Friday, October 25, 2013

C.H.U.D. (1984)

Number Rolled: 80
Movie Name/Year: C.H.U.D. (1984)
Genre: Horror
Length: 96 minutes
Rating: R
Director: Douglas Cheek
Writer: Parnell Hall, Shepard Abbot, Christopher Curry, Daniel Stern
Actors: John Heard, Daniel Stern, Christopher Curry, Kim Greist, Laure Mattos, Brenda Currin, Justin Hall, Michael O’Hare, Cordis Heard, Vic Polizos, Eddie Jones, Sam McMurray, J.C. Quinn, Ruth Maleczech, George Martin

People are beginning to disappear from Soho, leaving a frustrated cop to investigate. When he’s prevented by his superiors from continuing, he winds up having to work with a homeless man in order to attempt to get to the bottom of things. Meanwhile, a photojournalist gets a look at what might be at the heart of the trouble and is too disconnected to know it.

I’ve had this movie on my list for a long time. For most of that time, I was actively hoping not to roll it. Quite frankly, the description seemed ridiculous to me. My attitude completely changed when I found out this was a cult movie. Any time I see a movie with that label, I feel a need to know why.

It started out slow, and stayed that way for almost the entire first half of the movie. For over a half hour I was bored and wondering why there was such a hype made about it. When the story finally picked up I understood the cult label, but that doesn’t mean I think it was all that great. I am certainly not a member of the cult’s following.

“C.H.U.D.” had its amusing moments, but I found myself (more than once) wondering how a certain character knew something or why the storyline seemed to jump forward a step. I understand it was made in the early 80’s, but I’m not complaining about the effects or costumes. In fact, there were some wounds in the movie that I thought looked fantastic, even by 2013 standards. Those aspects were definitely not the problem. The issue was with continuity errors and a weak script.

The mix of horror and comedy was good, though, and I can understand the people who have a view opposing mine. I get why people like it. I just don’t.

Netflix’s Prediction for Me – 3/5
Overall Opinion – 2/5

P.S. There’s a sequel: “C.H.U.D. II: Bud the Chud”

Movie Trailer:

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Messages Deleted (2009)

Number Rolled: 89
Movie Name/Year: Messages Deleted (2009)
Genre: Horror
Length: 91 minutes
Rating: NR
Director: Rob Cowan
Writer: Larry Cohen
Actors: Matthew Lillard, Deborah Kara Unger, Gina Holden, Serge Houde, Chiara Zanni, Michael Eklund, Xantha Radley, Ken Kramer, Woody Jeffreys, Ildiko Ferenczi, Paul Lazenby, Anna Galvin, Ben Cotton, Olivia Cheng

Joel is a failed screenwriter. To support himself while writing, he works as a professor on the subject. Lacking inspiration, he begins to seek the option of distancing himself from things that might be holding him back. In the process, a slasher storyline falls right at his feet.

Any movie that has Matthew Lillard in a starring role makes me happy. I think he’s an amazing actor and should be used in leading roles more often. I feel like he could play a part written by a dog and still catch my interest. I wasn’t all that impressed with Unger, but the rest of the actors played their roles pretty well.

The movie followed the recipe of being ironically cliché. Much like “Scream,” “Messages Deleted” points out the various clichés used in horror/thriller movies and then tries to bring them into the real world. Ultimately the film claims that these are the clichés we know for a reason: because it most closely resembles real life. It is suggested that, because authors “write what they know,” recipes are developed from true stories being translated into fiction. It’s an interesting perspective. To be honest, the perspective is more interesting than the product.

Even when I take into account the general predictability of the story and the achingly familiar copy & paste plot, I still wind up really enjoying “Messages Deleted.” The irony of what it was doing made me feel more like a student in Joel Brandt’s class, than an audience member. It’s that ability to make me part of the story that really captures my attention.

Netflix’s Prediction for Me – 3.3/5
Overall Opinion – 3.5/5

The Random Rating: R for strong violence

Movie Trailer: 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Bride of Chucky (1998)

Number Rolled: 13
Movie Name/Year: Bride of Chucky (1998)
Genre: Horror
Length: 88 minutes
Rating: R
Director: Runny Yu
Writer: Don Mancini
Actors: Jennifer Tilly, Brad Dourif, Katherine Heigl, Nick Stabile, Alexis Arquette, Gordon Michael Woolvett, John Ritter, Lawrence Dane, Michael Louis Johnson, James Gallanders, Janet Kidder, Vince Corazza, Kathy Najimy, Ben Bass

A woman obsessed with Chucky goes to great lengths in order to bring him back to life. Of course, Chucky’s not always the most reasonable of sentient dolls and she winds up trapped in the same predicament he is. As dolls, they trick one of her neighbors into delivering them to New Jersey.

I think this is my favorite of the series so far. I have to be honest, though, I’ve only just seen the first three installments of “Child’s Play,” this month. There are a lot of ‘classic’ and ‘cult’ movies that I didn’t see when I was younger and I’ve been trying to catch up. So far, I’ve found that I like each sequel of “Child’s Play” better than the movie the before it. “Bride of Chucky” is no exception.

This movie has a bit more comedic value to it. I’ve mentioned in past reviews that what I think makes a cult movie popular is the balance between comedy and whatever the main genre is. The “Child’s Play” series is a gold mine for that kind of balance. A doll killing people is just the right mix of creepy and hilarious. Add to that a wife-like character that does basically the same stuff and what you get is a decent cult horror flick.

I feel like the kills made more sense in this film, got less repetitive, the picture was also kind of advanced for a 90’s movie. I would have placed it at 2001 the earliest if I hadn’t researched it.

One of the things I wondered about when it was over, though, dealt with an actress in the film. I want to know how Katherine Heigl was in a horror movie and still managed to play almost the same exact character that’s in all the rest of her films. It was kind of weird, actually.

Netflix’s Prediction for Me – 3.3/5
Overall Opinion – 3.5/5

Movie Trailer: