(2002) Spider

I’ll go ahead and say, right off the bat, this isn’t my favorite Cronenberg film. It’s simplistic in its story, which kinds of limits how far it can go but relishes in a somewhat impressive exposition.

Our lead here is hopeless, he’s in a halfway house, mentally broken and the film doesn’t really offer up any potential resolution. You keep watching simply to try and understand what happened to him. I can appreciate the simplicity of this aspect.

Just examining the story itself, the origin story if you will, is also really simple. I think it would have been a bit more impressive from another director but something about it doesn’t seem right for Cronenberg. I know he didn’t write the script but still, if he was determined to stray away from his usual visual insanity, I would have appreciated a darker, more original storyline.

My friend described it as “out there but not super rewarding” and I feel that sums it up perfectly. The narrative is interesting and complex but the story itself isn’t.

Watch it if you want, don’t if you don’t.

6/10

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(2016) Colossal

Colossal is like a bad Hancock, which is pretty bad since Hancock is a bad Hancock. Anne Hathaway is awful and Jason Sudeikis is actually really disingenuous too.

I just don’t like Anne because of her face so my complaints there could be null for some but I’m actually a fan of Jason and this film, unfortunately, really showed how one note of an actor he really is. When he attempts to sob it’s just god awful.

Mostly though, like the Hancock reference, it’s just the unnatural injection of conflict that really shits on everything. I mean I didn’t actually expect the initial intriguing idea to evolve into anything close to meaningful but the metaphors in this were so heavy handed, they might as well have been fisted up my asshole. I can actually feel Jason’s fingers up there, writhing around with that trademark smile just saying, “yeah? you get it, right?”

It’s so tonally disconnected that I can’t fathom it being considered as horror but I heard about it on r/horror and that’s why it’s here, which is fine by the way.

3/10

(1931) Frankenstein

Man that finale looks really incredible, as does everything. This movie really holds up, as much as that phrase is overused these days.

My favorite aspect of Frankenstein is that it feels like a complete story without any of the more modern styles of side trekking from the plot. It’s a crisp and concise horror film that many directors could still learn from.

8/10

(1972) What Have You Done to Solange?

Just like many great Giallo films, many aspects of the plot are severely fucked up without the actual visuals being overly graphic. I’m just starting to appreciate how accessible these farms are to pretty much everyone.

The story plays out just in the typical mystery fashion but it was engaging for me and most importantly, it all pays off in the end. It’s dramatic, sexy and beautifully shot.

Overall, really solid film. I’m not even the biggest Giallo fan but ones such as this that are simply well executed, really shouldn’t be missed.

7/10

(1981) Happy Birthday to Me

My god this movie is absurd in mostly the best ways but there is some glaring lack of attention to detail.

The big moment that stands out is the bridge scene at the end. They show the car landing upside down in the water THREE times before cutting to it landing right side up. I mean…wut.

The acting is also super campy and shitty. It’s still just such a fun movie, great popcorn flick. Most of the kills are really creative and I found it to be one of the more enjoyable 80’s mystery/slashers I’ve seen in quite some time.

6.5/10

(1981) Ms. 45

I’ve been a fan of Abel Ferrara ever since I saw Driller Killer (his first feature I believe), which had the same really nice aesthetic. Ms. 45 however, packs way more of a punch and I’d go so far as to say it’s a quintessential exploitation film.

It’s of course a great revenge film as well but I lean my discussion more towards exploitation as it’s much more of a statement on woman’s fear of men. Plus as the lead is a mute, there’s an obvious connection to another great film of similar nature, Repulsion.

It’s a cruel and odd film that really comes as a tight package. There’s really zero downtime from the conflicts inception towards the stunning finale.

Zoe Lund is also incredibly sexy in that red lipstick.

8.5/10

(2016) American Fable

American Fable is a highly ambitious project from writer/director Anne Hamilton and I feel like she captures the dying small American farming family in a unique light.

You know, I’ve been sitting here typing and deleting in a frustrating thought loop when in reality, that’s kind of indicative of this film. I wanted to like it badly. It even gave me a ton to go on but ultimately, its tedious nature felt entirely unnecessary and the fantasy elements just didn’t hit for me.

I think the film itself looked great but it was confusing and I’m not afraid to say that. I don’t lazily watch these types of films and I can say with confidence that, despite a relatively simple story, there were certain details injected that only served to confuse. I really crave resolution and too much was left to my imagination.

People seem to be digging it so I still encourage you to check it out. It wasn’t a swing and a miss for me by any means but there’s just too much working against it for my tastes.

6/10