Midsommar – #MovieReview

Don’t Drink the Mushroom Tea

I don’t know about you but I have had some extra time on my hands to watch movies. I read a Buzzfeed article that had 25 of the most disturbing movies you could watch and thought, yeah that’s a great way to stay entertained so here is my review of film number 1.

Midsommar is one that I meant to get around to but didn’t watch until today. I kept hearing really good things about it and wanted to check it out. It’s pretty much every bit as creepy as I heard. Spoilers are below, you have been warned

The movie starts off very dark. I mean that literally and figuratively. The first scenes show a darkened house with lights out in the dead of night. The tone doesn’t really lighten up either. The story revolves around Dani who starts off anxious and worried about her sister who has bipolar disorder. Dani calls her frat bro boyfriend worried and he dismisses her fears in a way that I frankly thought was disgusting. When people are anxious and worried, they should be listened to, not dismissed, especially when there’s evidence that shows the thing they are worried about might have happened. Turns out, Dani was right to worry and her jerk boyfriend Christian wasn’t helping things either. Dani’s sister killed herself and her parents in that dark house I was talking about.

That’s just as devastating a tragedy as I can think of and I don’t think Christian is helpful in the situation either. He’s not a total jerk but he really doesn’t want to be in the relationship with Dani and basically hangs around because it seems like an even more jerk move to break up with her.

Anyway, while Dani is starting to get over her grief, she goes to a party with Christian and he drops this bomb on her when he tells his friends he is planning on going to Sweden with them. Dani is upset, jealous and a bit angry. But she is also very apologetic to Christian about feeling that way. Dani decides not to break up with the guy but to go to Sweden with everyone. Bad call Dani.

The lighting of the film changes dramatically from there. It’s pretty much bright day from there on out. This is not the most gore-filled movie you’ll ever see and there’s not a bunch of quick jump cuts to scare you but the tone of this movie will stay with you if you watch it.

You get the sense right away when Dani is offered some drugs in the form of mushroom tea and she is uncomfortable with it, what with, you know, grieving and all that there is something wrong here. For a while it seems like maybe only the bad things are in Dani’s head but the rituals that are going on in this quiet Swedish town take a dark turn quickly. For the first half of the movie it’s a slow churning build up to what might happen and it just grips you right to the end.

The action really starts going when during a part of this festival two people literally jump to their deaths intentionally as part of it. All of the Americans and Londoners watching recoil in abject horror at what happens. From there, the non-Swedish characters are killed off in different ways one by one. I am not going to give any of that away, but it was devastating to watch. By the end you will find yourself both sympathizing and horrified with Dani and her actions. It’s a wild ride, done in super bright daylight and yet it still never loses the edge of horror that you want in a scary movie.

If you like horror and can stand a little gore, this one is well worth checking out.

Brightly yours,

Slick Dungeon

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Arthur Christmas – #MovieReview

On the tenth day of Christmas my rancid ex gave to me Arthur Christmas.

This movie boldly asks the question, what if Santa Claus was a hereditary position run like a highly efficient army? It further asks, what if one of the next Santa Clauses in line cared a whole lot but wasn’t good at the whole military efficiency thing? It also asks what if one of the next Santa Clauses in line was good at the whole military efficiency thing but bad with children? It also asks, what if the current Santa Claus just relied on his kids and elfs to do everything. It also asks what if one of the former Santa Clauses wished he wasn’t retired and wants to go out on the sleigh again? It also asks what if a child was almost forgotten by Santa Claus but quick thinking saved the day and the guy who cares turned out to be the best choice to be the next Santa.

To which I say, why didn’t you just watch The Santa Clause instead?!?!

It’s a better movie by a long shot.

Only two more of these to get through.

Merilly Yours,

Slick Dungeon

Christmas Survival – #MovieReview

On the ninth day of Christmas my rancid ex gave to me Christmas Survival.

Also on the ninth day of Christmas I started to think that maybe there are too many days of Christmas.

This movie is called Christmas Survival but it is really about a family that doesn’t quite get along. It’s almost two hours of arguments and bad parenting. There were too many characters to keep track of so I wasn’t even sure who belonged to what family most of the time. It’s got the standard stuff like ruined dinners, holiday mishaps, family tension etc. I found none of it interesting.

Look if you are going to call your movie Christmas Survival I expect some deadly dangers appearing.

Here are a few suggestions about what this could have been about.

  • Dracula comes to torment the family and they have to survive together.
  • Ditto the wolf man.
  • The family eats a Christmas goose and half of them turn to zombies.
  • The family is a pack of serial killers who lure people in need for their annual feast and then hunt them but this time the tables turn and the family gets hunted instead.
  • The family is in an airplane crash and all they have to survive on is the holiday food they brought with them.
  • There’s a secret underground fight club that the family get hoodwinked into joining and their only hope is the eight year old son who has watched a lot of television wrestling.
  • Or you know, go with what this did and just make it a long boring conversation with such parental disorganization that the kids aren’t even allowed to open their presents on Christmas day and have every adult act like an incompetent jerk the whole time.

