[EXPRESSO] M3GAN (2022) | Child’s Ploy

Killer robots are back to the big screen (using the plural since there was apparently a christmas killer robot santa movie that also came out last year but it’s still US only, in a legal manner), and intriguingly James Wan it’s back as writer after his friend (and Saw co-creator) Leigh Wannell delivered the excellent cyborg thriller Upgrade some years ago, this time with a new take on the killer doll trope, which while sharing similarities with Chucky (even more considering the surprisingly solid recent remake), manages to stand on its own.

Even though the title character starts out as an anti-Chucky figure of sorts, since it’s a robot created as an advanced life-sized child companion/tutor/friend and pitched by a woman working in a toy company after her sister’s family dies on a crash, with only her young nephew, Cady, surviving the incident, after realizing the nephew treats Megan as a real friend, realizing she can kill two birds with one stone by also forwarding the robot unit instead of the toyline she was supposed to fix.

Problem is “Megan” has been built with an adaptive learning pattern and soon cold logic brings the robot to realize that extreme measures will need to be taken in order to protect Cady…

2022 was indeed the year of Pinocchio more than i realized, but aside from that the movie it’s good, not great, but definitely good, the script is strong, characters are quite likeable, the drama delivers, the title character-killer it’s creepy as fuck, the effects are good, and direction by Gerard Johnstone is quite solid too.

Takes a bit to get going, but when it does you’re in for quite the fun killer robot horror film… and one that kinda ambushed me with how funny – deliberatly comedic – it was.

12 Days Of Dino Dicember #21: Hatched (2021)

Clearing up some of the last year’s releases with Hatched, a 2021 dinosaur film about a woman and her family moving to her reclusive brother’s farmhouse to check on him, only to find out he moonlighted as Dr. Alan Grant, resulting in many living dinosaurs that trap the family inside the house.

Yes, the dinosaurs are coming from inside the house, hur hur.

I’ve heard this one described as “Michael Myers but if dinosaur”, for some reasons that don’t really make much sense when you think about it for more than 3 seconds, but i would say we’re more in Carnosaur or Raptor Ranch territory, because we’re yet again talking about someone doing clonosauruses around chicken coops and shit.

At least we’re not in space?

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Krampus Origins (2018) [REVIEW] | WW Krampus

I guess i really should review a Krampus movie that’s actually about the Krampus creature this year, and i’m fairly sure i didn’t watch this already under a different title, so it’ll do…fine, i hope.

During World War I, a group of American soldiers storm a German bunker, finding there a mysterious book that can summon the ancient evil of the Christmas Devil, the Krampus.

The men are killed in action, and the book is sent to the commanding officer’s widow, whom has just taken up the role of teacher at a Catholic orphanage. One of the orphans there gets a hold of the book and accidentally summons the Krampus, forcing them, the teacher, nuns and priest to face it.

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[EXPRESSO] Bones And All (2022) | Suspicious Minds

After his controversial but quite good remake of Suspira in 2018, Luca Guadagnino returns to the big screen with the coming of age horror road movie Bones And All.

An interesting proposition to be sure, sure as hell i’m not gonna turn down any chance to see a cannibal coming of age romance on the big screen by a big name director.

Set in 1980s Middle America, the movie it’s about teen Maren Yearly ( Taylor Russell) as she has to flee with her father from Virginia, after she bites off one of her classmate’s finger in a cannibalistic pulse, settling somewhere else then getting abandoned by her father as he doesn’t know what to with her anymore, only leaving a recording in case she wants to confront her mother.

On her voyage she also meets another young cannibal, Lee (Timothee Chalamet), and as they travel their way through small American towns they begin to fall in love.

The cast it’s great, the idea it’s sound, not that original, but still, promising, the blending of horror and romance works pretty well, and the period soundtrack it’s excellent.

BUT it’s also very uneven, as Guadagnino wants it to be set into a specific American period and mood, but it also feels more european in terms of how the themes of sexual liberation are tackled, so it never fully comes together in this regard.

