“Keeping You At A Disadvantage Is An Advantage I Intend to Keep.”

Mekaela and I chose to celebrate New Years Eve with the things we love best: cookies, tacos, caffeinated beverages that may or may not have had booze in them, and–of course–movies, the first of which ended up being Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight.

buds

We began this movie in 2016, but since it took eons for anything to actually happen, it didn’t end until 2017, and thus became our first movie of the year.

You may have picked up on this, being the clever readers I know you are, but I didn’t really care for the film.

Continue reading

10 Movies I Wanna Gender-Flip NOW

Slowly–impossibly slowly–I’ve been working on a Stranger Things review. I will complete and post this review someday, almost certainly before my 80th birthday, I swear, but for now I’m putting it on hold so I can write this list instead.

So, gender-flipped remakes. Whenever these come up in conversation, I always feel like I can’t properly articulate why I’m so interested in seeing them–but I do think they have value. And before you ask, I still haven’t seen the new Ghostbusters yet, much to my annoyance. It’s been a busy couple months, and at this point I’ve mostly resigned myself to the fact that I’ll have to wait for the rental . . . which sucks, not because I’m sure I’ll like it–I was lukewarm about the trailer–but because I really hoped the movie would succeed at the box office, and I feel bad for not buying a ticket. Ghostbusters’ failure to make money is a victory for the wrong kind of people, the kind who have been actively campaigning for it to fail since it was first announced because, wah, their precious childhoods are being tainted by women–and don’t tell me it’s not about the women. Most remakes, you hear the news, you bitch on Twitter about Hollywood’s refusal to make anything new, and then you move on about your day like grown ass adults. That’s hell and gone from what happened here.

It’s also a victory for the people who will argue that “See! No one wants to see a female-led cast or women in SF movies!” Not to mention the racist dickbags who have been harassing Leslie Jones and doing their level best to display the worst aspects of humanity–Ghostbusters’ failure has even been used as evidence that this atrocious behavior is somehow okay. And don’t get me wrong: it is totally and absolutely valid if you saw the movie and didn’t like it, or just aren’t interested in checking it out–but those misogynists frothing at the mouth the second it was announced? I am exhausted of listening to their bullshit, and Lord knows they won’t be shutting up anytime soon.

All right, that got away from me a bit. Back on track! One of the reasons I’d like to see more genderbent remakes is just the glorious change-up in ratio of male to female characters. Women usually only outnumber men in romantic comedies, romantic dramas, and–interestingly enough–slasher flicks. In fantasy, western, SF, noir, action, crime, war, and various other genres, though, men easily outnumber women–and boy do people complain if ladies outnumber dudes in those genres, because that means it’s a stunt, it’s appeasing the PC Police, made for feminazis, blah blah garbage garbage. Of course that’s patently ridiculous if you think about it: sure, you’re used to seeing movies with 9 men and 1 woman, but is that actually indicative of your life experience? Do you really know 9 men for every 1 woman in your life? No? Then please stop acting like reversing the gender ratio is some completely ridiculous thing that could never, ever be possible. You’re just not used to it, and that’s okay. None of us are used to it.

You wanna know how to get used to it? By watching so many movies with all or mostly female casts that it’s just not a big deal anymore. You could, of course, make original movies that aren’t remakes; in fact, I’d love to see those too. But let’s not pretend that getting those movies is somehow easy; otherwise we’d already have them. Besides, revisiting old worlds/stories with gender-swapped characters could actually be pretty powerful.

With that all in mind, here’s a list of some gender-swapped remakes that I think could be exciting to watch.

Continue reading

And the Great Horror Remake Shall Be . . .

Last week, I asked (and in some cases, begged) you to pick which classic horror movie you’d most like to see remade. It turned out to be a pretty tough battle, but in the end a victor arose.

saw

Quentin Tarantino remaking Saw!

Now I need to need cast this. Who are we thinking in the room — shall we stick to standard Tarantino regulars, like Christoph Waltz and Tim Roth, perhaps? And who should be Jigsaw? I mean, it has to be Samuel L. Jackson, right? Or would he be far too obvious? Well, that’s the problem remaking movies with a Big Twist: it’s kind of already ruined for you, unless you change the twist, of course. But the original had a pretty good one.

