Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Great Mancave Binge and Purge 2015

I am a deeply foolish mortal. In preparation for The Great Mancave Binge and Purge, I set aside all the horror DVDs that I've purchased but haven't go t around to watching, and lo, there's a shit-ton. I was planning to list them all here and let readers decide which to review next, but god-to-the-damn there's a lot of them. I'm not even counting the multi-film sets you get from Walmart, and I've got a stack of 154 movies.

So, no way I'm getting through all of them. But to make things a little easier on myself, I give myself permission to turn off the truly horrible ones at any point and cast them into the "sell" pile.

Going through my collection, I've made a few observations.

1) I don't have much Asian horror, but most of the Asian horror I do have is unwatched. Why is this? I'm almost always disappointed in Asian horror films. When the rash of American remakes came out in the early double-oughts, I liked most of them and would track down the originals for comparison. Guess what? 9 times out of 10, I preferred the remake. My guess is something is often lost in translation for me.

2) Tons of movies I fell asleep during. I generally hate going back to finish a movie that put me to sleep. If it was any good, it would have kept me awake, right? But there's always those few films that I've come back to finish and loved them. The most recent of these was Housebound. So, I've got to give them another shot.

3) Lots and lots of titles I'm not looking forward to at all. All kinds of low-budget garbage that I now have no idea what I was thinking when I bought them. Here's to hoping some of them prove me wrong. At the very least, here's to hoping this project makes me more careful about the movies I buy.

I kind of unofficially started this project a few weeks ago when I started going through my back catalogue, so here's a paragraph on each just to get us started:

Sleeper's Wake
(2013 - dir. Barry Berk)

This was a very well-acted, well-written, and well-constructed film that only straddles a toe over into horror territory. Thriller describes it better. But don't be put off by the non-horrorness of it all. It works as a character study and a super-tense drama. Set in South Africa (I think), the story follows a widowed writer who befriends another recently widowed man whose daughter is constantly trying to seduce him (the writer, not her dad, ick). Bad things follow. There's also some wicked cool baboon action. Okay, it looks totally fake, but baboons!

A Warning to the Curious
(2013 - dir. Aji Djarar)

I can't necessarily recommend this movie to anyone, especially those suffering chronic found footage fatigue. However, I kind of liked it. This is a no-budget feature that dodges the number one downfall of no-budget flicks by having a cast that was fairly talented and mostly likable, After a disappointing ghost hunting venture into an abandoned hospital that turns up zilch, the Mystery Inc. gang gets a hot tip about a house in the woods that supposedly sprung up out of nowhere. I know, I know. Abandoned hospital, house in the woods, ghost hunters, can we throw another cliche in there?  Thing is, it goes places your typical found footage flick doesn't. The plot ends up being pretty original. While the film is marred by some bad special effects, it's a surprisingly solid piece of work.

Make-Out with Violence
(2010 - dir. The Deagol Brothers)

Another low-budget indie movie, but a hell of a great one. The photography is stunning, the characters are quirky, but fully fleshed out and compelling, and the performances are really good. It's also a zombie movie, but not that kind of zombie movie. This is no post-zombie apocalypse survival tale or an outbreak movie filled with snarling, sprinting flesheaters. In fact, there's only one zombie in the whole movie, and she's really little more than a plot device to explore the relationships between other characters. It's no dry, stale drama either. It's a clever, often hilarious coming of age story that suggests The Deagol Brothers are some filmmakers to keep an eye on. Be warned though, the ending is abrupt and not completely satisfying. But it's still worth a watch, And probably a re-watch.

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