Saturday, 17 February 2018

The Shape of Water - The scoop and digest

Guillermo del Toro's fantastical romance has already been nominated for countless awards.

Does the reality justify the hype?

Sally Hawkins - Elisa
Michael Shannon - Colonel Strickland
Roy Jones - The Asset
Richard Jenkins - Giles
Michael Stuhlbarg - Dr. Hoffstetler/Dimitri
Octavia Spencer - Zelda
Nick Searcy - General Hoyt

During the Cold War in Baltimore 1962, Elisa is a mute and bears mysterious scars on her neck.

To make ends meet, she mops the floors of a secret government laboratory.

Co-worker Zelda acts as an interpreter and struggling illustrator Giles is her only friend.

One day, she discovers an amphibious humanoid creature captured from South America by Colonel Strickland.

Could name be in homage to James Tolkan's teacher in Back to the Future?

We're told natives of the Amazon worshipped it as a god.

After Elisa pays creature several secret visits, a strong bond forms.

To gain the upper hand in the Space Race, General Hoyt orders Strickland to vivisect the creature, dubbed the Asset.

To save repetition, let's just call him A.

Undercover Russian spy Dimitri (posing as scientist Dr. Hoffstetler) wants A kept alive but is ordered by his superiors to euphanise it.

Learning of Strickland's plans, Elisa busts A out, with Hoffstetler and Zelda helping out.

At her apartment, A is kept alive by adding water-conditioning chemicals and salt to bathtub.

She plans to release A when the canal opens to the ocean in x amount of days time.

Giles startles A when he catches creature eating pussy and before scarpering in fear, A slashes his arm.

Elisa finds A in cinema and back 'home', his outstretched hand touches Giles' bald head and wounded arm.

The next day, Giles is thrilled to find hair on top and limb healed.

Soon after, Elisa gets very friendly with honored guest.

Is sequence creepy and/or uncomfortable?

Not at all.

Hoyt cranks up the pressure on Strickland demanding subordinate to 'unfuck mess' within 36 hours.

Hoffstetler meets with handlers who open fire, but tailing ass, Strickland blows them away.  Before succumbing to his wounds, tortuous techniques forces him to implicate Elisa and Zelda.

Fearing for her life, a terrified Zelda coughs about creature's whereabouts and calendar note at Elisa's place gives Strickland all the information he needs.

Just as Elisa prepares to bid A farewell, Strickland arrives and shoots them both.

A self-heals and slashes Strickland's throat.

Jumping into the canal, A brings Elisa back to life and transforms scars into gills.

Giles' narration infers that just like a fairytale, they lived happily after.

Awww.

Delightful

This had potential disaster written all over it, but boy, was I proved wrong.

Hawkins puts in a brilliant shift and Shannon's unpleasant and often scary asshole does a superb job.

Elisa signing F U C K Y O U to Strickland is among the highlights of subtle humour that is never stupid or cheesy.

The Creature from the Black Lagoon serves as an obvious inspiration for A's design and the ability to heal others and even health deterioration smacks of E.T.

Thinking about it, GDT cuts and pastes elements of Splice.

Here's why.

Asset and Dren are both amphibious.
Dren and Clive become attracted to one another and have sex.

Don't forget, director was one of three executive producers.  The others being Don Murphy and Joel Silver.

Fair enough, Vincenzo Natali's 2009 film is a sci-fi horror, but the similarities are undeniable.

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Hellraiser: Judgment - The scoop and digest

The tenth in long-running franchise is not a sequel.

Instead, Gary J. Tunnicliffe's film is best described as a semi reboot.

Damon Carney - Sean Carter
Randy Wayne - David Carter
Alexandra Harris - Christine Egerton
Gary J. Tunnicliffe - Auditor
Paul T. Taylor - Pinhead
Helena Grace Donald - Jophiel
Grace Montie - Crystal

"Obsolete. Irrelevant. In an age when desire has become amplified but where lust can be sated electronically."

Pinhead chews the fat with new assistant the Auditor about how they plan to seek souls who thrive on degradation and sin.

In our world, a man called Watkins receives a letter inviting him to 55 Ludovico Place.

As Beethoven's Für Elise plays, Auditor informs 'we have such sights to show you'.

He's knocked out off-screen and awakes tied to a wheelchair.  Auditor conducts interview about him luring a young girl to jam jar, with result passed to the Assessor.

Fat human scoffs Auditor's findings and regurgitates 'sins' into a sink linked to another room.

Members of the Jury (hot ladies with disfigured faces) find him guilty and three munters cleanse stripped body with unpleasant tongues.

The Surgeon slices up condemned, removing face and skin.

Just in case you've forgotten, different character bearing same name was a Cenobite in Hellseeker and Hellworld.

The Jury are drenched in blood and camera zooms out.

Some time later, the rather stunning Crystal (who can't act for fucking toffee), is killed by a hooded assailant.

Police officers Sean and David Carter, along with female bit Egerton, find message 'I am a jealous God' written in blood on the carpet.

Said message is an excerpt from Exodus.

