Monday, November 26, 2012

Moving sucks...

Happily, I am all moved into my new apartment - yea! - but unhappily, I have been without internet and will continue to be without it until this Thursday evening. That of course means no Blogger and even more important, NO NETFLIX. Seriously guys, what the hell am I going to do for the next few days? No Law and Order: Criminal Intent? No getting through some of the movies in my queue? I feel as though I will soon go batshit crazy. So if that happens, I might not be with you guys anymore. If not, see you in a couple days.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Project Terrible: 1313: Bermuda Triangle (2011)

Okay, Alec, I guess it was only fair that I had to watch one of these David DeCoteau 1313 movies, too. Doesn't mean I have to like it. I've never watched any kind of officially "gay" movie before either so this turned out to be an, um, interesting experience. 1313: Bermuda Triangle is thankfully quite short (didn't cut into my marathon of Law and Order: Criminal Intent that much) and quite dense, and only required the bare minimum of my brain power to get through it. Here we go...

So the first scene will soon become quite familiar as the movie goes on. A buff dude in swim trunks named Ryan walks into this random house. He proceeds to spend the next, oh, about four minutes walking into every room of the house and constantly yelling inane things like, "Hello? Anybody here? It's Ryan! Hello, is anybody there?" over and over and over and over and over agin. Who is this guy and who is he looking for? Already, I don't care. And we don't find out anyway because Ryan's search is interrupted when he walks into the gym and is hit with some kind of electric charge or whatever (CGI lightning appears on his body). The next bad effects shot is Ryan strung up by one of the gym machines in only his tightie whities. The cameraperson manages to get a pretty good amount of zooms on Ryan's package while he struggles around for a while.

Uh huh. So that's the kind of movie this is going to be. Goody. Like I said this is my first David DeCoteau movie. It sure as fuck better be my last. Don't get me wrong, I don't have any problem with gay and lesbian movies at all, but seriously. This is basically the softest core porn I've ever seen with only the slightest attempt at some other kind of plot. Shirtless guys walk around this beach house, swimming, taking showers, acting badly. Why didn't DeCoteau just make an actual porn and get it over with?

Anyway, back to the movie. After the first scene with Ryan, there's a quick scene with some other shirtless dudes including our main guy, Sean, talking about some secret diving mission. Not long after that, another shirtless boy in shorts, this time called Jesse, walks into the same house that Ryan did at the beginning, and starts wandering around asking if anybody is there. Oh my gosh, really? And guess what - he gets hit with electricity too and ends up (in his tightie whities of course) tied to the staircase railing. He does some more lame struggling, but does do some great poses that show off his ab muscles and ass, and then... nothing happens again.

Okay, so I guess the main "story" of this movie is about the aforementioned muscular hunk named Sean who is in the Caribbean searching for underwater treasure and planning to write a book about it and have a reality show or some such crap. He's a douchebag, but you could pretty much tell that by looking at him. We are later introduced to some "experts" that he's brought into his beach house to help him with research and stuff, but none of them end up doing much more than walking around in their speedos and go swimming. They all just happen to be hot young guys.

Oh no wait, a chick shows up! Not a hot chick, of course, but a chick nonetheless, and she does nothing to help the characters or the movie itself. These actors were obviously only chosen for their looks and their willingness to be in a really bad gay movie. Um, yea for them?

After the scene where Sean supposedly kills his island contact with an enormous piece of driftwood, and before we meet any of the other main characters, the movie goes back into a familiar pattern. Yup, a THIRD guy (Josh, as he tells us, and strangely not shirtless) walks into the house and starts walking around asking if anybody is there. STOP IT, STOP IT RIGHT NOW! I can't watch another scene like this again without anything happening or without them explaining anything. But surprise surprise, nothing is ever really explained enough to anybody's satisfaction.

Lemme just try to sum up what they say is going on here. While Sean was searching for whatever at the bottom of the ocean he took an important artifact from Atlantis. Yeah, Atlantis. One of the guys in Sean's house is impersonating the expert Clay he brought in and he's like a citizen of Atlantis whose been doing experiments on people and all the planes that disappear over the Bermuda Triangle and taking the people into the fourth dimension. Does that make sense? Didn't think so.

The most exciting part of the movie for our gay viewers is probably the scene where Sean takes a shower - though he doesn't need it - for THREE MINUTES. I say this is the best scene because Sean has arguably the best body of any of the guys in the movie. So DeCoteau lets us enjoy that by showing him running his hands over his (very ripped) stomach and arms. I thought for a second that something was wrong with the movie because he uses the exact same shot twice in this sequence... just to prolong it, I guess.

What happens at the end? Goodness help me, a FOURTH guy walks into the house looking for people. He gets hit with the lightning and tied up in the shower. Still no good explanation for why we have to watch naked guys struggling - other than to, you know, watch naked guys struggling. I don't really give a crap one way or the other but it's frustrating. And then what happens after the fourth dude gets tied up? No, more than just nothing - the movie ENDS.

It's bad, you get that. It's a gay movie and it's bad. The acting is one dimensional and mechanical, the plot is beyond lame, the music is repetitive and annoying. Shirtless guys walking around. That's all it is. And there are apparently a lot more movies like this from DeCoteau, which is cool for his fans and all but this is obviously not my thing. Until the next Project Terrible, I leave you with the only screenshot I could find for 1313 Bermuda Triangle, which is of our main shirtless guy, Sean. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 10, 2012


I guess if I wanted to keep up my marathon, it would've helped to update my dang DVD queue. Hence the Argh. So I'm gonna be a little behind on getting Freaks and The Fly done. Meantime, I've gotten onto one of my little TV show-watching kicks. This time it's...

