Sharktopus (2010)

Score: 3/10*

Length: 89

Rating: TV-14

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, monster, murderer, almost-horror, animal, horror comedy, painful

Your average, badly filmed, badly acted D-list film. But somehow less with a sense of humor? I didn’t notice many jokes or puns, and it was more sleazy-cheesy than knowingly ridiculous. There were lots of deaths, but I wanted more, and I wanted more creativity than the shark using its tentacles to snap up gals in bikinis. And I don’t remember the last time an octopus used its tentacles to stroll around the beach, just walking around on land. The CGI is bad like you’d expect and want, but after you see the abomination a few times, you’re over it. I see why now that in the movie franchise there are new mixed creatures fighting with the sharktopus. It gets old fast, and as you realize that this movie is actually trying to put in effort, the less exciting it becomes. It’s about a government-created monster made for the military who is murdering beachgoers in Puerta Vallarta. An investigative reporter and her cameraman follow the creature as well as the daughter of the scientist and some unprepared employees who are looking to put a stop to the seafood madness. It was a bit difficult to continuously pay attention to this film without wanting to look at my phone, but I will for sure be watching the other entries in the series.

*All points are for the idea of the sharktopus in general.

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Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006)

Score: 4/10

Length: 92

Rating: R

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, horror comedy, mockumentary, murderer

I scored about a 6 on the scale of ‘hopes up, super excited’ to see this Dexter-esque mockumentary about the “how” of a serial killer. But it is shockingly bland. As you may know, What We Do in the Shadows quickly became one of my favorite movies, and is also a mockumentary about the how, what, and tmi, with vampire roommates. It’s creative, hilarious, and engaging. You really care about all of the characters. I could give two fucks about Leslie and the reporter. I mildly appreciated some of the humor behind making horrible murder-tasks into day-to-day chores. But it just was not imaginative or action-packed enough for me. You bet I fell asleep and had to watch the ending in the early morning. Lots of horror buffs enjoyed this film, and you bet I appreciated what it was going for. But no matter how hard I try, I still don’t think it was that good.

Vamps (2012)

Score: 6.5/10

Length: 92

Rating: PG-13

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, almost horror, horror-comedy, vampire, murderer

From the director who brought us Clueless and Fast Times at Ridgemont High, comes a film about roommates who are vampires, living it up in the Big Apple (mostly just at night, of course). It simply could be described as ‘a girl-version of What We Do in the Shadows’. It’s little more full of drama, sweetness, and romance-nonsense than the aforementioned, but that can be appreciated. These movies have their time and place (or mood). It’s not easy to find an upbeat vampire horror-comedy about two innocent gal-pals. A little slow at times, but the characters are likable and I was satisfied with the story. It’s super light, like a cucumber sandwich. I enjoyed the little bits like when they use embalming cream instead of moisturizer or they try on outfits for their stem. And there are quite a few stars who make appearances such as Sigourney Weaver, Richard Lewis, and Malcolm McDowell. Out of all the recent (chick-flick) comedies I marathoned, this was by far the most refreshing, and I only rolled my eyes once or twice.

Southbound (2015)

Score: 5/10 (A for effort)

Length: 89 (though it feels like seconds and hours at the same time)

Rating: R

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, monster, alien, murderer, devil, slasher, hotel, SPOILERS

This is one of those movies where you leave the room for a few minutes or you sneeze, and you now have no idea what’s going on. The story flows from one character to the next, and the only way to remember what is going is on (and still get through the movie) is for me to note one story at a time. So here we go! There are for sure SPOILERS, but I tried not to reveal any of the big secrets.

It starts with two bloodied men driving their truck down the highway, who stop to fill the tank. They soon realize that the floating skeleton monsters following them have trapped them in a time loop and there is no way to escape. One of the men goes into a hotel looking for his daughter in what feels like a dream or delusion that he not going to escape from any time soon. The maid outside tags his door as ‘Do Not Disturb’.

