Today is movie commentary day! Today we watch the one and only Police Academy.
There isn’t another movie in the likes of Police Academy. I mean how many movies include a human soundboard, extreme racism, a man in a horses ass and a surprise blow job to a 100 year old man (that could possibly be or not be by Steve Guttenberg).
Sounds like the perfect ingredients for the perfect film right? Well it is one of the funniest comedies ever made. So cue up that VHS copy of Police Academy and prepare to laugh at one of the more ridiculous comedies ever made.
The House of the Devil – Fun
Like I mentioned in my review of “The Guest,” I love the 1980s, especially 80s horror, but one genre always kind of eluded me; the devil-worshiping/possession genre. I simply don’t find those types of films very scary or unnerving. This goes double for, get ready for it, “The Exorcist.” I simply don’t get the appeal of what so many people call “the scariest film ever made.” I also think the market has been flooded with these possession/evil house/devil worshiping found footage type films, and while they are low budget, and make a ton of money because we have enough sheep who go to the theater to waste their money with lackluster fare like that. But, every once in a while I’ll take the advice of a friend, or in this case a blog (thanks Slaughter Film) and go out on a limb and watch something I normally wouldn’t, and than I wonder to myself why it took so long to finally get around to this movie. That movie is 2009’s “The House of the Devil.” Directed by Ti West, who has also worked on the anthology series “V/H/S” and directed “The Sacrament” brings to glory of late 1970s and early 80s Gothic horror to life by recreating a film that is suspenseful and a crap ton of fun.
“House” is the tale of Samantha, a struggling college student looking to move out of her dorm room that is constantly being used by her over-sexed roommate. Desperate for money after finding the house of her dreams, Sam calls about a babysitting job the night of a lunar eclipse. After losing hope on the job, she receives a call from Mr. Ulman, the man who placed the babysitting ad. Dragging her friend Megan along, Sam accepts the job and heads to the Ulman residence. Upon arrival, as the viewer, you already have the sense that something isn’t quite right about Mr. Ulman, who is played to creepy perfection by consummate creeper, Tom Noonan. Creeped out, Sam is about to leave, but now desperate, Ulman tells Sam to name her price. She’s seizes the moment knowing that her new house is on the line. The film progresses with Sam exploring the house, hearing noises, and finally learning the secret the Ulmans have been hiding all along. To spoil the third act would be a disservice.
What works so well in “House” is the look of the film. The opening credits are something right out of a Wes Craven film, mixed with Hammer Horror, and a dash of Italian giallo. The hair styles are to the era, the score is reminiscent of something Ric Ocasek. However, even with all of these 80s elements, the film is still very contemporary and can fit into any era.
The one gripe I see that people could have is the pacing of the “House.” There isn’t a whole lot of “action” until about an hour into the film, but just like the films of yore, the build-up is part of the fun of this film. However, in this day and age of instant gratification, jump scares, and found-footage dredge (which is ironic since I actually enjoyed “V/H/S”) it’s refreshing to see a movie like “House” but I”m sure that’s the reason why this film hasn’t gotten much traction outside of die-hard horror fans who have been watching the genre for decades.
Overall, “The House of the Devil” is great and it pains me to think that it took me so long to finally get around to this film. The production design is strong, the acting is believable and likable, and the villains are creepy. It’s everything that you would want in a suspenseful horror film. New school kids beware, this IS your Daddy’s horror film.
Fun Fact: The Church of Satan was founded by Anton LaVey in 1966
The Guest – Homage
If anyone knows our site you know we have an unhealthy proclivity for the 1980s. It’s what made us the animals we are today. Ultra-violence, one-liners, and many many more hyphenated phrases came from this glorious decade of excess. What’s even better is that the people who are our age are now directing films and a lot of them have the same sensibilities as we do….what a wonderful world we live in. This brings me to “The Guest” another effort from Adam Wingard who has also worked on “V/H/S” “The ABCs of Death” and “You’re Next.” However, “The Guest” is his strongest effort so far and is a true homage to the 80s thrillers of yesteryear.
The film starts with a shot of a man running from something and, BOOM, title card. You already know this film is going to be good. Next, we meet The Peterson family who have recently lost a member of their family, Caleb, to war. There comes a knock at the door and enter David, the good-looking ex-soldier friend of Caleb who has been tasked with helping the family anyway possible. Rounding out the family, outside of the grieving mother Laura is Spencer, the father, daughter Anna, and bullied son Luke. Upon David’s arrival in town things slowly start happening that both benefit the Peterson family and make them very uncomfortable. As tension reaches a boiling point, both the Petersons and their town will never be the same. Going any further with the story would be a disservice.
I’ll preface before I continue. Yes, there is a story in this film, and it’s rather weak and limited, but that doesn’t mean it’s not fun. So, “The Guest,” yeah, this movie is awesome. It’s an incredible, earnest throwback to anything made by John Carpenter, namely “Assault in Precinct 13” and the unstoppable force theme of “Halloween.” There are also dashes of “Fear” and “Drive.” What makes the film work, however, is the slow burn of “Guest.” You have a feeling right off the bat that something isn’t quite right with David and just when you think there is a logical explanation, the film takes a turn that isn’t quite expected, and that’s where some people might turn away and write the film off. However, if you know anything about thrillers in the 80s and early 90s, this was par for the course. You expected something ridiculous to happen, and eventually it does, with blood-soaked glee (hey, another hyphenated word).
