Horror

CinemAbysmal: The Podcast – Episode 18: Halloween – It Follows, As Above, So Below, & We Are Still Here

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Welcome to the 18th episode of CinemAbysmal: The Podcast, where the three writers of CinemAbysmal.com talk about what society would consider some of the worst of the worst media out there. This week, we discuss the three of some of our favorite current horror films in anticipation of Halloween, as well as more of Eric’s bathing habits! Check it out on all your favorite apps below! As always, please SHARE, RATE, AND SUBSCRIBE!

iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/cinemabysmal/id1153464020?mt=2

Google Play Music – https://play.google.com/music/m/Irjld24rxpsi22hdnugilmxh57u?t=CinemAbysmal

Stitcher – https://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=128435&refid=asa

Spreaker – http://www.spreaker.com/show/cinemabysmals-show

You can also find us on BeyondPod! Just search for CinemAbysmal.

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Ed Wood Jesus Do? – KUSO

New Column Time – As you may know, our cult film podcast, Ed Wood Jesus Do?, has been unleashed upon the world, and though in great length we will dissecting films through an audio format, there are films too important not to discuss here.  So welcome to Ed Wood Jesus Do? The Column! (THE N IS SILENT, MOTHERFUCKERS!) These will be less reviews and more explorations of what works and why you should see them. 

Film: KUSO (2017)

Directed by Steve, or Steve Ellison, or Flying Lotus. Written by Steve Ellison, David Firth, and Zack Fox. Follow them on Twitter or whatever. 

Available Exclusively on Shudder

this shit is written by eric

Good gravy! That’s all I can say directly after seeing the 2017 horror film, KUSO. I don’t even have time to replay the events in my mind or to even find a suitable through-line to make everything digestible. I am going from the gut on this motherfucker and the gut is telling me that KUSO is the greatest film to ever be created by Earthlings. I am not 100% certain these Earthlings exist on our temporal-spatial plane, and in fact, this is the Citizen Kane of a dimension in which films are strange, and linger in parts of your brain not connected to logic or consciousness. So maybe us.

KUSO is the first film directed by Steve Ellison, otherwise known as Flying Lotus. If you have not heard of him, I am sure by the name, you can easily pick up what he is putting down. This film follows four chaotic vignettes in a post-earthquake, surrealist LA. It was co-written by David Firth, creator of the legendary YouTube creep hype toon, Salad Fingers. The film is strange, deep in its shallowness with a depth that is shallow in and of itself. There are CGI breasts and even a psychotropic healer named Mr. Quibbles living inside George Clinton’s asshole. It also features Adult Swim and Comedy Central alums such as Hannibal Burress, Tim Heidecker, Anders Holm, and Donnell Rawlings. It is intense, scary, gross, and fucking awesome.

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Let’s stop there. This isn’t just a weird film. That’s right, we’re about to get real in here. Flying Lotus’ filmmaking is a lot like his rap. He riddles the listener with absurd lines and awkward sounds, but behind all the ugly surrealism and the offensiveness meant to shock, there is real fucking talent. This film feels like the marriage of the absurdist humor of Tim and Eric with the ultra-violent visions of Takashi Miike. It is as important to cinema in 2017 as Eraserhead was in 1977. Every shot of a little person rubbing his own feces all over a sticky xenomorphesque pod in the woods is bookended by magical scenes that instantly develop the tone in much the same way Apichatpong Weerasethakul established his in the astounding Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall his Past Lives. There is a melding of obtuse CGI imagery with Troma-style practical effects. A lesser artist would have left you feeling lost inside, but Mr. Lotus creates a world that doesn’t give a fuck about how cohesive it looks. As much as this film may be dismissed as kissing the ass of Bunuel, it must be remembered much of the beauty of the famed Spanish surrealist was incorporated to allow subversive thought to become more easily digestible. KUSO is subversive thought wrapped in a fucking tortilla shell of subversive style. In other words, just like Flying Lotus.

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For now, the real question is: “How the fuck am I supposed to return to my life? What am I supposed to do with the vivid imagery of someone repeatedly stabbing the head of an erect penis with an ice pick?” My guess is that I need to watch it again to try and make sense of it. And when I can’t, I’ll tell someone else to watch it, and you should too. Tell your high friends to watch it; dissect it in between bitter bong hits. Tell your church friends to watch it and that God exists and He created a masterpiece about two fuzzy creatures who perform abortions like Scorpion from Mortal Kombat; “Get over here!” “Fatality!” “Toasty!” Tell your mother to fuck off, she probably won’t like this film.