In the neighbouring hotel room, three hungover gals prepare to return their VW van to the road, but it breaks down in the middle of nowhere. A strange couple driving by offers them a room for the night at their old-fashioned country home. The girls dine with the family and their friends (which includes in-sync, creepy twins) and become sick off the meat, causing them to throw-up chunky black liquid. Two of the girls become zombie cult members and the other one escapes only to be hit by the car she is trying to wave down. This could easily have been a mediocre movie on its own, and out of the shorts, I’m going to say that this is the one I’d be most likely to sit through as a feature film.

The driver who hits the girl carries her bleeding and broken body to his car in search of a hospital as directed by a 911 operator. He finds a hospital, but after running frantically down the halls with a barely living body, he discovers that the facility is abandoned. He is instructed to perform surgery on the woman to save her life, but he fails, only to be laughed at by the people on the line. He is then pretty much told to drive away and forget about it. (Is this supposed to be like Saw, but after you make an attempt you get to leave?) As he ends the call, we see the 911 agent hang up the receiver at a phone booth.

She leaves the phone and enters a pub where she argues with the bartender about closing the door. And man suddenly bursts in looking for his sister but is met with mysterious and vague warnings. Holding a man at gunpoint, he is led to his sister who says she doesn’t want to leave the town because it’s for people like her. He drives her off into the desert anyway where he stops the car and then is attacked by naked monster-demon-alien people. She drives back into town. This story is super confusing. There’s so many questions I want answers to that I’m never going to get. I love the whole hidden world idea, but sadly, this is another one of those stories that really should have been a full-length film, simply for the reason that there is too much going on and I need to know more.

A pretty teen in a yellow shirt walks by the woman who has returned the restaurant. She joins her family who are on vacation and stopping to grab dinner. Shortly after getting settled in her motel room, there is a knock on the door and people with masks and knives lurk outside. This starts off looking like a straight-up rip-off of The Strangers, and unfortunately, it pretty much is, without all the magical tension. Looks like the terrible threesome is out to get revenge on something the dad did. We get to see their unmasked faces, but we don’t get to find out what exactly the wrong-doing is (but there are a few guessable options). There are monsters, aliens, and skeleton demons, and that’s pretty much the end.

Even now that it’s over (took me like, three days to get through this thing), I had to read back through the segment descriptions to remember it all. To be honest, I don’t even have a favorite and least favorite. They all had stories that were only partially explained, they all were moderately creative and gory, and they all were nothing special, except for the overall idea of the film as a second chance to escape hell if you will. It makes sense as to why these are shorts and not one full-length films, because as confusing as this was to watch, each segment probably would have been boring and uninspired in a full film. I like the whole concept of the movie and it’s worth a watch but I wouldn’t see it again, and if I did, my head would be heading Southbound as I nodded off.

 

 

 

Tenebre (1982)

Score: 6/10

Length: 101

Rating: X

Language: English, Italian, most likely

Categories: 80s, murderer, foreign

This film set in Rome features all the top B’s: brown nipples, bad teeth, bralessness, and bright red blood. It starts and ends with some sweet disco pop dance music, helping us to realize early on that this isn’t going to be your typical slasher or jump-scare horror, and I’ve yet to see a Dario movie that is more thriller than it is (murder) mystery. His movies often feel like books brought to life. This gem, that I had the pleasure of seeing on 35mm at a midnight screening, is about a stalker-killer who murders everyone who has any relation whatsoever to a well-known author. The author has recently written and sold a book called Tenebre (I still don’t really understand that it means), about a psychotic killer. The ending reveals a few welcome twists and everything is explained honestly and eagerly. The film is just entertaining enough to keep you engaged in the theatre, though I’d suspect it’d be easy to nod off while watching this at home. I appreciated the constant killings, the acrobatic dog situation, and the little jabs here and there at misogyny. Would definitely include this in a Dario-a-thon. A nice little film full of characters, but obviously not better than Suspiria.