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twernt
Mar 11, 2003

Whoa whoa wait, time out.


Oh hey I'm going to suddenly burst in like an awkward Kool-Aid Man to share my movie thoughts, but first I want to say I agree with Debbie Does Dagon's thoughts on how the scene on the front porch in Cursed should have played out.

7. (Debbie Does Dagonís Family Friendly) Hayao Miyazakiís Spirited Away vs. 10. (Kangraís Team Sister Act) Andy Muschiettiís Mama

Mama

I liked the premise and really wanted to enjoy this more than I did.

To be sure, there are a few bits that I thought were nice. For example, the scene shot from the hallway where Lilly is playing with Mama, Victoria knows, and Annabel almost walks in. Then thereís the improbably huge and spooky archives room.

Otherwise, it takes itself too seriously and is a bit too predictable. Also, there are too many jump scares. I donít care for jump scares because they always get me and then I feel really foolish. Why can't there just be dread and grossness instead? Lastly, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is older than me but playing a character younger and way handsomer than me so I just feel very aggrieved by this whole situation.

Spirited Away

Spirited Away isn't my favorite Miyazaki, but it's almost certainly the best one. It's full of wonder and magic and is way better than Mama.


2. Wes Cravenís Cursed vs. 15. Lloyd Kaufmanís Return toÖ Return to Nuke íEm High AKA Vol. 2

Cursed

If it werenít for all of the big names in the cast, I would think this was some kind of meta nostalgic TV movie of the week. Itís like horror comfort food for people who liked Scream and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In fact, I swear the the exterior shots are at Sunnydale High, unless this is just what high schools look like in southern California. Anyway, this doesn't mean it's terrible. I liked Scream and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I just thought Cursed was fine but ultimately forgettable.

Return toÖ Return to Nuke íEm High AKA Vol. 2

Return toÖ Return to Nuke íEm High AKA Vol. 2 really lacks the goofy, low-budget absurdist charm of Troma movies I grew up with, like Toxic Avenger or Sergeant Kabukiman. Instead, to me, it feels like a movie made by someone who had other Troma movies described to them, which doesn't actually make any sense because it's the same writer and director.

To be fair, "Take that, you stupid tire!" did make me laugh.

R.I.P. Lemmy

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twernt
Mar 11, 2003

Whoa whoa wait, time out.


Franchescanado posted:

I'm a fool for waiting on this, but here's a fun thing about Spirited Away!

Most of you probably felt the unconventional narrative of the story but didn't have an idea of why the whole thing feels very weird and "non-Hollywood".

The answer is because the film, like most Miyazaki films and Studio Ghibli films (but not all), does not use a three-act structure, or a Campbellian Hero's Journey, or a Circle Structure. It uses a poetic structure called Kishōtenketsu.

Kishōtenketsu is a four act structure that emphasizes character and world instead of action-oriented or conflict-oriented plot. The idea behind it is that the character and the setting are enough to have a complete story without artificial conflict, and learning about both over the course of the story is the story.

Thank you for sharing! It's super interesting and explains a lot.

My Neighbor Totoro is my favorite Miyazaki and I've never been able to articulate how or why the act structure is different.

twernt
Mar 11, 2003

Whoa whoa wait, time out.


Roger Cormanís The Pit and The Pendulum vs. 10. KŰji Shiraishiís Teke Teke

Teke Teke

Based on a Japanese urban legend about a woman who was cut in half, Teke Teke is a relatively tame horror mystery that follows a standard plot. A handful of characters need to follow the clues to either appease or defeat a vengeful spirit before time runs out. Along the way, there are some splashes of blood, a romantic misunderstanding, and a kanji-based plot twist. It's entertaining enough, but not especially creative or scary.

I do appreciate the end though. Either the cousins failed to restore the shrine properly or restoring the shrine didn't matter at all -- it was a red herring. I haven't watched a lot of Japanese urban legend horror, so I don't know if the ending followed established conventions or not.

The Pit and The Pendulum

At first, The Pit and the Pendulum seems like the kind of stilted period piece I try to avoid, where the costumes and scenery are more important that the characters that inhabit them. Soon enough, Vincent Price appeared to set me at ease. As Dom Medina, Price immediately gives off all sorts of incredibly spooky vibes while John Kerr as Francis Barnard puts on a master class in failing to read the room.

