Tuesday, November 20, 2012

And In This Corner..... (The Haunted World Of El Superbeasto)

I don't know who is actually following this blog other than myself, but for those who do, would know my posting frequency is erratic at best. I've had a rough week (don't ask), so when I got around to watching this, I wasn't in the humour of writing about it afterwards. This is also the reason why I postponed the planned Halloween series write ups.

In addition to whatever's going on in my life, my viewing choices have consisted of Chillerama (the best movie from Horrorthon 2011, in my opinion), UHF (a hit and miss affair, but at least I now know where the inspiration for Bum Reviews came from), Tales From The Crypt: Demon Knight (which if I had the motivation, I would have written about), and a cinema double bill of From Dusk Till Dawn (one of the most underrated films of all time) and The Lost Boys (second time I've ever seen it, but I already wish I was introduced to this as a kid).

And now we come to the next Rob Zombie inspired blog entry with this film based on a comic created by the man himself. Don't know much about it, as I'm not a big comic book fan admittedly. However, I will say that, as a film which stars a main character who is a wrestler, it's a lot better than Wrestlemaniac.

WARNING: Spoilers

Back then.....

I thought it was a fun, strange little movie.

And now.....

.....I still think it's a fun, strange little movie.

Okay, here lies the problem. My aforementioned lack of motivation has made it difficult for me to write a positive review on here without giving away too much in terms of jokes and particular scenes. It's like trying to write a review of one of my favourite films, Spaceballs, without making any Star Wars references. I know I begin every blog entry with a "spoiler" warning, but I'm not big on giving away too much, regardless of whether you've watched the film or not.

Getting back to the film itself, I only watched this at some point during the summer, as it was on sale for about 3 or 4 euros in HMV. So I can't give a retrospective view on it, in relation to films that I haven't seen in at least a year. So it's still fresh in my mind in that respect, and so my opinion has not changed that drastically, of which I found the film entertaining.

I am also reminded of the first impressions I had with the first two Rob Zombie films, where I didn't know what to make of them  as I wasn't overly familiar with their respective genres. Here, I know this is meant to be in the style of 70s adult cartoons such as Fritz The Cat, but the closest I've seen to to this type of adult animation was Cool World. And it's been years since I've seen that film too, so I can't make any comparisons either.

Hell, I even forgot Brad Pitt was in this.

But regardless of influence, you can't go wrong with what looks like an x-rated Spongebob Squarepants cartoon. It looks vibrant, the action is fast paced, and the story is.....well, some masked wrestler/celebrity/superhero on a mission to rescue a stripper with inflatable boobs from a villain called "Dr. Satan", who looks nothing like the "Dr. Satan" from "House Of 1000 Corpses". And I couldn't imagine Paul Giamatti's voice being used in that movie.

The inclusion of the name "Dr. Satan" is not the only reference to a Rob Zombie flick made in "...El Superbeasto", as it includes cameos from the "Rejects" themselves, Captain Spaulding and Otis Driftwood, complete with voice acting from the original actors themselves. Of course, Sheri Moon Zombie was moved to voicing one of the main characters, Suzi-X, along with Rosario Dawson voicing the foul mouthed Velvet Von Black (she of the inflatable boobies).

Hell, the film even throws an animated Varla from "Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!", voiced by Tura Satana herself, among the other movie "monsters", human or otherwise.

These cameos and the world these characters inhabit don't really make sense. But then again, you're not gonna get much sense from a film that begins with Nazi zombies protecting the head of Hitler in a pickle jar. While the story may be all over the place, there are some elements of sharp and witty humour thrown in along with strange visuals and quirky scenes.

Also the musical element, which doesn't actually feature any classic rock songs, nor anything from the Rob Zombie library, does have some songs that add to the comedy, in that all they do is outline what is happening onscreen, poke fun at itself with self referential humour, and highlight the ample animated bodies of the female characters.

So like any other Sunday afternoon cartoon, just sit back, laugh at the silliness of it all, and enjoy the pretty colours, no matter what time of the day. And if you find yourself "enjoying" the animated boobage a little bit too much, it does include this little ditty which eases any thoughts you may have that makes you think you're a perverted weirdo.....not that I would enjoy such things, of course.....

And on a final note.....

Because there was no excuse for the "obligatory" Sheri Moon Zombie picture, here is a tribute video to her instead.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Devil Made Me Do It (The Devil's Rejects)

Continuing the double bill of reviews this weekend is the follow up to "House Of 1000 Corpses", entitled "The Devil's Rejects". When I say "this weekend", I must point out that after I finished the previous article, I went onto watching the next one. Because it was in the early hours of the morning when it finished, I didn't attempt to write about it afterwards. Instead I scoured the menus of the American and UK/Irish versions of Netflix to come up with even more questionable viewing choices. Hence the late posting of this blog entry.

These include Defendor (not even Kat Dennings could save this movie), Kevin Smith's SModimations (rubbish) plus Too Fat For 40! (really entertaining), and Postal (I still don't know what possessed me to watch a Uwe Boll film, but I'm guessing lack of sleep twisted my mind). Throw in some wrestling segments from WWE and ECW, and that makes up my viewing for the weekend, which included passing out on the couch.

Still, it's a successful weekend for me in financial terms (since I'm saving money for going away next month), and in getting through the first two Rob Zombie flicks. So enough about my lazy weekend, lets move on to my second viewing of "The Devil's Rejects".

