OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets


Moon (2009)

Let me preface this review by stating that I was never a big fan of science fiction. It's not that I don't like sci-fi; I read Perry Rhodan when I was a kid, but the amount of science fiction books I own is not a lot. And by that I mean really not a lot. The only sci-fi I actually enjoyed reading is/was the stuff by Michael Moorcock (because Michael Moorcock rules), which I chanced upon when I started collecting his stuff. So maybe it's my lack of exposion to science fiction that leads me to... not exactly appreciate this movie.

To put it bluntly: This movie (from the UK - shame on you, Great Britain!) is a complete waste of time. Do yourself a favour and watch something else. I found myself sitting in the dark, rocking back and forth with my chair (which I hadn't done since school before I saw this movie) and thinking wistfully of jewels like Death Machine or Lesbian Vampire Killers. Or, fuck it, Gothic Vampires From Hell.

But this wouldn't be a movie if I wouldn't tell you a bit more about it, would it? So, on we go.

The movie starts out with a really interesting advert, telling us that 70% of the earth's energy needs are met by harvesting He3 (Helium 3) from the moon. This is done by Lunar Enterprises - and after the spot, we say hello to our protagonist, Sam (played by Sam Rockwell). Sam is the only person on the Sarang Base 1 on the moon, accompanied only by the roboter Gerty (voiced by Kevin Spacey). His contract runs for 3 years, and he's soon to return to earth to meet his wife and baby daughter again. The only information he gets from the outside world comes in via pre-recorded video messages, and he communicates in the same way, as for some reason the interception of a live feed is impossible.

Sam is an interesting character. When we first meet him, he's not in the best of moods, in a way that Gerty the robot is worried. The only human being on the base shows irrational behaviour, is more aggressive than usual, complains of headaches etc. The lack of human communication is getting to him, and he worries about getting home - in only two weeks, his stay on the moon would be over.

In the past years since he got there, he developed a relationship with the plants on the base (he talks to them), started woodcarving (an entire little town, complete with people - impressive), and generally started to talk to himself more often and regularly.

Then something weird happens: As he goes to get some hot water, he sees a beautiful young woman sitting on the chair in the living quarter. Staring at her, completely distracted, he doesn't even notice that he's burning his hand with the burning water. Gerty, who fixes him up, is worried that Sam starts hallucinating - he doesn't mention the word, but it's implicit enough.

The next day, Sam has an accident.

Long story short, he wakes up in the infirmary. Gerty talks to him, asking him if he remembers what happened, but he doesn't, suffering from slight amnesia. Gerty wants to keep him in the infirmary for a few days to run some tests, and Sam is indeed very tired as the robot suggests.

When getting up for the first time, Sam's legs don't work. As if... as if he'd not been using them for quite a long time. Gerty runs quite a few tests on him, some of them cognitive etc., because he might have suffered damage from the injury. The observant watcher notices that the burn on the back of the hand disappeared. And Sam is suffering from nightmares. And the robot won't let him out of the base.

Sam sabotages the base and manages to convince Gerty to let him out in order to fix the damage - he promises just to fix the damage. Nothing else. So, as expected, he runs off with one of the massive 6-wheelers of the base to the site of his accident. And finds himself, lying wounded and dying in the wreck.

This all happens within the first 30 minutes of the movie. There is practically everything to make a compelling movie: The shots are beautiful, as well as the special effects. The whole set of the Sarang base and the moon is very well done and practically awesome. I liked the bulky look of the equipment and its intentional simplicity (although having them had Sam run a sneak Linux machine would have been nifteh as well). The colours were crisp and clear, and the contrast between cold and warm colours is used with great care and to the expected effect. The music adds to the bleak atmosphere of the moon and the isolation and, indeed, despair our main character (Sam #1) goes through.

After minute 27, the movie remains somewhat interesting until minute 35. During this time, the problem of the character is established... and after that, you can more or less turn off the movie and do something more interesting, like watering your houseplants or lying on the bed and looking at the wall.

The movie takes the interesting premises it worked half an hour to establish and then forgets them in a corner of the bathroom after having taken a piss and some valium. Quite a few of the nice little blue pills, in fact.

I watched it together with Riesenkater, who definitely knows more about science fiction than I do and has actually seen movies of that particular genre, and his reaction was eerily similar to mine. When I mentioned to him that this movie has been compared to 2001: A Space Odyssey, he just shook his head and said that that must be the opinion of semi-intellectuals who want to glorify something they don't understand because they don't understand it. The problem is not that the movie is "intellectual" or anything remotely connected to that: The problem is that there just is nothing interesting or new in the movie. It starts out impressive and fine, then takes a turn and violates your boredom-receptors. It RAPES them, actually.

