OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets


It Conquered The World (1956)


"He learned almost too late that man is a feeling creature... and because of it, the greatest in the universe. He learned too late for himself that men have to find their own way, to make their own mistakes. There can't be any gift of perfection from outside ourselves. And when men seek such perfection... they find only death... fire... loss... disillusionment... the end of everything that's gone forward. Men have always sought an end to the toil and misery, but it can't be given, it has to be achieved. There is hope, but it has to come from inside, from Man himself."

Well. Actually, it doesn't. Conquer the world, I mean. It even fails to conquer one shitty small town, but that's neither here nor there, because THIS! IS! SPARTAAAAAAAAA.... ehm, I mean this is a Roger Corman movie. Yepp. Another one - as requested by popular demand (*cough* Pyre *cough*). And because I live to serve (ahem), I will talk about this beautiful movie, this jewel of B-movie-ness.

*happy sigh*

It Conquers The World is actually famous... well, more or less famous. Depends on what social circles you are hanging out with. I personally am sure that at least TF will instantly know what this movie is about when he reads these words: Frank Zappa, "Cheepnis". Yepp. Frank Zappa talks about this very movie. Specifically, about the threatening creature Roger Corman unleashed upon the world. Yes, I AM referring to the ...monster you can see on the cover depicted above. Look at it. Take it in. Read.

"Cheepnis." Let me tell you something, do you like monster movies? Anybody? I LOVE monster movies, I simply adore monster movies, and the cheaper they are, the better they are. And cheepnis in the case of a monster movie has nothing to do with the budget of the film, although it helps, but true cheepnis is exemplified by visible nylon strings attached to the jaw of a giant spider . . . I'll tell you, a good one that I saw one time, I think the name of the film was "IT CONQUERED THE WORLD," and the . . . Did you ever see that one? The monster looks sort of like an inverted ice-cream cone with teeth around the bottom. It looks like a (phew!), like a teepee or . . . sort of a rounded off pup-tent affair, and, uh, it's got fangs on the base of it, I don't know why but it's a very threatening sight, and then he's got a frown and, you know, ugly mouth and everything, and there's this one scene where the, uh, monster is coming out of a cave, see? There's always a scene where they come out of a cave, at least once, and the rest of the cast . . . it musta been made around the 1950's, the lapels are about like that wide, the ties are about that wide and about this short, and they always have a little revolver that they're gonna shoot the monster with, and there is always a girl who falls down and twists her ankle . . . heh-hey! Of course there is! You know how they are, the weaker sex and everything, twisting their ankle on behalf of the little ice-cream cone. Well in this particular scene, in this scene, folks, they, uh, they didn't wanna re-take it 'cause it musta been so good they wanted to keep it, but they . . . when the monster came out of the cave, just over on the left hand side of the screen you can see about this much two-by-four attached to the bottom of the Thing as the guy is pushing it out, and then obviously off-camera somebody's goin': "NO! GET IT BACK!" And they drag it back just a little bit as the guy is goin': "KCH! KCH!" Now that's cheepnis. Awright.

Being the charming person I am, here's the song as performed on "Roxy & Elsewhere":


There you go. My first youtube video ever embedded on this blog.

You see, this review is more about cool stuff associated with the movie. Because I couldn't for the life of me find an actual copy of the flick (it's a Roger Corman flick, for Raptor Jesus' sake!), I did what every internet user would do. No, I didn't download it (*cough*). I went to youtube, and lo and behold, I found it. In a MST3K version. That's Mystery Science Theater 3000 for you heretics out there who don't know about the brilliance that is MST3K. You are less than human if you don't know it. I have that on good authority.

So, there I was, searching for this movie, finding a MST3K version... and that was just perfect, because I was feeling a little bit depressed at that time. And we all know there is nothing better to cure a depressive moods than watching Joel and the robots mock a movie. A Roger Corman movie, at that. Naturally, that coloured my perception of this brilliant little flick. I apologise. Sincerely.

Let me recap the story of It Conquered The World for you:

A disillusioned, bitter scientist (Dr. Tom Anderson), who has been preaching about alien contact and related stuff (thereby rendering himself a crazy nutjob in the world of science, thus contributing to his bitterness and disillusionment) for years (I told you - batshit insane!) comes into contact with an alien from venus via his radio. Because that's how things work. They become friends, and the alien reveils to Tom that it would like to, you know, conquer the world. Being the bitter and disillusioned scientist he is, Tom thinks that this is a brilliant plan - especially since the Venusian (he actually has a name - "Beluah") plans to conquer the world via his mind control devices, eliminating all emotion.

Naturally, he helps Beluah with his plan. Which his long-time friend and colleague, Dr. Paul Nelson. does not approve of. Especially since he should become one of the elite of this new world order. He doesn't take too kindly to that, given that he will have to kill his wife directly after hopping over to the Anderson's place (but actually, it wasn't his wife - it was the body of his wife, with the, uhm, device implanted, being controlled by HIM. Beluah, not the band).

Paul Nelson: And you want me to condone this reign of terror? (Yupp!) To swear allegiance to this monstrous king of yours? To kill my own soul and all within reach? (Uh-huh!) Well, I won't, Anderson. I'll fight it 'til the last breath in my body. And I'll fight you, too, because you're part of it - the worst part. Because you belong to a living race, not a dying one. This is your land, your world. Your hands are human, but your mind is enemy. (And I won't bring up your feet!) You're a traitor, Anderson. The greatest traitor of all time. And you know why? Because you're not betraying part of mankind - you're betraying all of it.


