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  I BEAT BLOODBORNE! 04:12 PM -- Sat December 3, 2016  

That's an all-caps title! So this is a Hamumu Revumu. Bloodborne is a truly amazing game. It's by From Software, the infamous Dark Souls guys, and this is every bit a Dark Souls game except in a different universe. And that's part of what's so great - it's an infinitely better universe! While the lore/story/world of Dark Souls is all knights in heavy armor (even the weird mutant bosses are generally either dragons or giant knights in armor) and other boring medieval stuff, the world of Bloodborne is this amazing gothic steampunk Lovecraftian insanity. I can't remember the last time I was so deeply invested in a game's looks. Just wandering this realistic (well, hyper-real? All kinds of impossibly vast architecture going on) run-down 1800's city is a treat. The artwork is incredible. The views of cathedrals and spires, the gloomy atmosphere, every part of the style is just perfectly tuned to my brainwaves.

Inside that grim world are the most hideous and disturbing creatures of any game I've ever played. I love them and want to snuggle them. There's so many I could point out, but lemme just hit on two: First of all, the fat crows. Yep, fat crows. In a game filled with twisted demonic beings, these fat crows sitting on the ground should be perfectly fine. But they are actually the only enemy to cause a physical revulsion reaction in me. See, they're just crows, but they look like they're dead laying on the ground. If you get close, they come towards you, but not in a squawky fast way (not yet!), oh no, they sloooowly lurch along the ground like slugs. The model is nothing but a realistic crow, but with the animation and sound they managed to make it absolutely horrifying. And of course when it gets close, it does leap at your face.

Secondly, there are these massive creatures that cling to the sides of buildings, generally posing you no harm at all. They are definitely very disturbing in appearance, with insanely long limbs and a face full of tentacles. But the real trick is, you can't see them at all. As far as you know for about the first half of the game, they don't exist. You think you're just in a city full of werewolves, madmen, and ogres. But once you raise your Insight stat enough (it seems to represent your knowledge of the occult, and your ability to perceive it), suddenly they're just there. And you realize that this whole time you've been walking around beneath these towering monsters that could've squashed you at any moment. That's a nasty sight. There is at least one that can grab you before you're able to see them too, which is just a random death out of the blue if you lack the Insight to understand it. Here's a video, which also shows you the amazing style of the architecture and visuals a bit:

Come on, that's creepy. So I've written all these paragraphs, about a video game, and it's me writing it, and I haven't even mentioned the gameplay yet! Gameplay is officially all I care about in games! But this game, I'm telling you: the world, the story, the visuals, the sound (oh man, the sound is CRUNCHY and LOUD and upsetting all on its own), it all builds a masterpiece. I should also give a shout-out to the story: It's a good story, to the extent I understand it. Which is the point: the story is delivered in tiny cryptic tidbits you pick up as you play, rather than expository cutscenes. Everything is a clue, right down to "why does that type of monster or item show up in this area?" which would be throwaway in any other game. I don't entirely know what happened in the story, but I have my ideas, and from reading online, so does everybody else. It makes you think, and that's a good thing. There are a ton of elements I would've never even known about if it weren't for my massive FAQ-cheating at the game - entire sidequests that aren't explained, you just have to think for yourself "maybe that guy would like to come to the church instead of being eaten by monsters". You can miss so much of it all, but the clues are there to find.

So gameplay. It's super fun. In short, it's your typical action-RPG: you level up, you slash monsters with sharp things (cool sharp things that can transform between two modes), and you complete 'quests' (though there is no quest log and you may not even realize you're on a quest). Before this, I played Dark Souls (years after everyone else did). I didn't get super far in it. Steam says I've played 12 hours, most of which was probably grinding to get strong enough to beat the first 2 or 3 bosses. I was surprised how much I liked that game. I recommend it as well, and I feel like I should go back to it. Bloodborne is remarkably similar in almost every way. You can see all the same game systems in action, just slightly tweaked, and I don't doubt this is built from the same codebase. Bloodborne is better though. It's much more fast-paced. One nice trick is that when you get injured, most of the health you lose can be gained back by simply hitting enemies, but it becomes permanently lost after a few seconds. This means that when some enormous monstrosity pounds you into the ground, instead of going to hide behind a pillar, you are almost forced to charge back at it and start wailing away to recover what you lost. It's really satisfying to end up beating a guy with full health even though he hit you several times. There's also a huge emphasis on rolling around to dodge attacks. You don't get a shield in this game (well, there is one you can find at some point, but I never tried it, and I've heard it said that it was included as a joke), so it's either dodge or be hit.

And the badguys hit hard. Being from the makers of Dark Souls, this game is near-impossible in terms of difficulty. You can literally die in a single combo from an ordinary enemy even when you are fairly over-leveled for the area you're in. But you know, people talk about the infamous difficulty of these games a lot, and it really isn't that bad. Don't get me wrong, it's among the hardest games I've played, but there's a real difference in a game like this, where I can learn better strategies (or just level up), and something hard like VVVVVV or Super Meat Boy or Super Hexagon... those games I find so much harder because it's just brutal failure constantly and insane reflex testing. You can't really get that much better at them. In Bloodborne, nearly every boss killed me a few times, but even when they did, I always was left feeling like there was plenty of spare time and visible warnings of the danger, it's just that each mistake is punished severely. This is so much more forgiving in terms of timing than a game like Super Hexagon, where you have to be perfect every second. Here you can roll away, drink a potion, and try again. I am avoiding the age-old adage of "it's hard, but when you die it feels like your fault" - that's (usually) true, but it's more than that. It's that it's actually not that hard. It just requires you to learn through dying a few times (which is not penalized harshly at all).

A large part of the difficulty is like that - memorization can get you very far in this game. Once you've been through an area a few times, what felt like an insurmountable challenge is nearly child's play... as long as you don't make any mistakes. It's strange to praise this, but it's very fun that the world never changes. You can memorize every enemy's placement, and know exactly what to do. There's a real shift in the gameplay resulting from the lack of shift in the enemies: you start out exploring slowly and stealthily, and testing each enemy's reactions and abilities, then after a few deaths (or many), you're running through full-tilt chopping off heads as you go. Then you reach a new area and start all over. It's actually more dynamic than it would be if it were randomized - that'd just be repetitive. This way changes over time (not that every game should be so static, it just really works here). There are fairly long stretches of the game with no enemies at all, but you don't know that the first time through the area, so you inch along waiting for death to pop out around a corner...

I certainly wouldn't recommend this game to non-gamers in any way. It's the hardest of hardcore gaming. But it feels fair. Except maybe that stupid forest full of snakes... but even that I got through on my 3rd or 4th try. And each time I made good progress, I'd unlock a shortcut. The shortcuts are amazing. You'll make your way through a big convoluted area only to find you're right back where you started, and can open a door connecting it to where you began. Again, hard, but fair. You get through the hard part and then you don't have to do it again, the shortcut is there. I was stopped cold a few times with the game, saying to myself "Okay, guess I've gotten all I can out of this game, it's too hard for me." and set it aside for a week or two, but inevitably I was drawn back to give it another shot, until finally yesterday I actually won the game, months after I started. It was an immensely satisfying experience. I keep thinking about firing it up again to either work on a different character build or continue in New Game+ mode. I'm not sure why I would do that, but I certainly feel the call of the Great Ones in my corrupted blood.

Have I said enough? I've said too much. Bloodborne is great and comes highly recommended, as long as you are a hardcore gamer who likes scary stuff. There are things I would change for sure, but they're not even worth mentioning.
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  Belittling Horror Excessively: The 2016 Wrap-Up Part 3 03:59 PM -- Thu November 3, 2016  

And welcome to the final part of our wrap up! If you haven’t read them yet, you should start with Part 1 and Part 2.

TWISTS

Mikey: So in addition to a lack of teenagers chopped to bits, another big thing we missed this month was twists! I tagged two of our movies with the “Twist” tag: The Canal and The Uninvited (and I thought I was being generous with The Canal). My favorite thing in all of movie-dom is a huge plot twist that completely redefines everything you’ve seen beforehand. Did M. Night Shyamalan spoil me for twists just like I am spoiled for scares, or did we really see a lot of straightforward narratives? (Honorable mention: there were some twists in Holidays between all the various stories)

Solee: I feel like we saw a lot of very uninspiring plots this month. There were very few surprises and I pretty much knew how things would turn out based on the IMDB description most of the time.

Mikey: We did have that group of movies that were very surprising we mentioned before, but they weren’t “twists” where everything changes, just unexpected events along the way to an expected conclusion. I really appreciated those, but I do miss having my mind blown apart.

Solee: I think we’re more likely to get that mind-blowing twist from movies that are labeled “thriller” than from “horror” these days, especially since anything that strays from the standard “horror” fare gets panned by the critics.

Mikey: You’re right about that. Psychological Thriller November? Maybe later when we’ve had time to recover from this month of not getting anything real done.

Just to wrap up with a few random notes from the tags I made:
  • We saw 5 movies that took place during Christmas time. Popular for horror, I guess!
  • No fewer than 11 movies earned my “Driven” tag, which means they featured people being driven insane by ghosts. Very common idea.
  • We saw 7 movies which earned the Cheese tag.
  • Only 5 of our movies got a Gore tag, but I was pretty picky about that - they had to really focus on gore, not just have one really bloody thing.
  • 5 serial killers, 7 demons, 12 ghosts, 3 cults, 2 “monsters” (the Behemoth and the Shadow Puppets monster), only 2 zombies, and just one witch.
  • Only 4 found footage movies! Sad.
  • Four comedies (or attempted comedies).
  • Four Sci-Fi movies.
  • Surprisingly only 3 movies which featured a pregnant woman. Seems like I flipped past a hundred of those while searching for movies.
  • Even more surprising that we got two first-person view movies! The first two I’ve ever seen.
  • Four foreign movies: Irish, Spanish, Israeli, and British.
  • Only 3 movies earned the coveted Insane tag for being totally insane.
  • Unsurprisingly, only one courtroom drama!
Solee: To be accurate, there were only three movies with pregnant women, but one of those movies was Holidays, which had several different pregnancy related stories.

Mikey: Yes, well we also had a lot more than 2 zombies, but I’m just counting up how many movies featured them!

Solee: I have two questions before we bring this monster discussion to a close. First, do you think you chose different movies because I was participating with you?

Mikey: I think there was an influence. One thing I didn’t do was spend the entire afternoon flipping through movies to find just the perfect one, because that drives you insane!

Solee: Wait. You DIDN’T do that???

Mikey: It’s so much worse when you’re not looking. I think I also semi-consciously tried to find “good” movies (which worked!). On my own, I would plow through a lot more found footage garbage.

Solee: And weird mutant creature combinations?

Mikey: Nah, I don’t really go for those in the marathon (at least not in large numbers). That’s more for watching with my sister! Oh, I also avoided foreign movies more because subtitles can be difficult when somebody is half-blind from laser beams.

Solee: I am honestly disappointed by how much this stupid eye thing affected our movie watching. I would have enjoyed more foreign films. Next year!

Mikey: The gears are already turning...

ARTWORK

Solee: And my last question: What did you think of my drawings? Favorite? Least favorite?

Mikey: Oh the drawings!! My favorite thing about this month was having somebody else be the one spending all this time on arts and crafts instead of me! The drawings were awesome. Let’s see…
  • Best Picture 2016: Kill List, i-Lived, and The Pact

  • Oh there’s so many others… Amityville, Sympathy (yes, the doodle), The Invitation

  • Anyway, on to my least favorite even though I surely loved them all with all my heart: I think The Final Girls. It’s an ugly house regardless of how you draw it. It even looked weird in the movie!

Solee: Yes. I think that Final Girls was one of the first ones post-surgery. My heart definitely wasn’t in it. Ouija and Beacon 77 are pretty bad. And The Witch was a total cop-out. I’m disappointed that I went that the tracing route, even once.


Mikey: The Witch would be super impressive if I didn’t know you cheated. It’s a good way to learn, though!

Solee: I was quite proud of the wine glass from The Invitation because I traced it first and then drew it all over again on my own. Learning!

Mikey: Honorable mentions to [REC*] because of how fun it is and how much you hate it.


Solee: I do hate those stick figures. I think my overall favorite was the shotgun from i-LIVED. That turned out WAY better than I expected.

Mikey: That’s why it won Best Picture! So… anything else we need to know about this awesome month of awesome movies? And terrible ones?

Solee: I think that pretty much wraps it up. And it only took us… 2.5 hours and 11 pages! Special props to anyone who managed to read to this point.

Mikey: I don’t even care if anybody reads it, this was just all fun for me. I had the best time.

Solee: Ditto. Now… let’s have lunch. And maybe watch Cabin in the Woods because it’s the BEST Halloween movie ever! (Yes, it’s actually Oct 31 as we’re writing this…)

Mikey: It is Halloween tradition! I hope no kids show up so I can eat all the candy we got.

Solee: Except the mini Butterfingers. Those are mine.

Mikey: All the time (see I rhymed, right?).

Solee: Better than a leprechaun!
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  Belittling Horror Excessively: The 2016 Wrap-Up Part 2 03:57 PM -- Wed November 2, 2016  

Be sure to read Part 1 of this discussion before this, or it won't make any sense. It was just way too huge to make into a single post. There will be 3 parts. Enjoy!

Mikey: Back to the deep stuff you were saying, horror is very subjective. Even to the point of what is or isn’t horror. It’s a major reason The Witch made me mad (now there’s a movie that didn’t meet expectations, but I didn’t approve). We watched 2 movies this month that I tagged “Thriller” because I think they weren’t really horror movies (this happens every year to varying degrees): Sympathy, Said The Shark and Green Room. There was also one tagged Comedy without the accompanying Horror tag: The Final Girls. Some might argue that, but to me it is clearly a comedy movie about horror, not a horror-comedy, since it makes not even a moment’s effort to scare you.

Solee: One of the ways horror is similar to comedy is that context thing. We are a pretty jaded society at this point. We (well, most of us) have a pretty decent understanding of how our environment - weather, celestial beings, etc - work. We’ve traveled far enough into space and the depths of the ocean and the far corners of the earth for fewer of us to accept “Here Be Monsters” without evidence of some kind. We’ve also grown more accustomed to how movie magic is done. So horror movies have to work a lot harder to actually be scary. There were very few movies that truly SCARED me, and none that left me afraid to walk into a dark room at night.

Mikey: I’m worried about my level of jade in my bloodstream. I remember in earlier years of these reviews having some nights where I’d finish my movie and go out to feed the dogs and really have a lot of nervous thoughts as I wandered out into the dark. I think that is a question of becoming jaded moreso than the movies getting less scary, and that’s a sad thing to see. I wish I could still be so affected.

Solee: With age comes wisdom…

Mikey: Wisdom is laaaame pbblblblltltbbtltt.

SCARY STUFF

Solee: Accepted. I, personally, am always more terrified by the thriller/social commentary aspect of horror movies anyway. And we had some pretty horrific movies in that regard: Green Room, The Invitation, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, to name a few.

Mikey: Man, I think The Invitation might have been the most unsettling thing we watched this month. Is there a moment in the whole month that you remember as your biggest actual scare? What made you jump out of your seat?

Solee: I feel like I’m forgetting a more recent movie that made me jump… but the one I do remember is [*REC]. I definitely jumped - and possibly even squealed a little - near the end of that movie. What about you?

Mikey: I wanna give some shout-outs to a couple movies… first is my answer to this question: as far as I can remember, the time I most was shaken up was the one I commented on in The Pact - when the ghost loomed out of the black doorway and suddenly turned. That just got me.

But in honorable mentions, I feel like The Canal was a very effective horror movie. The latter half of that movie was full of some really creepy moments.


Solee: Yes. I agree that those were on the scarier side… also The Uninvited, Ouija: Origin of Evil, and JeruZalem had some unsettling moments.

Mikey: Ouija is another I wanted to award in that way. It’s sad now, looking back, to realize we didn’t watch a single Asian movie this month, which is something I think I’ve done in all previous years. I wonder if the reason these particular ones felt so creepy was their use of Asian-style ghosts, and as a result, the creepiness comes from unfamiliarity. It’s a chance to sneak around our jaded brains by showing us something we haven’t seen in 100 movies already.

Solee: Yes, we talked about that during our review of The Uninvited. When I think of the scariest movies I’ve seen in the past, I always think of Ringu (the inspiration for the American remake, The Ring) and the woman’s ghost corpse crawling out of the well. *shudder*

Mikey: I have reviewed many movies of that genetic line over the years and they are so very creepy. There was one I loved, Pulse, which was clearly very allegorical about life in Japan, where people would one by one vanish, fading into the wallpaper and leaving a black smudge behind, until eventually our hero was the only person left. There’s some disturbing stuff coming from across the sea!

THE CHARACTERS

Solee: So let’s talk about characters a little. Who was most annoying?

Mikey: The obvious answer is Zoe (your choice!), but that is misleading, because while we had double the Zoe annoyance, the entire cast of Hollows Grove was actually infinitely more obnoxious! At least the two guys who ran the SPIT show were. Awful human beings, and so grating to watch.

Solee: Most Annoying goes to the girls of #Horror for me.

Mikey: OH NO I had wiped them from my mind! AUUUUGHGHHHHH. Okay, while I recover from the memories, why don’t you tell me who you think was the smartest character we met this month?

Solee: Oh, that’s tough. So many horror characters are dumb as posts. I think Smartest goes jointly to Perry and JP of Intruders. They were the only “victims” to think logically about how to escape instead of just flailing around like Kermit.

Mikey: I think we saw more like that in other movies… the Green Room guys were planning things pretty well, the girl in The Pact was doing her thing (when she wasn’t in slow motion), and I feel like the people of Ouija didn’t get a lot of chance to show off their brains but didn’t make overtly terrible choices. Maybe. There was also a lot of fake-smart like Butch in Leprechaun In The Hood and the entire cast of Beacon 77 but I don’t count fake-smart. I guess… I’m going to be sneaky and rate the smartest as the psychotic girl in The Uninvited. She had a plan and she made it work, all the way.

Solee: Wow. I didn’t expect that. Huh. Okay… so who was the character you’d most want to hang out with?

Mikey: Hmm. I looked at our list and came up with two answers which are both horrible people who wouldn’t even be pleasant. But they’re … likeable? Gal from Kill List, and Captain Spaulding from House of 1000 Corpses. They are both really abrasive, but funny and friendly at the same time. And both murderers.

Solee: Oh, totally Captain Spaulding. He’d make me VERY uncomfortable at first… and then again when I found out he was a serial killer, but in between, he’d be great fun to talk to. I would also like to hang out with the kids of the Ain’t Rights, the punk band from Green Room.

Mikey: That floppy hand would freak me out. Oh wait, you know who was a cool guy? The sheriff from Needful Things. Okay, putting aside having to interact with them, which character did we see that was the most well-realized all month? Who was a real person up on screen?

Solee: Whoo… I have to think about this one for a minute… I’m not sure I can narrow it down to just one. There were several who stand out to me as “real” people: Jerry from The Voices, Thomasin from The Witch, and Omar from JeruZalem. There were layers to them that made them feel authentic. I was pleased with the multi-faceted characters in The Amityville Horror and The Exorcism of Emily Rose, as well.

Mikey: Well with that big list, I just want to toss in a few other ones of note: Everybody but the lawyer and Conrad in Intruders was a real live human being. Everybody but possibly the cultists in The Invitation. Keeping that trend going, everybody but the cultists in Kill List. Kill List began with some amazing human stuff before it got weird. And Green Room, which was so real I spent the whole time thinking of the real people it reminded me of. Seems like we didn’t watch enough groups of teenagers get murdered in the woods this month, with so many good characters!

Solee: Not for lack of trying! But it does seem as though we landed on some very well-written characters. I’m sure that influenced my scores for the better. I like good characters. So let’s wrap up this segment with one last superlative pair: the Nicest and the Meanest characters of the month!

Mikey: Mmm… I think the nicest character is pretty easily Jerry from The Voices, I mean if you don’t mind getting killed. But the meanest, that can be tricky with horror movies. Oh wait, I group nominate all the girls from #Horror. A movie entirely about being mean.

Solee: I am completely with you on the #Horror gals being the meanest. They were just awful, and made even more awful by being around one another. For nicest, I think Jerry is a good choice, but I’m going to reach deep into the characters we met and pull out a side character! I nominate Emily Rose’s boyfriend. That guy not only stuck by his girlfriend when she lost her mind, but also stood by the priest on trial for killing her. He was a very patient fella.

Mikey: That’s some deep cuts! He was a good guy, that we only saw for about 2 minutes.

Solee: Well, you took my first answer! I guess I could also nominate Anna from Intruders, but she was so emotionally crippled it was hard to see whether she was really a good person under it all… or if she was really a serial killer like her brother.

Mikey: I’d be concerned that any kindness she showed was more weakness than kindness. She seems dangerous.

Stay tuned tomorrow for Part 3!
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  Belittling Horror Excessively: The 2016 Wrap-Up Part 1 02:59 PM -- Tue November 1, 2016  

And so, another year of reviewing movies draws to a close. I love doing it every year, and this was the most fun one we've done, thanks to my partner in terror. What follows is our discussion of how it all went down. It is a huge discussion, so I've broken it up into multiple parts to be posted over a few days. And even so there's still so much more we could say about all this!


PART I

Solee: It is November. We’re officially through the month of scary and into the month of food. I want to start by saying I’m super proud of us for sticking to the schedule so well. I think there was only one day that I didn’t get a post up, and that was because I forgot to automate it, not because it wasn’t written. We did very well. Go, us!

Mikey: It may be the first year I didn’t have any mishaps with the watching or posting, actually. Usually I’m either a movie or two short, or I go a few days into November. What a team.

Solee: Before we get into the analysis of the movies, I also want to say that I really enjoyed doing this with you. It was fun to have something entertaining, but also “required” to do together so we couldn’t end up just doing nothing. I am already looking forward to our plans for next year.

Mikey: I find having to do something that the “public” will see (all 3 of the people who read this!) really makes all the difference in staying motivated. But really this was just for us, to have some fun. I like doing these kinds of projects, but I will also say I am glad we’re done. It’s amazing how much of your day can be eaten up with watching a movie and writing a review of it (and posting the review). Not even counting extraneous time-wastage, that adds up to 3 hours and 15 minutes by itself, 7 days a week.

Solee: And when you add in drawing the picture…

THE STATISTICS

Mikey: I did forget about the drawing - that was on you this year, and it certainly took a long time each day too. I appreciated it! So enough of our woes as such put-upon laborers… let’s get to the movies!

I took the time to do my mostest favoritestest activity of all this month: creating a spreadsheet of the movies, with all kinds of statistics and even tagging each movie with specific tags like Cheese, Ghost, and Found Footage. It wouldn’t be a spreadsheet without calculations, so it also calculated averages of ratings and things, and added up how often each tag appeared. Just to quickly cover the most basic and useless stats:

On average, we watched movies from the year 2010.1 which were 93.81 minutes long.


Solee: According to my calculations, the median year of our movie selections was 2014. We watched 10 movies from 2015!

Mikey: Making that Pi A La Mode! Our movies altogether earned an average rating of 5.6/10 on IMDB.

On Metacritic, the average was 53/100, though 13 of the movies were not listed on Metacritic.

Rotten Tomatoes critics gave our movies a 57% average, except 9 movies they didn’t cover.

The much pickier Rotten Tomatoes audience had a 44% average, and the only movie they didn’t cover was Sympathy, Said The Shark. Guess that one was super indie! To be fair, the 8 movies they rated that critics didn’t were probably terrible, so that brings the average down.

Speaking of picky, on average I rated movies 3.05, and you rated them 3.21, so I guess I am the more picky audience (but still kinder than Rotten Tomatoes people!).


Solee: I’m surprised by that. I went into this thinking you would rate things much higher than me, but now that we’ve done it, I can see that you like to hate your horror. The worse it is, the more fun you have watching it.

Mikey: I’m not sure about that final conclusion, but I agree with the surprise. I thought I would be dragging you through movies you were going to loathe, but you had a good time all the way through. Was there a worst experience for you? I mean, I know which movie was the worst one, since it’s the only one we both gave a big fat ZERO rating (#Horror), but in terms of having to watch actual horror, was there another you wish you could have avoided?

Solee: I can honestly say, no. Each one, even the ones that I hated, had something interesting about them that I’d be sad to have missed. There are plenty of them I wouldn’t want to watch again, though! What about you?

Mikey: I agree with that. There are lots of movies in general I’m glad I watched that I don’t need to ever repeat. You know… other than the fact that it was fun to see James Marsters do something, I really didn’t need to ever see Shadow Puppets. I think that was the movie that felt the most like a waste of my time (even though we saw Behemoth!). But then again, there was the mean girl in there with the faces she made...

THE RATINGS

Solee: Yeah… we had very different opinions about Shadow Puppets. You gave it 1.5 and I gave it a 3. At this moment I can’t remember a single things about Behemoth… so maybe that is one I didn’t need to see.

Mikey: Oh come on, there was Zoe and her romance with the Cigarette-Smoking Man...