WARNING: Spoilers

Back then.....

I was taken aback by the change of style Rob Zombie incorporated into "The Devil's Rejects" (TDR from now on), but it feels like he had more creative control with this one. While I got into it more than its predecessor, the fact that the criminal and law enforcement sides were just as bad as each other, once again I couldn't really sympathise with any of the characters onscreen.

And now.....

I'm not sure if it was because I watched this film on the same night as I saw the previous installment, but I began to appreciate this film more than I did first time around. Again most of the characters on show are despicable in nature, but like the previous film, it's more about the characters and the world they live in. Not only have I become familiar with the characters and the story, but also with the style of the movie itself, thanks to years of watching similar films in the grindhouse and horror genres.

While "HO1C" had this surreal nature to it, in terms of not just the family itself, but of what was lurking underneath, this one just takes the characters out on the road, in a twisted version of "Easy Rider" meets "Bonnie & Clyde", again going with influences from the 70's and backwards. Speaking of which, it didn't register with me that "HO1C" was set in the 70's to begin with, considering I had to look it up while writing this article. I guess that explained why these people didn't have mobile phones. While these stories could be set in any decade after the 70's, I can understand the time setting, in terms of its influences.

Because of the familiarity with "HO1C", the story felt a little stronger this time around, yet I'm not sure if I would have felt the same way if I just jumped right into this one without watching the last film. But at least it stands on its own as a single film instead of just a sequel, which benefits first time viewers. But for me, I was wondering what happened to the grandfather since then, and why Rufus suddenly turned into Tyler Mane (who would go on to be Michael Myers in Rob Zombie's "Halloween" double bill).

Although I did approve of the casting of Leslie Easterbrook taking over the role of Mama Firefly. I wasn't sure why this was, maybe the original actress was unavailable or wanted more money or something. But since I was a fan of the Police Academy movies as a kid, it was fun to see "Sergeant Callahan" both times while watching "TDR" as I haven't seen her, nor most of the Police Academy cast, in anything other than those films.

It took me a while to recognise her in "The Devil's Rejects" the first time, but how could I forget her.....erm, face.....

Speaking of recognisable faces, I also got a kick of finding a variety of familiar faces to the cast, such as Brian Posehn (who I recognise from Metal By Numbers, and his voice work in BrĂ¼tal Legend ), the "Unholy Two" bounty hunters played by Danny Trejo (star of many films, especially the Robert Rodriguez ones), and Diamond Dallas Page (aka. DDP, former WWE and WCW wrestler), and a cameo from Ginger Lynn (who I recognise from a Metallica video.....and nothing else, I swear).

The wide selection of characters, bar the hotel room victims who are just cannon fodder as this film is concerned, make the film interesting to watch, with the already established family trio, along with the psychotic Texas sheriff and the Unholy Two, the latter of which I felt were underused. They would have been cool characters to have in a spin off film of some sort, considering the fact that Tiny from the first movie makes an appearance also, if it was done right, and made right after "TDR"

While it was a problem to root for any of the characters on either side of the law, considering the despicable nature they show onscreen with their actions and characteristics, it was still intriguing to watch. The fact that it poses the question of whether you should feel sorry for any of them, whether it is the sheriff's reason for revenge, or during the final shoot out between the family trio and the cops, does give some food for thought.

Not to mention a sudden case of coulrophobia.

While I have praised this film so far, I do have to point out three niggling issues (call it nitpicking if you must) with the film. The part where one of the hotel victims was running away from the hotel room wearing the face of her dead husband (or boyfriend, I can't remember and I'm not bothered looking it up) was pretty powerful in itself. But the fact that she was comically knocked down by a truck somewhat lessened the impact of the scene.

The part where the sheriff was having an argument with the Marx Brothers loving film critic, who disrespects Elvis Presley, was a little out of place and seemed like a forced attempt at humour. As for the final shootout, while it's a trademark of the director by playing a classic or somewhat upbeat song during a dramatic moment, I thought the visuals during the realisation that they had nowhere to go were a little lazy. But I guess that had to do with the length of the song, but I do question whether it would have the same effect if one of the verses was edited out. It's a good scene, but it's just two of them waking up in the back seat, making faces of despair.

The obligatory Sheri Moon Zombie shot.

Those niggling issues aside, I found more appreciation for the "Rejects" films as a whole. With "TDR", I have a feeling I will warm up to it more with the next viewing, as I begin to digest what I saw onscreen. Sure the same old issues will be there, and maybe I'll find one or two more flaws with it, but I have a feeling I would find another reason or two to like it. Hell, even the tonal shift between the two films is bizarre. But since it was the same with the director's Halloween movies, it's another one of his trademarks that I'm beginning to appreciate.

And on a final note.....

Speaking of the Police Academy series, I remember watching Michael Winslow (aka. Larvelle Jones) live last year, and he mentioned that a new Police Academy film was in the works. Granted the films did have their flaws, but they were a part of my childhood, so I would definitely be looking forward to it. Also, Michael Winslow is really entertaining live.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Welcome To My Nightmare (House Of 1000 Corpses)

For the first proper article on this blog, I will begin with a theme I chosen towards the end of Halloween. After 31 consecutive blog posts, I decided to take a break last weekend. Right now, I'm trying to get back into the routine of watching films without having to write about them. I recently configured my Playstation 3 to play the America version of Netflix, which has a greater selection than the UK/Ireland version.

