WARNING: THIS BLOG CONTAINS BODYCOUNT. HIGH RISK OF SPOILERS. ENTER IF YOU DARE.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

The 22.5th Day of Spring: Jeepers Creepers 3 (2017)

Jeepers Creepers 3 (2017)
Rating: *1/2
Starring: Stan Shaw, Gabrielle Haugh, Brandon Smith

Every 23rd Spring, for 23 days, a flesh-eating flying humanoid simply known as The Creeper goes to hunt, kill and eat the victims it frightens for parts that it likes.

This is a key lore established within the first Jeepers Creepers movie back at 2001 and it was meant to discourage any sequels from ever happening. The sleeper success of this slasher/monster hybrid, however, meant bending the rules or at least finding some loopholes, thus comes Jeepers Creepers II two years later, wherein most of the plot takes place within the 23rd day of the monster's feeding cycle. This on its own also meant seeing The Creeper up and murdering folks for yummy bloody nibblets in another movie will be a further stretch, which again should have killed off any more chances of another follow-ups from being developed. (Unless, of course, some producer and/or director will be patient enough to wait exactly 23 years later to bring back The Creeper. If that is true, Hollywood probably ran out of ideas by then...)

Talks about a third film, however, still persisted with ideas ranging from it being a possible prequel taking place in the Old West (which in itself sounds awesome) to a possible time jump 23 years later wherein the surviving girl from the first movie is now a grown adult plotting revenge against The Creeper. Fourteen years later, we somehow did get a Jeepers Creepers 3 and it's a pretty long time itself to follow-up a movie last seen back at 2003, but looking back at films like Psycho II (1983) or, in a meta kind of way, The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014), there is a chance that it will be great, if not just good, right? Right?

Right?

...Yeah, why the hell would it?

Jeepers Creepers 3 is a film that's probably quite difficult to follow unless you've seen the first two in the franchise as it takes place slab-dab in the middle of both in terms of continuity. It starts just minutes or hours after the ending of the original with a responding SWAT team surrounding The Creeper's infamous BEATINGU truck and painfully learning that it's rigged to the teeth with traps. In shock of what just and still transpiring that night is Sgt Tubbs (Brandon Smith) who will soon find out that he is roped into something that's have been going on for years when Sheriff Tashtego (Stan Shaw) and his group of Anti-Creeper hunters show up and basically gave our sergeant a crash course of what they know about the creature so far. (Which can be easily summed up to "it eats people, it's not human and it has done this before")

As Tubbs and Tashtego join forces and plan on killing The Creeper for good the following morning, said monster busies itself by hunting down some teenagers to eat. Eventually added to its little hoard of abducted organ donors is young local horse rider Addison (Gabrielle Haugh), whose grandmother, Gaylen Brandon (Meg Foster), had a son that The Creeper murdered many years ago. Why is this little tidbit important? Well, apart from Gramma Brandon being a part of Tashtego's team and that she's sortah driven insane (or haunted, whichever one works) by a ghostly vision resembling her late boy, she also just uncovered something her son buried in their property before he got taken away. Something that might just explain what The Creeper is and she is ready to use it against our flesh-eating monster.

Seeing I am a fan of the first two films, I guess it's only fair that I start with what I enjoyed about this movie in my sincerest. First of which will be Jonathan Breck returning to don the winged monster make-up for the third time and his performance here as our humanoid hell bat-thingie is still spot-on with his takes from the previous two films, though less creeping in the shadows, less "playful", and seemingly more hands-on with its weapons. Apart from this, I also like the fact that the creature's truck kinda became its own villain as it is shown to have a level of sentience, capable of moving or defending its own via traps that are just otherwordly, unless harpoons can be installed to shoot out of working exhaust pipes, or metal spikes can drop down from truck doors out of nowhere.