Solee: OOOHH. Right. I choose that one as my Didn’t Need To See. In fact, I’d recommend #Horror before it, if only because you can’t really understand that level of bad that #Horror is without actually experiencing it.

Mikey: Wow. That’s true, but it’s like saying you don’t know how bad waterboarding is until you try it. I’ll take other peoples’ word for it.

Solee: Obviously, I’m someone who sniffs the milk, gags at how sour it is, and then immediately hands it to whomever is standing near. “Smell this!” Misery loves company!

Mikey: I can verify that you are that person. Now what I found interesting is that Shadow Puppets isn’t our biggest rating discrepancy: The VVitch is, with my 2.5 to your 4.5. What happened there?

Solee: Whoa. I don’t know. After looking back at our review, I see that it was one of our earlier reviews where we did separate interviews, as was Shadow Puppets. I wonder if we influenced one another less through that format. Anyway, I gave it a lot of credit for being well done, beautiful to look at, and thought provoking. My main problem with The VVitch was that it had one more scene than I needed at the end. I wanted it to remain open ended. Do you remember why you rated it so low?

Mikey: I was definitely one of those True Horror Fans who felt betrayed and angry at the hype - the trailers make this movie look like the scariest thing in the world, and it is very very far from it, so failed expectations is a part of it. I also made note in my review of how un-fun it was to see. Despite my discussion earlier this month about how I enjoy grim, grey, slow movies (like The Sixth Sense), this movie was really nothing but a celebration of how awful the characters had it. Let’s just wallow in misery. I guess sometimes that’s the movie I want, but maybe only if a ghost is involved (or more importantly, a twist).

I do feel like the joint interviews gave us both a chance to reflect, and probably get influenced by the other. I really liked it though! I noticed many times where your ideas gave me a new appreciation for what I had seen.


Solee: I’m pretty awesome. Just kidding. I liked the joint interviews better, too. They provided for much deeper discussions I think. Going back to the idea of grim, grey movies, I think that’s something that generally appeals to critics and the folks who hand out awards. It’s almost as though they feel you deserve higher praise if your movies looks like it has suffered. And on the flip side of that coin, they tear you apart like savage dogs if you look like you had too much fun making your movie, as shown by the reception of House of 1000 Corpses within the critical world.

Mikey: Which perfectly brings me to my next statistic! I calculated the difference between the average of our ratings, and how the critics rated each movie… I can tell you that the movies we disagreed with the critics the most on were #Horror (we rated 41/100 lower than they did… but to be fair, most critics aren’t allowed a zero rating), and actually several others we rated much much higher than critics: No Tell Motel and House of 1000 Corpses were the biggest offenders where we averaged 63/100 higher than the critics. That makes sense to me.

Solee: Yep. House of 1000 Corpses was just amazing. It was Art with a capital A, and I think any critic that didn’t recognize that should have his or her credentials stripped. No Tell Motel had the SBIG bump to carry it. It was classically bad in a way that is SO fun to watch. (Sorry, TJ!)

Mikey: Critics never appreciate bad movies for some reason. Looking at my discrepancy ratings, it’s actually pretty amazing… there are only 5 movies we rated worse than the critics. All the rest, we rated higher than critics, many many of them by a huge margin. I think the biggest reason is that we were saying “5/5 is a perfect horror movie” where critics were saying it’s not this deep meaningful movie in general, even if it’s really good horror.

Solee: Right. I know I was using a very skewed scale to rate these movies. If we were rating on the Every Movie Ever Made scale, many of them would have been lower. I also know that my rating scale is very subjective. If I had fun watching the movie, it got a higher rating whether it was “good” or not.

Mikey: If I were having to rate these movies officially, for good, there would definitely be a lot fewer 5s. I’m happy to dish out the 5s during October, it’s all about asking the question “should other people see this movie?” If the answer is absolutely they should, that’s a 5. And I’m a pop-culture guy, not a high art guy. I don’t want to see boring German expressionism, I wanna see 1000 corpses, all in a house.

I ran a similar statistic - comparing our ratings to the Rotten Tomatoes audience ratings. I thought we’d be much more in line with them, since they’re our buddies, but it turns out it’s only slightly different than the critic situation. In this case, Intruders is the movie where we’re most off the norm - we rated that movie 72/100 higher than the general audience! That messes me up. People are dumb.


Solee: I had a moment of “Oh, geez, was I influenced by the fact that I knew someone involved was reading the review” when you said that… but NO. It was a damn good movie. I honestly can’t guess why people wouldn’t like it. So I continue to stand by my 5. People SHOULD watch that movie.

Mikey: Yes, they gave it 28/100. That’s crazy. I have more I want to say about that movie and a couple related others in a minute. But about these discrepancies, our #Horror rating fares much better against the audience - we were only 9/100 off on that. Humans knew to flee the theater on that one.

Solee: Sooooooooo bad.

Mikey: So, on the topic of Intruders, as well as House of 1000 Corpses and Green Room, the thing these movies had in common, which netted all of them 5s from both of us, is that they were something totally new. Each one of them completely failed to meet our expectations, time and again throughout the movie, so we were constantly surprised. They didn’t follow movie conventions and that made them fresh and inventive. It seems like the general audience doesn’t agree - they want to be spoonfed the same old pablum (though Green Room was pretty well appreciated across the board).

Solee: Ooh! Pablum! You’re breaking out the big vocabulary!
I agree, and it reminds me of something I was saying prior to starting this record of our discussion: Horror is much like comedy in its subjectivity and its reliance on context and timing. I’m not surprised that we don’t agree with the general public regarding which horror movies are worth watching. We are Firefly fans. We’re eternally doomed to falling in love with things that aren’t popular enough to continue to exist.

Mikey: We are Firefly fans! So I want to point out one more brief statistic: We had two movies with a Zoe in them (both obnoxious), one movie that had both a Malcolm and a Zoe, and one movie with a Firefly family. So that sums up the Firefly connections for the year.

Solee: We also came across several Leverage connections, and we ended up seeing quite a bit of Ryan Reynolds.

Mikey: And one case of Sir Patrick Stewart.

That's the end of PART I. Come back tomorrow to continue the tale of the movies we watched... hey, it's interesting to me at least!
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  Belittling Horror Excessively: Leprechaun In The Hood 01:51 PM -- Mon October 31, 2016  

WARNING! This post contains extensive spoilers for this movie. Watch the movie before reading! Or don't. You have been warned.

This conversation also appears on SoloRien.wordpress.com.

Leprechaun In The Hood (2000)
Rated R
IMDB rating: 3.6/10
Metacritic: N/A
Rotten Tomatoes: 33% critics, 32% audience
Mikey: 2/5
Solee: 1.5/5
We watched on Starz.


An original work by Solange!
IMDB’s description: “When three rappers want to get even with a pimp, they accidentally unleash a leprechaun who goes on a killing rampage in the 'hood.”

Mikey: Hey, Coolio was in this movie. Did you know that? I think I know when it was - he shook the hands of the guys after their “successful” performance. I don’t think he spoke or faced the camera.

Solee: I’m not sure I’d know who Coolio was in real life, much less as a cameo. I recognize Ice-T, though! His acting skills are questionable, but I love him.

Mikey: I just like Ice-T. There’s a really good movie, Surviving The Game, starring him. He just seems like a good guy. You know, for an ex-pimp.

Solee: Yeah. He seems like he’d be interesting to talk to. I’ve been a fan of him on Law & Order for a very long time.

Mikey: Here’s my favorite Goof from this movie on IMDB: “If the Leprechaun was turned to stone in the 1970s and was not reverted to normal until present day, that would make the events of Leprechaun, Leprechaun 2 and Leprechaun 3 impossible, as the Leprechaun would still have been stone (this time line error does not affect the events depicted in Leprechaun 4: In Space, as that movie took place in the future).” - Somebody who’s very concerned with the lore.

Solee: That’s funny. And the kind of thing that would bother me, too. It’s a sign of sloppy writing.

Mikey: Well wait - the best thing about it is how it compares to this piece of Trivia from the movie (spoilers!): “Is the only film in the series where the Leprechaun doesn't die.” So clearly, it’s important whether the Leprechaun was stone or not...

Solee: Wait. It died in the other… 4 movies?

Mikey: That’s what IMDB says anyway!

Solee: Huh. Well, maybe they just thought he died. That little guy was tough to kill. He didn’t have much trouble killing, though. Just a flick of the wrist. Like driving with Anya.

Mikey: Yes, very similar. That was one of my major issues with this movie. It seems pretty clear the writers and/or director didn’t really care about the logic of events. This psychic leprechaun could kill anyone with a single gesture, but he had all kinds of difficulties achieving his goals.

Solee: Sometimes he forgets he has those powers. It’s a side-effect of dying all those times. And simultaneously spending 30 years stoned.

Mikey: I guess being dead, literally stoned, and colloquially stoned simultaneously does a pretty good number on your memory.

Solee: It messes up your ability to rhyme as well. Time and mine do NOT rhyme!!

Mikey: I KNOW!! For a guy who speaks almost exclusively in rhyme, he was horrible at it. Literally every time he started a rhyme, he’d say the first line of it, and in my head I finished it (because it seemed so obvious…), and then he’d say the end of it and my ending was a million times better than his.

Solee: To be fair, you probably spend more time creating rhymes than he does. It’s kind of your jam.

Mikey: It ought to be his jam, I would think. Why don’t you buy him a drink? See! Better than his! He’d do the kind of failed rhymes you hear as jokes sometimes like “I’ll shoot you in the head, and then you’ll… no longer live!” But not intentionally.

Solee: Hahaha. Now you’re just being mean to the poor Lep. So what did you think of our three “heroes”: Postmaster P, Stray Bullet, and the eternal virgin, Butch?

Mikey: The eternal virgin who apparently spends most of his time making sure everyone around him knows he’s a virgin. Kind of atypical.

Solee: He’s obviously spends too much time with his nose in books to get a girl. He was the “nerd” in the group.

Mikey: Yes, he was really clever to pick up a copy of Leprechauns For Dummies. I actually liked that, I admit. But I liked the three heroes pretty much… this movie was so weird. They actually seemed like good actors, who thought they were in a serious movie. There was pathos and whatnot.

Solee: Yes! I spend a lot of time during the course of horror movies rooting for the monster and waiting impatiently for the stupid, arrogant or otherwise annoying main characters to die. This was the first movie where I was legitimately sorry to see them get killed.

Mikey: I was really surprised that 66% of them got killed. They seemed destined to be the heroic champions of it all. But you know, that’s part of the strangeness with this movie: the basic core of the plot was super simple, of course - just take the Leprechaun’s gold and he hunts you down and kills you - but the way it actually played out was surprisingly complex, with Mack Daddy after them, and the church people, and all sorts of side issues. I’m not saying it was a good plot, due to the fact that it was terrible, but it’s like somebody put a lot of thought into this movie for some reason.

Solee: There was a lesson in this movie, too. A real one, not just the “Don’t wish on random lamps” or “always let the slutty girl go through the door first” kind of lessons most horror movies have. This one had a pretty strong message about attitude and selling out and the true cost of sacrificing your soul in pursuit of your dreams. It wasn’t an original message, but like the deaths hitting me, it seemed to be more meaningful than I expected.

Mikey: Wow, I didn’t even know those were lessons I was supposed to have learned. I’m gonna confine my wishing to specific lamps from now on! There was a big on-the-nose bit about Postmaster P bringing us positivity, and Mack Daddy demanding they drop that and rap about killing and drugs. I was truly, deeply, disappointed this movie didn’t end with them turning it around and going positive and making some ridiculous Disney rap about helping grandmas across the street as their big smash hit to become stars.

Solee: They totally could have used the golden flute to make the masses eat that up. But instead they just sank to Mack Daddy’s level. *sigh*

Mikey: The powers of that flute were pretty unclear to me. Mostly it just made people zone out, but sometimes it made them like your raps (I believe Zamfir has one of these). I could really use that (the second feature, not the first).

Solee: I feel like they were leaning pretty heavily on the assumption that we had watched all the previous Leprechaun movies and needed no further information. At the end I was thinking a magic flute would make Kanye West make a LOT more sense to me.

Mikey: Right, the aforementioned lore that this movie trashed with its stone leprechaun! Kanye is a mystery, alright.

Solee: This movie was full of silliness that I can see being very funny to certain people at certain points in their lives. Or under a certain amount of influence from the chronic. This makes me like it more than I would otherwise… not that it’s all that hard to be funny to stoners and teenagers, but still. It WAS a tiny bit funny.

