The first post of my 2017 movies is here - so if you need even more ideas, go check out that and the posts that follow it.
So here we go!
Movies 1-3 - Creepy Good Surprises!
My theme for these first three movies is merely that they were much better than I had thought they'd be. Nothing like a "pleasant" surprise.
Note: As always spoilers abound! Watch before reading!
1. Sucker Punch - 2011
I originally avoided this movie because I heard there was a subplot related to trauma and mental illness, along with a setting in a sort of '50s insane asylum. As someone with mental disability and PTSD, I didn't want to be dragged through another ableist slog of a horror film. But I finally decided to give it a chance, and wow, I'm glad I did. This movie is a wonderfully bizarre blend of film noir, period piece, steampunk, horror, action, weird, sci-fi, fantasy, manga, thriller, and pretty more. The special effects, soundtrack, and much of the acting are gritty and great.
Our heroine "Babydoll" sees her
father in law murder both her mother and sister, and then he frames
Babydoll for these crimes and packs her off to a private institution
that still practices lobotomies as a form of "treatment." We, and
Babydoll, overhear him bribe a slimy orderly to see to it that Babydoll
is lobotomized almost immediately. She seems to retreat into a complex
fantasy world with multiple levels, imagining that she is working to
free herself and other inmates from a human sex-trafficking brothel.
I'm not sure why this movie didn't make a bigger splash, because it seems have a lot to offer. Perhaps it has to do with the various ways in which 'sucker punch' can be interpreted; maybe it's realizing that the 'fantasy' Babydoll conjures is actually playing out in the 'real' world; or maybe it's the way in which the team members die; or maybe it's the ultimate confirmation that even Babydoll does not escape her fate.
movie is also disjointed, moving through three levels of perceived
reality. Perhaps it's too triggering for some. Certainly, I found
Babydoll's situation to be agonizing, but I was able to finish the film
because it depicts people taking control of their fate in even hopeless
circumstances. In the end, I was captivated by the total weirdness of
it all, the honestly gruesome plot, and the fantastic action worlds of
the meta-fantasy filled with mechs and monsters. Sucker Punch is
perfectly appropriate Halloween fare, and worth a watch (or rewatch)
2. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies - 2016
I loved this thing. It's ridiculous and beautiful. If you are not
captivated by the scene where Elizabeth and her future husband resort to
hand to hand combat as a result of a failed marriage proposal, then I
don't know what you want from a movie. I was doubly sold when a friend
who has a squeamish tummy couldn't
even make it through the beginning exposition with the paper-pop ups.
She saw all the paper-depicted-gore and turned green. Then she vetoed
the movie on the grounds that it looked disgusting. Which it is. It's a
zombie movie, right?
This is a seriously excellent zombie flick with dedicated performances. Some of the landscape scenes are simply haunting. The fight scenes in gowns are wonderful. Oh, and the riffs on Austin's work are spot on, and often word for word from the book. This romp is well worth your time for Halloween. Enjoy the zombie glory and don't worry too much about the point and you'll have plenty of fun.
3. Vampyr - 1932
The movie Nosferatu 1922, which I reviewed in my last series here, has consistently captivated those of us who love the vampire genre. I had not heard similar praise for Vampyr, and given the later 1932 date I thought maybe it just wasn't up to snuff. So I put off watching it. That was a mistake since this is an absolute gem, with tons of disturbing imagery and a deliciously foreboding tone.
Along the way is all the great, creepy scenes, and a really very disturbing end for the village doctor, who was in league with the vampire. I'll mention that only once before have I seen someone offed in this manner, and I thought it was horrifically original. Nope, here it is all the way back in 1932.