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not a Bad Movie Night, just a bad movie night

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not a Bad Movie Night, just a bad movie night

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Well, I can't say as I accomplished much yesterday. I've already made a better start, so far as productivity is concerned. No regrets, though, as I had a great evening.

I called theatre_nerd in the early afternoon about getting together; turns out she was in class, but I left a message. She got back to me shortly after five, when, still in my two different plaids, I had ventured out to treat myself poorly by giving myself a treat at Sonic (I feel no shame, though I will seek out a higher percentage of vegetables today). I made my order and drove over with it, and in a move that will shock few, we watched movies. Oh, the movies we watched!

First, The Babysitter, which was notable in that the only characters who did not turn out to be morally bankrupt/ethically empty were the eponymous sitten baby (which hadn't yet learned to backstab) and the "shocking" lesbian teens - they could have used some coaching on lesbianing, but they didn't share the hideous character flaws of the other people around them. As a side note, this was B movie drive-in fare, with which I am not all that terribly familiar; I was surprised by the copious and unsubtle nudity. I didn't realize they were able to make so free with the free love at that time.

The closest thing to character growth occurred in the shrewish, frigid, clearly-can't-WAIT-for-menopause wife. She had told her husband at the beginning of the movie that she wanted NO sexual attention from him now or in the future because look what happened last time, at which point she indicated the baby's room. This decision being reached without the husband's consent, he responds by embarking on a two week sexcapade with babysitrix Lolita Candy, but somewhere in the middle of all the sexin' he finds time to call out his wife for bitching (must have meant it, he said it three times!) and for having nothing to do with him but go to stupid parties and play stupid bridge. At the end, on receipt of photographic evidence of his straying, the wife smiles weakly and says, "Maybe we DO play too much bridge." At least someone learned something, though I couldn't say quite what.

The husband's boss quite impressively outsleazes every other person in the movie - the philandering husband and all the oily bikers, including the one who is on trial for murder and his blackmailing would-be savior girlfriend. As for Candy (who is the focus of the incredible - as in cannot be given credence - theme song), the best that can be hoped is that she doesn't develop a taste for violent involuntary haircutting. To paraphrase Tom Servo, hopefully by the time they quit cutting back and forth between Candy and the instrumental version of her theme song and the bikers with their bongo background music, most of the drive-in kids were too busy making out to actually be warped by the utter reprehensibility being exhibited.

Continuing with the B movie theme, next up was La Notte che Evelyn uscì dalla tomba, aka The Night She Arose from the Tomb. It's noted in some of the alternate titles that Evelyn specificially does the rising. After the opening credits roll atop a scene that is either a flashback to an otherwise unnoted time or a flashforward to an alternate dimension, the rest of the movie gets somewhat unclear. This movie teaches that redheaded strippers are for killin' and blonde strippers are for marryin' - dunno why we needed a movie to tell us that, though, as all I really need to know about strippers I learned in kindergarten, and I'm sure that's true for everyone.

Honestly, it's not that I can't get behind a good murder mystery as much as the next person, but I'm not impressed by a master plan studded by these events:

---wait for the creepy Robert Downey Jr.-esque gardener to get a poisonous snake out of a box where he's evidently keeping it, apparently in order to go get someone killed by snakebite (he first irritates the snake off by poking it with a stick before grabbing it with his giant gardening gloves) and then, unable to find a victim for his snake homicide, accidentally forget to hold it far enough away from his neck to prevent it from biting him; then push him into a pre-dug shallow grave and bury him without waiting for the snakebite to actually finish killing him, guaranteeing dramatic shots of hands shooting up through loose earth

---bash the gardener's handicapped lover (and aunt of Hugh Jackmanny main character/serial killer) in the noggin and then leisurely drive her corpse all around the garden in her cool electric wheelchair before ending up at the pen full of foxes (kept because the serial killer, who isn't even the bad guy in this movie(!) loves them, "especially in their natural habitat," because apparently he thinks foxes being in cages is natural... perhaps it was mistranslated from the Italian) and dump her in so they will eat her, which they do INSTANTLY, very handy for murderers, those foxy foxes

---gaslight the serial killer - well, I guess in a way it IS more impressive to push someone over the edge when they're already crazy

---poison the blonde accomplice to the gaslighting plot with strychnine-laced champagne, and loom smugly over her while counting on her to try to treat the initial indicators that she's being poisoned (never mind that it's highly detectable by its bitter taste - according to her facial expressions I'd guess it felt about like Rimmer's description of eating a fried egg chili chutney sandwich) by drinking more poison (it helps to have dumb accomplices)

