Saturday, December 31, 2011

Tale of Two Sisters, The Bad Seed

A Tale of Two Sisters

This movie follows two sisters (naturally), their distant father, and their overbearing, abusive, and possibly psychotic stepmother.
This is a pretty hard movie to give a plot synopsis of.  The sisters move out into the family's house in the country.  The sisters are convinced that their stepmother hates them and is planning something nefarious.  The stepmother has reason to believe that the sisters (one of them, in particular) hates her and wish ill upon her.  Before too long, there are strange happenings in the house: visions of a girl begin appearing in the house.  Bloody bags being drug through the house are there one minute and gone the next.
So, basically, it's a haunted house movie.  That's a fairly lazy comparison, as there are a lot of things going on in this movie, but it's the only comparison I can make without giving too much away.

This was a slow moving/developing movie.  It took a while to set up, and I was a little bored at the beginning.  But, after it got going, it roped me in.  It really drew me into the world they had created, which is what is needed to really enjoy this movie.  I can't say that I loved it, but I liked it.  If you have a little bit of time on your hands and want to lose yourself in a movie, this isn't a bad choice.

Rating: 4/5

The Bad Seed

In my experience, classic horror movies can go one of two ways: they can still hold up and be enjoyable (Psycho, Bride of Frankenstein, etc.), or they can feel extremely dated and cheesy (The Creature From the Black Lagoon, Dracula).  Thankfully, this one leans a little bit more towards the former.  While I wouldn't put it in the category of Psycho or Bride of Frankenstein, it was still a very good movie.  Of course, my only hope was that it would be better than The Good Son, so it definitely exceeded my expectations.

The plot is easy enough: a woman (Christine) has a daughter (Rhoda).  The woman slowly comes to the realization that her daughter is an evil creature, capable of murder, and incapable of feeling.  She doesn't want to believe it.  It is, after all, her daughter.  How could her own daughter be capable of such unfeeling evil?  How does she act on this information?

The set-up is easy enough.  After all, the movie is called The Bad Seed.  Even if I didn't know what it was about before I started watching, the title would have tipped me off.  Rhoda is convinced of killing one of her classmates over a penmanship award.  Christine struggles with the information as she learns more about it: we immediately know that she is guilty.  The gardener at their apartment (Leroy) knows, too.  He claims that he knows that she is "mean" because he is also "mean".  Leroy does not meet a friendly end at the hands of young Rhoda.

All in all, it was a good movie.  Enjoyable throughout.  And it had a very dark ending.  I thought it was dark watching it recently: I can't imagine what the reaction to it was in 1956.

Rating: 4.5/5

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Merry Christmas

To get in the spirit of Christmas, I decided to watch some Christmas movies.  That list almost always includes It's a Wonderful Life, Bad Santa, Ernest Saves Christmas, A Christmas Story, Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer, Miracle on 34th Street, Pinky & The Brain Christmas, The Year Without a Santa Claus, and others.  But this year I thought I would check out a couple other movies to see if they would be added to that list.

Silent Night, Deadly Night

This movie starts with a family visiting their father/grandfather in a nursing home.  Apparently he had not talked in a very long time.  The parents leave the room, leaving Billy alone with his grandfather.  His grandfather can talk, and he tells Billy that Santa rewards children who have been good.  But, if children have been bad (even once during the year), then Santa will punish them.  It freaks him out, and he leaves.
Meanwhile, someone dressed up in a Santa costume robs a convenience store and kills the clerk.  He leaves the store, and breaks down in the middle of the road.  Billy's family comes across him on the road, and they stop to help him.  He shoots Billy's father and mother, while Billy flees, hiding in the bushes.  He is extremely scarred from these events, and he ends up in an orphanage.
He grows up into someone who is still freaked out by Santa.  He ends up working in a store, and, through a series of circumstances, is forced to play Santa.  This does not end well.

He kills everyone who was working at the store (saying things like "Punish!" and "Naughty!"), then ventures out into the city, killing people who have been naughty.  Of course, this usually involves sex, so there is quite a bit of nudity (of course there's an 80s slasher movie).

So there is a lot of blood, a lot of nudity, and quite a few laughs (most of them over ridiculous a deaf priest getting shot in the back).
Last but not least...there was a bit more rape than I was comfortable with in a Christmas movie.

All in all, not a terrible movie.  I mean, it was terrible, but it was also pretty enjoyable.  I'd watch it again.

Notable actor sighting: Linnea Quigley

Rating: 3.5/5

Silent Night, Zombie Night

It's a few days until Christmas in LA, and there are zombies.  We follow two cops, who have been longtime partners (Frank and Nash), and Frank's wife (Sarah), who has been cheating on Frank with Nash.  So Frank and Nash hate each other, while they both love Sarah.  And, of course, zombies.

There's not much to this movie.  They're dealing with their personal stuff, and they kill zombies.  At some point, some survivalist types show up in their Hummer, blasting zombies.  Apparently they're holing up at the airport, and they're gathering up as many survivors as they can find.  One of the people involved is a pretty short woman, and she runs more awkward than anyone I have ever seen.  How she had survived as long as she did was a miracle.  So that was pretty funny.

They also had two different types of zombies: "roamers" and "runners" (or something along those lines).  The roamers were normal zombies: slow, shambling flesh eaters.  The runners behaved more like the zombies in 28 Days Later: fast and relentless.  They have a scene where they talk about the differences: something about the runner zombies having something attached to their brains.  They didn't expand on it too much, but it sounded like it could have been alien in nature.  Like I said, they didn't expand on it too much, so I could just be reading too much into it.  Either way, I thought it was pretty cool that they had two different kinds of zombies, and that they had a distinction between them.  It was very well thought out.

It was an enjoyable movie.  Very low budget, but the zombies looked pretty cool, and it was very well done.  I recommend it.

Rating: 4/5