It came as a surprise to me to learn that the movie was already out, and I was looking forward to it. Maybe it was exactly that which turned out to be the problem - my high expectations. Or maybe not.

Oh, and don't get fooled into thinking that this movie contains any horror elements. It's about as much "horror" as Twilight. Only that Twilight is more entertaining. Seriously.

3.5/10 for looking good and having tried in the first 30 minutes.


The Last House on the Left (1972)

To avoid fainting, keep repeating "It's only a movie...It's only a movie..."

It seems to be 70s time these days - Rabid was from 1977, Shock Waves from 1977 as well, and The Last House on the Left is from 1972.

The first things I noticed was the soundtrack. It's very ...70s like. Jazzy. Snazzy. You can just feel the summers of love, and can smell the weed (well, that might just be me) pervading the air. Girls are not wearing a bra, Daddy remarks upon his little girl's nipples, gives her a little gift (see below, maybe to enhance the nipples)... and one o those girls, namely one of our initial protagonist, is going to a concert to visit a gig by a band that dismembers live chickens on stage. Want to see them live.

She and another female friend of hers have no intention to go to that concert, though - they are sitting outside together, exploring the wild, drinking whisky, laughing, having fun. On their way in their car to... somewhere else... they hear of a group of escapees of violent rapists and murderers.

Cut to the violent rapists and murderers - a quite nice group of young men and one woman, whose habits include drinking, smoking, possibly listening to wild music and misbehaving.

The paths of our two parties cross when the two girls meet the youngest of the bunch, as they approach him for weed... and he takes them with him, to get some Columbian Gold. However, things don't go as they are planned.

I find this scene strangely erotic.

Meanwhile, we learn that tomorrow, one of the girls would have her birthday, and the parents are busy preparing the gifts and cake for Mari (their daughter).

Who is, in the meantime, watching helplessly as her friend gets raped.

Next day - Mari's birthday - we can see her being carried out of the flat in which she and her friend found themselves, thrown into the trunk of a car ("right on top of your friend!"), whilst the gang of misfits drives somewhere else - with their car breaking down in front of Mari's place. They take her out of the trunk, down into the dense woods. The police decides to not see the car (could cause problems, you know)... good old law enforcement. You can always rely on them.

It's suspenseful to watch the girls trying to escape from the group of violent fugitives - engaging. Something that this movie has in abundance and which new movies from the US lack is suspense. You never quite know what will happen next, the plot isn't so watered down that you could as well have none, and the plot we do have is simple, straightforward and believable. There's nothing fancy about this movie. And I mean that quite literal. Besides for the beginning, with Mari an her friend drinking and enjoying themselves, every minute of this movie is bleak and mercilessly realistic. Me like.

There's also a constant comical element contained within the movie in the form of the incompetent policemen.

Things start to turn weir when the brutes, who killed Phyllis as well as Mari, show up at the house of Mari's parents. They behave a little bit suspiciously. Junior, the youngest member of the gang and a heroin addict, has nightmares in his withdrawal symptoms about letting the gang shoot Phyllis and kill Mari. Whilst throwing up, Mari's mother hears him, comes to help him to his bed... and notices that the gift her husband gave to Mari looks the same as the chain that Junior/Willow is wearing around his neck. Suspicious, she opens one of the bags of the gang... and finds the bloodied clothes of her daughter. A plan begins to form.

One hell of a bloody plan.

All in all, a pretty enjoyable movie with a satisfying plot, satisfying violence, realistic behaviour, and it looks pretty good for 1972.

7.85/10 things that aren't too little, just afraid *grins*

Shock Waves (1977)

Once They Were Almost Human! Beneath the living... Beyond the dead... From the depths of Hell's Ocean! The Deep End of Horror!

The SS made scientists create a race of superhuman soldiers near Koblenz* (!), with the mysterious involvement of the dead bodies of slain soldiers, used for medical experiments**. This happened at the end of WWII, and indeed, there was a group of soldiers who fought without weapons, killing with their bare hands. They never have been found... not a single one of them.

Cut to a mysterious boat rifting afloat the sea. A female figure is lying in it, and a female narrator voice tells us that she remembered hardly anything. She is in bad shape, and the seamen who rescued her want to know what happened to her... but she cannot tell them.

Flashback... to what happened. And our story begins.

