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Basebf555
Feb 29, 2008

The greatest sensual pleasure there is is to know the desires of another!



Fun Shoe

I'm gonna rewatch Ghosts of Mars(because why not?) tonight but that's a pretty good rundown of the visual issues it has. For whatever the budget issues were, Carpenter and those under him just didn't make the necessary adjustments he needed to make in order to deliver his usual level of work. Had they worked better within the limitations they could've made something that stood the test of time and became another Carpenter cult classic.

I had a lot of fun last night with the Chinese Ghost Story films. I really have nothing bad to say about them except that unfortunately the sequel was a bit too loose and all over the place, and that's the one we're voting on. The first film was tighter, more streamlined, while also having more than it's share of bonkers, extremely memorable moments. I also felt that the balance between comedy and action was close to perfect in the first film, whereas the sequel really leaned hard into the comedy and maybe went a bit too far for my taste.

So I'm voting Near Dark, although it was pretty close. If Near Dark is an 8 or a 9 out of 10, the first Chinese Ghost Story matches that but the sequel comes in a bit lower at like a solid 7. So not quite enough to beat Near Dark.

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MacheteZombie
Feb 4, 2007





If you're having trouble with finding near dark I'm going to stream it on repeat all day (maybe longer) starting.... now.

E: streaming in discord

MacheteZombie fucked around with this message at 16:12 on Jun 15, 2021

STAC Goat
Mar 12, 2008

Watching you sleep.

Butt first, let's
check the feeds.



I'm voting Near Dark. That was never really in question for me. I dig Near Dark. Its my thing. I gave Chinese Ghost Story II a chance, went in as open as I think I can. And really I'll agree that there's nothing major wrong with it. Its just not my thing. The first film was better. A tighter story and a quick pace that built the zaniness in a way that both made it build the whole way and move really quickly. The second feels like a lot of sequels. The zaniness is already established so there's more of it and paced poorer. The film feels longer and doesn't have as natural a flow or good a story so it feels longer. There's still nothing major wrong with it. If you like that stuff it provides a lot of it. But Near Dark is my thing. I love the atmosphere and look. I'm impressed how much the film works for me without a truly likable protagonist. But it does. Its all mood and villains and metaphor and I dig it. In part because that whole metaphor works for me. The bad crowd and that dangerous world that is alluring and sexy to some but is always right on the cusp of going real bad. And that's part of what makes it alluring. And here it goes REAL bad.

The Berzerker
Feb 24, 2006

treat me like a dog




First match-up down, Ghosts of Mars is really mediocre and felt like a Resident Evil movie. Fran's post as always is a great analysis. The Sacrament was interesting, I knew nothing about it and once I realized it was Jonestown but pretending it isn't Jonestown I was interested, not offended. However knowing the majority of the Jonestown story I kind of knew everything that was going to happen, which made it a bit boring. Overall I still thought The Sacrament was a better movie and the only one of the pair I'd watch again, Gene Jones was great. Sorry Carpenter, trying to be unbiased here.

Basebf555
Feb 29, 2008

The greatest sensual pleasure there is is to know the desires of another!



Fun Shoe

Rewatching Ghosts of Mars it got a big laugh out of me to see that Peter Jason is was in it, I'd totally forgotten that. Dude has a way of just popping up in poo poo even when you don't remember him being there before.

STAC Goat
Mar 12, 2008

Watching you sleep.

Butt first, let's
check the feeds.



Its Wednesday. That means its that time of the week for me to say the same thing I always say to the point where it feels unnecessary and redundant, but as we go on more and more of the votes seem to come in the last 36 hours so perhaps its actually become a crucial reminder? I dunno but here I am once again. Voting goes until 3 AM EST June 18th (or when I wake up). That means you've got just under 35 and a half hours left to get in any movies, debate your voting ethics, and finalize your votes before someone moves on and someone goes home.

STAC Goat
Mar 12, 2008

Watching you sleep.

Butt first, let's
check the feeds.



Basebf555 posted:

Rewatching Ghosts of Mars it got a big laugh out of me to see that Peter Jason is was in it, I'd totally forgotten that. Dude has a way of just popping up in poo poo even when you don't remember him being there before.

I just rewatched it and finished my "Escape Trilogy" watch and this stood out to be for two reasons. One, because Jason pops up in Escape from LA too. Two, because his train buddy in this is John Carradine just popping up. I think this is a fun part of Carpenter's films that this has too. He's always great at getting fun character actors popping up in small roles.

I'm voting for Carpenter with no reservations. I love this dumb schlocky, flawed film. Yeah, its got problems and they've been spelled out. But I love it anyway. Its got a solid cast, a bunch of fun scenes, a rocking soundtrack, a cool look even if its limited by its budget, a fun subtle progressive idea of a future where the gay matriarchy has taken over, the next generations action hero cast as the sex pest dwarfed by Natasha Henstridge, and a cool alien zombie design and motif that so totally "influenced" Zack Snyder for Army of the Dead that Zeus and Big Daddy Mars are played by the same guy.

And it made me feel like i had fun when it was over and not dirty like I just watched someone exploit the tragic death of hundreds. So I'm happily voting Carpenter and against my team.

twernt
Mar 11, 2003

Whoa whoa wait, time out.