Films I've watched included the Insane Clown Posse films Death Racers and Big Money Rustlas,  Dracula 3000, two films from the Halloween series, and The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence). Any of these films were worthy of a write up, but I had to restrain myself. Funnily enough, the two movies I want to write up on were on the UK/Irish version of Netflix. So after reconfiguring the settings once again, I loaded up this from the menu, so I can begin with a theme I mentioned before.

WARNING: Spoilers

Back then.....

I wasn't that impressed by it, and while I wanted to like this movie, I just couldn't get into it. I read about this film years before its released, and the difficulties Rob Zombie had to get the rights after a delayed release, and the fact that he had to make major cuts to it. So I didn't feel the need to criticise it that much.

And now.....

It's been close to a decade since I last saw it, but second time around I was surprisingly impressed by the film. Granted the film does tend to drag, and some of the effects are a little amateurish, such as the mirror shots and filtered images, but after watching Zombie's "Halloween 2" I can see where the surreal imagery in his films started. Along with the use of classic songs during intense scenes. It's a neat touch, although at some points it does feel misguided.

When I first watched it, one of the main reasons I couldn't get into it was that it focused too much on the family, and none of the other characters were memorable so I found it hard to sympathise with their suffering. Infact, I don't even remember the names of those four kids. All I know is that one of them is in the American verison of "The Office" nowadays.

After many years of watching similar films, along with changing tastes, I can understand now what the film was going for. It reminded me of a mix between "The Hills Have Eyes" and "Texas Chainsaw Massacre", and it's funny that I found this watchable, yet I never liked those two movies.

Yes, shocking as it is, I never liked "Texas Chainsaw Massacre", so sue me. If there's one thing they both share, was an annoying vocal sound from a female character. In "TCM" the screams from the final victim on repeat for what feels like half an hour bugged the hell in me. In this, it was the constant laughing of Baby (played by Rob's wife, Sheri Moon Zombie). It doesn't bug me as much as the first time, considering I keep hearing it on the title song of the movie, but it can be a bit irritating. At least her character was entertaining to watch.....and I mean that from a film standpoint.

.....and yes, she's easy on the eye too. Moving on.....

Whenever a movie is focused on the "villains" of the story, it can be hard to feel anything for them, which was another reason why I wasn't a fan of "House Of 1000 Corpses" (HO1C from now on), and "The Devil's Rejects" (which will be the next blog entry, as I too haven't seen it in years). But now that I understand what this movie is, I can now find something to enjoy in watching their quirky selves, despite what they do onscreen.

Because of the tone of the film, along with whatever memories I had of the previous film, I found myself becoming more invested into this strange world onscreen, from Captain Spaulding's run-in with a couple of wannabe robbers, to the unexpected twist at the end, via some bizarre visual sites courtesy of this dysfunctional family.

Granted you do question why the four travelling kids were willing to stay in their house, despite the obvious batshit crazy nature of them, from their personalities to their Halloween show after dinner, not to mention Baby's constant laughing. But again, this is an exploitation film of which Rob Zombie is obviously a fan of, so he knows what he's doing. It's more to do with the gruesome nature of the family, and the world of which they occupy, not to mention the one beneath them.

Otis now gives me an idea for a Halloween costume next year.

What I didn't remember about the film first time around was the whole sub-plot about the mystery of Dr Satan. At least my confusion matched the final victim when she stepped into this, for want of a better term, layer of Hell on Earth. I suppose that's what the director was going for when he included that short clip of the religious conspiracy nut earlier on, but even then it still looks a bit out of place in the film. But I digress.

The mood was creepy, especially as I didn't know what to expect down that well. But again, it made sense in relation to another early scene where one of the female captives was thrown into what seemed like an empty cage, only to be ravaged by three other people, without an explanation. I even had to rewind that scene, just so I was clear in what I just saw.

While the people underground looked disturbing enough, what I didn't expect to see was Dr. Satan himself. And I have to say, it came as a complete surprise, as I genuinely didn't recall seeing this part. And I'm surprised I didn't, as it was a very striking reveal, along with some impressive make up and prosthetics, from Dr. Satan himself, and his axe wielding guard.

Despite my newfound appreciation for it, I still don't know whether I think this movie is actually any good. The story can be a little weak, but the visuals make up for it. The family are interesting to look at, but with an underdeveloped supporting cast, you have to remind yourself that it's more about the nightmare than the survival of the victims. But considering the fact that I found myself enjoying what I saw, I feel that, along with "Halloween 2", this is a film that will get better with each consecutive viewing.

And on a final note

The only song I remember the first time watching "HO1C" was "Run Rabbit Run" by Rob Zombie. Second time around, I was introduced to this song, "Everybody Scream". I'm not sure about the amateur video that accompanies this, but it's the only high quality version of the song I could find at time of writing.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Welcome Note

Ladies and gentlemen, let me welcome you to the first proper post of the Raven Cassidey Movie Blog. To quickly explain what I mean by "proper", at time of writing, I had the bright idea to create a blog that is based on quite possibly my main interest in life: films. A couple of months ago, I started a blog during a period of boredom, where I wanted to get back into writing, creative, journalistic or whatever. So I posted the odd blog entry here or there, testing the waters a bit.

At the beginning of October, I had the bright idea to watch a movie everyday from the "horror" genre, in the lead up to Halloween, and write about it afterwards. At time of writing, I am taking a break from transferring the HTML codes of my previous entries, so depending on when you read this, look through the links in the "October 2012" section on this blog, or view them as they appeared on the other.

