MasterChugs Theater: It Came From Beneath the Water

This week, we’re gonna do some quick hits. Sometimes, you just want to ease back and not think a lot. Sometimes, you just want to turn off your mind and watch a movie.

Do not go to the lower rated titles in the horror section of Netflix Watch Instant. There is some sheer and utter dreck. My friends and I get together almost every month for our Bad Movie Night. None of those movies make the cut.

However, you can still find some bad movies that are enjoyable enough. They’re probably more of the disc only type. And since it’s summer, maybe you should go with a theme, like, movies that make you scared of the water.

Or at least movies that make you look forward to avoiding creeks and water parks. Continue reading MasterChugs Theater: It Came From Beneath the Water

MasterChugs Theater: ‘The Burrowers’

It was once almost universally true that any film that went straight to video was bad. The obvious reasoning was generally sound: If it were any good, it would have played in theaters.

But over time, movies have gotten easier and cheaper to produce, which means more of them are being made, which means it simply isn’t feasible to release them all theatrically. This has led us to the current situation, where many legitimately entertaining films are premiering on DVD rather than at your local multiplex. The only hard part is identifying them, since a lot of garbage still goes the straight-to-DVD route, too.

The Burrowers, a tense Western-horror hybrid, is a fine example of a DVD premiere that doesn’t deserve the DVD stigma. It has an R rating and no major stars, and it isn’t a sequel or remake. It has no stringy-haired Japanese ghost children crawling out of bathtubs. It would be slaughtered at the box office. It is an utterly fantastic hidden gem.  Continue reading MasterChugs Theater: ‘The Burrowers’

MasterChugs Theater: ‘Near Dark’

The best vampire movies are usually the ones which get rid of the ground rules. e.g. no garlic, no crucifixes, a stake in the heart can kill. In Near Dark, writer/director Kathryn Bigelow throws out the rule book and creates a truly unique horror movie, which mixes the Gothic tones of vampire mythology with the vast landscapes and mannerisms of the western genre.

Near Dark is what a fast, violent vampire flick is all about. The vampires here are gritty, dirty, violent, and pissed off creatures who don’t have any plans of world domination or enslaving humanity. They just live to survive. Continue reading MasterChugs Theater: ‘Near Dark’

MasterChugs Theater: ‘The Mist’

It’s October, so in MasterChugs Theatervania, that means it’s time to break out the horror movies! Last week, we did a preliminary jump into the theme for this month: Horror Movies You Should Be Watching. That’s right, four under-appreciated, or maybe just under-watched films will be looked at. So how do we kick off the month? With the The Mist, possibly the best film adaptation of a Stephen King work. Continue reading MasterChugs Theater: ‘The Mist’

MasterChugs Theater: ‘Piranha 3D’

It’s not as scary as it needs to be or as clever as it thinks it is, but Piranha 3D (or just Piranha, though not to be too confused with the Joe Dante movie of the same name) is at least as gimmicky as those fabled 3D films of yore. With all the pointless 3D cartoons and joyless 3D Clash of the Titans conversions, at last here’s a picture that tosses its cookies, its coffee cups and its D-cups right in your lap.

And that’s okay. Continue reading MasterChugs Theater: ‘Piranha 3D’

The clown is dead! Long live the current clown!

Michael Polakovs, the first person to portray Ronald McDonald, died at age 86. He was originally hired in 1966 by McDonald’s to help create the character. Polakovs must have been proud to know that the clown he created made it around the world. He also probably wept deeply and often when he saw the Japanese version, though.

Speaking of Japan’s Ronald McDonald, allow me to show you just why he’s so terrifying. Hit the cut to see why. Continue reading The clown is dead! Long live the current clown!

MasterChugs Theater: ‘Trick ‘r Treat’

The roughest part of keeping up with a theme is that sometimes, you have to miss out on the opportune time for somethings. Case in point: last month, I went over horror movies that just failed at many levels. Unfortunately, towards the end of last month, Trick ‘r Treat was finally released on dvd. This is bad because while the movies I reviewed last month fail, Trick ‘r Treat couldn’t be farther from them.

Hit the jump to see why. Continue reading MasterChugs Theater: ‘Trick ‘r Treat’

MasterChugs Theater: ‘Cursed’

Even a man who is pure at heart
And says his prayers by night
Can become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms
And the autumn moon is bright…

…or you can take the unique approach of not having that man (or teenage kid in this case) become an actual wolf, only gain its supernatural powers. This is just one of the many strange and disappointing ways Cursed handles werewolves in its approach to the genre.

For all intents and purposes, Cursed is a camp film straight out of the late 1970s. It captures the unique look and sense of a movie from that era, from its cinematography, to the feel of its script, even down to the patter of how dialog is delivered.

That’s where the compliments end. Continue reading MasterChugs Theater: ‘Cursed’

MasterChugs Theater: ‘See No Evil’

I like to think I have a penchant for exaggeration. And yet, no matter how hard I strain my brain, I cannot summon any hyperbole to properly relate just how bad WWE Films’ See No Evil is. Every time I rest my fingers on the home keys, they impulsively want to carve forth a ruthless stream of obscenities. You see, this is one of those rare instances where not only do I simply not like a movie, but the act of watching it angered me on a cellular level.

It may be more than just a horrible horror movie. It just may be the worst movie I’ve ever seen.

For the love of God, please do not let this become one of those scenarios where I write an unrelenting, negative review of a film and you, nameless reader, say to yourself, “There is no way this movie can actually be THAT bad? I’ve got to see this for myself!”

You don’t. You really, really don’t. Continue reading MasterChugs Theater: ‘See No Evil’

MasterChugs Theater: ‘The Grudge 2’

Low cost and high quality: Japan is king when it comes to assembly line production ethos and The Grudge 2 director Takashi Shimizu takes that manufacturing approach in constructing this latest edition in the Grudge series. Block by block, shock by shock, he builds a movie that runs fine and looks slick. It’s a solid product in terms of celluloid, but there is no soul, no artistry, in the merchandise. What went wrong? Enthusiasm. Shimizu seems to take pride only in the technical proficiency of his work. Actors be damned. Plot be damned. While there’s nothing wrong with a really well-made but vacuous art-horror film, there is no art in the The Grudge 2, just cleverly staged shock shots stapled on to the other like the reels of skin in Suicide Club.

Perhaps this calculating demeanor is because Shimizu’s essentially made the same film six times now. The first Ju-on in 2000. The second in 2000 as well. Then he did both of them again in 2003. Then the American remake in 2004. That makes The Grudge 2 the sixth version of the same film made in only six years-and none of them have been outstanding. It’s not surprising that the film feels mechanized, paint by numbers. Shimizu has either got it down so pat that he can operate on autopilot or he’s just bored senseless. Continue reading MasterChugs Theater: ‘The Grudge 2’