The way Corman concentrates on building tension and dread, as opposed to outright scares, really works. It's a slow burn that you know will go off the rails eventually.

Vincent Price, of course, is fantastic. The only down side is that the rest of the cast (except Barbara Steele) seem a little out of their depth any time they share a scene. Kerr's Barnard, in particular, is a tremendous twerp. It almost makes you look forward to him meeting a grisly end involving a pit, a pendulum, or maybe even both.

The ending was not exactly what I expected, but I really should have seen it coming. I love movies, but I think I'm still not very good at watching them.


For me, this is a relatively easy win for The Pit and The Pendulum

twernt
Mar 11, 2003

Whoa whoa wait, time out.


No way! This is quality content.

twernt
Mar 11, 2003

Whoa whoa wait, time out.


Mario Bava's Black Sunday vs. 15. (STAC Goat's Radio Silence) Glenn McQuaid's I Sell the Dead

I Sell the Dead

There are good ideas here and it's interesting to see the world of the supernatural from the perspective of working-class folks just scraping by. Unfortunately, it doesn't really coalesce into something compelling.

It may not be fair, but I also can't help but compare I Sell the Dead to the What We Do in the Shadows TV series. The different short stories are loosely held together by the pre-execution interview, but they all sort of stand on their own and may have been better off kept separate. In many ways, I Sell the Dead feels like an extended pilot episode for a show that never got picked up.

Overall, I wouldn't say it's terrible, but it's definitely not good enough for me to rewatch Black Sunday just to double check that it's the better movie.

I'll be voting for Black Sunday in this matchup.

twernt
Mar 11, 2003

Whoa whoa wait, time out.


Takashi Miikeís Terra Formars vs 16. (Franchescanadoís Team Vulgśr) Gasper Noeís Climax

Terra Formars

Terra Formars is a big, dumb action movie that wouldnít be out of place in Paul W.S. Andersonís filmography.

Except for the campy Honda and Komachi, the protagonist with the monumental hair, the characters are barely differentiated from one another. There are at least three different mysterious tough guys, once of which is secretly sad. Itís so bad that when one of the characters makes a surprise reappearance late in the movie, I didnít really remember who they were.

Then thereís the racism. I came into this movie hearing it was pretty problematic and even though the appearance of the Terra Formars themselves is toned down from the way they are depicted in the manga, itís hard avoid the fact that the entire premise of the movie is racist. Itís about humans traveling to Mars, specifically to exterminate and replace a sentient species. That sounds like genocide to me.

Climax

I know this is a tepid take at best, but Climax is really two symbiotic short films. Theyíre even neatly separated by the credits at about 45 minutes in. The first is a story driven by light and movement. There are nice little breakout scenes where the dancers chat, revealing things about themselves to us and to each other. Aside from some of topics of conversation, itís all bright and engaging.

The second story is a waking nightmare. I canít remember the last time a movie made me feel so nauseous, disoriented, and anxious all at the same time. It definitely wasnít an easy watch for me, but I was really impressed.


I really want to vote for Miike because Miike, but ugh.

twernt
Mar 11, 2003

Whoa whoa wait, time out.


William Friedkinís The Guardian vs. 9. (Tarnopís The Brutal Brits) Neil Marshallís The Descent

The Guardian

The Guardian was actually kind of boring until the last ten minutes. Those last ten minutes were still not enough to make up for the rest of the movie.

The Descent

It's me. I'm the one who hasn't seen the Descent before.

I thought this was legitimately scary, especially before the baddies show up. Shadows, noises, and the fear of the unknown can be especially effective. The monster in your imagination being worse than the monster you can actually see and all that. Once the baddies do appear, it becomes more of an action movie in a lot of ways. This is not really a complaint. It's just a shift in tone that's worth noting.

Otherwise I really appreciated how much depth Sarah and Juno had. The movie was really about the two of them, more than it was about being trapped in a cave being pursued by subterranean horrors.

