FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Nov 30, 2010

Two sentences and a verdict.

I've seen several movies lately, but time and ennui have rendered me impotent with regards to writing big reviews. Therefore, I am writing these "two sentences and a verdict" blurbs...just to get them out of my system. Lame? Perhaps. If you don't like it, move to Russia!

Hee hee, "impotent".

In Memorium: In writer/director Amanda Gusack's 2005 feature, Dennis and Lilly move into a house and sets up surveillance cameras to document Dennis's battle with terminal cancer. Footage reveals that there are spirits-n-forces lurking around.

Two sentences: While critics have gone goo-goo over this film, calling it terrifying, brilliant, and everything they felt Paranormal Activity was not, I found it...okay. More plot, yes, but fewer scares.

Not goo-goo.

In My Skin: In this 2002 film, a woman grows increasingly fascinated with her body after suffering a disfiguring accident (that's from the imdb page, yo).

Two sentences: French writer/director/actress Marina de Van proves she's got as much to say in as outré a fashion as her male counterparts in this startling examination of disconnection and disassociation. I love modern French horror cinema, and holy fucking shit, I love this movie.

Yes yes yes, a thousand times yes, I can't wait to watch it again.

Shock Waves: After their boat sinks, survivors take refuge on an island that's soon beset by water-logged Nazi zombies.

Two sentences: This slow-burner of a movie combines many things I love: 1977, Peter Cushing, Brooke Adams, sogginess, and a Let's Scare Jessica to Death-ish narrated setup. I dug the moodiness, but it sure ain't gonna be everyone's cup of brine.

Enjoyable enough, but would I watch it again? WOULD I? Probably not.

S&Man: From the Netflix description: Exploring the parallels between filmmaking and voyeurism, director J.T. Petty aims his camera at the world of underground horror films, interviewing scream queens and scholars and finding one auteur whose snuff series seems all too convincing.

Two sentences (and some spoilers): Going off of that description, I thought this 2006 film was solely a documentary, and I was diggin' it big time...and actually questioning if the one "auteur" was, in fact, making snuff films. It is not solely a documentary- fact and fiction are mixed, and I done been duped.

Verdict: I really liked it, but I may have felt differently throughout had I known of the ruse. Oh, and FYI: it's pronounced "Sandman", not "S & M Man" or "Samperasandman".


MAR said...

You sat through all of In My Skin? Without taking breaks? That's the only horror movie I can think of that I couldn't finish. Made it maybe half-way.

Stacie Ponder said...

I did! Although I think I looked away- or at least winced SO MUCH- during that one scene. With the nibbling. Holy shit.

Jason Adams said...

I watch all sorts of crap constantly, as you're well aware Stacie, but I've been afraid to watch In My Skin for years now. I've got a copy but it scares me! I am scared of it! Sceeeeered.

Jason Adams said...

Oh and also, I wish Carol Clover would marry me.

HH said...

I like In My Skin as well. We differ on In Memorium. Verdict: agree to disagree.

dementia13 said...

In My Skin sounds interesting. I just saw Shock Waves myself, and felt much the same. I'd watch it again only because Ms.13 would like it, but it was mostly unremarkable. It's got a nice, subdued synthesizer soundtrack, kind of in the vein of It's Alive, that I liked maybe as much as the film itself. Filmed in Florida, for bonus points.

Maynard Morrissey said...

ah, In My Skin... such a wonderful yet disturbing masterpiece

Marc Edward Heuck said...

Thank you for drawing attention to IN MY SKIN, a movie I'm surprised doesn't have a bigger following. My friend and fellow blogger Witney Seibold is also a big fan, and wrote about it, so I thought you might enjoy a more detailed assessment:

Zev Valancy said...

After reading your assessment of S&Man, I now have the phrase "The Sampersand Man" running through my head to the tune of "The Candy Man Can" from "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory." So...thanks?

Missy Y. (formerly A Case of You) said...

In My Skin is phenomenal. I don't automatically consider it horror; though, I could probably be convinced by any argument. I think of it as a drama. But still... it's truly amazing--even if that pathology is not accurately represented.

