PsychoPathik PoundCake

Dear Lovers and Haters Alike:

Happy Frickin’ V-Day! I decided to share one of my favorite cd mixes with you. In video form! The theme of this mix is (roughly) Effed-Up Relationships, as reflected in the title. Specifically those I was involved in during my late teens and early 20′s. Well, except the last track. That’s basically my ‘Funky Town (the whack song you play to signify the end of the party) …but murder ballads Rule so listen to it!

I tossed this together in 2007. The videos are in the exact same order as the tracks on my mix. I tried to find as many dark and horror-related videos as I could. And yes, I know the selection shows my age…and that I didn’t embed the vids. I couldn’t care a fluffly fuck less. Heh. Enjoy!

-Hakk Wylde!

AM I GOOD ENUFF...

AM I GOOD ENUFF…FOR YOU.

1. Type O Negative - Love You To Death
If you like that, then buy THIS. Someone had the good sense to layer Type O Negative over our favorite rat-in-the-gutter-vamp, Count Orlock (aka Dracula, if you can afford the rights. heh).

 

BLAKEST OF THE BLAK

2. Danzig – Her Black Wings
When Danzig was still kinda cool.

 

I DON’T CARE IF YOU DON’T WANT ME

3. Marilyn Mansun – Put A Spell On You
Ah, Mr. Mansun. Making Sinatra sinister for the horror-hearted everywhere.

 

IF THERE WAS ONLY SOMETHING BETWEEN US

IF THERE WAS ONLY SOMETHING BETWEEN US…OTHER THAN OUR CLOTHES

4. David Bowie – Heart’s Filthy Lesson
Haven’t learned it Yet… Is there gonna be a quiz?

 

SO NOWWW YOU LISTENNN...

SO NOWWW YOU LISTENNN…

5. Faith No More – Zombie Eaters
Omniscient, my ass.

 

I’D KILL YOU…FOR MYSELF

6. Pantera – This Love
If I don’t get to you first, buddy.

 

YOUR FAVORITE SLAVE...

YOUR FAVORITE SLAVE…

7. Depeche Mode – In Your Room
Mmmmmm…nomNomNOM!

 

NOW THAT THE SMOKE’S GONE

8. Filter – Hey Man Nice Shot
Also featured in Demon Knight (1995)
I have a soft spot for this film. Plus, best krazy Billy Zane other than in Dead Calm (1989)

 

YOU WANT WHALE SPERM WITH THAT?

YOU WANT WHALE SPERM WITH THAT?

9. Concrete Blonde – Everybody Knows
Also featured in its original form (by Leonard Cohen) in Pump Up The Volume (1990)
Come on. Don’t even Try to tell me that you didn’t buy this soundtrack if you are anywhere from 33 to 40 today. I call Bullshit.

 

SHE'S RUNNIN' FROM HERSELF

SHE’S RUNNIN’ FROM HERSELF

10. Death Angel – Veil of Deception
I resemble that remark.

 

COS BABY, I’M NOT! …F-FUH-FUH FOOLIN’!

11. Def Leppard – Foolin’
Camel Toe Joe strikes again. That glowing white ‘peen-vag’ is Terrifying!

 

AND I’M WATCHING YOU…

12. Queensrÿche - Gonna Get Close To You
Awww…he’s So Close to her. 

 

MOVIN’ UP SLOWLY

13. Massive Attack – Inertia Creeps
One of my favorite videos OF ALL TIME. Dark. Sexy. Sinister. Breathtaking.

 

YOU MAKE THIS ALL GO AWAY

14. NIN – Something I Can Never Have
And isn’t that just the way of things?

 

DANCING WITH FIRE ON THE EDGE

15. The Tea Party – Fire In The Head
I miss this band SO MUCH.

 