Mikey: Ehhhh… I was really surprised at how dull this whole thing felt. Not that it was slow, but just so unfunny and uninteresting. The one scene that really stood out for me, and totally made me laugh, felt like it belonged in a different movie. It was when the three heroes were hiding, crouched down, and getting prepped to go do something. It went down the line of the three of them “You ready? Yeah, you ready? You?” Only it was four of them… the Leprechaun was sitting at the end of the row and just joined in. Then they all jumped up screaming after they realized he was there. It was a total cartoon slapstick move. The whole movie should’ve been that, but instead it had all kinds of almost-serious stuff, and semi-adult jokes that were just out of place in a movie about an evil leprechaun.

Solee: Yeah. It was dumb. But I laughed when they used douche and jelly on an electric heating pad to create a fire because those two water-based items are “so combustible” together.

Mikey: That was a good unintentional comedy bit… like MacGyver if the laws of physics didn’t apply.

Solee: You think it was really unintentional? Do you think the writers REALLY thought that would work?

Mikey: That’s a very good question… I was kinda going that way (more thinking they didn’t care, they just wanted to Macgyver together two ‘chemicals’), but it could very well have been a fun joke for scientists. In a movie that discusses the difference between triiodide solutions and methiodide (??? Whatever he said at the beginning), it makes sense.

Solee: And physical vs METAphysical interactions...

Mikey: That was something that made me laugh some too. I guess there were some jokes worth laughing at. But not too many. I just feel like it tried to bring in too many real issues instead of just having these guys Scooby Doo their way around a leprechaun.

Solee: It is straddling a fence it probably shouldn’t be trying to straddle. I was disappointed in some of the intentional jokes aimed at transgender people. The whole character of Miss Fontaine was extremely homophobic and transphobic.

Mikey: It was. That whole part was so weird, like why did they even have a trans character they visited? It must be that they thought that would be full of comedy, but it was more a bit disturbing. At first it seemed like they were being surprisingly tolerant for 2000 with these guys just being cool with Miss Fontaine, but it devolved pretty quickly.

Solee: Yes. It bothered me. As did some of the more stereotypical actions of the black characters. I’m not sure if this was a movie made ABOUT black guys or BY black guys. Either way, it often headed into territory that was outside my experience or understanding, leaving me unsure whether I should laugh or be offended.

Mikey: I know what you mean. It was so much more In The Hood than it was Leprechaun, I was surprised. It really focused on that kind of stuff you’d see in a movie about inner city life, the guns and gangs and drugs, rather than a goofy leprechaun attack. It was such a dichotomy of stereotypical stuff mixed with people who often seemed very real (mostly the three main guys).

Solee: You know what really bothered me about it? It is the kind of movie that Donald Trump would watch and totally believe to be The Truth about inner city life.

Mikey: Yes, his interchangeable use of the terms “African American” and “inner city”. A confluence that’s offensive in both directions.

Solee: Now that we’ve acknowledged that there are some serious and significant issues with this movie… can we talk about how awesome it was to try to beat the leprechaun with four-leaf-clover laced weed? That was a great idea and I was disappointed that it didn’t work better. I was expecting some real funny there and didn’t get it.

Mikey: Right, I think that was a fun idea that went nowhere at all. It seems that defines most of the movie. Anything that happened in the whole movie only had repercussions for a few seconds and then we move on to the next scenario starting from scratch (with maybe a few more dead humans).

Solee: Except the “Zombie Fly Girls”, who weren’t dead at all. They weren’t zombies! They were possessed. After a month of watching horror flicks, I’m actually pretty offended and irritated that they would make such a rookie mistake.

Mikey: Yeah, that was a pretty low blow. Speaking of which, earlier we did have an actual zombie fly girl - Jackie Cee (whoever she was… did we have any info about her ever?). That is an example of one of those scenes that just kinda happened. She looked zombie-ish, Jackie Dee looked upset about it, and then we moved on to the next scene, assuming he is dead now I guess.

Solee: I had/have no idea who Jackie Cee was before she appeared as a zombie, other than she was clearly someone Jackie Dee was into.

Mikey: I wish we had been able to meet Jackie Ayy and Jackie Bee too.

Solee: They are probably zombies, too. Safer to avoid all the Jackies.

Mikey: That’s the biggest lesson of the movie I think. That, and leprechauns are very flammable.

Solee: Haha. Indeed.

To be honest, I’m a little sad that we’re ending the month on such a flat note. We picked this movie so we could end on a crazy, silly film, but this just didn’t supply.

Mikey: I want to let our viewers (are we sure they’re viewers?) in on a little secret: there was a different final movie we watched first, which was far better. Hilarious. But, as we watched it, we realized we couldn’t cover it. It was pretty much pornography. I won’t name names, but it was funny!

Solee: Pornography without any actual sex. The same level of plot, acting, set design, and editing as a porno, and the occasional nudity, but nothing actually naughty. Unless you think marionette rabbits who tear people apart are naughty.

Mikey: I’d say that’s a fairly naughty rabbit. Yeah, we actually discovered through IMDB that the movie was made by and starred people involved in actual pornography. They were just trying something different! Anyway, that was another sad thing.

Solee: Yep. Very sad that we couldn’t review it in all it’s ridiculous glory. Oh well. Such is the nature of the Horror Movie Marathon… lots of disappointment with the occasional gem.

Mikey: Yes, and that’s the goal. To sift through the bloody corpses to find the occasional live one. And it’s totally worth it to me. I think tomorrow we will do a run-down of the hits and misses of the month, yes? One last discussion.

Solee: I was hoping we’d do our wrap-up as a discussion! Glad you suggested it. I think it will be interesting to look back at the month as a whole, especially to revisit some of the earlier movies in light of what came later.

Mikey: I look forward to it, and I have many notes already. I think it will be more fun than this movie, which leads me to ask… how do you rate it?

Solee: Oh, yeah. We have to rate! Um… I am going to give this a 1.5 out of 5. And that .5 is only because I appreciated the effort to have a deeper meaning and the main characters had arcs that made me sad when they died. Otherwise this movie didn’t have much going for it.

Mikey: Hmm, I feel much the same. I can’t go all the way down to 1 for this, but it’s definitely not So Bad It’s Good. I think I’ll give it a 2. I realized after we started discussing that even though I was bored during the movie, I was jam-packed with things I wanted to say about it. So I guess it was super duper deep. The Schindler’s List of Leprechaun movies.

Solee: Ooh. Ouch. I’m not sure that’s a good thing.
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  Belittling Horror Excessively: Hollows Grove 02:53 PM -- Sun October 30, 2016  

WARNING! This post contains extensive spoilers for this movie. Watch the movie before reading! Or don't. You have been warned.

This conversation also appears on SoloRien.wordpress.com.

Hollows Grove (2014)
Rated R
IMDB rating: 4.9/10
Metacritic: N/A
Rotten Tomatoes: N/A% critics, 22% audience
Mikey: 1.5/5
Solee: 2/5
We watched on Hulu.


An original work by Solange!
IMDB’s description: “A young filmmaker documents his ghost-hunting, reality show friends as their routine investigation of an abandoned orphanage turns into a nightmare from which they can't escape.”

Mikey: I’m sad that this is our second-to-last movie, but it might be nice for me to actually have a little spare time in which to do work instead of just watching movies and writing reviews 24/7. When I look at the list of horror movies available on Netflix or Hulu, I just want to spend the rest of my life churning through them all. So many terrible low-budget things to enjoy.

Solee: I am also sorrowful that this is coming to an end. Although, having a daily movie/interview/picture schedule is a little challenging when real life rears its ugly head.

Mikey: I took a long time picking the movie for today, and I think I passed up some real winners before settling on… this.

Solee: Don’t spoil our review now!

Mikey: Warning: this review is CLASSIFIED. You should not be reading it. But if you are, please look through it to provide us any information you can about what happens in it.

Solee: I don’t think I’m a fan of the “movie within some other medium” format. Unless it’s Peter Falk reading the best love story of all time to Kevin from the Wonder Years.

Mikey: I enjoy that technique! However, the wrap-around of this movie, where some FBI guy tells us it’s classified, was just a… well, to quote a famous author, it was a pram full of bugbears.

Solee: Don’t reference your songs within your songs. It’s pretentious.

Mikey: Hey, you referenced a song! Cool. It was silly. And the “final shock” of the movie was even more silly. A box full of ghost? That was hilarious. It reminds me of when I visited Hawaii as a kid, and we drove up through the clouds on a volcano, and we held zip-lock bags outside the window to try to collect clouds for souvenirs. Works better with ghosts, I see.

Solee: That is an adorable story. What is NOT adorable is the acronym for this ridiculous ghost hunting team: SPIT (Spirit & Paranormal Investigation Team). And they weren’t even authentic ghost hunters. They were money grubbing scam artists!

Mikey: Hey, that’s still something I appreciate! The whole “fake guys meet the real thing” angle. Fun. Just like Ouija: Origin of Evil.

Solee: I liked it in Ouija. They were at least respectful of the idea and of the people who believed. The SPIT guys are just stupid.

Mikey: They were such horrible people. SPIT was a good acronym for them.

Solee: I couldn’t decide if it was really bad acting or if they were all written very poorly, but I didn’t like any of the main characters. This was one of those movies where very early on I made a note about how happy I was going to be when they all got their come-uppance at the hands of ghosts.

Mikey: The acting was horrendous. It was the girl I noticed most (which I feel bad for, since she was the most abused of them). She was soooo bad. It was reminiscent of The Ouija Experiment as opposed to Origin of Evil.

Solee: Speaking of the girl… she was most abused by the ghosts, but also by her co-workers. They were a bunch of super handsy, gropey guys.

Mikey: Oh yeah, I meant the guys. You’ll notice she joined the ghost’s team as soon as she got a chance! I think that was wise.

Solee: I’m not sure “joined the team” is what you call it when a ghost lifts you 6 feet into the air and then throws you to the ground.

Mikey: But then she immediately went nuts and murdered her friend. She was totally picking sides.

Solee: Ha. I guess. She did get murdery pretty fast.

I liked how the FBI guys left in plenty of visual and audio glitches so that as we were watching we wouldn’t forget that this was found footage.

Mikey: They couldn’t cut those out, maybe there were clues! Hey wait a second, I forgot my favorite note! After she murdered her friend, she becomes a power-walking demon. That was so hilarious.

Solee: She REALLY wanted to get up those stairs and apparently the floaty, flying aspect of possession doesn’t kick in for a bit. She looked like she had joined the Ministry of Silly Walks.

Mikey: Another fine moment: we’ve commented multiple times about how when somebody gets attacked by a cat in these movies, it always just looks like somebody threw a cat at them. This movie cuts out the middleman - someone literally threw a cat at these guys. Hard.

Solee: Shot a cat out of a cannon, maybe. Even the characters were like “Why did that cat just hit that wall at mach speed?”

Mikey: Poor kitty.

Solee: Shortly before the cat-cannon scene they were standing around getting ready to head out into the darkness in what was clearly an ad-libbed bit. It was like these actors had never spoken to other people before in their lives. I noted that they really should have had a director like Kevin Smith, who writes really great dialogue and then doesn’t allow his actors to stray from it.

Mikey: Somebody needed to rein these guys in. There was a great line near the end, where the last remaining guy hears his name being called from the darkness, and he says “Now somebody’s calling my name? What?” That doesn’t sound so bad written down, but I had to make a note of it because it was so not what a human being would do.

Solee: Unless he was trying to get out of an awkward situation. “Um… I think I hear someone calling me... “ Was he at a really uncomfortable dinner party?

Mikey: No, he was in a haunted hospital. I guess that’s something you want to get out of too. He was certainly trying to pry the door open.

Solee: Maybe he could tell this movie was going to be awful and was trying to get out of it. “I’d love to finish my scene here, but I think I hear a ghost calling me. I have to go get murdered now.”

Mikey: That’s pretty much how it went down, actually.

Solee: Did you notice that 99% of the movie was shot through the camera of Harold, but a couple of random times they jumped into a different camera? The first time, was for no apparent reason when they started showing the filming from the official “show” camera. Later it was more logical when it jumped into the camera of the main guy (Tim?) as he was being killed.

Mikey: Well, I will allow it - the FBI guy at the beginning said something about that, I forget what. But he indicated it would happen. On that note, I thought it was interesting that this guy who was documenting their production of the show was really basically just filming their show a second time, over their shoulders. He didn’t ask questions or anything, just filmed what they were filming.

Solee: He did ask questions a couple of times, and got SCREAMED at by Tim or whatever his name was. That dude had some emotion regulating issues. As a writer, the camera hopping happening as rarely as it did came across as poor writing. The author couldn’t figure out how to make that information fit into the POV he’d established, so he cheated and shifted POV to accomplish it. Poor form.

Mikey: Sounds about par for this course. Similar to the real director, the guys making the SPIT show-within-a-show put no effort into their show. They’d deliver a semi-correct line reading and just keep going. Close enough! One take.

