Now Watching: SCARE ZONE (2009) via Roku’s Amazon Prime VOD Channel

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I am not a slasher movie fan. I can not stress that enough, while a horror fan, Slasher is simply not my genre of choice, mostly because as a genre it tends to be one-note, insipid, and ineptly done. Also too mean spirited, too misanthropic; seemingly at times it is the filmmaker working out his serial killer fantasies, trying to get the audience to root for the monster. I have no interest in that.

Thankfully Jon Binkowski’s SCARE ZONE tends to avoid most of these slasher tropes and pitfalls, telling in 90 minutes a high energy, at times fun and likable film, filled for the most part with likable people (a slasher film rarity) who unfortunately find themselves the target of a dread force.

The movie keeps me captivated till the end. Even having in addition to its lighter notes and macabre lunacy something interesting, and perhaps a bit profound to say, about the effect that our affectations put on, can cause to ourselves and others.

A good way to spend 90 minutes. Recommended. C+/B-.

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INSANE (2010) – Amazon Prime Streaming VOD Movie Review

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INSANE- A 2010 film by directors Anders Jacobsson & Tomas Sandquist, INSANE makes the most of its single location setting, wringing for the most part passioned performances from its nubile young actresses and quirky actors and marrying that to some effective and creepy camera work and one of the more demented boogie men since Hitchcock’s Norman Bates.

However I have no interest in seeing women butchered, I’m not a slasher fan, I’m a mystery/thriller fan… so around the 2nd butchered girl, I’m losing interest in this film. I want to fast forward to the comeuppance of the villain. But thankfully the pattern breaks slightly with the third girl which keeps me watching to the end.

Unfortunately it is a distasteful ending, to a distasteful movie. The movie is better directed and performed than most slashers, unfortunately it succumbs to the slasher rule of super-powered killer, and moronic brain dead victims. This movie goes so far as to try to make the bad guy ‘relate-able’ by given him the worn back-story, ‘I was traumatized as a child’. As if that is ever an excuse for being a detestable adult yourself.

I despise these movies where the slasher is made the hero, some franchise character; which is why I was never a fan of the Halloween or Friday the 13th Films, The first Halloween is great, but they should have stopped there.

Another failing of INSANE is its over reliance on gore. I think the filmmaker is very effective at creating a creepy atmosphere, and effective stalk and chase scenes, but I feel this all goes out the window when he needs to play to the bloodhounds by giving us ever more egregious examples of the destroyed human form.

As someone who thinks the human form is beautiful and a work of art and a fragile achievement, I don’t relate to seeing people destroyed or dead rather than alive. That’s not the draw of a roller coaster, mangled bodies and twisted piles of steel after a crash; the draw of a roller-coaster is the chase, and the momentum, and the perilous high of the unknown and slightly out of control. And that’s the same draw of a good thriller/horror movie.

People remember the shower scene in PSYCHO because it’s a beautifully photographed, masterfully directed moment of madness, redeemed from mundaneness by surreal, stylistic direction. We watch films to see the work of filmmakers, and throwing blood and guts at the screen does not a filmmaker make.

There is nothing in INSANE, while definitely inspired by PSYCHO, that will be remembered as vividly or hauntingly as PSYCHO.

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However INSANE has moments of style and perspective that try to elevate it from the usual brain-dead slasher flick but these moments get aborted with the distasteful gore scenes. And the ending is more of this copycat ode to murderers as supermen killers that get away with it.

That concept, ‘villains winning’, never appealed to me. Never will. I know life is filled with examples of villains winning, however art should be better than that. I was raised to believe in Justice, and at the very least Crime and Punishment.

I was raised to believe in Heroes, people who are there to rescue maidens from dragons, which why for me Michael Mann’s MANHUNTER is a far superior movie to Demme’s SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, and why I have nothing but distaste for the HANNIBAL tv show.