There is only one Christmas movie that works as an antidote to this. Die Hard. It takes place at Christmas and really is about survival.

Merrily Yours,

Slick Dungeon

The Christmas Calendar – #MovieReview

On the eighth day of Christmas my rancid ex gave to me The Christmas Calendar.

Hey everyone, it’s Slick Dungeon here and I am still reviewing terrible Christmas movies. There are 12 days of Christmas so I am going to get through those before I review the ten absolute worst films of the last decade.

Today I have a movie for you that is so saccharine sweet that you’ll feel like you just stuffed six sugar cookies in your mouth. Yet somehow it manages to have no heart and is utterly predictable.

The Christmas Calendar is about Emily, a baker, who has returned to the small town she grew up in so that she can take over the bakery that her grandmother left for her. We also find out pretty quickly that the bakery is in danger of foreclosure and Emily will need to do something about that by the end of the month. Next a French baker, Gerard, comes in to town and it’s obvious that Emily has the hots for him. But it will be a problem because he could put her out of business. This all takes less than five minutes to set up. Then Emily receives an advent calendar that looks old and homemade. Everyone assumes it’s from a secret admirer and we spend the rest of the movie watching Emily and Gerard snip at each other, the town guessing who the secret admirer is, and basically knowing that everything will turn out fine in the end. Yay!

I have some questions.

  • I mean it was a nice calendar but would that really make the news? I feel like this should have been titled Advent Calendar, the Movie.
  • We all knew it was from her grandmother. How could people not see that coming?
  • Seriously the news reporter from the fictional TV station just said she was here from “the news”. Were they too lazy to think of three or four letters? Or maybe a number?
  • There’s a part where a health inspector flashes a badge. Pretty sure they don’t do that.
  • There was this whole build up about a Christmas baking competition and they don’t even show it. What were they thinking?
  • This is about two rival bakers and there’s not a single food fight. Boo.
  • Okay so if this calendar was from a secret admirer, why would they make something so big and obvious. Isn’t the key word secret?
  • Gerard bowls a perfect game his first try. I didn’t buy it at all.
  • The misunderstandings between Emily and Gerard could have been cleared up if they had talked to each other for another five minutes but they never do that.
  • We all knew that the bakery would be saved, Emily and Gerard would get together, and that they would end up as bakers together so why did we make this movie again? Oh yeah we needed a love letter film to advent calendars.

At first I had a hard time figuring out what the antidote to this film is. It kept reminding me of You’ve Got Mail, which is not a Christmas movie. Then I remembered why that made perfect sense. You’ve Got Mail is based on an old Jimmy Stewart more called The Shop Around the Corner which is a Christmas movie. It’s got the same sort of premise where there’s a business in danger and a couple that snip at each other until they fall in love. It’s got way more heart and won’t leave you with a sugary aftertaste.

Merrily Yours,

Slick Dungeon

Jingle All the Way – #MovieReview

Happy New Year’s Eve everyone! I’m going to keep this one short.

On the seventh day of Christmas my rancid ex gave to me Jingle All the Way. This movie is not the worst Christmas movie I have on this list but it might be the one I hate the most. Simply put this film is about a couple of fathers who would do anything, including really illegal activity, to get the hottest toy for their kids. It’s not funny, it has no heart and is just one mind bogglingly bad film that never redeems itself. I have only one question for this one.

  • Why did they make this? Quick someone kill this. Kill it with fire!!!!

The antidote to this one is A Miracle on 34th Street. It’s full of heart, sweetness and an on point Christmas message despite being pretty much one huuuge advertisement for Macy’s.

Merrily Yours,

Slick Dungeon

The Knight Before Christmas – #MovieReviee

On the sixth day of Christmas my rancid ex gave to me The Knight before Christmas.

We’ve made it halfway through the worst Christmas movies I watched this year. I am hoping to keep my sanity through the next half.

Today we have The Knight Before Christmas. This is one that didn’t look promising because of the bad pun. It wasn’t good but I could get past the pun and the premise here. There have been time traveling knight stories before that worked. If Mark Twain can do it, so can someone else. Of course no one is going to do this type of story as well as he did.

So here’s the plot in a nutshell. A young man in medieval times is trying to complete a quest to become a true knight. For some reason we’re calling him Sir Cole even though he is not a true knight yet. He meets an old crone and is kind to her. She does some Christmas magic and sends Cole to 2019 where he has to do something involving his heart to complete the quest. We know pretty quickly that his quest must be to fall in love with Brook because we see her complain about an ex boyfriend. We have to spend the next ninety minutes watching Cole do valiant and kind things that make Brook realize not all men are bad. They fall in love with each other and then Cole gets pulled back in time for all of two minutes and then because of more Christmas magic he goes back to 2019 to live happily ever after with Brook. Yay!

