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Body Horror, Part Two: Borborygmus

It begins with the pudding. Calvin’s heart quickens as his stubby fingers brush against the carton at the back of the fridge – how did it get there? – but disappointment awaits. He bends as far as his immense bulk allows and retrieves the container. Only a paucity of the thick, off-white treat remains; hardly a spoonful. The store it is, then.

He dresses slowly. The bending and stretching required leave him short of breath, and so he pauses before he dons his shoes. His small apartment is awash in detritus; clothes strewn on the floor, empty pizza boxes piled in one corner, sink freighted with crusty dishes. A mild mammalian odor, not dissimilar to that of a barn, permeates the air. Calvin takes all this in in a sleepy glance before he turns, exits, and locks the door behind him. Continue reading Body Horror, Part Two: Borborygmus

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Reed Alexander’s Review of ‘The Ruins’ (2008)

Then Something Eats Your Face…

You know, I don’t know why I like this movie so much.  Maybe because it’s not just horror, but survival horror.  It has that “brink of madness, human limits tested, sense of dread” that I love so much about zombie movies (when they’re done right).  Kind of like The Road.  That wasn’t horror, but it’s just an epic long, grueling march, right into the grave. It’s just fucking brutal. *cue Nathan Explosion*

Continue reading Reed Alexander’s Review of ‘The Ruins’ (2008)

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Reed Alexander’s Horror Review of ‘Pet Sematary’ (2019)

And the Award for Creepiest Child Actress Goes to…

Jesus fucking Christ, Jete’ Laurence is fucking creepy. Can we take a minute to appreciate, that at no point, did she fuck this role up with a Silent Hillmoment? That speaks volumes for her talent as a little actress. Hope she carries it.

Speaking of acting, what a fantastic fucking cast. John Lithgow, Amy Seimetz, fucking forget about it. Those two alone could have carried this movie with their performance. Throw in Jete’, and it’s just acting overkill.

So the lingering question, that I’m sure has been on all you filthy mutant’s fucking minds… Is it worth the remake? Is it better? Well, no, not better, just different. Look, we can’t talk about this movie without bringing up the original, and we can’t talk about the original, without admitting to ourselves that it was kind of fucking cheese. Look, the original has a soft spot in my heart (that could be necrosis), but it was cheesy as fuck. The acting was cheese, the atmosphere was cheesy, shit, the creepy little Gage was kinda cheesy. But, that’s why we loved it. It was cheesy, creepy, and fun as all fucking hell.

This one was just more serious, and that’s where it is both better but also kind of fails to be better. Serious is good, if you can really nail it home.  Now, as mentioned before, the acting was just spectacular and really fucking drives it home. The dialog was also just fantastic and the emoting by the actors in the dialog was fucking gripping. However, it was a bit over the top. It was like everyone was just fucking crying all the damn time and it did get a bit draining.

The atmosphere, for the most part, was fucking solid. The problem is, when they breach the barrier into the Wendigo swamps, it gets really fucking cartoonish. Here’s the thing, they must have known they fucked it up too. If you saw the previews, you’ll notice the swamps look gritty, dark, and forbidding. But, when you watch the movie, they’re just fucking cartoonish. They don’t feel real, or even surreal, they just feel fake.

What pisses me off about this is how solid, real, and fucking creepy everything else feels, but then you get to the swamps and it’s like they phoned it the fuck in. Now, this isn’t the only thing they fucked up, but I can’t get into the rest outside the spoilers. Here’s the thing, I mentioned in an interview with Madness Heart Press, that the directors were little known and I was really familiar with anything under their belt. Frankly, they were too green and they made some rookie mistakes. 

So, is it better than the original? No, it’s not better or worse, it’s just different. Is it worth watching? Yeah, I highly recommend this to general audiences. There’s enough good movie here for even casual viewers to enjoy. Not a must watch by any means, but definitely worth watching if you give it a chance.

SPOILERS!!!

I’m not sure if the motivation of Victor Pascow really tracks. Also, does “black guy dies first” count if the actor gets to live on as a ghost? I mean, they gave Obssa Ahmed plenty of screen time, but why have a black actor if you just pigeon hole the guy into the same ol’ horror stereotype. And this is the second place they phoned it in. Not by killing him, but by giving him shit dialog and crappy FX. This was the second thing that felt cartoony in this movie. It’s like they didn’t even try with the FX. Worse, it was practical FX, and that’s not something a major Hollywood production has any excuse fucking up. It’s a rookie mistake, once again proving the directors just weren’t ready.

You know what I did appreciate in this remake that I feel was missing in the original? They really got solidly into the motivations of each character. While Jud from the original was just like, “Every kid should have their animal raised from the dead at least once in their life,” this Jud was like, “I wanted to make the kid happy, but it plays on your emotions, calling you back, using it against you.” Now that’s really deep stuff. Not to mention they just layer on the history with Rachel Creed’s sister. And, MY FUCKING GOD, that is jut some brutal portrayal of abuse. It got me straight up shook. Good body horror too with the FX on her sister. So, please fucking explain to me how they got that right, but fucked up Victor Pascow?

All in all, outside of its failings, it was a pretty solid movie and I’d recommend it to anyone.

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New reviews posted Wednesday, here on Madness Heart!

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Reed Alexander’s Horror Review of “Splinter” (2008)

Not Just Another Zombie Flick

Kicking off body horror month in celebration for Madness Heart Press’s release of “Trigger Warning,” a Body Horror Anthology.  We begin with an excellent and little know body horror film called Splinter.

Forget the 30-Minute Rule, this movie is face-first in the action just about a minute and a half in.  Mr. Wilkins (director), I could fucking kiss you… This movie drops you right into the middle of the plot, and expects you to figure shit out like an adult.  No expositions, no god damn character building; 90 seconds in and there’s mutant roadkill eating a gas station attendant.  Another 10 minutes to introduce the four victims—and they pretty much just introduce them—and wham, mutant gas station attendant eats one of them.  Not really a spoiler, you’ll figure out who’s going first pretty quickly.

Now really, my only problem with this movie is that it’s pretty much just a generic zombie flick at first.  That’s okay, but I’m just bored with fucking zombies.  Don’t get me wrong, still love them, still love the classics, still go to zombie crawls in my local city, but it’s just been so fucking overdone.  There’s just no new material to throw at the genre.  The horror industry needs to give it a rest for a while, like it did with werewolves before The Howling was released.

So, at first I was a little displeased with what I got, as it seemed to be a generic zombie movie.  It made up for that assumption later, but at first that’s all you get.  The acting was pretty good, and pretty good for movies in general, not just good for horror. The characters were well developed and not too tropey. The atmosphere was pretty fucking dark for a movie that takes place in a gas station.  Yeah, even if this movie didn’t get playful with the generic zombie movie at the end, it would have still been okay.

SPOILERS!!!

So, a while back I complained that Last Days on Mars was just ZOMBIES IN SPACE!  My biggest complaint is that they  didn’t do anything with the idea of a mutative virus infecting the crew of a base on Mars.  Generic zombies, in a generic isolationist setting, and the only thing special about it, is that it takes place on Mars.  Big fucking deal… This movie, however, went full Cronenberg with it’s mutant zombies.  As the zombies fed, they sort of just piled their pickings into a mass.  At the end, one of which was a collection of limbs, heads, and bones.  There were several others that were just leftover bits crawling around.  While it didn’t have the intelligence or mimicking capacity of John Carpenter’s Thing, it did have the same basic organic dynamics.  This organism was just more primitive.  It hunted by heat and used any means of mobility it could create to fling itself at that source of heat.

I mean, there were some problems with this, of course.   Such as, why it didn’t instinctively attack both the cars.  It attacked the one that was overheating first, sure, but the other one had just been running, and it pretty much just ignores it.  If the organism goes after the hottest body around, why didn’t it keep attacking the fireworks and instead go after the one fellow once his body temperature started to rise?  I mean, these are the sorts of things I nitpick about, but it doesn’t really detract from the movie. There are a few really brutal scenes devoted to the organism that shows it slowly taking over one of the victims arms.  At one point, just by twitching itself around, it snaps his finger.  You think that’s bad, but then at another point the fucking thing breaks his arm twice from the inside, forcing them to amputate it with a box cutter and a cinder block.   Fuck me, that was rough.