I think the things we glorify as a society are the things we become. I’ve always believed in glorifying heroes, however in our DEXTER, SHIELD, HANNIBAL, BATES MOTEL, VIKINGS generation we get the opposite of that. And don’t get me started on VIKINGS(they went around murdering, torturing, raping, and stealing, largely from unarmed villages and settlements, yet now we have a show that darts completely around this to portray Vikings as sensitive, women’s lib supporting, misunderstood mariners. Mendacity. The effing Vikings made the Nazis look benign, yet we have a TV show glorifying and whitewashing them).

INSANE is part of that cinema geared to the morality of monsters, and that is its greatest weakness. INSANE has moments of true creativity, but by the end it is in strict formula territory.

By the end of INSANE I wasn’t better for watching it, and if the thing you spend over an hour of your life watching doesn’t in someway elate or enrich you, than what the hell is the point.

Summation [and possible spoilers]: A good cast and some effective camera work, let down by a derivative script and moronic ending. Less concern with making a super powered franchise character and more concern with making a good film would have served this movie well. Yeah when we get the upper-hand over a murdering maniac is the time to worry about our relationship. Really? It is brain dead lapses like this that ultimately makes this a waste rather than a winner. Grade: D.

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Where are they Now: As of this writing the directors have not done another movie. Of the cast, David Lenneman (Fred in the Swedish series REAL HUMANS), Alida Morberg, and Lars Bethke have had sporadic bit parts since, with most of the cast doing nothing since.

Some memorable, one might even say memorial, movie quotes

Okay this gets a bit weirdy and ranty, so if you don’t want weirdy and ranty, skip this post and come back tomorrow when I’ll be discussing the finer arts of moose calling or some-such nonsense. 🙂

Okay… you’ve been warned.


The White Cliffs Of Dover DVD


“God will never forgive us, if we break faith with our dead again”

— Irene Dunne in her favorite film role (I concur) 1944’s THE WHITE CLIFFS OF DOVER, set in a world at war, fighting to end future wars. Hoping the sacrifice of young lives would end there.


Short Night of Glass Dolls DVD

“It’s not Mira. Mira was a rebel. She refused sex and gold when everybody else here was lured with them, We use them as bait the whole world over. Sex and Gold. They are important because they suppress the will to resist.”

–In Aldo Lado’s surprisingly haunting and still relevant 1971 film… SHORT NIGHT OF THE GLASS DOLLS, written in a world beset with wars civil and colonial.

“The oldest person beats the drum, and the youngest go to battle. We will hold the reigns of power in the world as long as there are people willing to be killed, willing to shed their own blood. And nothing must ever be changed.”

— SHORT NIGHT OF THE GLASS DOLLS [for my full review go here]

I like those quotes. Good quotes from good films.

With an election year upon us, I’m always mightily aware of politicians and posturing.

And I’m always distinctly aware, I’ve heard it before.

Every lie before they say it. A memorial of lies one might say.

How about we try this crazy thing, instead of just remembering the ones who have died, always a worthy goal, let’s do our bit and reduce the number of people we send to join them this year, and next year, and the year after.

How’s that for a worthy memorial to war? An end to all current and future war. An end to young people dying for the posturings of old people.

Be those young people American, or Iranian, or Somalian, or Haitian, or Guatemalan…let’s consecrate ourselves to some new way, some better way, some civilized way… to live, that does not involve pitting our young people against each other in conflicts, real life Hunger Games, that they have not the slightest idea of why they are fighting.

So I’m putting on the ballot a new way to fight wars… the big mouths in this country who have a problem with big mouths in another country, the congressmen, the owners of papers, the columnists, the heads of corporations, the religious zealots, and the talk radio idiots, everyone who is quick to have others kill and torture for them… you go fight the war.

Let’s try that.

All in favor, raise your hand. 🙂 .

Let’s let the 20 and 30 year olds stay home, eff their brains out, get back to some of that age of Aquarius loving (before the 80s came to get them on the ‘me’ kick), and let them run the country.

And all you senators, all you justices, all you presidential candidates… you’ve had your time at bat, and you’ve made a perpetually regenerating and increasing mess of it…. so yeah you old, chairman of the board, want to be in charge f**ks, put on some fatigues, fill up that rucksack and you go fight the wars.