Solee: OH! That reminds me that I totally heard one of the characters fumble half way through a line (not on camera for their show within a show!) and restart that line at the beginning again. It COULD have been written that way. I mean, sometimes that happens to people. BUT I am 110% convinced that either the director didn’t notice or they figured, “Eh… maybe they’ll think it was written that way.” and let it stand.

Mikey: As I was watching them film their SPIT show, I kept thinking “Is that really how these ghost hunting shows are done?” - from the way they’d hold the camera 2 inches from the guy’s face, to the super quick effortless bits of dialog and no coverage, to the totally unplanned approach. And in the end I kind of decided that the people making this movie, as movie-makers themselves, probably know more about making a show than I do, so maybe I’m learning something. But maybe you’re proving that that’s just how these guys make movies, and not actually how anybody with any talent does.

Solee: No idea. But I wouldn’t watch their show. And I don’t need to watch this movie again. Aside from the general terribleness of it, I didn’t make many notes. It was just NOT an interesting plot. I can kind of see where an interesting story is hidden in there… but it needed a lot more editing and rewriting to find it.

Mikey: Here’s the shocking twist of the movie: Lance Henriksen is in it. He’s a big movie star. I really wonder what that was about. Was his grandson the director? No idea. But he was certainly the best actor on display, for what little he did. And even he didn’t do that well.

Solee: Who was he?

Mikey: Bill.

Solee: Oh. Really? That guy was a Really Good Actor™ ? I wouldn’t have guessed that. Especially from the very poor line readings during his first scene. He was totally phoning it in.

Mikey: Nominated for 3 Golden Globes! He was definitely phoning it in. Weird.

Solee: The set was creepy. I would have been nervous walking around in the dark in there. Especially if some special effects guy had been in earlier to set up creepy happenings.

Mikey: I see you digging for silver linings!

Solee: Yes. I feel bad about how much I’m hating on this movie. But I really didn’t like it. It wasn’t good enough to be a good movie and it wasn’t bad enough to be a good bad movie. It’s just blah.

Mikey: Well, do you think you can encapsulate that dislike into a numerical format?

Solee: Ummm.. 2.5 out of 5? I am afraid that maybe it wasn’t as bad as I remember.

Mikey: WHOA. I did not see that coming. I wouldn’t even go that high and I have a deep abiding love for all found footage. I award this movie the coveted 1.5 out of 5, throwing in that extra 0.5 because there was a certain SBIG factor at play, especially with the shocking final twist.

Solee: Would it be inappropriate for me to drop my score to a 2 now?

Mikey: I can’t decide your rating for you! Believe in yourself!

Solee: I’m just not sure. Yes. I’m dropping it. 2 out of 5.

Mikey: Peer pressure.

Solee: Probably, but I’m okay with that. So, we’re down to our very last movie!! And we’ve saved something extra special for the grand finale, haven’t we?

Mikey: This is a total game-changer. I think we may have a problem with our scale being limited to only 5 stars when it comes to our opinions of the unimaginable wonder that is Leprechaun In The Hood.

Solee: I’m already wondering if you’ll let me get away with negative integers. Just from the title.

Mikey: I’ve seen snippets of Leprechaun movies on TV back in the days when we had cable. Or maybe back in the days when people rented VHS tapes at Blockbuster. I truly can’t wait for what is sure to be the most terrifying movie of the month.
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  Belittling Horror Excessively: Intruders 2015 02:29 PM -- Sat October 29, 2016  

WARNING! This post contains extensive spoilers for this movie. Watch the movie before reading! Or don't. You have been warned.

This conversation also appears on SoloRien.wordpress.com.

Intruders (2015)
Rated R
IMDB rating: 5.7/10
Metacritic: 39
Rotten Tomatoes: 47% critics, 28% audience
Mikey: 5/5
Solee: 5/5
We watched on Vudu ($2.99). Sadly it is also on Starz, where it's free if you have a subscription. Like we do.


An original work by Solange!
IMDB’s description: “Anna suffers from agoraphobia so crippling that when a trio of criminals break into her house, she cannot bring herself to flee. But what the intruders don't realize is that agoraphobia is not her only problem.”

Note: This is one of many movies with the title Intruders, and it also has an alternate title, Shut In, which is also the title of another movie released in 2016. So to be clear, this is the 2015 (or 2016 - it was released in January 2016) movie starring Beth Riesgraf, with cover art of a house floating in the air with assorted knives and axes hanging down from it. Cool cover art.

I also reviewed the 2011 movie Intruders here: Hamumu Journal - I recommend it!

Solee: So I want to start this interview with a little background information because I’m a little intimidated by this particular review. After we reviewed the movie No Tell Motel, I received a tweet from @TeaJaySee (not someone I knew) saying, “I genuinely enjoyed reading this exchange! Thoughtful, funny and spot-on.” A little research clued me into the fact that he was the writer of No Tell Motel! We had a great little back and forth, which ended with him suggesting that we watch his latest work, Intruders, to see an example of a movie that turned out closer to what he had imagined in his head when he wrote it.

Mikey: So scary! Are we going to make him angry today and feel his wrath?

Solee: Well, he was super chill about the first review, which is cool because it wasn’t particularly flattering. I think he’d be fine with whatever we said. (He’s obviously got a thicker skin and better sense of self-worth as a writer than I do!) However… after seeing the movie, I’m more concerned that he’s going to think I’m trying to kiss up to him by saying nice things. I just want to be clear up front that I actually forgot until about ⅔ of the way through the movie, that it was his movie. So, most of my notes were made without any sense of “ooh… I can’t say that!” I think I got more critical after I remembered because I didn’t want to sound too fangirl. Did you remember we were reviewing a movie by someone who might actually read it?

Mikey: I did, it’s why I picked it! Don’t worry, I will be unflinchingly honest: this movie was a bucket full of turtles!

Solee: Yeah. I don’t know what that means. It sounds good to me, though. Turtles are cool.

Mikey: I guess it does. So, this is our second Leverage connection (and 3rd mention of it) of the month, with Beth Riesgraf starring, and once again typecast as a crazy person.

Solee: Stereotypes are created for a reason… just saying… I was actually really excited to see her. I am a fan. And she just has one of those faces that make you want to fix everything for her if she’s sad. Like Willow or Kaylee. She’s the “heart” of a cast.

Mikey: Yes, just jumping right into mega-spoiler territory, she was not the in-control mastermind of this house of terror that she was supposed to be. That was something unexpected that brought a big dose of realism and empathy to things: she was barely holding it together, despite having an elaborate deathtrap on remote control. One could argue she wasn’t holding it together at all.

Solee: Not really. I don’t think anyone who is so trapped in place that they can’t walk through an open door to escape three guys who are definitely going to kill her is really holding anything together. I don’t know what it feels like to be so agoraphobic that I would rather face certain death than stepping out my front door, but I liked the way she portrayed it. In those moments where she was frozen, you could see the internal struggle.

Mikey: There were a bunch of times in the movie where she ‘let’ somebody escape, or gain the upper hand, and just based on Hollywood convention, I was waiting for her to let the other shoe drop, like a huge blade on a pendulum slicing them in half. But every time it turned out she just wasn’t doing a good job of controlling them. It was just a very unique thing that made her more of a real person than a movie villain. And for that matter, her victims, who were in some ways the actual villains of the movie, were also drawn in an empathetic way.

Solee: For sure. The brothers had some interesting interactions that felt real, with the irritation and bickering turning to protection and grief so quickly. I know that feeling. And I thought Danny’s character and her relationship with him was fascinating. There was a will-they-won’t-they thing that kept getting overshadowed by the actuality of their lives.

Mikey: I guess there was one true villain: Perry. And in fact, killing him was her one time she acted like a supernatural killer herself, just popping up behind from out of nowhere and taking him down. Once he was out of the way, everything was very muddled and grey.

I had a note that it was great that we were seeing people (both sides) being smart and tough, instead of hearing them scream and whine about their situation like most horror movies.


Solee: That stood out to me, too. I absolutely hate the screaming and flailing about that most horror movie characters do, falling down and rolling around on the ground while the bad guy catches up to them instead of getting up on their freakin’ feet again, or huddling in a corner instead of finding SOMETHING to protect themselves with. These were people I could relate to. And you know how much scarier I think things are when they are relatable instead of supernatural.

Mikey: Oh oh oh! Back to where we started, I think we’ve found T.J. Cimfel’s trademark: in this movie, there are some stairs, which are controlled by a remote to slide away into the wall. She stores the remote in a drawer, so in fact in this movie, as in No Tell Motel, we find characters looking in drawers for a set of stairs!

Solee: You were so happy to see that! :)

Mikey: It was my favorite part of No Tell Motel.

Solee: We still talk about that. I don’t think we’ll ever talk about stairs or ladders in our house again without referencing No Tell Motel.

There’s another commonality I noticed: rape victims who get revenge. Both movies have female characters who have been victimized, but who do something to throw off the mantle of victim. Not necessarily in a healthy, therapist-approved kind of way in this case, but still...

Mikey: No, her coping strategy wasn’t really straight out of the diagnostic manual, but I guess it works for her. I had a note about the ending of the movie, in that it felt too low key, not like the big dramatic showdown it should’ve been, but that kind of ties into everything in the movie - everything kind of subverted expectations to go a little more simple and real, instead of the big bang you expect. I don’t know why I made a note of it negatively in the ending when I liked it before that.

Solee: I want to share the sequence of notes I made at the end…
“She killed rapist herself… will it change anything?”
“Nope. She still can’t go out.”
“Culkin eye roll. LOVE IT.”
“Or maybe… YES!”
“BURN THAT [house] DOWN.”

I thought it was great that there was a moment where everything she had just experienced might have been for naught, that she might still be trapped by what had happened to her as a child, as so many people are. I would have accepted that as an ending - I’m sort of a fan of the really depressing ending - but I got VERY excited for her when she finally took those steps out and removed all chance of her retreating back into her shell.

Mikey: Removed them pretty thoroughly. Yeah, it’s kind of sad for her that she is about to end up trapped again for the rest of her life in an even smaller space, but for the purposes of this story it’s cathartic.

Solee: Woah. I didn’t even think of that. I think she will be less confined than she’s been for the last 10 years. Even if she’s physically confined, her mind has been freed.

Mikey: Deep. Although maybe by burning it down, the evidence that’s left just points to surviving an attack by the three guys and engaging in self-defense, and not decades of murder and torture. Who knows?

Solee: It depends on how well the contents of that chest-freezer survive.

Mikey: Oh man, I completely forgot the freezer! It’s probably worth noting that every time we are in a Home Depot, I like to check out the chest freezers and see if there is one big enough to hold you.

Solee: I’m glad you pointed that out. Now it’s on record, should I make a sudden disappearance in the future.

Mikey: That would make me sad. I wanna keep you by my side!

Solee: Hence the Solee-sized freezer!

I think it was interesting and a layer deeper than I expected that JP decided to try to rape her himself. She was using him as a surrogate for her original abuser, but he put himself into the role for real. That had the dual benefit of making her actions more acceptable to me as a viewer (she didn’t just kill him because she’s screwed up, he was putting her in actual immediate danger) and giving her actions the extra realism that “fixed” her agoraphobia.

Mikey: That was one of those moments I was expecting more Hollywood than I got - when he shoved her down, I was thinking like “Oh man, that was a big mistake.” and it was… he did get killed, but in a way that realistically was very much on the edge, could’ve gone either way. What I had expected was some hidden switch to drop bricks on his head or whatever. Something where she’d give a little evil grin and destroy him. I’m really actually glad we never got that kind of fake stuff, but just a rough and real situation. So many times I had those “ah yeah, here it comes…” moments in my head, always subverted.

Which leads me into my alternate ending. About midway through the movie, I had an idea of a huge twist that was kind of blowing up in my head. And my twist would’ve been really cool… but it would’ve flipped the entire movie on its head, and we would’ve lost all that subtlety and realism, because I was thinking big and crazy. My idea was that Conrad had never been her brother. He was just the latest in a long line of surrogate brothers, drugged beyond comprehensibility (notice nobody but her ever saw him coherent and speaking), and by the end of this movie, she was going to make JP the next one (“put on the shirt in the drawer!”). It kinda would’ve been cool… but it would’ve made her a standard horror villain.


Solee: That would have been fun. It’s become clear to me that we both enjoy a good “unreliable narrator” twist, but I agree… it would have been a much more Hollywood plot then. I really loved the interactions between her and her brother in the beginning. They were obviously very close. It was kind of fun to suddenly realize that her sweet, caring, protective brother was also a massive serial killer. For what some might consider a good reason… but still a serial killer. I suspect he would have killed one way or another. This just gave him a sense of justification.