Moving. Really moving. *wipes a tear out of her eye*

Those mind-controlling devices are delivered by something that the imdb thinks to be bat-creatures (what a delightfully vague way of expressing 'we have no idea what it is'). I hold it with the MST3K crew: It's a giant plastic mitten.

Seriously. You can see the strings that they are being swung around on. THAT'S classy.

Anyways, Dr. Nelson (Paul) manages to convince his friend (Dr. Tom Anderson) that the alien is evil. He does so through the media of verbally and emotionally abusing the already scarred and bitter Tom, using his fears and character weaknesses to give in to his raging paranoia. Nice, eh? So in the end, the two scientists defeat the monster. Which hasn't conquered anything at the end of the movie. Not even aforementioned shitty small town. What kind of resumé is that? Gojira destroys Tokyo with his FOOTSTEPS OF DOOM!, and Beluah just appears mildly threatening and fails to do anything.

Well, at least he looks funny.

Lacking something witty to say here at this end of the review, mostly because I'm ravenously hungry and really want to order a pizza, I give you the links to the greatness that is It Conquered The World as mocked by Joel and the robots on Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Part 01/11
Part 02/11
Part 03/11
Part 04/11
Part 05/11
Part 06/11
Part 07/11
Part 08/11
Part 09/11
Part 10/11
Part 11/11

Enjoy it. I know I have, and mightily so.

5.5/10 flappy plastic mittens being swung around on clearly visible strings. Man. Classy.

"He learned almost too late that man is a feeling creature... and because of it, the greatest in the universe. He learned too late for himself that men have to find their own way, to make their own mistakes. There can't be any gift of perfection from outside ourselves. And when men seek such perfection... they find only death... fire... loss... disillusionment... the end of everything that's gone forward. Men have always sought an end to the toil and misery, but it can't be given, it has to be achieved. There is hope, but it has to come from inside, from Man himself."


The Mist (2007)

The people of a small American town (my guess would be somewhere in Maine) have been beset by a storm. The following day, most of them are in the local mall to stock up on stuff... and that's when it happens.

The Mist...

Spot the Dark Tower reference and the The Thing reference!

There's one problem I have with movies based on Stephen King novels, and that problem are the characters. The characters in the books and stories themselves. Always. The only exception to that rule of thumb are the Gunslinger, his posse (before book 5, that is, and I have to admit to not being particularly partial to Susannah), Randal Flagg... and I guess that's it. When it comes to movies, there are only the Shining TV miniseries and the Salem's Lot TV remake. I can't stand any other King movie I've seen thus far... and even the two I just mentioned have characters that annoy the hell out of me. Mostly children. And... other characters. But as far as Stephen King movies goes, they still are the ones I can endure most.*

However... The Mist is actually, you know... good. I hesitated to watch this one, although it has been on my list for quite a while now. Why? Simply because it's based on a Stephen King story. Granted, I haven't read the story (which is astounding, because I used to live off King's stories between ages 10 and 14... bought every book, read every single one in the two libraries I had access to. Yes, I've changed quite a bit in the years since then...), but the mere mention of Stephen King in the context of a movie is something that instinctively makes me flinch and hide. Because, in my world, "Based on a story by STEPHEN KING" (and variations thereof) does not make a movie good. Usually, it's exactly the opposite.

This, ladies and gentlemen, ghouls and ghosts, is the proverbial exception to the rule of thumb.

We're 12 minutes into the movie, and already, stuff happens.

There is something in the mist...

The Mist doesn't suffer from any of the usual faults I habitually associate with Stephen King movies. It's not slow, it's not drawn out and boring, it's not an abomination unto the eyes of man resp. woman, it isn't on the mental and intellectual level of a retarded 10-year-old.

The acting is really good throughout the movie - even the unlikeable character(s) are portrayed in a way that you forget for the duration of the movie that these are actors, paid to act the way they do. The entire cast, even the people you don't really get to know or who get only a tiny amount of screentime, does its best. And in this rare case, this actually means that it is freakin' awesome. These figures appear as real as any of the people you meet at work... at school... or in the mall. Thumbs up for the cast, definitely.

Which brings me to another point of the movie which I fully appreciate:

Continuing on from my initial paragraph: The Mist (yesh, I'm witty!) has come, and the people are trapped within a store. This situation creates, of course, interesting social tension (as my beloved Dawn of the Dead remake has already brilliantly exemplified). Or should I say social tensionS (plural form)? People in shock, people panicking... religious nutters... And the small-mindedness of common people. I apologise for sounding as if I had a problem with common people in small towns, or their small-mindedness. Or rather, I don't (apologise, that is), because I actually do have a problem with it. But that's neither here nor there.

Sound is used to a devastating effect. It's rare that I am kept on the edge of my seat with goosebumps on my arms and my back whilst watching a movie. It's even more rare that I still feel the same way whilst watching a movie for the second time in a week. Usually, the few scares that actually, you know, scare me in a movie are a one-time-incident. Only a few movies manage to make me feel creeped out when I watch a movie more than once. The Mist is one of them. And that, my faithful readers, is something I appreciate.

