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March 30, 2011

FMWL's March Midnight Madness Tournament - Round Two (Part Two of Two)

If you missed part one of Round Two, go HERE.
If you missed Round One, go HERE to check out all the tourney action!
If you want to know who the selection committee for Round Two is, here they are:
There are eight spots left in the Sinister Sixteen, lets see what the Selection Committee has in store for them!
The Hammer Regional
#1 Seed - MMOTW #2: Moon vs. #9 Seed - MMOTW #36 - Candyman
What The Mike says: I adore Moon hardcore.  Yet, for no good reason, I want to pick Candyman here.  Maybe it's because it's a horror icon while Moon is barely established as a two year old film.  I don't know.  But I guess I'm slightly behind Candyman here.
What the Selection Committee says:
  • "It's a very tough call: Moon is a fantastic movie, both poignant and cerebral, but I personally lean toward Candyman, for its terrific Philp Glass score, its willingness to address real-life urban issues, and Tony Todd. Just Tony Todd." - Andreas
  • "Is Moon a better film? Of course, but I need to give a big boost to any great horror film that survived the '90s." - Emily
  • "Well, while I consider both films to be truly wonderful representations of their respective genres to the point where I could almost call them equal, I have to give that slight, and I mean slight, edge to Candyman. It's stood the test of time and that is really what pushes it over the line for me in this wicked tight pick." - Matt
  • "Moon is a horror film in a whole other sense and Candyman is a horror icon, but Moon is just a flat out top-notch flick that's too good to take a dive in the second round. This is another OT buzzer beater." - Geof
The Vote: Moon 7, Candyman 6 - MOON moves on to the Sinister Sixteen!
What The Mike says: The Devil Rides Out is still my baby, and will always be one of the most underrated horror flicks ever to me.  I don't know if I'd vote against it versus any of the films in this tourney.
What the Selection Committee says:
  • "Let’s face it…there’s plenty of “cheesy” movies out there, but there just doesn’t seem to be enough quality Satanic ones." - B.Stank
  • "I'm voting Piranha here in honor of Joe Dante and the fallen The 'burbs :( " - Emily C.
    "Piranha might want to gobble up the competion, but it's all going to go wrong for them and these little fishies are going to get hammered. What went wrong out there for Piranha? Well, could it have been.... SATAN!" - TL Bugg
  • "I'm a fan of the old school. So when you have an occult investigator battling a mad sorcerer of the dark arts over the souls of innocents (with the impressive Christopher Lee AND Charles "It's Just A Jump To The Left" Gray as said dueling forces), then we have a first class ticket to Awesomeville." - Joe Monster
The Vote: The Devil Rides Out 3, Piranha 9 - PIRANHA moves on to the Sinister Sixteen!
What The Mike says: Look, Silent Night, Deadly Night only made it to the MMOTW because it was Christmas.  Phibes was one of the first movies I thought about when I started the MMOTW.  Easy pick there.
What the Selection Committee says:
  • "Silent Night, Deadly Night, your "HO HO HO" is only so-so, and when squared off against Vincent Price, you've definitely got to go." - TL Bugg
  • "I don't know that I will ever be able to vote against Silent Night, Deadly Night. It wins!" - R.D. Penning
  • "Festive horror fun has to win. Christmas should be scarier, I mean... it celebrates home invasion." - Liam
  • "Vincent Price spanks naughty Billy out of this contest." - Fred [The Wolf]
The Vote: The Abominable Dr. Phibes 7, Silent Night Deadly Night 5 - THE ABOMINABLE DR. PHIBES moves on to the Sinister Sixteen!
What The Mike says: There are times when I forget how much I love The Omen.  It's so epic.  Yet, I think I'm going to have today be one of those times, because Spider Baby sounds soooo good right now.  Done.
What the Selection Committee says:
  • "I’m not sure what’s worse… giving birth to Satan, or to a baby that looked like Sid Haig?!  Kiddin’…just kiddin." - B.Stank
  • "Boom! Gregory Peck." - Christine
  • "Virginia, Ralph, and Elizabeth would eat Damien alive and Lon Chaney Jr. would sing about it. And it would blow minds." - Emily
  • "Damien squashes this SPIDER, BABY." - Fred [The Wolf]
The Vote: Spider Baby 7, The Omen 6 - SPIDER BABY moves on to the Sinister Sixteen!
One of the newest films in the tournament leads the pack in this regional, but it's accompanied in the Sinister Sixteen by three titans made between 1968-1978.  Can Moon's modern sci-fi drama hold off some cult heroes?
#1 Seed - Moon vs. #13 Seed - Piranha
#6 Seed - The Abominable Dr. Phibes vs. #7 Seed - Spider Baby
The Blob Regional
What The Mike says: I don't know why, but I'm not crazy about Evil Dead II in this tournament.  Maybe it's just too easy to pick it, and I'm trying to take it for granted.  Not sure.  I mean, I'm still picking it...but for some reason it doesn't seem like as passionate a pick as it should be.
What the Selection Committee says:
  • "Nostalgia alone is enough to make this an easy pick, but it's not all that difficult when we're talking about the heart of one of horror's most beloved and lauded franchises. I believe this has referred to as the holy trilogy of horror, and if that's the case, then Dead By Dawn is the horror equivalent of The Godfather Part II and The Empire Strikes Back. Nuff said." - Matt
  • "Hail to the King, baby." - Mike S.
  • "Even a hirsute Oliver Reed can't make me enjoy this shaggy wolf story, so it has no chance against Raimi's near-perfect explosion of horror awesomeness." - Andreas
  • "All who are pure in heart: turn back now! As a genre fan I realize that I'm practically consigned to a life of shameless love for all that is Evil Dead. But nay, brothers and sisters! Here you will only find love for the lupine naughtiness of one Oliver Reed. Scream, destroy, hunt me down with torch and pitchfork, but I shall not move! I cannot explain; all I can say is that my devotion is as natural as the moon." - Joe Monster
The Vote: Evil Dead II 11, The Curse of the Werewolf 2 - EVIL DEAD II moves on to the Sinister Sixteen!
What The Mike says: I gotta go with Tarantino's flick, mostly because it reminds me of one of my favorite flicks, Vanishing Point.  The Challenger rides on, as does Kurt Russell.
What the Selection Committee says:
  • "Quite possibly my favorite Tarantino. Also, Russell. I have sung this film’s praises since its release and I am so glad people seem to be coming around and embracing it. My preferred ½ of Grindhouse." - Christine
  • "Martin.  An imperfect film, but one that offers something truly new for the vampire genre." - Emily
  • "I'm voting Death Proof here because while I like Martin's ambiguous vampiric nature, Martin is no Stuntman Mike, and ambiguous vampires are no match against a trio of angry women with an awesome car." - Emily C.
  • "I would take Martin over any of Romero's last three movies, and Death Proof was just a little too slowly paced for me at times. Martin Wins!" - R.D. Penning
The Vote: Martin 6, Death Proof 7 - DEATH PROOF moves on to the Sinister Sixteen!
What the Mike says: Do you really want to know?  Nah, I'll let the committee handle this one.
What the Selection Committee says:
  • "Maniac features Joe Spinell, Tom Savini effects, and William Lustig in the director's chair. Killer Klowns from Outer Space is about Killer Klowns from Outer Space. If Manaic doesn't win this round it will go down as the greatest robbery since Tarantino saw his first Ringo Lam movie." - TL Bugg
  • "My head almost exploded at the thought of having to choose between these two films! But the Klowns prevail!" - R.D. Penning
  • "C'mon, Killer Klowns from Outer Space... it's no contest!" - Liam
  • "Blame it on my genetic preference to have fun when watching a horror film. Not that scalpings and heads full of prosthetic blood and cottage cheese being blown up can't be called a certain kind of fun, but I guess the air of sophistication that Killer Klowns brings with its cotton candy cocoons just puts it one rung higher than Maniac." - Joe Monster
  • "Killer Klowns from Outer Space...probably the second toughest match in this part of the bracket." - Geof
  • "I won't vote for this one. I love both these films equally." - Fred [The Wolf]
  • "I voted against Killer Klowns from Outer Space in the first round, but I'll give them some love here because, while it's easy to find a maniacal killer, I have a feeling it's not so common to run across a Killer Klown, thus making them much more unique.... and I'm pretty sure that the Maniac does not drink his victims with straws." - Emily C.
  • "Killer Klowns From Outer Space. Just typing those words makes my mouth water for cotton candy. And blood." - Emily
  • "Gritty, dirty and genuinely disturbing, Maniac is one of my favorite 70s (even though this was released in 1980, it is totally 70s) depictions of NYC." - Christine
  • "I’d like to see Joe Spinell scalp every single last one of those annoying EXPLETIVE DELETED clowns." - B.Stank
The Vote: Killer Klowns from Outer Space 6, Maniac 6 - IT'S A TIE! THE MIKE GETS TO USE HIS TIEBREAKING VOTE!
NOW....What The Mike says: Wow, it's something to see how far people fall on opposite sides of the Killer Klown train.  And I can see why, especially against a dark, twisted flick like Maniac.  Which also has my true love, Caroline Munro.  So, I'm going to use my tiebreaking vote to say....hey....I like to party with Killer Klowns.  I admit it.  KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE moves on to the Sinister Sixteen!
#10 Seed - MMOTW #48: The Entity vs. #15 Seed - MMOTW #52: The Pit
What The Mike says: I feel like both of these great little '80s movies deserve a slow clap just for being here.  Can this end like Rocky III, with Balboa and Creed both locked in a carbonite-esque freeze frame of them punching each other?
What the Selection Committee says:
  • "The choice here is if one shoud root for the raping ghost picture or the, you know, there really is no choice." - TL Bugg
  • "Entities possess more of a threat than pits. Unless we're talking unshaven feminist armpits... but we're not, so The Entity wins." - Liam
  • "Somehow I feel that the world is a better place knowing that a little boy can push a wheelchair-bound old woman into a hole full of flesh-hungry monsters and we can all look on approvingly." - Joe Monster
    "If ties were allowed, I'd offer one here. Since there isn't long live a film with a sequel we never got to see, The Pit." - Geof
The Vote: The Entity 7, The Pit 4 - THE ENTITY moves on to the Sinister Sixteen!
Underdogs still rule the day in the lower half of this region, while a showdown between Raimi and Tarantino looms in the upper half.  Can Kurt Russell, who has three films in the Sin16, pull off an upset?  We'll find out when we return for Round 3!
#1 Seed - Evil Dead II vs. #4 Seed - Death Proof
#14 Seed - Killer Klowns from Outer Space vs. #10 Seed - The Entity