---count on the dying doublecrossed accomplice to successfully stab the second, "I'll step in after the blonde does all the dirty work" accomplice to death for you (it's just like the third ending of Clue, except not awesome)

Only after all the strippers have perished do we get the reveal - Hugh Jackmanny guy was not successfully gaslighted, and is only one layer of crazy! Also, the second dead accomplice had actually been the second girl we thought he'd killed early on, so we only know for sure that he killed ONE stripper for looking like his dead wife. So he's possibly unsuccessful on the serial part of serial killer and thus yay, he wins! Somehow. The movie ends like it begins, with a spastically running man being captured and institutionalized.

A friend of theatre_nerd's turned up at this point to help us watch bad movies - and she brought Cool Ranch Doritos, score! - and in deference to her predilections, we switched to more recent movies, starting with Slither. This movie is... okay. It has tons of "Oh, who is that?" actors - I know Nathan Fillion by name at this point, but it also has the blond bad guy from Payback, J. J. Jameson's receptionist from Spiderman (odd that I remembered her face that well from such a small role and with such very different hair color, but I clearly recognized her, and it clicked instantly when we came to Spidey in her filmography), the dad who gets the stinkfinger from Jason Lee in Mall Rats, a redhead who was familiar though I've no idea why.

The biggest flaw about Slither is that it tries to be too many things.

Is it a gore fest? Not wholeheartedly.
Is it camp? In places.
Is it a creepy aliens/pod people flick? Not a good one.
Is it a cultural sendup (utterly hick town)? At some points.
Is it a vehicle for Nathan Fillion? Not effectively.
Is it a comedy? A bit.

Slither doesn't commit to any of the many things that it tries to be. There are a handful of really good directors and screenwriters who could smoothly transmute these disparate elements into an amazing gestalt... and that's so not what happened here. The transitions are extremely choppy. There's a genuinely creepy hive mind aspect that gets tangled up with the female protagonist's romantic relationships - but it gets played up for maybe five whole minutes of screentime before being undercut by grossout, etc. There's a handful of actual tragic moments which are SO incongruous - and I don't mean the traditional "kill me" moment that one character has, but rather one prior to that, when he fully realizes that he's got a zombie's appetite but doesn't have the accompanying release of zombie brainlessness. That actually struck me before the movie moved on to whatever the hell it focused on next. Even the zombies (well, not exactly, but they were close enough for most purposes) couldn't decide whether they were the fast or slow kind. I enjoyed it, it wasn't painful or anything, I'd even watch it again, but it falls quite a bit short of good. Okay is the best it can do. Still better than Independence Day, though.

The next movie was Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon. It's about serial killing, and is a perfect example of what I was saying that Slither failed to do - combining disparate elements to create a fantastic gestalt. Everyone who has ever gotten into a serial killer flick should watch this, but other people ought to enjoy it as well. THIS I would show to Buddy if I had the power to do so. He'd have been beside himself. I can't think of anything to say about it that isn't spoilery, and it is made of awesome, so creating a spoiler is the last thing I want to do - going into it cold would be best. I was even up for the commentary track, which is a rarity for me. It was about this time that theatre_nerd's friend left and glittergodzilla came home.

There was one more - I told theatre_nerd to pick one that she'd like to subject me to, and she chose another 70s Italian horror flick dubbed over into English, La Plus longue nuit du diable. She'd mentioned it earlier as featuring the redheaded stripper Susie from the previous Italian movie. I don't have enough to say about it to warrant an LJ cut. It wasn't really bad per se so much as arty and from 1971, if that's enough to give a sense of it. The dubbed English voices were pretty incongruous over the extremely Italian-looking women - one of the voice actors so sounded like Suzanne Pleshette, but that's just a hazard of overdubbing. It played like an allegory or a gothic horror story, depending on your point of view. I fell asleep during part of it, but didn't realize it until afterwards when I was counting up which deaths I'd seen and realized there were a few I missed. It didn't really hurt the story. theatre_nerd said, and I agree, that the "scary face" (which is on the package art on the left hand side of the IMDB link) could have used some help. Maybe some fangs, tentacles, emoting... I dunno. The devil was pale and fey rather than imposing but had a fantastic cape, and worn right, that makes up for a whoooole lot.

Waking up shake, round of hugs, quick pencilling in of dinner date, out the door. Great night. :)
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