For what it's worth, I saw the version with the US ending.

twernt
Mar 11, 2003

Whoa whoa wait, time out.


But I'm an emotionally stunted American and don't like things that are bleak.

Okay I watched the UK ending and it's definitely better. I think it really completes Sarah's character arc in a satisfying way. Maybe satisfying is the wrong word. It just feels right though.

I wouldn't say that the US ending is necessarily a happy ending though.

twernt fucked around with this message at 01:19 on Apr 22, 2021

twernt
Mar 11, 2003

Whoa whoa wait, time out.


I wasn't sure if the cave at the end was to be taken literally or not, since she is full-on hallucinating by that point.

twernt
Mar 11, 2003

Whoa whoa wait, time out.


I'm excited because it's the first matchup (since I started participating) where I've already seen both movies.

That being said, I'm planing to be a meta provocateur and say I'm voting for Showgirls, while I secretly vote for Peeping Tom.

twernt
Mar 11, 2003

Whoa whoa wait, time out.


Does this mean I need to rewatch Showgirls to vote in good faith?

twernt
Mar 11, 2003

Whoa whoa wait, time out.


I definitely appreciate all of the discussion.

In my memory, Showgirls is a 2/5, so it may be worth a rewatch anyway. Honestly if it had not come up in this week's matchup I may have never really thought about it ever again. This could be a sign of some kind.

twernt
Mar 11, 2003

Whoa whoa wait, time out.


John Carpenterís The Thing vs. 16. (STAC Goat's Block Party) Oz Rodriguezís Vampires vs the Bronx

I'll also be voting for The Thing here, but I also want to agree with basically everything Basebf555 said about Vampires vs the Bronx.

I love the randomness of the matchups we get sometimes. Based on everyone's impressions of Varan and The Roost so far (I haven't watched them yet) Vampires vs the Bronx would have beaten either of them. I think it really occupies a unique spot in the movies I've seen so far in Bracketology.

Actually, looking at last week's matchups I'd say there's a real rock-paper-scissor situation with Vampires vs the Bronx, Julien Donkey-Boy, and Mr. Sardonicus if they had been matched.

Vampires vs the Bronx > Mr. Sardonicus
Mr. Sardonicus > Julien Donkey-Boy
Julien Donkey-Boy > Vampires vs the Bronx

twernt
Mar 11, 2003

Whoa whoa wait, time out.


Looks like Ishiro Honda got knocked out of the tournament on his birthday. That's a fine how-do-you-do.

I voted for The Roost

twernt
Mar 11, 2003

Whoa whoa wait, time out.


I'm copying and pasting my hot takes from Letterboxd for both of these matchups.

1. Dario Argentoís Phantom of the Opera vs. 16. (TrixRabbi's Andrzej Żuławski & Other Poles) On the Silver Globe

Phantom of the Opera - Julian Sands is at his Julian Sandsiest in this very uneven but occasionally very entertaining horror comedy semi-musical reminiscent of the 1910 novel Le FantŰme de l'Opťra.

On the Silver Globe - On the Silver Globe is an incredibly dense sci-fi fable about accidentally re-founding human civilization on a distant planet and not learning from any of history's mistakes.

To me, On the Silver Globe was the objectively better movie, but it really wasn't any fun. On the other hand, Phantom of the Opera was probably only fun because I watched it with a group. I'll probably be voting for On the Silver Globe because I've voted against the other #1 seeds when they drew a real clunker.


8. (STAC Goatís Team Ladies Night) Issa Lůpezís Tigers Are Not Afraid vs. 9. (STAC Goatís The Silent Founders) Tod Browningís Mark of the Vampire

Tigers Are Not Afraid - Tigers Are Not Afraid reminded me of both Panís Labyrinth and City of God in the best ways possible. Five young orphans are forced to deal with circumstances that would be terrible for adults. The performances were fantastic (especially the children) and the supernatural touches were just enough to accentuate the tense and tragic story.

Mark of the Vampire - Tod Browning does Scream 60 years before Scream. I should have liked this a lot more than I did but it really fell flat.

In this matchup, Tigers Are Not Afraid is an easy choice.

twernt
Mar 11, 2003

Whoa whoa wait, time out.


