Friday, December 30, 2011

Hits & Misses from KFP's First Year

Since making lists is an internet tradition, here is KFP's first - My own listing of the movies I rated highest this year, and the real stinkers.  These are in no particular order so don't assume they're ranked - In fact, just see all of them if you get the chance.

The Best

1.  Come to the Stable - A forgotten, out of print film from 1949 that's one of the best Christmas movies you could ever want to see.  The plot description is, "Two nuns come to the US to build a children's hospital"...and yet it's not hokey, which is a minor miracle unto itself.

2.  Black Christmas - From the sublime to the insane, Bob Clark's 1974 holiday horror masterpiece about a madman killing sorority girls over Christmas break.  Slasher films don't get any better than this.

3.  Joulutarina - A Finnish film that tells the real story of Santa Claus... Thinks Lord of the Rings visuals meets Batman Begins character-building and you start to scratch the surface of this quirky tale of homeless young Nicholas and his curious tradition of gift giving.

4.  Midnight Clear - A low budget indie film about five residents of a small town facing despair and suicide on Christmas eve.  Its best accomplishment is in showing the characters finding hope through random encounters with each other, without descending into cheese.

5.  The Haunting - This 1963 original is the greatest haunted house film ever made, in my opinion.  Hill House had stood for 90 years and might stand for 90 more, and whatever walked there, walked alone.

6.  The Woman in Black - A 1989 spooky British ghost story that's a fave among those of us who love our horror movies tilted toward the creepy.  Watch out for The Scene.

7.  Hausu - This 70's Japanese haunted house film is the closest you'll get to an LSD trip without the drug in question... Colorful, surreal, bizarre, original, and literally like nothing you've ever seen.  This is what you'd get if you put The Partridge Family and The Evil Dead into a blender.

8.  The Ellery Queen TV Series - This 70's mystery series has yet to be topped as a puzzle-solving experiment in interactive TV, in my opinion.  Watch along with Ellery and see if you can spot the clues and solve the case before he does.

9.  Triangle - This one slipped through the cracks for a lot of people, but it was one of the best surprises of the year.  What starts off as a generic slasher film on an ocean liner soon becomes a brain-bending Moebius strip narrative and a great mental exercise.

10.  The Gamers:  Dorkness Rising - Not a lot of comedies on my list, but this was one of the funniest things I've seen in a long time... Providing, of course, that you have a solid background in fantasy role playing games, because otherwise you'll be one lost puppy.  Stick it out through the first 10-15 minutes and you'll LOL for the rest of the evening.

11.  Dial M for Murder - A 50's Hitchcock thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat and then some, and all without anyone dodging gunfire in bullet time.

12.  The Eclipse - I think this was the only film I saw all year that I gave a 10/10 review, though I'll readily acknowledge that it's going to be too quiet and too contemplative for a lot of viewers.  It's a strange mix of genres - Art film, drama, romance, and ghost story.

13.  God Grew Tired of Us  - The only documentary in this list is the harrowing and inspiring story of African refugees coming to live in the US, and their experiences here.  It's an eye-opening look at our own culture and advantages from outside, as seen through the eyes of people who have never had a toilet or a mattress before.

The Wretched

1.  Holiday in Handcuffs/The Santa Trap/Christmas with a Capital C - All three of these were horrifyingly bad, but Christmas with a Capital C is the standout for its eye-popping display of preachiness and in-your-face angry religious people.  This is supposed to convert people to their cause?

2.  The Christmas Box - Hands down, the most venomous review I've written all year, and it deserves every word of it and more.  This movie is like that block of holiday fruitcake you find in the back of your cabinet... from 1999.  Don't even go near it, just pick it up with tongs and flush.

3.  Alone in the Dark - This poor, poor movie...  Beating on it is like beating on Twilight at this point, but it's still startlingly bad, and its one saving grace is the sheer joy of making fun of it.  In that sense, it's a positive triumph compared to the previous two.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Come to the Stable (1949)

NetFlix N/A
YouTube Link
IMDB 7.2/10
My Rating: 9/10
Sincerity Factor: 10/10
Treacle Factor: 4/10

Two nuns from a French convent travel to New England to found a children's hospital, but their lack of money, connections, and local resources propels them into encounters with church officials, landowners, and mobsters.

Part of the Kentucky Fried Popcorn Christmas Review Series.