But no remote control drone bombing raids, no satellite directed death from above, no weather modification toys, no dropping mines in playgrounds (what kind of animal signs off on that? You do my friends. With every tax dollar you pay and flag you wave. You do, when you say ‘yes sir’ to terms like war power acts, and patriot acts, and laughable misnomers like homeland security… you do, we do. We did. Not anymore), not even any nuclear subs or good old grunts on the ground. No, we don’t give you any of that to wage war with, none of your cowardly, expedient toys to turn countless people into your faceless collateral damage, instead just a cage match with you old, hateful, fat f**ks in a cage with other old, hateful, fat f**ks.

We’ll give you some boxing gloves, maybe even a club or two, and you guys go at it. Work it out. Get along or kill each other, but either way, the world would be a lot better if you old manifest destiny, new world order, ‘woodrow wilson’ idolizing mfers would just die.

Because honestly, you effers have had your day, and all we have seen since the industrial revolution, is more of the same. The rich few get richer, and the rest of the people and the planet, gets raped and used up until we are clinging to a burnt out dying ball of rock.

What is the good of all your imagined power then you dumb f**ks?!!

The world can’t afford doing the same insanity that got us here, to this point, and expecting a different result. In fact that’s the definition of insanity, trying the same thing, and expecting a different result.

So give it to the young.

The world… give it to the young. They might eff up, they might not. They might find a different way, a better way. They’ll at least fall down going forward, going toward something new, which is more than any of you old ingrained effers have done in the last century and a couple decades, of mounting genocide.

Hell, maybe young people, devoid of you old people riding them to ensure they make your comfortable, beloved mistakes, they’ll even make a REAL democracy out of America, instead of a tyranny dressed as capitalism.

And as far as you old dudes and dudettes, you seekers or power and despoilers of wisdom, when you die, which is sad but more than likely a probability, that whole ‘live by the sword, die by the sword’ thing, we’ll grill a hot-dog or hamburger to you on the next memorial day.

Really we will.

Happy memorial day. 🙂

Price The White Cliffs Of Dover

Price Short Night of Glass Dolls

On Aldo Lado’s debut film SHORT NIGHT OF THE GLASS DOLLS


There is a lot not to like about Aldo Lado’s debut film, SHORT NIGHT OF THE GLASS DOLLS.

Price Short Night of Glass Dolls

It’s a very rambling, chaotic, drawn out… and yes… boring viewing experience. It’s a very unsatisfying viewing experience. It’s marketed as a Giallo, but I think that description sets up expectations this film can not meet. What it is is a very subtle drama/mystery with only the merest trappings of the Giallo genre.

That said there is something there.

Something… more… to the film.


It’s first of all beautifully filmed, with a haunting Morricone score. And writer and director Aldo Lado, has something to say… something profound, that stays with you long after the understated mystery is over.

There’s a conversation about youth and old age, and the price of power, and how it is maintained, how empires are maintained that the movie engages in. A conversation that while 35+ years old, told in the age of Aquarius and dressed with theatrics, yet manages to remain timeless… and I feel… far too valid.

And it’s a film filled with allusions, and allegories, tales of beautiful things that were born to fly… but do not.

I was going to purge this film from my collection. Sell it. And I cannot… to anyone else recommend the movie, as anything more than an oddity. But after rewatching it, I think I want to keep it.

For myself, I think it has, however oddly, much to say. And an oddly, addictive way… of saying it. It is the rare film, that… grows on you.

And on top of that I just (as in the middle of this review) watched the Blue Underground/Anchor Bay interview with Aldo Ray that comes with this flick. Great stuff!!

The interview is alternately laugh out loud funny and chill inducing. I have to change my vote and recommend this DVD.

It will not appeal to everybody, especially the first time around, but live with it for a while, and if you’re a little like me, and perhaps a little like the mad director/writer Aldo Lado… it may end up appealing to you. Recommended.

Short Night of Glass Dolls

“Certain economic powers, men, make war. And who is sent to war? Not old people like me. They send young men in their twenties to die and give their blood. Power, whether it is economic or political, maintains itself with the blood of the young.”
…Aldo Lado from the DVD Interview

F’ing line, gave me chills.

Hearing people speak truth to power, always does.