June 28th, 2009

NEVER CRY WEREWOLF (2008) ***

I normally don’t like to talk about current events on this blog as I like to try to keep things strictly focused on movie reviews and such but I do have to mention the death of Michael Jackson for just a second here.  When I was a kid I used to rent The Making of Michael Jackson’s Thriller like a hundred times from the now long gone Truitt’s Video.  I’d watch that thing over and over and even 26 years after the fact, it’s still the best music video ever made.  This week, they’ve been playing the video over and over again on TV (along with Bad, Smooth Criminal, and about a dozen others) in memory of Whacko Jack-O.  As much as I may have despised Jackson’s pedophiliac tendencies, scoffed at his increasingly bizarro behavior, and laughed my ass off at his ever-changing fucked-up face, I have to admit that Thriller is one of the main reasons why I love zombie movies, werewolves, John Landis pictures, and horror films in general.  Michael, you will be missed. 

 

Now I don’t know if The Sci-Fi Channel KNEW that MJ was going to kick the bucket or not, but they wisely aired Never Cry Werewolf today to coincide with all of these retrospectives on the passing of The Gloved One.  This flick is the perfect companion piece to watching the Thriller video because it features werewolves, people who alter their physical appearance, and creepy guys who keep little boys imprisoned in their homes.  Sounds like Michael to me.  Actually though the movie is more or less a blatant rip-off of Fright Night, except with a werewolf instead of a vampire.

 

Oh well, if you’re going to steal from somewhere, you might as well steal from the best.

 

Anyway, this hot chick (Nina Dobrey) spies on her neighbor (Peter Stebbings) who likes to bring hookers home before turning into a werewolf and eating them.  She goes to the cops and of course they don’t believe her.  The chick also happens to be the reincarnation of the werewolf’s deceased bride, so that naturally means that he wants to mate with her REAL BAD.  Since no one will listen to her, she turns to a washed-up big game hunter (Kevin Sorbo) who has recently been fired from his reality TV show to help hunt and kill the beast.

 

Like I said, it’s pretty much a note for note remake of Fright Night.  Now before you roll your eyes at me, I got to tell ya that Never Cry Werewolf has a couple of tricks of it’s own up its sleeve.  The flick actually has a lot of inspired touches, plenty of laugh out loud moments (intentional and otherwise), and enough hilarious dialogue for me to wholeheartedly recommend it.  The CGI effects are decent for a change and the practical effects werewolf is well articulated and menacing.  And let’s face it folks, any movie in which a dumb blonde gets her guts ripped out and yells “Eww!” when they hit the floor, is pretty damn sweet.  

 

The cast is all great and really help to sell the flick’s cheesier aspects.  Dobrey is quite good and while her transition from a mousy schoolgirl to a Buffy-style warrior is corny as Hell, she’s just hot enough to make it all work.  Stebbings seems to be having a good time in the Chris Sarandon role and gets a lot of funny lines as well.  (Most of them revolve around mating.)  But it’s Kevin Sorbo who really steals the show.  If you thought he was awesome in Kull the Conqueror, wait till you see him in this.  Why the Academy overlooked his performance in this one is a mystery to me.

 

Never Cry Werewolf took a good 45 minutes or so to really get cooking, so I can’t quite bring myself to give it a full-on Four Star review.  However, it’s the fucking Godfather compared to most of the shit the Sci-Fi Channel has been broadcasting for over the past decade.  I’d even go so far as to say that Never Cry Werewolf is the third best Sci-Fi Channel Movie I’ve seen; right behind Blood Surf and Hammerhead:  Shark Frenzy.  (Mansquito would be a close Number 4 though.)  It’s also the best werewolf movie since Cursed, and that’s about the highest praise I can bestow.

 

Stebbings gets the best line of the flick when he warns, “First rule of the animal kingdom:  Don’t go sniffing around another man’s female!”

