England, The Dark Ages. A massive Saxon horde lays siege upon a pitiful British army. Desperate knights plea to their king, a man named Arthur (Liam Garrigan, who also plays King Arthur on Once Upon a Time), but he insists they must hold the line and wait for help from their sorcerer. They are running out of time. Cut to: Merlin (Stanley Tucci, not reprising his role from Age of Extinction) a goofy charlatan giving a jokey speech into a massive mechanical structure. A transformer emerges, gives Merlin a staff, then turns into a dragon and murders the Saxons. We’re back.
Fuck all of this. What is this piece of shit? Why are people in this film, EATING SHIT? What kind of demented sadistic sex pervert wanted to make this film? Who was it made for? Why is it in the Criterion Collection? Why did I watch it? I’ve seen gross movies before, but never have I been this insulted. Salò of the 120 Days of Sodom pushes the limits of what’s acceptable. Maybe that’s the idea. I don’t care. I hate it. I’m open to dark movies, but it’s hard when it’s this drawn out. Not to mention Salò is guilty of the worst possible offense a film can be guilty. It’s boring. It’s so fucking boring. Bury me now, please!
Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday is a film I hated before I even pressed play. This is because Part IX is the first film in my Friday the 13th viewing odyssey that I was unable to watch on Amazon Prime. I gather because the first eight films are Paramount releases while Part IX is from New Line Cinema. I understand this is a completely arbitrary and unfair grievance in regards to the actual film, but when I have to go out of my way to watch a film I already know is bad, you better believe I’m going to be cranky.
By 1989, Jason Voorhees had become a joke. Don’t believe me? Watch the YouTube clip I’ve posted below.
Hellbound: Hellraiser II is a miserable experience. I doubt any other film I watch this Shocktober will come close to the unpleasantness of this confused, sadomasochist clip show. Not to mention how disappointed I was considering I was interested in watching this film. I enjoyed the first Hellraiser. Written and directed by Clive Barker, based on his own novella The Hellbound Heart, Hellraiser was a film with a disturbing yet unique mythology and amazing practical effects. The film was no doubt cheesy with dopey speeches and melodramatic characters, but it was original–think Nightmare on Elm Street by way of H.R. Giger.
Can you guys believe that we won’t get Transformers 5 until 2017? Yes, thankfully Michael Bay’s decision to try to pretend he’s respectable has him caught up making that hot button flick 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi. You go, Michael Bay, the world’s most overblown story deserves its most overblown director. But this left me with a quandary: what could I watch in 2015 for my semi-regular horrorble segment? After all, this was the first year John trusted me enough to make it a formal part of Shocktober, I didn’t want to let him down. So I gave myself a real challenge, the one type of movie I’m most afraid to review: a bad comedy. Maybe the worst.
What do you want out of a movie? I mean seriously, why do you go to the cinema? Sure, sometimes it’s sweltering outside and you just need to be somewhere dark and air conditioned, and sometimes you’re on a first date and really want to see how well you and this other person can sit silently near each other, but those are answers to why you went to a movie, not why do you go to the movies. It’s something worth thinking about. Something that I don’t believe is easy to answer, but a real consideration if you consider yourself any sort of aficionado. And while you’re thinking about that, think about this: Michael Bay is someone who knows exactly what he wants out of a movie.
He wants that camera at a low angle and constantly moving. These are motion pictures! These are a big deal! Look at the grandeur, the sheer epic-ness that is Mark Wahlberg walking around a barn or Kelsey Grammer sitting at a conference table or Thomas Lennon making a phone call. What are you going to do, film badly written conversations as if they are actual dialogues between people? Fuck no! Spin that shit around, blow the colors out, fill the frame with detail – people will pick out whatever bits of exposition they can. And even if they don’t, who cares? This is a ride, baby, and it don’t stop just because you’re not following.
He wants to do the same fights over and over again, hoping that changes in locale or the precise identities of the hunks of metal pummeling each other will make them feel different. Where do the bad transformers keep finding all these disposable grunts? Even if you’re a giant robot, if you’re almost beaten to death, surely it takes some time to recover, right? At a certain point, aren’t cities just leveled? Like, how many skyscrapers are there really? It doesn’t matter, pay absolutely no mind to logistical concerns. As long as there keep being explosions, gun shots, punches, stabs, and fireballs, everybody wins.
He wants these things, and Michael Bay keeps getting them too. Because everyone else wants them. There’s a safety in knowing exactly what to expect, and it’s what’s made Transformers one of the biggest franchises in the world. If anything, this new one, Age of Extinction, is the safest bet yet, because by switching leading men from Shia LaBeouf to Mark Wahlberg, they’ve eliminated the chance for a remarkable performance. What I mean by that is that at least Shia always gave us a central character to hate, a human piece of shit whose terrible behavior could distract us from the hollow spectacle around him. Mark Wahlberg is a great actor, undoubtedly, but he’s not someone who typically elevates material, and as you might expect, he just coasts through this movie like Schrodinger’s actor, simultaneously giving a good and bad performance, just another cog in Michael Bay’s terrible machine.