There are still some noteworthy sequences, but the romance isn’t that great, the characters not that interesting, and – again – it’s pretty uneven, not helped by some really gratituous scenes (like the “pre-kill cornfield gay masturbation” one ).

Bones And All it’s not bad, but for all its pretension and ambition, it amounts to just being decent and kinda disappointing, since Guadagnino can and has done better.

[EXPRESSO] Prey For The Devil (2022) | Mid-sorcism

As much i’m very much kinda fed up with horror movies about haunting or possessions and/or about exorcisms… i’m still a horror fan/buff, so i’m up to support horror movies when they come in theathers, even if there’s the chance i’m walking into a turd. You never know, etc.

And this one didn’t look too bad from the trailers… nor did it look stunning, but whatever.

The plot of Prey For The Devil sees the Vatican secretly reopen schools for exorcists, in response to the numerous cases of demonic possessions, so they can fight back this reborn tide of evil.

But sadly for sister Ann, a young pious woman, it’s only men who are instructed to practice exorcisms, though her convintion in being gifted exactly for that purpose/role leads her to be noticed by a professor/priest that indeed believes in her gift, letting her attend the exorcism classes and perform the rituals when needed.

This leads to Ann meeting a powerful demonic force via one of the patients in care there, which spreads to the whole institute, and the demon itself has ties with Ann’s traumatic past…

Aside from the school/church/hospital setting and the more progressive idea of “female exorcists”, all of this sounds very familiar, overly so, and it’s not like there big surprises, i mean, we do have the demon possessing a little girl, the jumpscares, all the shizzle you expect to see.

Yes, indeed, but i won’t deny i was actually somewhat invested in the story, the characters are surprisingly likeable, acting it’s quite decent, the possession stuff has some flair, stuff happens at a good pace, and the movie isn’t overly long, quite the opposite.

It’s a predictable, mediocre and kinda throw-away exorcism film, run-of-the-mill even, but it’s perfectly watchable, you can do FAR, FAR worse.

[EXPRESSO] The Menù (2022) | A Meal To Remember

Went in blind and i can say this is a delightful surprise of a release, i mean, a black comedy horror thriller about haute cuisine with a stellar cast in it? Of course i’m in.

The premise of The Menù sees a dozen of influential, wealthy or otherwise high society people get invited to an exclusive dinner party on a remote island by worlwide famous and extravagant chef (played by Ralph Fiennes), eager to see what this year’s menù has in store for them.

Among them there a couple that will be enthralled not only the incredibly elaborated, inventive and maniacally detailed meals, but also by the many shocking events that make the already weird dinner go even more south.

And not always in ways you’d expect.

No, thankfully this one doesn’t go through the fairly overtrodden, predictable “cannibalism route”, not that it would have made quite sense to see Ralph Fiennes asks its dinner guests if they ever eaten “an egyptian FeAsT”, it’s not that kind of movie, it’s indeed a dark comedy horror that presents a robust mix of familiar elements, like the sympathetic villain that planned an elaborate revenge scheme that also steer into cult territory (not in the sense of waiting decades for critics to revaluate it, but the literal one), and also a touch of The Most Dangerous Game to it.

I’m not gonna go in further details to avoid spoiling the whole movie, but i will say it’s also fairly funny in his rampant pisstaking of haute cuisine and its pecularities, from the chef/ringmaster/performer/divinity, the kind of peculiar yet expected clientele it attracts, the behaviours and expectations they come with, while retaining wit through the mostly symphatic gaggle of people that maybe didn’t deserve it that badly.

A pretty robust, strong serving indeed, recommended.

The Spooktacular Eight #13: Eaters: Rise Of The Dead (2010)

You don’t want zombies that much.

Buf if italian zombie movies?

NOT the old ones you probably like, obviously.