Coming in at a close second place: Guillermo del Toro remaking Suspiria. The bronze medal, meanwhile, must be split between Tarsem Singh’s take on A Nightmare on Elm Street and the Coen brothers’ take on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Total Loser Award is surprisingly given to no one because everybody got at least one vote, even Tim Burton and Wes Anderson, who I feared for the most.

Honestly, I could probably watch all of these remakes. David Lynch doing House of Wax would probably be my own personal least favorite, knowing that Lynch rides the line for me between Awesomely Disturbing and Unpleasantly Icky. If I personally had to pick one, though . . . yeah, it would probably be Wes Anderson doing I Know What You Did Last Summer. I doubt it would be the most successful of the proposed reboots (I suspect del Toro could do some pretty fabulous things with Suspiria) and would probably function best as a dark comedy instead of a true slasher . . . but man, I want to see it anyway. The whole idea of it just delights me to no end.

Well, that’s it for our annual Halloween-themed poll, everyone. As always, thanks for playing!

Auteur Horror – Which Remake Do You Want to See?

Happy October, everyone. To celebrate my favorite time of year, I have a new poll for you today, and it concerns both remakes and how much more exciting (and weirder) they could totally be.

Remakes generally get a bad rap, but one of the problems, I think, is that so many of the reboots today are just so utterly generic and uninspired. It’s rare when anyone does anything really new with one — which made me wonder how some of Hollywood’s most unique directors, known specifically for their distinctive voices and styles, would approach remaking a well-known horror movie.

Your mission today, should you choose to accept it, is to pick the horror movie remake that you’d most like to see as created by the director specified. You cannot mix and match the directors, sorry, but I have provided links so that you can glance at a few trailers, should you wish, and get an idea/remind yourself of their aesthetic. I’ve also posted links for the original movie trailers. (Though sometimes I had to use fan-made trailers or just straight clips when the official trailers themselves were useless. House of Wax and Suspiria, I’m looking at you, buddies.)

Here are your contenders:

1. David Lynch (Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive) directs House of Wax

Two disclaimers: first, the link to House of Wax contains SPOILERS . . . for a 1953 Vincent Price movie, so I feel like you can handle it. Second: I haven’t actually watched said movie. That’s bad, I know. I do know what happens, and I’ve seen the not-at-all close remake (boy, have I), but we’re going to stick with the original today. Honestly, I suspect that a David Lynch remake would stray pretty far from the source material too.

What would a Lynch remake look like, exactly, though? It’s hard to say. But wax museums are just inherently creepy, and Christ knows Lynch could manage to make them even creepier. No doubt it would be erotic, too. I’m unnerved just thinking about it.

2. Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth, Crimson Peak) directs Suspiria

Okay, guys, let’s be real here: this would have to be the most gothically gorgeous ballet academy ever run by evil witches. I mean, it would almost be worth actually attending, wouldn’t it? After all, what are a few maggots and dead bodies compared to such beautiful architecture and intensely baroque fashion? (I’m almost positive Jane Austen said something like that once.)

Suspiria in del Toro’s hands? Seriously, just imagine the pure decadence.

3. Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Royal Tenenbaums) directs I Know What You Did Last Summer

Not exactly known for directing films anywhere near the horror genre, Wes Anderson did nonetheless surprise me by creating a pretty creepy chase scene in The Grand Budapest Hotel . . . and I’ve wondered what a horror movie by him would look like ever since. A slasher, especially.

What I’m picturing here is something like this: the usual Cast of Characters, quite possibly a narrator, and of course individual objects on display: Helen’s cut off hair, the blackmail letter, the fish hook, etc. Who wouldn’t pay to watch that?

4. Quentin Tarantino (Reservoir DogsInglourious Basterds) directs Saw

Because, when you get right down to it, Saw is really a movie about two guys sitting in a room talking to each other.

Obviously, there’s a lot of horrific violence too — which I think we all know the QT could handle — but if your movie basically centers around one long and super tense conversation, I mean, who better to write and direct it than Quentin Tarantino?

5. Tarsem Singh (The Cell, Immortals) directs A Nightmare on Elm Street

I didn’t actually see the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street, but I bet all the money in my pocket right now that the nightmares themselves were pretty mundane.