It seems serial killer dubbed the Preceptor has been a naughty boy again.

Muffled sound from lifeless body compels little black dress to be unzipped, revealing she was cut open and stitched up.  Breaking the seal, darling doggie is rescued.

She saw mutt as her baby, so killer placed it inside womb.

Geddit?

Preceptor is a masonic term, meaning teacher, responsible to uphold law and tradition.

In this case - the 10 Commandments.

Watkins (flasher and kiddie porn peddler), is made chief suspect and laptop's history leads Sean to visit last known address.

Sean's words about his career chokes the Assessor and also leaves the Jury in some discomfort.

This summons the angel Jophiel who orders Sean's release.

During cleansing process, he wriggles free from restraints.

Auditor returns to find Cleaners dead and a box missing.

There's no need for any retaliation bullshit, as Pinhead is super confident he'll be back.

At Sean's place, David picks up a copy of Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities.

Among the slightly famous 'It was the' sentences in Book the First: Recalled to Life, season of darkness and winter of despair stand out.

Medical examiner tells Sean and Egerton that prior to her death, killer wedged cell phone down Crystal's throat.

Conveniently, GPS app was running at the time.

At an abandoned warehouse (where murder actually took place), Sean apparently kills Egerton.

(Sigh).

Saw style flashback sequence shows David googling 'God judging both the righteous man and the wicked', bringing up search result Ecclesiastes.

Latin transliteration of Greek for the Koheleth (meaning gatherer), is traditionally translated as 'teacher', 'preacher' and 'preceptor'.

Motivation? He's doing it for the love of God.

Holy cliché Batman.

Indeed Robin, simply astounding.

Sean's cheating wife Alison and David are held at gunpoint and forced to solve the box.

Pinhead does not accept trade of adulterers and murderer is hooked.

Audit was so rancid, it made the Assessor and Jury envious of his guilt.

He's told that he'll be reborn into an eternity of agony.

Alison and David are subsequently killed and Jophiel tells Sean to continue his work with their blessing, a decision which angers Pinhead.

Egerton blows Sean away and calls for an ambulance.

Back in Hell, Pinhead finally loses patience with Jophiel and arranges hooks to shut nagging yap up for good.

'Jesus wept.'

Nice ref, but delivery is terrible.

After Pinhead states 'he has nothing left to fear', Auditor suggests perhaps there is a torture they cannot endure.

Banishment. Exile. Back to the mortal world.

We see a now human Pinhead gibbering 'the sweet suffering' and it's left ambiguous if a higher power has made this reality.

A post-credits scene in Hanover shows two Mormons spreading the word of God.

Auditor answers door and invites them in.

Err, why has operation moved to Germany?

(Shakes head).

Pain without pleasure

It's well put together, performances from leads largely impress and special effects are good for straight-to-video, but take away Cenobites, and you're left with nothing more than a poor man's Seven.

What the FUCK?

Tunnicliffe's screenplay can be well written, but becomes cheesy and almost comical towards the end.

Compared to Christopher Young's superb theme, Deron Johnson's new music blows.

Mike Jay Regan reprises role as Chatterer III, but even though noise is heard, teeth don't always move.

Goof is particularly obvious during Sean's nightmare.

The only thing more pointless than Heather Langenkamp's Landlady is the Butcher.

Door may be left open for another, but series needs to die - right now.

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

I have such sights to show you

I'm 'unofficially' making February Hellraiser month.

The tenth in Clive Barker's iconic series is released on 13 February and rest assured, I'll be passing Judgment.

For now, I present the limitless pleasures of heaven and hell.

Mature content.

Viewer discretion is advised.

Pinhead was credited as Lead Cenobite in 1987 original.
Hell Priest was one of six famous movie villains parodied in lamentable spoof Stan Helsing.

Needlehead (Charles Zuckerman)
The other five being Lucky (Chucky), Mason (Jason Vorhees), Fweddy (Freddy Krueger), Pleatherface (Leatherface) and Michael Crier (Michael Myers).

I've nailed these tidbits.

Natalie (Evil Dead 2013)
Stage Fright (2014)


Nice.

Ignoring flipper things, God Hand member Ubik (name taken from Philip K. Dick's novel) of Manga Berserk, looks remarkably similar to Butterball.


Take a cheeky peek at this monstrous lot.

After (2012) vs Necromentia (2009)


Okay, it appears both (mainly the latter), cut and pasted Nemesis from Resident Evil: Apocalypse.


Which of course was adapted from Resident Evil 3: Nemesis.

Hmmm, let's place Jill's stalker and Chatterer side by side.


There are no confirmed reports of Barker ever suing Capcom, so it's plausible a lucrative deal was made behind closed doors.

After all, he wasn't exactly a one off and design never deviated.

Latest appearance was in Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite.
The Void is either a modern day love letter or bare-faced rip off of ultimate body horror classic The Thing.

I take issue with now skinless villain.

Transformed Powell vs Frank (2nd iteration)


Miscellany

Neun (The Evil Within)
Event Horizon

Hellraiser, The Shining, Alien and 2001: A Space Odyssey?

