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.

Monday, September 16, 2013

YOU CAN CALL IT A HORROR OR SCIENCE FICTION MOVIE ALL YOU WANT BUT IN MY DAY IT WAS CALLED THE DISASTER MOVIE GENRE





Aftershock (2012) Chilean-American

Ahh Mad Magazine. Staple for kids (and adults although many wouldn't admit it) for decades. Of course, the best of 'em (best writers, best artists) were during the 70's - I don't think too many people would argue with that. I was just telling a friend that I used to be incredibly into collecting the dumb things - I've got a lot from the 60's and 70's, and every single issue (including extras and 'special covers') from '82 until the year 2000. In January of 2000 I decided to call it quits. Now I have tons of these mags (in plastic) taking up shelf space and I never touch 'em. Why did I even start?


Now $2.67 an issue - IF you're a subscriber...
I remember I was... uh, you know what? I have no idea how old I was. But my uncle happened to be only a few years older than me - that meant he still had toys and magazines and junk. One was a Mad magazine and it was the infamous Poseidon Adventure (1972) spoof - cemented in my mind as the 'Poop Side Down Adventure'. I'd never seen the movie but I had that magazine pretty well memorized. When I came upon (in someone's attic collection) the same issue I was elated. That sounds... really dumb now. But here I sit with tons of today's comic books (released by Black Horse almost exclusively) I've been collecting plus the merchandise of a certain band I was totally enamored with who quit and now I'm stuck with stuff I don't even want to look at...

Oh. The movie. My point being, that this is NOT horror although Netflix put it in that category. That's probably because the 'disaster film genre' has pretty much disappeared. It was strong in the 70's - you had TPA, The Towering Inferno, Airport and Airport 1975 (we miss you Karen Black) and so on. In the 80's - not so much. They tried to revive the genre with several successful and a lot of failing movies, but we don't get the Paul Newmans, Steve McQueens and the Charlton Hestons type of movies we associate with the disaster movie. Did you know Independence Day was one? That's because it was marketed as a blockbuster action film. Same with Titanic, 2012 and other big big budget films. Buuuut, enough with my ramblings, on with the movie.

It starts the way disaster movies do - you get a brief introduction to the people who will be suffering for you for approximately 90 minutes and you get to decide who you like and who you despise. That's the usual formula. Then the bad thing happens and you watch them all suffer, pretty sure who'll live and who'll die. In the 70's it didn't matter how big of a star you were, that didn't ensure your survival. In this movie we know... absolutely no one so it doesn't matter (Huh? Selena Gomez is in this? Never heard of her.).

But you decide pretty quickly in this movie who you like, and who you want to see squished as soon as possible. The basic premise of what they are calling a disaster-horror movie (pfft): A group of people are vacationing in Chile (I hate them already) and while they are enjoying the decadence and the parties and the drugs and the... whatever, BOOM, earthquake. And if that wasn't enough disaster for you - the threat of a tsunami. Now we get to see - who the REAL good guys and bad guys are.

Eli Roth doesn't pull any punches with this one (and he also puts himself in the starring role) - the effects are huge (and probably mostly CGI'd as everything is these days) and I'd say as good if not better than the ones in 2012. And you find out pretty quickly which monsters are actually human and vice versa. A bonus added to the mix - a prison (In the middle of the city?) has collapsed and all those nasty bastards are out roaming with the decent folk - you know, the ones firebombing police, looting, killing people. The nice ones.

As the trend is going in the horror genre (of which this is really not - sorta) the last person of the group to be alive is a woman. Which one I couldn't tell you 'cause I didn't care enough about the characters to know anything except their basic attitudes - but this girl has short hair and a kick-ass attitude. Don't know if that ensured her survival or what. And of course when she needs a diversion, perfect time for an aftershock. Duh.

So after a final 'dead babies everywhere' gross-out (you'll have to watch the movie to find out why) she finds herself on the beach. The nice, placid beach. After passing out for a while, she starts that crazy laughing that says she's not going to be sane anymore but that's okay - we see behind her what the city has been warned about since the beginning of this movie - a massive tsunami. And she STARTS TO RUN. Really?