Curse of Chucky

It’s 2013 and Team Chucky is moving on from the black comedies of the late 90s and trying a little Artistry and Suspense this time. And while it’s not my favorite, it works well enough that it makes me want to watch Cult of Chucky again because NOW I get what was going on with all that. (I’m officially upgrading Cult of Chucky to 4 horrors, so everyone add that to your charts at home.)

First we meet FIONA DOURIF, who, apart from being Brad Dourif’s daughter, is also a literal genius in Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, so please watch that if you like to enjoy things, and I know you do. She plays Nica, a paraplegic living with her mother in a giant, sad house with, as far as we know, zero connection to the Chucky family of products. Until a Chucky doll arrives in the mail at her house and her mother “commits suicide” shortly after. Nica’s sister brings her family to the house to box everything up and talk about selling and of course her sister has a young daughter who FUCKIN LOVES THIS DOLL. Hey you, reader, you were once a child. Does this Chucky doll hold literally any interest for any of you??? I can’t imagine a time in my life when I would have even noticed this doll because it wasn’t a My Little Pony so it can go die in a fire. (And it has!) Is this just part of Chucky’s voodoo majicks? Please show a picture of a Good Guys doll to a child and ask them if they like it. They will not.

Now Nica’s sister is an Actual Bitch who resents her disabled sibling for not having working legs (which, ps, she was BORN WITH so you’ve had like thirty years to get over this, lady) and spends the entire movie treating her with some combination of overprotection and disdain. (Don’t worry, she gets murdered directly in the eye later.) So as soon as weird shit starts happening, she immediately assumes Nica is trying to personally ruin her life, while Nica, an adult, tries to actually figure out what the fuck is happening by looking into this doll.

Of course by the time she has finished her googling half the family is dead and the little girl is missing. And then etc etc crawling on the floor to escape a doll yadda yadda murder trial insanity plea asylum. It’s hard to give a real synopsis on this one because very little happens up front and the bulk of the set-up for Cult of Chucky happens in the last twenty minutes of the movie and even after the credits, where we get to enjoy the return of Alex Vincent as Andy and Jennifer Tilly as Tiffany, both of which made me literally clap my hands in glee. We also get to enjoy an extended flashback sequence wherein we actually see some face acting out of Brad Dourif, who unfortunately is made to wear a Tommy Wiseau cosplay which does undercut the severity of his serial killings a bit, but I’ll take it.

This movie wasn’t necessarily amazing, but it was pretty okay (Fiona Dourif was actual fire) and it succeeded in making me REAL jazzed for Cult of Chucky, which, again, is a movie *I just watched.* So that’s pretty good, I think.

…..SOLID 3 HORRORS.

Which brings me to something that troubles me. I only have one film left to watch in the series and so far I have only *not* enjoyed two out of six films. (I’m skipping the remake for now because I saw a picture of that doll design and, woof.) In fact, there were a couple in there that I very much DID enjoy. This is a much higher hit rate than Children of the Corn. Therefore…..am I a Chucky fan? Do I LIKE these movies? I had assumed for so long that I did not like this stupid doll and now, after around ten hours of being sucked into the Chuckiverse…..I’m not sure what to think. What if that weaselly little puppet does possess powers of attraction….

That lovable scamp

Curse of Chucky

Child’s Play 3

Ah, finally, the comforting familiarity of a truly mediocre horror movie.

Where Child’s Play 2 was a buck wild adventure in making me personally feel uncomfortable and depressed, Child’s Play 3 is exactly what I expected it to be: a forgettable and unimportant sequel with virtually no bearing on the franchise as a whole, never to be spoken of again.

Child’s Play 3 also suffers from the casting of a Replacement Andy, as the events of this film take place eight years after Child’s Play 2, but the movie itself was released only nine months after the previous installment (almost as if they didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about or working on it, huh), meaning that the character of Andy needed to be a young teen while OG Andy is a seven year-old. In fact, I recognized exactly zero of the lead actors in this one besides the inevitable return of Brad Dourif, who now has to drag the entire movie uphill as it kicks and screams to be allowed to die. So from the beginning I knew I was in for a relatively boring evening.

And we begin back at Play Pals Inc where a board of old white men have decided that the second spate of Chucky murders is not enough to risk their bottom line, so they are REOPENING THE CHUCKY FACTORY, which is apparently such a frugal venture that they scraped the melted Chucky monster off the floor, dusted the cobwebs off it, and dumped it right back into the machine to be melted down again with the rest of the Chucky goo. Now one would think that this would result in all the dolls in that batch being just a *little* bit serial killery, but no, somehow the entire contents of Floor Chucky end up in a single Good Guys doll that gets taken directly to the CEO’s office as an example of “the Good Guys doll of the 90s.” Cue the murders.

