The Dark Below (2017)

It’s kind of a tough situation with “The Dark Below” that I found myself in. Ultimately I appreciated its creativity, its twist on the stalker thriller, and how Douglas Schulze delivered his premise, but in the end “The Dark Below” is only a slightly serviceable thriller. Despite the film being genuinely creative in unfolding its narrative of a woman fighting to survive underwater in the arctic while evading a killer, the movie itself left me lukewarm and generally unengaged. Douglas Schulze banks a lot on audiences being either claustrophobic, terrified of drowning, and terrified of being alive, as the center of the films premise relies on our protagonist being stuck under a frozen lake while being hopelessly outmatched against a killer in the snow. Schulze does switch up the monotony of this kind of genre offering by creating a film that has absolutely no dialogue.

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Firestarter (1984): Collector’s Edition [Blu-Ray]

If there’s anything that Stephen King loves to write about, it’s powerful children with god-like abilities, and I imagine considering most of his stories connect in to a universe, someone with Danny Torrance’s abilities is married to someone with the abilities from “Firestarter.” Mike Lester’s adaptation of the Stephen King novel is not a masterpiece, but I still insist it’s a fun movie with a good amount of effort behind it. The only thing it really suffers from is being ahead of its time. I imagine were we given a new adaptation “Firestarter” might be a mix of dazzling and disturbing a la “Carrie.” As it is, “Firestarter” is mostly a compelling horror drama about another very powerful young girl who is being hunted by the government.

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Get Out (2017)

Jordan Peele has effectively fired off the starting gun of what I think will become an landscape of cinema filled with social commentary about the racial climate, and division among a certain kind of people. As with all horror movements, Peele expertly crafts a movie that reflects the racial relations of modern America, and how there is a thin line between acceptance and cultural appropriation and fanaticism. Peele is a man who has devoted most of his career to brutally sharp and funny comedy, and here he delivers what is a darkly comedic but very scary tale about cults, the racial dynamic and what is arguably the next movement in the racial hysteria in the country. “Get Out” derives a lot of uncomfortable laughter from the audience, but it has a lot to say about the extremes of racism, and the sheer horror of pure ignorance and naivete.

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Red Dawn (1984): Collector’s Edition [Blu-Ray]

I would love to have been a fly on the wall during the pitch meeting for “Red Dawn.” Let’s take some of the most popular all-American teen stars, some of whom are from the Brat Pack and pit them against foreign invaders trying to take over America. Imagine! The All-American brat pack fighting terrorism! No one would dare fuck with Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen! People will come in droves! That said, “Red Dawn” is a childhood favorite and one my brother and I watched over and over whenever it was on television. Yes, it’s goofy, and violent, and a jingoistic fantasy, but it’s also a fun, action packed, and interesting concept with its “Rah Rah America!” patriotism heavily steeped in a “What If?” narrative.

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Drive-In Mutants: The Gate (1987)

Every month we discuss some of the best and worst cult films ever made, from the hits, classics, underground, grind house, and utterly obscure, from Full Moon, and Empire, to Cannon and American International, it’s all here, minus the popcorn, and car fumes.

The Gate
1987
Aliases:
None
New Century Vista Film Company
Directed by:
Tibor Takács
Starring: Stephen Dorff, Christa Denton, Louis Tripp

The Plot is Afoot! When his parents go away on a trip for the weekend, Glen and his best friend Terry begin experiencing unusual goings on in their backyard, including the discovery of a mysterious geode and a bottomless hole. After accidentally playing a Satanic incantation on one of their favorite heavy metal albums, events spiral out of control, as Glen, Terry, and big sister Al find themselves under siege by relentless demons that plan to drag them back to hell, and infiltrate Earth to invade. With the trio trying to survive the demonic invasion, they decide to fight back before hell opens up and swallows reality.

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Donnie Darko: Meat Suits and Multiverses

Richard Kelly’s “Donnie Darko” has managed to become somewhat mythical among movie buffs, despite being so widely celebrated. It’s a movie with a fairly simplistic tale about time travel and paradoxes, but also has been interpreted by many people and injected with ideas that fit the general frame work of what “Donnie Darko” is. Some people call it a Christ allegory, some people call it a time travel movie, and Kelly himself has called the movieCatcher in the Rye” if it were written by Phillip K. Dick. There is a surefire hint of author Phillip K. Dick in the way that our main character Donnie Darko is stuck in this hazy world of suburban conformity and alarming aggression. It seeps in to the desperation to be accepted and act accordingly by just about everyone.

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King Kong Lives (1986)

This is the classic love story of a man and a woman falling in lover under weird circumstances. And a pair of apes that also fall in love under odd circumstances. And their heart transplant that bonds them. Okay, so this isn’t a classic love story, but it is the premise for easily the silliest “King Kong” movie ever made. In a movie that was sort of kind of made to be a spoor, but also meant to be taken very seriously, “King Kong Lives” is kind of the movie that killed King Kong until 2005, and proved that this concept was never meant to go beyond the one and done tale of his experience with Fay Wray on the Empire State Building.

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