Above all, I can appreciate this movie for one thing: it lets the story happen.  It never drags the plot kicking and screaming, the characters flow naturally with the story—some of the suspense was a little forced, but no one’s perfect. Yeah, overall it’s a pretty good movie.  I highly recommend it.

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New reviews posted Wednesday, here on Madness Heart!

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Reed Alexander’s Horror Review of ‘Dark Waters’ (1994)

Nuns are fucking scary…

The opening of this movie sets the bar so low, you don’t expect much of this movie. That makes it pleasantly surprising that the rest of the movie is pretty good. Of course, the rest of this movie is still begging to be riffed, but it’s still a pretty good movie. The ending is a bit predictable, the practical FX are absolute garbage, and the rubber monster is downright silly, but everything else is okay.

The acting is better than can normally be expected for horror. Yeah, that’s not amazing or anything, but it’s not bad. The atmosphere is fantastic. They really pulled out all the stops on the set. I don’t know where they filmed, but it was pretty cool. It feels like there’s miles of underground chambers on the island. I think this was likely filmed on location, and if it wasn’t, the effort they put in to erecting the set is mindblowing.

The story was solid. As I said before, it was a bit predictable, but that’s not a huge problem. It’s angled as a Lovecraftian mystery, so most of it is making subtle discoveries till the end. I guess that means the ending isn’t a twist, but they should have made the clues a little more difficult to interpret. I pretty much had the whole movie figured out by the halfway mark. Again, not a total dealbreaker, but a four-year-old could have figured it out.

I really can recommend this. Keep in mind, it’s old and a bit silly, but it’s not bad and that’s enough. I REALLY recommend it for riffers. This shit was riffing gold!

SPOILERS!!!

The nun, Sarah, is the female lead’s sister. She’s working for an ancient demon to trick her sister back to the island, so the two of them can summon the demon. Everything starts when one of Sarah’s disciples tries to steal the pieces to an evil tablet and gets murdered by one of the nuns protecting it. So, of course, you think the nuns are this evil cult who worships this weird idol and practices unholy pagan rituals, but as it turns out, they’re actually zealot defenders, trying to prevent this ancient horror from getting loose.

Of course, that’s not the way their initially presented in the movie. They brutally murder Sarah’s friend, they try again and again to kill the female lead, they do all these weird creepy things, and then they burn down the village near their monastery and kill all the villagers. The movie does a pretty solid job of making them seem like the antagonists, but they’re actually the good guys—sorta.

I feel like this all could have been prevented if they just told the female lead to get lost. It’s their fucking island, they could just tell her to take the proverbial piss.

I also don’t understand why the nuns let the villagers live. The villagers are a part of this cult to summon the ancient horror, so why didn’t the nuns just murder all of them decades ago.

But yeah, Sarah is trying to use her sister to summon this demon. None of it is hard to figure out. You find out the lead’s mother never died, there’s all these missing memories from her childhood, she finds a photo of her and her sister when they were children, and she has a ton of flashbacks implicating her in the cult in some way. It’s kinda obvious.

It is fun and riffable though, so give it a shot.

If you like Reed Alexander’s Horror Review, consider stopping by Horror.Media and donating by hitting the ‘Tip’ button. You can also support Reed by sharing his reviews on Facebook and Twitter.

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New reviews posted Wednesday, here on Madness Heart!

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Reed Alexander’s Horror Review of ‘Leviathan’ (1989)

Greatest Bandwagon Movie in the History of Horror!

Decided to re-watch Leviathan.  I don’t know, I always have a soft spot in my heart for the monster movies from my childhood.  Or maybe that’s cancer… whatever.