Sadly, actual scenes involving the creature quickly became an issue for me as the movie's low budget and odd choice to film it in the day meant every little time we get to see The Creeper in action, we would also be constantly looking at the awfully cheap make-up effects, so much so that I can actually see how rushed and flaky it is during close-up scenes. Whatever CG done for the creature's more monstrous features (as in scenes where its wings are shown and in use, or that awkward looking "third nostril") also horribly resembles those from the worst SYFY TV movies due to the budget, much more to my further disappointment that same can be said to the BEATINGU truck's would-be wonderful cavalcade of traps, leaving many scenes that would have been pretty awesome terribly cartoonish and wrongfully hilarious. Sadly, this is only the tip of the problematic iceberg that is Jeepers Creepers 3 as the more I dwell into the movie, the further the issues I have with this sequel get sourer.

With so much going on from a gang of anti-Creeper hunters lead by a sheriff who clearly have dealt with this thing before to a nearly-insane woman finding out that her late son buried *spoiler alert* one of The Creeper's dismembered hand that apparently has the ability to feed information about the Creeper to another individual just by touching it, clearly this third entry was trying to set us up with the origins of our monster. After all of that scaling and planning, though, not only are we not- I repeat, NOT- shown or at least hinted to what our villain is, but our supposed protagonists seemingly did little to whatever information they gained and more or less just went on attacking the monster with machine guns that we all already know will do little to the creature nor to its suddenly bulletproof truck. Now, I say "seemingly" because one of them did try to do something about what they learned and it is perhaps the dumbest shit you could ever do: leave The Creeper's dismembered hand (y'know the hand that can feed secrets about its previous owner to just about anyone via touch) on an open field, above a letter that basically says "we know what you are", for the Creeper to find and read.

Can you guess what happened next? Well, now angered that someone knows its secrets, our monster does its own impression of Star Wars Episode III Darth Vader going "Noooooo!!!!" after breaking the hand apart, leaving the rest of the world back to square one and the only idiot that perhaps knows how to kill this thing is the town loonie. So, again, instead of keeping the hand to have it pass its knowledge to more competent hunters to prepare for this thing's return 23 years later, the idiot decided to leave it in the open for the monster to find and destroy. Oh, what's that? This action serves as our protagonists' way of warning The Creeper to stay away from them since they are now armed with the knowledge on how exactly they can finish it for good? Well, what fucking worth is that because from what I just saw, The Creeper have no problem killing off those who just learned its secrets as it easily just battle axed one of them in the face and it is hinted that our Brandon boy knew and, hell, he's dead. So, yeah, let this sink in. Let all of this fucking sink in.

This utter garbage of a finale is so hard to forgive since the rest of the movie is mostly mediocre, if not embarrassing to watch. The actors and actresses involved are okay but I couldn't ground myself to their cookie cutter personalities and flat portrayal no matter how much they flap their mouths about killing The Creeper, talking about The Creeper or even them simply talking about their daily lives before being victimized by this monster. You can only do so much exposition from one character or a group before it gets tiring. Does anything these people would matter in the end, even? I mean, this is a fucking midquel, you know damn well it's gonna fail coz that flying bat-thingie they're trying to destroy is up and stalking around in Jeepers Creepers II! (And speaking of which, really movie? You have the audacity to tie one of your characters with the group victimized by The Creeper in the second? Well that's fine and dandy except for one issue: if he had seen all of this before, why the flying fucking hell was he not doing or saying anything in the Jeepers Creepers II?!

The least this film could do is give us some good scares, monster scenes or even kills but, no. The film couldn't even afford that, nor do they have the capable brain cells to spare for at least that. Even if these Creeper movies weren't really all that focused on gory deaths, they instead try their best to work with the creep factor or otherworldly imagery, something that Jeepers Creepers 3 lacks as its tone felt rushed as if they weren't really prepared what to do in this entry. It lacks proper blood works, scares and the kills are hardly inventive and drier than a bag of month-old trail mix.