March 29, 2011

FMWL's March Midnight Madness Tournament - Round Two (Part One of Two)

Where there once were 64, there are now 32.  And as we enter round two of FMWL's March Midnight Madness Tournament, the matchups suddenly start to look a little tougher.  Some of the films I thought would go a long way are already gone, and some films I assumed no one else had seen are still standing.  The initial bracket I filled out based on my preferences - more on that someday - has already lost two of its final four flicks.  And now...the Selection Committee is back (with one new member, the fabulous Christine of Paracinema!) and ready to pare the field down to the SINISTER SIXTEEN!

If you missed Round One, go HERE to check out all the tourney action!
If you want to know who the selection committee for Round Two is, here they are:
Are you ready?  Let's see what we've got!

The Frankenstein Regional
What The Mike says: Roadgames is one of my favorite underdogs in the tournament.  It's got Stacy Keach rockin' a mean 'stache, Jamie Lee being her, and a great Hitchcockian vibe.  It's a ton of fun.  BUT...Predator is Predator.  I could watch it every day and never get tired of it.
What the Selection Committee says:
  • "While the Predator is quite a formidable foe, and Stacy Keach would probably be easily beaten up by Arnold and Co., my love for anything Hitchcock-esque is giving Roadgames the psychological edge in this match-up, over the superior physical force in Predator." - Emily C
  • "The PREDATOR pushes his self-destruct button to destroy these ROAD GAMES." - Fred [The Wolf]
  • "When you get right down to it, a film can only reach the true heights of beauty if it has a beefcake commando who is more incomprehensible than the crab-faced alien man-slaughterer that is hunting his hunky white ass down." - Joe Monster
  • "Once again, not much competition for the film with more baby oil and testosterone than a Mr. Universe competition. One of the best action films ever made, one of the best creatures ever created and one of the toughest casts to ever be cast, Predator makes it through another round without any sort of resistance from the opposition." - Matt
The Vote: Predator 9, Roadgames 2 - PREDATOR moves on to the Sinister Sixteen!
What The Mike says: Differing styles battle here, with the black and white horror tale taking on the colorful noir tale.  Pretty Poison carries a couple of game changing performers in Anthony Perkins and Tuesday Weld, but I like Herk Harvey's low budget flick to stay strong and hold off the young and dangerous lovers in my heart.
What the Selection Committee says:
  • "Pretty Poison's deranged duo are fun to watch, but nothing can beat the existential dread of Herk Harvey's no-budget masterpiece." - Andreas
  • "Carnival of Souls has to win, purely based on the fact that Pretty Poison sounds like it could be a Twilight sequel. Harsh, but true." - Liam
  • "Tell me one thing: what is it that you’re gonna be thinking of while you’re lying in your bed late at night? Is it gonna be the handsome Anthony Perkins being corrupted by the lust to kill and influencing pretty cheerleaders? Or will it be the demon-ghoul with the wide, black-rimmed eyes staring you down as he reaches out to you, smiling all the while? Terrified yet? Carnival wins." - Joe Monster
  • "Tuesday Weld relied on her feminine wiles to get her film though rough round one, but facing off against Candice Hilligoss and Carnival of Souls' late game offense, Pretty Poison lacks potency. In a match up between Carnies and Cheerleaders, Carnies always win." - TL Bugg
    The Vote: Carnival of Souls 11, Pretty Poison 1 - CARNIVAL OF SOULS moves on to the Sinister Sixteen!
    What The Mike says: I know TCM is certainly a more terrifying flick, and it holds a big place in horror history.  But They Live is a personal fave to me, and I can't avoid picking it.  Plus, I think my MMOTW post about it (linked above) is about the only thing I've ever written that's worth a damn.
    What the Selection Committee says:
    • "This is like making me pick a favorite child. Both films helped shape my genre love and each have a special place in my cinematic heart. TCM. But don’t tell They Live…" - Christine
    • "I'm here to pick They Live, and chew bubble gum, and I'm all out of bubble gum! Yeah I know that was lame, but I had to do it!" - R.D. Penning
    • "At one point in my life I had a TCM “Who will Survive and What Will Become Of Them” poster hanging over my bed. A woman I’d previously dated/turned gay took it down and put a Say anything poster in its place, promising me it would improve my results with the ladies. Sure enough, soon afterwards the two of us had a brief but torrid fling While John Cusack, boombox in two, kept silent watch." - Mike S.
    • "They Live a buzzer-beater bucket in the 2nd OT." - Geof
    The Vote: They Live 2, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre 12 - THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE moves on to the Sinister Sixteen!
    What The Mike says: I do love Ginger Snaps greatly, but Dead of Night wins another vote from me.  The goofy golf ghost tale, the wrap-around story, and - most of all - Hugo, cement it in my heart as the king og the anthologies.
    What the Selection Committee says:
    • "Werewolves and sexual politics make for good horror, but the brilliant anthology film Dead of Night leaves Ginger Snaps in the dust for one reason: Hugo." - Andreas
    • "Feminism! Werewolves! Katharine Isabelle! *swoon*" - Christine
    • "Those who know me realize that my love for werewolves is nothing short of rabid. But when you pair the story of an angsty teenage lycanthrope with one of, if not the, greatest terror anthologies to ever be committed to the screen, there’s just no denying my decision. Dead of Night also claims an edge for helping to solidify my traumatizing fear of little wooden men who sit on laps." - Joe Monster