I don't think I'm going to change any minds, but I just wanted to share how I'm voting.

In the MacheteZombie’s The One n Dones vs. married but discreet’s Wuxia Horror matchup, I'm voting for Near Dark. I thought that A Chinese Ghost Story II had more great moments, but Near Dark had a better movie tying its great moments together.

In the John Carpenter vs. STAC Goat’s W&W aka As Seen On V/H/S matchup, I'm voting for Ghosts of Mars. The Sacrament had a good story in there somewhere and I think it was maybe an objectively better movie, but the framing of it was just gross and I actually enjoyed Ghosts of Mars much more. Maybe it was because I watched Ghosts of Mars with a group but I have to vote with my heart here.

STAC Goat
Mar 12, 2008

Watching you sleep.

Butt first, let's
check the feeds.



Its after 3 AM. I don't sleep much but I do doze off and get distracted. But here we go.



The surprise this week is that not only did we not get any upsets but we didn’t even really get that close. Despite Carpenter drawing one of his most lampooned films (and arguably the one that ended his film career) and it getting lot of criticism this week it still comfortably advances past The Sacrament, perhaps showing that the exploitative nature that sketched some voters was a bigger issue than Ghosts of Mars’ technical flaws. However it happened my W&W Boys go home and Carpenter advances further than he has in this tournament. On the other side its not really a surprise Near Dark advances since it was a popular film but the appeal of the Wuxia madness didn’t get very far. That allows MZ’s One n Dones to keep rolling and head into the Sweet 16 for a massive matchup with the big dog.

Stats wise Ghosts of Mars doesn’t make a mark on its own but does give Carpenter enough votes to put him back in the top spot for Directors. One n Dones don’t get the same boost as they’re still out of the Top 5 in teams. In order for it or any other teams to top those numbers they’re gonna need the teams who played in to get eliminated sooner than later. And the low overall turnout and numbers ends up pulling both’s percentages down although the both stay in the Top 5. One n Dones however fall all the way from 1st to 5th. Carpenter also falls to 5th and both can lose their spots before the next round.

On to another week of big names and odd picks…



2. Wes Craven’s Shocker vs. 7. (Debbie’s Family Friendly) Don Bluth’s The Secret of NIMH


She might be gone from our graces but Deb left behind some powerful teams and now its once again time for the G rated one to take a shot. Secret of NIMH might be a reach for horror but then again have you seen 80s Bluth movies lately? They get pretty intense. NIMH is gonna be a really interesting matchup against Wes’… bad pick? Good pick? I really don’t know. I purposely didn’t put any pull quotes in that revealed anything about the movie because I feel like everyone’s heard of Shocker but unless you’ve actually seen it you have no idea what its about. I have and I’m not really sure. Its a wild movie. Maybe not as esoteric or gory or perverse or nihilistic as we’ve become accustomed to here but just very, very bonkers. I don’t know if its a good or bad pick for Craven but its probably a very representative pick of his unique blend of crazy imaginative horror and just head scratching trash. I don’t know if he’s gonna survive this matchup but it should make for a weird double feature.

The Secret of NIMH is free on Hoopla, Tubi, and Pluto
Shocker is on HBO Max and DirectTV



3. Joe Dante’s Burying The Ex vs 6. Park Chan Wook’s Thirst


This was a tough one. A ton of the reviews for Burying The Ex call it very misogynistic but don’t really expand on why. A bunch other disagree. I’ve seen the film but… I don’t remember anything about it. All I do remember is the same thing most of the reviews agree on. Its a disappointing film with a charming cast. This seems like it spells a bad draw for Dante because the common theme of Park’s reviews are “horny, gross, and weird.” And that’s basically catnip for this tournament. This one sounds like a very different matchup than the other but also one that might a foregone conclusion, although in favor of an upset.

Burying The Ex is available free on Hoopla.
Thirst is available on Hulu.


Vote or change your vote until 3 AM EST June 25th (or when I wake up)

Bracket & Noms Spreadsheet
Letterboxd List

Next Week!
4. Stuart Gordon vs. 5. The NYC Grime Connection
16. Andrzej Żuławski & Other Pole vs. 8. Team “Ladies Night”

married but discreet
May 7, 2005




Taco Defender

Noo my beautiful team, I let you down by skipping on writeups this week! drat you stupid brain.

At least my man Park Chan Wook is gonna keep rolling, and the only way I can see him go out is with a bang anyways.

Random thought on deep vs shallow movie pools: It was pretty much a foregone conclusion that last tourney's finalist Miike would hit a landmine this time eventually. On the other hand, Ken Russell, the rightful King of Horror, would not have. But who would have been his team partner, since he'd be short one movie iirc.

Irony.or.Death
Apr 1, 2009




Shocker is top tier Craven imo. There are plenty of true negative things you could say about it, but almost none of them matter at all because it's fun and it's willing to surprise you. You'd need a real masterpiece to have a lock on beating it, and I think NIMH is too far from horror's heart to pull it off.

Servoret
Nov 8, 2009



Shocker:

Fun in spots, but I wouldn’t have finished it if I wasn’t watching it for the tournament. I can understand why this sort of flopped and failed to produce a franchise. It’s full of surprises, but the villain has too much going on and isn’t really mythic the way Freddy was. He’s a generically superhuman serial killer/demon who can possess people/guy with electrical powers who can go into and out of TVs, like pick one of those things. If I could give this a 2.75 I would, but I guess I’m going with 2.5/5.