Here's a tragedy - A movie that's been virtually forgotten, yet which should really be a bone-fide holiday classic on par with the Wonderful Life titles that everyone knows by heart.   Come to the Stable hasn't seen a commercial release since a VHS tape in the 80's, and it now seems lost in the public domain wasteland - That's why I posted the YouTube link above, where the movie can be seen in its entirety.  It's also floating around the usual torrent networks, if one prefers that route.  It can be found in DVD form at a few small online companies, but those are just transfers from the VHS version repackaged on DVD.  Hopefully someone will get smart and release a proper restored DVD edition of this!   But this film is the epitome of what I try to do with Kentucky Fried Popcorn, which is to bring unknown to light.

The story is very simple - Our heroines are Sister Margaret and Sister Scholastica, two nuns come to the US after World War 2 to fulfill a promise made during the war.  They ran a children's hospital in France, and prayed as the armies converged on their town that the generals would let them evacuate their charges.  They did, the kids all escaped, and now the good sisters are determined to do right for their faith by founding a new children's hospital in the states. 

Unfortunately, they face a few not-insignificant problems - They have no money, no support from the local arch diocese, no land to build on, and are complete strangers to US life and customs.  Unless you have a heart of stone, however, you can't help but grin and cheer for them as they barrel from one encounter to the next, borrowing what they need, following their instincts and charming a den of gangsters.  The land they want is owned by a city mob boss who they must "convince" to donate it, and they're also unknowingly up against the neighboring landowner Robert Masen (left), a music composer who has no desire to have a noisy hospital bordering his idyllic country home retreat.

A lot of the fun of this is in the humor - It's a much funnier story than you'd expect and the cheery nuns put an upbeat spin on everyone they meet.  The humor hasn't dated in the least, too...  It's largely in the form of witty banter and the occasional bit of slapstick, and the whole film feels as fresh as if it had been filmed yesterday. 

But expect to get a little misty, too.  Even the hardest of Grinchy hearts are likely to tear up at couple of places, especially the ending.  It isn't a movie that hits you over the head with its morality, but it's perfectly balanced enough to make one reflect on our own ideas of what we think we deserve versus the needs of others.  Robert Masen isn't a bad guy at all - He is nothing like the Scroogey anti-Christmas misers of so many other films, he's just a fellow who wants a little peace in a quiet little home he worked hard for.  It makes the conflict of the film much more ambiguous and indeed, more relatable.

One factor I've had to deal with head-on during this holiday movie marathon was the issue of religion in Christmas films - Where it belongs, where it doesn't, and the many ways in which it can be presented well and presented terribly.  I am not a churchgoer, myself, and am prone to take issue with movies that wag their fingers at me or try to hit me over the head with their spiritual message.  For me, the reason Come to the Stable works is because it has equal meaning for believers and non-believers alike - The religious can look at it and see the hand of god moving events and touching hearts, and the non-religious can view it as a parable of human goodness, of ordinary people doing remarkable things and showing generosity beyond expectations.  Like the best films, it's open to interpretation and even though the church is the center of the story, there aren't any fluttering angels or divine interventions.  Ultimately, it boils down to the central question we all face - Do we jealously guard our own comfort, or sacrifice for those in need?

And on that note, this wraps up the Kentucky Fried Popcorn holiday movie blowout for this year!  I hope everyone has enjoyed this wacko change of pace from my usual cinematic selections - I certainly have, and I look forward to doing this again next year... Especially because of all the films I didn't have time to write up this time out, such as Rare Exports, One Magic Christmas, and that oddly spooky modern movie, The Polar Express.  Until then, Happy Holidays to all, and to all a marvelous New Year!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Faceful of Christmas Shrapnel

Since time for Christmas reviews is rapidly running out and I want to give full reviews only to my favorites, here are some mini reviews of the onslaught of holiday films we've been watching lately.  Buckle up and hang on tight as we powerdive through a flock of yuletide cheer!

Part of the Kentucky Fried Popcorn Christmas Review Series.

This Christmas

NetFlix 3.6/5
IMDB 5.5/10
My Rating: 6.5/10
Sincerity Factor: 7/10
Treacle Factor: 5/10

This was probably our best unexpected surprise of this year's holiday movies.  On casual glance, it looked like another hideously dumb Queen Latifah "Bringing down the house"-style comedy, but it's actually a lot more serious than you'd expect, and a lot better.  A large family gathers under one roof for the first time in years, and everyone has issues.  There's a domineering, philandering husband, a black sheep musician, the cheerful young guy with a secret, the matron with an unaccepted new lover, the...  Well, hell, I could write a paragraph just listing their individual issues, but it's really a film about family and the ties that bind families together, even when they drive each other insane.  As you'd expect in any Christmas film, things tie up semi-neatly to a sugarcake ending, but it's a lot more believable and rocky along the way than your typical holiday fluff.  Besides, how many other seasonal movies give you a full-blown rolling-in-the-yard catfight?  Funny, suspenseful, dramatic, inspiring, and even a bit sniffle-inducing.  A Must See.