    • "Ginger Snaps gets my vote here because I don't want to vote against a hormonal crazed teenage werewolf- I have a feeling that she'd be a much harder foe than anything that Dead of Night could throw my way." - Emily C
    The Vote: Ginger Snaps 9, Dead of Night 3 - GINGER SNAPS moves on to the Sinister Sixteen!
    With two rounds in the books, The Frankenstein Regional is left with aliens, spectres, chainsaws, and werewolves.  If that quartet doesn't make your blood boil, check your pulse!
    SINISTER SIXTEEN MATCHUPS - The Frankenstein Regional
    #1 Seed - Predator vs. #5 Seed - Carnival of Souls
    #3 Seed - The Texas Chain Saw Massacre vs. #7 Seed - Ginger Snaps
    The Myers Regional
    #1 Seed - MMOTW #25: The Thing vs. #9 Seed - MMOTW #15: The House of the Devil
    What The Mike says: I still don't get how IMDB users fave The House of the Devil a NINE seed.  Heck, I see it no lower than a 4.  BUT...The Thing is all kinds of a one seed.  Its' so good.  Really good.  Can anything stop Carpenter and Russell?
    What the Selection Committee says:
    • "A valiant effort, but's The Thing" - Emily
    • "No contest really, The Thing has to win because it's Kurt Russell and John Carpenter. You can't argue with that logic I'm afraid." - Liam
    • "Ti West is one of my favorite new horror directors because he has shown that he can handle an over-the-top gore fest as well as the “slow burn” tension builder.  If this was Micheal Chiklis’ version of The Thing, I’d say Ti would have it no problem…but it’s not, it’s Carpenter’s." - B.Stank
    The Vote:  The Thing 14, The House of the Devil 0 - THE THING moves on to the Sinister Sixteen!
    What The Mike says: This is a big no contest in my eyes.  Stir of Echoes is good, but Big Trouble in Little China is a one of a kind flick that I love dearly.  Carpenter and Russell reign again!
    What the Selection Commitee says:
    • "I love me a creepy ghost story even more than absurdist humor." - Mike S.
    • "No contest really, Big Trouble in Little China has to win because it's Kurt Russell and John Carpenter. You can't argue with that logic I'm afraid." - Liam
    • "An insanely odd and endlessly entertaining film that is 100% powered by Kurt Russell's mullet." - Emily
    • "Carpenter and Russell are the Pippen and Jordon of this series, but they're not going to be content til they clear this round and face off against themselves and The Thing in the semis." - TL Bugg
    The Vote: Stir of Echoes 3, Big Trouble in Little China 9 - BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA moves on the Sinister Sixteen!
    #6 Seed - MMOTW #59: Sisters vs. #3 Seed - MMOTW #13: The Body Snatcher
    What The Mike says: Man, this is a tough one. These are certainly polar opposite films, but I think I give Karloff's diabolical turn in The Body Snatcher the edge by a Hare.
    The Selection Committee says:
    • "This was a very difficult one for me, but I think Sisters pulls it out by just a hair." - R.D. Penning
    • "The dark streets of Scotland? The corpse stealing? The murder, the mayhem? The KARLOFF? You know where's it at." - Joe Monster
    • "I have a sick De Palma obsession. If Sisters was a person, I’d marry it." - Christine
    The Vote: Sisters 8, The Body Snatcher 2 - SISTERS moves on to the Sinister Sixteen!
    What The Mike says: The combination of Caroline Williams and Dennis Hopper, when mixed with the clan from the original TCM, makes for great fun.  I certainly admire Friday the 13th for what it did for slashers...but I prefer most of its sequels to it.  TCM 2 gets my blessing.
    What the Selection Committee says:
    • "While The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 was an entertainingly odd follow-up to the masterpiece of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, it's no match for Mrs. Voorhees' revenge motivated massacre and Kevin Bacon's short shorts." - Emily C.
    • "Dog will hunt...and drown on FRIDAY THE 13TH." - Fred [The Wolf]
    • "This is one of the tougher match-ups for me, mostly because I like the films almost equally. However, I think the edge goes to Friday simply for the fact that it spawned a creature way more massive than anyone could have ever imagined, not only with its own long-lasting franchise, but the influence it had on the Slasher genre." - Matt
    • "This is the film that introduced me to the joys of Bill Moseley. I still get the giggles watching him cook up little bits of his scalp on his metal plate." - Mike S.
    The Vote: Friday the 13th 7, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Two 6 - FRIDAY THE 13TH moves on to the Sinister Sixteen!
    Something...just a gut feeling, I guess...tells me that we're gonna see a Kurt Russell/John Carpenter film move on next round.  And on the other side of the region, the artistry of De Palma will face off with the mother of cheap slashers.  As a wise man once said, I'd buy that for a dollar!
    #1 Seed - The Thing vs. #4 Seed - Big Trouble in Little China
    #6 Seed - Sisters vs. #10 Seed - Friday the 13th

    March 28, 2011

    FMWL Indie Spotlight - The Fies' Sisters present I Hate L.A.

    When I first took FMWL in the direction of independent cinema, I had no clue what I was getting into.  But luck was on my side, as the first three independent films I was lucky enough to cover proved to be three of the best films I saw in 2010.  Sandwiched in the middle of this unholy trilogy - between Gregg Holtgrewe's Dawning and the Soska twins' Dead Hooker in a Trunk - was Elisabeth Fies' fantastic The Commune, a one of a kind modern tale of human terror. 