The Secret of NIMH:

A re-watch for me; I saw this in the theater when it was originally released. Pretty dark stylings for a kid’s movie, with stabbings and other gruesome deaths, even if some of them are only implied. But yeah, this isn’t really horror, and I don’t remember being traumatized by it as a kid the way I was freaked out by some of the animations in Dragon’s Lair and Space Ace, also Don Bluth productions. I thought this was charming and still watchable for an adult. 3/5

I’m voting for The Secret of NIMH. I enjoyed it more and it’s got the nostalgia angle for me. I don’t think generic determinations have been a big factor in the tournament so far, so I don’t feel guilty about not voting for the “real” horror movie in this case.

The Berzerker
Feb 24, 2006

treat me like a dog




I watched both The Secret of NIMH and Shocker for the first time today, and while NIMH is certainly a better film, Shocker was hilarious and totally bonkers, and also it was a horror movie. So my vote is going to Shocker even though NIMH got a slightly higher rating from me (3.5 vs 3).

Servoret
Nov 8, 2009



Burying the Ex

Maybe someone feels like doing an effortpost ripping this apart, because the sexism was notable. It even ends on a catcalling bit where we’re supposed to be laughing along with the dudebro doing it. This is another one I wouldn’t have finished if it weren’t for the tournament. Still technically competent and watchable even though at points I really wanted to shut it off, so I guess 2.5/5?

Thirst

A re-watch for me. I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first time I saw it. For whatever reason, I was really feeling the length. I even had to stop around 80 minutes in and take a nap because I was starting to doze off. It still has some good bits though, especially the ending. 3.5/5

Voting for Thirst. I think it has a chance to sweep this week, depending on how objectionable other people find Burying the Ex.

Servoret fucked around with this message at 09:59 on Jun 19, 2021

Basebf555
Feb 29, 2008

The greatest sensual pleasure there is is to know the desires of another!



Fun Shoe

I got nothing done on this weeks picks over the weekend so I've got some catching up to do. Tonight should be an odd double feature with Shocker and Secret of NIMH, I'm looking forward to it.

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

If it wasn't for disappointment
I wouldn't have any appointment



Grimey Drawer

Shocker tonight does sound good to me. I've watched 20 minutes of it before, liked it enough, but got distracted and did something else.

I haven't seen any of these movies before. I'll probably make Thirst my 2nd priority. I don't have high hopes for Burying the Ex, but I also liked the last Dante flick I saw, The Hole. Felt like a Goosebumps or Are You Afraid of the Dark episode.

NIMH is probably fine, but I have zero nostalgia for it, and I feel like that's a big reason we still talk about most of Bluth's movies.

married but discreet
May 7, 2005




Taco Defender

Burying the Ex is pretty much the worst movie we've had in bracketology so far.

STAC Goat
Mar 12, 2008

Watching you sleep.

Butt first, let's
check the feeds.



I mean its bad but we've had some serious stinkers and at least I don't recall any extended rape scenes or gratuitous animal cruelty or anything.

Or whatever Corona Zombies was.

Edit: I haven't watched anything this week except the last 20 minutes of Burying the Ex and the first 10 minutes of NIMH. Thirst is my priority since its the only one I haven't seen, then NIMH, then Shocker, and then maybe The Ex. I know Dante's is bad and is gonna get crushed so its not really worth rewatching just to argue the semantics of which bottom tier of film it falls into. NIMH and Shocker is one I should revisit and they're reasonably short so I probably will even if its Thursday night. I'm just kinda stressed this week and trying to finish off a list before my AMC+/Shudder sub runs out wednesday.

STAC Goat fucked around with this message at 20:24 on Jun 21, 2021

twernt
Mar 11, 2003

Whoa whoa wait, time out.


Joe Dante’s Burying The Ex vs 6. Park Chan Wook’s Thirst

Burying The Ex was pretty bad. It was as bad as Yuzna's Amphibious without any of its weird charm. The only positive thing I could say about it is that I think Ashley Greene did a pretty decent job as Evelyn, but Evelyn was the only halfway interesting character. Everyone else seemed to be sleepwalking their way through the movie.

Thirst was uneven and felt a little too long, but good overall. Song Kang-ho is always great, as far as I can tell. Some of the scenes were legitimately beautiful and there was plenty of blood all over the place. I was surprised by Kim Ok-vin who held her own, even playing against Song Kang-ho.

I'm definitely voting Thirst here. It's not even close.

The Berzerker
Feb 24, 2006

treat me like a dog




I've added Thirst to my October watch list and will watch it then - seems pretty clear that it's going to win, so I don't feel like subjecting myself to Burying the Ex, which sounds pretty terrible based on the reviews I have seen from friends.

STAC Goat
Mar 12, 2008

Watching you sleep.

Butt first, let's
check the feeds.