Despite horror having mostly plauted as a prolific genre in terms of high profile releases here in Italy (and indie releases often being insanely obscure to find and often almost not worth bothering)…. somehow i still find here and then a low budget obscure italian-produced horror movie that managed to get itself released on DVD in the UK.

And if Arachnicide could do it, of course Eaters can too.

The subtitle to help cataloging can be stamped on the UK cover art for the DVD, why not?

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Resident Evil: The Series (2022) [REVIEW] Teens & Weskers

Oh boy. This one.

So good a couple of months after its release Netflix cancelled the series all together.

Exactly like it did for its Cowboy Bebop’s live action series, but i doubt this will be the last time we see this treatment, as Netflix is committed to bring more live action crap into its folds, especially by picking a “random” videogame or anime/manga license.

But that discussion will have to wait for when the One Piece live-action series (also by Netflix and also handled by the same production team behind the aforementioned live-action Cowboy Bebop), for this is a Resident Evil affair, and the series already had its own spotted history of adaptations.

I was gonna review this thing anyway, but cancelling any further seasons it’s definitely a move that appeals to my vulturine tendencies, and also means i hopefully won’t have to talk about it again at a later date. Hopefully, who the hell knows with Netflix nowadays, since not even instant super mega hits that are well received by most people like The Sandman (adapted from Neil Gaiman’s book of the same name)… aren’t guaranteed a second season, as the very people making it explained.

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[EXPRESSO] Halloween Ends (2022) | (Wake Me) Up Inside (When)

If nothing else, Halloween Ends lives up to the name, because it’s indeed the conclusion of this new Halloween trilogy and ideally the series.. for now. We did this dance before.

Burdened withh the unenviable task of basically salvaging the trilogy after Kills destroyed any goodwill Halloween 2018 built up.. Halloween Ends almost manages it.

4 years have passed since the events of Halloween Kills, with Michael Myers vanished and Haddonfield residents reacting in different ways, from blaming it all on Laurie Strode (now writing a book about her experiences) to exploiting the events, but all still trying to move on.

Though the focus isn’t on Laurie Strode so much, but on a new character, Corey, a babysitter that was involved in a fatal accident during on a Halloween night that branded him for life as a psycho.

This brings the narrative into an intriguing direction i won’t spoil, ultimately ties into the Laurie-Michael struggle, and continues to grow the theme of Haddonfield’s being a character in itself, so i can’t deny Halloween Ends does a lot of things that work.

…. for what it WANTS you to remember from the previous movies, hoping that you forgot a lot of the stuff that actually happened in Halloween Kills, and the whole communal aspect it’s undermined by how the script can’t resist making a lot of these people self righteous assholes or bullies in order to make their deaths satisfying. At least Kills didn’t try to have it both ways.

That and the layers of throwbacks to the original movie become kinda tiresome.

Overall, it’s not bad, it’s decent, the series has been a lot better and a lot worse, Halloween Ends it’s just another flawed but enjoyable entry with some good stuff in it as much as squandered ideas.

The Spooktacular Eight #11: The Corpse Grinders (1971)

Let’s celebrate this Halloween (and adjacent) season with some aged cheese and wine, picking from the prolific film portfolio of good ol’ Ted V “step on me ass with stilettos please” Mikels, may his toy robot laden soul (and his mustache too) rest in peace.

We’re doing one of his more notorious ones too, the one that’s not Girl In Gold Boots nor the cheap plastic zombie masks classic, The Astro Zombies.

Yep, it’s time to go King Crimson (the band) on your culinary habits and unseal a can of killer cat movie (again), which if nothing else it’s a refresher in how making great posters that are way BETTER than the movies they advertise has always been a thing for exploitation flicks since forever, and not just a modern thing. The more things change, the more some don’t, i guess.

Seriously, if you expect to see anything as graphic (or disturbing) as what the poster depicting you’re dreaming, because that would be accurate and require money to make effects for, and this ain’t just the style or budget good ol’ Ted V. Mikels was known for.

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