SHE WAS SCREAMIN’ AS SHE FELL

16. The Violent Femmes – Country Death Song
“…but I never heard her hit.”

AMERICAN MARY: A Girl’s Gotta Keep It Together

AMERICAN MARY (2012)
Written and directed by Jen and Sylvia Soska

I…am an American Mary. One of droves. Told by The System that it’s equal opportunity only to then be shown quite clearly, by a boss or male colleague’s actions, otherwise. The truth is still anything but. Hell, America just barely started letting women fight on the frontlines in war and the full reasoning behind that is definitely debatable (forces finally stretched too thin, methinks?) The story is darker still with Mary, played perfectly by Katherine Isabelle (Ginger Snaps). Enrolled in medical school and low on funds and self-esteem, we watch as one of Mary’s professors (David Lovgren, of Smallville) skillfully tears her down…even after it is quite obvious to us as viewers already that she knows her shit. Why do women let men do this to them?

In fact, the whole bloody group of M.D.’s is a bunch of self-proclaimed dominate “fucking mother fuckers” that are disconnected from more than just their students and definitely more interested in freakish, Eyes Wide Shut-like parties than actually helping their students learn. It becomes painfully apparent that Mary may lack a certain warmth or social grace but she cares more for her patients than any of the “real” doctors in the film probably do. Her darkness and tough personality are a perfect match somehow for the underground world of body modification that she unwittingly falls into. Mary is eventually moved by their individual stories and through them, she discovers her own. These are her people. She provides a service no one else is capable of, or willing to provide. To Mary, surgery is Art. And oh, does she Create!

I won’t ruin Mary Mason’s “transformation” into Bloody Mary, the mod-doc, for you but I will say that I found it very powerful. Ironically, it is an act of violence that puts Mary over the edge and squarely on the path to body modification glory. Her transformation is thorough…and necessary. She even walks differently as we watch her shove everything off her text-book packed coffee table in one sweeping gesture, as if to say the whole world is her operating table now. You’re almost twistedly happy that someone has finally pushed her buttons a bit too far. You want to root her on and on. Well, I did anyway. So long to the Mary that went home and cried in the shower.

Writer-director duo Jen and Sylvia Soska are dynamite. This being the Vancouver-based identical twins’ shining sophomore effort after their mad-addictive, and surprisingly poetic at times, micro budget “love letter to Grindhouse” Dead Hooker in a Trunk (2009). They even show up as two of Mary’s most important patients, The Demon Twins of Berlin. And as darkly stunning as they look, they also touch upon another center theme of the film. We’re in a culture where we all feel a certain level of disconnect. Through body modification, some individuals are at least finding a way to be more connected to themselves.

I see American Mary as a bit of a homage to Tod Browning’s Freaks (1931). Except in this version the “normal” damsel actually does care for the freak(s) and seeks to help them, in the process finding a home for her strange self as well.

The final scene is just so painfully touching and beautiful. Right up until the end, all Mary wants to do…is ‘keep it together’. The set and colors are amazing, with sensibilities landing somewhere between Cronenberg and Argento. It wasn’t lost on this woman that Mary’s dress matched said set perfectly. The whole bloody, photo-worthy layout possibly being a nod to Katherine Isabelle’s Ginger Snaps days…and definitely more proof that the Soska twins are indeed our beloved Fitzgerald Sisters made flesh. Best disturbing-surgery end scene since Excision (2012).

-Hakk Wylde!

p.s. Extra points for using the phrase “Jesus Fuck”. LOVE my Girls!

8.0 (out of 10) Modified Beers

Other noteworthy performances by:
Tristan Risk, Paula Lindberg, and Antonio Cupo (Bomb Girls)

 

Update (9/15/13): American Mary will is available NOW on Blu-ray, DVD, Netflix and iTunes. Go ahead, let Mary inspire you to be unconventional.


Just a Little EXCISION

EXCISION (2012)
Written and Directed by Richard Bates Jr.

