The Asphyx

FIRST OF ALL, I need to vent about how Netflix freaked me the fuck out by reorganizing its genre categorization. Horror is no longer a genre in the dropdown menu on the home page.

Netflix, take note.

THIS IS NOT OKAY.

It’s also hard as shit to find specific categories in Netflix because you can’t just search for genres, which would be a thing that makes sense; rather, you have to search for a movie WITHIN that genre, hope it has that genre LISTED as a tag, then click on THAT link, and then eventually there you are, back to the fairly large and all-encompassing genre of horror which totally merits a goddamn link in the dropdown menu, you fucking twatfucks.

Jesus.

Okay, anyway.

Looks like you can still search alphabetically FOR NOW, which means that you can, if you are so inclined, find The Asphyx predictably near the top of the A-Z list. Not that you have to, because I think I may summarize the whole thing so put your reading eyeballs on.

The Asphyx is from 1972. It has the look of one of those made-for-tv movies that your high school English teacher showed you because it’s the most recent version of Taming of the Shrew or whatever that is considered appropriate by the school board for educational consumption. It sort of looks like maybe it was going to be a low-budget play and then someone was like “hey, I have a camera, who wants a film credit in their resume” and everyone shrugged and went “eh” but no one argued so Steve went and got his fucking tripod, which is JUST LIKE STEVE.

The premise of The Asphyx is that there is a scientist in Victorian England called Sir Hugo Cunningham (of course) and he has been studying photos of people at the moment of death in which you can see a blur hovering around the dying person’s head. Some Victorian scientists have taken this to be evidence of the soul, but you know what? NOT SIR HUGO CUNNINGHAM.

So then Sir Hugo Cunningham ends up at a party in a sunny place by the lake and in the 70s-est scene ever, everyone is prancing around having a grand old time until Sir Hugo Cunningham’s son and his fiancee are killed in a boating accident (it is, of course, the least explainable and most boring boating accident known to man) while he, Sir Hugo Cunningham, is filming the whole thing on his Victorian video camera. And Sir Hugo Cunningham sees a blur moving TOWARDS his son and not away.

This blur must therefore be…..THE ASPHYX.

What is an asphyx, you might ask? Sir Hugo Cunningham will tell you.

Sir Hugo Cunningham explains that the Asphyx is a weird little grim reaper within each individual that comes to get them at the very moment of death, and Sir Hugo Cunningham postulates that perhaps if one can almost die, one can capture one’s own asphyx and keep it in a decorative asphyx container and then LIVE FOREVER.

So Sir Hugo Cunningham and his young ward, Giles, learn how to capture an asphyx and manage to almost kill a guinea pig and then trap his asphyx so that the guinea pig can LIVE FOREVER. Sir Hugo Cunningham then decides that the next logical step is to capture his own asphyx as his contributions to science are clearly too important to lose to something as plebeian as mortality. Asphyx capturing apparently takes two people, so Sir Hugo Cunningham convinces Sir Hugo Cunningham’s daughter to help Giles by saying that he’ll let them marry if she helps out, and Giles is hella dreamy so she does. Sir Hugo Cunningham then almost dies and they trap his asphyx and put it in their family tomb behind a combination-locked door because fuck if anyone is gonna get in there and let it out. (The guinea pig’s asphyx is stored in there too, worry not.)

Next they go to immortalize Sir Hugo Cunningham’s daughter, because one small rodent and one mad scientist are enough practice for two dudes to definitely NOT fully decapitate their daughter and fiancé, respectively. Except, for some reason, this one is really hard to pull off and the excitement gets the guinea pig all riled up and he goes and chews through some very important cables and the lady totally gets decapitated and dies because WHY DID YOU LET THE IMMORTAL GUINEA PIG RUN AROUND FREE IN THE LAB.

Giles then kills himself out of grief and destroys all the asphyx-capturing equipment and Sir Hugo Cunningham destroys the slip of paper with the tomb’s combination on it because he decides that a shitty, guilt-ridden immortality is just the punishment for allowing his hubris to destroy all those he loved. We then see a hobo-ish Sir Hugo Cunningham in the FUTURE OF THE 1970s, wandering the streets of London with his guinea pig until he causes a fatal car crash, but police are stunned to discover that HE HAS STILL SURVIVED THE ACCIDENT.