    In each of these cases, the big question was "What happens next?"  For Fies and her sister/co-producer Brenda, the answer was Bleedfest, the monthly film festival that promotes films made by women.  At the same time, there was the sisters' production of their own horror anthology - with help from five other fine female filmmakers - I Hate L.A

    Now, I Hate L.A. is set for its world premiere this Sunday, April 3rd, at Bleedfest - and the film's trailer is online for the first time.  As you can see, the film promises 11 vignettes by 7 female directors, and looks to be a twisted bit of satire about the ruthless side of Hollywood. 

    Check it out below, and prepare for what looks to be another vicious dose of real world horror from The Fies sisters and company!

    As for Bleedfest, here's some details about this weekend's festivities, which can be yours if you're in L.A. and have 10 bucks to spare.  That there's a heckuva idea, if you ask The Mike!  Go support Lis Fies, I Hate L.A., and all the women in horror out there!
    April 3rd is ThrillHer:
    Suspense films by women.
    Canadian filmmaker Maude Michaud will be present for a retrospective of her shorts and two world premiers. The feature film is the world premier of the anthology I HATE L.A. The genre suspense feature includes work by filmmakers Barbara Stepansky, Maude Michaud, Heidi Hornbacher, Marichelle Daywalt, Tyrrell Sheffner, Elisabeth Fies and Brenda Fies. Drew Daywalt will be receiving the Inanna Partnership Award. Lori Bowen of Hallowscreen Film Festival will co-present the Shorts In Competition block. Schedule subject to change, appearances dependent on schedule.
    BleedFest Film Festival’s Charity for the Month of April is featuring a Donation Collection Station for: American Red Cross of Greater Los Angeles-Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami Relief Fund.
    Sunday April 3rd, 2011
    TIME: 11am-4:00pm

    Location: CAP Theatre
    13752 Ventura Blvd.
    Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
    $10 cash at door all day ticket and open bar
    Photography display and book STILL LIFE by Tim Aldridge of TMA Photo.
    11am-11:20am Red Carpet, Mixer

    For more information on the film or the festival, head to the I Hate L.A. website or check out the April schedule at the Bleedfest site.  

    March 27, 2011

    Sucker Punch

    (2011, Dir. by Zack Snyder.)

    By now, I hope you all know that I don't believe in guilty pleasures.  Some people take movies seriously enough that they believe enjoying a movie that might be "bad" to others should cause one to feel guilt.  To me, those people are missing out on a lot of inventive movies that cinema has to offer.  Movies like Sucker Punch.

    Zack Snyder's fantasy film, which is a weird mix of burlesque and steampunk fashions blended with a ton of kung fu and sci-fi action, has been ripped apart by critics and viewers who - ironically - must have been unprepared for seeing a pulpy fantasy.  Criticisms of the film's lack of deep characters, video game feel, and teenage boy sex-appeal have been the standard response from critics who would like to put their standards onto the film.  But it's clear throughout the film that Snyder has no interest in those standards, which makes these complaints as valid as those of an action junkie who laments The Merchant of Venice's lack of explosions.

    Taken for what it actually is - a dream-world music video that consists of the imaginings of abused young women - Sucker Punch completely captivated me.  I can see where some would pause when looking at the film's heavy handed messages about abuse and empowerment and assume there's a lot more ambition behind Snyder's film, especially when considering it alongside his adaptation of Alan Moore's preachy graphic novel Watchmen.  But Sucker Punch is clearly not Watchmen, and the script - by Snyder & Steve Shibuya - is one that Snyder openly admits is designed because he wanted showcase action sequences that "aren't limited by the physical realities that normal people are limited by".

    Following that script, the ridiculous story follows Baby Doll (Emily Browning) who is somehow accused of her sister's murder and placed in an asylum.  Once there, she meets Rocket (Jena Malone), Sweet Pea (Abbie Cornish), Blondie (Vanessa Hudgens), and Amber (Jamie Chung), who exist as pawns in her attempt to escape before being lobotomized.  Somewhere along the line, she invents a couple of alternate worlds inside her head, one in which the girls are out of the asylum and working in a brothel, and one in which the girls can accomplish pretty much anything a wise man (Scott Glenn, who has a lot of fun with fortune cookie-style dialogue) tells them to do.  Their quests include giant robo ninjas, dragons, nazis, and even a train heist (with more robots), which are necessary to acquire the items needed to stage their escape.

    You can probably see that the plot behind Sucker Punch does the film no favors with the critical community, and I can certainly admit that it had me scratching my head the two or three times I stopped to consider it.  But trying to make sense of it is like trying to make sense of a nightmare - you shouldn't do it.  When taken at a purely visceral level, Sucker Punch is pretty fantastic.  Snyder's effects scenes feature a lot of detail and well-drawn villains - even if they are a bit repetitive. (Which does make them kind of like video games,and we all know how certain famous critics are holding on to their archaic belief that video games can not be art.  If you share this mindset, this movie isn't for you.)  Snyder compliments each battle with a unique musical selection, and his ability to synchronize sound and action here is on par with his fantastic work on Watchmen.  The soundtrack probably takes the film up a level here, as there are times when the film feels a lot more like Moulin Rouge than The Matrix

    I can honestly say that my affection for Sucker Punch is not just a surface level thing; I didn't find myself enjoying it because there were scantily clad women and explosions.  There's something uplifting about the film, something that speaks to me on a psychological level.  I'm not talking about the plot - though it does have some fun bits based on its "anything is possible" philosophy - I'm saying that I love the idea of Sucker Punch.  It's just an action fantasy that does what it wants to do how it wants to do it.  I don't think people knew what was coming, and I don't blame them.  It reminds me of Big Trouble in Little China, which also blended genres and divided theatrical audiences. (There's also a parallel regarding the lead/side characters, but to share it would spoil one of the few plot points in Sucker Punch.)  It's a movie that is not based on our reality, and shouldn't be judged as such.

    It's rare that I find myself recommending a movie based entirely on its style over its substance - especially when it's such a commercial style - but I think what Snyder tried to pull off through Sucker Punch was daring and brave.  Many may not agree, but I think that this film will find its audience when the dust settles on the negative reviews and the reactions from unsuspecting opening weekend victims.  It's a puff piece that doesn't make sense, but hey...neither did Inception. Maybe I'm the sucker - and I'm sure there are plenty of folks out there who will tell me that movies like this one simply can't be good - but I'm buying what Sucker Punch is selling at face value.