Andy, meanwhile, is now 16 and starting military school, which puts us solidly in the Teen Screams category of horror movies, complete with a Bully, a Hot Chick Who Can Handle Herself Without A Man Thanks, and a Bespectacled Nerd. For some reason, the 6 year-old child of one of the instructors (I guess?) also hangs out on campus and he 1. likes Good Guys dolls and 2. has the judgement of a 6 year-old. So when a Good Guys doll arrives in the mail and he is asked to deliver it to Andy, he instead opens the box himself and starts to play with his new friend without a single concern about the fact that this doll is clearly alive and an asshole. Chucky decides this will be a good opportunity to get a new body without having to deal with Andy, so he tries to start up a voodoo ceremony before getting interrupted and thrown in the garbage, which, for the record, does happen multiple times in every movie.

So now Andy has a child to save and a girl to impress and a bully to fight against and a nerd to….make him look more impressive by comparison I guess. And then yadda yadda he does all that stuff and defeats Chucky, the end. The kills in this one are fine I guess, the most potentially inspiring of which is the result of Chucky switching out all the blank ammunition for a practice battle with live rounds, which could have been DEVASTATING and really cool but instead only gets him a single victim that I don’t think we ever met before. Or maybe we did and I didn’t care because *gestures vaguely at the entirety of Child’s Play 3.* The film also ends with Chucky being shredded into a bajillion tiny Chucky bits by a giant fan, which is fine in and of itself, but I know that Bride of Chucky is next and is set only a month in the future, meaning that somehow over the course of 30 days, those infinite tiny bits coalesce into five or six Chucky chunks which end up in a murder museum (presumably after a stop at the police evidence locker???) for Tiffany to steal and reassemble into a functioning Chucky. Maybe I just don’t understand the physics of the Chuckiverse, or maybe it’s voodoo magic, or maybe I was just meant to forget about it entirely in the eight years between 3 and Bride.

……TWO HORRORS.

Maybe it’s Maybelline.

Child’s Play 3

Child’s Play 2

First of all, the stunt coordinator of this movie is named Dick Warlock.

Okay.

So.

CHILD’S PLAY 2. I was expecting a dumb, soulless sequel to a soon-to-be-giant franchise film because that’s what happens 75% of the time in literally every franchise ever, especially when this franchise is, again, about a serial-killing Cabbage Patch Kid. Like of course the next film is going to be accidentally funny at best.

I was not expecting an indictment of the foster care system caused by the PR team of a giant corporation ending in a Cronenburgien nightmare of Chucky parts drenched in Chucky goo desperately attempting to wield a knife inserted into the still-bleeding stump where his right hand once was until he SLOWLY TORE IT OFF HIMSELF.

WHAT THE FUCK, SECOND CHUCKY.

THERE WAS LITERALLY NOT ONE DICK JOKE IN. THIS. FILM.

So we start off in an uncomfortably real continuation of the events of the original film. The cops who witnessed Chucky come to life decided not to say anything and risk their careers, so Andy’s mother ends up in a psych ward never to be seen again (couldn’t get Catherine Hicks from 7th Heaven back, huh?). Andy himself is thrown into the foster care system where he goes to a couple who take in the “problem cases,” the husband of which played the Q who went to space court over his own immortality in Star Trek: Voyager.

But before we actually get to ANY of that, we’re at Play Pals Corp., the company that manufactures and sells the Good Guys dolls, of whom approximately 2% are programmed to be named “Chucky,” which is a for real thing in the movies because just having a doll named “Chucky” and a movie named “Chucky” and a sequel named “Chucky 2” wouldn’t be fucking convoluted enough. You know how annoying it is to google you when I have to actively *remember* your shit is called “Child’s Play”? Anyway, Play Pals is, of course, more concerned with public relations than public safety, so rather than, say, check the rest of the dolls to make sure there aren’t more serial killers (which they wouldn’t be, but still, that’s like a REASONABLE first step) they somehow obtain the original Chucky doll from what I ASSUME WAS THE POLICE EVIDENCE LOCKER and scrape off all the burned bits, replace his SKIN AND LIMBS, and restore the Chucky doll after checking his insides and determining that they did not see the soul of a multiple murderer (we’ll get there) with the intent of testing it and proving that their dolls are perfectly safe and totally normal dolls. Of course some *~magic~* happens when they put in the eyes and Chucky is brought back to life yadda yadda murder.

Which means that this ENTIRE MOVIE we get to watch a traumatized child, ripped from his mother and forced into the foster care system, blame everything around him on “Chucky” which WE know to be true but which all the adults around him believe to be the sign of a pathologically-lying orphan who is maybe responsible for murder. And that goes on until Chucky kills the husband of the couple and we get to watch the wife fall to her knees and scream and sob and stare at Andy, who she assumes is a sociopathic murder child that she brought into her own home and JESUS CHUCKY 2 if you pretend for a single second that that doll isn’t a living monster committing all these murders this movie is fucking SAD AS HELL FOR LITERALLY EVERYONE.

