Seeing as it was the weekend before Hallowe’en, and we had a bunch of coupons for free or half-price movies from our local purveyor of movie rentals that are due to expire end of the month, we had ourselves a horror flick bash.
First thing you have to realise is that I’m a sucker for women who kick ass, especially when they’re kicking zombie ass, vampire ass, or other assorted nasty creepy ghoulie and ghostie ass. Even if they’re doing so in completely inappropriate clothing or high heels. As long as the obligatory sidekick goat-boys* don’t take up too much screen time, I can deal with chainmail/leather/spandex bikinis and non-sensible shoes.
So that mostly explains my choices of Resident Evil, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, in which Mila Jovovich kicks mutant zombie ass and soulless corporate mercenary butt all over the place, assisted by assorted goat-boys and, in the second movie, the equally kick-ass Sienna Guillory. I also enjoyed the implicit criticism of global capitalism.
Rise: Blood Hunter casts Lucy Liu as a reporter whose investigations of strange doings in the Goth scene lead to her gruesome transformation to a vampire and her quest to hunt down and kill the family of vampires responsible for her death. Liu kicks vampire ass superlatively. For the record, Michael Chicklis, who co-stars as an alcoholic cop searching for the same gang of blood-suckers for reasons of his own, may be Liu’s sidekick, but he is more than a goat-boy. This film got mixed reviews, but I enjoyed it a lot. I admit to a particular weakness for watching vampires try to be ethical about blood-sucking while they kick butt. I also admit to a weakness for Lucy Liu.
28 Weeks Later picks up some months after 28 days Later left off. England is almost completely depopulated, and the zombies, er, Rage Virus victims have all died of hunger. The rebuilding of London has commenced, with the assistance of the U.S. Army. Refugees from the continent are being repatriated. The countryside is being scoured for the few survivors. But unbeknownst to the reconstruction teams, the virus is still lurking…
( 'Ware serious spoilers, including how the movie ends )
The last flick of the weekend was 1408. A stylish ghost story about belief and self-delusion, with a bravura performance by John Cusack as a debunker of ghost stories who is writing a book about haunted hotel rooms, and insists on staying the night in Room 1408 at The Dolphin Hotel, where more than 50 people have died over the years from a variety of causes, and it is implied that even more have gone mad. The movie was visually very creepy, emotionally powerful in parts, but faded toward the end. The conclusion, I thought, wasn’t quite “big” enough to justify the intensity and complexity of what had gone before. My favourite part was actually the build-up, in which hotel manager Samuel L. Jackson tries to persuade Cusack’s character not to stay in the room by recounting all of the horrors that have happened there, part of which is a wonderful set-up for Jackson, well-known for playing action heroes with a bit of a twist, to explain why he avoids Room 1408 unless it’s that time of the month. I admit to a weakness for Samuel L. Jackson.
And that, Gentle Reader, was how I spent my weekend.
* I call ‘em goat-boys because they almost always seem to be sporting about a day and a half’s worth of unshaven facial hair, which gives them the appearance of being young goats. Also add puns on goatees, goat’s head soup, devil-may-care attitudes, and goatish behaviour as you wish.