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MFF Podcast #136: The Cornetto Trilogy

July 13, 2018

You can download the pod on Itunes, StitcherPodbean, or LISTEN TO THE POD ON BLOG TALK RADIO.

If you get a chance please make sure to review, rate and share. You are awesome!

The MFF podcast is back and we’re talking about the glorious Cornetto Trilogy. I love every second of director Edgar Wright’s trilogy and have gone out of my way to listen to all the commentaries and read every article that declares something like “23 things you didn’t know about The Cornetto Trilogy” to make sure this podcast gives you something new. Edgar Wright is one of my favorite directors because his films have a unique vibe that features quick cuts, tightly-written dialogue (with Simon Pegg’s help) and cinematography that makes the camera a three-dimensional character. Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World’s End are brimming with life and I love how they incorporate heart and humor in equal doses and become so much more than a spoof or comedy. You need to watch these movies and then listen to this podcast.

Andy + Andy = My favorite supporting character of the trilogy

As always, we answer random listener questions and if it’s best to be drunk during an apocalypse (probably not). If you are a fan of the podcast make sure to send in some random listener questions so we can do our best to not answer them correctly. We thank you for listening and hope you enjoy the pod!

You can download the pod on Itunes, StitcherPodbean, or LISTEN TO THE POD ON BLOG TALK RADIO.

If you get a chance please make sure to review, rate and share. You are awesome!

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John’s Horror Corner: Blood Diner (1987), a horror comedy B-movie about cannibalism and summoning an Egyptian demon Goddess.

July 10, 2018

MY CALL: This is a very deliberately stupid movie with lots of bad, lots of boobs, and lots of silly gore. As long as you’re in a goofy mood and can appreciate the most destitute of B-cinema, then this should be right up your alley! MORE MOVIES LIKE Blood Diner: Bloodsucking Pharaohs in Pittsburgh (1991), Frankenhooker (1990), Brain Damage (1988) and Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers (1988).

After their psychopathic uncle gives them 5-million-year-old amulets, two flunky brothers use their occult powers to reanimate his evil brain and use his guidance to resurrect the Goddess Sheetar. So how do we do this…? “The body parts of many immoral girls” are needed to resurrect the goddess Sheetar (Tanya Papanicolas; Vamp, Vicious Lips). Talk about classy!

Their uncle’s talking brain advises their murderous mission to obtain all the slutty body parts necessary to assemble Sheetar’s breasty vessel. And, while gathering these parts, silliness transpires. Of course, that should go without saying. Pretty much everything I’ve written so far is ridiculous, and so is this movie!

Topless aerobics girls get massacred, then there’s projectile vomit, naked Frankenstein stitchwork, deep-fried naked women, fridges full of severed body parts, lots of boobs, split-open bodies, naked martial arts (i.e., naked fights), a zombie mosh pit, a naked mangled-mouthed demon queen with a toothed vagina stomach, exploding heads, the brothers serve leftover body parts at their diner to support the family business… you did hear me say demon queen with a toothed vagina stomach, right? Yeah, that’s a thing that happens in this zany film and it’s essentially the biggest reason to watch.

Director Jackie Kong (The Being) has created a very deliberately stupid movie with lots of bad, lots of boobs, and lots of silly gore. It’s pure lunacy. As long as you’re in a goofy mood and can appreciate the most destitute of B-cinema, then this should be right up your alley!

John’s Horror Corner: Bloodsucking Bastards (2015), a rather generic horror comedy about a vampire takeover in the office.

July 9, 2018

MY CALL: With such a great cast, this movie felt like a huge missed opportunity. This is a low-priority rental for an afternoon and nothing more. Watchable, but not recommended. Fun, but not that fun.

MORE MOVIES LIKE Bloodsucking BastardsFor more horror comedies try Critters (1986), Blood Diner (1987), Frankenhooker (1990), Bloodsucking Pharaohs in Pittsburgh (1991), Leprechaun (1993), Head of the Family (1996), American Psycho (2000), Shaun of the Dead (2004), Black Sheep (2006), Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever (2009), Piranha 3D (2010), Tucker and Dale vs Evil (2010), Final Destination 5 (2011), Chillerama (2011), Piranha 3DD (2012), Grabbers (2012), The Cabin in the Woods (2012), Bad Milo (2013), Warm Bodies (2013), Burying the Ex (2014), Smothered (2014), What We Do in the Shadows (2014), Cooties (2015), Deathgasm (2015), Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse (2015), Housebound (2014), Zombeavers (2014), The Voices (2014), He Never Died (2015), Ava’s Possessions (2015), The Final Girls (2015),  Krampus (2015; not exactly comedy, but occasionally hilarious), Love in the Time of Monsters (2015), The Greasy Strangler (2016), Mayhem (2017), Happy Death Day (2017) and The Babysitter (2017).