To sum it up, providing a post a day proved to be an exhausting challenge, and thought me a lesson that, if I was to make scheduled blog posts, I'd better do them in advance. But at the same time, I found myself having a lot of fun creating them, even if nobody else was going to read them. Hence the idea for this blog.

I'm not sure what type of movies I'll be posting up here, but considering I've had fun writing about horror movies, I'll probably stick to those that are in that field, with hints of action, comedy, bizarre and downright crap. I did make an effort to write about the the early Batman films, and the last one, not to mention an analysis of one of the worst movies I've seen this year, Cosmopolis. Not to mention the "Halloween Countdown" of 2012 (see links for the month of October on the right hand side).

At first, I chose not to include them here, as I felt they were just me testing the waters, in terms of blogging about film. But in the end, I decided to repost them here, just for added content, and to see how my writing style has progressed/regressed.

Granted I have a long way to go before I can perfect my blogging skills, but I'm trying to find my own voice, instead of just making a long, boring ass review about how much I like or hate something. I tend to open these blog posts with something of a personal nature, like a diary piece, before I begin with the article itself. There are times that I will include spoilers, but I try to avoid them if possible, depending on the review itself.

As for the title "Raven Cassidey", my reasons are, well, pretty simple, if a little stupid. I couldn't think of a clever title that would reflect the content of this blog. So I just picked two characters, real and fictional, that I admire, and combined the two of them. If you look at the first sentence of this piece, and click on each name, you will see a picture of professional wrestler Raven, and Cassidy from the "Preacher" graphic novels.

Unfortunately, the web domain ravencassidy.blogspot.com was already taken. Hence why there's the added "e" in the "Cassidey". But I'm okay with that. While messing around on Google, the first Wikipedia page to appear in the results when I type in "Cassidy" was this, while the alternate spelling, "Cassidey", came up with this result.

Well, that's good enough for me.

Warning: as a bloke I will more than likely find any
excuse to post up gratuitous shots of women.

And on a final note.....

I'm sure to mess around with the layout of this blog over the next few weeks, to settle on a look that I'm happy with. But what I'm keeping from my other blog is this section at the end of each entry. This is where I will post a video from YouTube, whether it be related to the preceding article or not. For example, I talked about Raven, so I'm gonna post up his entrance theme in TNA. Think of it as the "end credits" of the article.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Countdown (Day 31: Game Over)

Well, I finally made it to Day 31, albeit a few shortcuts here and there. But hey, at least I managed to create 31 blog posts this month. So without further ado, here is the final film of the SAW franchise: "Saw 3D: The Final Chapter" (for the purpose of this article, I'll be referring to it as "SAW 7").

All together now: Oh yes, there will be spoilers.

While an attempt at wordplay, this one is actually fitting (see below).

Back then.....

What a f**king mess of a movie! How the hell could they ruin such a great ending to the series?

And now.....

What a f**king mess of a movie! How the hell could they ruin such a great ending to the series?

Okay, if you read any of my previous entries this month, you would have figured out that this was my least favourite installment of the SAW series. I wasn't sure how I was going to approach this. In my "Wrestlemaniac" entry, I had a habit of rambling on whenever it came to issues I had in terms of logic, whether it be from the actual film, or from what decisions the filmmakers had made. Now, that was just one very short movie. Imagine if I did the same to not only this film, but in the context of the whole series?

So, in order to tighten this article the best I can, I will go through ten reasons why I hate this movie, in chronological order as per film, to give an idea as to what was going through my mind while watching it.

This reminds me of the Michael Jackson statue from HIStory.

The opening game/trap

I was going to mention the opening credits for this one, but I'm saving that for later.

When I watched this film for the first time, I had a feeling the film was going to be a disaster, right from the get go. The other sequels start off with an opening game/trap, as per usual. And these are usually set in abandoned warehouses, buildings and other similar desolate surroundings. Which makes sense, in relation to the rest of the series.

So the first game/trap we are introduced to is where two guys have to choose whether to kill each other, or decide to kill a woman that's been cheating on both of them, via buzzsaws. Which is pretty standard fare in terms of the SAW series. Just one problem.....they are in a glass box, in broad daylight, outside a shopping centre, in view of the public.

So in the first three minutes, I'm already asking questions. How did anyone manage to sneak those three people inside without anyone watching? Wouldn't anyone working near the shopping centre have enquired about that glass box outside? Wouldn't it be risky for Hoffman (or anyone for that matter) to construct this elaborate setup in a public area? How was it even built without anyone's knowledge? Did they get planning permission beforehand?

3D scenes

As you can tell from the title, this was shown in 3D in the cinema, so the shots with the effects in mind are noticeable onscreen. And as a result, they come off as stupid and distracting. It's like watching "Friday 13th Part 3" or "Jaws 3-D", so watching scenes where things are coming towards the screen (such as spikes, blades, internal organs) in 2D just comes off as ridiculous.

But the worst thing is, while this was actually filmed in 3D, the effects were barely noticeable throughout the entire film. And I even asked myself back then, why bother filming it in 3D when it may as well be in 2D? So for the sake of the two or three scenes in the entire movie, 3D effects were utilised?

The detective is, well, a dick

I'm just gonna call this guy "Dick" since I can't be bothered looking up his name at this time, and it suits the personality of the character onscreen. Granted Agent Strahm from the previous movies had an attitude, but then again he was involved in the Jigsaw investigation, his partner was injured, and he was close to finding out the truth, hence his hard nosed attitude.