AND SO HAS….THE GUINEA PIG.

Here’s the thing – this movie is kind of fucking great. It has this weird nostalgic feel of an oldy timey sci-fi short story like Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Birthmark or something. I also just LOVE the 70s take on Victorian London. Were the lapels REALLY that big back then? Did women REALLY wear that much eyeliner? Did they REALLY groom their chest hair? It’s wonderful.

But also, the asphyx itself is AMAZING. First of all, it’s a weird godzilla-looking puppet. Second of all, it’s been filmed with the absolute pinnacle of 1972 special effects, that is, under blue lighting and lots of fades in and out of focus and sometimes that wibbly look that usually signals the beginning of a flashback. I dream of the day when I will go to a comic-con and see someone dressed as an asphyx. Or carrying a giant asphyx in a glass case. Please do this for me. This would make me so happy.

But most of all, I appreciate the pay off of the guinea pig.

He is cute. He stays safe. He has a grand old life of being cherished by someone who has nothing left and therefore dotes on him.

He must get a fuckload of lettuce. FOREVER.

You know what, fuck it FIVE HORRORS. Not because it’s good, but because I goddamn wanna. Write your own blog.

guinea-pig-1
I fucking dare you.

 

The Asphyx

The Amityville Horror

AWWWWWW YEAAAAAHHHHHH it’s that sweet sweet sweet sweet part of the alphabet where some of my readers may have actually heard of the movie.

FUCK YOU, ASYLUM – HOLLYWOOD’S IN DA HOOOUUUUUUSE

I can tell you right now that I am much more excited about this than the movie itself actually merits, since it’s not actually a great movie. Critic’s reviews at the time declared it resoundingly meh, with Roger Ebert describing it as “dreary and terminally depressing.” Even I wasn’t all that crazy about it, really.

But, that being said, IT IS A HORROR MOVIE THAT HAS BEEN VERY POPULAR AND SUCCESSFUL AND WAS AT ONE POINT AVAILABLE ON NETFLIX. THIS IS A VERY SPECIAL AND UNIQUE SITUATION. Good quality and famous horror movies have indeed been on Netflix, but they tend to be either new/indie/foreign films that gain success in part due to being available on Netflix (see: Babadook) (no but actually go see Babadook) or horror classics that are old enough to be super cheap to have online (see: Nosferatu) (or don’t). Movies that you may have actually seen or heard of (The Exorcist, The Omen, The Shining, The Carrie) will pop up on Netflix only for a limited time because it’s expensive to have them there. Which is why Cujo was on Netflix for a few months, but Thinner will be there FOR FUCKING EVER, thanks Stephen King.

The Amityville Horror was actually super damn popular when it came out – it broke all kinds of box office records because it was “based on a true story,” which….lol. But the American public LOVES THAT SHIT, especially when it means ghosts and demons and not like…history. So it went over crazy well.

Here’s what it’s actually about (I have no idea how to review a movie you’ve seen, so pretend you haven’t): an attractive, young, white, married couple with an acceptable number of well-behaved children buy their first home at a great bargain. It’s the American Dream! Except that Dad doesn’t tell anyone that the house was super cheap because an entire family was gunned the fuck down all over the second floor. Whatever, capitalism is what makes America great. Mom is Catholic and wants the house blessed so she gets a Priest to come over and wave Jesus all over the place (I have no idea what priests do). Priest comes over and discovers A LARGE AMOUNT OF FLIES IN ONE OF THE ROOMS AHHHHHHHHHHHHH. And then HIS STOMACH HURTS OH NOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

So make note: if ever you are to notice flies and stomach pains within half an hour of each other, assume demons.

So Priest gets the fuck out and then his life is ruined forever as explained in a few more scenes that no one cares much about. Dad becomes a very Grumpy Dad and has a fascination with chopping firewood with a giant axe that could definitely kill a whole family of people if it were to be wielded by a man possessed by demons hint hint. A few more things are weird, windows opening and closing, the dog thinks there’s something in the basement, and the youngest daughter has an imaginary friend named Jody which she says is a floating pig with glowing red eyes who lives outside of her window, which is when you DEFINITELY bring in a child psychiatrist and check for pedophiles with access to night vision goggles, but whatever.