So Excision just blew my fracking mind. First off, I wanna give a shout out to AnnaLynne McCord in the lead (as Pauline) because whoa, you are now my official Scariest Girl Ever. May? Lola from The Loved Ones? They once rattled and delighted me with their dark indulgence, their glee at the macabre mess they created all around them…until I met Pauline. She is a Master. To be so delusional to the point where not only do you find nothing wrong with the grotesque acts you are performing but you fully give over to the fantasy (and ecstasy) of your deepest carnal desires, finding them positive, helpful, inspirational even…that is True Madness. And Pauline has it. To spare. Observing and sharing that slow, spiraling loss of control on the path to evil is terrifying (or is it electrifying?). But can Pauline really be categorized as evil?  She doesn’t intend her acts in an evil or anarchic way. She is experimenting, yes, but she is destined for great things. She’s going to be a renowned surgeon after all.
 
The dark yet ‘enlightened’ path that Pauline goes down is also terrifying to me on a more personal note. I have a few gnawing “mind wanderings” of my own. This movie actually made me wonder if they could ever grow to a level that would make me act out in such a way. And being a slave to my subjective mind like all of us, would I even know the difference if I did? Could any of us turn into Pauline? That to me was actually the most horrific thing about this movie. It really made me think about our definition of sanity…reality…everything. Everything is so subjective. Society is just one giant Collective Subjective. But I digress.


Excision: removal by cutting
-       In surgery, the complete removal of an organ, tissue, bone or tumor from a body
-       The process of removing, cutting out or off

It may also be important to note that Pauline’s fantasies are not the only thing to contain the idea of excision in the film. Her parents (played by Traci Lords and Roger Bart) try desperately to change her behavior (mostly her mother), to remove the parts they do not like or see as socially acceptable. Over the years this controlling, manipulative behavior makes Pauline act out even more bizarrely and may even be partly responsible for the beginnings of some of her first, more innocent fantasies. Parents truly know not what they do to their children. Eventually Pauline’s mother reaches out to her and tries to give her opportunities for guidance.  Unfortunately while attempting to finally have a heart to heart with her daughter, her own mind trappings and baggage keep her from reaching out to Pauline in the way that she really needs to before it is too late.

I’m still cleaning the brains off my keyboard (see first sentence of this musing). Wow.

-Hakk Wylde!

8.5 (out of 10) Bird’s Heart Beers

Other noteworthy performances by:
Traci Lords, Roger Bart (Hostel II, Smiley) and Ariel Winter (Modern Family)

THE MADNESS 2012: WEEK 3

V/H/S (2012) 1hr 56min – Repeat viewing
Directed by: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, David Bruckner, Tyler Gillett, Justin Martinez, Glenn McQuaid, Joe Swanberg, Chad Villella, Ti West, Adam Wingard
Pretty decent as far as horror anthologies go. I’ll ignore that one segment was recorded in a Skype session…and then viewed on…VHS??!! Sure. The segment with the POV from the young man’s eyeglasses was hands down the best.

7 (out of 10)
Base Points: 2
Bonus: 1 (Vampire)
Total Points: 3

THE WOLF MAN (1941) 1hr 10min – First full viewing
Directed by George Waggner
Lon Chaney Jr. was easily the best part of this movie. What a charmer. I am even more excited to see all his work now. I can also now see why so many ‘Monster Kids’ were let down by the 2010 remake of The Wolf Man. Benicio Del Toro was obsessed with Lon Chaney Jr.’s performance from the original. He did manage to bring some of it to the screen but Chaney had a lightness of heart that was missing from del Toro’s performance. Del Toro just kind of sulked for the entire movie. I found myself caring more for Chaney’s character once the Curse is bestowed upon him. He really doesn’t want to believe that such evil can exist in the world, let alone within himself. A product of more innocent times, perhaps.

5 (out of 10)
Base Points: 2
Bonus: 1 (Werewolf)
Bonus: 1 (On camera transformation from Humanoid to Monster)
Bonus: 1 (1959 or earlier)
Total Points: 5

SUNSHINE (2007) 1hr 47min – Repeat viewing
Directed by Danny Boyle
This movie is far more than the space monster romp some people call it. It’s a gorgeous blend of 2001, the original Alien and a smidge of Event Horizon for fun.

