Hello to all those faithfully reading and hopefully enjoying this effort to make even the worst horror movie more watcha... aw, screw that - I'm not that good. If a movie makes you cringe because yet another batch of unlikable teens that are pushing 30 are inching toward their deaths, having a party no one does anywhere ever, a paranormal movie is boring you to tears with unending pans of empty rooms, or thanks to CGI technology when people finally bite it, their blood squirts everywhere except on the victim, the ground, the people next to them... you're in good company and this is the right place for you.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A LITTLE BIT AUDITION, A LITTLE BIT I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE, A LITTLE BIT FLESH & BLOOD, A WHOLE LOT OF MISOGYNY




Dead Hooker In A Trunk (2009)/American Mary (2012) Canadian


This flinch fest has a little bit of everything - torture, rape, murder, misogyny and a small hint of humor. In a sick kind of way. I saw American Mary first and I was kind of glad - watching the Soska sisters' first effort of an independent film makes one realize that with practice this team might make some pretty good stuff. Just not yet. Seeing them both you can really tell they had quite a bit more money to spend on the second one.

Now there are those who would argue vehemently with me - DHIAT was recommended to me as an excellent movie, and I had heard AM was like the movie Audition (1999) an excellent foreign film I reviewed 8/24/12, that I'm going to have to get a copy of - it's a flinch/gore fest and the story is good. But back to the Soska sisters.

That they have talent is without question. Like I said, I think if they keep making movies, they'll get better and better. These two had great promise and certainly original stories but, well, let's start with the first one.

When you write/direct/produce a movie and then decide to star in it, you're gonna have trouble. For one thing, the more 'hats' you wear, the harder it is to keep control of them all. As actresses, they were uneven and at times cartoonish, but did show promise. The story is - umm - bizarre is about the only word I can think of for it and I was hoping this wasn't going to be a cheap version of Weekend At Bernies. It wasn't.


Dead Hooker In A Trunk (2009): The characters have no names, just description of their personalities. There are four. First is Badass (Sylvia Soska) a tough twin to Geek (Jen Soska) and we get a small bit of backstory that as a small child she was forced to shoot her father after he killed their mother. Geek wears glasses because, of course, in movie lingo this means she is not as pretty as her sister but smarter, right? Even though they're identical twins. In this film, except for looking alike, they have little in common. 

They are joined by Junkie (Badass' friend) and Goody Two-Shoes (Geek's friend) - the only male in the group and shown to be the weakest one of the bunch. The fun begins when they smell something strange in their Firebird (a restored 1969 Pontiac Firebird with mag wheels - too good for them but I'd take it) and discover, well, see the title.

Thus a chain of events is set in motion and the movie gets very choppy - there's almost no flow, just 'scenes' that happen one after another. The Soska sisters set out to show women can use gore just as good as the big boys can, and there's plenty of it. In the course of trying to get rid of the body, Geek loses her eye by being hit in the back of the head with a baseball bat (interesting) but instead of going to hospital just puts an 'X' of electrical tape over the hole (better than duct tape I guess). Then Junkie gets a severe cut via chainsaw to her arm by a drug dealer while she was making a pickup so Badass, having a gun from a previous scuffle, proceeds to blow everyone's head off and rescue her.

Now we get into cartoonish territory. We have Geek wearing her glasses over a tape covered eye socket, and as they're all out arguing on the side of a road Junkie waves her arms in frustration and a truck comes by and whoops! No more arm. 

Not to worry though, Badass simply retrieves the arm out of the 18 wheeler's grill (WTH?) and sews it back on. Ooookay. So the hooker's still in the trunk and the four decide to bury her together. As Badass digs a hole the hooker... wait for it... sits up. Badass promptly bashes her over the head with the shovel without a second thought. Yikes. But they don't bury her yet and back in the trunk she goes.

This goes on for the rest of the movie, with bad things happening to the group and a definite all-men-are-evil-and-will-hurt-you theme running throughout (Goody Two-Shoes doesn't count - one they think he's gay (he's not) and two he's a born again Christian youth group leader. With a foul mouth. Sigh.). The two injured girls don't act like they are in any kind of pain and still don't even go to a doctor and the rest of the movie's storyline is finally revealed - the hooker was killed by a serial killer and placed in their trunk for... a while I guess.

It wasn't really much of a shock to discover that it was Goody Two-Shoe's pious priest who was the serial killer since there really wasn't many men in this movie (sorry for assuming the serial killer was a man but roughly 85% of all serial killers are male). His motivation? A botched circumcision left him a bit... different and women made fun of him his whole life. Huh. That's... kind of dumb. You've gotta admit that of all the reasons someone would want to kill...

In the end in a twisted sense of justice, he is set on fire and burned, and the hooker dumped in the ocean, with our four now-friends driving off into the sunset. Ick.