STAC Goat posted:

Lets talk about the first round! Feel free to skip this post if and go to the next one if you want.

Ok, I'm done. I hope that made sense and someone cares.

I just want to say that I enjoy the stats posts because I am a big nerd.

Have you looked at how things shake out if you exclude the Play In numbers?

twernt
Mar 11, 2003

Whoa whoa wait, time out.


9. (Tarnopís The Brutal Brits) Ben Wheatleyís Sightseers vs. 16. (Francschendoís Team Vulgśr) Lars von Trierís The House That Jack Built

I'm quoting myself from the Horror Challenge thread here.

quote:



Sightseers (2012)
Directed by Ben Wheatley

Sightseers is a lovely, low-key black comedy. Chris and Tina are a couple in a in a relatively new relationship getting ready to go on a camping holiday together. Tinaís mother is incredibly clingy and both Chris and Tina seem to be profoundly lonely.



Itís not long before disaster strikes on their trip and, at first, I wasnít sure if it was an accident or not, which gave me something to chew on. I spent the rest of the movie eagerly awaiting the next awkward and darkly hilarious moment to happen. Thatís really what this movie was, except for the bit around the dream sequence when it lost me, a series of great little moments.



Probably my favorite little thing was when a song repeated, but performed by a different artist, signifying that Tina was taking over for Chris.



Alice Lowe is wonderful as Tina. Steve Oram is good, but not quite as good. Otherwise, I wouldnít say this is a great movie by any stretch but it was very entertaining and I loved it a little bit.




The House That Jack Built (2018)
Directed by Lars Von Trier

The House That Jack Built is a masterpiece of a slog. Itís very well done technically and almost everything works exactly as it should, but I just didnít really like it. I think thereís definitely a difference between art that is executed well and art that is effective. Of course if the purpose of art is to provoke an emotional response, then even negative responses are valid.



Anyway.

Jack seems to be a metaphor for terrible white men everywhere, Lars Von Trier himself included. Early on, he marvels at how heís able to get away with pretty much anything. You could say heís running through life on easy mode. Even so, itís not long before heís lecturing a victim about how all men are victims the moment theyíre born because everyone assumes theyíre guilty.



As Jack, Matt Dillon actually does a great job. He plays multiple versions of the same character throughout the movie, each with their own appearance and mannerisms, which is very impressive. The rest of the characters are largely forgettable, which ties directly into idea of Jack being the exemplar of toxic masculinity. Heís the sole protagonist of his own reality.



The wonder of the epilogue almost makes it worse. Itís like Von Trier is saying ďHey I may be awful but Iím still an artist!Ē

I'm planning to vote for Sightseers here. The House That Jack Built is objectively really good, but I just didn't like it. On the other hand, I loved Sightseers a little bit and now I want to see other things that Alice Lowe has worked on.

twernt fucked around with this message at 19:38 on May 17, 2021

twernt
Mar 11, 2003

Whoa whoa wait, time out.


Tarnop posted:

Her debut feature as director (and she stars) is in my other remaining team. It's called Prevenge and its really good.

Oh nice! I'll put that on my list so I'll remember to watch it if it doesn't come up in the tournament for some reason.

twernt
Mar 11, 2003

Whoa whoa wait, time out.


The House That Jack Built is the first Lars Von Trier movie I've ever seen so I don't have a lot of context for what his deal is.

twernt
Mar 11, 2003

Whoa whoa wait, time out.


I will definitely need to check out Melancholia. Thank you!

twernt
Mar 11, 2003

Whoa whoa wait, time out.


4. Lucio Fulciís City of the Living Dead vs. 5. (Debbie Does Dagonís Queer as in gently caress You) Bertrand Mandicoís Les garÁons sauvages aka The Wild Boys

City of the Living Dead (1980)
Directed by Lucio Fulci

The gates of Hell are open, the dead are walking around being very rude, and the world is going to end in a few days. Despite all this, there's a weird lack of urgency to everything.

Peter: "According to your theory, we have less than 48 hours before this, uh, All Saints' Day."
Mary: "We should go check out the local cuisine."