I mean, then Brad Dourif immediately yells about bitches or whatever and none of the rest of that matters but what the fuck.

And, briefly because I DO NOT want to be someone who wrote 1000 words on Child’s Play 2, I need to bring up both how great and how HORRIFYING setting the finale of the film in the Chucky factory was. Walls of Chuckies in their Chucky boxes. Chucky assembly lines with Chucky parts on Chucky Part Conveyers, vats of Chucky goo, and, inexplicably, a Chucky Destroyer that maybe was just the part that put the Chucky limbs on the Chucky torsos, but somehow if a Chucky got sent through twice it emerged as a FUCKING CHUCKIPEDE IN A PILE OF BURNING MELTED GOO AND RUBBER ARMS.

Which, I mean, jesus, I can’t even get into all that.

This absolutely has to be the most upsetting film in the franchise. Every other movie he’s just a rude stabby baby and in this one he turns into the thing from The Thing and writhes in a pile of his own liquid skin as two now homeless foster children watch him choke on his own goo and EXPLODE.

I………HAVE NO IDEA HOW MANY HORRORS THIS GETS, WHAT IS THIS MOVIE

WHAT THE FUCK, CHUCK

Child’s Play 2

Child’s Play

It’s fine.

Child’s Play is the OG Chucky film from back in 1988 and it’s about a serial killer who gets shot at a toy store and places his soul in a popular 80’s doll to avoid dying altogether, and then a cash-strapped mother buys the doll from a man in an alley for her kid’s birthday, brings it home, and then Chucky things happen.

I will say I definitely disliked the movie less on this viewing than I have in the past, though that is probably due in part to the fact that the only copy I could find online had Spanish subtitles so I got to learn words like estrangulador and abominacion so that part was definitely worth it. (Which, ps, for being the Lakeshore Strangler Chucky sure does a lot of not strangling. I would say it’s because his tiny doll arms are short and weak but he does choke a police officer towards the end of the movie so maybe he’s just taking advantage of the opportunity to reinvent himself. Like when you go to college and decide THIS time you’re gonna be COOL.) It was also nice to see Brad Dourif’s actual face as he plays the live-action Charles Lee Ray in the opening scene, which I had totally forgotten. And I do have a lot of respect for the actual design of the doll. It has the perfect late-80s look of Ernie from Sesame Street but with overalls and that Cabbage Patch-y face that dominated the whole decade for some reason. It’s exactly what that doll should have looked like.

But generally I feel pretty meh towards the original movie. If you wanna save yourself some time, you can just watch that Zuni doll short from 1975’s Trilogy of Terror and imagine the doll just saying “bitch” a lot.

Anyway, I have shit to do today and this movie merits very little discussion so whatever….TWO AND A HALF HORRORS I GUESS.

I would hope that the sequel will be better but I know it won’t be so I will have to settle for hoping that it’s significantly worse.

Like this terrible doll you can get at Spirit Halloween if you hate yourself and your money

Child’s Play

Bride of Chucky

THE YEAR: 1998.

THE CAST: Brad Dourif back on his bullshit, the incomparable Jennifer Tilly with her adorable voice and her horror movie star titties, a pre-Grey’s Anatomy Katherine Heigl, a pre-dead John Ritter at his John Ritter best, a gothy, trashy Alexis Arquette (who, if you’ll recall, had my very favorite line in Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror), and, the one you’ve all been waiting for, Gordon Michael Woolvett, yes, THE Gordon Michael Woolvett, best known for portraying ship’s engineer Seamus Harper on Kevin Sorbo’s Andromeda in the mid-2000s, in Canada. I LOVE YOU, ANDROMEDA BOY, AND I ALWAYS WILL.

Jennifer Tilly plays Tiffany, a serial killer just starting out and hoping to reunite with her old boyfriend Charles Lee Ray, who just happens to be the serial killer trapped in the Good Guy doll known as Chucky. She busts the broken doll out of the local murder museum (jealous), sews him up, and voodoos him back to life with some vaguely Latin chanting over a pentagram surrounded by candles, because the Chucky team does not know what voodoo is. The doll awakens, kills Alexis Arquette (sorry, girl), and immediately starts being shitty to Tiffany, who thought they would be getting married. Tiffany stuffs Chucky into a playpen and gives him a bride doll since he won’t commit to marrying HOT TITTIED HUMAN WOMAN JENNIFER TILLY, and then goes to take a bubble bath and watch Bride of Frankenstein. Not a joke. Chucky busts out, dumps the television into the tub thereby electrocuting Tiffany, and does some more “voodoo” to put her soul into the bride doll. And now we have Bride of Chucky.