Yep, Paul W. S. Anderson's cult film is all that and more.

For the benefit of those who are oblivious, it served as one of the primary inspirations for Dead Space.

Behold some hell-raising examples.




Do you see? DO YOU SEE?

Oh never mind.

Dr. Weir (Sam Neill) could be compared to Hellbound's eventual cenobite Dr. Channard (Kenneth Cranham).


When Harry Mason crosses over to Midwich's Otherworld in PS1 classic Silent Hill, some rooms have hooks with remnants of human flesh still attached.


The boiler room in A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master has same dangling objects, but missing meat. 
At some point in Silent Hill: Homecoming, you'll open a door with chains stretching what is presumably human skin.
2010 Australian thriller Needle isn't really a horror, and should be described as a murder mystery.

Le Vaudou Mort may be a box, but is actually used as a tool for revenge.
Still, drawing comparisons to Lemarchand's box is inevitable.

Designer Simon Sayce (who also created Decker's mask for Nightbreed), passed away last year.
It may have inspired the Flauros puzzle in Silent Hill: Origins.

In order to release Alessa, you must endure frustrating fun and games.
What about this one?

The Matriarch (The Evil Within 2 end boss)
After taking down and rescuing Myra, Chapter 17 alternates between Seb and Kidman in a satisfying, but practically gameplay free climax.
Half torso kinda reminds me of Frank's birth.


Hellraiser III is subbed Hell on Earth.

At least subtitle is self aware.

Fire-breathing Barbie always carries a container of gasoline so he can burn people alive.
Makeshift cenobite also bursts through probably the fakest brick wall in cinema history.
Yeah, even worse than Robocop 2.
Probably coincidence, but moronic name could be a reference to Barbie Wilde, who replaced Grace Kirby as Female Cenobite in Hellbound.

Or possibly, a simultaneous play on barbed wire and BBQ?

There might be something in this.

Stereotypical bimbo Sandy appreciates a piece of art from J.P. Monroe's collection.
It rings the dark bell of Francis Bacon.

Study for a Portrait
Who knows?

Rip offs

Eyeless clown (Hellbound: Hellraiser II) vs Blind Michael Myers (Halloween II 1981)


Camerahead's victim (Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth) vs T-1000 (Terminator 2: Judgment Day)


Reversing situation.

The Missionary (Silent Hill: Revelation) vs CD (Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth)


Why would a shitty film want to rape an even shittier film?

Honestly, what the... FUCK?

If you've read my Dark Escape 4D feature, you'll know this already.

Death Chamber scene vs The Engineer (Hellraiser)


I'd love to know what Nex Entertainment would say.

Hellbound: Hellraiser II (Revisited)

"It is not hands that call us.  It is desire."

A great quote from Pinhead.

Tony Randel's sequel was muddled, nonsensical and largely dumb.

Having said that, if you delve deeper.

At the start, we see how Pinhead came to be, or if you like - born.
Note tentacle thing carving noughts and crosses grid on scalp.
It appears these are the same weapons Channard has at his disposal.
"Nothing personal babe."
Julia gets revenge on Frank for betraying her in original.
It's worth noting quote was actually "It's nothing personal, baby."
Anyway, evil bitch takes great pleasure in taking Frank's heart.
Maybe I'm crazy for suggesting such an outlandish reference, but Barker's original novella was called The Hellbound Heart.
When lightning strikes above the Channard Institute, a portion of the box can be seen.
Cute.

As Leviathan goes into meltdown (I think?), Kirsty and Tiffany flee from hundreds of 'souls' (or whatever they're supposed to represent), and miraculously make it out alive. 
If you watch carefully, some are skulls.
Shit yer' pants scary, right?

I think not.

At Channard's home, a pillar rises through bloodied mattress.

Taking a closer look.

Those not distracted by a screaming Pinhead will notice a skeleton getting sucked off. 
Okay, that's disgusting.

Corpse that Kirsty accidentally finds hidden inside a wardrobe cannot be missed.


I assume fanged creature is supposed to be the Engineer.
Also, a severed penis hangs adjacent to a box.
Finally, the Derelict has a question.

"What is your pleasure sir?"
Not sure pal.

Let me sleep on it.

Depending on sense of humour, Channard taking over this operation may or not be funny.

A small dart in throat instantly kills Female.
Fair enough, but it's what happens next.

A much larger spear eliminates Butterball.
That's nothing.

Chatterer's fate is sealed by a fucking javelin.
How wonderfully bizarre.

HA HA HA!

Channard gives Pinhead special treatment by turning him back human and slitting his throat.

M. C. Escher

Labyrinth has Relativity written all over it.

Check out apples and pears.



Then compare design to mind-bending lithograph.


A physical print from Dutch maestro can be seen in Tiffany's room.

Day and Night
The best is saved until last.

Just before Channard's transformation begins, this blink and you'll miss it shot shares an uncanny resemblance to arguably Francis Bacon's most famous painting.
Figure with Meat
Just before I'm done.

Lieutenant Boyle's gruesome crucifixion in The Silence of the Lambs.
The next will tear your soul apart.
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