Destroy All Monsters, (1968)

God Bless America,(2012)

Submarine, (2011)

Squid Throwback - The Frighteners (1996)

*taken from the squid’s earlier blogspot blog, Kaiju Reject

                                            The Frighteners (1996)

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There were a lot of movies I never had the chance to see growing up; The Sixth Sense (1999), Cemetery Man (1995), and Office Space (1999) come directly to mind. But as I got older, I made amends with my younger self and went out of the way to check them all out with little disappointment. Now, I can say The Frighteners (1996) is another of those flicks. 



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  The Frighteners is a film about ghosts. And Michael J. Fox. Why          not, amirite? (Jim Fyfe, Michael J. Fox, Chi McBride in The                                                                 Frighteners, 1996) 

Directed by Peter Jackson, it was one of the many “horror-comedy” films that came out in the early-to-mid ’90s. And, as is the case with Jackson movies in the era pre-LOTR, it does a damn fine job of mixing the two genres. Mixing blood and goofball humor is a Jackson staple and this movie is full of it. The gore effects are always played up for laughs: ghosts’ eyes pop out like Scooby-Doo, an undead dog can’t finish its food, a cowboy has sex with a mummy… It doesn’t end. The silly one-liners and banter between characters are in full force as well, especially the comedic duo of ghosts who help Frank, our main character, throughout the film. Also, R. Lee Ermey, hello? Brilliantly random casting and jokes from him as well. And this movie has a few pretty fun scares too, if that’s what you really came around for. But who goes to horror movies to be scared these days anyway?


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           ”This is heavy, Doc!” (Fox and Trini Alvorado in The                                                                 Frighteners, 1996)

Let’s talk about the plot here. Admittedly, it’s a fairly standard rhetoric: Frank Bannister is a down-on-his-luck paranormal investigator who, because of an unfortunate accident, actually can communicate with ghosts. Problem is, he uses them to scam people and isn’t very popular company to either the living or the dead. So, what’s a guy like Frank supposed to do when he’s got no money, a couple deadbeat ghosts in his house, and is suddenly seeing numbers on everybody’s foreheads? Save the goddamn world, that’s what. The film that follows becomes progressively kookier as Frank is chased by FBI Agent Milton Dammers (Jeffrey Combs), meets the Grim Reaper, falls in love, flips out in a museum, and pieces together the events of his accident. It’s all pretty enjoyable, without leaving any spoilers for those interested. I will complain, however, that the last 1/4 of the movie comes out of left field. Was it satisfying though? Definitely. This is one of those movies that impresses the hell out of you for 2 hours straight before making you suddenly play catch up during the last few minutes to figure out what you missed earlier in the flick. You know… the Garden State Effect.


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 Dr. Herbert West, in the flesh (Jeffrey Combs in The Frighteners,                                                            1996)

Now, as far as the cast is concerned I’ll need to address the elephant in the room first: that IS Michael J. Fox in the title role as Frank. He puts in a fantastic performance and all of your worries of it just being “Marty McFly with ghosts” will wash away within the first few scenes. This is of course prior to Fox’s diagnosis with Parkinson’s, and for a final film before “bowing out” I’d say it’s not a bad performance to leave on. He’s funny, animated, emotional and, to contradict myself, DOES bring that little “‘Don’t call me a chicken’ McFly” edge to the way he delivers his lines in some small ways. It’s great! And Jeffrey Combs as the FBI Agent is fantastic. He genuinely has his creepy edge carried over from Re-Animator (and its sequels, eww!) and the character of Agent Dammers is downright pathetic. The final few scenes with him, especially when he unveils his “secret” to Lucy in the patrol car, are both hilarious and insane. His ending is both well-deserved and humorously tragic. Trini Alvarado delivers a nice performance as Dr. Lucy Lynsky and is believable as the strong female love interest for Fox; though this is one of her few roles in film, I could’ve sworn I saw her in more movies—kind of a shame she did so few. Jim Fyfe and Chi McBride are beloved as the ghost duo as well, though again: not super notable actors in Hollywood by a longshot, which was a major letdown. And, as I mentioned earlier, the movie does boast a cameo from R. Lee Ermey not once, but twice! And the second time for nearly an entire scene. Is that enough to make him a main character? Man!


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  This looks like it belongs in another movie… (Dee Wallace in                                                        The Frighteners, 1996)

If I had to give a final word, I’d say The Frighteners fits somewhere comfortably between Evil Dead and the Nightmare on Elm Street series as far as the “actually good horror-comedy” goes. The special effects are sharp for their time; I heard that it took Jackson’s Weta Digital studios nearly six years to figure out the technology to film the special effects shots using blue-screened ghosts mixed with live actors. For that kind of dedication from Jackson and the crew alone, the movie should be lauded. But, also considering its strong pacing, childish sense of humor and light gore, and the honestly unique characters… I recommend The Frighteners to anybody who’s even the slightest bit interested. It’s an astonishingly self-aware and polished flick for its time. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.


Squid Throwback - American Psycho (2000)

*taken from the squid’s earlier blogspot blog, Kaiju Reject

                                      American Psycho (2000)

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I would be lying if I said I knew right away this movie was made in 2000. American Psycho looks and feels like an ’80s movie and I was absolutely convinced it was made in something like 1989 until I had to IMDB it and put that question to rest. So… kudos to the production team for that. They had me going for a while there.