But, oh wait, MEANWHILST, Officer John Ritter does not like that his high school daughter Katherine Heigl is dating some anonymous late 90s guy and uses his power as a cop (THEY ARE ALL BASTARDS) to fuck with them. Also Heigl’s gay bestie is Gordon Michael Woolvett. 90s Boyfriend is desperate and just happens to live in the same trailer park as Tiffany, who now needs a ride to the New Jersey cemetery where Charles Lee Ray is buried because that’s where the “voodoo” amulet to turn both her and Chucky back into humans is buried along with him, but now they are dolls and can’t drive. (Seems like something Human Woman Jennifer Tilly could have helped with, but dumb shitty Chucky can’t deal with his feelings in a responsible way so he just HAD to lash out and make her a doll too. *eyeroll emoji* I would say he could use therapy but the quality of the therapists in this franchise has been suspect so maybe unspecified Hollywood satanism is his best bet, who am I.)

So Tiffany calls 90s boyfriend and offers him $1000 to deliver these two dolls to New Jersey, half up front and half upon completion. And because it’s 1998, $1000 is enough to START A NEW LIFE I GUESS so 90s Boyfriend decides this is how he and Katherine Heigl can get married and live together far from Dad Ritter and takes the deal. So now we have two high schoolers running from the law on a road trip with two secret murder dolls and damn if that isn’t THE BEST SHIT.

The success of this movie (and fuck yes is it a success) is fully on the shoulders of these two doll puppets and the fun kills they do, and they do a GREAT job. I’ve got to say, this is another case where two dolls are infinitely better than one. I didn’t realize how much of this movie would be two doll puppets getting into highly choreographed fight scenes, making out and having weird puppet sex, doing cool murders, *~falling in love again~*. And it’s the best thing I’ve ever seen. 10/10 for the doll puppets, Brad Dourif, and Jennifer Tilly. Incredible. No notes.

Also this soundtrack is the MOST 1998 horror movie soundtrack I can imagine. Rob Zombie, Judas Priest, Type O Negative, Motorhead, Slayer, FUCKING CHEF’S KISS. There is just so much joy in this installment being exactly what it should have been, dumb and fun and *fucking rock n roll man*.

Plus I now realize how much of Cult of Chucky was clever callbacks and self-referential bullshit which, I’m sorry, I fucking love. Even one of the kills in Cult harkens back to an amazing water bed murder Tiffany commits in Bride, and I am impressed. How far back do these jokes go? Did they start with Bride? Or does Bride represent a decade of callbacks coming all the way from Child’s Play? Only time will tell. And that time is later tonight, because I hate myself.

Y’all, Bride of Chucky is fucking rad……SOLID FOUR HORRORS.

That said, I am getting the distinct feeling that this will be my favorite installment in the Chucky franchise and that it will be a sharp downturn from here on out, which is unfortunate because I still have five more movies to watch. But Chucky has proved me wrong before, and the knowledge that I have at LEAST one more movie with Tiffany in it will keep me going. Because that doll is great and I love to watch her serial kill.

Shine on, you crazy diamond.

Bride of Chucky

Cult of Chucky

Hm. I actually feel I have a bit of a dilemma.

To preface this review, I have a vague familiarity with the Chucky franchise, but the only Chucky movie I have seen with mine own eyes is the original Child’s Play film and I thought it was dumb. I currently think it is dumb. Not dumb in a silly, overblown Jason X kind of way (because I love it, fuck you, long live Space Jason), dumb in the kind of way that 13 year-old boys in 2001 thought was eDgY because “it’s a doll and it murders people and it says tits lolololol” (not that we had learned to excessively “lol” by 2001 but). I think his face is dumb and his jokes are dumb and I just generally find him exhausting in the way that I find fart jokes exhausting. It all just boils down to one joke, and that joke is fart.

So I assumed you could just boil Chucky down to “cute doll kills and says fuck” and I kept my distance from the entire franchise, even though we all love Brad Dourif, because sometimes you lose some, sorry bud. But tonight I watched Cult of Chucky, and while it wasn’t amazing, it really has me wondering about the franchise as a whole.

Cult of Chucky continues whatever happened previously in the Chuckiverse, which, based on the very effective six movie summary sprinkled throughout the entirety of the film, I gather to be that the doll from the original movie (which contains the spirit of a serial killer who likes to swear a lot and talk about titties etc etc) has continued to wreak havoc. Andy, the child from the 1988 original, (which, fucking ps, has been the same actor THIS WHOLE TIME since Alex Vincent’s first film appearance as the goddamn lead in Child’s Play) is now a shattered elder millennial living alone with a still-living Chucky head from [x] movies ago. He now lives only to keep Chucky from killing again. Fiona Dourif (which, wait, Fiona Dourif is in these now??? No one told me this???) is evidently also from a recent Chucky film and has taken the blame for the mass murder of an entire family actually committed by Chucky, so she’s all haunted and spends a lot of movie insisting that she’s not crazy while acting very very crazy. She is now institutionalized and has recently been relocated to a new hospital, therefore movie.