I guess I'm being critical because I really wanted this movie to work. The first two Jeepers Creepers have a special place in my entire person as one of the few monster movies I get to grow up with. (Hell, the DVD of the first film my dad brought home one day during my grade school years still sits among my horror collection. And the best part is, it still works!...I think...I need to check up on that) Jeepers Creepers 3, unfortunately, missed a lot of marks and its overall production have this nagging feeling that they simply did this to pander to its fans but lacking a real heart and dedication to it. It's movies like this that hammers my beliefs that no franchise can ever be perfect as there will always be that one black sheep among the flock that someone will try to avoid. To the folks behind Jeepers Creepers 3? Please stay down and don't come back until 23 years later. That'll give you enough time to think about this piece of celluloid trash before you jump in to that hinted Jeepers Creepers 4 you squeezed in the end...

Bodycount:
1 male snatched, killed offcamera
1 male snatched, killed offcamera
1 male found killed, method unknown
2 males skewered by a thrown spear
1 male snatched, killed offscreen
1 male killed, seen bloodied
1 male impaled through the head by a projected spike
1 male seen killed
1 victim stabbed with a dagger
2 males shot dead by bounced bullets
1 male gets a battle axe to the face
1 male attacked, killed offscreen
Total: 14

Friday, November 24, 2017

Preying For A Good Home Invasion: The Strangers: Prey At Night Trailer Thoughts


So, it took ten years for The Strangers to come up and finish a sequel. Well, basing my experience with other sequels and meta-sequels that took their sweet time following up a movie (Psycho II, The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014), Phantasm V: Oblivion and Jeepers Creepers 3) I'm both excited and rightfully nervous, if not terrified of the notion of it flopping. (The latter thanks to the latter two movies mentioned. Worst. Sequels. Ever.)

So far, I can tell that The Strangers: Prey At Night may do more slasher-lite stalking and killing. I could be wrong, of course, since the trailer for the first The Strangers (2008) did made itself look like one, but unlike that film, this entry seems to have more characters in play so here's hoping to a considerable bodycount and more hack'n slashing action.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Filipino Maniac: Basag Ang Pula (1984)

Basag ang Pula (Philippines, 1984)
Rating: ***1/2
Starring:  Ace Vergel, Snooky Serna, Liza Lorena

(Before I start, I would like to give a big shout out to Jenny Lo for helping me finally see a copy of this surpringly hard-to-find film! It's people like her why I'm proud to be one with the horror community!)

It's quite a shame my home country, the Philippines, never have that much of a demand for gory slasher flicks because rare cheesy gems like Basag Ang Pula shows that, if we really put a lot of effort to it, we could do a fun and messy bodycounter.

Basag starts with a treat by taking a varying stab on a well-known Filipino urban legend; a father drives to a party to pick up his teenage daughter only for their car to run out of gas while enroute back home. The father decided to get out to find fuel, leaving his daughter inside the car to have someone guard it. This eventually proves to be a terrible idea when a crazed man suddenly attacks the car, frightening the girl into hysterics. The cherry on top? The man slowly reveals that he just freshly decapitated her father and he has the keys...

Another offscreen death and an opening credit later, the crime scene is now swarmed by cops, reporters and curious cats alike, and though they are baffled by the lack of motive for the killings, they are certain this is the work of the same maniac who apparently have been murdering folks around the city recently.

The following morning comes with us watching our killer, Fernando, living his day catching and torturing rats while experiencing horrid childhood flashbacks. Later that very night, he ventures off to do some more human hunting, this time cock-blocking a horny pair of teenagers before fatally stabbing the boy and chasing the girl into the streets when she escapes. The screaming and struggles draw the attention of patrolling officials, however, prompting Fernando to back off and hide inside a school bus where he murders the driver after the man threatens to tell on the cops.

In a stroke of luck, the bus turns out to be a hired transport for a large group of high school girls attending a retreat and Fernando seizes the opportunity to pretend as the murdered driver's nephew to drive all the way to another city, escaping possible capture. Of course, it wasn't long before he can't hold back his murderous impulses once he and the class reach the retreat and the need to start another killing spree catches up to him soon.