8.5 (out of 10)
Base Points: 2
Total Points: 2

THE WALKING DEAD (2010- ) 43min Season 3, Episode 1 “Seed” – First viewing
Wow! Just when I didn’t think the effects team could possibly outdo themselves on this show they had to prove me wrong. Dead wrong. From the very first shot this is just amazing television. In fact, it’s better than most horror movies I have seen lately. Color me delighted that they’ve only managed to plow through less than 20 issues of the comic so far (?). I want to look forward to having The Walking Dead around for a long time.

9 (out of 10)
Base Points: 1
Total Points: 1

BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA (1992) 2hr 7min – Repeat viewing
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola
This is one of my favorite movies of all time. I try to re-watch it at least once a year. If you haven’t watched the special features on the newest bluray release of this, please do! So many fabulously interesting facts about the love (and obsession!) that went into making this film. And I have a whole new appreciation for the in-camera effects that were used and the costume design and its symbolism. Breathtaking!

9 (out of 10)
Base Points: 2
Triple Bonus (Features Dracula)
Total Points: 6

DRACULA 2000 (2000) 1hr 39min – Repeat viewing
Directed by Patrick Lussier
Even more horrible than I remember. No, maybe worse. Gah.

3 (out of 10)
Base Points: 2
Triple Bonus (Features Dracula)
Total Points: 6

FLATLINERS (1990) 1hr 55min – Repeat viewing
Directed by Joel Schumacher
I forgot about the dark and dreamy atmosphere of this movie. And Julia Robert’s huge hair (and glasses!). Pretty good. Some of my liking has to be nostalgia, though.

6.5 (out of 10)
Base Points: 2
Total Points: 2

SLEEPT TIGHT [Mientras duermes] (2011) 1hr 42min – Repeat viewing
Directed by Jaume Balagueró
Co-director of the original [REC] gets real with this quietly terrifying account of home intrusion and invasion of privacy. Riveting and magnificently acted. Luis Tosar is stupendous in the lead. What a creeper!

8.5 (out of 10
Base Points: 2
Total Points: 2

HOLLISTON (2012 FEARnet) Season 1, Episodes:

     1. The Hooker
     2. Camera Rental
     5. Laura’s Little Twitter
     6. Weekend of Horrors

39 min ea. (approx) – First viewing
Directed by Adam Green & Joe lynch
This show is going to be Huge! A smart-mouthed Oderus from the metal band GWAR…Dee Snider as an androgynous and (tri?)sexually promiscuous boss…guest stars like Tony Todd (Candyman) showing up on the regular…just buy a copy of season one now. Wow. Oh, and it’s actually funny and the cast has fantastic chemistry.

8 (out of 10)  
Base Points: 4
Total Points: 4
EXCLUSIVE ODERUS REEL (Clips)
Holliston Homepage
Buy Holliston Season One on BluRay

GOD BLESS AMERICA (2011) 1hr 45min – First viewing
Directed by Bobcat Goldthwait
So this is what Bobcat has been up to. Saving up his rants on the state of American society and the collapse of the family unit so he could have Joel Murray recite them amongst sprays of blood and sassy verbage. I liked it!

7 (out of 10)
Base Points: 2
Total Points: 2

MONSTER HOUSE (2006) 1hr 31min – First viewing
Directed by Gil Kenan
Very cute. These CG goliaths never cease to amaze me with their actual likability and depth. Oh, and the art direction was good too.

7.5 (out of 10)
Base Points: 2
Bonus: 1 (Haunted house lit by moonlight)
Bonus: 1 (Trap door)
Total Points: 4

Favorite This Week: HOLLISTON!
EXCLUSIVE ODERUS REEL (Clips)
Holliston Homepage
Buy Holliston Season One on BluRay

THE MADNESS 2012: WEEK 2

SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE (2000) 117min – Repeat viewing
Directed by E. Elias Merhige

E. Elias Merhige also directed the abstract, yet harrowing Begotten (2004) So hard to believe! Shadow of the Vampire is such a delightful watch to me. Great dramatic moments. especially one scene where Wilhelm Defoe describes how he felt sorry for the Count while reading the book Dracula. Sad and sweet and funny all at the same time… but it all works so well. A sort of old-school black and white naughty-joke tone is set from the very first scene. Willem Dafoe (the vampire Max Schreck) is amazing pitted against a frustrated John Malkovich (F.W. Murnau). I also find this movie so beautiful. It’s a gorgeous homage to 20’s cinema, costume…and design!

