Sunday, October 15, 2006

Lemming House of Horror Fest '06

By Kanrei

I have given myself a horrorific weekend. Notice I did not say “horrific”, so there is no need for pity or sympathy. It has been a very fun horror infused weekend thus the term “horrorific” for “horror-filled terrific”. What can I say, I love horror movies and there is no better month for them than October.

This weekend I treated myself to some of the best and worst horror has to offer and I plan to continue this trend every weekend until the big night. That night is reserved for Christian television. I love watching their specials on the evils of horror movies and heavy metal music. Dwight Thompson is my personal favorite, but that is for another weekend. This weekend was for horror movies. I watched House of 1000 Corpses, Devil’s Rejects, Crawlspace, a Starz Slasher film documentary, Return of the Living Dead part II, and as much as I could stand of something called Session 9. I want the minutes of my life back for Session 9 and Crawlspace.

Crawlspace had a decent chance of being creepy. It starred Klaus Kinski who is pretty much freaky in every role he plays. In this movie he was the son of a Nazi war criminal who grew up in Argentina. He attended medical school and became a very good doctor, but found he had more fun killing his patients. If this was the plot of the movie instead of the character’s back story it might have been good. Instead the movie followed the misadventures of this doctor as he lives in America and runs an apartment complex that he only rents to women. His hobby now is crawling through the air ducts, watching the women eat and talk, and killing their male friends and visitors.

For some reason the movie never lets us in on he snaps towards the end and kills all the women in his complex but one. He instead leaves the other bodies about for her to run into as she runs from room to room. The girls’ deaths are never shown on camera nor are their purpose ever explained. The “final girl” shoots him with his Russian roulette gun on the sixth try and he dies. The end.

Session 9 is even worse if you can believe that is possible. It involves some old insane asylum where some weird studies of weird people were performed in the past. It is now being remodeled and a crew is brought in to remove the asbestos from the building. One of the crew finds some hidden tapes recorded during sessions with some weird person from the building’s weird past. As he gets closer and closer to playing the tape for session 9 weird things start happening around the asylum I think. The movie is never too clear on what exactly is supposed to be happening at any given time. I admit to not seeing more than 45 minutes of it, but after that much time I should have at least a clue of some description.

The rest were great and fun movies. The Rob Zombie double feature of House of 1000 Corpses and Devil’s Rejects remember the days when horror movies were fun as well as scary. The victims usually designed their own horrible fates and the killers existed in a world just outside reality. It was fun to see because the characters always seemed to know they were only characters in a movie. Bill Moseley plays the character of Otis Driftwood in that vein.

Otis is the quintessential larger than the screen character. He takes such delight in the evils he performs and has such wonderful dialogue as he does it that he must imagine an audience watching him. He is a sadistic and vicious serial killer who would kill someone just to watch their day change, but he has such fun doing it that you cannot help but feel some of his joy. There are times in Devil’s Rejects that you actually are rooting for him and want him to survive the film. You actually hate the sheriff chasing them more than the killers.

It is a credit to Rob Zombie as much as Bill Moseley. The camera rarely shows you Otis doing his nastiest work except for brief split seconds of close up gore. He seems to prefer the over the shoulder shot instead using the character to block the camera’s view of the more disgusting parts. This helps keep some sympathy for Otis because you never really see how bad he really is, but you always hear how funny his dialogue is.

The only major problem with Devil’s Rejects over House of 1000 Corpses is that Rob Zombie messed up on the victim stereotypes in the sequel. House gave us four kids who all but begged to meet the fate. There are numerous times in the movie that the kids are given outs and never take them. They are warned from the very beginning not to go where they end up going and dying. I never felt bad for the victims once in House.

This was not the case in Devil’s Rejects. In that movie Rob Zombie gave us a very nice and sweet country band. The only one who sets up his own demise is the lead singer because he hits on Baby Firefly (another member of the Reject’s gang) while his wife is in the motel room. None of the others commit any vital horror movie sins.

I suppose the second half of the movie validates the innocence of the first half's victims. It is in the second act that Otis, Baby, and their clown-faced father Captain Spalding get theirs at the hands of a bible quoting sheriff. A character who turns out to be just as bad as those he hunted. You actually feel sorry for what he puts the Rejects through.

Even though he is avenging his brother’s death, you never feel anything for him. I don’t know why that is. I think William Forsythe was determined to make his character the villain in a movie filled with psychos. He succeeds and creates the tension of the movie beautifully. In a genre where you pull for the cops to stop the killers in this one you are never sure which one should win.

Return of the Living Dead Part Two is a classic to me. It came out when I was in high school. It is one of the greatest satires of the zombie movie ever made. The zombies fall over each other, into empty graves, and cough up dirt as they emerge from their graves. The main characters are the dumbest people to possibly have to face the zombie horde and the music lies between really bad 80’s hair metal and synth. I think it was the best movie of the Lemming Horror Fest.

Next weekend I have an entire undead theme ready to go. You should join along if you are brave enough. The schedule will be Evil Dead 2, Army of Darkness, Blair Witch on Saturday. Then Shawn of the Dead, Dawn of the Dead, and Exorcist on Sunday. I love halloween.


RexZeitgeist said...

Now that is a weekend......

1st, I loved 'Crawlspace', it was classic Kinski at his creepiest.......The movie dripped creepy and you think the girl in the story would have caught on quicker that the Doctor was not what he seemed....Kinskis character is fascinated with the horrific work of his Nazi Father and is determined to continue his killing ways.....I am betting Kinski left meny meny more dead in Brazil......

Second, Session 9....This was a boring jumbled confusing mish mash...Great actors, crap plot, and story line....That being said, somehow I have watched twice.....

The Living Dead Part II is a classic......split dogs, , funny lines, and a naked punker chick being eaten alive.. and the hero munching his girlfriends brains!! Two old school thumbs up....

I am in, on watching some of the same Horror classics, but I don't know if I could sit through Blair Witch, one of the worst movies of al time.....

Kanrei said...

I dug Blair Witch to be honest. I know I am one of the three people world wide who did, but I did. It freaked me out for like 3 days.

RexZeitgiest said...

The dude were total pussies and whiners......And I was sick for three days after seeing it in the theater....but the scare factor was -12