THE DEVIL’S WEDDING NIGHT (1973) **

Sarah Bay (AKA:  Rosalba Neri) was hot in Lady Frankenstein so I guess she figured she might as well star in this variation on the Dracula legend.  (It really should’ve been called Lady Dracula, if you ask me.)  She plays Countess Dracula who invites an architect (Mark Damon) into her home to inspect her castle.  He also inspects her other assets if you catch my drift (i.e. he fucks her) and she puts the bite on him.  A few days later, the architect’s identical twin (also Damon) shows up looking for his lost brother.  Little does he know that he’s actually interrupted the Countess’s plan to sacrifice five naked virginal girls to her main man, the Devil.  

 

The Devil’s Wedding Night is boring and longwinded and doesn’t provide any memorable shocks or schlocks.  There is one little bit of unintentional humor revolving around magic ring though that gave me a chuckle or two.  I couldn’t quite make out what it was called, but it sure as shit sounded like it was named “The Ring of Nipple-Baum” to me.  Too bad most of the movie is made up of stupid scenes where the bland-as-a-can-of-paint Damon sulks around the castle looking for his bro.

 

On the plus side, Bay is super sexy and looks damn fine; particularly while bathing naked in human blood.  Unfortunately, you’ve got to wade through a whole lot of slow-moving nonsense before Bay gets to show us what she’s working with.  The quintet of virgins also has some nice hooters too, so the flick isn’t a total waste of time or anything.

 

AKA:  Full Moon of the Virgins.

BLINDNESS (2008) ** ½

Blindness is kinda like Night of the Living Dead (or maybe 28 Weeks Later) except that instead of having a mysterious outbreak resulting in a bunch of flesh-eating zombies, there’s a mysterious outbreak that results in people going completely blind.  Unlike in Daredevil, where the blind guy got superpowers along with his blindness and got to Kung Fu a lot of scumbags, these blind people just become regular blind people. 

 

First an Asian dude goes blind, then a hooker.  I know what you’re thinking.  Hey, a blind hooker movie, THAT’S something I could really get behind!  Sadly, the focus shifts to Julianne Moore and her eye doctor husband (Mark Ruffalo).  He goes blind along with a whole bunch of other people and soon, all the blind folks get herded like cattle into an abandoned hospital ward.  For some unknown reason, Julianne doesn’t go blind and sticks around the hospital to keep an eye (PUN!) on her hubby.  Eventually food gets scarce and some crazed Cholo (Gael Garcia Bernal) goes crazy and proclaims himself to be the “King” and demands that the people “pay” for their food.  And by pay, I mean FUCK!  (Finally, the movie gets back on track.  I mean you can’t introduce the idea of blind hooking and then not deliver on it!)  Julianne gets tired of whoring herself out for a handful of Fritos so she decides to stick a pair of scissors into the King’s neck while he’s getting a blow job and torches the place.  She then leads what’s left of the ward people into the city (which is now in ruins) to forage for food before shacking up in her old swanky apartment so everybody can have a happy ending.

 

Blindness sounds good on paper, yet it’s much too leisurely paced to pack a real punch.  (It takes forever for Julianne to get to the hospital ward.)  Luckily, the second half of the movie is a lot better than the first.  Despite the sluggish start, the Rape-and-Revenge subplot works (think of it as I Spit in Your Eye) and I enjoyed the I Am Legend-ish third act as well.  (Or should that be Eye Am Legend?)

 

The biggest problem with Blindness is that too much of the movie is comprised with scenes of blind people stumbling around and tripping over things.  Not the most cinematic of activities to be sure.  Another thing that sucks about this movie is that the cameraman must’ve also been blind too.  A lot of the movie is either too bright or too dark and many times the framing is all off as well.

 

There is some good stuff however.  Moore is excellent and she leads a solid cast, which includes a creepy looking Danny Glover.  As with Night of the Living Dead, a lot of blind people end up getting shot in the head by trigger-happy soldiers, so that’s good.  Also, there’s a bunch of blind chicks without the benefit of clothing (that blind hooker IS hot); which of course is always appreciated.