10 (out of 10) Bloody Beers
Base Points: 2
Bonus: 1 (Vampire)
Total Points: 3

THE WEREWOLF (1956) 1hr 19min – First viewing
Directed by Fred F. Sears
Ha! Nuclear radiation can turn a man into a furry-faced werewolf. Who knew? This movie started alright and I enjoyed the clever way they concealed kills while preserving some sort of emotional weight. In the end though, this movie was just kinda meh. Gonna have to watch the original Wolf Man (1941) again soon if I wanna get a proper classic wolfie fix.

5 (out of 10) Furry Beers
Base Points: 2
Bonus: 1 (Werewolf)
Bonus: 1 (On camera transformation from Humanoid to Monster)
Bonus: 1 (1959 or earlier)
Total Points: 5

WISHMASTER (1997) 1hr 30min – Repeat viewing
Directed by Robert Kurtzman.
I forgot how cool the transformations and practical effects (the CG…not so much) were in this movie were! Although, they kind of blew their effects wad in the first few scenes, depicting the background of the djinn and showing exactly how bad things could possibly get when people are foolish enough to indulge in “wishezzzzzah”.  };)

7.5 (out of 10) Wishful Beers
Base Points: 2
Bonus: 1 (On camera transformation from Humanoid to Monster)
Total Points: 3

FREAKS (1932) 1hr 4min – Repeat viewing
Directed by Tod Browning

The world will Never be ready for this movie. And what it boasts in the intertitles at the beginning is true. Something of this nature will probably never again be filmed. Go ahead and tell me you can see a time in the future where some director is allowed to give a mentally challenged or deformed child a knife and let it crawl in the mud maliciously without fear of lawsuit or complete public shame. Yeah. Oh, and I totally spied Angelo Rossitto, “Master” from Mad Mad: Beyond Thunderdome, this time around. Wow. THAT blew my mind!

7.5 (out of 10) Knife-in-the-teeth Beers
Base Points: 2
Bonus: 1 (1959 or earlier)
Total Points: 3

THE WOODS (2006) 1hr 31min – Repeat viewing
Directed by Lucky McKee
Seriously charming, time capsule of a movie! The dark, mysterious 60’s overtones are so beautiful to me at times. Love the dark magic of the woods…and the score too. Watches like a 60’s/70’s slower burn pagan tales. Oh, and a little bit of “The Chin” (Bruce Campbell) too!

8.5 (out of 10) Magick Beers
Base Points: 2
Total Points: 2

INFECTED (2012) 1hr 30min (approx.) – First viewing
Rock & Shock Horror Convention (Worcester, MA)
Directed by Glen Ciano
Low budget stab at a threat of infection/survival flick. It attempts to flesh out a few relationships between the characters early on, with varyring success, but the effort was appreciated. A bit overscored but the gore is quite convincing. Director of last year’s Inkubus, with Robert Englund.

5 (out of 10)  Beers
Base Points: 2
Total Points: 2

HOLLISTON (2012 FearNet) Season 1, Episode 3.Skunked / 4.Candyman – First viewing
Rock & Shock Horror Convention (Worcester, MA)
Directed by Adam Green& Joe lynch
This show is going to be Huge! A smart-mouthed “Oderus Urungus” from the metal band GWAR…Dee Snider as an androgynous and (tri?)sexually promiscuous boss…guest stars like Tony Todd (Candyman) showing up on the regular…just buy a copy of season one now. Wow. Oh, and it’s actually funny and the cast has fantastic chemistry.

