61 Days of Halloween- Masters of Horror: The V Word

Most holidays worth their while encompass entire seasons, such as Christmas, for example. However, as you may have noticed there is a corporate push every year for us to think about the next holiday even sooner. While this has many negative side effects I figure I may as well embrace it.

Since Labor Day is really only good for college football and movie marathons cinematically it is as significant as Arbor Day, which means the next big day on the calendar is Halloween and we can start looking toward it starting now.

Daily I will be viewing films in the horror genre between now and then and sharing the wealth. Many, as is usually the case, will not be worth it so for every disappointment so I will try and suggest something worth while as well.

Masters of Horror: The V Word

Arjay Smith and Branden Nadon in Masters of Horror: The V Word (Starz Productions)

Now all that was previously said about this series is true. Even when you get one of these films that don’t quite work there is something to latch on to and take with you which isn’t always the case with other films. This film is inconsistent at best with regard to the tale it tells. While it does manipulate time well extending sequences for dramatic effect overall, however, when you take into consideration this film has less time than a traditional feature to work with it ends up being a detriment because it helps make for an anticlimactic end to the tale.

What you can hold onto in this film is that it is a rare kind in a horror film, which allows the characters to fully absorb the reality of their plight and to react to it emotionally.

The cinematography much of the time is uninspired, for example, at the start there is a tiresome series of rack focuses between hands of one friend playing a video game and the other texting.

Where this film falls into the realm of mediocre at best is what happens after the two friends leave the morgue. There is a very hard to swallow sequence with a series of attempted 911 calls all of which are disbelieved. It falls short both because of how it is written and because of the performance which is believable and makes the operator’s disbelief harder to swallow. There is also a mom who is far too slow on the uptake that something is seriously wrong with her son. The scene plays out for too long before its addressed. Not to mention the bloodstain which is explained away as something else and not investigated.
 
This is also a film, as is typically the case, with pretty good effects when they decided to do things practically and not so great results when it comes to CG.

If you’re a completist and make it a point to watch this whole series, which I highly recommend, then this film shouldn’t be high up on your list. If you’re just looking for really good horror look elsewhere.

3/10

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61 Days of Halloween- Teeth

Most holidays worth their while encompass entire seasons, such as Christmas, for example. However, as you may have noticed there is a corporate push every year for us to think about the next holiday even sooner. While this has many negative side effects I figure I may as well embrace it.

Since Labor Day is really only good for college football and movie marathons cinematically it is as significant as Arbor Day, which means the next big day on the calendar is Halloween and we can start looking toward it starting now.

Daily I will be viewing films in the horror genre between now and then and sharing the wealth. Many, as is usually the case, will not be worth it so for every disappointment so I will try and suggest something worth while as well.

Teeth

John Hensley and Jess Wexler in Teeth (Roadside Attractions)

Teeth is an interesting little horror film, which deals with the uncomfortable myth of vagina dentata. It is clearly the kind of subject that can not be dealt with on film without a little gore, though perhaps more was in order at times not to give too much away and it is to be forewarned it is not for the squeamish. Similarly it is not the kind of topic that can be dealt with without some humor and it does that as well.

It does set itself up slowly albeit perhaps too slowly. It starts with a little episode with two little kids, those who end up being our protagonist and antagonist. What’s great is that this little teaser directly influences the film and is referenced cleverly later on. The way this episode influences these two characters is also interesting. Dawn becomes an abstinence advocate and Brad has very particular proclivities.

What does become interesting is that Dawn does have a bit of a transformation she goes from being fearful of her own sexuality and abnormality and in typical genre fashion comes to embrace it in a very twisted way. In a tale of this nature it is clearly a male nightmare but it does manage, to an extent, to examine a woman’s fears and does play to both sides a little which is unusual.

If you can deal with some gruesomeness you find there’s a little more than meets the eye in this film and what’s better is that not everything is blatantly obvious in this film and we are allowed to glean a few things. While it does take a little bit to get going and some things aren’t handled as crisply as they could be but it’s still worth it.

7/10

61 Days of Halloween- Satan’s Little Helper

Most holidays worth their while encompass entire seasons, such as Christmas, for example. However, as you may have noticed there is a corporate push every year for us to think about the next holiday even sooner. While this has many negative side effects I figure I may as well embrace it.

Since Labor Day is really only good for college football and movie marathons cinematically it is as significant as Arbor Day, which means the next big day on the calendar is Halloween and we can start looking toward it starting now.

Daily I will be viewing films in the horror genre between now and then and sharing the wealth. Many, as is usually the case, will not be worth it so for every disappointment so I will try and suggest something worth while as well.

Satan’s Little Helper

Alexander Brickel in Satan's Little Helper (American World Pictures)

This is the kind of film that best illustrates the dangers of Netflix instant streaming (Not currently available on Netflix instant). You scroll over to it and click on it thinking “Oh, maybe this will be so bad it’s funny.” Then you start watching it and realize you’re in trouble. It’s just bad and it’s like a car wreck you may want to stop looking but you can’t and sadly I sat through this whole thing if only to warn others so that they may avoid the same fate.

Perhaps the first thing that needs to be stated is that it just may be that Douglas “Dougie” Whooly is the dumbest character in the history of cinema. In this film this supposedly nine-year-old kid walks about obliviously as the Devil himself kills people and he thinks it’s all pretend, a set-up. As if that isn’t bad enough when he finally does get wise to what’s really happening he still makes stupid mistakes, which leads us to our terrible and predictable ending which include two whole lines spoken over a black screen.

The dialogue is absolutely atrocious in this film from the incessant repetition of “That looks so real!” as Dougie is witness and accessory to another murder to the overly frank conversations about how Dougie still wants to marry his sister and the jokes about big sister’s “boomies.”

The score is completely unoriginal and the opening piece in this film sounds like the rendition of “Dies Irae,” which was in The Shining.

There is also bad animation in this film. I mean really bad. I mean like animation that makes Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist looks like MC Escher. As if that wasn’t bad enough we’re supposed to think this animation is a video game. A video game called “Satan’s Little Helper,” oh that’s the title, I get it!

However, this film is also educational. There is so much you can learn like how many times can you get your head slammed into a brick wall and not die and how many points is bowling over and elderly woman with a shopping cart worth.

Also, if your passion lies in prosthetic work you should watch this film to learn how not to make fake guts because this film has perhaps the worst example ever filmed.

As if it wasn’t made clear already that the concept is downright terrible but there is also a few logic flaws. The biggest of which being that everyone on this island both knows how many cops there are in the local PD and that they’re all dead.

About the only positive thing I can say in this film’s favor is that it is good for the occasional laugh, some of which are actually by design that and the mask the Devil wears. All that, however, does not excuse the terrible quality of this film.

I’ve seen some bad movies that looked pretty good. Films where the cinematography at least kept me interested. No risk of that happening here because it video and poorly shot video. The kind of video that shows you why it’s still film’s weak sister.

The cherry on top is that there’s a nice little touch of blasphemy too. I will spare you the details as all that precedes this should be enough to steer you clear. If curiosity gets the best of you, godspeed and get well soon.

1/10