Leaning towards NIMH over Shocker. Loved both and made for a very weird, very fun watch as I expected it would. I think NIMH is plenty "horror" for our purposes. A lot of much less horror has skated by and to be honest there's entire sub genres of horror that feel less horror to me than this. Its dark and fantastical and even a little scary. I'm fine with it by whatever arbitrary line I draw. Its also probably the better film beginning to end. Now Shocker definitely is the MORE "horror" film and is a whacked out good time. And I love Wes so much and think its kind of the quintessential Craven film. But its paced weird and that's a problem. I don't think the "too much stuff" thing would have been an issue if you just shaved 20 minutes of exposition and transition scenes and make it a tighter story. Nothing really made a lot of sense so following Peter Berg as he figures stuff out or plans really isn't worth the time and Berg isn't a good enough lead to want to see do it. I don't think those scenes stick out or drag the movie down, but I do think the film was a bit too long and had a weird false ending.

So I'm leaning to NIMH as the better film. I'm not 100% sold yet though. I hate voting against Wes for a second time. But I'd also hate to see Deb's team go down with the film I encouraged her to add to the team. And really, I do think NIMH is better made. But Shocker is fun. So I dunno.

Basebf555
Feb 29, 2008

The greatest sensual pleasure there is is to know the desires of another!



Fun Shoe

Yea for me the main issue with Shocker is that is spends about 40 minutes in like a somewhat grounded(at least compared to what comes later) "hunt for a serial killer" storyline and that portion needed to be cut down by at least half. But as a result you start to feel like the movie should be wrapping up around the 70-80 minute mark but then it keeps going for another entire act. A more streamlined version that moves faster from point A(main characters family is killed) to point B(killer is executed...but was he really??) could've potentially been a true cult classic on the same level as some of Craven's other underrated stuff like The People Under the Stairs.

And maybe that's the glaring factor that's deciding the matchup for me because Secret of NIMH is the opposite, it doesn't overstay it's welcome and left me actually wanting more. There's never a point in the movie where I'm saying "ok let's move on to the next thing already...." and the animation is so beautiful that basically any scene is entertaining regardless of what's actually happening. It made me want to go back and watch some other Bluth animation that I haven't seen in decades, like An American Tale.

So I will be voting Secret of NIMH, and probably Thirst as well but it's only fair to at least watch Thirst before I vote for it.

Kangra
May 7, 2012



The Secret of NIMH was a movie I always avoided; as a child the bits that I saw didn't feel right and I was worried that this adaptation of a book I really loved wasn't going to get it right. About all that appealed to me was the design of Frisby and the kids.

So I finally watched it, and it was pretty much as expected. I think it's an awful adaptation for getting the tone altogether wrong. I think the biggest problem is that they took a book that was 'serious' and decided to instead make that 'dark'. This should have been a kid-friendly Watership Down, and it's instead a weird wizard film that honestly feels a bit flat. I could probably go on about the adaptation, but I don't want to sound tiresome about the 'movie being worse'. (On the plus side, it made me pick up the audiobook just to see if my memory of the book was all wrong, but no, it's as I remember it, and still a good book.)

Taken on its own merits, it isn't the worst thing. The dark and scary parts are pretty well done, and the animation is decent enough. Even as an adaptation, they did an okay job with the plot. Of course I factor in my own feelings on it and I simply dislike it for what it isn't, which may be unfair, but I still dislike it.

Shocker isn't that great, but oddly enough, it's the one that I actually feel some nostalgia for. It was one of the few horror films that I saw right around the time of release, and I enjoyed it well enough. So for this match-up, it'll get my vote.

MacheteZombie
Feb 4, 2007





I've gotten through Shocker and Secret of NIMH so far. I plan to watch thirst but have no desire for burying the ex. My schedule is a little tight this week so I might miss out on thirst but I'm gunna try squeezing it in.

Anyway, I'll start by saying I really enjoyed Secret of NIMH, rated it higher than Shocker. However, once again the discussion of what counts for horror creeps in on this on. It's definitely got elements of scifi, fantasy, adventure but the horror elements really only come from the emotional stakes during certain moments but isn't really a focus of the film the way it is in Shocker or other horror movies. It just doesn't spring to mind as horror as I watching it.

Shocker meanwhile felt like two interesting movies crammed together. One, an interesting yet unoriginal spin on cat n mouse style crime story and the second a supernatural whacked out murder ghost story. I liked both, but the first goes on a bit too long only for setup to the latter half. I really liked the dream elements and the lead's struggle to be believed. The finale is a ton of fun too. It's not really a top tier Craven movie but it's very enjoyable, mostly. Just needed to be trimmed in areas.

I'm leaning Shocker, but I wouldn't say it's a slam dunk vote for me, NIMH has some wonderfully animated sequences and the story is much tighter than Shocker. I just need to decide if I can actually tack the horror tag onto list of genres.

STAC Goat
Mar 12, 2008

Watching you sleep.

Butt first, let's
check the feeds.



Its wednesday. If you're like me and a little burnt out and struggling to get in the movies the good news is you still have time. You can vote or change your vote until 3 AM EST June 25th (or when I wake up). That gives you just over 36 hours now. Two nights to try and get up the energy to watch something you've meant to all week. Maybe after you shake up this headache and eat something.

STAC Goat fucked around with this message at 18:49 on Jun 23, 2021

Basebf555
Feb 29, 2008

The greatest sensual pleasure there is is to know the desires of another!



Fun Shoe

A week or two off might be in order when we reach the quarterfinals, just to recharge and let some enthusiasm about the matchups build.