But Dick here is just as the name applies. From the first words of dialogue he utters, he is instantly unlikable, especially his dialogue is poor itself. Using terms like "crazy as a bag of cats" (or something like that) when talking about Jill Tuck, and his "crazy crazy crazy" speech to her in the safe house, I wasn't sure if it was the dialogue was poor, or whether it was the actor himself. His words seem poorly written when you compare them to the other characters in the film. Hell, even Jigsaw's cameo had better lines than this Dick.

The dream sequence

I usually find that dream sequences or false visions in horror films are just a cheap attempt to muster up scares from the audience. While some of them can be effective, there are others where they do nothing more than just become extra padding. In the third film where Dina Meyer looks into a mirror and sees Donnie Wahlberg behind her, it's for a split second, and while it does come off as cliched, it's still effective.

Here, it just seems like the makers were looking for an excuse to throw in another 3D scene, so why not have Jill Tuck in a nightie tied up in a suggestive pose? The scene comes off as lazy and cheap, especially with the disappointing "just a dream" pay-off afterwards.

Bobby's backstory

While the idea of the next contestant in a Jigsaw game being someone pretending to have been a victim in the past was an interesting one, on the other hand, it just seemed very unlikely. Granted he could fake the scars, but I found it hard to believe that nobody would have called him out on his ruse. I'm sure any police officer or investigative journalist would have uncovered the fact that he was a fake, what with an ongoing police investigation, not to mention media coverage. Personally, I found it hard to suspend my disbelief for the sake of the film, especially one as lousy as this.

Why go for Bobby now?

Granted John Kramer must have had a pretty big shit list even after his death, but while all the other major games/traps in the sequels were in some way linked to the plot, this one seemed to have no actual purpose. It may as well be on a par with the shopping mall trap. I know I had a problem with the main game/trap in the fifth film, but they did try to connect those people to Agent Strahm in the sixth one, so I was willing to let that one slide, no matter how "convenient" it may have seemed. Whereas here, it seems like nothing but something to pass the time. And while I'm on the subject.....

Maybe this story would have worked better in SAW 5 or 6

This is where I could go off on a rant about what would have worked better, and I admit, it is pretty much nitpicking. As I said, if it wasn't for the holes in logic, the story of a dishonest self help guru would have been interesting, especially as there was a scene where it featured a few of the survivors from the previous sequels.

I could go on about "what could have been", coming up with different scenarios, such as moving this story to the sixth film, and replacing the burning building five from SAW 5 with the insurance executive from SAW 6. Hell, maybe instead of the burning building five, you could have the other survivors in the support group go through another game/trap, for not moving on with their lives (from the Jigsaw point of view anyway). But of course, it's like trying to rearrange the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle (no pun intended.....okay I lied).

I was going to mention a certain part of the support group scene, but I'm saving that for later.

Turret gun.....really?

With all the elaborate traps included in the SAW series, there are very few scenes where guns are used, such as the tripwire shotguns in SAW 1, and the gun attached to the peephole in SAW 2. With those scenes, at least they are basic in their function, in relation to the trap in place. But in this movie, a turret gun mows down Dick and a few police officers. I know Hoffman may be different in his approach to the games Jigsaw started, but this just comes off as stupid and pathetic.

So Dick dies, Bobby fails his final test, and Hoffman confronts Jill in the police station. And so we come to a similar scene from the beginning of the movie where Jill is running away from Hoffman, only this time she gets caught, and falls victim to the infamous bear trap. After this conclusion, one question was burning in my mind.....


Because of the similarities of the beginning and closing chase scenes between Hoffman and Jill, the events that took place in-between have been rendered pointless. It felt like the final confrontation should have been the ending of the last film, instead of an excuse to put together a shoddy, misguided sequel that lacked the excitement, suspense and writing of the films before it. The self help guru story is a good one, but it comes off as run of the mill.

When I saw this in the cinema, I was wondering how this series was actually going to end. It was after the death of Jill that, while I did get a bad feeling that they were trying to get more mileage from the series however they can, I didn't feel that the film was going to end like this.

Not to mention that there were two scenes that I made reference to without going into detail. In the cinema I questioned the inclusion of these scenes, and came to the logical conclusion. But it seemed too predictable, the writers couldn't have made it that predictable. But of course, as with every SAW movie, there is.....

The final twist

The guy that takes down Hoffman in the end, and the (possible) successor to John Kramer turns out to be.....this guy.

Before this film came out, I read somewhere that Cary Elwes was going to reappear in SAW 7 as Dr. Gordon. Which was surprising at the time, as I knew he and the producers of the SAW series had a dispute over royalties from the first film, hence why he never appeared in the sequels, not even in flashback sequences. I was more surprised by his inclusion than to even consider his role in the movie.

During the opening credits where Dr. Gordon escapes the disused bathroom from the first film, I was wondering why they were showing this scene earlier on. I had an idea.....but I thought that would be too easy of a conclusion. Then he appears in the support group acting creepy and cryptic.....which reminded me of another creepy, cryptic guy from the previous films.....but again, I thought that would be too easy to come up with that conclusion. So when the man behind the pig mask this time happened to be Dr. Gordon.....two thoughts crossed my mind.