Amid a typical sales office, Evan’s (Fran Kranz; The Cabin in the Woods, The Village, Donnie Darko) world is falling apart. He lost his girlfriend, on old college rival (Pedro Pascal; Game of Thrones) snatched his promotion out from under him, and his coworkers are being brutally murdered and replaced by vampires.

Between the premise and the cast, I was really excited to see this and bought the DVD blindly. I don’t exactly regret that, but this movie was not the exceptional delight for which I hoped.

Director Brian James O’Connell delivers a movie that is moderately fun and breezy. It’s not great, but it’s a nice way to spend a lazy afternoon. I never really felt any sense of urgency (even during the vampire killing scenes), shock or scale (it all takes place in the office), nor were the jokes ever laugh out loud affairs. Just a lot of grins and a few giggles.

Pedro Pascal is entertaining, but still he feels like he’s phoning it in. The real performance efforts come from Joey Kern (Cabin Fever), Emma Fitzpatrick (The Collection) and Fran Kranz. The gore, wounds and blood are not abundant except for a few scenes, but it’s nice when you see your heroes unexpectedly blood-doused a la What We Do in the Shadows (2014). But with that said, the gore is mostly blood and largely limited to the last 30 minutes.

For me, the greatest victory was adding to my lexiconical sense of “office horror” movies. And by that, I mean things like Mayhem (2017), The Belko Experiment (2016) or other fare discussed in our Office Horror podcast episode. Otherwise, this film is hard to recommend. You may have noticed this is a very short review for me… I guess I just don’t have much to say about it (good or bad).

John’s Horror Corner: Wrong Turn 6: Last Resort (2014), neither best nor worst in this hillbilly horror franchise.

July 8, 2018

MY CALL:  This remains watchable for those seeking some guilty pleasures in the form of boobs, gore and uninspired kills. Watch this for fun, not for “horror.”  MORE MOVIES LIKE Wrong Turn 6: Last ResortWell, of course, you need to go back to Wrong Turn (2003; the best one), maybe Wrong Turn 2: Dead End (2007; more silly but fun), but probably skip Wrong Turn 3: Left for Dead (2009) and go straight to Wrong Turn 4: Bloody Beginnings (2011; the best of the sequels) and Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines (2012).  More to try include The Hills Have Eyes 1-2 (1977, 1984, 2006, 2007), Just Before Dawn (1981), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), Hatchet (2006) and its three sequels, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986) will all continue to satisfy the hillbilly horror subgenre, and then maybe Cabin Fever 1-3 (2002-2014) for the gore hounds.

Director Valeri Milev (Re-Kill) follows the sloppy patterns of his predecessors, opening with a breasty sex scene and a gory murder sequence. And with these death scenes this sequel reintroduces us to our favorite inbred hillbilly cannibals: Three Finger (Radoslav Parvanov; Undisputed 2-3, Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines), Sawtooth (Danko Jordanov; The Hills Run Red) and One-Eye (Asen Asenov). Unfortunately, they don’t look as good as they used to (in terms of make-up quality) and they lack any sense of personality that differentiated them in past franchise installments (e.g., Three Finger was the loony and hyper one whereas now they’re all equally off-kilter). Instead they’ve been reduced to ugly, mutant hillbilly cannibals 1, 2 and 3.

In this shakily written sequel, a mysterious inheritance brings a twenty-something and his friends to a West Virginia Appalachian resort with a dark history and a weird pair of sibling caretakers. Keeping things classy, this movie boasts more sex scenes than death scenes, a stupidly convoluted plot (much as Texas Chainsaw 3-D) and—if we’re being honest—not quite enough horror. It almost goes into pervy territory with its sexualized storyline and themes (even with respect to the kills). Not that it doesn’t have its moments… they’re just heavily biased towards the final third of the film.

The razor wire death scene is engaging for gorehounds (and a nice call back to part 1), but much of the slashy/stabby gory effects rely on CGI finishing (e.g., an arrow through the head, the beheading). Such has been the case with the last several Wrong Turn sequels. At times I wonder if this is really less expensive than approaching them from a fully practical angle, or if it’s simply easier to handle these issues in post-production. But at the end of the day, these films continue to entertain me.

We enjoy a brutal leg break and dismemberment, an awesome headwound, the unforgettable anal firehose death scene, and a really weird family reunion reminiscent of Bleeders (1997) or Basket Case 3 (1991).