It's occasionally unnerving and often gory, but it might be the most lackadaisical apocalypse ever.


The Wild Boys (2017)
Directed by Bertrand Mandico

The Wild Boys is a visually mesmerizing film that I think is about external forces dictating gender roles. Five terrible boys commit an unforgivable act of sexual violence and are sentenced to be tamed by a strange sea captain. The idea presented in the story is that he knows a way to make them more timid by feminizing them. After a harrowing sea voyage, the captain and the boys arrive on a mysterious island.

There are so many beautiful sequences in The Wild Boys, along with many that seem to be built to make audiences squirm in their seats. The swaps between color and black and white are very striking. The scenes on the boat have an especially dreamlike quality to them.

This film contains more messages than I think I will ever be able to unpack. The opening scenes convinced me that it was going to try to coast on shock value, but thereís a lot more to it. Itís actually very thought-provoking and well done.


I'm not sure which way I'm going to go here, but I wanted to share my quick thoughts on The Wild Boys, along with the short review I did for City of the Living Dead back in March.

twernt
Mar 11, 2003

Whoa whoa wait, time out.


3. (Irony or Deathís Team David) David Cronenbergís Scanners vs. 11. (STAC Goatís Team Universal) Jack Arnoldís Creature From The Black Lagoon

These were both rewatches for me, but I hadn't seen Creature From The Black Lagoon in decades, so I decided that rewatching both would be the fairest way to compare them.



Scanners (1981)
Directed by David Cronenberg

Scanners is a ponderous chore, punctuated by a few moments of bonkers sci-fi action. The best bit, the part weíve all probably seen, happens in the first fifteen minutes and then you have to trudge through the rest of the movie to get to the goopy, fiery finale. Itís like a half-baked conspiracy theory thriller where you donít necessarily care about the details of the conspiracy or the intrepid heroes trying to unravel it.



Iím not saying that I think David Cronenberg is a bad director. Heís actually a really good director. Few people who argue that he doesnít know how to compose a shot or sequence. I just donít think he should be trusted to write his own movies. Aside from Videodrome, his best movies are all written or cowritten by someone else.



Michael Ironsides does the best he can, but his character is limited to scowling and occasionally emoting like heís taking an epic dump. Also, instead of being an omnipresent menace, heís barely in this move at all. Steven Lack though. Ugh. Whatís going on there? Even the big reveal about Dr. Ruth lacks any kind of punch because Vale is just so blah.

I definitely liked Scanners more the first time I saw it, so I'm not sure what happened.




Creature from the Black Lagoon (1953)
Directed by Jack Arnold

I havenít seen this movie since I was a kid, so a rewatch was very interesting. So many false memories. For example, I was sure that the creature was captured and put on display in an aquarium, but I was apparently confusing this movie with the sequel, Revenge of the Creature, which I must have also seen at some point.

The 50s were a decade of unlimited optimism, for at least some Americans. The idea that we might not be the dominant culture, let alone the dominant species, was probably unthinkable. Iíve only seen a handful of 50s horror movies and itís hard not to view them all through the lens of the Red Scare. Itís not just the commies who want to take our freedom and tail fins and ladies, itís the monsters too!



Though the characters are mostly forgettable, the performances are good enough that I didnít really notice them. Sometimes thatís the most you can ask from a creature feature. The jungle scenery and underwater photography are beautiful, even in black and white. The creatureís design is iconic and even more impressive considering itís a practical suit in which the actor could walk and swim.

I think the suit is really what makes the movie. The fact that the creature is so mobile and relentless leads to quite a few genuinely tense moments, along with more action than you would expect from a movie of this vintage. Itís also not a dumb creature ó the so-called gill man is able to form plans and escape a net. Monsters that arenít mere animals are much more compelling.



Also, Mark is such a sourpuss turd that I was rooting against him basically the whole movie.


I'm planning to vote for Creature from the Black Lagoon here because when I compare the cores of each movie, it's not even close. Scanners is character-driven but the lead character, the person who should be driving everything, is very boring. Creature from the Black Lagoon is obviously creature-driven and the creature is great.