Holliston Rock and Shock 2012 Panel Part 1:
Holliston Rock and Shock 2012 Panel Part 2:

8 (out of 10)  Skunky Beers
Base Points: 2
Total Points: 2

Favorite thing purchased at Rock n’ Shock this year:

THE MADNESS 2012: WEEK 1

ALIEN: The Director’s Cut (1979) 1hr57min – Repeat viewing
Directed by Ridley Scott

In space, no one can hear you scream. Damn straight. But I hope someone can hear me complaining endlessly about how Prometheus pales in comparison to Ridley Scott’s original stab at what has become the colossal Alien franchise we know today. This is slow burn Harrowing space horror at its best!

10 (out of 10) Silent Space Beers
Base Points: 2
Bonus Points: 0
Total Points: 2

A FOOL THERE WAS (1915) 1hr7min – First viewing
Directed by Frank Powell

“Kiss me, my Fool!”
This movie is obviously silent, so I decided to watch it alongside some of Type O Negative’s album, “October Rust”. Not too bad! Theda Bara smolders onscreen as The Vamp. I read somewhere that she retired after only 6 years as an actress. Hard to believe, since she has a huge pop culture presence that is still felt to this day.

7 (out of) 10 Foolish Beers
Stream and watch it for free HERE
Base Points: 2
Triple bonus (1929 or earlier)
Total Points: 6

NATURAL BORN KILLERS (1994) 1hr2min – Repeat viewing
Directed by Oliver Stone

I love this effing movie! Social commentary disguised as a bloody romp. My favorite! Mickey and Mallory Knox…American sweethearts and cold-blooded killers all in one. You gotta love ‘em. Hell, you helped create ‘em! Mickey and Mallory represent how we love to glorify wrong-doers in the American Media. We love to put them way up on high…so they’re closer to the cross at the time of crucifixion, methinks.

9 (out of 10) Snakebite Beers
Base Points: 2
Bonus Points: 0
Total Points: 2

NIGHTBREED (1990) 1hr42min – Repeat viewing
Directed by Clive Barker

“You call us monsters. But when you dream, you dream off lying and changing…and living without death.

You envy us, and what you envy…
We destroy.”

This movie has such a great atmosphere. Too bad it’s a jumble of a mess. I basically re-visited Nightbreed in an attempt to hold me over until I can somehow get my hands on the ‘Cabal Cut’ that is currently screening in various cities this fall. I hear Clive Barker cried when he first saw the re-cut version. Can’t wait to see it myself someday! Hopefully they rediscovered the missing Majesty of it all.

6 (out of 10) Mutant Beers
Base Points: 2
Bonus Points: 1 (On camera transformation from Humanoid to Monster)
Bonus Points: 1 (Underground Lair!)
Total Points: 4

SOME GUY WHO KILLS PEOPLE (2011) 1hr37min – First viewing
Directed by Jack Perez

Not exactly a full-on horror movie in my book but nonetheless an interesting, and surprisingly touching, flick. It also features one of those creepy, too smart pre-teens that are awesome but leave you with an unsettling feeling. Charming and thoughtful at the same time.

7 (out of 10) Ice Cream Flavored Beers (ew.)
Base Points: 2
Bonus Points: 0
Total Points: 2

NOSFERATU: The First Vampire
[Hosted by David Carradine and with music by Type O Negative]
(1922) 1hr15min – Repeat viewing

Based on Bram Stoker’s infamous ‘Dracula’, Nosferatu is an exquisite example of the earliest horror on film. With repeat viewings I have noticed how nicely a lot of the shots were set up. Also, the effects were cutting edge for the time and still play off as truly haunting somehow. It’s nice to remember a time before Vampires dawned the cape and the sex appeal…when they stalked the shadows and were truly diabolical.

10 (out of 10) Rat-infested Beers
Example on YouTube of how this watches
Base Points: 2
Triple bonus (1929 or earlier)
Total Points: 6

CHAINED (2012) 1hr34min – First viewing
Directed by Jennifer Lynch
“You’re a paper doll.”
Fantastic psychological horror starring Vincent D’Onofrio. A horrific metaphor for child abuse of any type, Chained ponders the Nature vs. Nurture question in a whole new way.