You have to remember when you’re watching the 80s classics, even one that was on the cusp like Leviathan, they didn’t have a lot to work with.  CGI was brand new, seldom used, and total garbage.  80s horrors like this were all about the set and the practical FX.  That’s what made movies like The Thing and Pumpkinhead so brilliant.  All you got are camera filters, a smoke machine, and a rubber monster.  But, what they did with it was amazing.

What you’ll be shocked to find out about this gem, is that it actually has some pretty stellar actors, who were close to making the A list.  You’ve got my favorite Ghost Buster, Ernie Hudson.  You’ve got Robocop’s Peter Weller, Hector Elizondo, Daniel Stern, and Richard Crenna.  That’s a pretty amazing cast for a shit 80s rubber monster movie.  And, they didn’t stop at just the cast.  The writer gave them dialog that actually worked and felt natural.  It was frankly, brilliant!

Again, the set and practical FX, coupled with the cinematography, was just fantastic.  You can tell the underwater scenes are really just shot in a dark room through a blue filter.  But it works.  They didn’t have the kind of budget The Abyss had to rent a reactor stack and fill it with water.  The set was phenomenal.  It could easily be compared to 1979’s classic Alien.  The only thing that made it cheesy was the rubber monster and the some of the larger plot holes.

Any-who, it’s a late 80s movie so the tech is pretty cheap and their big rubber monster kinda silly. But, in those days it was THE SHIT!  You know what?  It’s also a lot better than some of the shit CGI monsters the industry has been spitting out lately.  Those are so cheesy it makes your head hurt.

Don’t come into this expecting Ridley Scott material.  What am I saying? After Prometheus, we can’t even expect Ridley Scott material out of Ridley Scott.  Just watch it for what it is; a pre-90s B horror.  If you like that sort of thing you will enjoy this.  After all these years I can give it a pass as one of the best creature features of its day and age.  It’s pretty fun and that’s all that really matters.


SPOILERS!!!

This movie was desperately trying to be The AbyssAlien, and The Thing, all wrapped into one.  That’s okay, I guess.  After Alien, there was a huge bandwagon through the 80s to ride its coat tails.  The Abyss was just about to be released and if you’re going to rip off both those ideas, why not go for broke and some how shoe horn The Thing in there.  This, unfortunately, lead to some plot holes based entirely on the setup.  If you remember from The Thing, you have to destroy it on a cellular level with fire.  Kinda hard to kill a monster with similar abilities while under the fucking ocean.  The crew keeps doing things like flushing it out into the water.  What exactly is that supposed to do?  It’s a fucking mutant fish person!

This blows open the biggest plot hole in the movie.  They discover a mutagen that turns people into fish mutants that was hidden in the vodka supply of a Russian ship called, The Leviathan.  They find out The Leviathan was sunk by the Russian military to kill the mutant fish people ravaging the ship.  Sooooo, their plan was to sink the mutant fish people into the ocean?  How come the ocean isn’t already fucking full of these things then.  They’re fish people that regenerate like fucking starfish.  You’re not sinking them, you’re sending them home.

But it gets dumber!  They find the body of a dead one and they’re like, “It must have starved to death.” Why?!  Did it forget how to fucking swim or something?  The best part is the ending, when they blow the mutant fish monster to pieces.  Is that supposed to be a happy ending?  This thing made more of itself when a limb turned into another one.  There are now half a dozen pieces of it just floating around.  That means anywhere from four to six new mutant fish people.  Love the ending line though “Say Ahh!” as he throws a mining charge in the creature’s mouth.

My biggest grudge though?  They killed off Ernie Hudson.  How you gonna kill my favorite Ghost Buster!  At least it wasn’t ‘Black Guy Dies First.’ That’s saying a lot for the 1980s.  They actually killed off two developed white characters, before killing off the first minority.

In the end, this movie is still fun and, I recommend it to horror heads as required viewing.

If you like Reed Alexander’s Horror Review, consider stopping by Horror.Media and donating by hitting the ‘Tip’ button. You can also support Reed by sharing his reviews on Facebook and Twitter.

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New reviews posted Wednesday, here on Madness Heart!