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John’s Horror Corner: Butterfly Kisses (2018), an excellent pseudo-meta-mockumentary about a documentary about found footage about an urban legend.

May 1, 2019

MY CALL: This multi-layered metamovie mockumentary was unexpectedly good, thoughtfully written and sincerely acted. Overall a big win for me. More like this please! MORE MOVIES LIKE Butterfly Kisses: For more mockumentary-esque for docu-gone-wrong horror I’d strongly recommend The Last Exorcism (2010) and Grave Encounters (2011). I’d also suggest Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000) and Scream 1-4 (1996-2011).

This film’s opening had me fearful I was in for another The Bye Bye Man (2017) as we view footage from a film student’s (Rachel Armiger) senior thesis. She fears she’ll soon be dead because she doesn’t know how much longer she can go “without blinking” as I roll my eyes and the video ends. Then we abruptly cut from this found footage to the more congenial docu-style introduction to our investigative filmmaker protagonist Gavin (Seth Adam Kallick). He finds a box labeled “don’t watch” and waxes cheekily “isn’t that how all good horror movies start?” And what’s on the tapes? The raw, unedited footage of the film student’s project.

In both the film student’s footage and the Gavin’s documentary about that footage, candidly presented witness and expert testimonials cultivate endearing asides explaining the back story, history and rules of The Peeping Tom—a deadly folklore entity. But the student’s recordings cannot be easily connected to many real people (e.g., the ophthalmologist), bringing into question the legitimacy of the film student’s work… and the subsequently Gavin’s work as well. So Gavin is now investigating whether the now-dead student was fabricating or telling the truth that she saw The Peeping Tom, as Gavin’s critics wonder the same of him.

During Gavin’s frustrating journey, this film explores what the notion of “found footage” really implies down to questions of testing validity or proof of manipulation (or lack thereof). In a Crash Palace Productions interview (The Last Knock podcast) with director Erik Kristopher Myers (Roulette), it was explained that this is to found footage movies what Scream (1996) was to the slasher subgenre. I couldn’t agree more!

For a film I hadn’t heard of by a director I didn’t know about, this turned out to be quite a treat. Everything struck me as thoughtfully executed. There is almost no blood, one or two jumpy moments, and briefly-viewed disturbing imagery… but it was all more than enough. This film works through the gravity of the filmmaker, the actors’ performances (especially Seth Adam Kallick) and the excellent direction and editing.

Found footage gets a bad rap because the filming style lends itself to sloppy filmmaking and abysmal budgets. And with little required effort, a few films with poor writing and direction behind them can paint the subgenre’s canvas with crap. Even if you’ve never heard of this film until now, you really ought to just go watch it regardless of your opinion on found footage. This film is the very life preserver that the oft-scoffed subgenre needed!

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The MFF Podcast #191: Jumper

May 1, 2019

You can download the pod on Itunes, StitcherTune In,  Podbean, or Spreaker.

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

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The MFF podcast is back, and this week we’re talking about the 2008 superhero movie Jumper. The movie made $222 million worldwide, but was hated by critics who didn’t like director Doug Liman’s take on the superhero genre. We are big fans of the movie, and appreciate how Liman dragged the production to seven countries in an attempt to make the world feel real by going to actual locations in Italy, Japan and Egypt. In this podcast, you will hear us talk about jump faces, bank robberies and the best Samuel L. Jackson villain roles. If you are a fan of Jumper, you will love this episode.

Sam Jackson loves appearing in superhero movies.

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, StitcherTune In,  Podbean, or Spreaker.

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

John’s Horror Corner: Dark Tales of Japan (2004; aka Suiyô puremia: sekai saikyô J horâ SP Nihon no kowai yoru), passable for a Japanese TV movie horror anthology.

April 30, 2019

MY CALL: This anthology should be watched even if only to see the Spiderwoman segment, which is by far the best of the lot. But overall, you’ll feel the TV-ness in the rigid acting, low budget and hokey acting.

MORE HORROR ANTHOLOGIES: Dead of Night (1945), Black Sabbath (1963), Tales from the Crypt (1972), The Vault of Horror (1973), The Uncanny (1977), Creepshow (1982), Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983), Stephen King’s Cat’s Eye (1985), Deadtime Stories (1986), Creepshow 2 (1987), After Midnight (1989), Tales from the Darkside: The Movie (1990), Two Evil Eyes (1990), Grimm Prairie Tales (1990), The Willies (1990), Necronomicon: Book of the Dead (1993), Hellraiser: Bloodline (1996), Campfire Tales (1997), 3 Extremes (2004), Creepshow 3 (2006), Trick ‘r Treat (2007), Chillerama (2011), Little Deaths (2011), V/H/S (2012), The Theater Bizarre (2012), The ABCs of Death (2013), V/H/S 2 (2013), The Profane Exhibit (2013), The ABCs of Death 2 (2014), V/H/S Viral (2014), Southbound (2015), Tales of Halloween (2015), A Christmas Horror Story (2015), The ABCs of Death 2.5 (2016), Holidays (2016), Terrified (2017; aka Aterrados, which is a pseudo-anthology), Oats Studios, Vol. 1 (2017), Ghost Stories (2017), XX (2017) and The Field Guide to Evil (2018).