Also, the camerawork is solid. It's not art, it's not particularly beautiful, but it's solid and shows us what we need to see and what we expect to see. Although some of the shots are really good. A rope leading into thick mist has never felt threatening before...

And whilst I still stand by my assessment that the shots are nothing that I'd consider to be art, they do create tension. They do create atmosphere. A dark, gritty and - pardon the pun - misty atmosphere. Which is what makes this movie something special. Clean, solid shots alternate with haze-filled ones that convey a bizarre feeling of surreal threat. I fully approve.

The CGI isn't bad either. If you run the movie in a very low FPS rate, you can start criticising, but that's not common movie watching behaviour, so I'm not going to be picky about it. After all, The Mist wasn't created for people trying to get a decent screen of something particularly nasty, but for watching and enjoying it.

And, in order to reiterate myself: The human element. Oh, the human element. A film that features constant portrayals of the fathomless depths that are the conditio humana is just something that the world has needed.

All the small lies, the small, stupid minds, the idiotic thoughts, the distrust, the suspicions, the fear of failure, the pathetic behaviour, the pathetic attempts to cover up one's own mistakes by blaming others for them or claiming to be innocent of any faults... truly, this is humanity. On the other hand, we also get grand, lofty ideas and ideals (yes, there is a difference), simple humans acting better than their peers, true courage and bravery.

And the worst from the depths of the human mind: Religious insanity. The worst kind of losing it there is and was throughout the history of humanity. Pretty much every scholar of history can tell you that organised book-religions, whilst they can bring out the best in a few people, also motivated some of the absolutely worst massacres and atrocities throughout history.

The Mist features a crazy religious nutjob. Fundamentalist crazy religious nutjob. The kind that wants to crush the nonbelievers and starts "holy wars" and sacrifices children to satisfy the bloodlust of their LORD, which is only their own dark side, their own destructiveness searching for a way out - a socially sanctified way. Because, you know - killing people and starting wars and killing children is bad in the eyes of society. As soon as you have some sort of higher entity to refer to, one that is socially acceptable, it all becomes... acceptable. Necessary, even.

Sorry for rambling a bit. I try not to let this review become an outlet for my feelings about Abrahamic religions. If you, dear reader, should believe in YHVH/God/Allah - do as thou wilt shall be the whole of the law. I accept religious beliefs. What I do have a problem with is blind fanaticism.

Okay, ranting mode off.

Back to the mist. And damn, it looks good. I've always loved mist. Mist makes me happy. It covers, it hides. It makes the world more beautiful.

I also want to add that there are tentacles. Tentacles make the cyn happy.

I officially LOVE this mist.

Mist that offers tentacles which eat people is now officially on my top list of cool things that need to happen more often. And I'm not just talking TENTACLES. I am talking AWESOME TENTACLES. Then again, people who know me know that I am particularly fond of anything which is vaguely reminiscent of tentacles. So... tentacles FTW!

And man... the end. Oh my Gods, the end... I loved it. You will love it, too, if you're anything like me. It also includes a Dead Can Dance - song, and as I love this band deeply, I truly appreciated it. Their song makes the end of The Mist all the more... intense. Trust me.

8.75/10 interdimensional, Lovecraftian creatures hiding away in the mist... feeding on humanity...

* Honorable mentions go to The Green Mile for being completely non-Stephen King-like and actually good. But that movie ALSO has characters that annoy the shit out of me.

Darkness (2002)

Uhm. Yeah... Come on, cyn, think of SOMETHING to say...

Darkness is, as the name might cleverly suggest, a very ...dark movie. Dark and wet, to be precise. There's a lot of raining going on, lots of water... lots of... darkness...

To be honest, I don't know what to write about that movie. It's... I don't know. Nondescript maybe? No, that doesn't really cover it, but it conveys some of my feelings.


Let's try to make cyn talk a bit more about this movie. First of all, it features Anna Paquin of "True Blood" fame. I personally call her "annoying bitch", because seriously, in every single episode of "True Blood" aired as of now, she managed to annoy me. Royally. Luckily, she plays a less annoying character here - a teenage daughter who has some issues. I guess it says a lot about my opinion of her character in "True Blood" when I think an annoying teenager with issues is, well, less of a nuisance. Also, Regina is less of a stupid name than "Sookie Stackhouse". I mean... come on. "Sookie"? *shakes head*

So... she's in the movie and plays the teenage daughter of Mark (Iain Glen) and Maria (Lena Olin), who, together with said daughter and their young boy Paul (some kid), move into an old house in Spain. The family itself is American, with only Mark originally being from Spain. He suffered some weird traumatic event during his childhood, after which he and his mother went to the USA, whilst his father, Albert Rua - a famed doctor - stayed behind. Albert also helped to arrange that Mark and his family can move into the house (which had been uninhabited for fourty years)... but soon after they move in, weird things begin to happen - the lights go out daily, Paul develops a fear of the dark, Mark suffers from increasingly high levels of psychological stress (which seems to be tied to the darkness, somehow)... and ghostly children, who actually look kind of creepy, are watching the family... watching and waiting - for the eclipse...

Great, now I managed to give a plot synopsis. Kudos to me.

The problem with Darkness is... well. I don't know. It's aesthetically pleasing at times. At other times, it's just bland. There are a few scares... but, well. Uhm. I am grasping at straws here... there just is nothing special or memorable about this flick.