American Mary (2012): While this also had quite the unique story (and also smaller parts played by the Soska sisters) it was uneven and seemed to run out of gas long before the ending, which was pretty dumb. But my problem is the title of the film itself. The character is a student studying to become a surgeon, named Mary Mason (Katharine Isabelle), and as she does... what I'm about to describe, she tells all that she doesn't want her name spread around in case the police come back to her so they call her 'Bloody Mary'. So where did American Mary come from? There's no reference to it in the movie and no explanation either.

So Mary is studying medicine in Seattle, Washington (really Vancouver B.C.) with a sadistic teacher named Dr. Grant who's a real A to the double S to the HOLE. He picks on Mary constantly, both in class and in the hospital when they make rounds. But Mary badly wants to be a surgeon, even practicing on turkeys outside of class, to become the best there is. One BIG problem. Mary is from a Hungarian family in Budapest and they don't have money. And she is broke. Very, VERY broke. Desperate she goes to a strip club for a job. The owner, Billy, says all the right things (insert sarcasm here) like 'You're not fat under there or anything are you?' Like I said, all men are evil and will hurt you.

Before she can, uh, shake her booty Billy's bouncer comes in and he asks her to come with him to help stitch up an associate of his who had been tortured - for cash. Now. For five grand she does the distasteful job and manages to get back home before she loses everything she hasn't eaten for the last few days.

The movie gets weird from here. I mean that in an interesting way. If you have no experience with the concept of body modification, you won't understand what the big deal is here. I'm not talking about the cute little green dot earring in your nose (which always looks like snot to me) or the standard rose/skull/eagle tattoo on your arm/thigh. I'm talking hardcore. If you look up body modification, you'll find it's not for circus freaks - there is a population of people so desperately unhappy with themselves that they will do just about anything to alter their appearance. Or just think it's cool. Whatever.
This is not part of the movie - it's real...

Not just plastic surgery, but things such as 3D modification, voluntary amputation, and something not mentioned in the movie but last I heard only two people in the WORLD are willing to do it - tattoo the whites of your eyes. EYES. Blue eyeballs. Or whatever color they choose. These people also are willing to take the necessary risks to attain these modifications - unless the person is very good (and sterile) you can go blind or die from the complications.

So Mary meets Beatress - a stripper from Billy's club. Right away there's something... alien about her. She loves Betty Boop. A LOT. So to make the outside look like she felt on the inside... lets say the effects are startling. She has a friend who basically wants to look like a doll - and that means female, but, uh, not anatomically correct shall we say? Her name is Ruby Realgirl and she designs dolls and wants to be one herself - her face already is so frozen that when she speaks her lips barely even move. What does she have done? Umm - look at a Barbie doll and you'll pretty much figure it out. And she pays a LOT of money.

Mary is then invited to a party with other surgeons. This was a massive duh. Why they hell would surgeons invite students to a party unless... yup, roofies all around. In no time, the horrid Dr. Grant has her in a bedroom and she is violated, choked, raped and videotaped. For whatever reason, he doesn't have her dumped somewhere - she wakes up in the bed next to him. That... was not realistic. Dazed and messed up she asks Billy for a favor and soon Dr. Grant is trussed up and in her apartment. She decides to 'use' him to practice some other body modifications so that she can continue her new profession and collect some very high fees. Oh and she does it without anesthetic, just to be fair. I thought it was fair anyway.

So Mary starts to become famous for her skillful technique and willingness to do anything a customer asks. Anything. Cut it off? 'Kay. Sew it up? 'Kay. We then get to see the Soska twins again playing German body modification fans who want to always be together - even when apart. That involves switching arms and for whatever reason, 3D implants of horns in both foreheads. She gets another surgeon to help her since both arms need to come off and be sewed back on immediately. And of course since this is fantasy just as unreal as the first movie we won't worry about the little things, like connecting the nerve endings, muscles, fusing bones, you know, the micro surgery needed for this kind of thing...

And Dr. Grant? He's fine - what's left of him. Hanging by his flesh from hooks, all limbs amputated, lips sewn shut and being fed through an IV, Mary keeps him alive - whether for revenge or more practice we don't know 'cause somehow a security guard discovers her and tries to free the guy - the guard ends up getting his head turned to paste. Mary was mad and Mary made a mess.

Even though a detective has been harassing her with questions, she continues her work. Billy is worried though - Beatress has disappeared. Turns out that Ruby has a husband who doesn't quite appreciate his new anatomically incorrect wife. He beats the bejeezus out of Beatress until she tells him where Mary is. Mary doesn't discover this until she's already home - where he's waiting for her. How he got into her locked apartment we don't know - all we know is the movie has a few minutes left so...

The husband stabs Mary who returns the favor and kills him. She manages to sew her wound shut but the next scene is of the police crawling all over her apartment. They've discovered her album of 'work', including the hapless Dr. Grant. And Mary? She stitched herself up, but the internal bleeding was too much and she lies dead on the floor. What a flat, nothing, what the hell ending.

So what have we learned kiddies? Creativity is great. Practice is good. But maybe for the twin's next project they should step back and concentrate on the story and the direction instead of giving themselves excuses to parade in front of the cameras. Oh and remember - men are bad. Just ask them.