Her therapist, however, is at best incredibly irresponsible and buys a vintage, definitely cursed Chucky doll to throw at her during a group appointment after everyone has a nice long discussion about all the murders she’s convicted of, which feels to me like the beginning of malpractice, but I didn’t go to doctor school so what do I know. And then more or less exactly what you think would happen happens for an hour and a half.

But, and here are where the spoilers begin, I actually found it to be much more enjoyable than Child’s Play, despite the fact that I *still do not like the character of Chucky and think he sucks.* In short, Chucky has now learned how to multiply his spirit (???) and have copies of himself possess the bodies of other people and also other Chucky dolls. The beginning of a Cult of Chuckies, one could say. Which is where my enjoyment of this movie creeps in. I do not like Chucky, but somehow…four Chuckies? That’s Gremlins as hell. I can get behind that. Also other characters embodying Chucky (AND BRIDE OF CHUCKY we will get there) are really great. So much better than your basic Chucky.

And speaking of Bride of Chucky, she’s been Jennifer Tilly the whole time? Also did not know this. 10/10, she is fantastic.

And, of course, the kills are great. We all know exactly what’s going to happen in every franchise horror movie, Jason is gonna kill everyone except one or two to be in the next movie and then disappear ambiguously, Freddy is gonna kill everyone except one or two to be in the next movie and then disappear ambiguously, and so is Mike Myers, and so is Candyman, and the Ring girl, and Paranormal Activity Demon, and and and yadda yadda same with Chucky. So the point is that the kills be either A. ridiculous, or B. really gnarly and brutal. And Cult of Chucky gives you a little of both. More satisfying than it had any right to be. Plus we get to see Fiona Dourif, possessed by Chucky, murder the shit out of the therapist who sexually assaulted her earlier (again, malpractice, someone should have sued this place so long ago) by stomping his shitty face in with her brand new 4″ red wedge heels. Excellent.

In fact…..THREE AND A HALF HORRORS, PROBABLY FOUR HORRORS IF YOU HAD SEEN THE REST OF THE CHUCKY MOVIES BUT I HAVEN’T SO YOU BE THE JUDGE OF THAT I GUESS.

Which got me thinking….what if I was wrong about the Chucky franchise? Cult of Chucky wasn’t incredible, but I did enjoy it, and it hinted at a bunch of awesome shit in the previous couple of films as well. What if the Chucky series as a whole, which is now seven films and a remake, has a few fun ones in there? Even apart from finding the dumb doll annoying, maybe there is enough in the other Chucky films that I can enjoy that it’s worth me seeking out more. After all, I’ve already seen all of the Children of the Corn movies, so I’ve set a precedent of watching entire franchises after not actually enjoying the original, and Children of the Corn 3: Urban Harvest is, seriously, one of my favorite movies of all time. You can go back and read about it here.

So…..despite the fact that the man living through quarantine with me does not approve, I will be watching the entire rest of the Chucky franchise over the next six days. But, because I have my integrity, even though the rest of the series is not on Netflix, I will still watch them in alphabetical order because who gave me the right to enjoy things in context, no one. Therefore I will begin tomorrow with Bride of Chucky and continue until I hit Seed of Chucky late next week. Maybe this is just the 2020 talking, but I mean…fuck it, right?

“Yeah, fuck it, I’m a doll and I say fuck, it’s me, Chucky, tits and bitch hahaha knives”

Cult of Chucky

Creep

It’s spooky season once again my friends, and I have decided to obligate myself to actually, properly (maybe) do a horror movie a day from the alphabetically-arranged Netflix catalog for the entire month of October, because really, it’s 2020, my career is dead, what the fuck else am I doing. (Apart from everyone’s regularly scheduled crying fits, day drinking, desperate attempts to learn new skills because we have all this free time right we should be productive otherwise we will waste away staring into the abyss so I guess let’s get to work on this sourdough starter hahahahahaha, three-hour depression naps, and eating one’s weight in cheese. Everything else is just Funemployment, baby!)

Which means that to start off we jump right back into the late Cs, bringing us to one of my favorites, Creep. A filmmaker takes up a Craigslist job offer of a day-long gig filming a stranger at his cabin in the woods, horror movie ensues. It sounds obvious, but it’s very suspenseful and it has everything I love in a horror movie, a very small cast, simple story, believable found footage, and a white guy making terrible decisions. It also clocks in at an hour and seventeen minutes, which is like two and a half episodes of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives with commercials, but way way way better.

