Quiet Place Terrifies

This past weekend something extraordinary happened. A cheap
monster horror film which is really an experimental art film brought
in $50 million at the American box office. How did this happen?
Somebody, possibly producer Michael Bay, sensed that audiences were
tired of generic blockbusters like “Pacific Rim: Uprising.” Somebody
saw potential in an odd, bleak script with very little dialogue and
somehow sensed that actor/co-writer John Krasinski (from “The Office”)
could pull everything together and direct a good film out of it, one
that people would want to see. Paramount Pictures released the film
on a weekend with no new big budget films coming out and made sure all
the critics saw it. A new smash hit was born!

“A Quiet Place” is about a family trying to survive in a grim
future where gigantic monsters are decimating mankind. The only way
to survive this situation is not to make any loud noises. This is
easier said than done, but the family (led by John Krasinski and Emily
Blunt) has a leg up because the daughter is deaf so they all know sign
language. Fatefully, the mother becomes pregnant. The film plays
largely without dialogue as the family struggles to survive.

The filmmakers behind “A Quiet Place” realize that the
audience not only wants an exciting, edge-of-your-seat experience but
also something that is unlike anything they’ve seen before. The result
will please fans of M. Night Shamalayan (sic) as well as monster movie
film buffs. The film is exciting, well-acted, original, and often
terrifying, yet subtle enough to get a PG-13. By the end of the film,
I felt that I had seen something worth going out of my way to see; the
audience was enraptured with the film and many applauded at the end.
If you see one horror film this year, make it “A Quiet Place.”

Shock Value Intereresting but Flawed

Recently one of my best friends gave me a book called “Shock
Value” for Christmas. Written by Jason Zinoman, it chronicles the
birth of modern horror, beginning with “Rosemary’s Baby” and “Night of
the Living Dead” and continuing with the great horror films of the
1970’s including “Last House on the Left” and “The Texas Chain Saw
Massacre.” Directors such as George A. Romero, John Carpenter, Roman
Polanski, Brian De Palma, Wes Craven, Steven Spielberg, and William
Friedkin are chronicled.

While it is entertaining to read about the birth of modern horror and
these amazing, strong personalities, the book ends
up trying to cover too much ground. Only Hooper and Brian
De Palma come across as fully formed individuals; everyone else
(particularly Carpenter and Romero) seems too thin a character for the
pages allotted. Dan O’Bannon (writer of “Alien”) goes the other way;
we learn a lot about him personally but little about his filmmaking
techniques. Why, for example, does he think “Assault on Precinct 13,
one of the best films of the 1970’s, is a terrible movie? The book is
entertaining enough but I have a nagging feeling it should have been
better. Definitely check it out of your local library then, but only
purchase at a big discount. “Shock Value” needs more shocking

Sherlockda Holme$ : P.I.

In 2099, the world has flooded. Elites on the two coasts, survived in sky-scrapers, but all those in the plains perished. The societies in NY City and L.A. had a new terrain, where they used tiny compact submarines to get around town underwater. And a series of ski lift type transports were used above ground. The current state was likely the result of weather manipulation. In all of the land, when a murder occurred, there was only one chick capable of solving the crime for the people. She was a P.I., and a vigilante. Her name was Sherlockda Holme$, P.I.

“Another day, same shit,” she commented, chewing on an oxygen bar. “This fucking bra is killing me, hardly even fits the nerve agent compartment,” she complained.

Most of the world was now aware that chaos was the norm, not order. Because of this, nobody wanted to listen to bubble gum music anymore. In the year 3000, most music had been completely forgotten about, except for death metal and classical music. Beatles records and rap cd’s had all been burned in piles. Classic death metal was back in style and the top ten billboards looked like this:

1) Grave – You Will Never See Heaven
2) Morbid Angel – World of Shit
and so forth…

By this time you got the songs through an implant behind the ear.

Because Sherlockda had never forgotten her roots, she had a hidden stash of DMX cd’s that her great-great-grandmother had hidden under a bunch of bricks in the wall in the living room. She drew upon these for inspiration.

These days her underwater compartment was only 10×10. Home was mostly just to sleep. You ate what you netted while you were out.

“You’re complaining about your lethal bra? How do you think it feels to have to wear a steel cup all day? You know they make these jock straps in China right?”

Her sidekick Throatsmasher was a hesher. He wore a battle vest jacket with various DM bands on it and a bandana. He weighed 220 or so and had lots of spikes on. Plus, he was 6’4 and knew Kajukenbo. He mostly worked with Sherlocka because he needed money to buy vintage metal cds. That and steroids. Which formed a cycle. He was chewing wild mushrooms, which grew all over now that things were permanently damp.

Their submarine was a double person one, by Harley Davidson, modeled after the old motorcycles which had a third wheel and second compartment. It had custom skulls and dollar signs painted on it.

“Bitch, I’m gonna drive this time,” asserted Throatcrusher. He set down his net, taking a break from catching the mutant fish.

“Not if you wanna get that bread dog,” replied Sherlocka.

“Where we headed then?”

“To Club Drown, now get your bitch ass in the shotgun.”

And they wrestled over the situation. Trying to see who could get the submission. Throatcrusher shot in for the double-let takedown. Shelocka gave him da business though, feeding him a forearm sandwich, cross facing him, while over hooking the other arm. Throatcrusher pressed on, ducking under and wrapping his 18″ bicep under her leg for the fire-man’s carry. But Sherlocka wrapped her arm around his and her other leg on his other arm, and choked him with his own lapel in a crucifix. Throatcrusher begrudgingly tapped out.

“Ok. You drive. Whatever. See if I care,” he said, getting in. “Where the hell are we going anyways?”

“We’re going to club Drown. There was a mass shooting at that metal club last night. Some kind of neutron gun. There is a bounty on the killer. Ten year supply of oxygen.”

“Well I get to pick the music if you are driving,” commanded Throatcrusher.

And they sped off under the filthy green current, listening remotely to some Pungent Stench.



Serpent and Rainbow Hits BluRay

Wes Craven’s best and probably most underrated effort is 1988’s
“The Serpent and the Rainbow,” a terrifying tale loosely based on a
true story. Inspired by the non-fiction book by Wade Davis that
details his adventures in Haiti while searching for an effective
“zombification” drug, this film gives us a Dr. Allen (played by Bill
Pullman in his first lead role) who is on the same quest but who has
much more harrowing experiences. How harrowing? Well, how about
suffering brutal injuries while being tortured and (later) being
buried alive?

Sort of a fever dream combo of “A Nightmare on Elm
Street” and an Indiana Jones flick, the film impresses with its
thousands of extras, one of whom eats glass on-screen, The film,
which was shot in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, also impresses by
showing the real-life turmoil going on in the region and suggesting a
culture beyond America’s understanding. Throw in some truly
frightening dream (or are they?) sequences, a great performance by
Zakes Mokae as a truly corrupt government official and an interracial
romance between Pullman and fellow doctor Cathy Tyson and you have one
of the most interesting films of the 1980’s. Also, Brad Fiedel
contributes his best score.

The Blu-ray from Shout Factory! features a great new transfer,
very lucid commentary from star Bill Pullman and an involving 27
minute making-of documentary featuring extensive interviews with
Pullman, Davis, and cinematographer John Lindley. Don’t miss this
seminal release of an unjustly forgotten horror film. “The Serpent
and The Rainbow” will scare you silly!