Also, the acting in Creature from the Black Lagoon is lackluster, but much of the acting in Scanners is actively bad.

twernt
Mar 11, 2003

Whoa whoa wait, time out.


2. Shinya Tsukamotoís Nightmare Detective vs. 7. (STAC Goatís Creature Features) Guillermo del Toroís Hellboy

Hellboy (2004)

Hellboy is a fun supernatural adventure that probably owes as much to the Indiana Jones series as it does to the See of Destruction comic mini series, which I have never read. I did read a plot summary on Wikipedia, so youíll just need to trust me that this analysis is spot on. Anyway, Hellboy is Indiana, Liz is Marion, and Myers is Marcus Brody.

Some of the action is a little awkward. I honestly donít know if itís a choreography issue or a special effects issue. The end could have been cut a little shorter too. Otherwise, I think everything works. There are many beautiful shots. The colors are wonderful. Most of the acting is great.

Really my only substantial beef with Hellboy is that I think it should have been a series instead of a movie. Thereís so much of the world building that we donít get to see.


Nightmare Detective (2006)

Nightmare Detective is what Inception would have been if it had been released in Japan four years before Inception. Also, instead of a heist movie, it was a horror police procedural.

A mysterious entity is entering the nightmares of people who may already be having suicidal thoughts, killing them in their sleep and making it look like suicide. Some of the police have no interest in investigating the cases further, but a young detective knows that things are not what they seem. She enlists the Nightmare Detective to help her solve the mystery.

After a really engaging start, the movie started to lose me. Itís full of beautiful shots, but the characters all felt very flat so I didnít really connect with any of them. This meant there wasnít as much emotional impact as there should have been when a character died. Also, the action leaned really heavily on shaky cam antics which tends to make things disorienting rather than exciting.

Nightmare Detective does feature quite a bit of blood and way more bike riding than I would have guessed.


I could really go either way here. I think that Hellboy is executed better, but Nightmare Detective is more thought-provoking. There's also the fact that I don't really think of Hellboy as a horror movie, but I'm not sure I've always taken that into consideration before.

twernt
Mar 11, 2003

Whoa whoa wait, time out.


Iím also Creature and Nightmare. I had to look up Robert Silverman to remind myself who he played.

twernt
Mar 11, 2003

Whoa whoa wait, time out.


16. (Tarnopís Predation) Alice Loweís Prevenge vs. 8. William Castleís I Saw What You Did



Prevenge (2016)
Directed by Alice Lowe
Watched on Shudder

This was already on my list after watching Sightseers, which I really enjoyed. I also generally like horror comedies. Prevenge didnít disappoint me at all.



Ruth is very pregnant and sheís very out for revenge on the people she blames for her husbandís death. The twist is that her future daughter is the one calling the shots. Itís all an extended metaphor for pregnancy itself. When you are pregnant, everyone treats you differently. More often than not, the treatment is completely unfair. In addition, youíre not necessarily in control of your own body or mind anymore.



I think that Alice Lowe is a very talented writer and she has a real knack for dark, deadpan comedy. Prevenge is evidence that she also knows how to direct. Itís not a perfect movie by any stretch, but it was very entertaining and well done. Iím excited to see what she does next.




I Saw What You Did (1965)
Directed by William Castle
Watched on Internet Archive

I Saw What You Did is only the second William Castle movie Iíve seen, so I was a little disappointed that he didnít show up at the beginning to introduce the movie and tell us what the gimmick would be. The tone is also really weird at the beginning, like a 60s sitcom. It even has a jaunty, upbeat soundtrack.



In this movie, Kit and Lib are two teenage pals who spend the night making prank calls. When they accidentally prank a murderer, then visit his house, not a whole lot actually happens. Itís the strangest thing. What would otherwise set up a very tense situation is just really boring. Until the last ten minutes of the movie, it never really feels like anyone is in danger, except of course the folks who were murdered.



I donít think that I Saw What You Did is necessarily a bad movie. William Castle is definitely a competent director. Itís just not really compelling in any way. None of the characters are especially interesting. It is ahead of its time as a parable about the dangers of technology.


For me, Prevenge is the obvious choice in this matchup.

twernt
Mar 11, 2003

Whoa whoa wait, time out.