Okay so the plot is not that bad and neither is the romance so what’s the problem with it? Missed comedy opportunities. I made a list.

  • While we do get to see Cole interact with Alexa but I wanted to see what he would think of indoor plumbing.
  • At no point did Cole try to slay a car with a sword.
  • There’s a couple of jokes about Cole thinking that people are inside of a radio but he never thinks it’s magical or anything.
  • No one fell off a single ladder or roof in this whole movie.
  • Cole seems way cool with electricity for a guy who would never have encountered it. Hello, hilarious electrocution scene where are you?
  • I really wanted to see him go through a drive through on a horse. No luck.
  • Cole never seems freaked out by the whole thing and I think he would have thought it was all devilry and witchcraft.
  • Also it’s clear from the end that Cole’s brother will be showing up in modern times next year. Do we have to do that?

I am sure there’s more I can think of but I have to get to the next terrible film. The clear antidote to this one is Elf. It’s about a man out of his element who falls in love too. The difference? Not a single missed comedy opportunity in the whole film.

Merrily Yours,

Slick Dungeon

31 Days of Horror – Day 1

Hey all you twisted individuals who actually read my blog. Count yourselves proudly amongst the people who have gotten this blog all the way into double digits! I am kicking off October with 31 days of horror. I’ll post something horror or horror related each day. Today you get, Pumpkin horror!

“You didn’t tell me you were gonna kill it!” – Linus

Wise words from a wise man. What horrors await you tomorrow?

Well, that’s the play
And he wouldn’t want us to give it away

Horrifically yours,

Slick Dungeon

Anyone Else Out There Get Zombie Anxiety Dreams on a Regular Basis?

I watch a lot of television and films with different kinds of monsters in them. Same for the books I read. But for me, there’s one type of monster that no matter what, when I see it, or read it, or even think about it for more than five minutes, I end up having a nightmare about it. It doesn’t matter if I am watching Zombieland, Night of the Living Dead, 28 Days later or Shaun of the Dead. It doesn’t matter if I am reading a quality zombie book, or a terrible zombie book, or anything in between. Every time I read this stuff I have a nightmare. I love these stories so I keep reading and watching. Just wondering if anyone else out there has this happen to them? Do you have another type of creature that does that for you? I can watch vampire movies and read vampire books until the sun comes up (see what I did there?) and no trouble in my dreams. Werewolves, no problem. But if you put a flesh eating crowd monster in my head. it’s there to stay. Let me know what your favorite nightmare monster is in the comments.

Sleep Deprivedly yours,

Slick Dungeon

10 Completely Random Thoughts I Have had While Reading Bad Books

I read a fair amount and while I do try to focus on the story, sometimes my mind wanders. Here’s ten thoughts I have had recently.

  • How does everyone in romance novels stay so fit and healthy, yet never seem to go to the gym?
  • Who chose Tuesday as the day new books come out? Why is Tuesday so special?
  • Do hardcover book jackets automatically get destroyed or is that just because I am not careful enough?
  • In zombie books, why don’t the animals ever become zombies? If they did, would they have to eat the same kind of animal? Or could like a horse eat a chicken and be good?
  • I’ll go to sleep in twenty minutes or once I finish this chapter. Twenty minutes later… that chapter was too good, I’ll go to sleep in twenty minutes or when I finish this chapter. Twenty minutes later… you get it
  • Lifting a heavy book totally counts as exercise. I need another Oreo.
  • This whole entire book is just made up of different ways of rearranging twenty-six letters.
  • Wait, so the guy is a werewolf, dating a woman who is a vampire but the witch coven hates them both. Have I already read this? Aww man I have already read this…
  • Did anyone far in the past predict fax machines in a story? And if they did, were people who read that story super excited when we finally got them. And if they were, are they still excited now?
  • I should probably find a better book to read.

Ponderously yours,

Slick Dungeon

Top 10 Signs a Movie is So Bad it’s Good

So bad yet so good

How do you know something is not just bad, not just awful, not just terrible, but so bad it’s good? I mean something where the film stands out in it’s awfulness so much that it is destined to become a cult classic? I’ve spent a lot of time around bad films so I came up with this list to help you identify that something has gone so bad that it will last forever. Here’s how we separate The Emoji Movie, destined to be forgotten and hated forever, from the stand outs of trash cinema like The Room and Pink Flamingos. Hope you enjoy!