Here, though. Here I have absolutely no doubt that the dream imagery in this remake would be fantastic, lush and surreal and creepy as all hell. Which is probably what you want from a movie that literally has ‘nightmare’ in the title. The visuals in this thing would be stunning.

6. The Coen Brothers (No Country for Old Men, Fargo) direct The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Okay, there have been, like, dozens of these remakes, and also sequels, and sequels to the remakes, and prequels to the remakes too . . . but none of them have been done by guys who have actually won multiple Oscars before. And the Coen Brothers don’t seem particularly averse to bloody violence. For that matter, they seem pretty okay with filming stories set in the South, too, and pretending that their movies are based on a real story when they’re totally not.

Honestly, though, I think it could be kind of cool. It’s like Horror for Grown-Ups! At the very least, I assume it would bring horror back to the Oscars.

7. Tim Burton (Edward Scissorhands, Sleepy Hollow) directs The Shining

Okay, I know there are some of you howling, and I get it — but this could be early days Tim Burton, and Johnny Depp doesn’t have to be anywhere near it. (Unless that’s actually a draw. Oh, how it used to be a draw.)

I can see The Overlook being super gothic and weird and hopefully all bent at really strange angles. I can absolutely see how the topiary scene from the novel could work. Burton’s mostly known for the darker, weirder side of family friendly, but seeing more actual horror from him might be kind of interesting. (Alternatively, I’m desperately curious to what the family friendly version of The Shining would look like. Honestly, I almost want to see that more.)

And . . . yep, that’s it. As always, I love to hear your arguments/reasonings, but you never need to justify your choice. Are you only interested in Tim Burton doing The Shining if Johnny Depp plays Jack Torrance? That’s fine, even if that’s not something I, myself, personally want to see. Do you think a Wes Anderson horror movie would be a hilarious disaster that you need to watch before you die? That’s cool too. You can pick for funniest sounding movie or scariest sounding movie. All reasons are valid, unless you’re actively trying to be an asshole.

The poll will be up for one week. Comment to vote, preferably on the blog, but Facebook and Twitter will work fine too. (Or if you know me personally, I suppose you can just tell me — but then everyone’s going to accuse me of cheating, and it’s going to be all your fault.) Please remember, though, that you can only vote for ONE movie. By all means, go ahead and write out your internal struggle, but I do need you to be clear on which one you’re actually voting for by the end, or I can’t count your vote for either.

Coming Soon-Ish: Final Girls, Boy Scouts, and Quentin Tarantino

The Final Girls

Okay, so, this movie was basically made for me. It’s like Scream meets Last Action Hero, or The Purple Rose of Cairo. I know some people are tired of the whole meta-horror comedy thing, but what can I say? That shit’s where I live, and I’m actually pretty interested in the whole mother/daughter storyline here. It sort of adds a new angle, and I think it’s awesome when parodies like this have something more going on underneath, something with a little heart. Whether it’ll be effective or not, I couldn’t say, but I’m interested regardless.

My main concern here is that this trailer’s giving away all the best parts for free. (“I want chainsaws and big ass knives, and I want them now.” YES. Excellent, Nina Dobrev.) But hopefully not. I want to see this, and I want it to be good.

The Scouts Guide to the Apocalypse

Unfortunately, I’m a lot less into this particular horror comedy. (And pretty NSFW, by the way.) I want to be excited about it — I mean, come on, it’s Boy Scouts vs Zombies!  — but after that trailer, I’m just like, Okay, so we’ve got one token hot chick badass, plus three stereotypically pathetic nerd boys, and some huge zombie tits. Uh, yay?

Of course, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe this movie will surprise me by being totally awesome. But my interest just took a pretty sharp nosedive.

Victor Frankenstein

I’m not sure what tone I expected Victor Frankenstein to have, exactly, but I’ll admit . . . that wasn’t it. Honestly, I could still totally watch this movie — I’m kind of digging James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe’s lighthearted banter — but at this point, I think it’s probably for the best that I keep my expectations low because it’s kind of looking like a hot mess. Although maybe that’s not fair. Maybe I’m simply judging it on some of the weirder monster shit, which immediately reminded me of Van Helsing — NOT one of my favorites.