On to more gloating about this film….the soundtrack. Again, if you love John Carpenter or anything other synth-forward (hyphenated again) 80s soundtrack, again, this is the film for you. I’ll be the first to say that while I love the “Halloween” soundtrack, my favorite Carpenter score is by and far, “Christine.” It’s pulse-pounding, driving, literally, and incredibly unrelenting, very much like the soundtrack for “Guest.” While there are some cheesy bits thrown in, the work by Steve Moore is impeccably 80s and it works with the tone of the film.
If I was to criticize anything from the film, it would be the thin plot, or lack there of a plot. This film is strictly for people well versed in 80s cinema, the pacing, and the style. Adam Wingard is obviously well-versed in what he thinks people wants to see in a throwback piece like this, and while some people might knock the film for that, and I understand, that doesn’t make them right.
After singing the praises of “The Guest” nearly this entire review, is it worth the praise. Well, duh, of course it is. It’s a great throwback film with a style all it’s own and it’s super entertaining. Is it zany and lacks sense, of course it does, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Fun Fact: In the original screenplay, the story took place in Korea and it had far more action, including a car chase that was 50 pages long.
Corlie, a young and attractive captive of Straker, makes a break for it during the night. But come morning Straker’s men have tracked her and are closing in. Never fear, Hunter is near! Hunter, Michael Beck from “The Warriors”, comes to the rescue and on a steel horse he rides. He pulls his motorcycle around and picks up Corlie just in time to escape Straker’s men. Seeing that she has been injured, Hunter takes the young lady to a village called Clearwater, where she is brought into the fold and put to work in the orchards
The Haunted Mask is the 11th book and episode 1 and 2 of season 1.
A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 Dream Warriors: Imaginative
This is it guys and girls!
This is the film that introduced me to horror and Freddy. Two loves that will never die for me. I remember that day, it was a cold rainy day and me and my family went to a farmers market early that morning. I walked around couldn’t find a damn thing to buy, but I knew I wanted to buy something thou nothing had peaked my interest.
I began to check out a collection of VHS’s that seem to just collect dust.
Then a beat up VHS cover came my way…
That is what I saw, and I was never the same again. I asked my mom, since it was rated R and I was like 6, she obliged; lucky for me! I went home holding the shit out of that VHS counting the time to when we would get home. It was getting late so once everyone went to bed and my tracking on the VHS player cleaned up that damn picture I begin to watch the film that would make me into a man that faithfully night!
Dream Warriors is the 3rd film in the Nightmare on Elm Street series, raking as one of the stronger Freddy films. This film is the one with the “puppet strings”. My favorite kill on Freddy’s slasher list and yes its a gory film if you didn’t know, maybe the most out of all the Nightmares. This time around the the victims fight back using their own dreams to create a force Freddy has yet to see. This is a interesting turn in the films that really makes it stand out. Almost everyone agrees possibly the best sequel in the franchise.
Chuck Russell (The Mask, Eraser, The Scorpion King) does a fantastic job as Director. Sure its a bit goofy, gory and somewhat cheesy but its hands down one of the best entertainment bang for your buck of films in years. Its a film I would watch with friends and never get bored with the repeats we had with that one old beat up tape.
V/H/S – Dizzy
Between you and me, I’m sick of found footage films. It all started with “The Blair Witch Project,” which, yes, was a very cool idea, and the fact that everyone bought into the fact that this really happened to three kids in the woods was amazingly effective, and in turn it still stands as one of the most successful independent films of all time. We’ve come a long (annoying) way from 1999, where it’s now chic to make every film, and even TV (see the failed ABC experiment “The River”), another found footage vehicle. First we had the torture porn phase, and we have transitioned to everything found footage, and horror auteurs wonder why people won’t take the genre seriously anymore. I know, this seems like a rant, well I’m done, but I do believe in the thought that if you’re going to do something that everyone else is doing you might as well make it good (sorry “Paranormal Activity” you’ve run your course). This brings me to 2012’s “V/H/S” and a slight ray of hope for the horror genre.
The premise is simple; five stories and one wrap-around that runs the gamut of zombies, haunted houses, aliens, and psycho killers. But I will admit, within the first three minutes, I was feeling dizzy. The camera just moves and moves and moves and moves. Warning to any viewer who might be sensitive to motion sickness, this film will mess you up.
Aside from the camera work, the stories are actually well constructed and fairly original. The highlights to me include the first story “Amateur Night” where some raucous party-goers looking for the old “in-out, in-out” run into the proverbial “quiet girl,” and the last tale “October 31, 1998,” directed by the film collective Radio Silence, create a haunted house tale with a twist. I can find something I liked in all the stories, but these two were the standouts.
Is “V/H/S” re-inventing the wheel….no, but it is a fresh look on the found footage genre that has been bogging down horror movies for the past few years. I’m all for independent spirit, especially when it comes to horror films, and the guys behind “V/H/S” have a bright future as long as they build on their success with “V/H/S,” buck the found footage trend, and lead the genre into a renaissance.
Fun Fact: VHS,short for “Video Home System,” was created in 1971 in Japan.