Archive for category Cliches

La Horde- Why French People who Like Video Games Shouldn’t Make Horror Movies

If you like zombies at break neck speeds, lots of gore, a kick ass Vietnam soldier and  gangstas then….you probably watch 28 Days Later, Forest Gump, and Season 1 of the Sopranos. Your time would be better spent then if you watched La Horde. I understand that movies like La Horde cater to a niche audience that doesn’t like to think while the TV is on and could do without the heavy handed Romerian Socio-Philosophical commentary, but when you a produce a zombie action flick just for the sake of it, at least do Something that makes you stick out from the other 90 films that are out to do the same thing.

Rant aside, the plot that exists merely to rush you from one action scene to the next is as follows. A cop named Ouessem’s brother has been slain by two Nigerian crime lord brothers, so he and his posse saddle up and head over to the brothers’ hideout to bust some heads. Long story-short. They bust one head, and then lie down like bitches, letting the gangstas get the drop on them. Fortunately for “O’s” boys (and one girl) the zombie Apocalypse occurs, without apologizes or explanation (beyond a bad CGI skyline showing the surrounding city has become a warzone) and the cops and robbers decide to team up. Enemies working together against a common enemy? Brilliant! Why hasn’t anyone done this before?

As the movie tries to invert substance between its actions sequences, with sad attempts such as “the girl is pregnant with one of the team member’s baby” and “the Nigerians have some sibling rivalry”, the members of the squad dwindle away into zombie chow. When they run low on cast members, they introduce the token crazy old war vet, but at least he’s amusing.

After some betrayals, more failed substance attempts, the group is down to four: a bald black guy, a black haired girl, a Vietnam Vet, and an interchangeable bad-ass. Wait, that team sounds familiar – haven’t I seen that before? I feel like I experienced this first hand somehow?

Nah… I must be imagining things… Where was I? Oh yeah, the one brother betrayed the other brother, took all his weapons, and LEFT him 4 DEAD, leaving them to hunt for a new weapon cache, which, of course, they find a ridiculous large one and use it to “fight the horde,”  But I digress.

Anyhow, team members start sacrificing themselves, including “O” who mounts a vehicle in a parking garage (pictured above) to fight off an entire horde by himself, which is supposed to a big epic moment. Well, its definitely fun, but epic I don’t know. Hey, a guy on a vehicle in a parking garage facing down a whole horde of zombies that feels familar too. Haven’t I scene that too….?

NAH… I guess not. Where was I? Oh yeah, the DEAD were RISING up onto the vehicle to take down Ouessem, and he was trying to epicly fight them off. Cool. I guess.

There’s little more I can say about this film. If you like brainless fun, gore, zombies, and action sequences then this could be the greatest film ever made. I, on the other hand, like my horror films to have something original that sets them apart, but hey that’s just me.

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Plaguers: In Space No One Can Hear Your Cliches

Plaguers… maybe you saw an ad for this one in Fangoria or came across it in a Netflix search, either way it’s currently floating around out there like a big piece of space junk. My advice is to pound your thrusters for some evasive action and avoid this one like a rogue meteor. If you don’t then here’s what to expect.

The film starts out with a grainy steel corridor flooded with alarms and orange lights. An injured female crew member is limping away from a group of what looks like space zombies, and she narrowly escapes through a door that slams shut behind her. On screen, flashes the words “Eight Hours Earlier” and I think to myself that a more cliched sequence could not be unloaded. The first line of dialogue in the flashback is “Captain, we are receiving a distress call from a derelict vessel,” and, of course, I stand corrected.

The crew, which consists of the typical futuristic blue collar Joe everyman, hobble over to the mysterious vessel for the contrived reason of advancing the plot. Some “false alarms” and a loss of radio contact with their ship (profoundly named “The Pandora,” how original) later, they stumble upon the abandoned vessel’s only surviving life forms: a group of stereotypically attractive women dressed in what can only be described as one of Spencer Gift’s naughty nurse Halloween costumes, complete with silver fake leather boots. Glance back over the picture if you don’t believe me.