The film enters with Busdriver, one of my all-time favorite lords of Hip-Hop, doing a majestic spoken word piece. He only returns post-credit with another melodic monologue, a sigh of relief, a bit of beautiful levity to let us know that though the world is absurd, we live in it, and will continue to live in it. “So skin me alive. I survived, and I can barely believe it; quake,” he says in the last line of his soliloquy. “So skin me alive. I survived, and I can barely believe it; quake.” And with that, we get the most profound statement of this film, and possibly our lives.

 

The Void

voidThe Void (2016) – Horror 

Directed by: Steven Kostanski and Jeremy Gillespie

Starring: Aaron Poole and Kenneth Welsh

How I Watched: Amazon Instant Video

Review by Eric Scot Lemons

Everyone has their ideal movie in their head. The one they always wished they could make or at least see. Characters that speak on themes that are important to you. The addition of plot twists and full frontal male nudity. Everyone has something they want their favorite movie to be. I want to see an 80;s style cosmic horror film that feels equal part Lovecraft and Cronenberg. I want practical effects and an ending that feels completely batshittingly disconnected from the first act. And folks, I have seemingly found this film. Or so I thought.

The Void is a film that was produced in 2016 and feels very much like a full-length film cousin of Stranger Things. It doesn’t initially try anything too daring, starting with a small town sheriff’s deputy finding a man who has run away from some seemingly bad men. He brings this man to the nearest hospital, which unfortunately is under reconstruction after a recent fire and thus, suffers from a limited staff. And the deputy’s ex-wife works there also, which is the kind of coincidence that happens in films all the fucking time to give emotional depth, but tends to just break down fourth walls.

But forgiving that, shit goes full fucking insanity pretty fast when a whole host of white cloaked figures descend and surround the building, killing anyone who wishes to enter or exit. Their perfectly starched and ironed cloaks look very KKK outside of the black triangle over the face, presumably so they can see. Also, one of the nurses has killed one of the patients and therefore has also decided to cut her own face from her skull. So that’s cool. She is killed, but pretty immediately comes back as a giant bloody tentacle monster which has to be re-killed. It is pretty fucking sweet to watch. And this all happens in the first act. Are you pumped, cause I am fucking pumped.

Then the second act hits and shit slows way the fuck down. It becomes the same dynamic that plays out in every single location horror film. Mistrust, survival runs, and hashing out personal issues that really don’t matter but again, add depth. I really don’t want to ruin the rest of the film for you, because the third act is a masterclass on mind-blowing and face shredding.

So this is the film I wanted to see. It kinda feels like one of those wishes where you wish for something, but some asscracked genie or monkey paw kills everyone on Earth because you asked to be the richest man alive. Turns out, I like a lot of things in films besides which other artists it stole from. Like good acting. The acting in this film was fairly disgusting in many scenes. Also, casting. This is some backwoods community and half the characters look like patrons of some french named coffee bar in Williamsburg. I know actors tend to look like actors, but come on. Does the sheriff’s deputy really need an undercut and skinny jeans? Dialogue was also just kinda boring. We are talking about entering a new plane of existence and reanimating the dead and monsters and shit, and I am just fucking yawning. You have to try so hard to make dialogue with that subject matter boring.

Overall, the film’s strengths can really carry the film. And I am definitely buying it on Blu-Ray or a future as-yet-named format and recommending everyone with the same tastes as me go out and see it. All the weaknesses do is frustrate you with how great it could have been. I love the blood and gore and tentacle porn, but when the characters’ emotions don’t match the tension of the scene, it pulls you out of all that horrible shit. I like that horrible shit. I want to sleep in it. Don’t do that.

