Posts Tagged DOCtoberFest

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.

DOCtoberFest 2014 Day 15: “Cabin Fever: Patient Zero” (2014)

Welt, I just watched “Cabin Fever: Patient Zero” (2014) and what it boils down to is — essentially — an Ebola documentary. Bravo on the timeliness! If you’ve seen any of the other “Cabin Fever” films, you know the skinny: bunch of college coeds with infectious personalities start dying off one by one. If there’s one thing that hive come to expect from “Cabin Fever,” it’s a cautionary tale at heart. Lesion learned: it’s time to stop partying on an abandoned Caribbean island when your girlfriend’s skin melts off and she pukes black gore all over your pup tent.

It’s nice to see a true-to-form splatter movie among the rash of “found-footage” and low-budget parasite crap I’ve been watching this month. This movie positively sores over those! There are some genuine gross-out scenes but also some truly funny (and original) deaths that made my jaw hit the floor.

Acting was decent, terrific practical effects, good budget, two novel death scenes (one involving a pistol, another I can only call “death by dildo”) and solid direction by Kaare Andrews (comics folk know his work as an artist and writer). In fact, only the writing stumbled a bit here and there. Example: a swimwear-model-esque blonde research scientist and her inappropriate-even-for-casual-Friday tank top walking into the most dangerous room on the planet without a HAZMAT suit because I PROBABLY WON’T GET INFECTED BECAUSE I TRUST MY BOSS. *rolls eyes*

Baby's got back.

Doc Splatter gives it an A+. Don’t pus out — watch it today on a Netflix near you! (And stick around for the full end credits for some extra content.)

DOCtoberFest 2014 Day 14: “The Reeds” (2010)

To call it a "sleeper" is accurate in more ways than one

Part of the After Dark Horrorfest/8 Films to Die For cluster from 2010, “The Reeds” is essentially “Children of the Corn” (1984) but in the middle-of-nowhere English moor instead of middle-of-nowhere Iowa, cattails and sawgrass instead of corn, rent-a-boat instead of rent-a-car and black-eyed teen ghosts instead of underage redneck religious maniacs.

Maybe I wasn’t in the mindspace for this flick. Maybe I was tired. Maybe I had too much absinthe and donuts… but I was pretty bored. Granted, it’s going to be hard to compete with the two “[REC]” movies I just watched.

The acting, camera, direction etc. were fine, but “The Reeds” wasn’t very entertaining by a long sight. To be frank, I kinda didn’t get it. Did the story really take place or not? Did the six Londoners have to pay for the boat they blew up? What’s with the “ghosts” making a campfire to roast a dog?

A solid “meh.” Doc Splatter barely gives this a C- out of apathy. Should be easy to find on Amazon or Netflix in your neighborhood.

DOCtoberFest 2014 Day 13: “[REC] 2” (2009)

I won’t say how I came about “[REC] 2” (2009); best to believe I found an unmarked DVD someone had slid under my door this morning.

Check yourself before you REC yourself.

This sequel picks up exactly where “[REC]” (2007) ends, but seen through the viewpoint of a SWAT team with helmet cams (a la “Aliens”) and an embedded videographer. They enter the quarantined apartment building and more hi-jinks ensue.

I’m becoming quite the fan of these Spanish films. I’m reminded of the first two “Halloween” movies, where they both take place on the same Halloween night. I understand the third “[REC]” is not canon (like “Halloween III: Season of the Witch” didn’t feature Michael Myers) but the fourth one is.

I also love how the first “[REC]” made you think it was a contagion movie, then a zombie movie, then it revealed itself as a demonic possession movie. In “[REC] 2” the audience knows it’s demonic possession, though the SWAT team doesn’t have any idea. (tee hee joke’s on them!)

The effects are glorious. Creepy darkness-dwelling demons, insane gunshot deaths, and a super-gruesome makeout scene at the end that both explains a huge plot point and leaves the audience hanging until the inevitable sequel.

This one was in Español with English subtitles. I didn’t mind it so much, but in fast-action splatter movies I prefer to not read the dialogue.

Another slow clap for Spain. Doc Splatter gives it an A. Go find a copy wherever fine Spanish DVDs are sold (or rented).

DOCtoberFest 2014 Day 12: “[REC]” (2007)

Since it’s my birthday, I decided to venture outside my Netflix account and “treat yo self” with an Amazon Prime download of “[REC]” (2007).

Wait — this isn't the movie that inspired 'Parks and Rec'??

As you can see from the DVD jacket, it’s lauded as “The movie that inspired ‘Quarantine.'” NO SHIT. That’s an understatement if I ever heard one. That’s like saying Gus Van Sant’s “Psycho” was inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho.”

The skinny: a cute and spunky TV reporter and her cameraman record their fire engine ride-along on an emergency call at an apartment complex in the dead of night. Hi-jinks ensue.

This is another POV (point-of-view) horror movie, but without the cliché “Everyone died but we found this tape…” at the beginning (see: “Alien Abduction”). So this isn’t really a “found-footage” flick, though everything seen is through the lens of the cameraman’s camera. I admit there was one scene that made The Doc jump— a rare occurrence I promise you. For that alone this movie has merit.

The version I saw was dubbed and it wasn’t that bad. Apparently the Spanish love dropping F-bombs as much as we Americans. I wonder if the subtitled version is any scarier. Anyone want to chime in on that?

I understand there are four [REC] films in the series, with the third one being non-canon (like “Halloween III”). I think I should like to see them.

The Doc gives it an A+. Highly recommended, even if you’ve seen “Quarantine” (2008). Available on Amazon Prime and probably elsewhere.

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