Most notable is how murdery Grumpy Dad seems recently, and how he keeps waking up at 3:15 am on the dot and feeling like he has to check on the boathouse. (Oh yeah, this house also came with a boathouse. Like, a nice boathouse. The house is nice too. I probably would have ignored all the murder and bought the place too, really.) And Mom has dreams about the family being slaughtered in the house. And the babysitter is locked in a closet and sees dead children and stuff. (She quits, which is reasonable. Kids, amirite.)

But of course, the massacre of an entire family isn’t really enough ghosts and demons to concern anyone – more research must be done to determine what’s REALLY the matter with the house. So they go to the library to look into it and…..it’s built on an Indian burial ground and also a Satanic worshipper used to hold evil evil ceremonies in the house. Because of course. It can’t just be a haunted house, it has to be a fucking Bermuda Triangle of hellspawn.

Then some shit goes nuts and the family flees the house NEVER TO RETURN AGAIN!!!!

!!!!!

Now….keep in mind, this movie was made in 1979, so the pacing isn’t for everybody (read: not for me), but even so, it’s not….awesome. It’s a little plodding at times and secondary characters come in and out of importance at odd junctures, not to mention that there’s not exactly a ton of plot. And the mood is a little…..dreary. Roger Ebert was right – it sort of has one single feeling of doom which only increases as the movie goes on but never really changes. Still, the acting and music are not bad, which is usually asking for a lot from a late 70s movie. They lucked out in getting James Brolin and Margot Kidder, and even Priesty McPriesterson does a pretty good job.

Overall……THREE HORRORS.

But really guys, if you live in a house where a bunch of people were shot in the faces and blood got everywhere and it’s a rural house and it’s probably not too easy to clean…..you’re gonna have flies. Chillax, Father Jesus.

flies
Not pictured: demons

 

 

 

The Amityville Horror

The Amityville Haunting

Hey, it’s that good and famous movie about the haunting at Amityville that’s supposed to be all famous and good! Let’s watch it!

Wait, but this is from 2011, not the 70s…

Wait but this is found footage and not even good found footage…

Wait but this is from a production company called Asylum and not from a real production company….

OOOOHHHHH NOOOOOOOOOO.

In their long-standing and horrible tradition of taking something good and ripping it off in the hopes that someone will accidentally confuse it for a watchable movie, Asylum brings us THE AMITYVILLE HAUNTING, which unfortunately comes before The Amityville Horror in the alphabet and therefore means I had to sit through this before getting to some enjoy some beardy James Brolin eyebleach.

I highly recommend you go back and read my reviews of 100 Ghost Street and 8213 Gacy House not only for the brilliantly witty writing that should really be making millions of dollars for the stunningly talented and attractive author, but also because I’m not entirely convinced that I didn’t just watch the same movie three times under different titles.

Because, of fucking course, this movie is 1. an appallingly cheaply produced found footage, 2. based on real murders (the murder of the Defeo family, for the uninitiated, which is crazy enough without the Lutzes coming in and shitting ghost stories all over it) (just fuck this and go watch a documentary about Amityville – I’ll expect you to be fully informed by the time I review the Amityville Horror) and 3. it’s so so bad, you guys. The only difference between this and the shitty Speck and Gacy movies is that, instead of a team of paranormal investigators that goes into the house to purposefully piss off ghosts, this one is about a family that moves into the house and accidentally pisses off ghosts.

Now I’m not victim-blaming.

But.

If you move into a house where you know that a real family was really gunned down by a real murderer, and that the family who moved in after that claims to have been chased out by demons, and that the second family wrote a hugely famous book about it, which was then turned into a hugely famous movie about it, which was then turned into a moderately well-known remake with Ryan Reynolds, and both your realtor and one of your movers dies before you even get the damn couch in the living room…..then fuck you, I’m victim-blaming, you should know better and of course you all goddamn die WHAT DID YOU THINK WOULD HAPPEN oh yeah, spoiler alert, they all fucking die.

Except the youngest daughter because her imaginary friend, John Matthew, is the ghost of the youngest kid in the Defeo family. Which is why you should always befriend ghosts if you’re not going to run away from your terrible real estate investment like you goddamn should at this point. (Also John Matthew is the real name of the real dead kid, so Asylum put at least one google search’s worth of research into this thing. Which is more research then Netflix did when deciding whether or not to acquire this movie, or else I’d like to think I would have been spared all this.)