Sun changes colour to yellow, dark, as something is making its way underwater. In those areas, solar phenomena always accompany occult/supernatural phenomena, wherever "those areas" are (B-Movie-Country?). The boat attempts to get out of there (in case someone hasn't noticed yet: This place of the movie takes place on a boat. On a BOAT. Now, that we've cleared that up, let's continue). The people on the boat don't know what is happening, and they're getting uncomfortable.

Their water-bound vehicle is going somewhere... and they don't know where. Especially the appearance of the sun bothers them. The captain tries to disperse the tension, but it doesn't really work. The passengers are torn amongst themselves and there are tensions flaring up with the Captain, mostly due to the blunt way of a certain guy speaking his mind.

Night alls, and sleep comes.... or not?

Our heroine (at least I identiy her as such - Brooke Adams, playing her role as Rose) gets up during the night to visit the silent, handsome, moustache wearing... guy*******. The boat is drifting into an unknown direction, the compass isn't working and they finally collide with...

... a Ghost Ship! Or did they?!

*shifty eyes*

...and I'm not even at the 20 minute-mark! Take that, boring modern films of lower standards than Shock Waves! And I want to add here that Shock Waves is not exactly what I'd call a "masterpiece". Or a "good movie". Or a "solid movie". But - things are happening... which is always good in a movie.

Let me begin with a short parenthesis about why I like this movie; I've first watched it about 4 (four) years ago, around 2005... could also have been 2004, I am not too sure on that one... and was half asleep and under the influence of beneficial herbal blends whose use I would never condone under any circumstances at the time of seeing it - naturally, my brain added "Zombies" + "Nazis" + "Underwater" + "Peter Cushing" to = "Awesome". And to some degree, this is true. I mean, come on: Underwater Nazi Zombies. It could only be better if it was "A Virgin Amongst Underwater Nazi Zombies"... or something like that. It has zombies, to which my generation has a very close relationship. It has Nazis, to which especially my generation in especially my country and Germany have a very special relationship with***, and... well, it has boats.

And it is hilariously funny. I have to start laughing every time I hear the narrator's voice at the beginning, followed by the dramatic Swastika******...

...Did I mention it has John Carradine?
End of short parenthesis.

Next morning, the Captain is missing. There's an islang close by, and the survivors of the crash and the succeeding night travel towards it in the small rescue boats of the Bonaventura (the name of the crap of a boat they are/were on). Whilst doing this, they find the Captain (John Carradine!) ...floating dead in the water.

Whilst exploring the island, which has a jungle-like atmosphere, they stumble across an apparently deserted old villa. Of course, they break in to have a better look at it (have these people never seen a horror movie?). They meet its only inhabitant - Peter Cushing. Later, we find out that he knows what is going on... and that there's "danger in the water".

In the meantime... let us switch from the complicated plot to what interests us really:

Underwater Nazi Zombies!

They first really show up at around the 35 minute mark, but then we get continuously more of them rising slowly out of the sea. Within that whole SS-undead-supersoldier-background story, I actually found their slow movements to add to the atmosphere. They walk in broad daylight, and yet you feel threatened by their mindless single...minded...ness... uhm. Yeah.

Peter Cushing is a commander of the SS - or rather, was the commander of a SS unit. As he finds out that people got killed, he tries to explain what is happening - that they, the Germans, created the perfect soldier - pathological murderers and sadists as well, called the "Todeskorps". They proved to be too vicious and were captured as their behaviour became erratic, were kept sleeping and imprisoned. As the war effort grew more desperate, he - Peter Cushing, he has no name - was ordered to bring the dreaded unit back - but he sank the ship with its cargo and since has lived on this island. And now, the Underwater Nazi Zombies have risen again...

Random Fish Picture.

The people try to escape the island, and what happens is predictable - they are followed by the zombies. Underwater. Of course. I mean, they had time enough since WWII to get used to it, it's convenient, camouflage enough... plus, if this was a normal zombie movie, it would be boring. I have to admit that it borders on boringness with its spare use of zombie action until the hour mark. Sometimes, a slow buildup is good, but at times, Shock Waves is overdoing it a bit.

But then, the protagonists are being robbed of all hope: Their boat...

...does this.

So, we get more Underwater Zombie action. This time, on land AND in the water, it's quite refreshing. Our heroine gets hunted somewhat fierce (well, for this movie, compared to, say, the Dawn of the Dead remake, it's cheese). People split up (of course... *sighs*), but the rightly terrified heroine finds a way to incapacitate and kill the Underwater Zombies: Removing their goggles when it's sunny out there. But as it's not sunny anymore as night breaks, they lock themselves in a small room with a lamp and hope to survive the night... whilst outside, the Todeskorps runs amok. With an unexpected psychological twist that I appreciated, they lose their only source of light and can't lock themselves in anymore. During the day, the hide-and-seek game between the two survivors (guy and heroine) and their hunters continues, outside on the island...