Mikey: I’m glad we have a legal system and vigilantism is illegal. I do so love a big twist. But this movie really was all twists, because everything always went a different direction than I expected. Pretty impressive.

Solee: What I find impressive about that, is that the writing, acting, directing, whatever, made the twists flow together smoothly. We’ve seen plenty of movies that were constant twists and turns, but that end up just being exhausting. There’s a fine line between a well done complex storyline and a convoluted rat’s nest of ideas (ahem, Beacon77, I’m looking at you!). This movie did a great job of staying on the right side of that line.

Mikey: Cease your prattling! No twist is ever bad! ALL TWISTS ALL THE TIME.

Solee: Ugh.

Mikey: They always kill the pets first :(.

Solee: I know. It’s awful. That’s a psychological thing, I think. Build up the tension by killing off something less than human. It backfires with people like you, though.

Mikey: Yes, I like animals much better than people. Case in point: they don’t smash peoples’ heads with hammers.

Solee: Very valid point. I want to bring up Perry again. We mentioned his death earlier, but we didn’t really talk about what a completely waste of skin he was. He was just a horrible, horrible person - in a very realistic, I’ve met people like this kind of way - and I was very much looking forward to his demise.

Mikey: Don’t let those people near your birds. I would add that he had some really funny lines, in a horrible way. He was well-played by Martin Starr.

Solee: “He WAS your friend. Now he’s a doorstop.” That was a terrible thing to say, but Martin said it so brilliantly. He makes a really good jerk.

Mikey: That may not be to his credit… seems like he played that in Party Down too. Less murdery though.

Solee: Well, if you take away the murdery bits, he’s just a snarky guy. I can relate to that.

Mikey: Yes you can. What else you got here?

Solee: I’m trying to come up some criticisms… Oh. The Lawyer Lady was stupid beyond belief. “Oh, sure… of course that’s your radiator shouting “help” from inside that locked wooden box. I’ll just be on my way.”

Mikey: She just didn’t want to get stabbed. She was so far from stupid, she saw the knife block missing one, and she even had you fooled!

Solee: Maybe that’s the case. I honestly don’t have any other complaints about this movie… Wait. I did struggle just a bit with the initial premise that she’d just bust out her duffle bag full of money and shove it at the Meals On Wheels guy. Except that she had just lost the only person that meant anything to her, and she obviously had feelings for Mr. M.O.W.… so it wasn’t that much of a stretch. How did you feel about that?

Mikey: That totally works for me, because I identify with it: total shut-in, doesn’t know how people interact, who is at her greatest stress level possible at this moment having just lost the only person she interacts with… once again I am identifying with the crazy serial killer. It made perfect sense to me.

Solee: Yeah. Me, too. I just was hoping to find something I could be harsh about… but nope. I’m totally fangirling over this movie.

Mikey: Sorry. Give me your shocking twist of a rating.

Solee: ZERO OUT OF FIVE!

Mikey: SHOCK!!! TWIST!!!

Solee: Just kidding. I’m giving this a 5 out of 5. It was scary enough to fit in a horror marathon, but did such a nice job of avoiding stereotypes and tropes that I thoroughly enjoyed it. There were some truly gruesome moments - Danny’s knee!! *shudder* - but mostly it was just a really good foray into the horror that is humanity. My favorite kind of horror. What is your rating?

Mikey: This is where my problem lies. I am so stuck. I really want to give this a 4.5 out of 5. But I don’t know what is wrong with it to knock it down from 5. It is doing something very unique and I really respect that, but somehow I feel like I need to not give it the 5 (maybe because I’m no fangirl!). I just don’t know how to justify it. What should I do!?

Solee: Trust your gut. Ratings are about how the movie made YOU feel. Sometimes it’s hard to explain exactly where those feelings come from… but that doesn’t change them. If the movie didn’t WOW you in the same way that the other 5 out of 5s did… then 4.5 is very respectable.

Mikey: So, I looked at the list. Green Room, The Uninvited, and House of 1000 Corpses are the other 5s. Can I say this is less than them?

Solee: See for me, Intruders is just as good as The Uninvited. And possibly Green Room. I should have given House of 1000 Corpses a 5.5.

Mikey: Illegal! And still amazing to me to hear coming out of your face (or fingers)!! I should note that you have one other 5/5 that I don’t: The Voices. Anyway, I don’t see why this is any worse than those movies for me. I will begrudgingly allow it. Five of five.

Solee: I will say that watching Intruders makes me wish I could see what No Tell Motel looked like in T.J.’s head. I bet it was interesting. I’m looking forward to more stories by him.

Mikey: I am dead certain that in the original script, those stairs were in the drawer.

Solee: Hahahaha! Maybe he’ll tweet me and verify that. Tomorrow, we return to the world of found footage.

Mikey: Hooray! Yes, I felt that with only 3 found footage movies this month, the ratio was much too low for my usual October, so it was time to kick it into gear one last time.

Solee: You like your shaky-cam.

Mikey: I’m not even sure I do. I must, because I always want more. I just don’t know why. This one is entitled Hollows Grove, and not Grover’s Hollow, which is the terrifying story of a beheaded muppet on a rampage.

Solee: Hahahaha. You’re so dumb. <3
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  Belittling Horror Excessively: House of 1000 Corpses 01:59 PM -- Fri October 28, 2016  

WARNING! This post contains extensive spoilers for this movie. Watch the movie before reading! Or don't. You have been warned.

This conversation also appears on SoloRien.wordpress.com.

House of 1000 Corpses (2003)
Rated R
IMDB rating: 6.0/10
Metacritic: 31
Rotten Tomatoes: 19% critics, 65% audience
Mikey: 5/5
Solee: 5/5
We watched on Fandango ($1.99).


An original work by Solange!
IMDB’s description: “Two teenage couples traveling across the backwoods of Texas searching for urban legends of murder end up as prisoners of a bizarre and sadistic backwater family of serial killers.”

Solee: Today’s movie was one I went into with equal parts trepidation and curiosity. House of 1000 Corpses, written and directed by Rob Zombie, promised to be a gore-fest and it kept its promise in a big way.

Mikey: Not nearly as big a way as I expected! I’ve been watching Ash vs. Evil Dead on the side, and I have to say it’s about 100x as gory as anything we watched for these reviews. This movie really surprised me with how reasonable it stayed, in terms of torture and gore. I’m not sure I even averted my eyes at any point. I was surprised by a lot of things in this movie, not the least of which (in fact, the most of which) were outbursts by my own wife during and after it…

Solee: THEY PEELED THE FACE AND CHEST OFF A GUY AND WORE IT AS A COSTUME TO TALK TO THE GUY’S DAUGHTER.

Mikey: Oh come on, who doesn’t do that at a family event?

Solee: I’m not going to any more Hommel family gatherings. Period.

Mikey: I think the gist of my thought here is that this movie wasn’t nearly the insane grotesquerie that I had been led to believe by the mass media. It’s kind of like hearing about GTA turning our kids into killers and then finding out how lame it actually is (man, I hate that game - the shooting controls are scarier than this movie).

Not that this movie was lame. It was a ton of fun. I think it’s worth pointing out that two of our “heroes” in this movie are played by Chris Hardwick and Rainn Wilson. This movie is completely filled with intentional comedy, and we laughed a lot (though it’s pretty far from a horror-comedy).


Solee: Seeing Chris Hardwick totally made my day. He played the role of someone who is obsessed with “freaks” and is excited about the strangeness of it all when he should be terrified perfectly.

It was the intentionality of the humor that really grabbed me, I think. Seeing this movie makes me think that Rob Zombie must be pretty freaking smart. You can’t hit all those right notes by accident.

Mikey: I’ve seen him discuss things, he’s definitely a smart guy! Artsy. Half the fun of this movie was just, as somebody who has watched hundreds of episodes of @Midnight, seeing Chris Hardwick being this ridiculous guy. It was like watching your buddy act like an idiot in a movie.

That was kind of where the fun came from in general: all the characters were so over-the-top and wacky. Captain Spaulding was this charming, affable guy who just gets along with everybody (in a kind of nasty way). With great fashion sense. Not at all the mass murderer he actually is. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a murderer portrayed in that way, just so personable. And all the Firefly family each had their own crazy way about them which was unique and a little out of left field. Except maybe Tiny.

About halfway through the movie, Rufus shows up and says “Okay, your car’s fixed, you can go.” and I half-believed they really were going to let them go, because everything was just so off-kilter instead of traditionally evil.


Solee: Off-kilter is the perfect way to describe it. And the editing was designed to keep you that way. Much of the story was told in montages of still shots between scenes. Or with family movie style footage. This family was so NORMAL if you removed the murdery bits. They bickered and had their traditions and defended one another from outsiders.

I, too, loved Captain Spaulding. He was a jerk, but I’ve met lots of people who are equally abrasive without being serial killers (I think…). From the very first mention of chicken, I was terrified that we were going to find out they were serving their victims, battered and fried, to passers-by. But that didn’t happen. What do you think of that? Missed opportunity, or normalcy that accentuates the wierdness?

Mikey: That’s totally part of what they were doing… these people were way off, but any time you thought “Oh, they’re going there!” they just wouldn’t. Like they served a big family dinner to the kids they had semi-kidnapped - that was a perfect opportunity for it to be some horrifying slop, or again cannibalist, or full of worms, or something crazy. But they actually skipped right over the majority of that meal, and the implication from what I could see is that it was all perfectly decent food. The weirdness was always hidden around a different corner than you expected. I loved that Captain Spaulding just served really good fried chicken. It was another of his interests besides killin’.

Solee: I think the unexpected is necessary for both humor and horror. And clearly, Mr. Zombie understands our culture enough to know what is expected and how to dance away from it like a bull-fighter from the horns.

So this movie takes place in the midwest in the 70’s where all hitchhiking horror stories come from. Seriously, the 70’s are pretty much we why can’t have nice things now.

Mikey: They were certainly an ugly time. That brings me back to a note you made: this movie was filmed in normal high-quality picture (see my amazing knowledge of film technique?), but every few minutes they’d have a cut away to the nastiest, chunkiest, grindhouse 8mm film that had been aged for 20 years - just to show us what was happening in the other room, or flash back to something. It was a really interesting technique. The whole movie was an ode to grindhouse cinema of the 70’s, but rather than subject us to a terrible quality image for the entire movie, he just used it to highlight these little cutaways. It was another great little touch. I keep being surprised, I just didn’t expect this to be so well done.

According to Rotten Tomatoes, only 19% of critics thought this movie was good, and their criticisms are absolutely vicious: “Possibly the greatest waste of celluloid since Jerry Lewis was first allowed to stand before a camera.”, “Mr. Zombie's shameless pilfering, derivative and uninspired writing, and ham-fisted direction result in a chaotic mess.”, and so on. I don’t get it! This is not just a great movie, but it’s also a very artistic one (in a very low-brow way). They really put a lot into making this, and it makes me wonder that critics completely miss what’s going on here. The same critics who probably applaud everything Quentin Tarantino does, which is virtually identical. Disapproving of the outsider musician trying his hand at movies?


Solee: I’m sure that’s part of it. But I absolutely DO NOT get “professional” reviews of movies. They are almost always 180 degrees off from what I think. The fact that they couldn’t see the genius in this movie is why I don’t feel bad about disliking movies they rave about. Movie critics are just people with opinions they put on one leg at a time like the rest of us. The soundtrack selections for this movie were perfectly surreal, too. Baby Firefly lip-syncing to the Betty Boop song was hilarious. And I will never hear the song Brickhouse without shivering again.

Mikey: Hmm, I don’t remember when Brickhouse was in there. I jump right into my opinions with both feet though.

Solee: Baby was doing something horrible as Brickhouse played. It was perfect.

Mikey: Agatha Crispies! Just wanted to be sure we said that in this review.

Solee: I even included them in my picture! I wasn’t sure what I was going to draw until I saw that box. That makes me think about Tiny. Despite having been set on fire by his own father and the injuries he sustained from that, he seemed to be the most mentally stable of them all. I think he was truly going to let the girl leave.

Mikey: Yeah, he was just like whatever. I think maybe more out of obliviousness than mental stability. We didn’t get a whole lot of insight into his thoughts. Whenever I see one of those giant guys in a movie (the actor was an actual “giant”), I always think about how they try to portray them as hugely intimidating and powerful, but they move like they actually are: crippled and constantly uncomfortable. It’s not very believable. Not that he was doing big Andre The Giant moves or anything.

Solee: With characters like that - and with anyone who is cast as grotesquely fat or ugly - I always wonder how the actor feels about being seen as the perfect person to pull that off. Starlets have nervous breakdowns because they start being cast as the older sister when they reach 40. How must it feel to constantly have Hollywoodland tell you that you are the perfect amount of fat to play a guy everyone mocks for being fat?