Also, the story is confusing. I was constantly trying to figure out why the plot is happening. Ghosts? The supernatural seeping into our world in a Lovecraftian way? A haunted house? WHY?! So... whilst I was guessing and trying to make sense of the plot, I sort of enjoyed the movie. Not immensely, but it wasn't bad either. Just something to fill a boring Saturday afternoon with procrastinating.

Problem? The very second we get an explanation for the things that happened (and continue to happen), it gets lame. Lame and boring. Plus, the explanation doesn't work. It just doesn't. Nope. *shakes head*
There should be a rule for scriptwriters: If a movie like Dracula AD 1972 has a coherent plot and manages to capture the audience and your movie can't... you're doing it wrong.

As I already mentioned in passim, the movie has atmosphere. What it doesn't have is a good story with a good plot based on a good script. Hell, we get a freaking "evil occultists sacrifice children in order to do stuff that is vaguely connected with darkness"-plot! Which, as I already said, just doesn't work. You see, evil occultists usually want to reach some sort of goal with their evil doings (I know this sounds farfetched, but trust me on this). "Darkness" is not a goal. I can't stress this enough. Yes, I'll admit it, plunging the world into primordial chaos, darkness and silence sounds nice to me, but just doing some stuff vaguely reminiscent of "evil doings" and blabbing about it is ...pointless. Pointless and a bit stupid.

You see, I can get passionate about this movie. The portrayal of occultism is abysmal, and the stuff the writers "know" about occultism and symbolism is abysmal as well. I'll grant them that the connection to the Egyptian conceptualisation of darkness as a sort of primordial, chaotic thing (think of Apep, the snake that the sun-god has to defeat every night) closely linked to water was very beautiful. I like spotting references to ancient cultures in my movies. What I don't like is being stabbed in the eyes with incompetent portrayals of "occultism".

But I'm sure that there are people who approve of the movie's plot. Ehm... make that "plot".

4.5/10 watery buildings which were built in order to enhance stuff. For darkness. Or something like that. Really, barely coherent, the thing.


Gojira no Gyakushu aka Godzilla Raids Again (1955)

Welcome to our 2nd installment of Gojira aka GODZILLA! I hope this is actually the 2nd movie in the "series", if I can call the franchise that. I would be horrified to learn that there was another one in between.

So... one year after the original Gojira came out, we are treated to this jewel. It starts with vaguely patriotic music... and someone flying a plane (my guess: our hero) communicating with a girl on a base (my guess: his love interest and our heroine). We are also treated to... well, words fail to describe it. Let me try to convey what I had to witness through the medium of pictures:

"Hey, darling, I'm at work. Care to ask me out for dinner? YOU BETTER ASK ME OUT FOR DINNER!!!!!"

"Uhm... uhm... errr... yes. Hidemi, my love, my rosy apple, my wonderful, beautiful rose of Japan - would you care to... erm... want to go out and have dinner tonight?" *wipes sweat from brow*

"Good boy. Yes, I would LOOOOVE to go out and have dinner with you! How did you GUESS?! I'll also force you to practically steal my dad's car, darling!"

And that face just SCREAMS "blowjob". Seriously. Don't blame it on me.

Instant classic, really, and it's not even 5 minutes into the movie. I wonder how the rest of the Gojira (yepp, still feeling authentic) movies will be like. I have been forwarned by TF that they are basically all the same, but I suffer from something called "morbid curiousity". Combined with "entertainment masochism" (I believe Jared of headinjurytheater-fame coined the expression, so I credit him with it here, regardless of whether I'm right or not), this makes for a deadly combination. Deadly for my brain cells, that is.

"Alas, my good man, may I propose that this creature right on top of us, or rather, in front and on top of us, might be the legendary creature known as Gojira - or Godzilla in heathen lands to the West, lands in which the inhabitants have never laid their eyes upon the majestic sight that is the King of the Monsters?"

"Forsooth! Good squire, I have never e'en heard of the creature you just mentioned, and which you boldly state is behooving itself to move just right in front of us right now. Who or what may this 'Gojira' be, if ye might be inclined to answer this question of mine?"

Sorry. Couldn't resist.

So... someone flies a fake plane over a fake ocean. Another fake plane has to land, our hero comes to the rescue. On an island. In the sea (fake sea, in case I hadn't mentioned it). And we all know what that means. It means:

And you definitely do NOT want to know that you're looking at a shot of Gojira's ass. From below. Thank you, movie. Thank you so very, very much.

You see, Gojira is wrestling another monster. One that walks on all fours, looks a bit like a hedgehog who was in the vicinity of Tchernobyl for a bit too long and grew to giant proportions, and has a decidedly less cool scream than Gojira.

Sometimes, the two of them like to go skinny dipping as well.

Managing to flee to safety after Gojira and monster #2, they (the two survivors, hero and non-nameless nameless character) are asked to identify #2.

It's an Angilosaurus. You can call him Angilas. Or Anguirus. I will stick to calling him Anguirus, although my fancy subtitled movie says Angilas all the time.

So, basically... there are two "prehistoric" monsters who can't be defeated by humanity. I say they'll just have to battle it out like men. Real men in rubber suits. Who have battled it out since PREHISTORIC TIMES!

However, I like that they explicitly mention the first movie, Gojira. Even the famous Oxygen Detonator is mentioned. You know, stickler for consistency and all that (see also Wrong Turn and Wrong Turn 2: Dead End).