Mrs Miracle
NetFlix 4.1/5
IMDB 6.2/10
My Rating: 2/10
Sincerity Factor: 4/10
Treacle Factor: 10/10

From the sublime to the mind-melting...  I'm amazed that this has higher IMDB and Netflix ratings than This Christmas, because I thought there was really no reason for this movie to exist. This Christmas gives you a lot of plotlines that go to unexpected places and show us believable characters.  Mrs Miracle is the sort of holiday movie that an automated holiday movie machine would stamp out on an assembly line for a 500-per-week quota.  A couple of young & beautiful people are somehow lonely at Christmas (Despite the fact that both of them are attractive enough to have their own personal harems), and the guy is incapable of disciplining his children because they have no mother there to apply her magical mother guilt powers.  In walks Mrs. Merkle, the standard crotchety old bat/angel who whips the house into shape, brings the kids in line, and sets up these two wayward 20-somethings as a socially-certified breeding couple.  Mission accomplished, Mrs. Merkle touches the kids with her glowing finger, says, "Beeeee goood", and goes back into space.  5 minutes into this, you'll wonder if the whole movie is going to be so predictable.  Yes.  Go do something else with your time, because you're not getting any surprises here.  The best thing about this film is the ease with which it could be converted into one of those fake YouTube horror trailers.  Picture this edit:
Aged, vaguely caustic old lady eyes two identical children.
"What a mess this room is!", she says.
In the next room, cut to the young father on the phone - "What do you mean, the employment agency has no record of her?  But Mrs. Merkle told me your office sent her!"
Cut to a close-up of old lady's eyes narrowing.
Cue scene of children's bedroom, tidy and neat, but empty of children.
Fade to scene of old lady walking off down dark street to eerie piano music which gets creepier as she fades magically from view.

NetFlix 3.9/5
IMDB 5.8/10
My Rating: 4/10
Sincerity Factor: 5/10
Treacle Factor: 8/10

It's time for young Nick Snowden to take over the reins as the new Santa Claus.  Unfortunately, one of his reindeer falls into a plot device and ends up at a zoo run by inexpressibly perky Sandy, who has a secret closet full of Bobby socks and poodle skirts.  Madcap antics and television-quality CGI ensue as Nick tries to rescue his reindeer with the help of jive-talkin' young Hector, the most annoying "sassy black kid" in a film since that child that played Jude in Swamp Thing. Fortunately Sandy's perkiness and ability to fill out a tight sweater prove distracting, and the whole thing is painless enough as bubblegum fare goes.  "At least it's not as dull as Mrs. Miracle" is not exactly groundshaking praise, but it's the best I got. It has a few moments where you'll go, "Awww, that's almost sincere", and conservative viewers should be pleased when this bright young professional woman makes the life choice to abandon her career and become a stay-at-home mom at the North Pole.

A Christmas Romance

NetFlix NA
IMDB 6/10
My Rating: 5/10
Sincerity Factor: 6/10
Treacle Factor: 9/10

It's Olivia Newton-John!  Everything bad about this movie is forgiven.  It's not great, but males of my generation will be hopelessly devoted to Olivia because she's the one that we want.  Olivia plays a struggling single mom trying to keep her mountain farm and give her kids some semblance of Christmas, which in her case means going into her attic to find old toys to wrap, and hope the kids will appreciate this gesture because it's all she can afford.  When a banker shows up on Christmas Eve to deliver her foreclosure notice, all seems lost until he wrecks his car in the snowstorm and Olivia takes him in to spend his Christmas among wholesome country folk.  This movie is charmingly innocent and very much of its time, because after the behavior of our banks today, most people would let that fucker freeze to death.  "I can't keep up the payments right now, so tough luck for me?  Well, I guess you're going to spend Christmas Eve freezing to death in your car, tough luck for you."  Adding to the insult, our banker is a royal SOB who bitches and complains once rescued and we spent the middle part of the movie urging Olivia to introduce him to the secret pit in her barn basement.  A couple months of, "It puts the lotion on its skin" should set that guy's values in order.  Alas, instead we get the most uncomfortable and forced romantic attraction ever...  When these two finally hook up, you'll be WTFing all the way to the foreclosure office because they're so hopelessly mismatched and the guy is such a bag of liver.  But Olivia makes everything OK when she sings, and later there are a few genuinely heartwarming moments involving rescue by horses.  There are worse ways to spend your holidays than Christmas with Olivia.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Black Christmas (1974)

NetFlix 3.2/5
IMDB 7.2/10
My Rating: 9/10

During Christmas break, a sorority house is terrorized by an obscene phone caller who begins secretly murdering the resident girls.