While not necessarily a great movie per se, Basag ang Pula does work as a cheesy exploitation flick, somewhat bringing an amount of grit and teeth to an otherwise cheddar-tainted story of an opportunistic murderer slaying his way through a class full of party and/or sex-hungry teenagers. (And teachers) It could have been nothing but hokey hamminess comparable to some late 80s American school girl-in-peril slashers such as School Girl Screamers (1986), Blood Sisters (1987) and The Last Slumber Party (1988), with some scenes actually looking like it was going for that kind of mess (An Ouija board scene between the girls and their recently murdered classmate, anyone? How about a bonfire dance-off between the class goof and the local retard?), but Basag found a way to present itself as this dirty and grim looking creature for over most of the movie's entire run, mainly thanks to our villain's unsettling character and the sheer relentlessness of his attacks, elements played the straightest and grounded Basag in place as a genuine horror movie.

Though our villain is nothing anywhere as remarkable and noteworthy as many masked slashers reigning the box offices of their time, his seemingly unprovoked killing streak and often robotic personality (courtesy of actor, Ace Vergel) gave him an unpredictable edge, resulting to a rather sizable killcount consisting of often brutal dispatches without being that gory or inventive. (our killer only wielded two murder weapons: a hunting knife and, later, an automatic rifle) Two notable occasions Basag showed some worth for shock value were the beheading reveal at its opening scene and one part in the middle of the movie where a mentally handicapped man found himself in the wrong place, at the wrong time and at the bad end of the blade.

If there's anything that doesn't really help our antagonist stand above other slashers villains, it would be the climactic reveal of how exactly Fernando became this unhinged wherein his reasons and accompanying flashbacks reveal a tragic romance gone fatal, a cliche nearly as overused as the abusive parental figure when it comes to past traumas. This did lead to a minor mystery whether one girl in the retreat may or may not be Fernando's tragic lover who mysteriously disappeared from his life, but the lack of focus on this supposed sub-plot made it pretty weak and corny, succeeding only to give our killer a reason to hold back on committing a complete stab-a-thon.

Oddly, too, is that Basag's also one of the few slasher titles that spent a good amount on writing and building up a possible final girl among its characters, only for her to be tossed aside in the last act and have the movie stretch 20 minutes more to switch from "horror" to "action thriller", with Fernando arming himself with a semi-automatic and shooting down armed cops on pursuit. It's certainly a curveball I never saw coming from this film (though it is nothing really new for me. Gotta blame Severance (2003) and The Majorettes (1987) for that one), but I overly enjoy its sheer silliness and macho-inducing reek, a kind of nostalgic grandeur of over-the-top entertainment that only vintage Filipino exploitation flicks can induce.

A rough little gem of a rare slasher, Basag Ang Pula was a challenge to find but I can honestly say that the hunt was well worth it. Cheesy and grim in the right balance, this is one foreign entry that deserves a quick look for all slasher completists and horror purists.

Bodycount:
1 male head seen
1 female murdered offscreen
1 male stabbed with a knife
1 male had his chest dragged open with a knife
1 female had her throat slashed with a knife
1 female killed, blood spill seen
1 female stabbed with a knife
1 male stabbed in the gut with a knife
1 female stabbed in the head with a knife
1 male knifed in the nape
1 female stabbed on the gut with a knife
1 female mentioned killed
1 male stabbed to death with a knife
1 male stabbed to death with a knife
1 male shot dead with an automatic rifle
1 male shot on the head
1 male shot dead with an automatic rifle
Total: 17

Monday, November 20, 2017

Short Shear Terror: Chainsaw (2015)

Chainsaw (2015)
Rating: ***1/2
Starring:  James Frey, Kirby Bliss Blanton, Logan Paul

Eight and a half minutes long. Produced by Eli Roth of the Hostel franchise. Yep. This is gonna be a fun one.

At a seaside funfair, a man with a chainsaw nonchalantly walks to the backroom of a haunted house attraction, apparently to work as a hired spook. Of course, with the man's quite demeanor (and this being a short horror flick), we all can tell something's not right and dismemberment soon happens left and right.

