Savages Crossing

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This will be my first run down on a movie ever. I’m not the best with getting my thoughts to word form so be patient. The movies that I will talk about are NOT recommendations, merely just my thoughts on what I have most recently watched in the horror genre.

To get this blog started, I have gone with a film which I watched yesterday after buying from a Video Ezy for $3. (first warning there maybe?) It’s a low budget film from Australia called savages crossing. Reading through the cast of the movie, you would think it would be quite a good watch. The cast reads like a who’s who of Australian film and TV, including Craig maclachlan, Sarah horler, Jessica Napier, Rebecca smart and John jarratt, who had his hand in directing and producing along with his wife Cody Jarrett (very similar surnames, not a spelling mistake).

The plot I must admit is quite original, and centers around recently released Phil,(John jarratt) on the hunt for his wife and son(jarratts real life son Charlie jarrat). After getting an early tip off of his release, the pair jump in the car and make way for a country escape. Bad storms and rising flood waters force mother and son to take refuge at a roadside stop run by Mory (mclachlan) and Kate(Napier). Here we meet some new characters who are on the road and forced inside likely for the night. All goes from relaxing to intense when Phil, saved from rising waters by mory in the truck, ends up at the same roadhouse. From there it’s your standard fight for survival with twists and turns aplenty.

Now, i am a HUGE advocate for Australian film and have a lot of love for them. Films like Mad Max, Stone, wolf creek, the reef and to a lesser extent Snowtown, are amongst my favorite films. As a matter of fact, I am constantly arguing with my partner about the quality of Aussie film. She proclaims that they are too dark, depressing and bleak. For me, that is what I LOVE about them, they are real, no bullshit films about what life is sometimes like, which means no happy ending! Savages crossing tries to put a lot of cliche Aussie charm in the dialogue, but to me comes off as trying too hard and sounds forced. Granted we do swear a lot but, this was driving me nuts to the point where it was hard to follow.

This movie was released in 2009, so it was following in the footsteps and the success of “Wolf creek” and it shows. The movie is pretty much John Jarratts baby, and I think he might be riding on the coat tails of wolf creek too much as he was the villain in that film too. Throughout the short 82 minute running time, Jarratt channels the Mick Taylor character A LOT and sometimes takes it and makes him even more batshit crazy. It was disappointing seeing so many big names in the one film looking like z grade actors. I’m not sure what to put it down to exactly, but I’m sure the directing, dialogue and low budget did not help at all. I’m all for indie, low budget films as many of my favorite films are very underground and cheap, but when you have competent actors and a somewhat original story line, you expect much much more.

There were many opportunities for this movie to redeem itself and use violence and action as a positive, but as usual it tries to explode and have you on the edge of your seat, but the poor acting just takes you straight out, and back to being bored as shit. I don’t know if this film was meant to be humorous but I sure as hell found some parts quite funny. I’ll keep it spoiler free and won’t tell you the twist ending (if you can call it that) but it has to be one of the most cringe inducing parts of the whole thing. Way to leave me with a super bad taste in my mouth! On the plus there were a couple of decent performances by Rebecca Smart and Mclachlan did have his moments.

I just can’t recommend this film as I know that while someone was watching because of me, I would be feeling so embarrassed. After so many good Aussie efforts, I think it will be ok to let this one slide and brush it under the mat. If you want to watch a good Australian thriller just go straight to Wolf Creek as it’s in the same vein and 20 times better. I heard there’s a wolf creek 2 slated for 2013 so I hope John jarratt just sticks with playing Mick Taylor and stop trying to cash in on the disturbed individual he has pulled off so well in the past. As far as a rating goes, I hate being harsh as it’s better then I could ever do, but in saying that I watch movies to be entertained and this just failed on all levels. I’ve gone to the defense of Australian films time and time again and now you do this to me? COME ON!!! 2 out of 10 is all I can muster up for this one. I better go as the cats trying to eat the disk….. Ah whatever cat has a new toy.

Thanks to anyone still reading ha, I could imagine this was pretty frustrating to read as it’s my first ever. But any comments or criticisms or even just to talk about the film, I’m all ears!

Peace, Josh

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Halloween (1978)

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Halloween (1978)

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Title- Halloween

Starring- Jamie lee curtis, Donald Pleasence, PJ Soles, Nancy Loomis

Written by- John Carpenter, Deborah Hill

Year- 1978

Tag-line- The night Michael Myers came home

OK, OK, I know im taking the easy way out here reviewing “Halloween”, but this movie is single handedly responsible for opening my eyes to the world of beautiful horror! You know how everyone has that movie that they will always remember, always watch and always love? Well for me this is it. I was first treated to a viewing of this at the ripe old age of 8 by my excited father. We had just returned from the local video store in which he had seen the VHS on the shelf and told me i needed to see it. Now, still to this day i think that John Carpenter and Deborah Hill created one of the most suspensful stories ever put to film. So, as you can imagine, watching this at the age of 8 DESTROYED my sleep for the next few years. I still swear that back then, Myers was standing in my closet, walking up and down my hallway, tapping on my window and HIDING UNDER MY BED(thanks dad)!! So before i begin, i guess i better give a quick rundown of the plot.