Is it weird that this movie feels almost more respectful? I mean, everyone in this movie was screwed up in some way, but those things were celebrated, not mocked. Or maybe I’m giving it too much credit.

Mikey: It doesn’t feel as bad as a lot of movies in that way. I always appreciate when they don’t include a little person in their cast of “look at these weirdos!” That’s a rough Hollywood life - there’s always work for you, as long as you like being portrayed as either a freak or an elf. I think about that stuff all the time. It doesn’t even have to be “grotesque” - it’s “This girl is playing the hot girl the guy is after, we think you’re perfect to play the one who’s not good enough!” There’s a lot of self-esteem issues in Hollywood… but if you want to have somebody play the role of “so ugly the main character makes a face and ducks out of the room”, I guess you have to find somebody to play it. Maybe it’s the script you need to fix.

Solee: Hollywood needs to fix a LOT of their scripts, that’s for sure. Game of Thrones has put a dent in the little person in film stereotype, though. Actually, Peter Dinklage has consistently played characters that challenge that stereotype.

Mikey: Yes, that seems to be his thing! I hope it’s making a dent. Really, all the freaks of this movie other than Tiny were just ordinary people who had really bad thoughts in their heads. And bad teeth. And bad hair usually. Pretty reasonable, and kind of shows the rest of Hollywood that you can do that. But then I suppose the people who do have deformities are then out of a job. Heaven forbid they get cast as normal people.

Solee: I like that we’re slowly moving in that direction. There’s a lot of road to cover, still, but I think the voices of all sorts of minorities are being heard more clearly and one of the things they are saying is “I want to see people like ME on my television.” Gradually that sentiment is overtaking the “Eww, seeing two boys kissing or a person who looks different than I do makes me uncomfortable!” voices.

I’m not sure what more I have to say about this movie. It was amazing. There are too many clever little bits to mention them all. You really have to watch it to appreciate the artistry.

Mikey: I have this to say: I was surprised by the movie, sure, but I was blown away by the reaction it got from you! This was not the kind of thing I thought would be rocking your socks off, but I don’t know if I’ve ever seen you happier with a movie in your life! It was quite a thing to witness, especially considering this is a grindhouse gorefest about people being tortured to death. It’s just like a Halloween miracle. So, I guess we should get to your rating, which shouldn’t be much of a surprise at this point.

Solee: I was pleasantly surprised by my reaction to it as well. I am not sure what caused me to feel so positively about this flick, but I really did like it. I think there’s a very dark and scary part of me that doesn’t get to see the light of day very often, but every once in a while something with the right combination of depth and darkness and unexpectedness comes along. Or maybe I’m just a fan of Rob Zombie. I tend to react positively to his music even though it’s well outside my normal Beatles-Pink-Taylor Swift-Creedence Clearwater Revival rotation. I am giving this movie a 5 out of 5. I loved everything about it. The writing, the acting, the set design, the soundtrack, the editing… literally everything about it. The critics are idiots.

Mikey: There’s a real difference for me between a movie I’m enjoying and one I’m not. When a movie is fun, I get lost and will suddenly ‘wake up’ and go “oh hey, I’ve been lost in this movie for a while!” When a movie is not, it’s just pictures on a screen and I’m using my mental energy to keep the plot and characters straight in my head (or I’m ignoring it instead…). I’m surprised how often this month I have had lots of fun, not just with the high rated movies. This movie was of course very engrossing. I was hooked from the first scene, watching Captain Spaulding just do his jabbering (and by the way, the guy who robbed him was practically Yosemite Sam, that’s a note I made).

As far as downsides, I think there were too many characters in the movie - it’s weird that Dr. Satan was a whole different thing and we had to find him down there (along with a random ‘zombie monster guy’ of his), instead of being one of the family, and there were just an awful lot of family members. Plus Captain Spaulding and his buddy. And the three cops. And the four victims. That’s a lot of characters, which could have been condensed. But they were fun characters.

I want people to watch this movie. I was really torn beforehand over whether we should see this, or the sequel The Devil’s Rejects, which gets much better reviews from both humans and critics. I’m really glad we went for the original. Hope you all don’t mind seeing a skinned face (I had forgotten about that, it really was the grossest thing in there)! I grant this the official 5 out of 5 from Hamumu.


Solee: It was the grossest… but there was also some skeleton hanky-panky. That was pretty disturbing, too, in a whole different way.

So, next we watch a movie I’m a little nervous to review, Intruders. We’ll talk about why it makes me nervous tomorrow.

Mikey: For those watching along, be aware that there are like 100 movies named Intruders or similar. The one we are watching is a 2015 (or 2016, according to some sources) movie starring Beth Riesgraf and Rory Culkin, and the cover art for it is a house floating in the air with knives and axes hanging down from it. It is also known as Shut In, which conveniently is also the name of another 2016 movie. Check it out!
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  Belittling Horror Excessively: Altergeist 02:04 PM -- Thu October 27, 2016  

WARNING! This post contains extensive spoilers for this movie. Watch the movie before reading! Or don't. You have been warned.

This conversation also appears on SoloRien.wordpress.com.

Altergeist (2014)
Rated R
IMDB rating: 3.9/10
Metacritic: N/A
Rotten Tomatoes: N/A% critics, 25% audience
Mikey: 2/5
Solee: 2/5
We watched on Hulu.


An original work by Solange!
IMDB’s description: “King's Ransom Winery is one of the most haunted places in America, with a long history of bizarre suicides. Six ghost hunters have been given the rare opportunity to conduct a paranormal investigation. What they discover terrifies them.”

Mikey: Another horror movie about a pregnant woman! I was going to say that’s all we watch, but I dug through our list and we’ve avoided them pretty carefully, which is hard to do since there are millions. This was our third this month, I think.

Solee: This movie makes up for our efforts to skirt this issue, though. There were LOTS of pregnant ladies in this one.

Mikey: As in Holidays, so I think we probably have about 31 pregnant women even if we didn’t have them in all 31 movies!

Solee: Yep. That’s not a trope I find necessary or even all that palatable. Although, given the somewhat creepy nature of growing another organism inside oneself (sorry, all you pregnant ladies!), and the great plot opportunities for one thing - alien, ghost, etc - sneaking into another thing - sweet little baby, hormonal lady, etc - I can see why it’s used so often.

Mikey: Like Russian nesting dolls!

Solee: That makes me think of ghost inside alien inside baby inside mother. The horror-birth equivalent of a turducken.

Mikey: Not nearly enough turduckens in horror movies. My final word on pregnancy-related horror movies is that I understand how it gives you some new plots that require it (like this movie - all about the pregnancy), but it bugs me when they just throw it in there to make the woman more vulnerable and/or raise the stakes (killing her is a twofer!).

Solee: Even in this movie, where it’s integral to the plot, I don’t love it because I think it’s pretty lazy, unoriginal writing. Rape and incest are too often used as a convenient launch pad for completely unrelated plots. I could go on a huge soap-box rant, but I’ll leave it at… lazy writing.

Mikey: Yes, same idea: look how traumatized this woman is now, we can go anywhere with this.

Solee: Exactly.

Mikey: But there’s more to this movie! There’s arguing couples, and arguing couples, and couples arguing simultaneously while we cut between them to enjoy all the arguments at max intensity!

Solee: Which was clearly upsetting the spirits. Spirits are very sensitive to things like that. They really prefer when couples calmly talk things out.

Mikey: They’re like relationship counselors in that way. So, spirits… were those ghosts, or were they some kind of artifact of alien technology? Was this Ghosts Vs. Aliens, or alien tech that left behind ‘energy remnants’ or something?

Solee: I completely missed any alien tech aspect. It felt like an alien invasion story where the victims of the aliens stuck around as ghosts. To help future victims? I’m not so sure about that part.

Mikey: That just bugs me, in a way akin to Beacon 77 - they’re asking you to accept too many premises. Like why are these deaths so very ghosty, if you’re not going to use the aliens as an explanation? I mean, these ghosts were seriously ghosty! Not just vague whispers.

Solee: There were also some pretty strong time-travel undertones. There was a girl ghost who was seen on video near the middle of the movie, who I suspect was actually footage of one of the people watching that video much later in the movie, after she died and was doing her ghostly thing.

Mikey: Yeah, I had no idea who she was. Speaking of time, that’s what I would’ve been into: if the ghosts (which looked kind of technological, like snippets of floating video footage, you know? That helped push me towards an alien idea and not being sure they were normal ghosts) had not been interactive, but rather had been people unstuck in time, repeating loops over and over, due to the aliens. Heck, if the aliens were so into fear, they could’ve used that to study them in their most frightened moments over and over.

Solee: Once again, the ghost/alien/badguy was reaching into their victims’ pasts to use their memories and experiences against them. That’s been a fairly common theme this month.

Mikey: Did they? Seemed like they just (very lackadaisically) were using human wombs to make alien babies, and everything else was kind of a mess because they weren’t very good at their jobs.

Solee: It was weak, but it was there… The one guy was afraid of guns because his cousin shot himself. He ended up shooting himself.

Mikey: Oh wait, actually that’s one of my notes as well! I remember it now! Everybody dying in ironic/meaningful ways. Right, because the aliens sorta possessed all the males, and used them to either kill the females or themselves, in the most ironic way they could think of. They bred out fear, not irony.

Solee: I actually made a note that I HOPED the aliens were possessing the men, because otherwise every male in this movie was domineering, abusive and/or misogynistic in some way. It would be sad to think that’s all the writer could write.

Mikey: Yeah, I think it was control though. Like especially the guy with his brother and the gun, it’s obvious. Oh, and Ashen (some name!) killing everyone in the car. Very directed.

Solee: That’s the conclusion I came to as well.

Mikey: Which all brings to mind the part I least understood, also my favorite part: when the guy went into the room they weren’t allowed into, and had the scariest part of the movie (the only scary part of the movie), where he found all the dolls and eventually got “killed” by a ghost. Then later, he’s back and we never have a single moment explaining it, or him looking at the camera with an evil grin, or anything. He’s just normal. Possibly possessed by aliens, though how that fits in, I don’t even know. And even if so, no evil grin.

Solee: I did note that he had a voice in his head telling him to kill… but I was very confused as to whose voice it was.

Mikey: He apparently pushed the girl off the bridge, but then made a very convincing argument that he didn’t. I believed him!

Solee: Apparently he was possessed by an alien with a shaky grasp on reality. Can we talk about the alien storyline and the “lesson” it presents for a second? If I understood correctly, it goes something like this:
  1. Aliens breed fear out of themselves.
  2. Lack of fear, somehow being representative of all impassioned emotion in their culture, leads to lack of sex.
  3. Stealing human babies is how they choose to reproduce.
Is that pretty much how it goes?

Mikey: No, I have some corrections from my understanding: Apparently if you remove fear, you lose all emotions automatically. They said it, so fine, that’s how it works. But they don’t steal babies - she wasn’t pregnant at all. She came to this place, got abducted and injected with an alien fetus. Now she’s back and they want to harvest. They just use human wombs for their alien babies.

Solee: Ooooohhhh. Right. I remember the scene with her floating in an empty room having a tadpole inserted into her bellybutton.

Mikey: Those scenes remind me that this movie was surprisingly polished and high budget for otherwise being very SyFy Original Movie.

Solee: Indeed. There were some interesting things done with cuts and flashbacks and such, too. Although I don’t think they were as clear as the director/writer intended.

Mikey: Back to the alien babies for one more remark: Okay, so they didn’t have the desire to breed anymore. Couldn’t they just do it out of duty? I mean, come on. You don’t have to cross the universe - if you have the technology to insert tadpoles in bellybuttons, you don’t even need any desire! And they probably grow better in alien bellies anyway.

Solee: OR. Do some de-evolving and breed fear back into themselves. Find that one alien who’s still a little twitchy during thunderstorms and start him having some babies! It would take time… but, c’mon, aliens, it’s about the ethics of the situation!

Mikey: They bred out morality! But you know, these aliens must have been really scared of fear to not think to undo that change. So they had nothing to fear but fear itself!

Solee: Bet you never thought you’d be quoting FDR in a horror movie review.

Mikey: It has all been foreordained in the Bible Code.

Solee: Also foreordained: the obligatory up-the-nose-of-a-hysterical-female shot in found footage films.

Mikey: Hey, I don’t remember that happening! Also, we should let our viewers know, this isn’t a found footage movie, which is weird since it’s entirely about a camera crew filming stuff. It’s just that most of the time, it’s not their footage we see.

Solee: There are found footage elements. Dax-cam! Mike-cam! Jason-cam!