Originally made as a sort of sneak peek for a possible feature film, Chainsaw has quite a simple premise that harks back to classic horror stories of dark rides with deadly little secrets. It's pretty straightforward to what it wanted to do and we can easily tell this with the killer's quick succession of murdering five victims in such a short running time. Some may find this predictable and I will not argue with that fact, but this little devil packed enough blood and guts to satisfy bloodthirsty gorehounds and I like the fact that they went on with it in gruesome flair and a bit of dark humor.

It's a quick slice of gory horror pie so there's also very little to argue about in terms of writing and characterization. The victims are victims, the unknowing bystanders are just unknowing bystanders, and our nameless killer is just a nameless killer, though we are shown that he likes to eat raw meat from his victims and that this little thrill kill might not be his last. Special effects are undoubtedly the short's key player as juicy red corn syrup and chunky latex parts are everywhere once the climactic slaughtering begins and even when it ends, having an artsy touch to them with nasty slow-mo close-ups that kinda reminds me of a dismemberment scene from the cheesy cult classic slasher Pieces (1982).

As of writing this, it's been two years since Chainsaw was posted at Crypt TV, a website Eli Roth co-founded. Whether the attempt to make something out of this short failed or it's taking its sweet sweet time fermenting into a genuine feature flick, I will say that this tiny terror ticked every box in making a good fun slasher. If you need quick fix of blood and body parts, then try giving this Chainsaw a gander and see the small buzz it made for itself.

Bodycount:
1 male decapitated with a chainsaw
1 male bisected on the shoulder with a chainsaw
1 female sliced in half with a chainsaw
1 female seen killed with a chainsaw
1 male seen dismembered
Total: 5

Monday, October 30, 2017

Militant Bodycounter: The Guest (2014)

The Guest (2014)
Rating: ****
Starring: Dan Stevens, Sheila Kelley, Maika Monroe

One would remember Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett as the filmmaking duo responsible for the stylish and devilishly fun home invasion/slasher melting pot You're Next (2011), as well as the slow burning yet hypnotizing serial killer thriller A Horrible Way to Die (2009) and a couple of better entries for the first two V/H/S/ anthology horror movies. Now, we'll look into their 2014 hit The Guest, which is far from the standard horror flick you would expect in a slasher blog like this, but it has enough intrigue, kill count and even a few shoutouts to horror flicks to earn a warm welcome here in StickyRed.

Still mourning over the loss of their son Caleb who died in action back at Afghanistan, the Petersons get an unexpected visitor named David one early morning, claiming to be Caleb's marine buddy. He is there to look after them because their late son "asked him to", a promise our titular guest is determined to make good of and a proposition the Petersons were quick to accept.

Well, most of the Petersons: a bit suspicious of this is Anna, the only daughter of the family and now the remaining eldest. She believes there's more to David's near-perfection as a house guest than what he is showing and her suspicions are later proven pin-point, unfortunately, as David has a secret worth killing over and anybody (and I mean anybody) in the way is fair game once he believes he's compromised.

Being frank, The Guest's core plot isn't entirely new if you look back at movies like The Stepfather (1987) and its sequels (and underrated remake), as well as Mikey (1992), Orphan (2009) and many other horror flicks involving suspicious and/or murderous adoptive/adopting family members. It's quite easy to tell that something is up with David's boy-next-door persona and we are eventually made aware of this once he starts talking about acquiring guns in one scene and nonchalantly killing off the suppliers in another. Basically, we are more or less watching a ticking time bomb of a narrative that's scheduled to go off once the climactic curveball is upon us, only the wait is just as fun as the last act it is building to.

What The Guest does that not a lot of its ilk seems to grasp perfectly (or attempted at all) is create a worthwhile diversion to an otherwise predictable scenario. By this I meant that most of the time, movies like The Stepfather or Orphan gave more focus on uncovering the dark secrets of the painfully obvious offending party, molding said offending party into a much more obvious threat that needs to be stopped. In The Guest, however, even after we are made aware of David's potential murder-happy persona, we are still shown a more acceptable side of him as a man looking out for a family and doing a good job at it.