4. (Franchescanadoís Femme Fatale) Mary Harronís American Psycho vs. 5. (STAC Goatís Team Grindhouse) Quentin Tarantinoís Death Proof



American Psycho
Directed by Mary Harron
Watched on Amazon

American Psycho is the secretly and overtly campy 80s prequel to The House That Jack Built that I never knew I needed until I watched it and it occurred to me that theyíre both about white men who appear to have some kind of antisocial personality disorder, are much more interesting and charismatic than anyone else around them, and largely exist in a consequence-free world.

Christian Bale is flabbergasting as Patrick Bateman. The rest of the characters, with the exception of ChloŽ Sevigny as Jean and Willem Dafoe as Detective Kimball, kind of fade into the background. This makes sense because itís really a story about Bateman and his perception of reality. I think that Jean and Detective Kimball might be given more weight because theyíre the only ones who really see the man behind the curtain, even a little bit.



Overall I thought that American Psycho was technically excellent ó the music, the cinematography, everything just works. In spite of all of the sex and violence is did feel a little sterile though. Iím assuming this is because weíre never really seeing this as they are.



I havenít actually read much about this movie so Iím not sure if this is an obvious take or not, but the way I understood the ending is that Bateman is delusional and never actually did any of the things he confessed to doing. This means that the prostitute he referred to as Christine (who is also the only person who could be a witness to his crimes) may not have existed at all. This could work because of the way they meet up. Bateman picks her up in a limousine that only appears in these scenes and sheís in an area of town where there is literally no other person.




Death Proof
Directed by Quentin Tarantino
Watched on Tubi

I had seen the shorter Grindhouse version of Death Proof. Here, the prologue is stretched out to about an hour instead of whatever shorter length it was in the double feature. I couldnít find this info but I didnít spend much time looking. It seems like it should be relatively easy to find out though?



Part of me wants to criticize Tarantino for making movies just to pepper them with references, but Iíd do the exact same thing if I ever became a famous director. I especially liked when Julia called Stuntman Mike ďZatoichiĒ because he didnít notice the very obvious billboard. Itís also fascinating to me that all of Tarantinoís movies potentially take place in the same magical realism universe.



The longer version of Death Proof is still a lot of fun. I was a little apprehensive because I figured it would be a lot of padding or scenes that should have been cut anyway, but instead we got a lot more character development and no pacing issues that were obvious enough for me to notice. The finale is really what sets this movie apart. Anyone who has seen it knows already, but I donít want to say anything more about it because itís just fantastic if youíre coming in completely unspoiled.


I could go either way with this matchup. I think they're both great movies. American Psycho is more interesting, but Death Proof is more fun.

twernt
Mar 11, 2003

Whoa whoa wait, time out.


7. (A Conglomerate of People Who Hate Meís Team It's Not A Cartoon, Mom! It's Art! 😫) Eiichi Yamamotoís Belladonna of Sadness vs. 15. Brian Yuznaís Amphibious 3D



Belladonna of Sadness (1973)
Directed by Eiichi Yamamoto

What if a 70s concert poster started moving around and what if everything in that poster was actually a penis and what if it was all a metaphor for female empowerment and bodily autonomy in the face of institutions run by men ó religion, government, capitalism, etc.



Belladonna of Sadness uses some truly delicate and beautiful art to depict particularly awful and brutal events. On the whole, itís unlike pretty much anything Iíve seen before. There are parts that were definitely inspired by Yellow Submarine, along with parts that definitely influenced 80s ďrock and rollĒ animated films like Heavy Metal or Rock & Rule. The watercolor stills and watercolor-style animations definitely set it apart though.



Despite its lurid description, itís not an endless parade of tentacles, though you can see where some of those movies got their inspiration. I will assume this is the case and not research the matter further.




Amphibious 3D (2010)
Directed by Brian Yuzna

Amphibious 3D is not great. Letís just get that out of the way. If youíre looking for great horror, keep moving. Some, but not all, of the acting is pretty bad. The story is muddled with unnecessary complexity. The computer effects are sub par for 2010. This is a real shame because I think the movie would have been much better if it had shown the monster less. The poster already gives it away. You know itís some kind of giant scorpion. A story in which *something* is stalking and killing people on a remote fishing platform is much more interesting than just waiting around for Yuzna to finally show you the whole scorpion.