The scientist guy from the first part of the Gojira franchise suggests that light may have woken the King of the Monsters up, and that it might be a good plan to bomb him with, uhm, "light bombs".

Poor Gojira looks more confused than anything... and gosh darn, he's still cute.

Irritated by the light bombs, Gojira smashes a lighthouse with his tail, walks away from Tokyo and screams once. Now that's what I call a definite success. But apparently, that was the intended effect.

On a lame sidenote, we have a subplot (as much as I hesitate to call anything in a Gojira movie "plot", I can't come up with a better yet derogative word, so stay with me) involving escaped prisoners. Three of them. However, the subplot ends rather quickly (luckily!), as they die. Because of Anguirus. He scares them so much that they instantly decide to drive their (stolen) car into a factory of some sort. Which goes up in flames. Which in turn attracts Gojira. *confused*

For reasons of "epic", I want to add that Gojira no Gyakushu features the first monster battle ever seen in a Godzilla movie. And no, no screens. I am too lazy to sit through this frame by frame. Just let me assure you that Gojira and Anguirus dishing it out actually looks cool, in a twisted, men-in-rubber-suits-way. Trust me on that. Seriously. You should, if you like Godzilla movies. Because, you know, every one of us has a bit of Gojira inside (hey, they actually state that in the 1954 movie, so stop looking at me like that!)...

The rest of the movie? Hrm. Gojira defeats Anguirus in a more or less epic battle (as if we hadn't foreseen that...), the people of Japan and Tokyo in special are worried about Big G's yearly foraging trip into Tokyo and shoot it, drop some stuff on it, worry a lot etc.

Of course, our heroine also worries a lot about our hero, who truly is a hero. For... reasons. I am sure they exist. I just go with the premise of him being the hero and run with it. Seriously, I am not exactly in the mood to actually watch the movie with reading the subtitles. Half of it is just people running around, stuff getting destroyed, Gojira marching through... the sea, mountains, snow... and even without the subtitles, it wouldn't be that interesting. As in "I NEED TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS AND WHAT IS GOING ON!!!"... But I still watch it. Proof?

Here you go:

In the end, they bury Gojira under an avalanche (hence the creative idea of luring him into the snow-covered mountains). I guess the next movie will see him coming out of the mountain/snow/ice.

Poor Gojira.

However, this movie, whilst lacking the moralistic implications and metaphors of its predecessor, doesn't suffer from long, drawn-out scenes that drown one's entertainment in something akin to boredom. I approve. More fun to watch than the first one.

6/10 spunky, skinny dipping monsters with the coolest scream ever in Kaiju history. And that spells out "Gojira", in case you didn't realise it.

Fear Itself (TV) - "In Sickness and in Health" (2008)

Aaaaand yet another "Fear Itself" episode on this very blog of mine, just for your enjoyment and definitely not because I just wanted to watch something short enough whilst devouring my deer steak. Yes. Deer steak.
Delicious stuff, trust me. Cut in even more delicious and appealing 4 cm slabs of fresh, raw meat, acquainted with the frying pan for 20 seconds each side, voilá - deer steak á la cyn. Not recommended if you're vegetarian, vegan or not fond of pretty much raw meat. Alternatively, I could be rude and say that only pussies like their steak well done and shy away from my version of the ultimate meat, but that would indeed be rude of me. And you all know that I'm not a rude person, I just sometimes give the impression of being a tad rude. But I'm not. Hence me not stating the above, and acknowledging that people can like different things than I do and still qualify as people. I would go as far as to state that I even might be found sharing a beer or two with people who like their steak a bit more dead than I like mine. See, that's how considerate I am.

Pointless babbling aside...

In Sickness and in Health takes a very simple premise and runs with it: What if, on the day of your wedding, you receive a note.

This note.

Directed by John Landis (An American Werewolf in London, Showtime's Deer Woman and Family, as well as Jacko's "Thriller" video), this episode of "Fear Itself" shows what the guy can do. One thing that immediately literally jumps into your eye is how he uses the statues of saints, Jesus, the virgin Mary etc. to an eerie effect. And I mean "eerie" when I say it. Not just statues - murals, paintings, windows, statues... I never noticed how creepy those things look, given the right circumstances. Landis definitely manages to come up with circumstancial shots that make those things the perfect prop for a horror story.

Back to the story of In Sickness and In Health.

The joys of marriage...

Suspicions run wild, everyone is sort of acting in a weird way. What do the two bride's maids know? Is there a reason for the decidedly strange way they're acting in? What is the problem with the husband's best man? Is he in onto something? Why does the uncle of the husband (Carlos - the husband, not the uncle; the uncle is called Bob) seem to be afraid of his nephew? Why are Bob and his twin brother smiling in that weird way? What happened at the wedding of Carlos' parents?

And: What's the problem with the husband and the wife?

One problem with this episode of "Fear Itself" is that... well, some things are hard to believe. For example, the idea that a bride to be has a motivation that consists of "A totally random stranger gave a friend of mine a note about my future husband that said that he is a serial killer and I am totally scared now!!!" just doesn't really work with me. Maybe that's just me being me, but... sorry, nope, doesn't work like that.