 
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               "Who’s good lookin’?" (American Psycho, 2000)


American Psycho is one of those movies that if you know or do anything on the internet you’ve probably heard of at some point. I remember a few friends in high school and college pestering me to see this movie and kept holding my breath for years. Yet, all it took was one fateful day to see it on a list of “Top 100 Horror Movies” and a couple AFI lists before I decided it was time to do the deed. Luckily, I didn’t have to go far: I ended up seeing it this weekend on the whims of my girlfriend. Funny how that all works out. 

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      Smarmy Reagan-voting bastard! (American Psycho, 2000)

The movie works like this: you’re supposed to think it’s the ’80s and everybody is a big-shot yuppie who gets away with everything. Patrick Bateman (Christian Slater) is an investment banker who, for lack of a better term, has no grasp on reality. Or, if he does, it’s slipping. What follows is pretty much what it says on the tin: rich businessman kills people for the hell of it. What makes this one different, though, is the fact that we see it all through Bateman’s eyes. Never is the audience allowed to see or hear what other characters are thinking, unless that information is filtered to us through Patrick. Because of this, we get scenes where Patrick showers and gives long speeches about proper skin care, exercises in his apartment to cheap porn while eating yogurt, rages in board meetings over rival associate’s font-type on their business cards, and waxes poetically about Huey Lewis & the News before driving an axe through another man’s face. This movie is full of memorable quotes and insights about life at the top (the 1%, herp derp), …juxtaposed with scenes where Christian Bale drops chainsaws on top of people five stories down. For that fact alone I think it’s worth watching.


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       Poetic? Not really. Make a great Facebook pic someday.                                                     (American Psycho, 2000)

I won’t go into much more about this flick because it really is just an elaborate character study on Patrick Bateman. Bale does an amazing job creating a believable character and, by the end of the movie, you really root for Patrick Bateman and wonder just how insane he truly is. Somebody told me there was some caustic and subtle commentary on ’80s culture somewhere in this movie, and it’s definitely there and definitely not that subtle. But I also think that you can get a lot from this movie if you watch it from the perspective of a therapist or psychologist trying to figure out Bateman’s “story.” What’s really going on with him? That, to me, is much more fascinating than the same old “rich people suck” milieu a lot of films push on their audiences.

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  Here we see Christian Bale wearing a scarf… for some reason…                                              (American Psycho, 2000)


But hey. Enough of that. I’ll just leave you with my two cents (or thirty, spread across the lines up above) and hope you can get out and enjoy this movie. Internet memes aside, it’s a genuinely an interesting and entertaining film. 

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       ”He said I would get doubles!” (American Psycho, 2000)

…and avoid its sequel at all costs. I’ll be watching it this weekend, but I think that’s only because I have a death wish. Thank god Bale had some integrity as an actor and steered clear of this one.

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Mila… even you can’t save this picture (American Psycho II, 2002

spookshowvixens:

Posters for Various Mexican Vampire movies.  

(via horrorharbour)

clock-watcher:

Hi-res pix:  Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, & Edgar Wright

(via johnfrombeyond)

lacigreen:

and if you’re not sure about someone’s gender pronouns, just ask!  respectfully, of course. (✿◠‿◠)
(e.g. “what are your preferred pronouns?”)

lacigreen:

and if you’re not sure about someone’s gender pronouns, just ask!  respectfully, of course. (✿◠‿◠)

(e.g. “what are your preferred pronouns?”)

(via leonthomasblog)

Safety Not Guaranteed, (2012)

Oh hey, it’s that movie that everyone was talking about! You know, the one that was based on the really old Internet meme from the pre-Tumblr/let’s-all-go-on-ytmnd days! What kind of a movie can you make about a ten year old meme featuring a guy in a mullet who claims he can time travel? A pretty solid indie romance, actually. Maybe not what you were expecting, but it will surprise you. 

Safety Not Guaranteed features a great cast for an indie film, and nobody disappoints with their performance: Aubrey Plaza as the jaded millenial, Jake Johnson as the sleazy-but-nostalgic thirtysomething, and Mark Duplass as the enigmatic “time traveler” all have something strong to bring to the table. This is a romantic comedy in the most awkward way, and only in a way that something first screened at Sundance could be. You don’t expect a lot of the twists this movie takes, in particular the climax, but they creep up on you and will probably make you smile. The romance between Plaza and Duplass is surprisingly believable and the conflicts that come about for our cast all seem so minor compared to the greater themes of this film. Is there really a time machine? If you had the power to, would you use time travel to fix your life? Would you change your past to be more happy? Would you change your past to make someone else happy? There are clear unanswered questions that the audience is left with at the close of this movie; give the time to ponder their meaning, as I’m sure the director intended.

While this isn’t one of my top movies, it definitely stole a piece of my affection for the time that I saw it. If you’re into quirky indie movies, even those of you who are Wes Anderson addicts, you might want to check this out. It has its charms, and I guarantee you won’t be let down. 

All in all, 5 out of 8 tentacles.