Saturday, June 4, 2016

Three Films Make A Post: A Campfire Legend of Flesh-Eating Terror!

Holidays (2016): This holiday (all the Western holidays, I’m still waiting on Christian Orthodox horror, Chanukah, and so on, and so forth, though thanks to Hong Kong we’ll never need to be without a Lunar New Year horror fi´lm) anthology starts off strong, with a first half of segments that are female-centric, weird as all get out (I have no words to describe Nicholas McCarthy’s Easter bit) in all the best ways and not as dumb as V/H/S style horror anthologies often are. After that, unfortunately, there comes a dreadful Kevin Smith thing, and two five minute jokes that sort of work but aren’t exactly the place you’d want to end a film. On the other hand, Sarah Adina Smith’s and Anthony Scott Burns’s pieces in the first half are so strong, it’d be worth watching the film for those two alone.

Retribution (1987): Guy Magar’s late 80s low budget horror about a depressed artist attempting suicide by jumping off a roof only to survive and add “astral body possession through burned to death gangster” to his list of problems is a bit of a frustrating affair. It’s a film that’s often too subtle and interested in its characters as relatable human beings instead of fodder for the killing scenes to be your typical piece of 80s horror, but on the other hand way too interested in your typical 80s horror nonsense (neon and disturbing haircuts and overlong gory kills) to work as the subtle and psychological horror film the other half of it attempts to be, ending up in an awkward half-way place. It’s too bad too, for there aren’t too many places elsewhere in 80s horror where you will find actual sympathy for (and a bit of a romantic idea of) the left behind and losers of this world, a competent yet empathic female psychiatrist who isn’t falling in love with her patient, and Dennis Lipscomb in a pretty great leading performance?

The Green Inferno (2013): This on the other hand is exactly what you’d expect from Eli Roth making a cannibal movie: it looks really nice, but is utterly thoughtless and vapid. It is of course the sort of stupid film that thinks it’s oh so clever and can’t help but grin smugly in your face. Unlike the Italian cannibal films, which at least came by their bad taste in an honest attempt to do the Roman circus thing, this is tasteless in that pointless sort of way I can only tolerate from three-year-olds playing with their own poo.

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