All in all, this was a moderately satisfying flick for a rainy Sunday afternoon. Certainly not worthy of being main event of the evening, but I got a few chuckles. The writing might be terrible, yet this sequel manages to entertain without much regret.  You’ll feel more fun (or tedium) than fear.  But this could make for a great Bad Movie Tuesday if you’re looking for some gory laughs.

 

John’s Horror Corner: City of the Living Dead (1980; aka Paura nella città dei morti viventi, Twilight of the Dead, The Gates of Hell), Lucio Fulci’s second gory Italian zombie movie and the opening film of his Gate of Hell trilogy.

July 8, 2018

MY CALL: This is the first film in Fulci’s Gates of Hell trilogy and a worthy education in early non-Romero zombie horror for any genre film fan. It has a decent premise, good pacing, and a satisfying diversity and abundance of special effects. Highly recommended. MORE MOVIES LIKE City of the Living Dead: Easily the best choice is Romero’s Dawn of the Dead (1978) and Fulci’s Zombie (1979). Fans of Fulcian gore may continue with The Beyond (1981) and The House by the Cemetery (1981), which are the remaining films of Fulci’s Gates of Hell trilogy.

Journalist Peter (Christopher George; Graduation Day, The Exterminator) investigates the mysterious simultaneous deaths of a suicidal priest and a woman (Catriona MacColl; The House by the Cemetery, The Beyond) who saw the Gates of Hell opening during a séance. Despite many locals’ skepticism of the supernatural, winds eerily pick up, mirrors shatter, buildings begin to crack, walls bleed, and Mary (the woman who died during the séance) rises from the dead to speak of the horrors she witnessed and to warn that the gates must be closed before All Saints Day or the dead will overtake the Earth.

I don’t think enough attention is paid to the fact that she rose from the grave (and that Peter seems just fine with that), but Fulci was never really known for thorough writing. So, Mary and Peter go on a road trip to Dunwich (a lot like In the Mouth of Madness) to stop this great evil at its origin. Apparently, reclosing the gates to Hell requires destroying the ghastly priest who serially appears hanging before his victims.

References to witch ancestry from Salem and a 4000-year-old of Book of Enoch hint at the ancient evil they face… although these concepts never really get explored so much as mentioned for the sake of flavor.

While the premise is interesting enough, this film observes a significant change in effects quality from Zombie (1979)—specifically, with respect to the zombies. Many of our zombies are simply pale-faced people, I was generally unmoved by the completely random worm-enshrouded rotting fetus, and when our undead priest smothers a woman with a handful of wormy grave mud I’m equally baffled as to the significance of this poorly executed scene. This is some of the random lunacy we see in Fulci’s more haphazard films Manhattan Baby (1982) and Aenigma (1987). Later the zombies get messier, with sloppy chunky gooey latex wounds and worms about their faces—but still, they don’t look very good. Just sufficiently gross to be entertaining or even off-putting.

But the film certainly has its moments—a LOT of them! A gorehound fan favorite scene would be when the zombie priest gazes upon a young woman who then bleeds from the eyes and starts to slowly vomit up her own organs—just pounds and pounds of gore-slathered intestines. There’s also when her date (Michele Soavi; Alien 2: on Earth, Phenomena, Demons) has the back of his head chunkily ripped out (a gory gag that gets repeated in the film to our messy delight). But even the occasional bite wound, hideous zombie face, power drill through the head, gusting storms of insect larvae, or crypt zombie will continue to please horror fans of diverse interests.

Among the cast, you’ll notice some familiar faces other than those cast members mentioned above. Among them are Giovanni Lombardo Radice (The Omen, Cannibal Ferox, The Church), Carlo De Mejo (Alien Contamination, Manhattan Baby, The Other Hell), Daniela Doria (The New York Ripper, The Black Cat, The House by the Cemetery).

Writer and director Lucio Fulci (Manhattan Baby, Aenigma) stormed the horror scene riding in on George Romero’s undead coattails with Zombie (1979). Deviating significantly in style from Zombie (1979), this feels less like a zombie movie and more like an infernal undead demon movie. This is no infection or virus, but an affliction prophesied in an ancient tome. Moreover, these teleporting gooey zombies and their passage through a gateway to Hell leave me with the sense that this may have influenced the monsters of Prince of Darkness (1985), Evil Dead (1981) and Demons (1987). Just when you thought you saw everything this film had to offer, there’s the crypt scene (at the end of the film) loaded with cobwebbed corpses and a subterranean set offering a nice change of pace.