9 (out of 10) ‘Taste of A Woman’ Beers
Base Points: 2
Bonus Points: 0
Total Points: 2

PERSONAL FAVORITE THIS WEEK: CHAINED (2012) 

Tom Foolery at THE CABIN IN THE WOODS

Cabin in the Woods (2012)
Directed by Drew Goddard

Horror movies have the potential to highlight the human race’s dark side so eloquently, whether it’s through a story taking place in the seedy underbelly of a dingy city overpopulated with competing automatons, one focusing on personal fears, or simply by nodding to the most primal potential in us all. I do enjoy a good scare that “gets under my skin” but most importantly I enjoy a good scare with depth and relevant metaphors. A few good tummy ticklers never hurt either. If this sounds like you, search no further. Cabin in the Woods is your film!

Unfortunately, there is no way I could talk specifically about what happens in this film without ruining it. I honestly feel it would be best experienced going in blindly. I can say, however, that the young troupe of soon-to be-dead teens, played by Fran Kranz (Dollhouse), Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Anna Hutchison (Go Girls) and Jesse Williams, eventually end up at, well, a cabin in the woods somewhere (no way!) and that the subtext is ripe and, most importantly, available on many levels…just as a Whedon-back-to-form project should be. Sure, Whedon only produced it but Drew Goddard, the director, has a rich history of working with Whedon on the likes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (season seven) as well as the climactic season five of the epic yet tragically dumped Angel. I can’t tell you specifics about the kills or the “monsters” in cabin in the woods, it just wouldn’t be fair…I can say though that if you are a fan of Whedon, and especially the “seasons” of Buffy and Angel running in comic form presently (also contributed to by Mr. Drew Goddard), you will most likely be delighted. This film is like Whedon perfected…and horrific. It also seems to be influenced, craftily, by the ‘Buffyverse’ (what Whedon fans affectionately call the world the shows Buffy and Angel take place in). Characters battle their “demons” and “monsters” for real…and the end of the world is always just around the corner!

Of course, even though our youths perceive multiple warnings and big giant gongs (!) should be going off about the integrity of their camping destination, they foolishly continue onward…even despite the cantankerous, bloodshot-eyed bumpkin they have an altercation with at a typical dilapidated gas station along the way. Now it is true that these cracked decisions are par for the course when dealing with a horror parody but this movie takes the analysis of horror movies and their oft-used conventions to a whole new level, each character representing an almost mystical archetype in horror. The Whore. The Athlete. The Scholar. The Virgin. The Fool? Ah yes, The Fool. You see, the Fool is Everyman. The Fool is us, the viewer. In the Tarot, The Fool is the most important card in the deck, representing the potential of all other cards and the beginning of the journey of life. He is not foolish in the standard sense of the word, but openhearted to possibility and true to Himself in all that he does. He goes forward with faith that his good intentions will bring positive things his way. The downside of The Fool is his tendency to overindulge, be impulsive and sometimes naïve. Cabin In The Woods is a clever character study of The Fool, equating his role in the film to the choice we all have to make between following our true ‘inner voice’ and the voices of those around us and in our heads (from TV, media, etc.).

Times change and audiences have become keener. Whedon and Goddard understand that the ante’s up. If you want to do something fresh in horror one of the only ways is to  take various elements of a tried and true nature and successfully splice them together with fresh commentary on social issues. There are so many social and political metaphors in this movie. You’ve got your very timely “we’re in constant war” reference…then you’ve got a bit of post 911 lockdown. Hell, Cabin In The Woods even sneaks in some positive messages like “we all need to work together or The Powers That Be just might devour us all!” Wait, that one went south too. It’s indeed a whip-smart, dark horror comedy first and foremost but it also has the most intriguing subtext I have seen in awhile. Don’t blink and don’t go to the kitchen for snacks. Everything is relevant.