Of course, they sell the drooling men of the Pandora some sob story about pirates raping them and only the captain and the female doctor seem a little suspicious, but they take them in anyway to examine their wounds. Long story short, real shocking twist, the crew’s engineer goes to check on the doctor only to find her bound and gagged. He tries to hit the alarm but Naughty Purple Nurse Number 2 stabs him in the back. Oh snap, the girls ARE the space pirates!

The Purple Naughty Pirates kill off and imprison the remaining crew by holding the woman at gunpoint or using their sexy purpleness to trick the hapless men. However, one of the would-be seduced men fights back and knocks Purple #3 onto the ship’s mysterious cargo, a glowing orb – also looks like it was bought at Spencers – that spills fluid all over the pirate girl turning her into a…. Plaguer.

From here on out, we have a few exchanges of power between captors and prisoners. The assumed dead engineer that looks like a Lance Henriksen wannabe comes back to turn the tide, but now the pirates and the Pandora’s crew must work together to fight off the growing Plaguer threat. What follows is some amusing gore, but mostly just the worst choreographed fight scenes that have been put on film and a boatload of more cliches. Most offensive involves the guy who LOOKS like Lance Henriksen… can anyone take a wild stab why he was able to survive the knife wound?

That’s right people…he’s an android. As if it wasn’t bad enough when the Alien franchise pounded that surprise-I’m-an-Android cliche through 3/4 of their films now, Plaguers has to jump on board. The Pandora’s mechanical engineer even complains that he wishes to be referred to some non-cyborg term that isn’t worth remembering but probably is trying to homage Bishop’s preference of “synthetic-person.”

I can could go on to describe the horribleness of this film further, but it’s better experienced with either two small wise cracking robots or a few friends with a lot of beer. The film’s climax deals with the plague spreading to the captain’s former fiance’s dead body and creating a creature that looks like a throw back to the rubber alien suits of 50′s style This Island Earth era horror flicks. All I can say, is I hope this movie was supposed to be a joke.

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We’re Still Writing, I Swear!

Yes, it has been a whole 9 days without an update here and that makes me sad. I’ve got a whole bunch of post ideas, all of which will take a long time to write and frankly, I don’t have the time this week to sit down and write one.  That said, one of the posts I’m working on is the 2nd installment of my “Appreciating Horror Cliches” videos.  When I have about 6 hours to dedicate, I plan on putting this together.  If you haven’t checked out the first one, here it is.  Have faith, dear reader.  We haven’t forgotten about you.

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Appreciating Horror Cliches – Volume I

I have a love/hate relationship with clichés in horror movies.  For one, I find poorly written, cliché-ridden films the easiest to review because I’m a sarcastic asshole and part of me lives to mock things.  But when I’m taking the genre seriously, searching for that ever-elusive genuine scare, clichés are a disappointing sign of lazy screenwriting and studios’ desire to satiate audiences who are either too dumb to know any better or sadly just don’t care.

You’re all familiar with them and probably roll your eyes every time you see a demonic child doing a spider-walk towards our protagonist or a suddenly irresponsive cell phone displaying the “no signal” message during a crucial moment.

So, I’ve taken it upon myself to start a little project to point out the various clichés we love and loathe.  Rather than a long, wordy blog post, I’ve chosen to briefly introduce each cliché (hopefully at the rate of one per week, but we’ll see) and create a compilation video showcasing its awesomeness/douche chilliness.  This week’s inaugural cliché is…

The False Alarm – Our protagonist is home alone.  They’re planning a quiet night of studying in their bedroom before bed but an odd noise disturbs them from their plan.  Of course, they leave the safety of their bedroom to investigate (another cliché, itself).  The camera, positioned just above their shoulder, follows them as they head toward the source of the noise – a closet, perhaps.  The noise occurs again.  Our protagonist hastily flings open the door – CUE SHRIEKING SOUND EFFECT – to reveal….a cat!  They scream and then scold the animal for freaking them out.

There are dozens of instances of the false alarm – a sudden shoulder grab, a character pretending to be dead, etc.  This overused device is meant to create tension and then reveal it to be a ploy so that when the real kill or attack happens, you won’t be ready for it.  It never really works, yet it just won’t die.  Let’s take a look.

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