Also, when McAvoy says, “It’s . . . alive!” I’m like, “What is? The Creature, or Harry Potter’s Stupid Hair?” I mean, look at that mop. It’s completely ridiculous, almost as ridiculous as Daniel Radcliffe’s current actual beard. I say this knowing that I have green/black/blonde/blue hair right now and probably no right to speak to anyone, but . . . no. Just no, honey. You have lovely features, and the razor is your friend.

The Witch

I’m not entirely sure what’s going on here (other than, you know, super spooky shit), but I feel like this movie might have come into being by somebody watching The Village and thinking, “Fuck you, Shyamalan. I’m taking this shit and making it EERIE.”

There is just a ton of creepy imagery packed into this trailer, and some of it looks pretty disturbing. I wouldn’t mind a better idea of the actual plot, but I could potentially check this one out.

The Keeping Room

This actually also looks pretty interesting, too. Westerns (like most genres that aren’t romantic comedies or family dramas) rarely have multiple lead female characters, but here there appear to be three, defending themselves and their home against Sam Worthington . . . and yes, while Sam Worthington is almost always an automatic strike against the film these days, well, who knows? Maybe playing a villain will give him a spark of personality.

Either way, I’m kind of into this. I’d love to see more feminist westerns, and some of the cinematography looks absolutely stunning.

And finally . . . The Hateful Eight

Now notice how many women are in this western? Yup. That’d be one. She also doesn’t say a damn thing, either, and I don’t know if that’s because her character’s mute or just isn’t worthy of speaking in this trailer. (I could Google, but, like, effort.) Then again, I did laugh pretty hard at all her waving hello and pantomiming death, so it’s not all bad. (Just . . . it’s possibly not a coincidence that Kill Bill and Death Proof — you know, the ones where the female characters easily outnumber the men — are some of my favorite Tarantino films.)

Still, let’s not even pretend that I’m going to skip Quentin Tarantino’s next movie. Obviously I’m going to watch it. The setup looks like a lot of fun, and there are a ton of actors I really enjoy, although I’m basically bucking myself up now for Walton Goggins’s inevitable demise. (I just love the actor so. Surely, I’ve doomed him by my adoration.)

Could a ticket to The Hateful Eight be a Christmas present to myself? Maybe. Sure beats The Polar Express, anyway.

*shudders*

Worst. Christmas Movie. EVER. If you haven’t seen it, consider yourself lucky. It is the schmaltziest crap of all time. Stay away. STAY AWAY.

