It's 2014 already. Geez. Before we know it we'll be seeing best of '14 lists coming back around. I think the only theme I found this week was that all of the movies are a bit old, but one was just released and the rest don't disappoint. Happy January, Deviants.
All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (2006)
This movie just arrived in the U.S. last year, but, as I said above it actually came out in 2006. You could find a foreign copy if you had a region-free disc player, but there weren't many. I was lucky enough to catch it in 2010 on YouTube and I instantly liked it. I watched it a couple of times until it was inevitably taken down. Mandy Lane (Pineapple Express' Amber Heard) grew up over the summer. So all the cool kids want to be around her and they invite her "out to the ranch" to party with them. It starts out pretty by-the-numbers, but it really does progress into a good little slasher flick. Amber Heard is great as the innocent and naive girl who may just not be either of those two things. The cinematography is gorgeous and the ranch they shot on allows for some good setups. There's even a local legend that the ranch they filmed on was the location that John Wilkes Booth fled to after the assassination. I'm glad it's finally available and for free here on Netflix. Enjoy.
This is horror. I don’t care what anyone says. It’s terrifying, disarming and will stay with you for a long time. I’ve forced numerous people to watch this with me since its initial release and they all sat in awe – perhaps shock and awe, but awe nonetheless. Without giving too much away, this movie starts out with a huge bang and doesn’t let up until the film’s devastating finale. Then something happens when you watch it again; you’re privy to information you missed on the first viewing and that changes the entire film. And it’s that much more devastating. The director, Gaspar Noe, is a master film-maker and he embraces the ability to ravage the viewer with what he delivers. His previous film, I Stand Alone, actually featured a warning before the insane climax that read, “ATTENTION, You have 30 seconds to leave the screening of this film.” I could have used that during a few other movies as well, but who am I kidding – I’d still stay. While he’s definitely not trying to make any kind of political or social statements, you also don’t get the feeling that these are pointless atrocities. Because you’re changed as a viewer and I’d argue that you’re somehow changed as a human being living on planet earth. So, here goes: WARNING: this film features very graphic violence and nudity and a mixture of both. Hey, at least I warned you.
The Ring (2002)
Before you die, you see...THE RING. Queue the dramatic music. The horror homage to VHS. I was working at Blockbuster when The Ring came out on video. I had already seen it a few times, but I remember opening the UPS shipment and finding a bunch of VHS tapes on their sides with no stickers, no visible interior label, just an almost clear sleeve and the title printed on the side. Of course it had more substance when we actually took them out, but it's still one of the my favorite VHS covers. I wish they'd just sent them in a clear plastic cover with the title etched into it or something. How awesome would that have been. The movie itself was fun as hell when it came out. After the somewhat lackluster state of horror that was the 90's, this was the perfect anecdote for my blues. As you know I love VHS and I love mysteries and since this features both, it's a total win. The somber mood it emotes puts me in a fantastically somber mood. So, yeah, I like the movie - I'll stop blabbering. Enjoy it and if you're not a huge fan, maybe give it another try.
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Sometimes you've just got to sit back and watch a classic and NOTLD is just that. Probably the first real horror movie that I ever sat through. The grainy black and white film, all of the iconic imagery (the zombies shuffling across the lawn, the hands coming through the windows, Kyra with her hair hanging over her face), "They're coming to get you, Barbara!!"; I love every aspect of it and it's only become more special to me over the years. Not my favorite of The Dead series, but it deserves the most respect for bringing the entire thing into existence.
Matt, Signing Out