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

If it wasn't for disappointment
I wouldn't have any appointment



Grimey Drawer

Basebf555 posted:

A week or two off might be in order when we reach the quarterfinals, just to recharge and let some enthusiasm about the matchups build.

I kinda like this idea.

Gonna do a Shocker , NIMH double feature tonight (hopefully).

STAC Goat
Mar 12, 2008

Watching you sleep.

Butt first, let's
check the feeds.



I'm not against a Spring Break. we have two more weeks of this round so maybe I'll toss in a survey question if people want to take a week or two off after that.

STAC Goat
Mar 12, 2008

Watching you sleep.

Butt first, let's
check the feeds.



Ok, I stayed Up All Night like my name is Rhonda Shear and watched Thirst and Burying The Ex.

I didn't super like Thirst. Strong lead performances and perfectly fine ideas and story and directing, but it didn't feel all that unique as a vampire tale to me. It felt like it had similar vibes to all kinds of previous "unique" ones like Ganja & Hess and Interview with a Vampire. Just for all its "quirky originality" I felt like i knew every story beat a couple of steps ahead and then it felt like it took a few too many to get there. That was probably my biggest problem. The first hour just felt really long to me and that odd comedy/sadness tone just didn't click with me at all. I thought it moved a lot better in the second half and the tone felt more natural but at 2+ hours I just didn't think it had enough to it. A tighter film probably would have worked more for me.

Now Burying the Ex is bad. I don't hate it anything and I definitely don't think its the worst film we've seen but its just boring and bland and if Thirst didn't have 138 minutes of content Burying doesn't have 89 minutes. And I think that's probably the simplest explanation. Some quick reading up on it reveals that it was originally a 15 minute short starring Danielle Harris that caught Dante's attention. He suggest they make a full feature and then years later they just stumbled into the opportunity and made it cheap and dirty in 20 days. And that's what it feels like. Poorly fleshed out, a short idea stretched way too thin, no real prep or clear idea what they wanted to do, and no time to figure it out. That explains "what happened" in my book and I don't put the blame on Dante or the cast but on the writer who also wrote We Summon the Darkness which has very similar problems as this. But I did like the soundtrack.

So yeah, its not an emphatic vote but I'm voting for Thirst. Its less of a failed idea IMO. I do wish I could find that originalshort, both to see if its a better original source but also because I love Danielle Harris.

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

If it wasn't for disappointment
I wouldn't have any appointment



Grimey Drawer

I'm voting Shocker over Secret of NIMH.

I don't see this is a grab at another Freddy Kruger type horror personality to franchise. It's too weird, too specific to the main character, doesn't set itself up for continuation. Which is strange, because Craven originally conceived this as a TV show, and then restructured it to be a film series. The killer's ability to jump bodies is the only real "franchise" thing about this film. It's final conclusion feels like the idea is done. I've spent some time to see if there are articles about what the sequels would have been like. Does it continue Jonathan's story? Is Pinker's spirit resurrected again by a fan, to continue the mayhem? No idea.

I like Shocker, but it's flaws are painfully obvious, making me spend so much of the run-time thinking about how it could be better. Shocker had to walk so Scream could run. Despite the obvious parallels to A Nightmare on Elm Street, it shares way more DNA with Scream.

The soundtrack is rock-oriented, and I think that's a bit of a misstep in a lot of places. I don't think we should start the movie's montage with "Shocker" by Dudes of Wrath (a song I can't find on Spotify to put on my Halloween playlist). I don't think the tone works to set up what the film wants to do. The film is asking me to immediately make a comparison to A Nightmare on Elm Street, with a montage of the killer's hands working on things that will serve as visual motifs throughout the film. The NoES montage is set to creepy synth music that will serve as the theme for much of the series and character. It's less-polished than a rock song, but it's more effective in tone, and provides an echoic motif that I can remember.

The Dudes of Wrath, by the way, is a super-group comprised just for this film, and it's members consist of Paul Stanley, Tommy Lee, Alice Cooper, Rudy Sarzo, Desmond Child, Vivian Campbell, and others, some of whom are working under pseudonyms. They never recorded a proper album.

Paired with the rock music--which includes other songs I couldn't find through Shazam, but does include a Megadeth b-side cover of "No More Mr. Nice Guy" which kinda ruled--is a score composed by William Goldstein, a mostly TV composer who did do work on low-budget b-movies like Z-Fest fodder "Up The Creek". I think the film's greatest flaw is Goldstein's score. It tries to be dynamic in a Spielberg-Williams kind of way, and it absolutely undermines so many moments. For instance, Jonathan's girlfriend is brutally murdered. He finds her body in a room soaked with her blood, and her body floating in a bathtub full of blood. The music sounds as if maybe Jonathan is waiting at a dinner table in a restaurant and he gets a letter that his girlfriend can't make it. It's stupidly saccharine. When Jonathan is swimming and the ghost of his girlfriend appears, the music is whimsical. The music rarely gets tonally scary until the most obvious moments, or when it's so necessary to remind the audience they're in a horror movie when things get too absurd. There are some moments where the soundtrack figures out that it's a horror movie, and even then, I don't find it's use of strings compelling. The score gets too dynamic in many places, and then not dynamic enough when it's close to doing something right. I think this also explains the most common criticism to the film, that it feels like two different movies have been sewn together at the mid-section, a tonal shift that wouldn't feel so weird if the music was consistent. When the movie switches to hard rock for the action sequences, it feels at least tonally appropriate, even if it's not the choice I would have made, or fully enjoy.

