Tuesday, September 20, 2011

High School Movie Club - Cutting Class (1989)

Back in High School, every Friday night I would get together with a group of friends and watch movies. It was probably the most fun I had during my High School years. I just thought it would be an interesting new addition to show all of you the films I was introduced to when I was young. These films helped pave the way to my horror loving days now. So we will start off with one of the first movie night horror films, Cutting Class.

Cutting Class (1989) Dir. by Rospo Pallenberg

High school student Paula Carson's affections are being sought after by two of her classmates: Dwight, the "bad boy", and Brian, a disturbed young man who has just been released from a mental hospital where he was committed following the suspicious death of his father. Soon after being released, more murders start happening. Is Brian back to his old tricks, or is Dwight just trying to eliminate the competition? Written by Jean-Marc Rocher on IMDB.com

Yes, I am ok with admitting that this film was chosen by a female person within our movie club. It wasn't a sexist club! The local video store had quite a cheesy collection of old horror films to choose from, so it made film night a blast, and the only rule to our film club was, "Keep it Cheesy", and I don't think we every broke that rule. This film falls right in line.

Have you ever heard of Director Rospo Pallenberg? No? (cricket sounds)... That's because this is the only film he ever directed, and it isn't SOOO bad that no one would ever hire him again. I mean, Uwe Boll is still making movies, but for some reason this guy never touched it again. It looks like he got the job because of some mediocre writing he did in the late 70's/early 80's.

The movie starts off slow, even for a who dun it flick. The movie really focuses on Brian, played by Donovan Leitch, or as you may remember him, Paul from The Blob remake. He does a pretty good job playing the semi-creepy, mysterious guy just released from a mental hospital. Then it is followed by everyone being in love with Paula, played by Jill Schoelen of The Stepfather. This love parallelogram includes Paul, The Principle, The Basketball Star (the before-mentioned Brad Pitt), and Paula. Mr. Dante is played by legendary actor Roddy McDowell (Fright Night, Planet of the Apes). There are some very cheesy kill scenes and some horrible script writing from Steve Slavkin, who would go on to be one of the Writer/Creators of Salute Your Shorts. In the end it is a pretty clever who done it that just gets a bad wrap. It wasn't until Brad Pitt became acting gold, two years later with Thelma and Louise that this movie started to get looked at again before it fell off the planet for good. I still say give it a watch if you haven't. The film is a BLAST to watch in a large group.

Entertainment Value: 6/10 Claw Hammer shots to the head
Cinematic Value: 3/10 Claw Hammer shots to the head

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Piranha (2010)

Piranha (2010) Dir. by Alexandre Aja

Lake Victoria's annual Spring party by 50,000 young revelers is about to turn into a feeding frenzy with prehistoric hunger-pains. With knee-trembler's above the waves and tremors below, released from their dormant sleep, thousands upon thousands of flesh-eating nippers are released into the lake with whetted appetites and razor-sharp teeth. With a motley crew of strangers thrown together to defend these shores, it is now up to them to prevent the largest eat-out in human, and piranha, history. Written by Cinema_Fan on IMDB.com

Despite it often getting a bad rep, I am still a fan of the original, although I do actually like the sequel better. I have a feeling it is going to be the same way with the reboot. The film starts off by killing an actor used to get people to watch the film. I have seen the ploy happen on multiple occasions and that is fine, but it has trouble keeping a stead pace after that.

I will start out with Alexandre Aja. I don't really know what to think of the guy yet as a director. I absolutely hated High Tension, LOVED the remake of The Hills Have Eyes, and hated Mirrors (although it was a better attempt than High Tension). So all that being said... I didn't really know what to expect from this remake. He did an OK job, and did some really great things with the film, but also flew through the movie so fast y0u can't even concentrate on any sort of plot what so ever. His direction made the film an outline, without any depth. If that was what he was going for than he achieved it.

The acting was pretty much the worst acting I had ever seen, but that was to be expected from a movie of this caliber. The only three people doing anything worthwhile on the screen was Ving Rhames (a short lived performance), Adam Scott (who was decent, but played the same character he always does), and the amazing Elisabeth Shue was... well... amazing as always. The main kid, Steven R. McQueen (Vampire Diaries), doesn't really hold his own, but also wasn't really given a shot working with Jerry O'Connell (who was doing well acting like an idiot, but his overacting is sometimes unbearable). I will say this, and I hope I'm not giving out a spoiler too much here, but it made me SUPER happy to see Eli Roth's head pop like a zit. Oh that felt good.

The film was meant to be cheesy, from the post production 3D conversion to the hundreds of random naked girls. I will say there is an underwater shot through the glass bottom boat that was just beautifully shot. As a horror fan, I did appreciate the gallons and gallons of blood being used, and the special effects for body wounds were all done with old fashion make-up effects, which I thought was respectable. The film was fun to watch for the most part, but I really shouldn't be bored half way through the movie when people are getting ripped to shreds. I was let down by a couple of cameos, especially some major overacting from veteran Christopher Lloyd, and the less than worth mentioning cameo from Richard Dreyfuss. However, it was nice to see someone I know in the movie, with Devanny Pinn as a wet T-shirt girl, but overall the movie was just an ok popcorn film, but finished pretty strong in the last 15 minutes or so. The ending was pretty funny, and I knew there would be a cliff hanger, but I didn't know it would happen the way it did.

With all the not so great things I had to say about this film... I can't help but feel like it will be a repeat of the original series, where I like the second film better than the first. How could I not be excited for it? John Gulager is doing it! The same man who brought us one of the best, and one of my recent favorite cheesy modern day horror trilogies with Feast, Feast II: Sloppy Seconds, and Feast III: The Happy Finish. I guess we will just have to wait and see, but until then I give the Piranha remake exactly what it deserves for a rating.

Entertainment Value: 6/10 Severed Body Parts
Cinematic Value: 5/10 Severed Body Parts