Despite their estimable repute, directors Norio Tsuruta (Ringu 0, Premonition), Kôji Shiraishi (Noroi: The Curse, Ju-Rei: The Uncanny), Takashi Shimizu (Ju-on 1-2, The Grudge 1-2, Flight 7500), Masayuki Ochiai (Shutter, Ju-on: The Final Curse) and Yoshihiro Nakamura (Lizard Baby, The Booth) join forces to create something largely mediocre (and that’s if I’m being generous). Mediocre… but perfectly passable considering this was a made-for-TV movie.

Like any multi-filmmaker anthology (e.g., V/H/S, The Field Guide to Evil, The ABCs of Death), the quality of the five stories vary wildly. I’d consider the first two segments (Spiderwoman and Crevices) the most amusing, with the following three more typical of lower quality Twilight Zone episodes—you know, more the so-so revivals (1985-1989, 2002-2003) not the awesome original series (1959-1964). Journeying through this anthology we’ll find human-spider-hybrids, giant spectral heads, typical Grudge ghosts, black magic, light twists and “hair” demons—with little of it landing well boasting hardly any gore and only mildly disturbing imagery.

From its outset it is painfully obvious that this is a TV movie down to the hokey acting, clunky storytelling and low budget effects—which are charmingly bad when an eight-(human)-limbed woman is seen crawling on the wall. Spiderwoman is fun… you’ll laugh like you’re enjoying a solid B-movie. The face of the hybrid spider-woman is much more passable than the dated CGI. But then we return to the incredibly hokey storytelling… man sees spider-woman, looks down and is wrapped up in web, looks back up and spider-woman is still down the hall. Very cheesy. Reminds me of Nickelodeon’s Are You Afraid of the Dark (1990-2000) in the kindest way.

After the disappearance of his tenant, a landlord contacts the tenant’s old friend in Crevices. Every border of every door, window and drawer in the apartment has been obsessively sealed shut with red electrical tape—much as in Pulse (2006). Long-nailed ghostly limbs reach from unseen nooks and crannies. This little vignette carries on playfully and is more to the point than the contrived (but more entertainingly silly) Spiderwoman segment.

Things take a turn to boredom with The Sacrifice as a woman is cursed by her amorous co-worker. Although I enjoyed the imagery of the gigantic disembodied head, it wasn’t enough to forgive this story. And even less tolerable was Blonde Kwaidan, featuring a Japanese man obsessed with blondes visiting Hollywood to find a most unpleasant blonde surprise. Lame.

The final segment feels most classically like The Twilight Zone. A dishonest businessman and husband finds a deserving fate in Presentiment when trapped in an elevator with three mysterious people.

Again, for a TV movie this was… meh… I guess okay. But I do want more people to enjoy Spiderwoman. So for that alone I’ll give this a soft recommendation for the adventurous short film or anthology fans out there.

The Adam Sandler Shampoo and Conditioner Invitational: The 8 Crazy Movies Round

April 27, 2019

The Adam Sandler Shampoo and Conditioner Invitational is down the the final eight movies!

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Just Go With It pulled off the only upset in the first round. We still can’t believe it defeated Big Daddy, but, we also still can’t believe Dave Matthews picked up a coconut with his butt in Just Go With It (really weird moment). If The Wedding Singer can get past The Waterboy, we’re thinking it has a clear path to the final. The other bracket isn’t so easy to predict. Happy Gilmore is the frontrunner, but will nostalgia push either Billy Madison or 50 First Dates through? Vote and let’s find out!

 

Come back in a couple days to vote again! Thanks for your vote!

The MFF Podcast #190: Airheads

April 26, 2019

You can download the pod on Itunes, StitcherTune In,  Podbean, or Spreaker.

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

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The MFF podcast is back, and this week we’re talking about the 1994 comedy Airheads. It was a weird experience watching it again after about 20 years since the last viewing, because, the movie is a 1990’s time capsule featuring “before they were huge” actors such as Brendan Fraser, Steve Buscemi, Adam Sandler and Chris Farley. In this podcast, you will hear us talk about cottage cheese, The Counting Crows and a plethora of insults. If you are a fan of Airheads, you will love this podcast.

We love the cast.

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, StitcherTune In,  Podbean, or Spreaker.

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

The Adam Sandler Shampoo and Conditioner Invitational: The Ridiculous 16

April 25, 2019

With Avengers: Endgame opening up this week we decided to do some counter-programming by featuring an Adam Sandler movie tournament. We narrowed down the field to 16 Adam Sandler comedies (no Punch Drunk Love..it’s too good) on our Facebook page, and can’t wait to see who you think should win. We ranked the movies according to their Tomatometer scores, and think the bracket will bring forth some tough matchups. Will Happy Gilmore win? Can Billy Madison pull off an upset? Will people come to their senses and realize You Don’t Mess With the Zohan is really funny.

 

Let’s get it started! let’s get the ridiculous 16 down to eight crazy movies. Come back on the 27th to vote for the second round!

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Let us know who you think should win in the comments!

MFF Special: Vote for Your Favorite Kurt Russell Movie!

April 23, 2019

We here at MFF write a lot (here, here, here, here) about Kurt Russell, and we focus many podcast episodes on the guy (here, here, here and here). So, it’s only natural that we’re celebrating our 200th episode by covering the 1998 action film Soldier (you voted for it).

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Since we want to make it a MASSIVE episode, we’re asking you to pick your three favorite Kurt Russell movies. This way we can talk about which movies you love the most. I set up the voting so you can pick your three favorite Russell films, because picking just one would be evil.

I believe he could drink the entire keg of Belgian beer by himself.

Thanks! Make sure to listen to the 200th episode when it’s released (also, if you’re bored, please rate, review and subscribe to the podcast as well).

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