, tons of cameos for hip artists of the day and even the Butthole Surfers show up.  However,  Chris Rock owns this movie though and gives a great performance as MC Gusto.

3. Sweet & Lowdown (1999) - This is fictitious bio pic, Sean Penn does an amazing job playing Emmet Ray, the world's 2nd best jazz guitarist from the 1930's.  The film follows Ray, through his music career, revealing not only his talent on the guitar but his bizarre habits and his obsession with jazz legend, Django Reinhardt.  This is the only Woody Allen movie that I thoroughly enjoyed.  The Emmett Ray character is so well flushed out that as the more strange and eccentric he becomes, by shooting rats and watching trains for fun, the more the character comes to life and the more enjoyable he is to watch.  The soundtrack is amazing and Penn's guitar parts were done so beautifully, thanks to Howard Aldren, that people were looking for Emmett Ray albums after watching the film.

2. Blues Brothers(1982) -After Jake is released from prison, he and his brother Elwood go on a "mission from God" to save the orphanage where they were raised.  So, to raise the 5000 dollars, they reform their blues band and try and put together a big concert.  Along the way they meet old friends, old enemies and even make new ones.  John Belushi and Dan Akyord are pure genius in this movie.  In the 80's, there weren't anti heroes but the Blues Brothers were the closest thing.  The should have been unlikeable characters, the lie, they steal, they cheat but man were they ever cool doing it.  Some of the best scenes, Belushi and Akyord don't even say anything but give that look.  And the people that make cameos are legendary, like James Brown, Aretha Franklin, John Lee Hooker, Ray Charles and the list goes on.  Even their back up band is soul studded with Steve Cropper, Donald "Duck" Dunn and Matt "Guitar" Murphy.  This is a great story, the soundtrack is incredible and the movie is just plain funny.

1. This Is Spinal Tap (1984) - The classic documentary on the world's loudest band, Spinal Tap, attempting to make their comeback with a new album and an American tour in the early 80's.  Rob Reiner, Michael McKean, Harry Shearer and Christopher Guest do an awesome job at recreating the absurdities of the rock 'n' roll lifestyle.  Be it their extensive loss of drummers, Guest's need to turn up his amp to 11 or even the name of the new album, "Smell The Glove" (with an all black cover) , this movie nails the attitude, the look and the style of 80's metal.  If you haven't seen this, it's an absolute must.

These films and their soundtracks are so much fun and are interesting to watch to see the common themes in all styles of music.  They all share the idea that no matter how hard things get at least they have the music.