Scream is interesting to bring up here, because Marco Beltrami's score is married so well to Scream. It's scary when it needs to be scary, but when Sid and Billy are having a couples moment, it's played with hesitant romance, so we can understand that they are a couple working through weird hurdles and also that Billy is a threatening presence to virginal Sid. Scream also works in rock songs to it's soundtrack, with Nick Cave's "Red Right Hand", Alice Cooper's "School's Out", a cover of "Don't Fear The Reaper", and also Julee Cruise, Moby, and others. None of these moments really draw too much attention to the song. I didn't notice "Red Right Hand" until many rewatches later, but I've always thought the scene it's used in works and has an interesting, off-putting tone.

I think Shocker is one of Wes Craven's best-looking movies. He's teamed up again with cinematographer Jacques Haitkin, who did A Nightmare on Elm Street 1 (and 2; and Wishmaster, Galaxy of Terror, The Hidden). Both Haitkin and Craven has matured over their careers, and it shows on screen. I really don't have any complaints for the look of this film (outside of the special effects, but we'll get there). While it's not as good as Mark Irwin's cinematography with Scream, and while I also prefer the hand-held energy of Sandi Sissel's cinematography in The People Under The Stairs, the cinematography in Shocker is solid. It doesn't have the most demanding or dynamic color palette (I maybe would have gone a little more wild with the lighting for ghost Pinker scenes), but it does consistently have nice blues that pop with the red blood, the green digital ghost effects, and the lavender television glows the film uses. Wes Craven, even moreso than John Carpenter, is a filmmaker that puts the ideas in front of the camera, and that's about it. One wonders if he had had larger budgets earlier in his career if he would have gained more flair for visual story-telling. The most unusual choice he employs regularly in Shocker is a high-angle shot, often used in Jonathan's bedroom. This is used for a scene where Jonathan is in his chair and the TV moves, and a scene where his ghost-girlfriend approaches him and they fall into bed, which becomes CGI ghost water. Very strange, but also kind of unusual for Craven. There are moments where there's a close-up of characters talking that could have instead just been a shot that included both characters sitting next to each other, like when Pinker is executed, but I think that's, again, my personal choice. It's hard not to project personal choices on this film!

Peter Berg is not a leading man, and works better as part of an ensemble, or as second to the lead. I think he's got an interesting look and I like his style when he's not channeling Heathers-era Christian Slater, but his range is pretty limited and he doesn't always make the correct dramatic choices for the character. The scenes between him and his foster father always feel antagonistic and there's never a tone of a teenage son arguing with his father. When Jonathan is confronting a knife-wielding murderer who is threatening screaming women, he is stoic. It does not feel like he is frozen in fear, he feels like he is waiting. The most painful death to Jonathan, by reaction, is his Coach, not his girlfriend or his mother or his best friend or his siblings. It doesn't help that Jonathan doesn't come across like a high schooler. He looks too old, his attitude isn't youthful, his grasp of the situation and his choices read as older, and the only high school activity we see him participating in is football practice. That's not Berg's fault, that's Craven's, but Berg just doesn't have the chops to carry the missteps of Craven, and Goldstein's score does even more damage to the performance.

I like both halves of the film, though. Wes Craven doing a lite police procedural / serial killer chase story is pretty refreshing for him, and he does it well. There is a glimmer of a director who wishes he could have had a career outside of being typecast as a horror guy. "Wes Craven police hunting serial killer story"? I'm in. When it shifts to the body-swapping ghost, I'm still in. My issues are more based within those confines, rather than with them immediately. The characters are so slow to pick up on Pinker's ability to jump into bodies, and it gets a bit maddening. Jonathan gets tricked too many times, that the only audience conclusion is that he's stupid. Harsh criticism, because why would a person assume that the serial killer than haunted them was now a ghost possessing bodies? Well, if that person is having psychic dreams that transports them to the killer, you'd think and hope they'd be smart and open to more bizarre ideas. Jonathan's ignorance is not suspenseful, it's annoying. What makes Sidney Prescott and Nancy Thompson interesting is that they are clever and aware of how hosed up and insane their situation is, and are trying to warn/protect the people around them. They aren't bumbling into their respective horrors over-and-over again.

I'm not going to be too critical on the botched special effects in a low-budget movie from 1989. My biggest complaint is how they handled Pinker's possession. He floats like a ghost into people. It's rote and ugly. Immediately I thought, 'Having an electric ghost go inside you is horrific. If instead the ghost held someone and forced his way inside them while they screamed and suffered, that would be way more terrifying and visceral than just floating head first inside them." It would probably be more fun for the actors too. The finale is inventive and weird enough to work for me, though.

This is a lot of words to write about a movie I give 3 / 5 stars. While it's not great, it never bored me. I find so many of the ideas and elements compelling. It's an ambitious idea for Craven, and he is trying to tap into something new. I don't see Craven re-reading Elm Street and making notes on what he can cannibalize. It feels like a writer trying a new angle on concepts that he's been fascinated with his whole career. The production just didn't gel in the right way.