This is the first film in Fulci’s Gates of Hell trilogy and a worthy education in early non-Romero zombie horror for any genre film fan. It has a decent premise, good pacing, and a satisfying diversity and abundance of special effects. Highly recommended.

 

Episode #135: Celebrating 10 Years of M. Night Shyamalan’s ‘The Happening’

July 6, 2018

You can download the pod on Itunes, StitcherPodbean, or LISTEN TO THE POD ON BLOG TALK RADIO.

If you get a chance please make sure to review, rate and share. You are awesome!

The MFF podcast is back and we’re talking about M. Night Shyamalan’s B-movie classic The Happening. We here at MFF love The Happening and we couldn’t wait to talk about its alternate timelines, lemon drinks, and Mark Wahlberg putting in some A+ work as a very confused science teacher. Way back in 2008, Shyamalan told interviewers it was “the ultimate B-movie” and for some reason, nobody listened — and it was met with a critical mauling and justified confusion. We totally get the backlash, but now there are 10 years behind it and it’s time the world started appreciating the performances, cinematography and streamlined story more. You gotta appreciate how it tells an INSANE Story in 90 minutes and feels totally unique and unexplainable. If you are on the fence about The Happening (or totally hate it) you need to listen to this podcast and we are 100% certain that 63% of you will change your minds and embrace the greatness of M. Night Shyamalan’s B-movie masterpiece.

You need to rewatch The Happening and look at it as a B-movie spectacular

As always, we answer random listener questions and discuss if book monsters (monsters that are also books) could be defeated by white paint.  If you are a fan of the podcast make sure to send in some random listener questions so we can do our best to not answer them correctly. We thank you for listening and hope you enjoy the pod!

You can download the pod on Itunes, StitcherPodbean, or LISTEN TO THE POD ON BLOG TALK RADIO.

If you get a chance please make sure to review, rate and share. You are awesome!

Set It Up: A Feel-Good Romantic Comedy You Should Check Out on Netflix

July 3, 2018

Set It Up may come across as a breezy little thing that gets by on cast chemistry and an adherence to old-school romantic comedy tropes (airports are featured). It certainly is breezy and loaded with talent, but it’s worth noting there is a reason why movies like this don’t come along very often — they are hard to make. Director Claire Scanlon (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Suburgatory, The Office) and writer Katie Silberman (How To Be Single – Producer) should be applauded for putting together a great cast and nailing the direction and writing.  In lesser hands, Set It Up could’ve been a perfectly mediocre little thing that features two good-looking people falling in love — while they try to make other good-looking people fall in love. However, Scanlon helps the movie earn its 94% Tomatometer score by embracing (not copying) romantic comedy tropes, keeping the pace brisk and getting very charming performances from Zoey Deutch, Glen Powell, Lucy Lui, Taye Diggs, and everyone else in the movie.

They need to be in more movies together.

The movie takes place in New York City and focuses on two twenty-something assistants trying to hook their horrible bosses up so they can have more free time. Harper (Zoey Deutch) works for famous sportswriter Kirsten (Lucy Lui) — a take-no-prisoners writer who made her name by uncovering the dirty secrets in the sports world.  Charlie (Glen Powell) is stuck with a powerful financier named Rick (Taye Diggs) who only drinks whiskey that is over $200 and has been stringing poor Charlie along for three years of demeaning assistant work. The two assistants meet during one of their long nights of working in the same building (how haven’t they met before?) and are initially frosty towards each other until they come up with a plan to hook up their bosses. Their plan leads to romantic comedy shenanigans involving baseball game kiss-cams, constant lying, and an unfortunate elevator instance that ends with a naked man peeing in some shot glasses.

It’s impossible to dislike Zoey Deutch and Glen Powell who between their roles in Hidden Figures, Scream Queens, Flower, and Everybody Wants Some!! (Great movie – they are both in it) have proven themselves to be super charismatic and likable. The two have immediate chemistry during their meet-cute involving delivered food for their bosses and I loved watching them deliver the super-quippy dialogue with ease. Their banter is reminiscent of rom-com classics like When Harry Met Sally, Annie Hall, and The Apartment, but it never feels stock or mimicked. Another fun aspect of Set It Up is how it allows the strong supporting cast to thrive and make meals out of tiny moments. Take a look at the trailer and you will see what I mean

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Set It Up is a charming movie that deserves a watch and hopefully springboards Deutch and Powell’s career into bigger and just as good things. If you are looking for a fun romantic comedy it doesn’t get any better and I guarantee you will really enjoy it.

 

 

 

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