The camera shots are at time really good, and although with little effects, they managed to get the Underwater Nazi Zombies across as weird and alien. They're just not what you expect from an underwater zombie - I mean, look at the zombie at the begin of Zombie Honeymoon, that's how you normally picture an underwater zombie. But these...? These are creepy. Well, not really, but in a zombie-way for someone who has already seen a lot o movies with zombies in them. You'll like the scenes of the Underwater Nazi Zombies rising out of the water.

All in all, the movie isn't bad, if at times unnecessarily drawn out. If you want to see Underwater Nazi Zombies for the first time in your life, watch this flick. If you know of any other Underwater Nazi Zombie films, please let me know. It's an endearing subgenre.

7/10 times sunglasses really help you when you're that photosensitive

*Koblenz: Situated in the picturesque landscape of the Rhine and Moselle and surrounded by four low mountain ranges is the 2000-year-old town of Koblenz. Its abundance of cultural monuments and historic buildings, its cosy lanes and narrow alleyways, the relaxed and happy atmosphere of its squares and river promenades make Koblenz a friendly town where its guests feel right at home. (Source, 5/06/09 1812)

**Black Science

***Depending on your political views and what you went through in school. I'm naturally left-wing oriented, with anarchistic leanings, so that does not bode well for me being of the enthusiastic relationship with Nazism-sort, but 5 (five) (!!!) years in school with NOTHING BUT LEARNING ABOUT WWII IN HISTORY CLASS DOWN TO EVERY LITTLE DETAIL AND HAVING THE GUILT PUSHED INTO YOU will make you, or at least me, a Nazi-hating leftie. Who thinks Nazi Zombies are awesome. Just as Jesus Zombie****. Or vampire zombies*****.

****Zombie Jesus.

*****www.lastblood.net, thanks to Amalgam for that link originally. Zombies and vampires. Check it out.

******Which already appears on Samarra-ware type pottery in Mesopotamia around 5000 BCE, so sue me, it's an ancient symbol.

*******I apologise for the lack of detailed actor names, but I can't for the life of me figure out who is who at the moment, so please forgive me.


Rabid (1977)

Good to know. Thank you, movie.

We start out with a woman and a man riding a motorcycle - rather fast - through some nice scenery of wood and fields.

Cut to a medical corporation - a bunch of high-ups are discussing a new kind of plastic surgery.

Cut back to the couple on the motorcycle - and there's a big car trying to turn around their SUV, stuck on the road.






turning into

This (Yes, there's a person inside)

Luckily, someone sees the accident happen, and the ambulance is called quickly. The guy only has a broken hand and some other minor injuries, but the woman... she burned, and needs to have major surgery. She's rushed to a hospital where the medical corporation guys were discussing earlier - about a new kind of plastic surgery...

As the woman is badly injured, they use the new, radical plastical surgery technique. Taking skin from her upper leg, they created grafts from that skin, going back to something akin to stem-cell-research.

2 Months later... the woman is still not conscious.

One night thought, she wakes up screaming and flailing around. A guy comes to check for her, and she insists he stays as he wants to call the doctor... and complains that she is so cold and he is so warm. She hugs him... and he starts to scream, and blood starts to flow from under his arm. And she... she seems... excited.

Our female protagonist escapes from the hospital one night and chances upon a stable with lifestock in it. She hugs one of the animals, and ...something appears to happen. She seems to receive ...something, but it makes her sick and she throws up. Blood.

The story rolls on from that point - a typical Cronenberg movie. His visual style is arresting, as usual, the changes of focus, the simple, crisp pictures, the lingering shots... everything we know to expect from the Master. Yes, I adore Cronenberg far too much, just like Stuart Gordon and a few other directors.

Basically, Rabid is a movie about blood, changes in blood and changes in people. Physical and mental changes. Rose (our protagonist) is undergoing changes of a definitely weird nature - the skin graft on her arm grew into a penis-like feeding spike. It basically works like a vampiric feeding-device, like fangs or a sort of short tentacle to tear into people and suck their blood.
In turn, people who get... uhm... fed off by Rose turn into bloodthirsty, living vampire-beings. As the incidents spread, the media and police suspect rabies infecting the people involved. They have no idea that what they are facing is people changing into blood-feeding creatures, and that the cause is nothing but a young woman... that has changed in a grotesque, vampiric way (but without all the modern, 21st century vampire-"coolness" attached to it). Rose is a rather plain woman, has no special powers.