  1. The plot is utterly outlandish. While this isn’t the most essential part, usually having a strangely concocted plot helps. The Rocky Horror Picture Show is about a couple that get stranded on a rainy night in a castle run by murderous transvestites (I know that word may not be PC anymore but it’s what is used in the film). Tremors is all about giant earth worms being mistaken for earthquakes. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians is about, well, the title sums it up doesn’t it? If you are watching Sharknado and it’s got a tornado full of sharks, it’s destined to be so bad it’s kind of awesome.
  2. Production value is low. Again, this is not the most essential ingredient but it sure helps. There are films that counter this point and have a great production value but are still cult classics. But you know something is awful when everything looks like it’s duct taped together and held in by rusty screws. One of the reasons Ed Wood films stand out in cinema is that you can see how little money was put into them. In Plan 9 From Outer Space you can actually see foam gravestones get kicked over as if they were made of… foam. Upon repetitious viewing, it’s still hilarious.
  3. The Budget has exploded. This is counter to point 3. Watterworld had a huge budget. So did Battlefield Earth. Yet they failed on essentially every level. People still watch them today because of how bad they were. It’s incredible to see big name actors like Kevin Costner and Dennis Hopper prance around these huge sets and just kill the whole thing with the absurdity of it all. It combines to make a truly unique, so bad it is good kind of experience.
  4. The Acting is Awful This one is vital. You can have a low budget, or an overblown budget and an absurd plot but if you have even one stellar stand out acting performance, there is no way this will become a cult classic. Tim Curry does nearly invalidates this point in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. But if you have seen The Room, you know without question how bad acting can take an otherwise so so plot, fairly decent production costs and a typical love triangle and make into a sort of car wreck you can’t take your eyes off of. It’s so bad it’s good. You can watch it over and over again, and it’s even more fun if you watch it with a live crowd.
  5. There’s a shocking amount of Something. For this one, it can be gore, it can be foul language, it can be a creature of some type but most essentially it has to be excessive. The Toxic Avenger has a stunning amount of gore, practically pouring through the screen in every other scene. The film doesn’t shy away from it. It revels in it. While this point does not always have to be in a film for it to be so bad it’s good. a majority have this. Another good example would be Showgirls. It has a seriously alarming amount of unnecessary nudity. There are other things about that film that make it so bad it’s good but this aspect contributes heavily.
  6. The dialogue isn’t just bad, it’s memorably bad. Good films need stand out lines like, “I’ll be back.” Cult classic films need lines like “You’re tearing me apart!” (The Room) and “Alright everybody, drop your tacos or I’ll blow your brains out.” (The Toxic Avenger). It might not be Casablanca but I guarantee you will find yourself quoting these lines to your friends.
  7. The special effects don’t work. Can you see that the body thrown off a cliff is just a mannequin with a wig on it? Do the ray guns used in the film just emit a slightly grainy light? Is the makeup so bad that you can’t even tell what the character is supposed to be? Then you just might have a cult classic on your hands. This is usually more reserved for the cult classics that are science fiction related than set in every day life. But, if you have seen Space Zombie Bingo!!! then you know how bad poorly designed effects can be. So bad that you have to watch again just to convince yourself you really saw what you think you saw.
  8. There are problematically unusual directing choices. It’s one thing to get experimental on purpose and try something out in film. It’s another to have jagged and pointless cuts, splice in stock footage, switch from day to night in the same scene or make someone look ten feet tall in one shot and like they are vertically challenged in the next. Normally, one or two of these in a film would just be considered a mistake. A cult classic takes this to the next level. There are so many errors in there, you get to thinking they must have been planned. Actors flub their lines, drop things and get tangled up in the scenery constantly in Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. It’s like the original Easter egg just watching that movie to see all the times something went horribly wrong.
  9. The film either takes itself too seriously or not seriously enough. Waterworld thinks it is staging Hamlet. It’s not. Showgirls wants to be a serious exploration of the working conditions dancers (not strippers!) have to deal with every day. It doesn’t. Plan 9 From Outer Space didn’t take itself seriously enough to take the time to develop into a decent story. When you get either side of this spectrum you can end up with an amazingly bad movie that is just fun to watch.
  10. People know the film is bad but they watch it repeatedly. This is the ultimate sign of a film being elevated from bad to so bad it’s good. I think The Meg was trying for this but it missed the mark. However, The Room, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Toxic Avenger, and Plan 9 From Outer Space have all taken on a life of their own outside of the regular box office. Showgirls has web pages and forums dedicated to it. People don’t view these things to appreciate them on the surface, They go because it’s a chance to laugh a little. They go to interact with other weirdos and oddballs that can also see the mangled attempt at art these movies represent. There’s nothing wrong with being bad. Heck, at least these film makers tried. That’s a whole lot more than 99% of people can say.

So the next time you are watching something and you are sure it is bad but not sure if it’s so bad it’s good, remember this list. It can separate out the cult classic from the classicly awful.

I hope you enjoyed my take on this. Did I miss anything? If so, leave a reply.

Badly yours,

Slick Dungeon