Part of the Kentucky Fried Popcorn Christmas Review Series.

One of my all-time favorite horror movies.  This little seasonal gem is directed by Bob Clark, better known for 1983's A Christmas Story, that inescapable haunter of holiday television repeats.  Black Christmas's place in horror history is secured as the (arguable) first official "slasher" film - There were plenty of giallos before this, but they tended to feature motivated and more or less sane killers, whereas with Black Christmas, the slasher formula fell perfectly into place.  Insane killer, many screaming female victims, Final Girl.  I'm not really a big fan of slashers - I find most of them a bit boring, and don't look at the endless Friday 13th/Freddy sequels of the 80's with the same sort of nostalgia that a lot of folks have for those franchises.  Black Christmas, however, grabbed me (Though only on the second viewing, interestingly - This is a movie that gets better with repeat watching).  One of the fascinating things about it is to see it through the lens of Halloween, which typically gets the bigger accolades and public recognition.  A great deal of Halloween is taken almost directly from Black Christmas, from the opening sequence through the killer's eyes, to the bedroom body pile that ignites the climax, to the long, slow camera pans through the empty house that close the movie.  I previously called Halloween my favorite slasher film - Now Black Christmas ties it, and may well top it. 

The plot is as basic as you can get.  Over the Christmas holiday, a sorority house gradually empties out as most of the girls go home for Christmas.  The few who remain are frightened by a series of vulgar phone calls and one by one they begin to disappear as an unseen killer stalks them inside the supposed safety of the group home.  Our heroine, Olivia Hussey, struggles both with this escalating sense of dread and also with a borderline-abusive boyfriend enraged by her decision to have an abortion.  Inept police help only complicates matters, and ultimately Olivia is left alone to face this extremely twisted madman.

The movie is filled to the brim with entertaining characters - No stock victims here.  Every person in this has their own unique voice, though some speak louder than others.  Particularly entertaining is the den mother, Mrs. Mac:

Marian Waldman dives into this role with relish, giving us a sly, cantankerous, alcoholic old den mother whose life spent looking after girls who would, "hump the Leaning Tower of Pisa if they could get up there!" has left her endearingly cranky and brilliantly clever in hiding her bottles of whiskey.  Alternating between protective and scathing, she's a trip and she provides a lot of the film's humor, of which it has a surprising amount.  John Saxon shines as the one cop smart enough to realize there's real trouble, while Doug McGrath's Sergeant Nash is comedy gold as he grapples ineffectually with these modern college girls.  Olivia Hussey, our Final Girl, was beautiful and ethereal, but my own favorite character was definitely the loudmouthed Barb, played by a pre-Superman Margot Kidder.

Barb is the sort of brash, pushy, brassy girl that manages to offend everybody, yet she's also brave and surprisingly sympathetic (Subtly overheard phone calls and remarks suggest a very troubled home life).  It helps that she's drop-dead sexy in this, too.  In fact, she's the sort that would be one of the first victims in any other slasher film, but this is just one of the ways that Black Christmas breaks the not-yet-written slasher film rulebook.  Overshadowing all these people is the movie's looming central character, however, and it isn't the killer, it's the house itself.

The girls' sorority house is an echoing labyrinth of a building, dressed up in holiday cheer and yet dark and secretive... A sort of mini Hill House where doors are sensibly shut.  It wraps around the entire story and provides the backdrop for events, and somehow manages to be both a festive place for friends and warmth and also a place of private rooms and secret spaces.  The girls are together for Christmas, and we cozy up with them, and yet the killer is also in there somewhere and all the decorations don't make the place any less dangerous.  The killer himself is a cipher - There are clues scattered throughout the film that a dedicated viewer can piece together to understand him better (Pay attention to the characters in the phone calls, especially the parents, Billy, and Agnes), but ultimately he is death personified.  This isn't a Jason-like villain with a personality and modus operandi.  Billy the killer is simply a presence, a sort of incandescent rage bottled up in one body, that pops out and strikes like some deranged Jack-in-the-box.