Anyway, there, that’s the whole movie so you don’t have to watch it now. Family moves into famously haunted house, bad things start happening, family stays because they’re completely sure that there are definitely no ghosts, family is all killed by ghosts. Or demons, I guess, if Ed and Lorraine Warren are to be believed. (Seriously just look this shit up – I have terrible movies to write about, I can’t be bothered summarising famous events in the paranormal community too. Make like Asylum and do a single google search for me.) And just trust me that all of the deaths are boring and dumb and lame and stupid. And, despite having the iconic image of the actual Amityville house on the movie cover, the film in no way features said iconic image of the actual Amityville house because Asylum can’t be expected to just keep their special effects guy rolling in the photoshops, now can it?

…..ONE HORROR.

But get ready for the next post, guys. Because coming up next is our first heavy hitter in the horror genre that somehow made its way to Netflix in between all the Syfy Originals and the big budget Hollywood failures: The Amityville Horror.

aminity
The real horror is late 70s fashion, though.
The Amityville Haunting

Apartment 1303 3D

Get ready, guys. This is the horror movie Hollywood knows we all want.

It’s an American version of a Japanese film….it stars people we are supposed to be excited about because they are famous…..AND IT’S IN 3D.

: D

:DDD

THREE DEE YOU GUYS.

Apartment 1303 started out as what may have been a good Japanese novel which was turned into what may have been a good Japanese movie, but I will never know that because I watched APARTMENT 1303 3D, and yes, the 3D is part of the title and is the only way to distinguish it from the original in an online search.

I watched this on Netflix.

I rated it on Netflix.

I just read the plot summary on Wikipedia.

And I have NO memory of which movie this is.

After rereading the plot summary, I do soooooooort of have a vague memory of this thing…..but holy crap, all that really jumped to mind when I saw that this was the next title I had to review was “oh right, I think this one was probably shittyish.”

So this blog post shall now be: Things I Sort Of Remember From The Most Boring Horror Movie To Ever Star Mischa Barton

  • something about two sisters and a shitty mother. Mom is an alcoholic. (I would be too if both my daughters were in Apartment 1303 3D.) Shitty mom prompts one sister to move into a horror movie apartment because of how drunk she is I guess.
  • apartment 1303 is on the 13th floor because duh.
  • creepy kid next door tells lady that the person who lived in the apartment before her DIIIIIIIIIED OOOOOOOOOKY SPOOKY
  • one sister jumps out the window because ghosts (I have no idea if this is the Mischa Barton Sister or the Not Mischa Barton Sister because that’s how much of an impact Mischa Barton made in this movie)
  • other sister moves into Dead Sister’s apartment because even when every occupant of a certain apartment ends in suicide, it’s still a pain in the ass to find a good subletter on Craigslist
  • something about a corpse in the apartment
  • ghosts, I guess
  • I give up.
  • Don’t watch this movie

Dread Central gave this thing 0.5 stars. Fangoria gave it 1, generously saying it could be okay if it was supposed to be a made-for-basic-cable movie. But what makes me really sad is that the whole thing was so meh that I can’t even write good jokes about it.

:C

……TWO HORRORS.

You may have observed that two horrors is more than one horror. You are correct and good at numbers! Here’s the thing….to me, nothing is worse than being mediocre and forgettable. To get one horror, the worst rating on this blog, means you are the WORST. You are the MOST BAD. You have WON AT BEING AWFUL. For something to be that extreme is commendable. If your movie is so notable that it is among the worst things I have ever seen, you should be damn proud of yourself. You SUCK SO HARD. HARDER THAN ANYONE ELSE.

But two horrors…two horrors is not “eh, it was pretty okay but not great”….two horrors is not SO BAD I STARTED THE WHOLE BLOG JUST TO WRITE ABOUT HOW BAD IT IS…..two horrors is just bad. Two horrors is the saddest number of horrors because it means that I have no feelings whatsoever about your film apart from vague disappointment and regret. Two horrors means I have no idea who you are and can’t even remember for sure if I saw your movie or not. Two horrors means you didn’t even TRY to suck the hardest. Two horrors makes kittens cry. Two horrors is the real worst rating on Horror in Order.

Crying.

Kittens.

6a0120a80ae57d970b0134873895d3970c-320wi
Whereas one horror is more like taxidermied kittens. Way less depressing.

 

 

Apartment 1303 3D