    March 26, 2011

    FMWL's March Midnight Madness Tournament - Round One (Part Four of Four)

    If you missed Part One of Round One, go here.
    If you missed Part Two of Round One, go here.
    If you missed Part Three of Round One, go here.
    If you want to know who the selection committee for Round One is, here they are:
    Last but never least, we move on to...
    What The Mike says: Ummmm...Hail to the King, Baby.  Ash wins the day for me.
    What the Selection Committee says:
    • "There’s nothing scarier than a drunk and bitter woman, especially one that’s 50 fucking feet tall.  But Sam Raimi’s classic is one of the most entertaining movie “experiences” of all time." - B.Stank
    • "Listen sister, I know your movie if full of hoity-toity symbolism representing the women’s movement and the growing frustrations of the American housewife, but we’re talking about the king, Ash, baby, ya’ dig? Evil Dead II rocks this bracket hands (that went bad and had to be cut off) down." - TL Bugg
    • "You would have to realize that anyone that spent much of their childhood quoting things like, “Someone's in my fruit cellar!” and “I'll swallow your soul! I'll swallow your soul! I'll swallow your soul!” will probably pick the Evil Dead II. Guess what? That’s exactly what I’m picking." - Matt
    The Vote: Evil Dead II 11, Attack of the 50 Foot Woman 0 - EVIL DEAD II moves on!
    What The Mike says: I love my Hammer Films, and Curse of the Werewolf is one of their most unique offerings.  But The 'burbs has been a fave of mine for more than two decades, and I can never get enough of it.  It's one of my favorite movies in this tourney.
    What the Selection Committee says:
    • "So I love The 'burbs with a burning passion, and while The Curse of the Werewolf may be a unique take on werewolf lore, and stars Oliver Reed, that's not enough to make up for that fact that it's not The 'burbs.  I suppose that's not The Curse of the Werewolf's fault per se, but it's enough to make it lose this particular battle." - Emily C
    • "Hanks is just freaking awesome as your typical fed up, tightly wound suburban dad in this nifty little black comedy. Man I wish he still did comedy instead of just fishing for Oscars." - Mike S.
    • "The Curse of the Werewolf - Because it shows some teeth." - R.D. Penning
    The Vote: The Curse of the Werewolf 6, The 'burbs 3 - THE CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF moves on!
    What The Mike says: I'm at the toss up point on this all-vamp battle, but I'd like to point out that 7 Golden Vampires is the sixth (and final) Hammer production in this tourney.  I voted against Curse of the Werewolf, Night Creatures, and Captain Kronos, so I feel like I better vote for it to even the Hammer score.  
    What the Selection Committee says:
    • "Martin: “He could be the boy next door...”  The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires: “Black belt vs. black magic!  One vampire wannabe vs. 7 GOLDEN vampires, come on. I’m sorry Romero, but you should probably stick to zombies. The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires wins because they are actual vampires. And there’s kung fu." - Liam
    • "Aside from the opening scene on the train, martin’s never managed to fully capture my interest. In fact, I’ve dozed off both times I’ve tried to watch the film. Still, I have to give Romero kudos both for attempting something outside his wheelhouse, and also putting a unique spin on the vampire tale by getting it out of the romantic European castles and villages and crafting a plausible tale that wouldn’t look too out of place in the headlines." - Mike S.
    The Vote: Martin 8, The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires 2 - MARTIN moves on!
    What The Mike says: I feel bad for Vice Squad - as I did for Raw Meat, Gary Sherman's other film in the tourney - but it's just not up to Death Proof's standards.  Kurt Russell is now three for three in the first round by my vote, and deservedly so.
    What the Selection Committee says:
    • "DEATH PROOF. The only thing VICE SQUAD deserves is a bruisin' once I'm tappin' that ass!" - Fred [The Wolf]
    • "There was a time when Starz HD would show Death Proof like ten times a week, and every time I would happen upon it, I just couldn’t change the channel. The rewatchabilty is so high for me, especially that amazing car chase that goes on for like half the movie. Love the soundtrack, love Stuntman Mike, love both sets of stories, love Mary Elizabeth Winstead in a cheerleader uniform, LOVE Death Proof! I’d totally make out with it while a rock ballad plays in the background." - Matt
    • "Two awesome things about this Death Proof. First-it absolutely through me for a loop when the girls we’ve followed the whole first act get unceremoniously wiped out at the midway point. I was 100% not expecting that at all. Second, how awesome is it when Kurt Russell plays against type and just becomes a quivering ball of goo the moment Zoe Bell and Rosario Dawson (**swoon**) turn the tables on him and start running him down. Oh Stuntman Mike, you poor bastard. You messed with the wrong group of femme fatales." - Mike S.
    The Vote: Death Proof 8, Vice Squad 1 - DEATH PROOF moves on!
    What The Mike says: Man....I gotta vote against Caroline Munro again.  Sad face.  But Phantom of the Paradise is just so unique and fun and catchy.  It wins my pick.
    What the Selection Committee says:
    • "Phantom of the Paradise: Think horror and musicals are two genres that don't mix? Ever try peanut butter and chocolate? That's what you get with Brian DePalma's insanely entertaining and unique bit of magic, with Paul The Muppet Movie WIlliams' music to boot!" - Emily
    • "Straight up debauchery, right down to the poster’s shot of the massive boner that our killer gets from holding a decapitated woman’s head. 501’s can barely keep that thing contained." - Mike S.
      "This is the toughest match-up this season for my money. In one corner, you have Brian DePalma, the songs of Paul Williams, and the greatest retelling of the Phantom of the Opera since Gaston Laroux drunkenly reenacted it one night in a French pub using shadow puppets. In the other corner, you have William Lustig and the buckets and buckets of sweat pouring off Joe Spinell. It’s a slight edge, but I’ve got to give this one to Maniac. Phantom of the Paradise has the moves, but Maniac has come prepared to fight dirty." - TL Bugg
    The Vote: Phantom of the Paradise 3, Maniac 7 - MANIAC moves on!
    What The Mike says: Well, that depends on which part of The Mike you ask.  His brain says The Descent...but something inside wants me to pick Killer Klowns.  I's my heart.  I must follow it blindly. Killer Klowns get my vote.
    What the Selection Committee says:
    • "One of the most frighteningly claustrophobic movies ever made against cotton candy cocoons and balloon animals. Winner: The Descent" - B.Stank
    • "I don’t know why there are so many clowns in the league these days, but I don’t care if the Killer Klowns are from Pluto or Boise, I’d rather try and run away from alien bozos than be trapped in a cave with killer mutants. Plus, let’s all be honest. Killer Klowns from Outer Space sucks. There. I’ve said it, and we’re all better for it." - TL Bugg
    • "Ouuuuuuuuuuuuuch. This one positively hurts me. I adore both films with the same amount of love I bestow upon Mounds Bars or English Bulldog puppies, but Killer Klowns is a film like no other, one that has such incredible amounts of go-for-broke spirit that I can't ever let it lose. I'm riding this one to the championship baby!" - Emily
    The Vote: The Descent 5, Killer Klowns From Outer Space 7 - KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE moves on!