Scary movies are made and broken by their scary moments, and this film has one of the best in the horror genre:
(Warning - Minor spoiler ahead)  Barb's phone conversation with Billy is the movie's best scene, in my opinion - It's Black Christmas's "Who was holding my hand?" (from The Haunting).  The killer has been phoning the girls repeatedly.  Each call is a barrage of cacophony - Insults, profanity, lewd sexual propositions, animal noises, baby sounds, barking, and more - and the sheer inhuman-ness of the caller is disturbing enough to start with... The idea that it's just one person making this range of sounds.  When the catty Barb gets involved, the exchange escalates as Barb returns tit for tat ("Could that really be just one person? ""No Claire, it's the Mormon Tabernacle Choir making their annual obscene phone call.").  When Barb finally goes too far, all pretense drops and the killer replies calmly, "I'm going to kill you" in a manner so offhand as one might say, "I'm going to get the mail."  It's a supremely creepy moment and one of the best that horror cinema has to offer.

Black Christmas is light on gore - The kills are more artistic and reminiscent of a Dario Argento movie than something that would make for a bloody Fangoria cover.  Its specialty is creepy discomfort, not gross-out splatter.  Part of this is due to the unseen killer, a feature that sets Black Christmas apart from nearly all other slasher films.  I've often wondered if Bob Clark has kicked himself over the years for lost income from toys and marketing, but this is one of my favorite aspects of the movie, the fact that we simply do not see the killer.  We see a hand here, an eye there, a silhouette in the background, but at no time do we get the "big reveal"...  Unlike Freddy and Myers and Jason, Billy is not a marketing commodity.  He's psychotic, not prepackaged, and he has none of the "Killer as superhero" trappings that would come to dominate slasher films in later years.  You might say that it isn't Billy who is the star, it's his work:

The lack of a marketable killer is just one of the ways that Black Christmas sets itself apart from the slasher wave that would follow  - Aside from the lack of grue, it also breaks the "rules" in many ways.  The smart & virginal girl doesn't become Final Girl... Instead, she's the first victim (Making Black Christmas more like real life, perhaps?).  Our heroine Jess (Olivia Hussey) is pregnant and planning an abortion, regardless of the protests of her slightly-crazy boyfriend.  This is a theme that would never fly in the Puritan-esque world of American slasher films, where girls are punished for being sexual and saved by being virtuous.  Jess is no-nonsense - She knows what she wants from life and intends to pursue it, damn the setbacks.  I've heard this described as a feminist film and it works well that way.  The ladies are all well-developed and independent of males, and they're far more believable than the usual bevy of bust-flashers.  Best is that not one character in this screams "Cannon Fodder"... You'll like them all and it makes it that much more harrowing when Billy strikes.

My favorite movies are ones I can rewatch.  The mark of a quality film, to me, is one that I like better the second or third time than I did the first, and that's certainly true here.  The first time I saw this, my reaction was largely, "Meh"...  I thought it was OK, but nothing all that great.  Circumstances convened to have me see it a second time, and I was blown away by how good it was, and it's only gotten better with each repeat viewing.  I was really lucky this holiday season to be able to see it in high def at the Sinister Cinema film screening, hosted by Budd Wilkins of Slant Magazine.  He and his wife Tina gave a great presentation and made the whole event a perfect little seasonal treat.

If by some chance you've never seen this obscure horror classic, curl up by the fire and watch it on Christmas Eve.  Twice.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Cuento de Navidad/Xmas Tale

NetFlix 2.9/5
IMDB 6.3/10
My Rating:  6.5/10  
Sincerity Factor: NA
Treacle Factor: 0/10

 A group of children discover a woman in a Santa suit trapped in a sinkhole in the woods.  When they learn she is a wanted criminal who stole a small fortune, they torture and starve her for several days to force her to hand the cash over to them.  Unfortunately for them, one day they return and the hole is empty...

Part of the Kentucky Fried Popcorn Christmas Review Series.
Xmas Tale is part of a Spanish film series called Films to keep you Awake, and it's an excellent addition to an already excellent series (As someone else pointed out, this series is what Masters of Horror should have been).  Each movie is short (Xmas Tale clocks in at 71 minutes) and very tight - No wasted plotlines or padded running time here.  Xmas Tale is also a great addition to the small stable of holiday horror films that are genuinely worth seeing.