The "infected", on the other hand, degenerate more and more the longer they live, especially without nourishment. Some look like zombies.

Rose continues her spree through the US, feeding and infecting people with whatever it is that changed her into what she is now.

The pain of our protagonist is palpable in several scenes, as Need consumes her and she can't/doesn't feed on the human blood she needs.

Soon, the epidemic of infected people is getting out of hand. Martial Law is established, as it has turned out that the victims of the "rabies" are immune to medical intervention. Shooting them is as good as capturing them, because they will fall into a coma shortly after arrest (and being kept from feeding) and die soon. Surely it's more humane to shoot them before they reach this state?

It's amazingly brutal for a Cronenberg movie - compared to his other movies, there are lots of kills, some just for the sake of shedding more artificial blood (which looks remarkably realistic at times, and at times like pink goo). Kudos for that.

Te camera is outstanding, as is the editing. The use of body language and lighting and shadow are also professional - Cronenberg shows what he can do once again.

An atmospheric movie I can only recommend. Earns my stamp of approval.

8/10 ways of suffering because of something one doesn't understand


Coraline (2008)

Ich nenn' ihn Mauzi.

Delightful movie. Coraline herself is an interesting character, and the way she explores the house after pointlessly trying to get the attention of her parents is beautiful. The soundtrack also really really enhances the feeling of the movie - which is weird, surreal, and at the same time absolutely enchanting.

Coraline's parents are prime examples of a weirdly dysfunctional family. Her father seems to mean well, but is too busy with his work, and her mother (also busy with work) is distant and strict bordering on harsh to the girl.

Coraline reacts to this by being a "witchy girl". We first meet her when she's running around the countryside and later the woods with a dowsing rod.

Back in the house. There's the obligatory family evening meal, and later, it's off to bed for Coraline. The food is disgusting. At night, she wakes up, woken up by mice. She follows one of them down into a room in which she, earlier, found a small door which led into a brick wall. Now, at night, it doesn't lead into a brick wall anymore...but into some weird, surreal world in which she has Other Parents.

An Other Mother, an Other Father... and everything she could ever have wanted in her parents. Happy there, she goes to sleep... and wakes up in her own room. And the door is leading into a brick wall... again.

She also gets a package from Wybie (more about Wybie later, let's just say that he's male and a teenager for now), which contains a peculiar doll in the likeness of Coraline. She is a bit pissed off at this.

She finds out about a man - the amazing Bobinsky - who lives in the house with them. Hilarious and freaky are words to describe him. He is some sort of circus man, and he tells her that the mice told him to tell her not to go through the little door. But he dismisses it, as the mice "did not even get her name right - Coraline instead of Caroline!"...

Then she meets the other ...eccentric occupants of the house, among them two old, weird ladies who live with dogs, live in a darkened room, and who read coffee leaves. One of them tells her that she is in terrible danger and needs to be careful.

Coraline also manages to meet Wybie again - a socially awkward, but funny little guy with a cat and a bike. He is made of win and awesome. I mean, he wears skeli-gloves. How cool is that?

That night, Coraline goes back to the Other World... and things start to get creepy. When she has a fight with her mother the other day, she decides to go to the Other World. The "Other Mother" is already referring to herself and the "Other Father" as Mother and Father. She also meets the cat of Wybie, who can talk in this world... and he explains to her that this world is not a dream come true... but instead something entirely else. And things get... really creepy.

For you see, the inhabitants of the Other World have black buttons instead of eyes... and in order for her to be able to stay, she has to have her eyes removed and buttons sewed into her face instead of them. And everyone is smiling. It's really freaky.

For the cat alone this movie wins my full approval. It is full of Neil Gaiman's brilliant, weird ideas (I just got introduced to his books recently). Like his other "children's book" of his, "The Graveyard Book", I personally wouldn't let any child read that unless I really want to form a child in mine own image.

I mean, I grew up with myths and Stephen King and Dean Koontz, which isn't the lightest fare, but still doesn't have that psychological depth to it. I really, really don't like children, but another side of me says that if I had read that as a child, I would have turned out even more fucked up than I am now. Then again, I still approve of darker books for children.

Great movie. The use of soundtrack is flawless and makes this a truly enjoyable piece of animation. The characters are beautifully animated, and the whole movie conveys an eerie mood.

10/10 spidery claws creating dolls with medical instruments