For a good mulch of the time, we see David help Laura, the mother, with the chores, taught the family's youngest Luke how to stand up against his bullies (beating a good number of them up in the process), and may have done something to have Spencer, the father, suddenly climb the corpotate ladder at his job, all of these with an uncomfortably eerie yet somewhat genuine smile and soft spoken persona only Downtown Abbey's Dan Stevens can muster with good looks and charm. It's these awesome moments that made the David character quite a likable chap, thus adding tension and mystery to the plot as we are never solidly sure what he is capable of, what he really is and/or his actual purpose being there until the hour mark. By then, The Guest turns the table against us and kinda recalls its horror elements, bringing forth an odd mix of slasher flick killing spree and action movie shoot'em up.

This transition is far from perfect as we were never given a clear explanation as to why David suddenly goes 360 from his protective big brother mode and go Terminator on everybody's arses. Yes, they did explain he is programmed by something shady and there was supposed to be a scene that go into this in more details, but Wingard and Barrett decided to cut it out to make David more mysterious. So what exactly this programming does or what it is for werenever brought up and this is understandably upsetting for some as it made the David character lazily transformed from a potential anti-hero to something of a slasher villain packing heat (And a box cutter), throwing away all of the development made just for a more explosive and exploitative final act.

Personally, the sudden transformation of both David and the subtle tone of the movie would have been upsetting for me, but seeing the layout of the story was already familiar to me genre-wise, the impact is forseen and though I do wished they planned this twist a bit better, the resulting product is still entertainingly fun and impressive.

What I personally love about The Guest, apart from Steven's portrayal as a first-likable-then-homicidal human weapon, is that it has a grooving retro feel to it from its editing to its soundtrack despite having a modernized setting, giving the entire movie a timeless feel. There's offerings for both thriller and horror enthusiasts in the later carnage as we are given a chance to see David in gunheld action, as well as him delivering some decent kills in both combustive and slicing manner, two in particular (my favorites) involve an unsettling scene where live grenades were tossed at a diner full of innocent bystanders and another at a highschool horror maze in which the film went full slasher movie on us.

Now, if there is anything that I could point as flaws that really bugged me, it'll be the Peterson parent's quick approval of having David around just because he showed little proofs that could have meant anything else. (I mean, did David really got those dog tags from Caleb the way he explained it?) It's a typical horror cliche of "useless/clueless adults" which mostly sets grown ups as deserving meat for the slaughter for being blind of the danger they are getting into and though I get that Mrs. Peterson might be this easily persuaded as she is still greiving over the loss of her boy, I find it too easy for Papa Peterson to be just as easily welcoming after one scene of skepticism. I guess it is a good thing that most of the focus of (kinder) David interactions were on Laura and her son Luke as they were the easiest to relate to and work the best with the kind of plotting The Guest was going for.

A fun genre film that molds the thrilling and the horrifying in one antihero-centered package, I can honestly say that The Guest is a winner in my book, whether its last act works for a lot of folks or not. If you love your good thrillers with a side of horror and character, then this one's a guaranteed definite keeper!

Bodycount:
1 male shot on the head
1 male shot
1 male shot
1 male shot on the head
1 male shot dead with an automatic rifle
1 male shot on the face with an automatic rifle
1 male shot dead with an automatic rifle
1 female knifed on the chest
1 male shot dead
1 male mangled in car collision, shot
1 victim implied shot, blood splatter seen
1 female shot
A number of people presumably killed in grenade explosion
1 male had this throat sliced with a box cutter
1 male had his wrist sliced open with a box cutter, bled to death
1 male implied murdered, uniform seen
Total: 15+

Monday, October 23, 2017

New Blogger Blog is a Webcomic...

So yeah, I decided to expand my next project here in Blogger for more exposure. It'll be a gag webcomic series about a demoness named Cass and her often unusual adventures living in the mortal world.

Well, try living in the mortal world...

Hope you guys will give this one a try!