I say all this because this blog is about to get pretty spoilery pretty fast and if you like horror movies and haven’t caught this one yet, come back in slightly less than an hour and a half and read this later because I can see into the future and have a feeling that this film will receive somewhere around four horrors and is therefore worth seeing.

If you have already seen it or for whatever reason you read this blog and don’t like horror movies (I know you’re out there, losers) then buckle up, because this movie stars one obvious murderer and one polite, trusting ding dong. I should mention our sweet, dumb filmmaker appears to be a cis straight white man, which is the only way any of this would happen. No woman or minority is about to go into the woods with a strange white dude from the internet who wants you to bring your camera. We all grow up knowing you guys have a murder switch in there somewhere that can flip at any second, and I’ve seen enough Lifetime originals to know that Craigslist is responsible for 90% of human death, so the fact that Ding Dong even takes this job is our first clue that he is born to be a murder victim. Sorry, bud. Everyone has a special purpose.

But it’s okay though, because the client is a friendly-looking young father and also he is DYING of CANCER which means he is definitely not a murderer! He just wants someone to help him make a movie for his unborn child so that they can know what their father was like before he DIED OF CANCER AWWWWWW- but immediately not awww because the first thing he wants to film is a naked bathtub scene with a pantomime infant that instantly makes my entire skeleton try to crawl out through my eyeholes. Again, homeboy is surrounded by candles, dick out, pretending to tickle the little tootsies of an invisible baby. Basically nothing would make me quit this job faster. And the beauty of this film is that it always sets up the possibility of something terrible and gory happening and it’s never quite that but it’s ALWAYS kind of worse. Like invisible father/son tubby time worse. Axe murder is actually less terrifying.

Then we get to meet Peachfuzz, the terrifying dollar store wolf mask that Cancer Dad Not Murderer likes to put on and dance around in and IF THAT’S NOT A RED FLAG. Also I know the cheap creepy mask trope is kinda played out but I love it every time. Especially this time, because our dying friend is wonderfully unstable and Ding Dong is clearly uncomfortable without even having to be on camera to prove it. Again, everything you think will end in finding a bloody head in the closet actually ends with a skin-crawling wolf dance that is definitely less pleasant than just a regular ol head.

Next we go on a walk in the woods to find a miracle pond full of miracle water and WHY ARE YOU GOING WITH THIS STRANGE MAN INTO THE WOODS. YOU ARE ACTUALLY BEGGING TO GET MURDERED. Jesus christ, but seriously though, this movie is a very scary watch the first time around and a second viewing just makes your brain explode with how dumb this poor camera guy is. Oh Ding Dong, you’ve had so many chances to say “oh whoops need to go to the car to get a thing for the thing so I can uhhhhh, brb” and then just drive off. But instead you go wandering through the woods while the guy you’re supposed to be filming RUNS ahead of you to get you extra lost. That’s not even going to make for good footage. Come on, bro. Watch a single episode of Forensic Files to prepare yourself for shit like this.

I can’t go on with this anymore, I could be here all day asking why our sweet boy didn’t just leave any of the 15000 times he gets an opportunity to do so. But then I wouldn’t have a movie, and as I said, this movie is actually kind of brilliant. The only two onscreen actors feel very, very real and unlike a lot of other movies I will review, this is one that could absolutely happen. It’s a very simple story, but it hits on all cylinders, which is why I give it…

….FOUR HORRORS.

Wow, I guessed right! Seriously, it sounds kind of dumb when I lay it out like this but it is absolutely worth a watch. You have 30 days until Spooky Day, you can fit it in.

Anyway, join me tomorrow for whatever the alphabet has next for me, which is apparently….ah dammit, Cult of Chucky? I fuckin hate that little monster. Ugh. Okay fine. At least now the odds are low of two positive reviews in a row, and you know I drag my feet on reviewing actual good movies.

Jesus, I already miss Peachfuzz.

Creep

Conjuring Spirit

WELCOME TO QUARANTINE, I hope everyone has played enough video games to know how to properly execute supply runs without wasting too many precious bullets. (IF IT’S NOT A HEADSHOT, IT’S A WASTE.)

But the real question is how anyone is to know which Netflix movies are worth your time? THANK GOD I’M HERE to tell you about this movie, which is probably not worth your time, unless it is? Conjuring Spirit is a Vietnamese ghost story which means two things: there will be a vengeful female spirit with tons of hair in her face, and people will be eating pho. Have you ever seen a horror movie from anywhere in the entire continent of Asia? You have seen this movie.

