Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Vincents Vile Video Vault: So what really is behind the door of ROOM 237 By Vincent Daemon

So great to have the talented Vincent Daemon reviewing again! Enjoy. 
So what really is behind the door of ROOM 237 Review by Vincent Daemon

Directed by: Rodney Ascher

Starring (in voice form):
Bill Blakemore
Geoffrey Cocks
Juli Kearns
John Fell Ryan
Jay Weidner

Honestly, I’ve never been a big fan of THE SHINING. Not the book really, the “revised” tv mini-series was “entertaining,” if nothing else, but Kubrick’s version I’ve always found virtually unwatchable. In fact, outright unwatchable. I know that’s anathema within the current horror community, but most things I do in general it seems are anyway.  But the the idea behind this particular doc seemed very interesting, and incredibly well put together, deeply intriguing me for whatever reason. Not only am I a horror junkie, I’m also a documentary junkie.

When putting it on, I did so with an open mind, ignoring everything I’ve ever disliked about the Kubrick classic. What I got was, to my astonishment, an ever-fascinating series of perceptions and opinions and observations that, quite honestly, would have never occurred to me, all coming from intelligent people and VERY thought out.

Another interesting thing is that many of the people interviewed couldn’t stand the film either upon initial viewing, and even repeated viewings. However they, much like myself, kept coming back to it over the years.

The film is presented in “9 Parts,” each one delving into a different point of view or observation about the film, that at first all seem completely batshit crazy. Until you listen and watch, very carefully, and begin to notice the various aspects of what exactly they are talking about. As the 9 segments flawlessly flow together, a much larger, much darker story is being told, one infinitely creepier in all reality than what King had penned.

That is also one of the more interesting “Parts,” is they do go into King’s ultimate fury at what he felt Kubrick had “done” to his book, which was essentially completely, and quite deliberately, and literally, wrecked as Kubrick very passive-aggressively went and essentially and made his own creation instead.

There is a definitive and dark bleakness to the entire affair that I really appreciated. The doc is actually suspenseful in its own right, and sheds lights on the film that actually coalesce and make sense, ALMOST, by its conclusion.

Oddly enough, scenes of various other films are used to accompany the exposition, including “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “Barry Lyndon,” “The Shining,” strangely (but in a way making a certain sense) Lamberto Bava’s “Demons” & “Demons 2,” “Eyes wide shut,” and very odd footage of the classic moon landing, which I found to be the most interesting “Part.” Supposedly there is a theory that Stanley Kubrick was “hired out” anonymously, by Disney, (ie: forced, I believe  - - - Disney is infamous for sick behind the scenes tactics - - - look up Disney and the Lemmings) to “stage” the moon landing. The film takes a definitive turn toward the completely bizarre at this point, as apparently Kubrick HATED doing that, it tore him up inside, this bizarre lie and contractual obligation to which he HAD to follow, almost turning him into Jack Torrance, and makes several allusions to that within “The Shining” itself. Hell, just look at the director’s visual disintegration during the course of making the film.

Of course all of these are strange, almost OCD-like personal observations, which is what us true film buffs do.

What I like the best: by the films conclusion there is no real, concrete, quantifiable conclusion to any of this. Like a substantial portion of Kubrick’s work.

My opinion? Kubrick was burnt the fukk out, especially from the dreadfully dull “Barry Lyndon,”  probably on a lot of coke, and crammed several different ideas, hints, and secrets within the film, as he’s notorious for doing, while simultaneously telling King to stuff it, for whatever reason, as even that is still essentially a mystery.

The director/documentarian did his job and he did it well. He let’s you draw your own conclusions. ROOM 237 is the room of secrets and mysteries, the one room Danny was NEVER to go in. Dark things hide behind that door, just as they do within this film. I would think it a fascinating watch for ANY horror fan/film buff. It was for me.

I may just give Kubrick's “The Shining” another shot.

Bio: Vincent Daemon currently works for THE INTESTINAL FORTITUDE https://theintestinalfortitude.wordpress.com/ ezine, his column titled ROSETTA BONES. He is still putting out increasingly strange short fiction, and frequently appears on the ANDROID VIRUS & SEAN SHOW, as well as has many other projects going. He can be contacted at vdaemon13@gmail.com and on fb at https://www.facebook.com/vincent.daemon.1

Monday, March 30, 2015

It Follows - Just add an SH at the beginning!

I`ve had one of those weeks where my whole world had been totally turned upside down and inside out. A beloved furry friend had departed quiet suddenly and of course emotions ran high, tears were shed and trying to face life without my special little girl. My friend and fellow writer for the blog William invited myself and my partner out to see a movie at a little independent cinema. It had been ages since I had been there and I really needed to get my mind off things.

He suggested we see "It Follows" from the trailerI had some reservations but I went into the cinema open and wanting to experience something new smart and entertaining.