My personal favorite comedic moment (during a kill scene) in this film…and there are a couple great ones…involves a unicorn. A unicorn?! My mind blew. It must be true, I thought to myself in the middle of some sort of twisted horror-logic epiphany. Somewhere out there in the world, there’s a poor old sod that is deathly afraid of…unicorns! I’ll just say Cabin in the Woods has something for everyone. My other golden moment with this film took place when one of the terrors encountered turns out to be the best flippin’ “Cenobite”, puzzle toy and all, since Hellraiser 2. I just can’t decide if I love or lament that a parody of Pinhead is now officially scarier than…PINHEAD.

Cabin In The Woods may very well be the best example of horror parody and examination of tired horror conventions to date (other than the obvious Scream franchise or perhaps Behind The Mask: The Rise of Lesley Vernon) but it is also a cautionary tale in its own rite. We humans are all beautifully flawed. And as perpetual Fools on the plain of existence, we must ask ourselves: Will we blindly follow structure and order purely on autopilot, or will we be brave enough to look inside ourselves and find our own Truth to help navigate us through this Collective Hell?

Sincerely and dramatically yours,

-Hakk Wylde!

9 (out of 10) GIANT EVIL BEERS

Other noteworthy performances by:
Amy Acker (Angel, Alias, Dollhouse), Richard Jenkins (Let Me In, Burn After Reading), Bradley Whitford (Monk, The West Wing), and a cameo of sorts by Tom Lenk (Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel) as Ronald the Intern.

[REC]³ GENESIS: Steal This Chainsaw

[REC]³ Genesis (2012)
Directed by Paco Plaza

REC3

Sometimes the third time is indeed the charm…or at least a charming, fairytale zombie romance. Romance and Zombies? That’s exactly what Paco Plaza mixes together with panache in [REC]³ Genesis.

Much greater than the sum of its recycled parts, [REC]³ rewards diligent viewers in a big way. Instead of the known signs of infection being a precursor to a string of predictable levels of Zombi-ism and attacks, they are used to lay down foreshadowing of bigger events and build palpable suspense. Taking mental notes and keeping tally of who’s where and what’s what will only serve to increase your viewing pleasure and depth of immersion. You may never feel cheated with [REC]³. I didn’t. You may, however, feel confused. This installment has not only romance but humor…and the tone shifts quite often. The first of these shifts is the most major but most natural, the docu-style filming of the past two movies being eschewed for something more traditional where the fantastical side of [REC]³ can be more easily traversed.

[REC]³ also contains further discovery on the nature of The Infection. Turns out it’s more of a Viral Possession of sorts, the essence of the original infected girl passing from victim to victim like vampirism passing from a Master to its fledglings…except this demon is visible (only) in their reflections.

Zombie action may stop the wedding reception but it only serves to fuel The Bride’s (Clara, played by Leticia Dolera) determination to find her way back to her new husband, Koldo (Diego Martin) and start their life together. Does the mantra “This wedding is happening no matter what I have to do or who I have to kill!” sound familiar? I thought so. Also interesting is how the POV’s of The Bride and Groom are reflected in the two major tones of the latter, cinematically filmed, portion of the movie. The bulk of [REC]³ is big on romance, bordering on melodrama at times and, strangely enough, action-comedy at others. The sex roles are reversed to some degree though, as it is The Groom’s view that is more romantic and The Bride’s that is ‘Let’s Git This Shit Done Nah!’ in nature, even turning into an all out horror music video at one point as she chainsaws her way through the guest list.

At its undead heart, [REC]³ is all about relationships. We hunger for the ones we love. Passion has had lovers, friends, and ‘frenemies’ alike, sparring and spitting at the mouth since the dawn of time, but it’s our compassion for each other and the choice of self-sacrifice that in the end truly keeps us human.

Overall, the freshness of this installment coupled with great character background, excellent gore scenes, and clever weaving of the medium style into the narrative was more than enough to fuel me through any strange tonal shifts. Spellbinding.

-Hakk Wylde!

P.S. Fabulous wedding shoes also make excellent weapons. Don’t forget that, Boys!

7 (out of 10) Infected Beers

Also noteworthy by Paco Plaza:
A Christmas Tale (2005)
From the Spanish anthology “6 Films To Keep You Awake”
It’s like The Goonies meets Tales From The Crypt!