I just reviews S&MAN myself. And I liked it a lot as well, but I do think Petty sort of lumped all genre fans together. Many of us criticize (lawd, love a tired phrase) torture porn, and I felt like it could have been a little more discriminating in that sense. It was, however, terribly creepy, and that matters so much more.

Anonymous said...

Mucho bummer-o you didn't dig In Memorium. Even though it didn't have as many scares, I appreciated the more emotional connection to the characters (instead of those yahoos in PA) and the concept. I won't be all spoiler-y, but I liked the 'revenge' sort of angle and the disease manifesting itself accordingly. Agree to disagree as well :)

S&Man was super duper effed.

StuartOhQueue said...

I like the two sentence format. It's quick, concise, and easy on the eyes. Plus, all of these reviews would have taken years to read in their full, elongated forms. In other words I'm lazy and short on time these days. Thanks for making my life easier.

applepie said...

huhh scary ;P

Stacie Ponder said...

I agree about In Memorium- it had a much better plot and the characters weren't simply there to run around and get scared. I thought the acting was really atrocious, though- not that the acting in PA was much better, but for some reason, here it pulled me out of the story.

As far as cutting and In My Skin, I don't think she's trying to represent the illness, necessarily. Here's an excerpt from an interview with Marina De Van from Suicide Girls:
The phenomenon of mostly young women cutting themselves is very prevalent in America. I don't know about France. Is this film related to that?

You are very correct in asking this question. When I make a film I am not really interested in the broader questions of society. I don't even know if cutting is a phenomenon. What I am interested in is a personal story. The term self mutilation encompasses a great deal. When the teenage girls cut themselves and see the blood flow there is some sort of release. But if you were to look around do you see other people that are eating themselves or cutting pieces of their skin and having it tanned? That is not classified as a phenomenon. In a way this term self mutilation is being used to cover too many things not all of which are connected with my story. Also my character is not the same age as these young women who cut themselves. I am in my 30's.
Then again, I read the film as having undertones of womens' sexuality, and she said it's not about that, either. :D

Missy Y. (formerly A Case of You) said...

I certainly don't think not accurately representing self-injurious behavior takes anything away from the film. It's really a film about obsession and isolation (at least I think so).

I agree that it's weird to think of it as a phenomenon. It's actually been going on for much longer than the media would have one believe. It's just gotten a lot of press in the last ten years.

And I agree that it's got these undertones of sexuality. The scenes in which she cuts are terribly erotic, and in a sense, almost masturbatory--which again ties into the notion of isolation.

dementia13 said...

The DSM-IV is the manual that psychiatrists use to diagnose diseases. It lists self-destructive behavior like cutting as one of the symptoms of borderline personality disorder (which has a 10% suicide rate, BTW, and that's about as high as you'll find associated with any psychiatric condition). It's intended as a worldwide standard set of guidelines, so something that appears there is presumably not isolated to a single region. The DSM-IV was published in 1994, and self-mutilation may already have been considered a symptom of that condition in earlier editions, so it's definitely not some new phenomenon. I dated girls in the 1980s who did that, would cut themselves like other girls would paint their nails.

@Zev: if you've got any song other than "Sleigh Ride" running through your head this week, consider yourself lucky.

Kirk H said...

I personally love, Love, LOVE the greatest underwater nazi-zombie movie of all time, SHOCK WAVES (1977). It's in my top 20, even. From my first viewing on a saturday night creature feature in 1980 at the tender age of 9 to my last viewing, back in Shocktober, this film has always delivered a unique mood, no-frills spookiness, and a clever, near-plausable concept, like a really creepy Leonard Nimoy hosted IN SEARCH OF...episode (the opening "History Channel" narration certainly sets that tone for the film). Hard to believe this hasn't been re-made/fucked-up yet, given the resurgence of the zombie genre. Anyways, love those Alan Ormsby zombies, Brooke Adams's bod, the neat, eerie synth score, Peter Cushing's grizzled mug (pretty sure he went home, shaved, and stepped right onto the STAR WARS set right after filming wrapped), and the grim, TWILIGHT ZONE-y ending. Yay SHOCK WAVES!