However, that problem is resolved in the end. I won't tell you what happens, because, you know, I don't want to spoil too much, but... twist! Yes, tremble in fear as another twist lodges itself in the realm of horror. No, seriously, it's not that bad. A bit... well, it's a twist. There are good twists, bad twists, and twists that just exist without actually being either a good or a bad twists. They just are. The twist in In Sickness and In Health is one of those. However, the good thing about this twist is that you see some of the dialogues and effects in a totally new light after it (I should know, I am watching this thing for the second time as of the very writing of this very review, as in, I'm typing and watch the stuff).

The acting in general is very good - both the two main actors and the supporting cast (although the story is carried by the protagonists and their interaction, to be frank). Something that I also liked about this episode was that it all takes place over the course of one evening, in one location. Simple. I don't want to have to think about layers of meaning and all that stuff whilst eating a steak. Pacing and light are also effective, so nothing to complain in this department. Sure, this episode is not that great - you won't find me singing its praises on the intarwebs or to strangers and/or friends at parties, but still. Solid, nice little thing.

Although I could have done without the twist, honestly. But alas... *sighs*

A neutral 5/10. I can't get enthusiastic over this one, as much as I try.


Fear Itself (TV) - "Skin and Bones" (2008)

Let me start this review by saying that the world needs more movies about "obscure" monsters of myth, legend and lore. Seriously: There are hundreds of vampire movies, hundreds of zombie flicks. There is a scary amount of movies about clowns (apparently, those red-nosed things strike a nerve in a lot of people), aliens from outer space of differing varieties and flavours, flicks about golems (read: Frankenstein), giant monsters (aka "men in rubber suits"), not to mention the countless movies about ghosts... but what about the REALLY COOL thingies that go bump in the night?

Most of you probably know that I adore the movie Cannibal Flesh Riot! with an unhealthy obsession. I would sacrifice my first-born for this movie, if I ever had one. There need to be more movies about ghouls. Because, you know, ghouls are wickedly awesome. However, realising that not everyone might feel about ghouls the same way I do, I am perfectly content with the second most wickedly cool and awesome monster of myth, legend and lore ever: The Wendigo (spellings of the term vary, choose your own favourite version).

Before I turn my attention to the movie in question (Skin and Bones), let me elaborate a bit about why I think this movie is awesome.

The wendigo myth is one of the more captivating myths about nasty critters that exist (I am purely expressing my own opinion, of course). There are lots of local variations, but the basics of the myth remains/remained the same all through the different stories of the Algonquin-tribes:

The wendigo is a cannibalistic entity that embodies greed, excess and gluttony. Humans can turn into wendigos by either committing an act of cannibalism or by being possessed by the wendigo spirit (the Spirit of the Lonely Places).

There is much more to it than just that, though, but it would sort of make this review explode with trivia and stories none of you want to read in a review of a TV show's episode, so I just say that wendigowak are awesome beyond words (only ghouls top them) and that you should feel free to peruse the internet in order to find out more about this intriguing myth and concept.
Warning: A certain level of intelligence is required in order to appreciate the myth in its entirety. You have been warned - so if you have difficulty spelling IQ, don't bother. Not that I think any of my few but precious readers fall under that category.

That said - on to the flick itself.

The scenery is absolutely adorable. Maybe it's because the area where I grew up looks more or less exactly the same (the mountains, the sky, the colours... ah, nostalgia creeps in...), but it's very beautiful.
The colours are rich and beautiful, the pictures executed nearly perfectly. I especially like that the camera doesn't hesitate to show us extremely pretty, beautiful sights in the same frame as genuinely creepy and unsettling imagery. Thumbs up, Larry Fessenden. I thoroughly enjoyed what you did there.

Also, the script is good, no matter how often I have to read from other people who appreciate a good horror movie that it was like "Ravenous Lite".
Seriously, folks: There aren't that many ways to write up a wendigo-story and still stay close to the source material. Ravenous (one of my all-time favourites EVAR) managed to do it. Skin and Bones also manages to do it, and admirably so.
So unless you complain about "pretty much every vampire movie is a rip off of [insert personal "THE FIRST, ULTIMATE VAMPIRE MOVIE" here]" - which I seriously doubt anyone does, even purism can't go that far... I hope... O_o - or can't watch any zombie flick because, hey, it rips off Romero (it has ZOMBIES! ZOMG! RIP OFF!!!)... just don't.
Whilst I agree that the setting and the scenery of Skin and Bones may remind viewers of Ravenous, it's a movie in itself and doesn't need to "rip off" the movie that I managed not to review yet but managed a few times in this paragraph now (Ecce! To what lengths she goes in order to avoid typing Ravenous yet again... oh, damn... ><). I personally appreciate that Drew McWeeny and Scott Swan took the myth of the wendigo and didn't twist it into something it isn't. Then again, they already showed that they can write captivating scripts in Showtime's "Masters of Horror" episodes Pro-Life and Cigarette Burns, both of which I enjoyed. In my personal opinion, they managed to top those two episodes with Skin and Bones.

The story in itself is very basic. You gotta enjoy movies that work without adding unnecessary ballast to the plot: The father of a family (one (1) mother, two (2) sons, one (1) brother of the father, which would make him the boys' uncle, technically speaking) got lost in the mountainous woods whilst with a hunting party... and remained lost for ten days. Now he's back... and changed. He's the party's only survivor, and he's hungry...

Really, guys and gals, ladies and gentlemen, ghouls and ghosts - you HAVE to watch this. Its main bonus, besides for being a thoroughly enjoyable flick about the wendigo-myth, is...