The first one was that this was a great ending to the series. Not only was it the one character you haven't seen since the first film, but it made sense when you see how he's connected to certain parts of the entire series via flashback sequences, from the surgical procedures on Jigsaw's victims, to the secret envelopes traded between characters. It was a great way to end the series.

But then there's the second thought, which was what I said earlier in this article.....how the hell could they ruin such a great ending to the series?

The only thing that was "mind-blowing" was
the stupidity of the creators of this movie.

The twist was so obvious that even Scooby Doo and the gang could have figured it out. The inclusion of those two scenes ruined the impact of the finale. The connection Dr Gordon had to the other sequels was, if you're a fan of the series, actually quite ingenious. But it was a shame that this clever twist was wasted on the "crazy, crazy, crazy" pile of crap that came before it. And it just made me think why they should have just tacked on the last 15 minutes of this film onto SAW 6?

To top it off, it raises more questions. Is Dr. Gordon the leader now? How many people are now part of the Jigsaw gang? Who recruited them? Were they the people who set up the shopping mall game/trap at the beginning of the film? If so, wouldn't Hoffman be a bit suspicious about who was setting them up? But if it was Hoffman, how did he do it all by himself. At least with the Jigsaw gang, it makes sense because if.....


That's it, I'm done! I'm gonna wrap this up for my own sanity. This movie is a very disappointing addition to the series, which is nothing more than an attempt at a final cash-in on a movie franchise that was on its last legs. Instead of coming up with a decent script to wrap it up, it just became another cheap thrill 3D horror flick, focusing more on cartoonish effect shots than the ongoing story of the series.

This is the second time I've seen SAW 7, and this article gives you an idea why this is the only film from the SAW series that I don't own on DVD. I couldn't bring myself to pay more than a McDonalds double cheeseburger for this movie. I settled on watching it on Netflix, so unless it goes down to 2 euro in HMV next year, I'll settle for that option next Halloween.

And finally, was there ANYTHING I liked about the film?

Since there's not a lot of redeemable qualities to SAW 7, I'd have to think back to the traps/games themselves. Some were pretty good, others were passable, but the only memorable one was the KKK death scene (and yes it included Chester Bennington, but I don't hate Linkin Park, so I'm not gonna rip on him or the band as a result). Hoffman's plan to sneak into the police, while more in tone of a slasher movie, was pretty inventive, and it suited his menacing persona. And while I'm pulling at straws here, I liked this song during the end credits.

And on a final note.....

Now that I've finished reviewing films related to the horror genre, I can go back to other activities I've ignored, such as playing computer games. Before I took on this 31 day challenge, I was planning on completing this game before Halloween. I tried playing it last year, but I was stuck on one section at the very beginning, so I haven't played it since. After watching this clip, I now how to get past that part, so hopefully I'll be able to do better the second time around.

.....oh, and Happy Halloween of course.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Halloween Countdown (Day 30: Trailer Trash)

Okay okay, this is yet another half assed entry to the Halloween Countdown. Bear in mind, I am still trying to finish off the final review at time of writing, and I was going to write up on Rob Zombie's "Halloween 2" for this blog post. But due to a long bank holiday weekend spent watching countless movies, along with the fact that I've been pretty run down this whole month, I don't have enough energy to squeeze in another one.

Not only that, after watching "Halloween 2", I didn't think I could pull off a half decent review of my thoughts on the film. And since my plan to feature a few Rob Zombie films this month hasn't panned out, what I'm going to do instead is write an article every week in November, on each film he has done, in the lead up to his gig in Amsterdam, which I plan to go as part of my birthday celebration/mini holiday.

Not only would I be able to have a look at his movies again, but it will give me something to write about for the next couple of weeks. Of course, I think one blog entry a week is more manageable than a blog entry a day. It was a good idea at the start of the month, but overall I find it a valuable learning experience, not to mention good practice at writing articles. If only I could find the same inspiration in the creative field. But one day at a time I suppose.

As much as I loved writing about what I saw this month, it would be nice to watch a film without having to fit in a review afterwards. Anyways, here are some of the upcoming attractions I will most likely write up on in the next couple of weeks. As for the last two trailers, they are both part of separate series of blog entries that I may have in mind next year.

House Of 1000 Corpses

The Devil's Rejects


Halloween 2

The Haunted World Of El Superbeasto

Santa's Slay

Punisher: War Zone

And on a final note.....

Our main feature for this evening is....."The Nightmare Before Christmas" with the soundtrack dubbed with Tool's "Aenima" album.....yes it's a weird one alright. I love Tool, and while I do like "TNBC", I'm still a bit confused as to why someone would put these two together.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween Countdown (Day 29: Horrorthon Day Five)

This is going to be a very, very short blog entry. I did not go to see the short film showcase, Nightmare Factory, The Burning Moon and Sleep Tight. I really needed the sleep, and I have to regain some energy for work on Tuesday. Not to mention get back to any creative writing assignments that have been put on the back burner this weekend. Plus, I reached my quota of 14 films this weekend, so if Halloween 3 was film number 15, then film number 16 is.....

Halloween 4: The Return Of Michael Myers

It was fun to watch, and it's along the same lines as the first one. While it does have its stupid moments, and like most horror movies, hasn't aged well, it was still a decent enough slasher. Although I was very surprised by how it ended, and it makes me want to check out the fifth one now. Even though I've yet to see the second one.