... which means that I am now hopelessly obsessed with Vincent D'Onofrio. My gosh, is he awesome on that show. Per this obsession, I also had to pick up the new Jennifer Lynch movie with him in it.

Watching it right now, actually. Not sure if I'll do a review yet, but D'Onofrio is still kicking ass as always. He's doing something weird with his speech, though, and I don't get it. I might listen to the commentary on this one from D'Onofrio and Lynch before I send it back. 

Random update. See you all later!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Classic Monster Movie Marathon: Frankenstein (1931)

Of all the classic monsters that I have and will cover in this little marathon, I think it's safe to say that Frankenstein's Monster is perhaps the most iconic, if not at the least the most recognizable. You can be a snob and remind people that "Frankenstein" is actually the name of the doctor that created the quite well-known monster with a flat top head, bolts in his neck, and a lumbering walk - but honestly, that doesn't really matter anymore. What matters is that the bare bones of this story written by Mary Shelley have continued to influence media for damn near 200 years since it was first published.

The story perhaps does not need repeating but I like talking about it anyway. A seemingly mad scientist creates a human body from pieces he has stolen from graves and the gallows and brings it to life using electrical machines powered by a great thunderstorm. The creature at first seems to be rather simple and harmless, but soon shows his murderous capabilities - perhaps caused by the fact that he was implanted with the brain of a criminal. The creature doesn't understand what he's doing, but is nonetheless hunted down by the proverbial angry villagers with torches and burned down in the very building where he was "born."

Dracula and Frankenstein are like the two main Titans of this oeuvre of Universal monster movies. Everybody knows their names and their stories, but all the parody and popularization of their images has perhaps made many people forget (or not even know in the first place) that these characters were first presented to us in really, really excellent movies. Frankenstein may be an "old" movie and it may be in - gasp! - black and white, but guess what? It can still be an awesome movie, and this one most definitely is. As I've mentioned before with these Universal movies, there's much more beneath the surface than just a movie about a monster causing some mayhem. Like The Invisible Man, Frankenstein is a more character-driven story and is at its core an important morality tale.

Don't forget that the subtitle to the original novel was "The Modern Prometheus." Not that new Ridley Scott movie, but the mythical figure who created man by molding him out of clay, and who stole fire from the gods to be used by man. Mary Shelley was above all trying to tell a cautionary tale about any man who attempts to play God and messes with life and death, and the consequences that could arise from it. There are countless, and I mean countless, movies and stories that deal with some kind of monster or being created by science where things end up going horribly wrong. These scientific experiments are usually meant to somehow improve upon life - to makes us live longer, for instance - or they are done out of sheer arrogance, to prove that something seemingly impossible can be accomplished with science. And the moral of every story like this seems to always be that just because you can do something does not mean that you should do it, as Dr. Frankenstein proves in this movie.

The infamous scene with the Monster and the little girl Maria when he throws her into the lake and drowns her still makes the skin prickle a bit to watch it today. On the one hand, you're terrified for the girl who is incredibly adorable and innocent looking, but on the other, you feel bad for the Monster too. There's no way he can understand what he's doing, and his immediate fear and remorse show that he's learning. In that way, the scene can even make you angry at Dr. Frankenstein for doing this to both the Monster and the girl. Actually, the scene where the Monster kills Maria was not the worst for me. No one ever seems to mention the next part of the story, which has Maria's father carrying her dead body through the village to Frankenstein's house. The way her lifeless arm and head bounce around as he walks and the reactions of everybody in the background make this a difficult scene to watch, and a brave scene for the movie to do at the time.

I guess it's time to talk about the man himself, Boris Karloff. Frankenstein's Monster is his most well-known role and is what made him a Hollywood name. The Monster's inability to speak was perhaps fortuitous because it is what Karloff does with his body and facial expressions that really creates the character, and easily conveys all of his feelings of confusion, fear, and anger. The way he walks when the Monster makes his first full appearance, the way he reaches for the sunlight - all his moves are simply perfect in every way, and any actor today only wishes he could copy what Karloff does without looking silly at all.

A lot of love and praise is heaped upon Karloff for this movie, but what of the man playing Frankenstein himself? At least in the first part of the movie, he is the real star of the show for me, and yet I had never even known his name before I decided to write about Frankenstein. Colin Clive is remarkable as Henry Frankenstein. His portrayal is so magnetic and charismatic, aided by his piercing eyes and a voice that conveys madness, desperation, and determination all at the same time. That one lock of hair that falls in front of his eyes when he's going all crazy-rambling? Perfect image, and dead sexy as well. He made only 18 films during his short career, but he no doubt made a lasting impression with this role - helped by his wonderful delivery of the famous line "It's alive!"

Sidenote: Loved seeing Dwight Frye again as Frankenstein's hunchbacked assistant Fritz. Same as his role in Dracula, Frye brings such amazing creepy comedy and physicality to this role. Awesome actor! Also, the guy playing Baron Frankenstein was a freaking hoot.

Have I heaped enough praise on this movie yet? Do you get that it is an amazing classic that will never be forgotten? Good. There's so much more to talk about here - the ominous lack of music; the fantastic set at the windmill; the finale with the villagers - but hopefully I've highlighted enough of what the movie means to me to make you go see it and love it as much as everyone else does. Another horror icon with an indelible place in film history, the story of Frankenstein and his monstrous creation has and will always with be us, no matter where the genre goes in the future.

And just for the fun of it again, here's a picture of me with Frankenstein's Monster at Madame Toussaud's in NYC.