Itís not completely terrible though. At only 83 minutes, Amphibious 3D doesnít waste a lot of time with extraneous exposition. Michael Parť does a decent job as Jack Bowman, boat captain and hero. Francis Bosco and Francis Magee are also convincing enough as the two main human villains. Yes, both actors are named Francis. Their characters have different names. When the movie uses practical effects, theyíre actually good. Lots of folks get chopped or stabbed, leading to plenty of blood and guts. Thereís also a nice surprise at the end, just when I thought they were dragging things out to pad the time.


I'm planning to vote for Belladonna of Sadness in this matchup. As an artistic achievement, it blows Amphibious 3D out of the water.

twernt fucked around with this message at 20:52 on Jun 7, 2021

twernt
Mar 11, 2003

Whoa whoa wait, time out.


I feel really inadequate following up such an epic post but here we go.

3. Tobe Hooperís The Texas Chain Saw Massacre vs. 6. (Irony or Deathís The Nephilim) Jennifer Chambers Lynchís Chained



The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
Directed by Tobe Hooper
Watched on Shudder

This is actually only the second time Iíve seen The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. I canít remember how long ago it was that I saw it for the first time, but I remember being nervous as the opening credits rolled. At the time it was still considered a controversial or even infamous movie. I was worried that watching TCM would be kind of a horror Rubicon for me and I would never been the same person again. Well that didnít happen.



It seems strange to describe The Texas Chain Saw Massacre as a labor of love but thatís what I really think it is. You can see it in the details ó the radio station that only broadcasts the most depressing news, the nest of spiders in the old house, the tooth on the front porch. Theyíre all so perfect that you know a lot of thought and care went into this movie. Itís also really impressive how much of the horror comes from just letting us see the house and all of the macabre crap that fills it.



The best part, in my opinion, is just how inscrutable Leatherface and his family are. The movie never really bothers to give them any motivation (beyond wanting to eat people) or try to make them sympathetic on any level. There are no flashbacks to grandpaís abuse-filled childhood or the hardships the family experienced when they lost their jobs at the slaughterhouse. They just exist completely outside of ďnormalĒ society and thatís how it is.

As a side note, I should also admit that until just a month or so ago I thought that Tobe rhymed with ďrobeĒ so itís been a big year for me.




Chained (2012)
Directed by Jennifer Chambers Lynch
Watched on Tubi

Even though I kind of liked it, I donít think ďenjoyedĒ is the right word to describe the experience of watching Chained. Itís a movie about a serial killer, who kidnaps a nine-year-old boy. Well he sort of accidentally kidnaps a boy along with the boyís mother, who he kills. Itís a little complicated. The net result is that Bob, the killer, ends up raising the boy, who he names Rabbit, in his isolated murder house.



Because 90% of Chained takes place inside Bobís house, the whole thing depends on Vincent D'Onofrio, Eamon Farren, and their interactions. The good news is that they both do a terrific job. The two characters have a surprisingly complex relationship. Eventually, Bob begins to see himself as Rabbitís father and decides to teach him the family trade. It sets up a nice dynamic where Rabbit keeps pushing back, asserting himself title by little.



Thereís also a persistent feeling of dread for most of the movie, punctuated by quick bursts of violence. Weirdly enough, the dread is the part I really like. For most of the movie I honestly didnít know how it would end. After all, thereís no guarantee of a happy ending. My only real problem with Chained is that it ultimately didnít go anywhere satisfying. Itís hard the explain more without giving the ending away, but there is a reveal that should have had more punch than it did.


Obviously I'm voting for The Texas Chain Saw Massacre here, but I think there are definitely other movies we've watched so far that Chained could have bested.

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twernt
Mar 11, 2003

Whoa whoa wait, time out.


I'm excited for these matchups because Near Dark is the only one I've already seen.

A Chinese Ghost Story was a lot of fun so I've got high hopes for the sequel.

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