And with that, I skipped Nightbreed: The Cabal Cut, in order to go home, get something to eat, and rest before what I know will be a long, busy day at work. So why the hell am I going to watch Rob Zombie's Halloween 2 and attempt to write about it afterwards? Because I'm an idiot, that's why. And I thought I would stick with the theme of watching another film which stars Malcolm McDowell and Danielle Harris.

And on a final note.....

I picked the above picture because Kiss are featured on her top.....and I know this song from the album, because The Melvins covered it.....why do I get the feeling you don't believe me?

Halloween Countdown (Day 28: Horrorthon Day Four)

I reached my quota of films on Sunday (ie. Day Four), where I hit the 14 mark before the final movie of the evening. As I write this, I am probably going to end up watching one or two films, and head home for more sleep, as I have work on Tuesday. So I better get this done quickly before I go.

The Monster Squad

I was hungover at the time, so I was in no shape or form to be heading into town. I don't know much about the movie, other than it's a children's classic. So instead of the trailer, I'm gonna post a graphic that was part of my childhood, and the final film.


This was introduced by lead actress Danielle Harris, and from what I gather, I got the impression that even she knew this was a bad movie. It's too weird to be in anyway scary, some parts of it were awful in their direction and the quality of acting, and just when I thought it was over, it just kept going on, getting even more ridiculous. I'm sure in the hands of another director, this might have worked.

Surprise Film: Chained

The biggest laugh I had that day was when the trailer for "The Shining" came up, as I made a joke that this would be the surprise film. I thought that I was right until I realised it was just the trailer. One of the organisers came onstage to introduce the film, assuring us that it's not "Trespass 2", in relation to last year's godawful movie, "Trespass". At least that got a laugh.

I have never heard of Chained before the screening, and I can't figure out where I've seen the lead actor before, but he played a good role, projecting his creepiness by his attitude and voice. The film was interesting, at times perverse, and I could nitpick some elements of character motivation and the plot, especially the last ten minutes or so, but once you look past them, it's a pretty decent movie.


This is a very quirky film that comes across as a Napoleon Dynamite style movie, if it was redone by David Lynch and John Waters (who happens to have a cameo in this movie also). John Waters also comes to mind with the inclusion of Traci Lords (who starred in his film "Cry Baby") as the main character's mother. Other cameos include Ray Wise and Malcolm McDowell, in which this is the third film this long weekend that I've seen Malcolm McDowell in (the others being Antiviral and Silent Hill: Revelation).

The visuals are bizarre, it can be really funny at times, and the female lead is an interesting character, albeit sadistic, which makes the film intriguing to watch, especially with her mindset, in relation to her dreams and her view of the world.

Halloween 3: Season Of The Witch

The only original Halloween films I've seen are the first one and this. And in a few hours, I'll be watching the fourth one, once again introduced by Danielle Harris. I'm half tempted to go home and watch Rob Zombie's "Halloween 2" afterwards. Or maybe "The Victim". But I digress.

Because I haven't watched the whole series, I don't have any dislike for this film because of its deviation from the Michael Myers character. Sure the movie is a bit rubbish, but its unintentional comedic value makes it a joy to watch. Also I actually liked the somewhat cheesy 80s horror score by John Carpenter.

While the film does have a loose Irish connection, the main reason this film stuck with me was the "Silver Shamrock" jingle, and what happens when you look at the magic pumpkin. It creeped me out as a kid, and for years I couldn't remember if it was a Halloween movie or not, because it didn't have Michael Myers in it.

And on a final note.....

Well, it's one way to inspire me to learn Japanese.....

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Halloween Countdown (Day 27: Horrorthon Day Three)

I watched three films on the Saturday, due to a lack of energy in the morning, and my "brilliant" idea to skip the last movie and get absolutely hammered in the process. Now I can barely get out of bed. But if there's one thing I am proud of, is that I managed to bring this home with me, and not lose it or break it in the process.

Signed by Danielle Harris, Jennifer Blanc and Alyssa Lobit

Yes it is a bit nerdy, but hey, I haven't gotten anything signed by a "celebrity" since Casey Chaos signed my ticket after Amen's support slot with The Wildhearts. I saw the film at last year's Horrorthon, and I thought it was an enjoyable enough flick, so I thought it would be cool to get signatures from three people who starred in it. And of course, Danielle Harris.....need I say more?


By the time this was on, I was only just getting out of bed. I'm sure it's an interesting documentary, but I don't think I would have been in the humour to watching it. I could find the trailer and post it here, but I think I'll just go with a picture of Danielle Harris.


I actually saw a trailer for this before "Room 237". And while I'm one of the few people who can appreciate the "shaky cam" genre of horror movies, I still believe these types of films should not be viewed on a cinema screen. It takes away the "realism" and there's always people in the cinema who give out about the film. I'm sure I'll watch it if it ever comes out on DVD, since the trailer did catch my interest.....but I'm gonna post a picture of Danielle Harris and Jennifer Blanc instead.

Dracula: Prince Of Darkness

To the best of my knowledge, I don't think I've seen a full Hammer Horror film ("Let Me In" doesn't count). I probably saw bits of them over the years, but that's about it. So while I did find the movie more corny than scary, at least I finally got to see a Christopher Lee Hammer Horror, so it was fun regardless.

American Mary

The film is a stylish thriller with David Lynch style weirdness mixed with body mutilation horror. The character of Mary is an interesting anti-hero, not to mention easy on the eye, especially with her choice of clothing throughout the film. Although the film does tend to lose direction at times, and because of the despicable nature of the characters, it's hard to feel any sympathy for them when their motivations are unclear at times.