Our story begins with a man yelling at a lady in a red dress about how she will have to abort their child before his wife finds out about it. (This feels distinctly like a Him Problem, but who am I.) She refuses, so he does a big ol’ murder by drugging her to sleep and burying her alive. Men are trash. DID YOU HEAR THAT, ZUCKERBERG. But before he buries her, he places a music box next to her face and says something about how this will be the last song she hears, because he is just TRYING to make a ghost. Blah blah blah she dies yadda yadda cut to An Amount of Time in the Future.

Lan, a recently-single mother with a 5 year-old son, moves into an apartment that everyone says is haunted, in an apartment building run by the aforementioned murderer, and is gifted a music box by the landlady. Just so everyone knows, WE ARE SETTING UP FOR A GHOST MOVIE. She finds weird grey goo all over the floor and in her plumbing, so she calls for maintenance to come fix it while she is out. Cue Pervy Plumber entering her home and immediately being a creepy dickbag by sniffing her underwear and kissing her pictures. MEN ARE TRASH. Fortunately for us, he is swiftly dealt with by the ghost of a lady in a red dress (picture the ghost from The Ring, or The Grudge, or Dark Water etc. etc. etc. you get it) who drowns him in grey goo in the bathtub.

While the police are sorting this out, Lan meets Vu, a cute boy who sings in a band and is new to the apartment building as well. After some flirts, Lan gives him the music box because something about “you like music, take this demon box, BYE.” Vu spends the night being haunted as fuck by Red Dress Ring Grudge and returns the box the next day, saying YO THIS IS FULL OF LADY GHOST also come see my band. She does. They’re okay. Pho is had.

Eventually Lan’s son gets so sick of seeing this ghost lady 24/7 that Lan finally goes to the landlady who gave her the music box to ask hey, why the fuck. Landlady has few useful answers except SURPRISE turns out she is a medium and does seances and has tons of spare time. This is convenient. Landlady contacts the spirit realm and lets Lan know that Red Dress likes her and wants her to find her body so that she can be peacefully laid to rest. I WONDER IF THIS HAS ANYTHING TO DO WITH WHERE ALL THE GREY GOO IS COMING FROM.

Where is the body??? Will the Murder Man get away with his murders??? Will Lan and Vu bang??? What is the twist at the end that is only tangentially-related to the main story line and changes the meaning of the whole movie but also has no purpose whatsoever??? All this and more can be yours if you’re willing to sink just under two goddamn hours into Conjuring Spirit. Now let’s be clear, this is not a bad movie, in fact it’s pretty okay, and all the lead performers do a great job. But it is, minus the baffling and underwhelming twist, entirely predictable and super derivative. Just watch the original Japanese Ringu if you want to see vengeful lady ghosting at its finest. But if you’ve already done that and you’re desperate for a Vietnamese take on the genre, you could probably do worse.

I give Conjuring Spirit…….THREE HORRORS.

Also get ready for a few more of these in the coming weeks. Because nothing helps calm the anxieties of living through a global pandemic like MOVIES WHERE EVERYONE DIES.

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YOUR N95 CAN’T SAVE YOU NOW

 

Conjuring Spirit

Comforting Skin

This one’s not on Netflix anymore and for that you should be grateful.

Comforting Skin is a melodramatic, whiny indie movie about a depressed woman who gets a mysterious tattoo that comes to life and starts a controlling, abusive relationship with the human being it is tattooed on. With that description, you would hope that Comforting Skin would at least be the kind of ONE HORROR rating terrible masterpiece that I love, but boy howdy it is not. Remember all the boring scenes in Blair Witch of angsty teens shouting at each other? It’s like that but for two hours straight with a few tits sprinkled in and absolutely zero of the spooky Blair Witch elements that made that movie actually scary.

Your first clue that this is a hipster-ass indie movie is that the protagonist is a white, white, white girl named Koffie, a name that I had to google to make sure I wasn’t being culturally insensitive, but nope, it’s an African name on a manic pixie bland girl who was probably born a Sharon and decided that wasn’t interesting enough. Koffie feels lonely and unappreciated, probably because everyone around her is an overwrought narcissist, so after a rough breakup with an abusive older man (picture a middle manager for a napkin company named Harold, he’s basically that) Koffie decides to get a tattoo. She gets some sort of abstract spiky thing on her shoulder and shows it off to everyone she knows because it is instantly the most interesting thing about her. Soon, though, the tattoo begins to whisper sweet nothings and swirl around her body, convincing her to abandon all her relationships with human beings and focus only on the tattoo.

And yes, she has sex with the goddamn tattoo, in a weird bed-humping scene which I believe happens twice, once when Koffie has consensual…sex? with the tattoo, and once where the tattoo RAPES HER. Great, good, thank you movie, this was necessary. Her mental breakdown devolves into fist fights with friends, taking a gun to her FOOT, bathing in pop rocks (like a full bathtub of pop rocks, which HAS to be where the majority of the budget went), and I’m tired I give up I’m done. It’s so bad, gang. It wants so desperately to be a deep dive into isolation and vulnerability and mental illness, but it’s just a bunch of weird sex and SO MUCH YELLING. And as much fun as that sounds, it’s boring as shit.