NIMH is a bit more objectively good. The voice acting is solid, the art direction is solid, and I like the look and tone of the film, but I do not find it nearly as compelling as Shocker, or other Don Bluth films, which I do like. I didn't grow up with this one like I did other Bluth films, and I feel like they learned a lot from this film and matured and refined those elements in later films. It's also not a horror movie, so if Julien Donkey-Boy loses cuz it's not a horror movie, NIMH isn't going to win my vote, and I am totally not bitterly making notes on the flip-floppers on that grading scale.

Basebf555
Feb 29, 2008

The greatest sensual pleasure there is is to know the desires of another!



Fun Shoe

I voted against Julien Donkey Boy but not on the basis of whether it was horror, just because it's an emotionally taxing, slightly depressing movie and it was going up against something much lighter. So that's just my personal preference, I always tend to vote for the fun stuff that you'd want to have in the background of a Halloween party.

married but discreet
May 7, 2005




Taco Defender

Burying the Ex might be the worst movie I've seen so far in this tournament (but to be fair I skipped a couple). Absolutely dire, I don't even want to complain about it too much cause it's flaws are so obvious and boring. It just hit me straight in the cringe organ and never let me go, it hurt throughout. Who was this made for? It’s obviously going for some loving homage to horror comics/anthology shows of old, targeting horror fans, but they’d also obviously be turned off by the lack of proper goop etc. I liked the end credits so there’s that. How is this a Dante movie?

Thirst Perhaps Park Chan Wook’s weakest movie here, and it’s still extremely good. He’s just the master of effortlessly good filmmaking, moving the camera around, adjusting focus during mundane conversations, you don’t necessarily notice it because it’s not showy, but it’s drat good. And when he wants to be showy, it’s even better. The movie is definitely a bit long, not that it drags terribly but it could be faster paced, but I suppose it does explore its ideas fully. Perfect pick for PCW, not wasting a stronger movie on Ex. He might make it much further.

Shocker Nightmare on Elm Street meets Gremlins 2, a year before Gremlins 2 was made. Absolute insanity, pure deranged energy on a level rarely seen in filmmaking. Reminds me of Phenomena. Yes the pacing is off but it just keeps coming up with new and crazy ideas, so it’s a great ride from start to finish. Loved it.

Secret of NIMH. Dunno, didn’t do much for me. I liked the background art a lot, plus the (rotoscoped?) machinery, but I expected the plot to go somewhere interesting and it never really did. Very meandering, and at some point I had the dreadful thought that I was accidentally watching a low rent sequel. Also the whole NIMH plot point didn’t make sense. If those were super intelligent rats as the result of a medical experiment, why were the mice and shrews and whatnot just as intelligent? Does it imply rats were just really dumb and brought to the level of the rest through science? Oh and the owl was badass, loved it.

Shocker and Thirst it is.

STAC Goat
Mar 12, 2008

Watching you sleep.

Butt first, let's
check the feeds.



Franchescanado posted:

It doesn't help that Jonathan doesn't come across like a high schooler. He looks too old, his attitude isn't youthful, his grasp of the situation and his choices read as older, and the only high school activity we see him participating in is football practice. That's not Berg's fault, that's Craven's, but Berg just doesn't have the chops to carry the missteps of Craven, and Goldstein's score does even more damage to the performance.

Its hardly the most important element of the film but I felt like Peter Berg is supposed to be in college, not high school. He lives away from his parents, he meets his dad in a bar, and his girlfriend is casually staying at his place. It all seems like he's supposed to be over 18 to me and the only real teenage thing is the football team which definitely reads more traditional high school level in size than college. But there's cheap bad college football programs too. I think we just kind of assume they're all supposed to be teenagers because its a horror film.

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

If it wasn't for disappointment
I wouldn't have any appointment



Grimey Drawer

STAC Goat posted:

Its hardly the most important element of the film but I felt like Peter Berg is supposed to be in college, not high school. He lives away from his parents, he meets his dad in a bar, and his girlfriend is casually staying at his place. It all seems like he's supposed to be over 18 to me and the only real teenage thing is the football team which definitely reads more traditional high school level in size than college. But there's cheap bad college football programs too. I think we just kind of assume they're all supposed to be teenagers because its a horror film.

It feels like it's written to be in college, but I feel like the newspaper articles refer to Jonathan (which, why would the local paper include a picture of a person involved in a serial killer case where the killer is known to find people???) as being in high school? I'm not rewatching it to find out. Wikipedia says college, but I'm incredulous.

twernt
Mar 11, 2003

Whoa whoa wait, time out.


I haven't rewatched NIMH yet, but I hope to have time tonight and I remember it really scaring me as a kid.

Shocker was okay, but didn't really grab me. Assuming I have time to watch it, I think this matchup is NIMH's to lose. Otherwise I'll have to abstain.

Kangra
May 7, 2012



married but discreet posted:

If those were super intelligent rats as the result of a medical experiment, why were the mice and shrews and whatnot just as intelligent? Does it imply rats were just really dumb and brought to the level of the rest through science? Oh and the owl was badass, loved it.