Before the review let me just say this: I`m not one of these critics that enjoy picking films apart- I went in this not reading a single review and going in fresh with an open mind.

The opening scene pretty much sets the tone for the film, a pretty girl runs out of her house wearing barely nothing screaming and passers by mildly fain interest... Even her Father only mildly asked her if shes Ok. The tone made him seem as concerned as if he left the iron on. She gets in her car and peels out, does her parents follow her or um call the police. Nah!! By the way if your looking for any logic in this film don't, you`ll burn yourself out trying to make sense. No spoilers but things don't work out great for her.

So the plot if one can call this mess one is this. A mysterious force chases a chosen person and will end up killing them unless said person passes it on via sex. Jay our heroin of the film is going out with a guy named Hugh aka Jeff who after a bizarre freak out at the movies takes her to a deserted area to have fun (because after all why wouldn't you take a unstable guy in the middle of nowhere) after sex Jay starts spotting off flowery pros and Hugh/Jeff knocks her out and ties her up just to tell her that this thing will follow her instead of him because he passed it on to her sexually. After he unties her he drops her off at her house half naked crying and crawling on all fours. Jay along with her gang of friends try and help her figure out this messy confusing plot.

David Robert Mitchell tries hard to make this an "art" horror film but in reality its nothing more than the same empty headed hipster kids we`ve seen in a hundred other horror films in a ever confusing plot (which is meant to be cool and trendy) and add some lines that made you rather cringe or laugh or a bit of both. He comes up with a mythos but doesn't even stick to his own rules making the audience both confused and annoyed. In the beginning Jay is told that this mysterious force can be escaped if you pass it along sexually (and crudely is told it should be easy for her being a woman-sexist much?) yet even after she has sex with her friend the thing still comes after her? Its pretty bad when you cant stick with your own rules. At first I thought given the sexually transmitted theme it would be sort of like a updated Shivers" but to my dismay it was nowhere near the brilliance of the 1975 David Cronenberg classic. Many of the characters make really poor choices and it borders on horror parody. For example if you`re being chased by a evil force its not a great idea to go out to a creepy isolated park beside the woods in barely anything and decide to take a swing on the creepy looking swing set. Also Its not taught in sex ed but if your friend has a demon that gets spread via sexual transmission its not a good idea to have sex with her...Just sayin.

This also breaks a mortal cinema sin- being boring. Many scenes are just the gang hanging out, trying to be witty but coming off as empty soulless products of the Hipster generation. It seems the film is padded with many either dull scenes or confusing ones that only add to the viewers frustration. I dont mind a slow build to an awesome finish but this

 Which brings me to my next point- its how the majority of the women in the film are treated as mindless sex objects to pass along deadly virus.  As stated above in a very cringe worthy scene Jay is told that her being a female should make it easy for her to get laid and pass the evil on. Wow... Its also interesting that several working women are also featured, I think David has some issues with the opposite sex. The men don't fair any better- You have Hugh/Jeff the bone head that uses then assaults and ties up Jay (just to tell her what she`s in store for) Or you have the other extreme Paul the wimpy whiny guy that wants nothing more to bed his best friend. In the world of this movie either your a dumb female (or a "smart" one in hip nerd glasses reading on her E-reader -cause its cool!) or a bone head walking hard on that will sleep with anything that says yes and treats women poorly.

The lead actress Maika Monore must have went to the Kristen Steward school of acting because she comes off wooden and as appealing as a forest fire. Honestly shes attractive but its like she downed a gallon of NyQuil before each take. Even her "love making" scenes are boring and not sexy in the least. I`m not saying she is a bad actress but not given anything good to do. I did enjoy her in "The Guest"

Pretty much the same expression through out the whole film..

I will give the film props for not relying heavily on gore to substitute for scares but anything would have been better than the predictable make up job on the ghoul/ghost/evil force things.

Even the score which started out great (an obviously nod to John Carpenter`s early scores) gets annoying and at one point starts to sound like the theme from Super Mario.

Instead of the theater being filled with the sounds of screams we heard a very different sound, mainly laughter. Like the "Wicker Man" remake this film is filled with "screamingly" funny lines that was a source of great fun after the movie while at dinner. One character points to get a man and says "Its a person" Um duh!!  This would make a great RIFF TRAX which I hope happens.

It seems that this film splits the horror community and some see this as a brilliant film while others like myself see this for what it is a below standard horror outing wrapped in a veil of pretension pandering to the trendy set. Don`t get me wrong, i`m all for a slow paced creepy arty horror film but this was sloppy, boring and funny rather than scary.

With "It Follows" David Robert M has found a way to take something almost clever and fill it with a needlessly confusing plot, terribly unlikable flat characters with an ending that will piss you off. Follow the masses? No Thanks...