Sunday, March 20, 2011

Alice in Murderland (2010)

Alice in Murderland aka The Alice in Murderland Murders (2010)

My Synopsis: Somebody watched a bunch of B-rated slasher movies from the 70's and decided they could do one, while sort of adapting Alice in Wonderland.

I love B horror as much as the next person. Hell, I'm even working on the script for one involving zombies as I write this review. What it is I love about them is their over the top camp (Piranha) overacting (Sleepaway Camp I - ??), insane story lines (Toxic Avenger) and ability to be taken seriously as a cult classic work of art (revisit those movies mentioned earlier). Of course there is also those low budgets that blew away all the usual conventions by being amazing on all levels (Halloween). I've always felt it was best to walk into B rated movies with very low expectations and let the film maker play with their low budget in the hopes that they amaze me with something I never would have expected. Usually that's delivered via fantastic cinematography, bad blood and gore, and/or kitchy humor that tells me even the film makers didn't take their subject matter too seriously. That is what seems to be the formula for the best B movies. Either it's brilliant despite it's low budget or it has no problem making fun of itself and the conventions it's playing with.

Alice in Murderland aka The Alice in Murderland Murders (2010) is, without argument, as low budget as one can get. Now I haven't done the research and don't even remember how it came to my attention. But as is usually the case I'm sure the whole reason I got turned onto it in the first place was the title. It promised some inner workings that payed homage to a literary masterpiece that is scary and disturbing. That can't be a bad thing, can it? I'll answer that in a moment. All I'll say at this time is it looked, felt, and sounded like a student project film. Most likely controlled by one of the many women in it. But first, did it really have anything to do with Alice in Wonderland?

As quick as I can, the real synopsis in brief...
We open with a woman being shown a house to buy. The buyer and the seller don't appear to like each other much and we don't know why. Something that has to do with the buyers daughter Alice who is very young. Eventually the seller kills the buyer in the basement. Flash to college aged Alice and her college girlfriends. All of them have issues from being stupid to being morbid. The popular girl is also dating Alice's ex-boyfriend. Each girl pretty much represents a common stereotype. The 'I don't care about anyone' girl is Alice's best friend and is determined Alice gets an 'Alice in Wonderland' themed birthday party, conveniently enough, in the old house that her mother was killed in which is now owned by her professor/uncle. He is the only guy invited to the party which makes him either gay or extremely creepy. The actor does a reasonably decent job convincing as much. As the party progresses, a half dozen girls, one professor/uncle/house owner (all dressed as Wonderland characters, the owner/uncle insisted on being the Mad Hatter, further misdirection), and the ex/boyfriend who sneaks in, systematically get cornered and butchered by the uninvited Jaberwocky, singling out Alice, of course.

Wasn't it nice if me to not ruin the end for you? Well I guess that depends on whether you not you've been keeping up with the reviews. If a movie total and complete schlock I usually have no qualms with giving away endings. Though this one is far from worthwhile i don't feel the need to ruin it further because I strongly believe it does a good enough job for itself. That kind of self destruction is probably worth finding out for yourself. But I do have some criticism before you do.

The cinematography was less that not specially. There were no interesting camera angles or tricks. I'm pretty sure it sat on a tripod the whole time. The acting is best described as future porn stars trying to act. Yea, even creepy uncle/professor guy. The women all played static stereotypical characters. They didn't even play them well, mediocre at best and as stuck into one stereotype as they were they even failed to over act. With the possible exception of Alice, she started out blame and ended WTF? that is partially the stories fault but mostly cuz she wasn't any good. I think she probably wrote the film. Which brings me to story... The Alice in Wonderland connection was flimsy. It only appears in the form of the lead bing named Alice and that hey have a masquerade dressed as characters. The reason I won't give away the end is because it is your basic whose doing it slasher movie that by the end, given the information you're left with, you may find yourself not really caring. I guess what bugs me the most is the brutalization of a literary classic. Nothing concrete connects! I mean, in all reality I think a writer of porn would do better connecting to it. In fact I've probably seen that one, a Cheshire cat and Alice doing things I thought I forgot. Anyway, let's get to the gore!

Usually the use of gorein a B-rated horror is where you can expect to laugh, but in this I think it just comes off as pathetic. In one notable scene a victim is gutted and their innards explode onto the surface without the evidence of a cut even been made. Speaking of cuts, there was a lot if stabbing and spewing blood, who actually got stabbed and where the blood came from is unknown. Now the girl glued to the toilet seat was pretty funny when she got her butt cheeks ripped off.