I would happily spoil this movie for you, because no one should watch it, but I can’t remember how it ends because I didn’t care, and everyone else who reviewed it online turned it off halfway through because THEY’RE NOT AS STRONG AS ME so let’s just say that the tattoo splits off her body and turns into a giant tattoo monster that eats her and all her friends and also the director, writer, and producer so they can’t make a sequel. There. Doesn’t THAT movie sound great? I need to get into Hollywood.

Comforting Skin gets……TWO HORRORS. It’s tedious in every way that a thing can be tedious and, while the concept could have made for a decent short film if you replaced the entire creative team, it is in no way worth the hundreds of dollars of pop rocks that died in vain for this exhausting slog of a movie.

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May they rest in peace, they’re with the angels now.

Comforting Skin

The Club

I’ll be honest, it’s been a long time since I’ve actually seen most of the movies on this list because of how, uh, relaxed I am about updating my blog, so I thought maybe if I rewatched this movie before writing about it I might better remember what the hell happens in it, but nope. I watched 1994’s The Club last night, completely sober, and hoo boy get ready for a bunch of incomprehensible bullshit with some above-average special effects. (For 1994, so I mean, you know. They’re okay.)

Welcome to THE CLUB, by which I mean hell I think, or maybe straight up demonhood, I’m not entirely sure, but it’s definitely one of those? It’s prom night for our cast of Breakfast Club-diverse teens and apparently they go to a rich-ass school because prom is held at an actual fucking castle and yes it is haunted, kind of, maybe? We have Generic White Boy and Generic White Girl who are in a serious high school relationship, we have Depressed Nerd with Long Hair and a Beret, and of course we have Black Best Friend and her Abusive Red-headed Boyfriend. (Bonus points, guess right now who doesn’t survive this movie. You’ll be right.) And skulking around being weird and flamboyant is Kid Who Doesn’t Go To This School, who we discover GASP has been DEAD FOR TEN YEEEEAAAAARS.

That’s right, Kid Who Doesn’t Go To This School is in THE CLUB and he works for Satan, or with Satan, or just fucks around being a demon and messes with people for fun, that’s also unclear. This Demon Kid stops time at midnight for….reasons? and starts torturing our select group of high schoolers based on whatever fateful happenings were in motion when he stopped time. For example, one girl was about to be physically and sexually assaulted and her boyfriend was trying to save her. For another example, another girl was about to be…physically and sexually assaulted and uh…her boyfriend was about to physically and sexually assault her. Neat. I mean, it was 1994, we didn’t know women were people yet, but get ready for all two of our female characters to get threatened with beatings and rape repeatedly while we focus on the internal struggles of our two leading men for like EVER, GOD.

I’ve got to give some points to Joel Wyner, the actor playing Demon Boy, for his crazed-Billy-Zane-in-Titanic looks and his Jim-Carrey-in-The-Mask acting, because he is working very VERY hard and I think even he probably doesn’t know exactly why. You join The Club by committing either suicide or murder, and Demon Boy is clearly trying to rack up some new members, but he’s also just kind of prancing around harassing people who aren’t suicidal or murderous in the least, but I mean….I don’t know, he’s just doing his best I think. I want to buy Joel Wyner a muffin and let him know he’s a good boy, because he tried.

I guess I won’t spoil this movie if anyone wants to watch it, because it’s certainly trippy as shit and it’s got some decent practical effects for the time, but I can’t actually say it’s necessarily…good. It’s definitely trying to do a lot of things, so B- for effort I guess. It’s free on Amazon Prime though, so if you have an hour and a half you could go there and do that but also Netflix just added the original Candyman and, gang, I had NO IDEA how good that movie is, so go watch that instead. It’s brilliant and I feel like no one told me. IT’S FUCKING GREAT. Did you know they wanted Eddie Murphy to be the lead and the only reason he wasn’t cast was because they couldn’t afford him??? What the hell would that have been???? Did you also know that Tony Todd negotiated an extra grand for every time he was stung by a bee during filming, which ended up being 23 times??? Damn, Candyman was great. I should have just watched Candyman instead of The Club.

I give The Club…..THREE HORRORS, WHICH IS SOMEWHAT GENEROUS. It’s definitely more interesting than the basic bitch 2 horrors, but ughhhhhhhhhhh I don’t need to see it again.

Candyman gets a solid five horrors, I’m gonna watch that shit every day until Jordan Peele blesses us with his take in 2020, because damn.

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Candyman, Candyman, Candyman, Candyman, CANDYMAN

The Club