Sunday, August 30, 2009

dead sexy.


Did something very exciting on Friday. Photos to follow as soon as I get them back. I am so bored with being flesh-coloured already. Is there seriously not a career to be made of being painted green, (a non Wicked one I mean)?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Deadgirl (2008).

Deadgirl is one of the few films that has made me check myself whilst watching. Asking what exactly I am doing viewing this stuff.

It's not even graphic, but it doesn't have to be. When the whole plot of a movie is centred around the repeated rape and abuse of a woman - okay, so it's a "monstrous" woman, a "zombie" woman - even I, whose discomfort threshold is pretty damn high, sits back and wonders what she is doing participating in this.

This is a horror movie but not in the conventional sense.

"She's just a dead girl, man. That's all"
Rickie and J.T. are two seventeen year old friends. They are the "weird kids", looked down upon or just plain ignored by all the other social groups in high school. One day while cutting class, they break into an abandoned hospital. After some wanton vandalism, they head down into the basement and find a girl, chained to a hospital trolley and apparently alive. They unzip her from the see-through body bag she is in.
"We could keep her...?"

I don't wish to make generalisations about the way seventeen year old boy's minds work, but this film pretty much spells it out: Sex. At any cost.

J.T. immediately sees this girl as something to give him sexual fulfillment and nothing else. She is something to fuck. Whenever anyone asks who the girl is or was, how she got there, what her story is... J.T. seems almost confused by the question. These are needless minutiae that he doesn't give a shit about. All he cares is that she is there and she is theirs.

Rickie runs, disgusted and terrified from the scene, only to be drawn back later by J.T. He stayed with the girl, raped her and when she started struggling he beat her to death. Only she didn't die. By the time Rickie returns his friend has done enough to her to have killed her three times over, has "heard her neck snap" and still she lays looking at them unaware that she shouldn't even be conscious let alone "alive".

Then unfolds the tale of deadgirl. The "unwilling but able" sex slave of a group of high school boys.

Things take an even more putrid turn when J.T. and Wheeler, another male let in on the secret, discuss how the girl is starting to smell and hint that the natural sexual orifices are becoming old news. Basically it comes down to "what other holes can we fuck her in?" and with that J.T. fingers an infected bullet wound in her belly.
"It's warm... and wet. This one is mine - there are two others just like it."
Wheeler laughs incredulously. Then he nods his head in compliance and says okay.

Sex with wounds is not news of course, we saw Crash. It's the nature of J.T. and the others, that's what made my skin crawl. What depths they will plummet to, in order to get their ends away. It's the reviewers catchline for the movie it seems, but the monster in this film is not the dead girl. It's J.T. and just about every male character we encounter.

When asked by a newcomer why the girl is tied up and looks to have been beaten, J.T. retorts:
"Because that's the way she likes it. Rough! S and M! Neither of you seen any pornos before? That's the way we give it to her. She's hot for it."
He says this dressed as a sick parody of Hugh Hefner, in underpants and dressing gown. We are given the impression he has moved permanently into the basement with her now. While he talks he strokes her arm as she is tied to the bed, barely conscious. Yeah, really hot for it.

After some trap-goading by the others, a jock is persuaded to let deadgirl give him a blowjob. Everyone but him sees where this is going... She bites it. His friend screams that they'll go to the cops. He is then presented with a dilemma: J.T., in the only instance in the film where the actual word "rape" is used, challenges them to explain to the police - and his girlfriend - how the injury came about when he was "raping a girl in the mouth". Their response is one of genuine shock and they try to defend their actions by stating that J.T. himself had told them the girl would "like it". Despite their horror - itself only manifested when the plans went wrong - they remain silent about the incident for the rest of the film.

A horrible scene to watch, made even more frightful by its juxtaposition with his fate, once the infection sets in. This is played for disgusting laughs:

Rickie, initially the most sympathetic character, is the only one given any fleshing out, if you pardon the pun. We see him at home, usually agonising over his situation or interacting with his mother's boyfriend. His mother herself never makes an appearance, tellingly. Whenever Rickie gets home and calls to she if she is in, she never is. This film has a largely male cast; with a small pool of girls as background cheerleaders and the like.

One of the more prevalent females is JoAnn, whom Rickie lusts after. She is an altogether more living female, but even his sexual daydreams of her culminate in the visage of deadgirl.

Thus entwining the two female leads: his real life object of affection and deadgirl, steadfastly together. After this dream is one of the many times he finds himself pulled back to the basement, presumably (he gets interrupted so we never see) to close his eyes and stick his dick in the living corpse, while imagining it's JoAnn. Fuuucked uuuup!

The one woman who is seen in the movie with successful strength is a would-be victim of J.T. and Wheeler. In another blackly comic sequence, she is belted over the head with a crowbar in the hope she will fall into their trunk to be abducted. Unfortunately for the boys, this woman is merely stunned and, as blood runs down her face, proceeds to beat the crap out of both of them on a petrol station forecourt, before robbing them and driving off. A peculiar addition to a film which was up until this point expressly about the ritual abuse and humiliation of another female.