So rating this one is a no brainer, which only makes sense because making it didn't require one either. With everything I've said I give 2 out of 5. It would be a great film to show to students as demonstration of what not to do. I give it a two because it does have one my favorite lines I've ever heard in a brain dead slasher spoken by the brain dead girl... "I don't see how she could be a Psychology major. She never talks!" isn't a psychologists job to listen? I really hope this was a student film, but hen find myself lamenting the state of film schools. I was in a better short then this and we didn't have any money or blood and gore. But there i go, making myself sound so awesome again. I do apologize, as the makers of this movie should.
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Til next we bleed,

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Court testimony NM#100235 10 JAN 2010 PA (Post Apocolypse)

Court testimony NM#100235 10 JAN 2010 PA (Post Apocolypse)

1 (Court called to order)
2 (Defendant present)
3 (Defendant testimony)
4 (9:05 am)

5 MR. JONES: The main reason I am here is because I will miss her. I mean, all it took was a
6 quick blow to the head...
9 MR. JONES: Wait a minute, it wasnt me! I know what you're thinking and your judging me
10 before I can even complete the sentence! I mean, the son of a bitch bit her! Can you believe it?
11 He fuckin' bit her on the arm! The autopsy clearly shows that she was not only bitten on the
12 arm, which ripped away tons of skin, that no one can find by the way, but also the neck, back
13 and torso. Seriously, do you think I did that?
15 MR. JONES: No, no, no, let me finish! You asked for my side of everything, I dont care if you
16 are my lawyer, I intend to tell 'the whole truth and nothing but the truth.' Anyway she fell down 17 the stairs, not just the first flight but all five. With that bastard still attached to her knawing
18 away at her chest. The autopsy shows that too, doesn't it? Human bites that ripped away flesh all
19 over her stomach? I mean shit, he ate her tits man, seriously, what the hell? I even ran down
20 after them screaming bloody murder. I still had the knife in my hand of course, and damn sure
21 bet you I was ready to use it on that bastard! Attacking my wife? I don't care if you never found
22 the that bastard! I stabbed him fifteen times in the damn back. After the first few I even counted.
23 At least fifteen times! If I'm a murderer for killing that freak than so be it. But I did not kill my
24 wife! I love... loved her...
25 DEFENDANT'S ATTORNEY: So then you took her home?
26 MR. JONES: Yeah, I gathered up what was left of her and took her home. Laid her down on the
27 couch and even covered her with a blanket. She seemed to be shivering, I don't know what I
28 was thinking, maybe I thought she'd be okay if she had a chance to rest. How was I to know she
29 was already dead. I just sat there, with her legs on my lap like we always do. She seemed to be
30 in such a deep sleep I couldn't I couldn't bare to wake her. She was still breathing then, I swear
31 it, I saw it, what was left of her chest rising and falling like she always does in peaceful sleep...
32 so peaceful I eventually joined her and I dozed there, like I always do, as if nothing was
33 different, accept it was...
34 DEFENDANT'S ATTORNEY: Accept it was what?
35 MR. JONES: When I woke she was standing over me, looking down at me as if I wasn't really
36 there at all. As if... I don't know, maybe she thought I wasn't real, wasn't really me or
37 something? I was still groggey, not quite remembering what had happened only a few hours
38 before. So I said... “Hey beautiful” and she said nothing. But she did grin, one of those pit-bull 39 grins that show all teeth, you know what I mean? Then she leaned in towards me, like she
40 wanted a kiss or something, only I wasn't so sure, with that toothy grin and all, and I shrunk
41 back, held out an arm to hold her back, like, hold on honey, you looking like you're a little
42 weird. I think I even said that, “Hold on honey, you don't look good.” then her snapped together 43 and she got more insistant, snapping away those teeth as she kept forcing her way towards me,
44 pushing against my arm like it wasn't even there. Eying me like I was a piece of meet or
45 something. I mean, she looked hungry! I was, like, “hey, I'll make you something to eat!” And 46 she was like chomping away. I don't know, but I suddenly realized the knife was still gripped in
47 my hand. How it managed to stay there so damn long is a mystery even to me. But it came up in
48 reflex, stabbing at her beautiful face... Oh god her face, I stabbed her pretty face, I don't know 49 how many times, I didn't count this time. I just flailed away, stab, stab, stab, until... as the
50 coroner said.. the knife found her ear and entered her brain. So clinical he made it sound. Not
51 like she was a real person at all, a person I love. Then she fell to the floor. Dead I guess. Dead. I
52 miss her so much.
54 MR. JONES: You gotta believe me, if I'da thought she was her... I mean really her, the woman
55 I'd married and love, I never woulda... I mean, I love... loved her...”

Notes: this subject was found guilty of first degree man slaughter. One of many under same types of conditions and for similar crimes.

