Saturday, June 20, 2009

murder and skull-y.

taking a break from drawing Lycra clad laydees kicking the shite out of demons I actually got around to watching a few movies this last week.

And a few (well one of them) was quite modern!

Will these wonders never cease?

Laid To Rest (2009).
Dir: Robert Hall.
Cast: Bobbi Sue Luther, Kevin Gage, Sean Whalen, Lena Headey, Johnathon Schaech, Nick Principe and Thomas Dekker.


It's dark, it's dusty and the sound of heavy breathing fills the air, shafts of light cut swathes thru' the darkness revealing a pair of terrified eyes darting left to right as the breathing gets louder and louder.

It appears that some joker has locked a pneumatic brunette in a coffin (Luther, last seen strutting her stuff as a buxom Orion slave girl in Star Trek: Enterprise and soon to appear in the remake of Night of The Demons) and left her in the chapel of rest of an unnamed funeral home.

Ain't that always the way?

You think she looks upset now?
Well just wait till the mooth shite-in starts.

Managing to break free (and scare the arse off 'B' movie stalwart Richard Lynch in the process) the poor lamb is horrified to discover that the impromptu Boxing Helena impression is the least of her worries seeing as she can hardly walk, has the vocabulary of a child, memory loss and a huge sticky hole in the back of her head.

Oh and she's found herself in the preparation room surrounded by scary looking jars, many sharp things and with only the naked corpse of an old lady for company.

Could her day get any worse?

Gazing out of the window in the hope of finding someone who can help her she notices a shadowy figure in the distance.

Could this be her knight in shining armour?

Well only if chivalrous movie good guys have now taken to wandering around clad totally in black apart from a chrome-plated skull mask with a handy video camera attached to their shoulders and carrying knives so sharp that they seem to cut thru' the very air around them.

Hmmm....I think we can hazard a guess as to who locked her in the coffin.

Bloody hell.

Managing to avoid a stabbing off her new slash happy pal our heroine escapes into the woods and onto a deserted road where she's picked up by gamy legged nice guy Tucker (Gage from Ricky 6) and his wife Cindy (Teevee's Sarah Connor, Heady) who are convinced they can help her regain her memories and discover who she is.

But outside in the dark Mr. Chromeskull is on the move and we're about to discover if you can ever truly escape your past.

Or more importantly escape from the fright masked nutter who's chasing you.


Video piracy is a crime.

It seems that there isn't a week that passes without some new low budget horror movie being unleashed with it's director being hailed as the Saviour of horror as critics and fansites alike eagerly swallow the studio hype only to be disappointed (again) when the curtains rise and they're greeted by another lackluster and oh so clever (yet ultimately toothless and imagination free) post modern slasher movie.

I blame Wes Craven myself, but then again I blame Wes Craven for most things, including the death of my beloved pooch when I was 12. But that's another story.

Maybe it's old age or maybe I'm just jaded, but it's rare to find a movie these days that gives you the same buzz you got when seeing Dawn of The Dead (on Video 2000 no less) as a 9 year old or queuing to see your first 'X' rated feature (Nightmare on Elm Street, Dudley Plaza, October 31st, 1985).

In fact I can probably count them on one hand.

Soft for Digging, The Descent, Diary of The Dead and [Rec] are probably the only genre films of recent years that have actually treated their subject matter with anything remotely resembling a straight face, placing their horrors in a real world setting and with believable characters and situations.

And now Laid to Rest has done the same thing for the much maligned slasher genre.

Director Robert Hall has delivered a back to basics no frills slasher movie that's as black and bloody as it's protagonists suit with a plot that's stripped to the bone (like a certain persons shiny skull head).

And I for one an grateful for that.

There's no annoying attempts a justification for the villains behaviour or reasons for his mentalist ways (ala the absymal TCM prequel or Rob Zombie's Halloween rehash) as the audience, alongside Luthor's character are thrown headlong into the scenario with no idea as to why (or where) things are happening


"Laugh Now you bastards!"

And with Chromeskull Hall has created a villain that, like the original Michael Myers before him most resembles a land based Great White Shark, striking violently and indiscriminately without warning and whose only agenda is to kill, maim and then maybe kill a wee bit more.

Every one of the small cast is just fleshed out to just the right amount and well played enough to make the viewer genuinely care as to who will make it to the final reel, from Gage and Headey's loving husband and wife team to Sean (Tammy and the T-Rex, People Under The Stairs) Whalen's lovable geek Steven via the creepy Lynch the performances are pitched perfect and the characters just the right side of cliche.

Couple this with a crisp and uncluttered directing style that subtly pays homage to such varying sources as The Beyond and Phantasm amongst others and you have a fantastically crafted love letter to the slasher genre from a director who obviously loves and understands it's rules and conventions enough to realize why they were successful enough in the first place.

There is hope for the future of good, old fashioned horror after all.

Buy, beg or steal a copy now, then go ring up that Zombie bloke and shout "shite in ya mooth!" at him down the phone.


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