    What The Mike Says: WOW.  The only way this matchup could be more abusive toward women is if it was covered by Marv Albert with Charlie Sheen on commentary.  Both movies manage to make my skin crawl, but The Stepford Wives is a bit tighter and a bit more moving, even if The Entity has the best final line ever spoken by a paranormal entity.
    What the Selection Commitee says: 
    • "Knowing that (The Stepford Wives) came out right in the middle of the woman’s liberation movement, I wonder how many men saw this film and walked out of the theaters thinking they’d just witnessed an epic fantasy that  brought the world back to “The way it should be”." - Mike S.
    • "I love the idea of “reprogramming” my girlfriend to do as I say…like mow the lawn on 90 degree days or pretend that I’m at least slightly interesting.  But there is something so unnerving and genuinely scary about watching a woman getting violently beaten, molested and raped by an unseen entity, or demon.  Seriously intense and ridiculously underrated." - B.Stank
    • "The Poltergeist-esque nature of The Entity really appeals to me, and the booming score during the rape scenes got under my skin, but the creepy nature of an entire town where women are replaced with robots because apparently normal women aren't good enough, is much more eerie to me than an invisible malevolent entity targeting one woman." - Emily C
    The Vote: The Stepford Wives 5, The Entity 6 - THE ENTITY moves on!
    What The Mike says: I think these are probably the two smallest killers in this tournament.  The Pit won my love rather quickly, but it's no match for The Incredible Shrinking Man, which is a truly iconic sci-fi tale.
    What the Selection Committee says:
    • "The Pit - Because of its off the wall bizarro-ness." - R.D. Penning
    • "The Incredible Shrinking Man: “Victim of weird mist ! Day by day he shrinks! Science is baffled! Cat becomes monster! Terror at every turn! Deadly spider attacks! Lost in a flood's fury!”  The Pit: “Down in the pit there's something alive. Half-human, half-monster half-crazed. Pray to God it only kills you."  I imagine it must be quite terrifying constantly shrinking, but I also imagine finding a half-human half-monster half-crazed thing is far scarier. That doesn’t even add up to a whole. That’s MORE THAN a whole. It doesn’t even make sense, and therefore, The Pit wins." - Liam
    • "The Incredible Shrinking Man: Ah, The Pit, a lovingly awful movie about the world's most obnoxious little boy ever (and his kind of maybe evil teddy bear, plus, trollogs). Um. Right, While I love The Pit's poster art, The Incredible Shrinking Man is an oddly disturbing and way smarter than it should be slice of '50s sci-fi terror." - Emily
    • "And….I’m spent." - Mike S.
    The Vote: The Incredible Shrinking Man 4, The Pit 6 - THE PIT moves on!
    I'm spent too.  The first round comes to a close with a barrage of unexpected upsets, which should set up an interesting bracket as we move forward in this regional!  Join us soon for Round Two!

    SECOND ROUND MATCHUPS - The Blob Regional
    #1 Seed - Evil Dead II vs. #8 Seed - The Curse of the Werewolf
    #5 Seed - Martin vs. #4 Seed - Death Proof
    #11 Seed - Maniac vs. #14 Seed - Killer Klowns from Outer Space
    #10 Seed - The Entity vs. #15 Seed - The Pit

    March 25, 2011

    FMWL's March Midnight Madness Tournament - Round One (Part Three of Four)

    If you missed Part One of Round One, go here.
    If you missed Part Two of Round One, go here.
    If you want to know who the selection committee for Round One is, here they are:
    And now, we move on to.....
    #1 Seed - MMOTW #2: Moon vs. #16 Seed - MMOTW #10: The Roost
    What The Mike says: I like The Roost a ton.  Ti West's debut feature is a fun little late night spook show.  But Moon is one of my favorite movies of the last few years, thanks to Sam Rockwell basically owning the whole film.  I gotta give it the edge.
    What the Selection Committee says:
    • "Look, I know Moon is a much better film. I’m not a complete moron. But you know what it lacks? Tom Noonan as a UHF style horror host. The Roost is a bat shit insane B movie homage. Is it a zombie film? Is it a killer bat film? Is it a teen slasher? I’ve seen the film three times and I still can’t figure it out past knowing that I love it." - Mike S.
    • "THE ROOST gets eclipsed by Sam Rockwell and MOON." - Fred [The Wolf]
    • "There are a handful of reasons why Moon is a wonderful piece of cinema, but what really drives it, what is essentially the film’s core, is that deep emotional impact that it emotes thanks to Sam‘s existential interactions with himself. One of the best science fiction films of the last ten years, Moon is a movie that will most certainly stand the test of time." - Matt
    The Vote: Moon 7, The Roost 1 - MOON moves on!
    What The Mike says: This is a little tough, because I don't want to dishonor my dearest Caroline Munro.  C-Mun, I love you dearly.  But Candyman's really freakin' good.  
    What the Selection Committee says:
    • "Candyman - Gave me nightmares up until about last week." - R.D. Penning
    • "Captain Kronos – Vampire Hunter: “Evil Ends Here."  Candyman: “We Dare You To Say His Name Five Times!” It has to go to Candyman really – it’s such an awesome film with a tagline and idea that has really permeated popular culture in a way Captain Kronos – Vampire Hunter can only dream of. Besides, I don’t think Captain Kronos would stand much of a chance against the Candyman, he can’t be used to finding things in mirrors." - Liam
    • "I don’t particularly want to look into a mirror and say either of these guys names in hopes (?) that they will show up. I’ve got to give this one to Tony Todd’s Candyman. Only one of these dudes had to face Virginia Madsen, and that goes a long, long way." - TL Bugg
    The Vote: Captain Kronos - Vampire Hunter 1, Candyman 8 -CANDYMAN moves on!
    What The Mike says: The Devil Rides Out is kind of my baby.  I mean, it was the first MMOTW for a reason.  I flat out adore it.  Burning Bright's good - I mean, it has TIGER VS. HOTTIE! - but it'll never match The Devil Rides Out's Christopher Lee flavored goodness.
    What the Selection Committee says:
    • "Devil worshipers vs. hungry tiger.... hmmm, while the hungry tiger stalking kids trapped in a house during a hurricane sounds ridiculous, the fact that this film was created in such a way to make it utterly believable, and not only believable, but awesome, gives Burning Bright the edge in this matchup." - Emily C
    • "Seen neither, as of yet." - Fred [The Wolf]
    • "Another pair of films I haven’t seen, but I know that BB doesn’t end with the autistic kid getting eaten whole by a tiger, so I’m holding that knowledge against the movie." - Mike S.