Nearly 15 years ago, Michael Myers brutally stabbed his older sister Judith to death on a “black and unholy” halloween night. Since then, he has been locked up at Smith’s Grove insane asylum and people have been safe in the knowledge that he will never be free, or so they thought. Michael has escaped and is heading to the only place he knows, Haddonfield, to turn another halloween night in to a bloodbath.

I really like the opening to this film. It shows everything happening through POV shots of a young Michael. They manage to do this using 2 shots. It follows Michael outside the house, looking through the windows at his older sister getting cosy with her boyfriend. Once the couple are done upstairs, and quickly done i assure you, little mikey grabs the biggest damn knife in the drawer and proceeds up the stairs. Without hesitation, michael drives the butchers knife home several times until his sister is no more. One down!

The movie never explains Michaels motives or reasonings behind his blood lust and desire to kill. The most back story we get about Myers is given to us through the deteremined, but slightly crazy Dr Loomis(Donald Pleasence). When watching Halloween the first few times, Dr Loomis was my favourite character. Everytime Loomis appeared on screen you just knew that there was going to be some kind of awesome one liner informing you of just how “pure evil” Michael Myers is. Dr Samuel Loomis (say his last name repeatedly and hear how funny it sounds) plays Michaels Psychiatrist, and has been the only one that has spent one on one time with Myers. Looking back now, watching Donald Pleasence run around town, scaring the locals, yelling at the policeman and just nailing one liners, it kind of makes me cringe. Don’t get me wrong, without Loomis there is NO Halloween, but in some parts it is just taken to extremes. I’ll finish talking about Dr Loomis with one of his legendary qoutes.

” I spent 8 years trying to reach him, and then another seven trying to keep him locked up, because i realised what was living behind that boys eyes was purely and simply…..”evil”……Just great!

There is often complaints about Halloween regarding the pacing and amount of time it takes to get cracking. Now, most of my favourite movies are quite quickly paced and have very high body counts, and if this was any other movie i would be bored to tears. But somehow with Halloween, John Carpenter and Deborah Hill manage to create the perfect amount of tension in the beginning of the film and from there it steadily rises and keeps you gripping until the final climax. There is very little blood in the film, whether that’s because of budgetary constraints or chosen stylisitically, but it works to the movies favour. Also, just because there is no blood, doesnt mean it isn’t violent! Once the pace is turned up, Michael goes into overdrive and starts killing everyone who gets in his way. He will not stop until he gets to our lead girl Laurie. Introducing:

This is Jamie-lee Curtis’ debut film, and already here you can tell she could act very well and would go on to bigger things. Curtis plays Laurie, the shy, smart girl who is always helping out her friends and not confident enough to ask out all the cute boys. Laurie is the lead girl, so obviously she is a virgin, which means she will live the longest and maybe, just maybe, defeat the boogeyman. Remember kiddies, SEX KILLS, well if you listen to slashers it does along with drinking, smoking and drugs. Is it possible that slashers are made by overprotective parents trying to scare their kids straight?….mind blown.

Of course, i can’t finish up a review without pulling out a couple of negatives, so i will force myself to vomit a few up on the page. Keep in mind, these negatives will just be nit picky things, as i don’t like to look to hard for them in my fave flicks, and thats the way it should be, if you like a film, like it and don’t go searching! I will mention though, that one thing that kind of does bug me is the acting of Lauries two main supports. Don’t get me wrong, i have seen worse but at times it comes off as incredibly cheesy and fake. If you are an impatient person, you may start to let your eyes wander, but believe me IT PAYS OFF. Just stick with it and you will see. Also as i mentioned before, soometimes Dr Loomis and his one liners regarding Michael will occasionally make you explode with laughter. Just in case you are one of the 4 people on the planet that has not seen Halloween, keep in mind that it was a movie made in the 70’s and in some parts it really shows. For the most part Halloween has held up well and still remains suspensful to this day.

Halloween is one of those films that you can go back to again and again and again and uh again. Since seeing this for the first time 16 years ago, I can’t count how many times I have sat down put it on and just enjoyed. It’s scary when it’s supposed to be scary, it’s suspensful when it’s supposed to be suspensful and its FUCKING intense when it’s supposed to be intense and for this i can’t fault it. Two of my top 5 films were made in the 70’s and the 80’s pretty much takes the rest of the spots, and it’s films like these that keep horror as my favourite genre. So many times these days i am left feeling angry by the promise of the latest horror movie that will scare the shit out of you, or disturb you until your sick. FUCK THAT, why can’t we go back to basics and give us good old fashion scares like this movie does. No over the top CGI, just a man, a white mask, a jumpsuit and one night to carve the shit out of some kids.

Please, PLEASE if you haven’t seen this movie go out and dont rent it, BUY it, turn the lights off, turn the volume up and appreciate fine film making. Even if it does not scare you these days, just appreciate the fact that halloween probably made way and inspired so many of your favourite modern movies.

Well then, sorry about the rant but this is one of those movies that gets to me and I love when I can convince just one more person on its greatness. I guarantee that once the score starts, you WILL know the tune. I’m getting chills just thinking about it.

Thanks for reading guys, feel free to comment to correct me on anything or just tell me how awesome this film is.

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