The Boy

theboy

The Boy (2016) – Horror 

Directed by: William Brent Bell

Starring: Lauren Cohan and Rupert Evans

How I Watched: Streamed on Showtime

Review by Eric Scot Lemons

There are some ideas that are so fucking stupid, they are actually good. Horror tends to be the genre that best collects these gems that make you think, ‘who the fuck thought this would be good?’ The Boy, which came out in 2016, is one of these films. Quite possibly, the most overused trope of the 2000’s in horror was that of the creepy kid. We saw it in The Ring and The Grudge. The 2010’s saw the return of the creepy doll with Annabelle and the remake of Poltergeist. Yes, the creepy kid and creepy doll are tropes that played out in the 70’s and 80’s as well. We live in a recursive culture, you see. Time is a flat circle or some shit. Anyway, the point I am getting to is that The Boy mixes these tropes to seemingly idiotic effect, until the story actually starts evolving.

The film starts with a nanny played by Lauren Cohan who was in The Walking Dead and still might be. I don’t watch that shit. The nanny, Greta, gets some Craigslist job in England where shit is inherently creepy to watch some child. But when she gets there, the spooky unhinged parents reveal that she will in fact be watching a doll that looks like a boy, but is totally inanimate. The design of the wooden figure is actually quite excellent in that it has a blank expression that simultaneously looks both angelic and menacing. Not like Dead Silence (2007) where it fucking grins maniacally throughout, and then everyone is surprised when it turns out evil.

I mean, of course, the situation in The Boy is fucked up, but what the film tries to hint is that maybe it isn’t, and that’s where the film gains strength. Greta indulges the “parents,” complying with what seems to be their grief, as the doll is meant to represent the boy the couple lost in a fire. They eventually leave on an extended holiday (British for vacation), and she is left alone with the doll. She just throws it on a chair and makes herself a peanut butter & jelly sammich, relaxing. This is where shit is kinda weird for me. Being somewhat neurotic, I’d either assume this was some test and I was on CCTV, or that maybe there is some fucked up reason the parents catered so heavily to the doll, and I would just keep acting like it was a real boy. I would probably fail some social experiment about compliance, but fuck it, I am like 20% sure ghosts don’t exist, but like, 20% afraid of everything. Therefore, what can it hurt? Anyway, the negligence gets to be too much for the doll, and it starts moving and shit when she isn’t in the room.

The strength of the film comes from Greta’s reaction to the movement and supposed life of the doll. Not with fear, but amazement. Too often in horror films, we see characters, especially women, respond with terror when confronted by anything outside of the norm. It is refreshing to see someone experimenting with that which is strange. I mean, the film does come with its own brand of “horror,” in that it turns out the movements are made by the actual adult son that is living in the walls. He then tries to kill people because it is a stupid third act, but for a bit of time, the film is curious and energetic, playing against the shit that usually comes from the “haunted house” story.

In many ways, the film is unremarkable, however it is fun to follow, and the inherent creepiness of seeing people treat a doll like a real human gives legs to the uncanny nature of the story. It sounds stupid to recommend a film like this, but if you are in the mood for a horror film that will tingle your interests, but won’t take up too much brain matter, check it out.

The Eyes of My Mother

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The Eyes of My Mother (2016) – Horror 

Directed by: Nicolas Pesce

Starring: Kika Magalhaes and Olivia Bond

How I Watched: Netflix

Review by Eric Scot Lemons

Opening on a sultry black and white shot of some goddamn trees, that is quite possibly the most beautiful shot of trees I have seen outside of a BBC Planet Earth special, The Eyes of My Mother is almost jarring in its simplicity. I had heard a many creepy story of this film, most notably by my mother, who accidentally turned it on one night and sat through the whole thing. “It’s really dark,” she said. She wasn’t fucking kidding. It is a film about solitude and grief’s effect on the human psyche, blatantly starting off with a mother describing to her child the religious ecstasy of Francis of Assisi, canonized in 1228 after receiving the stigmata after years of loneliness. This connection between solitude and violence is a central theme, I think.

The mother and her daughter are seen cutting out the eye of a cow in a scene that seems to pay homage to the 1929 Surrealist film by Salvador Dali and Luis Bunuel, Un Chien Andalou, which uses a cow’s eye as stand-in for a woman’s eye, which is stand-in for the way the clouds seem to cut through the moon. But you’ve seen that film. You know what I’m saying.

