Share/Bookmark

Java the Hot and MuggySep 29, 2014

(click it to upsize it)

In the days, weeks and months to follow, Puppy will blame her behavior on mild heatstroke and the pervasive sexist influences of ’80s heavy metal videos. But for now, it’s just to make a few bucks.

DOCtoberFest 2014 Day 29: “Night of the Demons” (2009)Oct 29, 2014

You had me at "Monica Keena."

I think my stance on remakes should come to no surprise of even the most-casual reader of Doc Splatter’s movie reviews and Gore Score comics. Rob Zombie’s “Halloween,” last year’s “Fright Night” and any number of movies with “Texas Chainsaw” or “Body Snatchers” in the title should serve as examples of needless wasting of resources and diminishing returns.

That being said, there are remakes that bring a little somethin’-somethin’ to the party: John Carpenter’s “The Thing,” David Cronenberg’s “The Fly” and even 1988’s “The Blob” all took 1950s drive-in thrillers, polished them up and made them all the better for it.

2009 (left) and 1988 (right)

I’m conflicted, because the “Night of the Demons” (2009) remake is both better and inferior to the classic 1988 splatterfest.

A quick primer for both movies: Goth hedonist Angela holds an epic Halloween party in a dilapidated mansion that serves as a portal for demons to possess the living and they pick off trapped partygoers one-by-one until the break of dawn and invariably there’s an awesome darkwave soundtrack, decent laughs, girl-on-girl makeouts, gruesome deaths and Suzanne shoves a lipstick into her boob (not a typo — trust me on that one).

One area where the remake succeeds over the original is the cast. Shannon Elizabeth (Angela) is joined by Monica Keena, Diora Baird, Edward Furlong and Bobbi Sue Luther. All are likable and bring something memorable and fun to the table; you actually kind of feel bad when they start to get their faces ripped off. In contrast, the original had only Linnea Quigley among a bunch of rookie actors and relative no-names.

On the other hand, the original had a certain charm about it, with its well-defined archetypes (the jock, the virgin, the tramp, the hood, the black dude, the cute couple, the bombastic jackass) and its sense of humor was complimented by its genuinely eerie and gory thrills.

While both have their share of good music (the original version uses one particular Bauhaus song to good effect), the remake’s soundtrack is second only to “The Return of the Living Dead” (1985).

Surprisingly decent, I would give it a recommendation and an A. Check it out on Hulu Plus.

DOCtoberFest 2014 Day 28: “Life After Beth” (2014)Oct 28, 2014

I saw the trailer for “Life After Beth” (2014) earlier this year and thought it looked fun. I do heart me Aubrey Plaza, with her sanpaku eyes and her perpetual state of looking annoyed/disenfranchised, and figured she would be terrific in the role of a reanimated corpse. And I was right.

"I have to study for a test."

The gist: Beth Slocum dies on a solo nature hike and she’s mourned by her parents (John C. Reilly and Molly Shannon) and her estranged boyfriend Zach (Dane DeHaan) but a few days after her literal dirt nap, Beth is back, seemingly intact but maybe missing some recent memories. Not a big deal, except her folks have to keep her hidden from public. Because, you know, resurrected daughter. Zach and Beth get to spend some quality time saying and doing things Zach wish he had time for before Beth’s demise… which is really sweet and romantic and HEY WTF ISN’T THIS A ZOMBIE MOVIE OR WHAT??

Beth's downward spiral, seen here chained to her stove.

So yeah, things spiral out of control once Zach clues in Beth that she’s, well, dead. Not only does Beth begin to corrode physically and mentally but others start coming back from the dead. No one saw the “zombie apocalypse” coming… including me.

Zach tries to stop his brother from shooting Beth, who is still chained to the stove.

It’s surprisingly restrained on the gore, at least until the third reel. There are some really touching scenes, like Zach bonding with Mr. and Mrs. Slocum after Beth’s funeral, Mrs. Slocum feeding her own fingers to Beth because she’s a good mom, Zach’s final goodbye to Beth… good stuff. And the humor is pretty subtle and charming, too. “La-ven-derrrr”

Zach and Beth (plus her stove) finally take that hike together.

“Life After Beth” is the best rom-zom-com since 2004’s “Shaun of the Dead.” And before you argue that there haven’t been any rom-zom-coms since “Shaun of the Dead,” let me remind you of last year’s awful “Warm Bodies.”

Doc Splatter is pleased to give “Life After Beth” a hearty A+ and recommends it highly. Available for digital rental via Amazon and other vendors.

DOCtoberFest 2014 Day 27: “Fright Night” (2011)Oct 27, 2014

(Click it to Brewster-size it!)


Not a review per se, but acknowledging “Fright Night” (2011) as another unnecessary remake of a classic. And hey, Internet research for panel 2!

DOCtoberFest 2014 Day 26: “Teeth” (2007)Oct 26, 2014

Recommended by Cider via Eva Halloween’s online playground The Year of Halloween, I ponied up $3.00 and rented “Teeth” (2007).

I was going to try to write this review in Latin. I got as far as vagina dentata because that’s the elevator pitch right there. Then I was going to say carpe diem, tempus fugit, caveat emptor and hakuna matata. Actually, some of these make sense in the context of a movie which features a chaste high-school girl whose *ahem* “rose has thorns,” which puts several mashers in the ER or morgue.

It's pretty much exactly what it looks like is going on.

I gotta tell you, except for the unbelievably awkward pelvic exam scene (above), it was a lot of fun to watch. It’s a coming-of-age teen drama with no shortage of gallows humor or mutilated man appendages. I think it would pair nicely with “Pitch Perfect” for some reason. Great production values yet low budget (all the effects looked practical, except the suspicious CGI twin cooling towers looming in the background of this small Texas town), fine acting, convincing portrayals of terror, guilt and OMIGOD YOUR JUNK JUST ATE MY JUNK!

And wait ’til you see what Mother does.

Bravo for making this the squirmiest gynecological body-horror show since David Cronenberg’s “Dead Ringers” (1988). The Doc gives it an A. Available as an online rental via Amazon Prime.

DOCtoberFest 2014 Day 25: “The Taking of Deborah Logan” (2014)Oct 25, 2014

This one comes to Doc Splatter with a glowing recommendation from Splatter Intern James Not Jackson, so I fired up the Netflix and here’s what I got.

From the onset, “The Taking of Deborah Logan” (2014) looks like another mockumentary/found footage thrillride, but it has two massive faults that seem to plague this genre.

Why, gramma — what SATANIC EYES you have!

First, if you want to trick the audience into thinking this is an Alzheimer’s documentary but then you switch gears and turn it into SURPRISE! a demonic possession movie, maybe tone down the LOOK AT THE OLD LADY POSSESSED BY SATAN movie poster. Just a suggestion.

Why, gramma — what an ANATOMICALLY IMPOSSIBLE, UNHINGED SNAKE JAW you have

Second, in “found footage,” you don’t get to add scary music when you see a shadowy or out-of-focus figure duck out of screen. When you take an iPhone video of a friend walking into a closed door, you don’t hear “wop-waaa” (sad trombone). No. You hear “thud” and maybe an epithet or two. That’s all. Leaving out music or “BEY-OOON!” scary sounds in “found footage” is not only necessary but it’s mandatory. Tsk, tsk.

Those two massive disappointments aside, this is plenty creepy and actually has a modest body count of maybe 2-3 people. Jill Larson did a great job as the title character, at times both heartbreaking (if you know someone with Alzheimer’s) and unapologetically twisted. They did bad math on keeping track of the days that had gone by, but that’s just me being anal retentive.

I’m giving Debby Logan a B+. You can check it out on your neighbor’s Netflix account.

Cool Jerk is proudly powered by WordPress with ComicPress
All content copyright Paul Horn/Cool Jerk Intl. Site design by Hase Design and Paul Horn.