Doug Jones.

You might remember him as the Pale Man in Guillermo del Toro's beautiful Pan's Labyrinth. Pale Man? Guy with his eyes in his hands? Creeeeeeepy? Yepp, that one.

And I have to say... Jones really carries the movie on his shoulders. His performance alone is enough to watch this episode of "Fear Itself". Seriously, I could do with much more of him on the screen (and, consequently, much less of any other character). It is pure joy to watch him. His movements are perfectly executed, his voice... oh my Gods, the voice...

...let me put it this way: You can literally feel the anger and rage and hunger and loneliness in the voice of the Spirit of Lonely Places. Well, at least I could. Maybe I'm just more sympathetic towards wendigowak than the rest of the world is, though.

Jones is creepy. That pretty much sums it up. Creepy... gorgeously creepy.

I think I have to watch it again now.

10/10 eerily moving portrayals of someone who lost his humanity to hunger... consuming, all-devouring hunger...

Gojira (1954)

Oh my Gods, I can't believe it. I am actually watching the original Godzilla movie.

Background story: I have never seen any Godzilla movie in my whole life (!!!). And as TF is very stringent about not allowing me to watch Cloverfield without having knowledge of Godzilla first, I am... doomed. Doomed to watch. And by the Gods, I will watch all of those movies if fate decrees!

OH MY GOD!!! THE DRAMA!!! Cancelling a date! What foul things could cause this?!
...He practically throws his girlfriend, or whatever she is, out of the flat. Whilst fetching his stunning captain's cap. What a nice chap. I'm sure he is our hero... and she our heroine (turns out I am right).

Despite my initial and deep-seated prejudice against Japanese Kaiju movies, ESPECIALLY ones from 1954, I actually... enjoy this thing. At the moment. Which is 6 minutes into the movie.

Okay, let me try to sum this movie up.

There is a fake explosion (atomic) in the middle of a fake sea, fake boats sink, people want to know what happens, and an old man remembers Godzilla. A monster that lives in the sea.

In the good old days, they also were much more liberal with the use of what I like to term bribery of higher powers:

And somewhere in there, people dance. Or rather, conduct an exorcism procedure.

Through dancing. In masks that somehow remind me of a mix between Pinocchio, Pluto (Disney) and a hot dog. Truly a sight that must scare mighty Gojira to death.

And of course, the exorcism leads to houses shaking... and the sound of footsteps. GIANT footsteps. Footsteps of DOOOOOOM! TRULY, GOJIRA HATH ARRIVED AND WILL CRUSH ALL AND FEED ON THE PEOPLE! Being a monster that lives in the sea, that is CLEARLY the only way to go. The mere trembling of the earth through his FOOTSTEPS OF DOOM also destroys fake helicopters. You know you've achieved something when your mere footstep destroys helicopters. I begin to understand the fascination that is the Godzilla phenomenon.

You also know you're pretty hardcore when you are responsible for the deaths of lifestock. Maaaaaaaaaan... hardcore.

Less dramatic paleontologists would call those abyssal regions "deep sea". But... wait! That is where the FOOTSTEPS OF DOOM come from! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!

I've yet to see Gojira (yeah, I feel authentic) in this movie, but man, do I look forward to it. TF has a miniature (actually, it's a pretty big miniature - I'd go so far as to call it a "pretty cool toy") of the thing, so I know how it looks like, and whilst I haven't watched any of the movies before this as of yet, I do not entirely exist in a cultural vacuum.

But holy crap, it doesn't only have FOOTSTEPS OF DOOOOOM!, it also has RADIOACTIVE FOOTPRINTS! I approve.

My first look at Gojira himself. And he's... smiling?

(Is it a he? A she? An it? And why is it smiling? And why is it coming out of a mountain all of a sudden when in the beginning of the movie it was in the sea?! Why am I watching this instead of working on ludlul bel nemeqi*?!)

It is a little bit painful, though, to watch the movie getting its science wrong. Or, rather: It gets some of its science wrong, and some other right. Which makes for a confusing experience when you're a bit of a science nerd. Like, uhm, ...people I know. *nods*

AND Gojira is not just a giant monster movie. No, it deals with the problems of testing nuclear bombs and international relations. And... war. And shelters, and people not wanting to be in shelters. I can sort of understand the historical stuff. And, to a degree, this is ...moving. No, not moving. But it sort of tries to make a point. However, any point about the wrongs of war and nuclear bombs delivered by means of a giant fake monster/guy in a rubber suit automatically... well, fails. Ah, damn it. It's a giant monster movie, let's leave it at that. My powers of philosophical interpretations of movies that aren't exactly the most philosophical ones fail me at the moment. I blame lack of sleep and the headache I'm currently suffering from.

Or maybe it's that "Nippon Beer" thing. *recoils in terror* **

Okay, now they sort of try to... bomb Gojira to death. Whilst he moves. Underwater. What a brilliant idea. The thing survived atomic bombs, he will surely be scared to death (literally) by ...bombs of a more conventional sort. How could I not see the flawless logic behind this?!

The movie also introduces a mad, evil scientist. He seems to like the girlfriend of the stunning young man with the cap I mentioned at the beginning of this review. As in... fancy her. And as he's like an older brother to her, she won't tell of his super-secret evil plans (created by BLACK SCIENCE***). Ah, loyalty...

Soon after he shows his Black Science to the girl, Gojira comes out of the sea (again). This time, they shoot it. With rifles and other assorted things that are sure to harm something that survived atomic bombs.

Which, of course, leads to Gojira, uhm... destroying houses. Whilst moving very slowly. He also stops trains with his FOOTSTEPS OF DOOM... eats a wagon (hilarious!)... destroys stuff... flicks his tail... oh, the mayhem. The MAAAYYYHEEEEEM!

It all happens very slowly. VERY slowly. Gojira just sort of lumbers around, steps on a few fake constructions, screams (which actually sounds cool) and... well, lumbers away again. That's what I call an effective plan of attack. "Let's visit Tokyo for a change. Oh, a house... ooops, I stepped on it. Well, that was nice... back to the sea now!" ...what sort of self-respecting monster behaves like that?! Where is the carnage and destruction? Instead, we get lumbering and... inspiring, somewhat semi-patriotic music (I call it "HUMANS! FIGHT THE GOJIRA MENACE!") which is grating on my nerves. And it doesn't exactly help with my headache either, if you know what I mean.

54 minutes into the movie. I have to admit that it's getting a bit tedious now - I guess it's that mix between "I really should prepare myself for university right now"-guilt, the unnerving patriotic motivational music, the lumbering (oh my Gods... THE LUMBERING! *screams hysterically* MOVE, YOU GIANT LUMP OF RUBBER!!!!!), the headache... and the not exactly suspenseful movie. Then again, Gojira is full of surprises. He can melt stuff with his breath. A hallmark of being hardcore, that. I mean, if you could melt stuff with your breath... wouldn't you? On the other hand, I seriously have to wonder about the evolutionary processes behind having searing-hot melting-stuff-breath when you live under the sea (*starts to sing*)... anyways, I digress.

I also would have called him "Snuffykins" instead of "Gojira"/"Godzilla". I mean holy crap, he's actually cute! Now I understand why the fat, ugly goth chick I got my cute little Oona-kitteh from originally named her Godzilla: Cute. Compare:

If that isn't a resemblance, I don't know what is. Note the cute schnuffnuff-nose.

So... long story short: Gojira melts stuff with his super-breath, mainly buildings and stuff. Buildings in Tokyo, in case I hadn't made that clear. He also lumbers around... slowly... veeeery.... sloooowly...
Apart from that, he screams. And bangs his head against a clock. Maybe Gojira hates clocks? A reminder of his painfully slow lumbering (caused by his age, I'm sure) possibly? Anti-clock sentiments? Who knows... maybe this shall forever remain a secret. Although I am sure that somewhere, someone has thought of a really logical and good explanation for this banging of head against clock. Sensitivity to noises? This would add a whole new level to Gojira - a mythological level. He kills because mankind has become too numerous and makes too much noise. Just like Enlil****.

Unlike Enlil*****, though, Gojira wrestles with bridges... lumbers around for a bit... lumbers... and beats stuff up with his tail (and a magnificent tail it is, as if created for the very act of destroying fake structures!).

Ugh. 26 minutes left to go. *sighs*

At least, the Bad Science is now revealed to us, the viewers. It's a thing that makes bubbles in water. And by making bubbbles in water, I mean "it dissolves the flesh and muscle from the bones of innocent creatures happily swimming around". By... disintegrating oxygen and then liquifying the remains. Truly, an evil but perfect plan. It also involves powerful forces that scare evil scientists so much that they don't eat for THREE DAYS! IMAGINE! A human being not eating for THREE WHOLE DAYS! le GASP!


Can't it stop? Or speed up? Or... speed up, gain some suspense and THEN stop? I don't know if I can take the remaining 10 minutes.

Then again, my faith in this movie is restored. Our mad scientist actually has a heart (he uses Black Science for Good, not for Evil) and does not want to endanger the world by thrusting another superweapon upon the unsuspecting world. I vote for "selfless self-sacrifice".

"Why are we singing again?" - "It's for a movie about a giant rubber monster from the sea that lumbers around!" - "YAY!"

The End: Long, drawn-out pseudo-dramatic underwater scene, involving two brave men (can I say "selfless self-sacrifice"?) and the Oxygen Detonator, Gojira and... dramatic yet subtle music. How... moving.

Oh, the drama.

5.75/10 surprisingly entertaining although really drawn out classics when it comes to rubber monsters and archaic - nay, primordial! - monster screams

* The Poem of the Righteous Sufferer, Young Babylonian wisdom literature. Because you NEEDED TO KNOW THIS.

** I haven't ever had Japanese beer, but somehow, the thought of it is not very appealing. Remember, I live in a country in which we have real beer. For those of you who truly love Nippon Beer: I am sure it is awesome, and I hope you truly enjoy it. More power to you. Seriously. *thumbs up* However, I will stick to beer I know and trust. Please don't take offense at this.

*** Black Science is the scientific equivalent of Black Magic. It is used by evil people, for evil purposes. And usually involves nifty colours. Think "radioactive green", if you don't know what I mean.

**** If I see this popping up somewhere else on the intarwebs, you'll be paying me royalties. And no, NO ALIENS! ><

***** Please, do me a favour and DON'T wiki or google the name - you're bound to find useless crap. If you really need to know, leave a comment. Chances are, though, that, by the very act of reading this, you already know who Enlil is.