Among Friends

Directed by festival guest of honour, the petite Danielle Harris, it's an interesting claustrophobic slasher movie with elements of dark humour to it. Some parts may have needed trimming, but for a debut feature from the actress, along with the fact that it took ten days to film the entire movie, it's an impressive result.

I felt the same towards "The Victim" which also took less than a fortnight to film. There was a Q&A with the three people who signed my Blu-Ray afterwards and one other person who I think was one of the producers. I briefly talked to them at the signing table, who seem down to earth, and Jennifer Blanc the most upbeat and chatty, which is admirable. Admittedly I was a bit tongue tied when I approached them, especially Danielle Harris, which is why I never really bother looking for autographs. But I'm glad I did in the end.

Young Frankenstein

My excuse for skipping this was that I had the DVD at home, and I felt like going into town and having a few drinks. I do feel bad about passing on this, but since I was on my own, I felt it would be better to watch this with friends.

And on a final note.....

The trailer for "The Victim". Hmm, maybe I should have gotten Michael Biehn's autograph last year, even at the risk of coming off as awkward in the process.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Halloween Countdown (Day 26: Horrorthon Day Two)

It's been a long day, but I'm glad I took the day off work for this. For the price of the five day pass, if I get to see at least 14 films, I'd have gotten my money's worth. I've seen 8 in the past two days, so I'm doing really well.


Every Horrorthon there is at least one movie that is so bad, that it's hilarious to watch. Birdemic in 2010, Troll 2 in 2011, and this year, the title goes to Manborg. I really think this should have been kept towards the end of the night, as it's absolutely hilarious. Think Robocop fighting with the cast of Mortal Kombat against Nazi demons from Hell. All in front of a green screen. A must see for those who love their films as bad as The Room.

Midnight Sun

The film seems like an interesting take on the vampire genre, which is no mean feat considering the budget the makers had. However, looking at the main character having hunger pains lead me to leaving after 30 minutes to get brunch. I couldn't find a trailer for this one, so I'm just gonna stick a picture of Mina from "Manborg" in its place.

Reminds me of Frost from Mortal Kombat for some reason.

Calibre 9

It's like a French version of a Jason Statham movie, with added supernatural elements. Action packed, ridiculous, violent, and with moments of stylish direction, This film was lot of fun to watch, and exceeded any expectation I had from a movie about a gun possessed by the soul of a dead prostitute.


I think this movie, along with Savage, should be used by the Irish Tourism Board to show people what Ireland is really like. Very well directed, with effective use of sound to go along with the visuals. The scariest thing about this is that even if you took the supernatural elements away from the story, it would make no difference. That's what scared me, to be honest. Best Irish film I've seen this year.

Silent Hill: Revelation

My god, this has got to be one of the worst movies I have ever seen. Please note that I didn't actually get to watch the first film beforehand, but even I know that it was a lot better than this. It was obvious by some of the shots that it was filmed for 3D, and it really comes off as stupid when shown in 2D. At least this had more laughs than Resident Evil: Retribution.

But before the movie, there was an awkward moment where Jennifer Blanc-Biehn had to walk after hecklers in the crowd mocked the short film Connection, in which she stars. After a moment of silence, one person in the crowd says out loud "Y'see this is why we can't have nice things". Admittedly it was funny at the time, but it's very true. Still, that's the nature of the work for anyone promoting films, I suppose.

Zombie Flesh Eaters/Deep Red

At this point of the night, I was starting to feel a bit rundown, so I'm surprised I managed to go through them. ZFL had some really weird bits in the first half that kept me amused (ie. bad acting, bizarre camera angles, a sequence which involved a naked scuba diver, an underwater zombie and a shark), but in the second half it did tend to drag in places.

I didn't know that RD was directed by David Argento, so the style of this film and the strange choice in music numbers reminded me of another film I saw at Horrorthon in 2010, which was Phenomena. The story was hard to grasp at times, but then again, I was zoning in and out for the first half, especially when the drunken guy was onscreen. But it's the aforementioned music and odd scenes that kept me conscious from time to time.

It's a shame the organisers of Horrorthon don't do the double bill showings during the year anymore.

And on a final note.....

If you play the live version after the studio version, it seems to flow seamlessly.....or maybe it's just me.....

Friday, October 26, 2012

Halloween Countdown (Day 25: Horrorthon Day One)

Okay, today was the first day of the Horrorthon Film Festival, so I'm just going to do mini updates of what I saw, and those I missed, keeping with the day to day nature that I tend to insert into these blog updates. It's been a long day, and I have four more to go.

So without further ado, here's what I thought of each movie, along with a trailer for it (whenever possible).


It was a beautifully shot film with a great score and atmosphere throughout, but the story was hard to follow at times, the social message of the "celebrity culture" seemed a bit force, and the film had a distracting amount of pretentiousness to it.

Room 237

The theories and interpretations of The Shining are so ridiculous and off the wall, that at times they are convincing. It would be like me describing how The Matrix is a complete rip-off of Dumbo.

Detention Of The Dead

It's not a bad film for what it is, which is basically "The Breakfast Club (with zombies)". It can be a bit silly at times, but I find it's best that you don't watch it while in a sober state of mind. Plus the goth chick in it was pretty hot.

And on a final note.....

It was Katy Perry's birthday during Day 25.....what? I like Katy Perry.....a lot.....

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