Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Scar Crow

Cinemania has my review of The Scar Crow. It was pretty much the guide for how not to make a low-budget horror movie.

I felt like it was aiming for a sort of Severance meets The Wicker Man vibe (High Weirdness interspersed with witty sarcastic English people getting humorously murdered) but ended up flailing wildly back and forth between Troma-flavoured gore madness and the dullest possible kitchen sink melodrama.

All the synopses I read of this movie talk about the witch panics in early modern Europe (an interesting period of history and good for the High Weirdness angle). Unfortunately, The Scar Crow doesn't really dig into the material that deeply, and undercuts any point about the accused women being wronged by having its witches actually be wicked witches who truck with the devil and summon the dead.

Actually, the basic setup reminded me a lot of another terrible movie - Lesbian Vampire Killersexcept that LVK  was over the top and campy and actually bothered to flesh out its ludicrous back story. It also had the balls to pitch an imaginary sequel about gay werewolves post-credits.

Troma-gore can be pretty good if that's your thing (and the two Troma-y scenes in The Scar Crow  are pretty hilarious**) but you have to wade through a lot of unlikeable men discussing their uninteresting relationship dramas to get there. Also montages - exercising montages, studying magic montages, burying a corpse over and over again montages, drinking montages, drunken making out montages, endless, endless, dull, dull montages.

On the plus side, this movie and The Mark of the Beast have taught me a valuable lesson - if the opening credits of a movie are just text over moving water and water is in no way relevant to the content of the film, it's probably going to suck.

* Disappointingly, just a movie about killing lesbian vampires - not (as you might have hoped) a movie about how lesbianism magically confers some sort of anti-vampire powers.

** Putting this down here so I can add a pretty pointless potential SPOILER WARNING... The first guy to get killed by budget-Jeepers-Creepers is killed by having his (obviously fake hot-pink plastic) cock ripped off in the cheapest-looking manner possible, complete with amateurish blood spatter from the "wound".

Friday, March 15, 2013

Life Without America or God Bless Principle

That sounds like a really heavy political post title, but it's actually just a flashy way of saying that I reviewed a couple more things for the good folks over at Cinemania.

God Bless America is Bobcat Goldthwait's* cultural revenge porn movie. Basically, he has a couple of characters talk about everything he hates about American pop/political culture at length, and then go and bloodily murder people who are thinly veiled caricatures of the stuff he doesn't like. On one hand it makes me a little uncomfortable, because "just murder every last motherfucking one of them" seems like such an American-movie solution to a problem (surely it would have been more subversive to come up with something shaped less like the things you're criticising?) but on the other, it's ironically a more honest approach than Michael Moore's just-an-outraged-regular-guy-for-reals pose.

Life Without Principle is a weirder and in some ways more interesting fish. I had a hard time writing the review, and am having similar trouble here because I really enjoyed it but all my attempts to describe it make it sound kind of rubbish. Theoretically a thriller, it's also a dark comedy and a complex and sometimes very slow meditation on avarice and the positive and negative power of money. I'd recommend it if you have patience and you're down with subtitles.

* As a side note, it makes me immensely happy that "Bobcat Goldthwait" is a real person's real name.