That's another big problem with the adaptation. They ended up having to make the rats literal wizards to compensate for the fact that they made all the other animals so capable. Also the first mouse she visits (the pharmacist) was one of those that was experimented on, along with her husband, so he should also be a wizard or maybe rats are the only ones with magic talent.

About the only notable anthropomorphic flaw from the books is that all the animals live far too long (those experimented on live much longer on top of it), such that the shrew speaks of bad winters from years back like an elderly human would, and even the children recall Moving Day from the previous year.

STAC Goat
Mar 12, 2008

Watching you sleep.

Butt first, let's
check the feeds.



Lets do the thing.



Two big upsets and another shutout! Dante’s much maligned cheap and dirty Burying the Ex becomes the fourth film of the tournament to get 0 votes and much like it stands as a shadow on his career it is a shadow on his Bracketology run as it eliminates him with just four films left in his pool (and two of them are Masters of Horror episodes). So if he’s gonna be back its gonna have to be as part of a team. Wes Craven on the other hand has an endless supply of films and even though he drew one of his more famous and even though it got a lot of positive reactions it still knocks him out just one round later than his first round elimination last year. Its been rough for my man. But enough about the losers. A couple of abstentions prevents Park’s Thirst from joining the top films in votes but it does land in the Top 5 of films in win percentage. His 23 total votes also puts him in the Top 5 directors knocking out Shinya Tsukamoto. With a split vote Family Friendly doesn’t gets much from this week stats wise but Deb’s team of genre testing kids films knocks off another “full fledged” horror and moves into the Sweet 16 for a clash with an emerging top player in Park.

That’s three conferences filled, one more to go.


4. Stuart Gordon’s Dagon vs. 5. (Deb’s The NYC Grime Connection) Abel Ferrara’s Body Snatchers


Its Deb vs Dagon. So sad we can’t enjoy that in full, but the RNG tried. Yuzna’s gone now so Stuart Gordon has a chance to beat his buddy this year and he draws a cult favorite of his to help him get there. Dagon isn’t one of his biggest successes and some might call it “cheap” or “trash” or “bad.” But its found an audience and its known for its goop and effects and crazy so its probably gonna find an audience here. On the other side Abel Ferrara has already advanced further than last year and now gets drawn a second time to keep fighting. For some Ferrara’s Body Snatchers is a favorite, for some its a subpar remake of a remake. But it too has goop and effects and stuff this place likes. So how is this gonna turn out? It could be a tight one but its sure to be a fun double feature.

Dagon is free on Plex, Roku, Tubi, and Vudu in the US.
Body Snatchers is on Youtube



8. (STAC Goat’s Team Ladies Night) Ana Lily Amirpour’s A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night vs 16. (TrixRabbi's Andrzej Żuławski & Other Pole) Andrzej Żuławski’s The Devil


In the way it does the Random Number Generator continues to book in an interesting way going the exact opposite trashy goopy way of the other matchup to a very artsy subtitled way with this one. Zulawski cleaned up with On the Silver Globe last round in the major upset but was going against a very bad draw by Argento. He might have a tougher matchup here as Amirpour’s cinematic debut was a critical sensation when it came out. But while both maybe be very artistic, uncommon films it sounds like they have very different styles. Zulawski’s very wild and nonstop style for Amirpour’s very slow burn. I have a feeling which will win, but we’ll see.

The Devil is on Internet Archive Turns out this version is subtitled in Spanish. My bad.
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is on AMC+, Shudder, Mubi, DirectTV and free on Hoopla and Kanopy in the US.


So one arthouse matchup, one B matchup. It continues to stay interesting. If nothing else we haven’t had a film from Iran yet. That map’s gonna light up a bit more. There’s one more week of this round after this. Then Sweet 16 time and the end run. But maybe we’ll take a break before then? Feeling kind of burned out and the participation levels feel like they suggest the same thing from the group. Lets think about it.

Vote or change your vote until 3 AM EST July 2nd (or when I wake up)

Bracket & Noms Spreadsheet
Letterboxd List

Next Week!
- 3. George Romero vs. 6. The Ghostbeaters vs. 14. Joel Schumacher
- 2. Mario Bava vs. 7. Roger Corman

STAC Goat fucked around with this message at 17:54 on Jun 25, 2021

married but discreet
May 7, 2005




Taco Defender

NIMH won? Would have expected this to be closer at least. I guess it's at least advancing the more interesting overall team.

Dagon is very fun, but I'm curious as to what Ferrara is going to bring on the table with his extremely "everything is on the surface" level filmmaking.
The other matchup, oh boy. Girl Walks Home is due for a rewatch but Ana Lily Amirpour has always struck me as a too cool for schoo type of filmmaker where I appreciate it from afar but can't really approach properly.
Stoked about Zulawski, On the Silver Globe might have been my favourite movie in the tournament so far.

Basebf555
Feb 29, 2008

The greatest sensual pleasure there is is to know the desires of another!



Fun Shoe

Yea I really don't know how that Dagon vs. Body Snatchers matchup is gonna go. I feel like it could be close, or maybe people will have a strong reaction to Body Snatchers and Ferrara will clean up. Hard to say.

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The Berzerker
Feb 24, 2006

treat me like a dog




I watched Body Snatchers for the first time back in April (same with A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night), both were a blast. Looking forward to the other two in the match-ups, as I've not seen either of them.

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