Saturday, September 19, 2009

One character ends up shirtless and another is clad in black leather, so maybe it's more Schumacher-esque than I originally thought

Every once in a while, I'll open up the Calendar section of the paper, check the movie listings, and find the name or an ad of a film that is completely new to me and I have no fuckin' clue what it's about. It comes with no commercials or internet buzz or anything, so it might as well have come from the fuckin' ether. I then decide to take a chance and seek out this unknown movie, getting all giddy-schoolgirl in anticipation. In 2005, I saw The Great Raid and Dangerous Men this way and both flicks were richly rewarded risks for completely different reasons. It can also go the other way and not work out at all, like when two of my buddies decided to check out a flick called Hard, which turned out to be a terribly made softcore gay movie about a serial killer -- and when you're as homophobic and bad-movie-phobic as these guys, that's just double servings of hell, right there.

On a similar note, someone on Twitter posted something about a horror movie coming out that I never heard of, Blood Creek ("Town Creek" on the IMDB) and it caught my interest. Lionsgate Films is distributing it, and since this flick isn't about people set up to die in elaborate traps by some asshole with cancer or didn't involve an old fat black woman played by a young thin black guy, they decided to throw it away in a few cities without any promotion -- relegated to discount dollar houses, no less (no more?). They did this about a year ago to another horror flick called Midnight Meat Train, and while I missed the train on that one (har har har), I wasn't going to miss out on the Creek. So off I went.

Blood Creek begins in 1930's U.S. farmland, I don't remember where exactly. A family of German immigrants take a Nazi into their home (in exchange for some paychecks from the Fatherland) so he can work on his experiments involving the occult. You know, basic Wolfenstein kinda stuff with the intent of making the Nazis and their mono-testicled leader immortal and unstoppable. The Nazi is played by Lt. Archie Hicox from Inglourious Basterds, and he's a spooky Kraut; motherfucker's so deep into the black magic, he can bring dead birds back to life -- and he's only getting started.

After a bit of that, we cut to the present day and we're introduced to an EMT with a missing brother and an old angry, ailing father. When he comes home, we're shown close-ups of newspaper clippings on the wall about how EMT's bro vanished two years ago. But because this is a Hollywood movie, the people in charge can't trust us dummies in the audience to comprehend the visual language of film, so they give us EMT's father in the background telling us everything: Goddammit, son. You went out with your brother and you lost him and now he's not around and I can't believe you think he's dead, well I'm not giving up, he's still alive and goddammit, he's a war hero who fought in Iraq and you're a coward who didn't go to Iraq and you'll never be like him and goddammit, I guess I just established the personal goals your character is going to have to accomplish by the third act.

Right after that, there's a scene where EMT goes into his trailer and he takes off his shoes and plops down onto his bed. The motherfucker just finished a 15 hour shift and is beat, but RING RING goes the phone, and it turns out to be his nephews, reminding EMT that he promised to take them trick-or-treating. Ain't that a bitch. That reminded me of all the times my mom took me to the movies after work (dad came home late) when I was a kid. Back then, I was too much of a spoiled selfish brat to even remotely entertain the consideration of the possibility of giving a fuck whether or not she was too tired. I was going to the movies come hell or high agua, Stay Tuned was not going to watch itself. (This is why I would be okay with it if my mom or dad one day decided to start beating me with a belt as a sort of retroactive payment for past sins of the douchebag child)

EMT eventually goes back home and gets some shut-eye, but guess who suddenly shows up? EMT's long-lost bro, that's who. Looking at EMT Bro's long unkempt hair and long scraggly beard, I wondered for a moment if this was Rob Zombie's Blood Creek that I was watching, but no, that's not the case. The director is none other than Joel Schumacher, the guy responsible for Batman Forever and Batman and Robin. But I'll get to him later. So EMT's bro is back, and immediately he's all business, no time for a reunion. He tells EMT to grab the rifles, grab the ammo, and bring supplies, because they're going on a mission. A mission to do what, EMT has no idea and neither will you because I'm going to stop right here.

Every few months or so, some new low-budget flick comes out, usually in the horror genre, and everyone on the Internet privy to a preview screening comes out praising that shit to the high heavens. Then I get around to finally watching it and after I'm like, It's all right, but what's the big deal? Blood Creek feels like one of those movies, and if the director was some twenty-something newcomer, guys like Harry Knowles would be posting love letters and comparing it to the filmmaker going down on you or something. But because it's the guy who put nipples on the Batsuit, everyone will trash this flick more than it deserves. I mean, I can see why someone might not like it, but if the motherfucker goes on about how insulting and retarded it is and how it's a cinematic abortion that is an insult to horror flicks, my guess is he or she is bringing some Bat-baggage to the review.

There's definitely some garbage in his resume, but every once in a while, the guy actually makes something worth watching, like Tigerland or Veronica Guerin or Phone Booth or that flick about Robert De Niro having a stroke and singing with Phillip Seymour Hoffman in drag. But some motherfuckers still aren't having it because of the Batman flicks. For Christ's sakes, kids, get the fuck over it. That shit was 12 years ago and I don't know if you've noticed, but two more Batman movies have come out since then and one of them is so fucking good, it should eliminate any bitching left in your cold geeky soul about some motherfucker ruining the franchise. It's over. The Schumacher period can now be seen as a low point in the series, not the fucking nerd apocalypse.

This was a decent flick; it moved fast and I was never bored, and that's two good things for a movie to have going for it. There's some occasional splatter and slimy goodness (both practical and CGI -- guess which was more impressive) and I was particularly intrigued with the first half, during which the audience knows about as much as EMT in the What-The-Fuck-Is-Going-On department. Once everything's explained and you realize what you're in for, the movie isn't as strong, but that's bound to happen when you spend so much time coming up with possibilities in your head -- the truth is usually never as good.

There's no reinvention of the wheel here, but there are a couple of cool scenes that I gotta give it up for, like a bit involving a runaway horse that just got so over-the-top I couldn't help but laugh. I certainly don't see why Lionsgate would have junked Blood Creek, since far worse movies have been given big releases (and some of them become hits, ugh). I'd bet dollars to bearclaws that the latest Saw flick isn't as entertaining. I paid a cheap DVD rental price to see it on the big screen and I had nothing else to do, so there.

As far as I'm concerned, whatever crimes to celluloid Joel Schumacher committed is evened out with two comedic contributions he's made to the cinematic world: D.C. Cab (Bruce Leigh?) and Falling Down (I understand others call it a drama, but that shit never stops being funny to me). Mr. Schumacher, when you fall, you fall hard, but overall, you're okay and I still believe...I STILL BELIEVE: