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DOCtoberFest 2014 Day 25: “The Taking of Deborah Logan” (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.


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.

DOCtoberFest 2014 Day 24: “Infection” (2010)

You know how sometimes the trailer is like a thousand times better than the movie? Like “Prometheus?” Remember the tense feeling you got in your chest during the trailer? Then when you actually saw it, it was like finding a dog turd made its way to the floormat of your car even though you were really careful at the dog park and made sure to look everywhere you stepped but it had either rained or the sprinklers were on overnight and there was a lot of mud and you still tried to stay on the grassy areas?

Like that.

Well, how about when the movie poster is a thousand times better than the movie?

That’s “Infection” (2010). In fact, I don’t know if it has a movie poster! This image is from the DVD packaging.

For this movie, I confess I started to watch it, but by the end of the opening credits I had mentally checked out. BUT instead, I whipped through the whole movie in like 2 minutes by dragging the fast forward bar on my iPad. And here’s what I saw:

Woman in a Smart car visits an old lady who is very clearly a young blond actress in laughable old-lady makeup who seems to retell a tale of the distant past (now) where she was a waitress and there’s a small-town cop and a tough guy and mysterious circumstances and some bad lighting and a couple people having seizures and a stereotypical nerdy science guy and it looks like only the blond, the tough and the nerd can save the town from I don’t know parasites? and then there’s a posse to get the parasites and it ends with some of the worst special effects ever and if you think I’m joking just trust me on that and then we zoom to the future because “old” blond actress is done with her story and oh my god I can’t believe I wasted all this time on this piece of shit I’m calling it an F and getting on with my day.

DOCtoberFest 2014 Day 23: “The Fourth Kind” (2009)

For my review of extra-terrestrial thrill ride “The Fourth Kind” (2009), I’m doing it all in memes.

DOCtoberFest 2014 Day 22: “The Collector” (2009)

Well, color me surprised.

Seems familiar

Apparently yesterday’s crapfest “The Collection” (2013) is a sequel to “The Collector” (2009). Presented with this new information, I decided to watch “The Collector” and I’ll say it was a spectacularly dreadful heap of shit. But compared to its sequel, it was a masterful tour de force by a team of filmmaking virtuosos and wunderkinds.

The plot revolves around an older, Southern plantation-style house and how it was raped by a masked jackass with a fetish for bondage, torture and death traps. This house had to endure its living room being violated with tripwires, razor wire in the kitchen, bear traps in the foyer, knives in the chandelier, nail traps installed within the walls, steaming quick-cure cement (no doubt from ACME) in the guest bedroom, its windows being boarded up and broken out, bathroom door being bashed open with a human head, a kid’s room being turned into a makeshift electrocution chamber, etc.

And please keep in mind all these death traps were installed by one guy in one evening in the space of maybe three hours.

Here’s a SPOILER: the kid survives, as does the sadistic Mr. Collector Guy and the dude who looks like Rick Grimes from “The Walking Dead” (duh, because they’re both in the sequel).

Watching this insufferable torture porn made me hate this movie, hate myself for wasting time watching this movie, and hate the sequel even more. A remarkable achievement in filmmaking.

In fact, the sequel is 33% more lame because they didn’t even use a different photo for their poster. Check it out.

Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.

What did I give the sequel— an F, right? Well, this one is marginally better, so Doc Splatter gives it an F+. Apropos since it’s available on Hulu Plus.

DOCtoberFest 2014 Day 21: “The Collection” (2013)

Remember when you were in 10th grade? Invariably, there was always this one kid who was really deep into heavy metal and would draw band logos all over his Pee-Chee folder. And then in art class, study hall or lunch, he’d bust out his pens and draw all these gnarly, twisted death traps (usually with girl classmates and teachers as victims).

OK. Got that guy in mind? Good.

Now imagine his dad works in Hollywood. Director, writer, producer, it doesn’t matter. He’s in a rush to a meeting and doesn’t notice his kid’s doodles shuffled under his work papers, and when he’s about to make a pitch to the Hollywood Powers That Be, his kid’s doodles slip out onto the conference table. Before Hollywood guy can explain, The Powers That Be grab them, look them over and say “Perfect! Let’s go with it! There’s no plot, no story, no logic and nothing even remotely redeeming about this. Let’s fast-track this bad boy!”

And that’s likely the untold story on how “The Collection” (2013) got made.

This “movie” (a loose term, at best) is really nothing more than a series of preposterous death traps — seemingly from the imagination of an emotionally stunted 15-year-old headbanger — stitched together with all the writing skill of an emotionally stunted 15-year-old headbanger. Someone please tell me how a middle-aged psychopathic entomologist has the wherewithal to secretly rig a dance club into an elaborate Rube Goldberg-esque death machine consisting of 3,000 feet of tripwires, hydraulic “crush rooms,” wall-mounted switchblades the size of katanas, automated locking doors, and a 60-foot-wide, ceiling-mounted, steam-powered retractable thresher that turns a dance floor into three tons of chum?

"Huh huh huh. That's cool."

Doesn’t matter.

How about a guy who escapes the psycho entomologist’s Death Machine Dance Club, breaks his arm jumping out a window, is rushed to the hospital, gets his arm set and put into a plaster cast (along with x-rays, I’m sure), gets his myriad other injuries patched up, is bathed/cleaned up by hospital staff, is arrested and his hospital room is under police protection, receives a Get Well card and vase of roses from the killer entomologist, orders his visiting wife to hide out at her mom’s house, then is visited by a black-ops squad who enlist him to track down this psycho entomologist who kidnapped Shooter McGavin’s daughter at the Death Machine Dance Club. Sounds like a busy week, right? No, this apparently happens in ONE EVENING.

Why do I think this? Because we see the kidnapped girl still locked in the trunk she was stuffed in at the Death Machine Dance Club, showing no signs of being in the trunk for any longer than a few hours. No exhaustion, no bloodied hands from trying to escape, no pee pee or doo doo in the trunk.

Doesn’t matter.

From there we get to the psycho entomologist’s hideout — a gigantic, abandoned hotel still with power and water, apparently right there in the city limits — and then we get another hour of death traps, torture porn, attack dogs, drugged-up-victims-turned-attack-zombies, insanely large plot holes, and incredulous, logic-defying situations. This had all the subtlety, acting chops and clever narrative of a carnival House of Horrors ride. I checked out long before the end of Beavis’ wet dream. This “movie” is a death trap for the audience.

I’m giving this a Flying F. I’m not even going to tell you where to find it.

DOCtoberFest 2014 Day 20: “ATM” (2012)

And here’s my twitter review of “ATM” (2012).

I still had a bunch of characters left over, too!

Abysmal. Tedious. Motarded. At least I didn’t hear anyone say “ATM machine.” Then I would’ve chainsawed my flat-screen in half.

I give it a generous F. Available on a Netflix near you, if you should feel the urge.

DOCtoberFest 2014 Day 19: “You’re Next” (2011)

Loved it.

That’s the short review for “You’re Next” (2011), a film by director Adam Wingard.

I know what you’re thinking: “Hold the phone, Doc Splatter— Adam Wingard? Didn’t he direct one of the segments in that piece of shit ‘V/H/S’ you reviewed earlier this month??” It’s true, my little porkchop, and I’m as surprised as you are.

It’s going to be really difficult to talk about this movie without blowing some of the plot twists, but here goes: Rich couple celebrate their 35-year anniversary with their four adult children (and accompanying significant others). Three uninvited murderers in animal masks crash the party. A significant body count happens. It’s like “Die Hard” in the Hamptons.

What’s nice about “You’re Next” is that it really embraces the splatter movie genre. Its musical score is largely synthesizers (think John Carpenter), its special effects are practical, there are some nice, tense moments, some “no way! I totally didn’t expect him/her to die!” surprises and some novel ways to dispatch victims (one, in particular, I call the “mental margarita”). The only familiar face for me was the lovely Barbara Crampton (“Re-Animator”) as mom; this adds to the whole “who’s gonna survive?” hand-wringing since there are no obvious sacred cows.

A conversation at the end of the movie provides a humorous respite after nearly 90 minutes of bloody mayhem. Oh, and the end credits are to die for.

A movie that literally lives up to its name, The Doc gives “You’re Next” a solid A. Available on a Netflix near you.

DOCtoberFest 2014 Day 18: “House at the End of the Street” (2012)

I could’ve sworn this was a remake, but after a little digging, I realize I was thinking of other similarly named flicks. “The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane,” “House at the End of the Drive,” “Beat Street”… the list goes on.

But I was surprised that “House at the End of the Street” (2012) starring Jennifer Lawrence, Elizabeth Shue and Max Thieriot, produced some genuine thrills and twists that kept me pleasantly surprised through to the end credits. The gist is a mom and daughter move to a house in Pennsylvania that’s next door to the site of a matricide/patricide two-fer at the hands of their crazy daughter. And before I spend too much time discussing how the story is propelled by the cray cray missing-in-action neighbor daughter or how much I like Jennifer Lawrence, I’ll simply say PLEASE JUST GO ALONG FOR THE RIDE. I don’t know if this movie has one of those trailers with the annoying voice-over that dares us “WAIT FOR THE TWIST ENDING THAT YOU WON’T SEE COMING,” but regardless, just forget you read this sentence, OK? In fact, maybe I should retroactively put up a SPOILERS disclaimer? That’s a good idea. SPOILERS!

Awkward dinner scene.

Pretty good performances by all, including random peripheral schoolmates, Jennifer Lawrence’s quasi-oddball/stalker/nice guy boyfriend and the local cop who doesn’t automatically give out-of-towners stink-eye. Surprisingly modest body count; this movie plays up tension rather than toe tags.

And yes— when going to the house at the end of the street, you’ll encounter some clever twists and turns along the way. BOOM! *drops mic*

Doc Splatter says it ai’ight, gives it an A-. Check it out on a Netflix near you.

DOCtoberFest 2014 Day 17: “The Woman in Black” (2012)

With apologies to Martin Gore, here’s my review of “The Woman in Black” (2012) in song form (to the melody of Depeche Mode’s “Dressed in Black”):

“The Woman in Black” is on
That Harry Potter kid has gone
Gone to the dreary town
Where every kid is gone
I think each one is dead
Cause of the Woman in Black

This movie is eerily
Just like Downton Abbey
Except that everybody
Hates it when Harry’s nosy
Nosing around Eel Marsh
Home of the Woman in Black

Harry’s got a picture of himself
A picture by Harry’s kid
A drawing of them
A drawing of a train
And it telegraphs the end
When they’re hit by a train
When Harry sees her again

The Woman in Black again

This movie is atmospheric
How should The Doc rate it
Mrs. Doc Splatter fears it
She doesn’t like spirits
Exhumed mud-covered boys
Or Victorian-Era toys

The Woman in Black A minus

DOCtoberFest 2014 Day 16: “The Graves” (2009)

THAT… is some serious false advertising right there, folks.

So I’m about three minutes into “The Graves” (2009) — another one of those After Dark Horrorfest flicks — and we’re introduced to geek girls Megan and Abby Graves goofing off inside the now-closed Atomic Comics in Phoenix. Thing is, they’re in front of a wall of Lady Death comics. I mean a WALL. Of Lady Death comics. Like that’s only what the shops sells. And I thought “WOW that’s some unapologetic product placement right there…! No wonder they went out of business. Who directed this movie, Brian Pulido?”

Yes. This movie was written and directed by Brian Pulido. Creator of the Lady Death comic. And at this point I pretty much checked out.

Megan and Abby Graves in happier times

And for good reason. Clare Grant and Jillian Murray are fun to watch and they do an OK job in black tank tops running around an Arizona ghost town tourist trap trying not to have their souls devoured by Tony Todd (“Candyman”) and his small-town underlings. But the pacing is dull, the audio is poor (lots of mumbling), dialogue is hackneyed and the logic is questionable. The Graves sisters never seem to be more than 20-30 feet away from the maniac-in-pursuit and yet they speak loudly (or yell) when trying to stay hidden, they duck behind a decrepit building not 8 paces ahead of their tormentor LIKE HE COULDN’T SEE WHERE THEY WENT and so on. Also, at one point Clare is hacked in the chest with a sickle, loses a quart of blood, is nearly unconscious and at the brink of death BUT a little direct pressure with a handkerchief and two hours later she’s right as rain.

It looks and feels a lot like a comic book, but not a good comic book.

Abysmal. Doc Splatter would give this an F if it weren’t for a rare sighting of Amanda Wyss, so let’s call it a D-. Find it on Amazon Prime among other places.

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