The mother is a surgeon, or was in Portugal, and is seemingly teaching her young daughter the family craft. Soon, a stranger arrives at the home played amazingly to creeptastic effect by Will Brill, who played that methy prisoner in The OA if you watched that. He smiles and his eyes bulge like a Peter Lorre impressionist. He looks like a fucking evangelist with his white shirt and black slacks, but presents an almost immediately ominous tone. He is an animal and they his prey. They regard him with the same poise and caution one would present a rabid wolf. But by the time the Father arrives, the mother is no more. The discovery of her demise is pitch perfectly played with the camera following the Father and the audience hoping to press the brakes for fear of the barbaric sounds coming from the bathroom. The animal is subdued and like any animal, chained in the barn. Perhaps the Father has more torturous plans for the stranger. Maybe he just doesn’t have the ability to kill another human being. But his daughter steps in, ten years old at the most, and after seeing her Father’s agitation toward his screams for help, the girl decides to cut out the eyes and vocal cords of the creature, but not before he relays to her the secret behind why he kills. Because it feels so good.

The film then follows as the girl, Francisca, is now an adult woman. She is played by Kika Magalhaes in a mixture of intense angst and far-off stares. She is beautiful and slender and sports the jet black hairstyle of Chantal Goya in Masculin Feminin. Her father has died and she still yearns for her mother, while tenderly caring for the blind and mute stranger locked in her barn. The film turns to story of a young monster while she preys on locals in a pursuit to regain the family she has lost. The final impact of her life comes in a gunshot heard from a drone filming above the familial home.

I like this film and would recommend it to anyone, but for reasons outside of it being a great film. It is honestly one of the more stunning hour and twenty minutes you will find within the horror genre. The subject matter is dark and disturbing on every count as you ride along on very stark journey into the mind of a killer. Scenes are complex with many layers and alternative viewpoints to be gleaned. But the story in and of itself doesn’t have much to say. I found myself constantly amazed by what I was watching, yet questioning, what the fuck is the point? Should I just be shocked or is this film saying something outside of the context of the film?

It feels like it relies so much on the momentum of the callous way that Francisca destroys her fellow humans in the search of a connection, that it doesn’t collect anything worth saying about the human condition. The film never stands up for the protagonist or makes excuse for why she acts the ways she does, and in another film, this could be seen as a strong point, but in this one, it feels like a cop out. The entire third act feels rushed and devoid of the very relationship building it needs in order for the audience to feel the full weight of the climax. It just ends.

Ultimately, go see it. Turn it on Netflix and revel in its beauty. Think about it for days but don’t be surprised if you find nothing of value on the other side of all that thinking.

CinemAbysmal: The Podcast – Episode 8: The Purge Trilogy & Legion

CinemAbysmal: The Podcast – Episode 8: The Purge Trilogy and Legion

Our eighth episode is here! This week, we talk The Purge Trilogy, the first season of Legion on FX, Juggalos, and more! Check it out on all your favorite apps below! As always, please SHARE, RATE, AND SUBSCRIBE!

iTunes –https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/cinemabysmal/id1153464020?mt=2

Google Play Music – https://play.google.com/music/m/Irjld24rxpsi22hdnugilmxh57u?t=CinemAbysmal

SoundCloud – https://soundcloud.com/cinemabysmal/08-the-purge-trilogy-legion

Stitcher – http://www.stitcher.com/s?eid=49928012&refid=asa

Spreaker – http://www.spreaker.com/show/cinemabysmals-show

You can also find us on BeyondPod! Just search for CinemAbysmal.

CinemAbysmal: The Podcast – Episode 7 ‘Stuck in Shining, New York’

CinemAbysmal: The Podcast – Episode 7
‘Stuck in Shining, New York’

Our seventh episode is here! This week, we talk some of our favorite movies and try to involve Stephen King in each of them! Check it out on all your favorite apps below! As always, please SHARE, RATE, AND SUBSCRIBE!

iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/cinemabysmal/id1153464020?mt=2

Google Play Music – https://play.google.com/music/m/Irjld24rxpsi22hdnugilmxh57u?t=CinemAbysmal

SoundCloud – https://soundcloud.com/cinemabysmal/07-stuck-in-shining-new-york

Stitcher – http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=128435&refid=asa

Spreaker – http://www.spreaker.com/show/cinemabysmals-show

You can also find us on BeyondPod! Just search for CinemAbysmal.