Coming Soon-Ish: Star Wars, Batman v Superman, and The Hateful Eight

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

I don’t know if it’s because I was in a bad mood when I watched this, or if it’s because I knew Harrison Ford was going to appear before I saw the trailer. Maybe it’s because I still don’t want the old stars in the new series, despite the obvious fact that that ship has long since sailed. But this teaser spread like wildfire around my social media today, with everyone feeling the old Star Wars magic again, and I was kind of like . . . *shrug.* Which bummed me out because for however cynical I can be sometimes, being a geek is kind of all about joy, and I absolutely wanted to feel that wonder and sentiment that everyone else seemed to feel today. Maybe I’ll get there in the first full-length trailer. (Although, actually, I was definitely more into the first teaser. Hell, maybe I am just having an off day.) On the upside, it’s not a bad-looking trailer, and I was super excited that they remembered, hey, Leia was supposed to have cool Jedi potential too. I will be PISSED if I don’t get to see Leia do at least something with the Force in these movies. That has always bummed me out. But please, for the love of God, don’t bring Darth Vader back. Please say that’s not why we’re using present tense, not unless we’re bringing him back as the badass villain he once was, and even then . . . I don’t know, guys. Sometimes, I think it’s better if the best villains stay dead. The Hateful Eight
For a teaser that doesn’t feature any actual footage, I’m surprisingly into this. Well, not that surprisingly — it’s Quentin Tarantino, after all, and it stars Walton Goggins, Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, and Tim Roth, among others. I’m desperately curious to see a full-length trailer now, and my only real disappointment is that there appears to only be one girl in the whole hateful eight because of course there is. On the upside, there’s also apparently a dude who’s known by the name Cow Puncher. Obviously, I need to know more about that guy. Burying the Ex
Oh, no. Not feeling this one at all. Which is disappointing — zombie comedies are usually right up my alley, and I generally like Anton Yelchin. All the zombie-spewing embalming fluid stuff is kind of awesome, too. But the general premise of Girlfriend From Hell feels so . . . blech. It’s done and it’s boring and I’m kind of over watching movies about poor nice guys whose meanie mean girlfriends stomp all over them. Like yeah, I’ve known women who are over-controlling, too, but this over-the-top crazy? It feels like yet another movie where I’m being asked to sympathize with a boy’s fears about the Crazy Bitch Girlfriend, and I’m just not that interested. Actually, I’d have been a lot more curious if this whole story was gender-swapped, and the boyfriend wasn’t abusive or awful, just really annoying. That might have worked for me. Scream
Yup. MTV has made a TV show based off the horror movie franchise, and I am absolutely going to watch it. Less because this trailer does anything for me — because it really doesn’t — but because it’s the Scream franchise and I have to. Also because Bex Taylor-Klaus is apparently going to be in it, and because I love Teen Wolf so much that I’m actually a little excited it’s going to be on MTV. I know. I never thought I’d say that, either. It totally could suck. But I’m at least going to try it out. Dark Matter
This is another TV show that may also suck, but you can bet I’ll be watching the hell out of it anyway. A group of amnesiacs trapped together in space? Shit, that kind of show is practically made for me. Will I be disappointed? Oh, probably. I can’t actually think of a Group Amnesia movie I ended up being particularly satisfied with, and there’s nothing about this trailer that’s hugely original. Still. All the potential in that premise! Someday, I’m going to find a winner. Will it be you, Dark Matter? Can it be you after all this time? And finally . . . Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Because of technical difficulties, I’m just going to refer you to io9 if you want to watch this one. But it looks . . . interesting. I still haven’t made myself watch Man of Steel yet, but I know most of the major stuff that happens in it. (Still. I will watch it before I see Dawn of Justice. I will make myself do this, even if I have almost zero interest.) And this looks pretty dark. That seems to be a turnoff to a lot of people who enjoy the relatively zippier Marvel movies, but in a way, I’m glad that DC has a different tonal approach — it makes it feel more like their own. Also, sometimes I feel a little bad for DC. Not always — their fuck-ups can not all or even mostly be blamed on other people — but I can’t help but feel that Marvel gets praised when it goes light and praised when it goes dark, and DC gets shit on for doing anything. And damn it, I like the Justice League. I like Batman. Maybe this movie will suck donkeyballs, but I refuse to go into it with that as my default expectation. Okay. That became more of a rant than I intended. Let’s get back to the trailer, cause I’m getting mad Injustice vibes from it. (Without the amazing trio that is Green Arrow, Black Canary, and Harley Quinn, unfortunately.) Honestly, I’m a little more interested because of those Injustice vibes, and I’ll happily watch this again when the official trailer (with better quality) comes out. I’m not sure I’m feeling Batman’s glowy eyes, though. The voice is . . . well, I don’t know. I get why everyone’s comparing it to Christian Bale’s growl, but I think it actually reminds me a lot more of Shao Kahn. Surprisingly, I don’t absolutely hate it, although I feel like it might have been a wise decision to not do that and go with something more understated. Then again, I’m thinking this might not be the most subtle and understated of movies. I guess we’ll see how it all plays out next year.

“Sorry. I Couldn’t Resist.”

So, I’m a giant Quentin Tarantino nerd. Above my desk is a Pulp Fiction poster. To my right is a Death Proof one. I have seen every feature-length film Tarantino has directed, every feature-length film he’s written, and almost everything else he’s ever been involved in, including a couple of CSI episodes AND an episode of ER. (Well, probably. Honestly, I don’t actually remember the episode that I watched over a decade ago, but it aired well before I gave up on the series, so I’m sure I saw it.)

The only thing Quentin Tarantino’s ever done that I didn’t like was Jackie Brown — which, I don’t know, I just found boring. Other than that, I’m a huge fan. Pair that up with the fact that I’m absurdly fond of revenge fantasies — which, okay, is probably one of the reasons I like Tarantino so much — and there was really never any question that I’d end up seeing Django Unchained in theater.

djangoposter

And the thing is, I really enjoyed this movie. I had a great time watching it, and I’ll happily buy it on DVD to add to my Tarantino collection. But . . . I don’t know that it’s as amazing of a movie as some people have been telling me.

Continue reading