    The Vote: The Devil Rides Out 4, Burning Bright 3 - THE DEVIL RIDES OUT moves on! 
    What The Mike says: We'll come back to that....
    What the Selection Committee says:
    • "This is a battle of style versus cheese.  Style, especially that of Mario Bava, wins over cheese every time." - B.Stank
    • "You may think you can pick against Piranha, but Paul Grogan’s beard and tucked in flannel believe otherwise. You best listen." - Matt
    • "Have to give it up for the film that gave Joe Dante his start.  Yes, it’s a Jaws rip-off. However, unlike the modern day cash in companies such as Asylum, Piranha’s a good little B movie with fun character, ad for its time, FX that works. Plus it featured little kids getting eaten ass first by schools of fish. Good times." - Mike S.
    • "This one is tough, as I love both ghost stories and creature features... and I love both Mario Bava and Joe Dante.... so child ghosts or killer piranhas?  What do I choose?  Well, since I love ghost stories just a little more than creature features, that's going to edge Piranha out on this one.  Kill, Baby..Kill! it is!" - Emily C
    The Vote: Kill, Baby...Kill! 5, Piranha 5 - IT'S A TIE!  THE MIKE GETS TO USE HIS TIEBREAKING VOTE!
    NOW...What The Mike says: OK, this is a tough one.  But when I think of these two films, the first thing that pops out in my memory - just ahead of Giacomo Rossi-Stuart's ridiculously impressive chin in KBK - is that scene in Piranha when little Suzy, who's terrified of the water, starts rowing out to save Piranha victims.  Oh, how I love acts of childhood heroism in b-movies.  I'm thus voting for PIRANHA to move on. 
    What The Mike says: Oh boy oh boy oh boy! I've been waiting for this matchup all week, because I looked at Phibes' iconic tagline and the matchup, and realized I could say.......*drum roll*.......LOVE MEANS NEVER HAVING TO VOTE FOR THE UGLY!  (I know, that was mean.  But it's PHIBES!
    What the Selection Committee says:
    • "While The Ugly looks incredibly promising (in fact I think I'm moving it up on my Netflix queue ASAP) as an interesting and creepy psychological thriller, The Abominable Dr. Phibes may just be my favorite Vincent Price film, and the inspired thematic killings that Dr. Phibes performs are some of the most memorable I've seen.  Dr. Phibes for the win!" - Emily C
    • "The Abominable Dr. Phibes: “HE CAME BACK FROM THE DEAD FOR REVENGE with Nine Diabolical Curses ... BEES ... BATS ... BEASTS ... BLOOD ... FROGS ... HAIL ... LOCUSTS ... DARKNESS ... DEATH! THE ABOMINABLE DR. PHIBES ... the most terrifying film you will ever see!"  The Ugly: “The Ugly - It's not a pretty picture!”  Wow. Just look at how exciting The Abominable Dr. Phibes sounds! All those capitals, all those curses. It sounds fantastic. And it promises to be the most terrifying film I’ll ever see. That’s quite a statement to throw out there. The Ugly, yeah, I see what your trying to do, but no, not this time." -  Liam
    The Vote: The Abominable Dr. Phibes 8, The Ugly 1 - THE ABOMINABLE DR. PHIBES moves on!
    What The Mike says: Y'all know I'm talking about the ORIGINAL Assault on Precinct 13 right?  It's one of my absolute favorite movies - in fact, I'd wager it's my favorite of the four Carpenter films in this tournament.  That's right, I said it. 
    What the Selection Committee says:
    • "Silent Night, Deadly Night: I was tempted to vote the other way simply to make a political statement about how what REALLY belongs in Seed 14 is Silent Night Deadly Night 2: Garbage Day, but then I remembered that you can’t fight City Hall or The Mike, so hence, somehow, that equates to NAUGHTY!" - Emily
    • "While I love the punishing Santa as much as the next gal, I'm going for Assault on Precinct 13 here as it's one of the best siege movies out there, with some great multi-dimentional characters, and has one of my favorites of John Carpenter's scores." - Emily C
    • "One of the rarest of times where I won’t pick Carpenter. I really dig Assault, but a Santa Slasher is the quickest way to my blackened heart. That and Mrs. Budd's White Meat Chicken Pies. Seriously, why are those things so friggin good?" - Matt
    The Vote: Assault On Precinct 13 2; Silent Night, Deadly Night 7 - SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT moves on! (Note from The Mike: Part of my soul just DIED.)
    What The Mike Says: Two groovy 1968 hits here, but my vote is securely in the hands of Spider Baby, which is one of the most bizarre horror comedies ever.  
    What the Selection Committee says:
    • "Danger: Diabolik's super-spy hi-jinks are sexy and ridiculous, but utterly superficial; Spider Baby's over-the-top madness cuts deep as the film plays a sick joke on families everywhere." - Andreas
    • "This is another battle of style versus cheese.  Unfortunately, this time Bava finds himself on the wrong side.  SPIDER BABY is the blueprint for ALL “crazy family” horror movies, with a style all it’s own…classic." - B.Stank
    • "SPIDER BABY puts DIABOLIK in DANGER in this one." - Fred [The Wolf]
    The Vote:  Spider Baby 10, Danger: Diabolik! 0 - SPIDER BABY moves on!
    #2 Seed - MMOTW #7: The Omen vs. #15 Seed - MMOTW #4: Popcorn
    What The Mike Says: Another sad seeding, as I think Popcorn's a lot better than a 15 seed.  But, it's an unfortunate victim here, as The Omen is one of my very favorite religio-horrors.  I gotta go with the Oscar winning musical score.
    What the Selection Committee says:
    • "I know some in the horror blogging community are going to be tempted to root for Cinderella here due to Kristy Jett’s outstanding efforts to give ‘Corn a proper DVD release. The Omen is one of the classics though, and it represents the last period in Hollywood history where studios actually gave a hoot about the genre, and worked on producing the best possible film they could. The scene where Damian’s first nanny joyously professes her devotion to the boy before plunging to her death (at a children’s birthday party no less!) remains one of the all time most chilling moments in horror history." - Mike S.
    • "Popcorn: The Omen is one of the duller classics that, save for a brilliant birthday party hanging, does absolutely nothing for me. Popcorn, on the other hand, is a scrumptious valentine aimed at genre fans." - Emily
    • "Look at me, Damien! It's all for you! No, not the POPCORN, Your win, silly!" - Fred [The Wolf]
    • "Damien sucks, Jill Scholen rules. Any questions?" - TL Bugg
    The Vote: The Omen 7, Popcorn 3 - THE OMEN moves on!
    Just when you think you've got our selection committee's answer...they change the question.  A couple of surprising upsets should set up a very interesting second round in this region!