But abuse issues aside for just a moment, I have to mention that there is some stunning cinematography in this movie. Mostly in establishing shots; the desolate small-town feeling is conveyed pretty much perfectly by something like this:

It reminded me of Brick in this way. Full of sky and yet somehow still almost unbearably oppressive. I'm not saying that it's okay for these kids to resort to awful acts because they view themselves as beyond help and hope, it just struck me that the film makers had an eye for this kind of mood-setting. J.T. states at one point "We have got nothing to lose", which pretty much hammers home that even at seventeen these boys figure they are a lost cause to society and therefore practically above the law - or more specifically not even on the law's radar.

Here's a quote that I happen to agree with. I found it on the official site in the press section. It is from Little White Lies magazine:
"The male characters each represent a different stage of the evil of men: they all in the end treat women the same, no matter how long it takes them to reach that stage."
This is how I viewed this film. Every man is just at a different level of depravity and poor - yes, poor! - deadgirl is the undead victim in it all.

Are we going to see more zombie rape films in the future? This is the second one in which I have seen it featured, believe it or not (the first being Zombie Diaries). It's a new direction for a genre in need of one, if a thoroughly disturbing idea. I considered Googling "zombie rape" to see if anything came up that I could mention here, but even I have standards I'm afraid.

Interestingly, I wasn't quite sure how I felt about Deadgirl immediately after watching it. However writing this review and forcing myself to think about it more than superficially, I have come around to seeing its value. I'm not sure I would want to own it, or see it again any time soon... But there's something about it that got to me and I think it has a valid place in the horror genre. The whole point of horror is to push boundaries, this film certainly does that and got me thinking about its very obvious issues in a way that a horror flick hasn't done in a good while.

Here's an article I found on "zombie feminism". Whether or not you agree with what is said is up to you, but I found it interesting!

Monday, August 10, 2009

photoshop disaster.

I have it from a trusted source that this film doesn't suck as much as its poster does. We shall see.

Click to view larger.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Crocodile (2000).

"Can we just fast forward to the flying guts and assholes?"
I don't know if the cheap DVD section from which I gleaned Crocodile and Spiders was specialising in Nu Image films, or that I just so happened to pick up two of their three creature features from the year 2000 (the third being Octopus). I didn't confirm until after watching it that this was birthed from the same production womb as the so-so spider flick I reviewed a couple of weeks ago; but I suspected they might somehow be related.

They have the same feel about them, right down to both having more well known horror fare name checked on the packaging, in order to catch the eye and make you pick it up. The boast of this is that it is directed by Tobe Hooper. "FROM THE DIRECTOR OF The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" the DVD sleeve screams.

Consequently, I could just recycle the Spiders review. By cannily using the 'find and replace' function, I could change every spider-related word in it to a crocodile-related one and all the location specific ones such as "bunker", "spacecraft" to "swamp". That would pretty much be it.

There's even vomiting! Though it's the human coming out of the animal this time.

However, I may be lazy but I am not that lazy. Yet. Please read on.

So, rather like its year of '00 classmate, this entertains well enough when the creature is onscreen, but the rest of the time it's mediocre bordering on dull. This is full of unlikeable spring breakers, their boring relationship woes and badly dyed hair.

A group of friends head out on a houseboat for some drinking, sunbathing and general high jinks (my words, not theirs). On their travels they discover a nest of crocodile eggs and the idiots start tossing them around.

They also let their dog eat the ones they drop. The dog is a poodle... I am therefore prepared to go against my usual morals on dog-deaths and let this one go. Not a massive fan of poodles.

In any case, watching these jerks rattle the croc babies made me think of the poor little chickens in Choke, so from this moment on I was pretty much looking forward to justice being served and the horny teens' backs snapping in the jaws of the monster. Bring it.

Well, it did happen, but not nearly quickly or often enough for my liking. They talk and drink and kiss and argue and pass out and wake up and eventually one of them dies. None of them seem that bothered, kinda instantly forget him, carry on partying until the crocodile attacks their boat, killing another. Repeat, until three of them are left.

When in the water, the crocodile is made "real" by the use of practical effects which are pretty good. The out of water CGI is however... ropey, but as in Spiders it is in a sweet way I haven't the heart to criticise too heavily.

There are only a couple of instances of the beast walking on land anyway, but it is suspiciously more mobile than in the water! Kinda the wrong way around, surely? Rigidity in the water reaches its peak when the attacking model croc appears to swim backwards at one point. I was reminded of the smoke billowing out of the shark's eye sockets at the end of Jaws 2. That's the thing with creature features: you kind of have to know how the creatures work.


Less so.

One more thing, shouldn't the eggs be a little larger, if the mother who lays them is over 20ft long?

To sum up! If I want to watch people stumbling in peril around a swamp, then I will watch Hatchet. If I want croc-horror I have it on good authority that I should check out Rogue.

And the fucking poodle doesn't die.