Mikey: Yuppers. The very beginning of the movie was crazy to me - it was a guy running around filming himself on his iPhone, but instead of showing us that footage, they were filming him doing it. I liked the Mike-Cam.

Solee: I thought we’d be using the phrase “Thirteen times!” regularly in our review. Sadly, that didn’t happen.

Mikey: Oh no, I forgot about that at least thirteen times! I remember saying it in the next movie we watched at least (Spoiler: we watched our next movie before writing this review).

Solee: Even the characters in Altergeist failed to stick to “thirteen times”. I counted 28 stabs to take out Maya. It was… gruesome.

Mikey: Yep, 13 would’ve been much more proper.

Solee: I also noted that while most of the women (and some of the men) spent a lot of time crying onscreen, the make-up designer apparently has never cried or seen crying people in real life. “Crying” was shown, every single time, by making a big perfect triangle of wet under the eyes. I found it quite strange.

Mikey: Anime tears! In the end, I was confused by this movie. Of what was happening, I couldn’t tell what was being caused by ghosts, what by aliens, and what was just really bad decision making. Or even if the ghosts were good (some clearly were, but were others murderers?). It was a mess.

Solee: Agreed. It falls into the category of movies that leaves me questioning all the wrong things but fails to give me anything of real substance to mull over. I was more irritated than challenged by the plot twists.

Mikey: That all adds up to a rating of 2 from me, I think. Not really worth watching.

Solee: That’s exactly what I was going to give it! There are some stronger elements… the sets and mechanics weren’t bad… but overall, it just wasn’t worth the time. 2 out of 5.

Mikey: Right, they clearly spent a bunch of money on this bad story. So, are you prepared to face the unlimited terror of the House of 1000 Corpses!?!?

Solee: I am SO ready. Bring it on, Rob Zombie!
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  Belittling Horror Excessively: Beacon 77 03:03 PM -- Wed October 26, 2016  

WARNING! This post contains extensive spoilers for this movie. Watch the movie before reading! Or don't. You have been warned.

This conversation also appears on SoloRien.wordpress.com.

Beacon 77 (or The 7th Dimension) (2009)
Not Rated
IMDB rating: 4.7/10
Metacritic: N/A
Rotten Tomatoes: N/A% critics, 50% audience
Mikey: 2/5
Solee: 2.5/5
We watched on Hulu.


An original work by Solange!
IMDB’s description: “Two young women arrive at a curious penthouse apartment, led by one's crush on her tutor….He's part of a trio of computer hackers about to embark on the ultimate job on the world's most mysterious mainframe.”

Mikey: Do I need to shout “SHUT UP ZOE!” at another movie, right after Behemoth?

Solee: Yes, yes you do. That girl couldn’t decide what level to dial her emotions up to.

Mikey: I did feel like she got a lot more acceptable as a character after the first third of the movie, but wow, in the early going, she made the other Zoe seem positively pleasant.

Solee: The first third?

Mikey: Yeah, I made that note before any of the crazy stuff happened, when she was going nuts at Malcolm, in a very Behemoth-Zoe style.

Solee: Yeah, the thing is, one minute she’s so in love with him that she’s going to give up everything in her world to be with him, and then the next minute she’s raging at him because he’s going to do something that’s clearly important and part of his job. It’s like she was only happy when she was the center of his attention, which is not a healthy foundation for a relationship.

Mikey: Not that Declan and Kenny offered an example of healthy relationships either.

Solee: No… but they weren’t an actual relationship anymore.

Mikey: Some of them knew that more than others.

Solee: So this movie was jam-packed with every philosophy 101 concept that I ever talked about with anyone during a late-night sleepover as a teenager. Like it wanted to be clever, but it just came across as trying too hard.

Mikey: It’s funny that I can see a movie about a ghost killing everybody, and a psychic comes in and explains how it’s all being caused by energy in the house which was triggered by angry emotions… but this movie, I couldn’t suspend my disbelief hard enough to get even close to believing all twenty of the conspiracy theories they were intertwining.

Solee: Wow, every single thing that they looked up turned out to be a conspiracy. There was not a single “Nope, that was just a coincidence! The roads were just bad the day Diana’s bodyguard was driving too fast.”

Mikey: Of course they were all conspiracies, because the Vatican, the CIA, and the Pentagon were all working together to track down these bedroom hackers, using their MK-Ultra remote viewers and Bible-Code-powered Dan Brown assassins.

It was just too many ridiculous things, that some people in real life actually believe, all stacked together, to make this movie super implausible.


Solee: So what I think is interesting is that you focused in on all those conspiracy things, and what I focused in on was all the physics things they tried to put in there, the strange physics stuff of “the dimensions just beyond our powers of observation” and the idea of a 2-dimensional world. When Declan was drawing on the toilet paper, he was obviously representing wormholes or folding space.

Mikey: Which was never talked about or referenced again - he did it in private, apparently solved the universe doing it, and that was that.

Solee: Yeah, by drawing some lines and dots on toilet paper, he gained psychic powers. Which he used to throw his ex-girlfriend off a building.

Mikey: RIGHT! That’s the big thing I want to bring up. This might take some words. First of all, I find this kind of apocalyptic stuff very interesting, where somebody figures out how to break the rules of the world, and our reality falls apart. That’s fun, deep philosophical story stuff. But, in this movie, as in several others I’ve seen (Lucy comes to mind, as well as a few time-travel movies), all that fancy philosophical world-changing stuff ends up funneling down to somebody getting stabbed with a kitchen knife, and that’s pretty much the whole conflict. That is such a massive waste of interesting ideas.

Solee: I suspect that that funneling down happens because most people can’t think about the massive world-changing outside-our-powers-of-observation type concepts for too long.

Mikey: I feel like if you just wanted to write a story about somebody stabbing other people, even if it’s somebody with psychic powers, you can do that. You don’t have to spend half the movie discussing philosophy to bring it up. Just have him sign a contract with the devil, or get struck by lightning, and go with it.

Solee: I think it all boils down to they were trying to do something science-based, only they totally failed because their science was drowned in conspiracy theories.

Mikey: But all I’m asking for is that the guy, instead of pushing his girlfriend off a balcony, stabbing his friend, and shooting glass through a psychic girl… just have him tear the world open, or turn into pure energy, or anything that would be magical enough to justify all the philosophizing.

Solee: Okay, you get that he destroyed the world at the end, right? He brought about the end times. Not on schedule, but still. He just had to mundanely kill all the people that were trying to stop him doing that for some reason.

Mikey: I know - he destroyed the world off-screen. What I’m asking for, is for the movie to provide this payoff instead of being a simple slasher in the end.

Solee: I don’t think there’s any way the movie could’ve provided that in a way that didn’t come across as disappointing. It’s like how the scary monster is always scarier off-screen than when they bring it on-screen and you see that’s crappy CGI or a marionette in the shape of a mangy rabbit.

Mikey: If he could’ve just been as impressive as Neo, that would’ve been alright.

Solee: There were a lot of moments where this movie was trying to be The Matrix. Like how she could hear the code well enough to know whether they were being tracked.

Mikey: There was some classic hacking excitement in here. Like how the Pentagon had a letterhead for their hacking screens, and how they had to type a bible passage to get past Vatican security, and how they had one guy who they had literally chosen because he’s really good at typing fast and accurately. No computer skills whatsoever, just an awesome typist.

Solee: “He’s the fastest accurate typist.”

Mikey: It’s like a superpower.

Solee: Of course, some college student was able to do the job for him for about two-thirds of the time, as they tried to “configure the matrix”.

Mikey: I have to say, that’s pretty much how things are gonna go for you if your superpower is fast, accurate typing. No matter how fast or accurate, the average college student is still not that far behind you.

Solee: One other quote of note was that, when the CIA disconnected them, it was okay because they were still “just about connected”.

Mikey: Close enough!

Solee: It’s like horseshoes.

Mikey: Actually, what it was like, towards the very end of the movie, was The Tommyknockers. That was a vibe I totally got when he was using his super-brain to wire ordinary computers together into a special super computer.

Solee: True. Reference accepted. So can we talk for a moment about how Declan was basically Hugh Laurie? He looked similar to him, he had the same mouth structure so he sounded like him, he had a lot of similar mannerisms, and he was similarly condescending and sarcastic, right down to the facial expressions.

Mikey: So not so much Hugh Laurie as House. Also, he was crippled. And a genius. I guess. Sorta. I didn’t notice that but trying to picture him in my head I see it a bit. He sure wasn’t a nice guy.

Solee: I think it’s interesting that the Bible Code knew everything about everything except that Declan and Ragnarok were the same person.

Mikey: That search system didn’t make a lot of sense to me. But it sure did bring up the most useless prophecies ever: “JFK - Oswald, conspiracy, grassy knoll”. Uh yeah, we knew that.

Solee: And they couldn’t look up Princess Diana because they didn’t know what had really happened, so instead they bring up JFK’s murder, one of the most questioned events in US history? She’s like “I think we can all agree on what happened there, right guys?”

Mikey: Yeah, good move. Oh, I did like the “butterfly effect” montage at the end of the movie, kind of showing you how everything ended up where it did, except that none of it was really strongly consequential enough to give you that “Oh, that’s what that meant” feeling. It was a bunch of minor mishaps that were vaguely related.

Solee: Yes, by the time they revealed what happened to the vagrant woman, it was no longer of any importance compared to the fact that Declan was ending the world.

Mikey: I think the gist of the montage, and a lot of other elements in the movie, was to say that everything led up to this moment, there was no other way it could have happened.

Solee: Which is interesting, because I have a quote of Declan saying “Time is not linear.” Maybe that relates to what he was drawing on the toilet paper, but everything else in the movie points to time being a step-by-step thing that you cannot break free from. It’s almost like Declan was in a different movie that we didn’t get to see, because he had these huge breakthrough moments that we were told nothing about. Like it was a cross-over event. We need to find the movie that he was crossing over from!

Mikey: I think I’ve seen enough about Declan in this movie, I’m good. Yeah, the whole idea of the Bible Code was that the Bible secretly contained a blueprint of everything that would ever happen, which meant that you couldn’t stop it, because if you did, that would’ve already been talked about in the code. So why did Declan have to do anything? It was just happening.

Solee: Because earlier on, they were talking about the reason they wanted to decipher the Bible Code was because it would contain things like the cure for cancer, which could then be implemented earlier than it would have happened, saving lots of lives. But what they really did was implement the end of the world earlier than it would have happened, ending all lives. College kids are stupid. Well-intentioned but stupid.

Mikey: And really into amateur philosophy! But I don’t think they brought about the end any earlier, since after all, with the proper Google search, they discovered the code told them that Declan was ending the world tonight. So, there you go. No choice. Not really much of a story then.

Oh wait, I do want to give Declan credit for transcending his human form, at the very end of the movie. That is the kind of thing I wanted him to do. But he still ran around stabbing and being a psycho first, which is boring and not pertinent to the big issues they talked about.


Solee: Well, it fits with the idea that anyone who wants a position of power the most is the person who should have it least, which always makes me think of Douglas Adams.

Mikey: What, that he shouldn’t have been allowed to write books?

Solee: No, somewhere in the Hitchhiker’s Guide series, we meet the true ruler of the universe, and it turns out he’s a hermit who lives on some forgotten planet and has no idea he’s in charge.

So there was one premise to this movie that falls into my list of story concepts I really enjoy, and that is the moment of destruction being a moment of great understanding. I’m always intrigued by the idea of large amounts of time encapsulated within a short amount of brain activity. In real life, I often experience this when I have lengthy, elaborate dreams because I’ve dozed off for five minutes.

Mikey: And I already mentioned mine, but I really like those ideas of just completely up-ending reality, like transcending it and moving to a higher level or whatever. I think this movie had fun ideas, mixed into the pot with every conspiracy theory and amateur 4:20 philosophy idea.

Solee: Alright, I think it’s time for you to tell me how you rate this movie!

Mikey: Ouch, that’s a difficult question. It wasn’t very good. But whenever people are babbling and making diagrams about dimensions, I am interested and wondering how it will all play out (the not-very-good lies in how that played out - not very well). So, I have to go pretty low on the ratings, just to discourage further filmmakers from taking big ideas and turning them into slasher movies. I will give this movie a 2 out of 5.

Solee: I am also going to choose my rating in an effort to curb certain moviemaking behaviors. In my case, I want to punish them for thinking that shouting lots of vaguely clever-sounding things very quickly and in a very sarcastic I’m-smarter-than-you tone will trick me into thinking that this movie is clever. I wanted to like it, but it just was so unlikeable. Much like the character of Declan. So I am giving this movie a 2.5 out of 5.

Mikey: Okay, let’s move on to Altergeist next. It’s like Poltergeist, but altered.

Solee: I suspect there will be less metaphysics in Altergeist.
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