    SECOND ROUND MATCHUPS - The Hammer Regional
    #1 Seed - Moon vs. #9 Seed - Candyman
    #5 Seed - The Devil Rides Out vs. #13 Seed - Piranha
    #6 Seed - The Abominable Dr. Phibes vs. #14 Seed - Silent Night, Deadly Night
    #7 Seed - Spider Baby vs. #2 Seed - The Omen

    FMWL's March Midnight Madness Tournament - Round One (Part Two of Four)

    If you missed Part One of the Round One, go here.
    If you want to know who the selection committee for Round One is, here they are:
    Now, let's all move on to.....
     What The Mike says: This is the highest rated film (or, the number one overall seed) vs. the lowest rated.  And boy, does it show.  The Thing, of course. 
    What the Selection Committee says:
    • "THE THING is the greatest remake of all time.  THE FOOD is the San Francisco 49ers vs. a rubber chicken.  It would be great if they remade it with the current real-life coach of the 49ers, Mike Singletary, bringing his terrible team to the island to be devoured by giant gerbils." - B.Stank
    • "The Thing: Aw, Food of the Gods, you’re awfully adorable with those fuzzy rats and fuzzy chest hairs on the late and still handsome Leslie Nielsen, but playing against The Thing is like watching Michael Jordan play against the idea that he’s actually retired." - Emily
    • "John Carpenter’s The Thing: “Man is The Warmest Place to Hide." The Food of the Gods: “Welcome to the Bottom of the Food Chain!”  The Food of the Gods does feature an alluring tagline, but John Carpenter’s The Thing wins because, well, it’s John Carpenter AND Kurt Russell and it’s awesome. Fact." - Liam
    The Vote: The Thing 12, The Food of the Gods 0 - THE THING moves on!
    What The Mike says: I am shocked and appalled that The House of the Devil's IMDB rating was low enough to "earn" it a NINE seed.  Seriously, I'm shocked.  It's one of the best horrors in YEARS, and I give it a nudge over the fun Crusoe/Mars flick.
    What the Selection Committee says:
    • "Robinson Crusoe on Mars may make for campy (and monkey-filled) fun, but it's no match for Ti West's retro, understated thrills." - Andreas
    • "Ti West can do no wrong in my book. I ranked this as my #1 film of 2009, it get’s the easy nod this round. Despite seeing this at least a half dozen times, that scene in the graveyard where Megan meets a short and brutal end out of nowhere makes me jump every time still." - Mike S.
    • "I’m confused. Are these not the same movie?" - TL Bugg
    The Vote: Robinson Crusoe on Mars 2, The House of the Devil 7 - THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL moves on!
    What The Mike says: I'm ALL ABOUT CLOWNHOUSE here.  I like Stir of Echoes a bunch, sure.  But Clownhouse, as sick and twisted as the story behind it is, was a family tradition when I was growing up.  It's one of the rare movies that's actually kind of a part of me, and it's a shame the director's a perv and now no one can see it.
    What the Selection Committee says:
    • "Clownhouse: My feelings on Clownhouse are incredibly complicated (see Paracinema (Note from The Mike: PLEASE READ PARACINEMA, y'all!) Issue 10) and my adoration for all things bacon certainly extends to all things Bacon, but I find Stir of Echoes gets stuck in that goo that often slogs ghost tales, i.e., there being a letdown once (SPOILER ALERT) the ghosts turn out to be just rather than vengeful." - Emily
    • "As much as I enjoy The Sixth Sense, I always found it to be very unfortunate that due to the success of that film, Stir of Echoes went almost completely unnoticed. Stir of Echoes is wicked underrated, brah." - Matt
    • "STIR OF ECHOES has six more degrees than CLOWNHOUSE ever will." - Fred [The Wolf]
    The Vote: Stir of Echoes 6, Clownhouse 4 - STIR OF ECHOES moves on!
    What The Mike says: I never vote against Carpenter or Kurt Russell.  Period.
    What the Selection Committee says:
    • "Scarecrows. What can I say? I live in Iowa." - R.D. Penning
    • "Scarecrows: I LOVE John Carpenter’s insane ‘80s candy, but Scarecrows is one of those low budget ‘80s horrors that could, a film I saw on VHS back when video stores were heaven on earth and one that has lasted through memory and Monsters HD airings alone (until now, where any old North American can experience it on Instant Watch)." - Emily
    • "This is my favorite documentary about Kurt Russell." - Mike S.
    • "You know what ol' Jack Burton always says at a time like this? Scarcrows doesn’t stand a chance." - Matt
    The Vote: Big Trouble in Little China 8, Scarecrows 2 - BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA moves on!
    What The Mike says: I actually paused on this one for a while, but then I realized that it was probably only because I just saw Of Unknown Origin for the first time.  I really liked that flick, but have a feeling that once my proximity infatuation wears off I'll realize it doesn't stand up to my love for De Palma's Sisters.
    What the Selection Committee says:
    • "Mutant rats are cool and all, but De Palma's Sisters is my choice here because they are not of unknown origin, making De Palma's film much more real, and psychologically unnerving." - Emily C.
    • "Sisters: “What the Devil hath joined together let no man cut asunder.” Of Unknown Origin: “Two forces have claimed the house. Only one will survive.”  Of Unknown Origin does sound interesting, but Sisters wins because 1) I’ve actually seen it and it’s good, and 2) It’s Brian De Palma. Plus I quite enjoy the language used in the tagline, it’s all quaint and eloquent and stuff." - Liam
    • "Twice the Margot Kidder, double the win for SISTERS." - Fred [The Wolf]
    • "Of Unknown Origin - only because I just got done reading your review" - R.D. Penning (Note from The Mike: DO YOU SEE??? I do have powers after all! MUAHAHAHA!)
    The Vote: Sisters 7, Of Unknown Origin 1 - SISTERS moves on!
    What The Mike says: Happy Birthday to Me and I are pretty tight, but Karloff means something.  Plus, Lugosi.  Therefore, I'm down with The Body Snatcher.
    What the Selection Committee says:
    • "I love The Body Snatcher's portrayal of Burke and Hare, and Karloff gives a wonderful performance, but Happy Birthday to Me wins here due to it's creative kills and memorable birthday party finale." - Emily C
    • "I blew out the candles and my wish came true: THE BODY SNATCHER won the round." - Fred [The Wolf]
    • "Canada threw some high heat in the early 80’s when it came to slasher films. I love the fact that this is essentially a Scooby Doo whodunit episode right down to the unmasking at the end-except this episode would feature Scrappy getting a metal shish kabob jammed down his gullet. I also love the scene where the college kids are kicking back at the pub and mixing it up with the townies. Yeah, they were hooligans, but they weren’t unlikeable douche nozzles that we typically see nowadays. The only drawback to the film is it stretched out a bit too long." - Mike S.
    The Vote: The Body Snatcher 5, Happy Birthday to Me 4 - THE BODY SNATCHER moves on!
    What The Mike says: This is where I disagree with most of the horror 'verse.  I'd rather have a middling gothic horror over a F13 movie almost any day of the week.  If we're talking about one of the cheesy F13 sequels I might think a bit harder about picking it, but since it's the first I'm siding with Doc Z.
    What the Selection Committee says:
    • "Jess Franco at his most artistic is no match for Mrs. Voorhees at her most murderous." - TL Bugg
    • "I liked slasher movies more when they played out like a Miss Marple story and the killer looked a little bit like my mom." - Mike S.
    • "While the villainess in The Diabolical Doctor Z kills in a much more unique fashion than Mrs. Voorhees' machete attacks by using her poison tipped fingernails, I'm rooting for simplicity and big knives here.  Plus, Friday the 13th gets points for the ending making me jump every single time."
    The Vote: The Diabolical Doctor Z 0, Friday the 13th 9 - FRIDAY THE 13TH moves on!
    What The Mike says: YOU GUYS.  I know we're all a lot younger than Horror of Dracula, but COME ON!  This is Hammer's masterpiece!  It's so groundbreaking and cool and luscious, and...well, no there aren't any chainsaws.  But I so heart Hammer's Dracula.  Y'all won't let me down, right?
    What the Selection Committee says:
    • "TCM 2 is an above-average sequel buoyed by black humor and a crazier-than-usual Dennis Hopper, but it has nothing on Lee's iconic performance and the garish color of this Hammer classic." - Andreas
    • "Cushing, Lee…so unbelievably classic.  But let’s face it, Dracula has been around for over a century. Chop Top is one of the most original and unforgettable genre characters from the last 30 years.  May “horror purists” condemn me to hell!!" - B.Stank
    • "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 is good old sleazy fun, but Horror of Dracula is a beautiful film and possibly by favorite adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula, thus I choose Horror of Dracula." - Emily C
    • "I love Christopher Lee. I really do. I love him as Dracula, but... not as much as Bela Lugosi and not as much as Texas Chainsaw Massacre. To paraphrase Chop Top, that dog will NOT hunt!" - TL Bugg
    The Vote: Horror of Dracula: 5, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2: 6 - THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2 moves on!
    OK you guys, that last one stung.  But, The Mike plays through pain.  Will the next region hold more shocking upsets?  Can John Carpenter and Kurt Russell defeat all?  We'll find out soon enough!
    SECOND ROUND MATCHUPS - The Myers Regional
    #1 Seed - The Thing vs. #9 Seed - The House of the Devil
    #5 Seed - Stir of Echoes vs. #4 Seed - Big Trouble in Little China
    #6 Seed - Sisters vs. #3 Seed - The Body Snatcher
    #10 Seed - Friday the 13th vs. #15 Seed - The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2