Addendum: This particular subject was slated to be executed via lethal inject under New Mexico's reinstated death penalty of March 2011. The date of said execution was supposed to take place on May 17th, 2014. This of course never happened since we have documents showing that an outbreak hit the prison he was held in on April 8th, 2012. It is believed he was one of those beheaded in the initial riot there.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Buried (2010)

Buried (2010)

My Synopsis: Ryan Reynolds is buried alive in a wooden box in order to bring us an hour and a half one man show, and pulls it off!

When my Creepercast cohort (Jason) brought this movie to my attention I was apprehensive. First, it bothered me this movie would only be shown in select theaters and apparently not at any place where either of us could go see it. If you listen to one of our episodes late last year you'll hear he and I make a pact to review both it - to be presented by Jason, and 'Let Me In' - to be presented by me, alas, here it is four months later and I only recently managed to publish a review for 'Let Me In' here but promise to make a show out of it in the near future. Hopefully Jason will still be presenting his take on 'Buried' in an upcoming show as well. In the meantime I will attempt to give my take on the movie in the following paragraphs. Secondly, I had several misgivings as to whether or not even the great Mr. Reynolds could pull off a one man show of such magnitude and still be able to keep the audience interested. As you will soon discover in my review.

I was dead wrong about all my misgivings. At three minutes into the movie I was pretty sure I wasn't. The next time I bothered to look at the clock 45 minutes had flown by. That's how sucked into the movie I had become. Here are some reasons why... The primary fear being played with is obviously claustrophobia. It is one of those fears I have but was sure the director and Ryan wouldn't be able to make me share with them. Unfortunately for me I was wrong, but still I watched spellbound waiting for the spell to broken by something ridiculous. It never happened. With that said...

Ryan Reynolds is trapped in a coffin buried in the Iraqi dessert with a cell phone, a flask, his anxiety medication, a zippo lighter, a pen, and I knife. I hope I'm forgetting anything because each item becomes a character as well. Especially the cell phone. It is the method by which we learn about the man known as Paul Conroy, why he is there and all his strengths and weaknesses. All via his conversations with those he calls in the hopes of someone finding him and rescuing him from certain suffocating death. We share in his frustrations dealing with his employer and government officials, we go through the 5 stages of death with him. We suffer every moment from the realization his team of contractors had been attacked by insurgents, his many arguments with the terrorist that may or may not let him go, and the heartbreaking conversation he finally has with his wife. And as silly as it may sound, I couldn't help but hold my breath and freeze when the black asp crawled in by my...errr... his feet. 

Giving the subject matter the entire film felt like a ripped from the headlines true story. Therefore I pretty much figured I knew how it was going to end and was pretty confident that there wasn't much Ryan and the director could do that would make me feel like it could possibly end any differently. I was wrong about that too. This movie seriously plays with your emotions and I was batting 0 in expectations. On the true story angle I was also wrong, I could find no news articles that could tie in with the story. That's how good this film is. But here's what I did find out...

Nobody wanted to back this movie, mostly because they had as much confidence in Reynolds acting ability as I did. When it finally got some money it was filmed over 17 days in Barcelona Spain by fringe director Rodrigo Cortes and penned by on the edge writer/director Christopher Sparling. The film cost less than 2 million to make. Did amazingly at Sundance but only took in 18 million at the box office (that's after a mediocre short run and less than that national - I can't help but wonder how well it would've done if it was marketed as "ripped from the headlines?') Still, it comes very highly critically acclaimed, it always seems to be those that are truly the best films. All I can say is Van Wilder has turned into an amazing actor under the right direction.

So the next question is how do I rate and recommend this movie? Well the rating is easy and I think, for the first time ever, I will be glad a movie did not meet my expectations, especially when I expected the worst. Ryan and co. took me on an emotional roller coaster that left me struck dumb and hating the guy who suggested I watch it. I let him know by the way. After watching it during my 2 hour break between news segments I was so wrung out the only way I could go back to late night news was by taking out my frustrations on poor Jason. It began with a text in which I simply said "I hate you for sharing!" which I followed up with a post on in which I reiterated such hatred and explained myself for doing so. Then, a few days later, I told my boss (a fellow film lover) all about this hardly known mind screw. I did it in pretty much the same way I am doing so now, without giving away any of the important story elements that will wrench your soul. This was enough for them to put it in the Netflix cue. A week later do you know what they said to me (after obviously having seen it)? That's right, my own words to Jason came back to haunt me. For some reason hearing his gave me some sick satisfaction. It was like my inspiring someone else to be psychologically messed up by the movie that affected me in the same way was strangely cathartic.

Thus I recommend this movie to everyone with all my heart! Leave lots of 'I hate you' messages either here or on the Creepercast Facebook! It is far from the worst movie I've suggested and worth all of  your hatred. Then I recommend you pass it on and see if your friends hatred isn't just as cathartic for you!

Til next we bleed,

Please purchase this or any other movie I have mentioned via the Creepercast amazon link. This one can be found at