These Spanish films bring a decidedly non-Hollywood sensibility to their subjects and that's part of why this works.  These days, no US film would treat children so severely, or showcase their less desirable traits so clearly...  Over here, children are precious little coddled angels and can never be killed or injured in movies anymore.  Xmas Tale, by contrast, gives us one of the most honest representations of childhood on film - These kids are monsters, pure and simple.  But they're charming monsters...  Cheerful, clever, funny, adventurous, daring, and likable, just like real children, even when they're exhibiting the sort of Lord of the Flies mentality that defines so much of the school playground years.

The movie is set in the mid 80's in a seaside town in Spain.  The kids are very much 80's kids, right down to the one with a Karate Kid fixation, and it feels very naturally of its era.  I mention this because we just watched Super 8 the other night, and while it was a lot of fun and gave me vivid flashbacks to my 70's childhood, I thought that in many ways it overdid its "cultural time bubble" presentation.  There was simply so much 70's stuff crammed into every scene that the whole movie felt like it was literally shouting, "Look at all this authentic period detail!  Just look!"  I had Aurora monster model kits too, but my bedroom was not wallpapered with posters of Halloween, Bruce Lee, Steve Austin, and Jonathan Livingston SeagullXmas Tale gets it right - There's enough period detail to provide setting, but not enough to distract you from the story.  And what a story it is...

The story kicks off when our young scamps are playing in the woods and find a sinkhole with a woman at the bottom.  She's dressed up as Santa and when our cast run for help, they learn she's a very dangerous criminal who recently stole a huge sum of cash and vanished.  Realizing they've found the pot of gold at the end of the North Pole, they quickly concoct a plan to keep her in the pit and starve and torture her until she coughs up the location of the money.  They're nasty little tykes, too, pouring drinks on her, dropping rocks, and chewing Twizzlers while she wastes away with hunger.  As an audience, we're confused...  Any other movie with children would clearly present the kids as the heroes, but here they are the villains, at least most of them.  Dissension gradually builds in the ranks as reality takes hold over their shortsighted plan.  What, exactly, are they going to do with her if she does give up the cash?  If they get her out, she's a dangerous murderer who can recognize them all.  If they get police involved, they have quite a story to tell.  And if they just bury her in the hole, they're all complicit murderers.

This is the first half of the film and it's a perfect setup for events that follow.  It's a bit teeth-grinding, though - I would not call it "torture porn", as so many recent genre pics have been, but it's painful to watch in a few places and the physical and mental deterioration of the woman in the pit is believable and grueling.  I doubt I am spoiling anything by saying that, inevitably, there comes a day when the kids return to the pit and find it empty.  And that's when the movie switches gears and goes from psychological tension to old-school slasher, as Mrs. Claus goes after these cruel little snots with a vengeance.  The kids respond with first fear, then panic, and then the sort of Three Investigators cleverness that makes YA fiction such a joy when you're growing up.  Plans are concocted, traps are rigged, and the movie turns into a real life Scooby Doo story as our young scamps pit their devious kid brains against the bedraggled madwoman with a chopper.  It's Home Alone with blood, mayhem, and headshots.

It's loads of fun.  The story is tight and it never outstays its welcome, and the end of the film will leave you cackling with mad monster mirth.  It's a Christmas horror film that's better than most of its peers, and the sort of thing that every KFP reader ought to see at least once.  I limited my rating to a 6.5 for a few faults - For one, there really are no heroes here, no one you want to jump in and relate to.  Among the children, the girl is the kindest, but your loyalties are still conflicted right to the end...  Even while you're marveling at the way these Goonies pull together to fight back against their horrifying pursuer, you're not exactly on their side because they deserve everything they get and then some.  Mostly, though, I limited my rating because I found it to be a one-shot movie.  I've seen it twice now and while I enjoyed it, it isn't the sort of thing that's particularly enjoyable to re-watch.  The first time I saw Black Christmas, I was, "Meh".  The second time, it got better, and the third, and so on.  Xmas Tale, by contrast, drains its gas tank in one viewing and when you watch it again later, you know all the twists and it's less fun.  It's a bit The Sixth Sense in that respect - Really cool the first time round, but not the sort of film you'll want to watch over and over.  But it's still something every horror fan should watch at least once during the holiday season.

You better watch out...

Thursday, December 1, 2011

KFP Logo

The ultimate in low tech...