Saturday, March 26, 2011

Saw 3D (2010)

Links: TVTropes (series), Wikipedia, IMDB (5.6).

Ugh. Relentless torture- and gore-porn backed by an elaborate yet inept plot and dreadful dialogue. The 3D was pretty unexceptional as well: mostly flat, except for a few gore shots when they amped it up to theme-park proportions. Better than an Uwe Boll film, but only just. Score: 1 star out of 4.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Little Shop of Horrors (1986)

Links: TVTropes, Wikipedia, IMDB (6.6).

This film was a childhood favorite of mine, and I was pleased to say that it holds up quite well when re-watching it as an adult. (My friends were slightly less enthusiastic, but I think that's because I kept singing along and I can't carry a tune.) It's a black comedy film musical, set in Manhattan in the early 1960s, about a giant talking plant that offers a Faustian bargain — money and fame in exchange for just a little bit of murder. The film is well known for having a focus-group happy ending, where the main character survives and gets the girl, but I felt the happy ending works well enough and that the planned ending (filmed but never released) was needlessly vicious to the love interest, Audrey. Anyway, the songs are fun, the story is fun, the acting is great... I have a hard time thinking of any real negatives to the story. Score: 4 stars out of 4.

Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl (2009)

Links: TVTropes, Wikipedia, IMDB (6.1).

This Japanese horror comedy is a visibly low-budget B-movie cut from the same cloth as a Troma film. The plot, acting, and effects aim for (and hit) So Bad It's Good territory: the plot is a high school Valentine's Day romantic drama that erupts into a love triangle showdown over a boy, fought between a mysterious transfer student who's secretly a vampire and the spoiled daughter of the vice principal who dies and comes back as a Frankenstein-style creation (resurrected by her father, secretly a Kabuki-clad Mad Scientist). The film ruthlessly parodies some common Japanese high school subcultures: the "13th Nationwide High School Student Wrist Cut Rally" is hilarious... although it must be said that the ganguro parody comes across as cringe-inducingly racist, even knowing it's trying to parody the racism of it rather than join in. Overall, though, I had a fun time. Score: 3 stars out of 4.

PS: Ganguro, literally "black face", is a Japanese fashion subculture composed of teenage girls who over-tan and try to associate themselves with American blacks and American rap/hip-hop music because they're "cool". It's well intentioned but it's frankly a little bit racist itself, even before you parody it. ("Japan" and "racial sensitivity" don't generally mix well together, which is perhaps not surprising given how racially uniform Japan is.)

Slither (2006)

Links: TVTropes, Wikipedia, IMDB (6.6).

Slither is a horror comedy that's two parts alien invasion to one part zombie apocalypse, with gross-out body horror inspired by David Cronenberg and frequent shout-outs to other films in the genre. It's pretty fun — Elizabeth Banks does quite nicely side-by-side with Nathan Fillion of Firefly fame — but I thought it didn't quite gel together like it should've, even though I can't quite put my finger on why. Because of this, my friends and I agreed that Piranha 3D was a more enjoyable watch. Score: tough call, but 3 stars out of 4.