My computer monitor ate shit a couple of days ago. I ended up hooking the computer up to my television and it works pretty well. Videos look spectacular but the fonts are a little on the blurry side. Whatever. I'm just letting you know in case I use the wrong letter on a word it's probably because some of these letters look the sane om thc televisiom nomitor. See what I did there?
So I was going to go to the Aero Horrorthon for Halloween, but my friend cancelled due to low-fundage and in the battle between putting your last $20 into either Movie Tickets or Rent, Rent won the fuck out, and by Rent, I mean the amount one pays to not get kicked out of their residence, not the musical about how awesome it is to have the AIDS. Anyway, he was actually doing me a favor because I'm in the same boat, albeit mine is about halfway sunk while his is merely residing in trenchant waters. Boo-Hoo on not being able to go to the Horrorthon but Yay for saving money. After sitting at home for a while, being sullen and drunk, I got the idea that Hey! Why Don't We Watch Horror Movies At Home? and I called my buddy to tell him and there you go.
And there I am, at my friend's place, about to watch a couple of flicks; I brought Trick R' Treat and he brought, uh...um...Paranormal Activity. The former I've never seen and the latter, well, just read my last post. In true finish-your-dinner-before-you-get-dessert fashion, we would watch Paranormal Activity first. In case you're wondering, yes, this was a bootleg, and not only was it a bootleg, it was a bootleg of the original cut that played film festivals for a couple of years before Paramount/Dreamworks decided to buy it. All I knew was that this version was about 10-15 minutes longer and had a different ending. I would give it another shot, plus I had no choice, really. Paranormal was my friend's choice and I'm not gonna be the dick to push that by the wayside just to watch what *I* fuckin' brought. It's called good manners, people, and sometimes, I have them.
(I'm assuming at this point that you've seen PA or don't care if I give anything away, so yeah)
My thoughts? Believe it or not, longer did not mean more painful. In fact, I'll go as far as to say that this version was better than the one currently robbing people of their time and money at theaters. This isn't me turning into Roger Ebert and going from calling the Cannes cut of The Brown Bunny one of the worst films ever made to giving the shorter version 3 stars and Thumbs Up; in the end, I still think the movie's a disappointment. But after watching this longer version, I feel that in their attempt to make Paranormal get to the Good Stuff faster by cutting it down, they (either filmmakers or studio or both) hurt the movie and turned something that was OK-at-best into something that was completely shitty.
First off, they trimmed quite a bit of character moments; now, that may sound like they did us a favor, considering how douchey/insufferable the characters came off in the theatrical cut. But the longer version helps make a bit more sense of it; Katie's change in attitude is more believable. In both versions, you find out that the demon has been more or less a part of Katie's life since childhood, but in the original cut, you get more of an idea of just how badly this has been affecting her. In the theatrical cut, she goes from zero to whiny bitch immediately but in the original cut, you get more of a sense of someone slowly but surely losing her shit. It isn't as sudden and off-putting here.
I'm sure the studio thought all the scenes of Katie looking tired and drinking coffee the morning after was boring and useless, but they're sadly mistaken. If you pay attention, you begin to notice how much more out of it Katie is looking after each haunting; it's getting to her, she's getting less and less sleep out of it -- of course she's gonna start acting more and more irritable and nutty! But since the theatrical cut is missing this shit, it just comes off like this chick needs a couple doses of Shaddafuckup and Chilldafuckout.
While there are more scenes in the original cut, it's also missing a couple that are in the theatrical, but I don't miss them at all. One is the scene where Micah and Katie have just finished making love, talking some annoying shit about how what they did was illegal or something. It's not in the original version and I think it was added for two reasons:
1) make the movie "sexier", whether or not that shit is even necessary
2) make it more of a Man Trying To Protect His Woman type of plot
This is further cemented with the second scene that was added in the theatrical, where after hearing something smash upstairs, our happy couple run up and find that a framed photo of them has been bashed in by Mr. P. Activity, with a big dent directly on Micah's face. In other words, the demon has thrown down the muthafuckin' gauntlet and it's gonna be a muthafuckin' throwdown between Micah and Demon over Katie's hand, kinda/sorta/not really.
Both versions have a scene where Micah is reading a book on demons and shit (since what the psychic told them was that they had a demon in the house) and he tells Katie that demons are evil fuckin' inhuman things that thrive on causing people pain and fucking shit up. So basically, Katie had the fucked up luck of having a demon fuck with her. Later on, there's a scene where Micah shows Katie a story online about a woman who had the same shit happen to her, and from what I remember, that's as far as it goes in the theatrical cut. The extended one goes further in that we find out what happened to that poor woman: she got possessed and there was a failed attempt at an exorcism that ended in her death (she bled to death after chewing her own fuckin' arm off! AIIIEEEE!). The idea here is that the demon then must've searched out another victim afterward and that's how Katie came to play.
I thought the orginal version of the demon was scarier, because all it wants is to cause pain to someone, that's it. It doesn't have some I Want Your Body And That Means Your Man Gots To Go bullshit agenda. But either the filmmakers or the studio people weren't happy with that and decided to fuckin' Entity that shit up with the added scenes, and make it about some kind of otherworldly infatuation. Fuckin' bullshit is what it is.
When put into perspective, the ending of the theatrical version makes a lot of sense considering how Paramount/Dreamworks/Steven Spielberg/Oren Peli/Joe Momma/Heywood Jablome/etc. were already trying to make it more Hollywood by going with more of a shocker BOO! type of finish. Needless to say, I prefer the original ending, it feels like it's part of the same movie. I do hate the super-gay slow zoom-in of Micah & Katie's photo that followed it though, made worse when "Dedicated to Micah and Katie" comes up afterwards. That was lame. There's a third ending that's pretty messed up and would actually make sense if used in the original cut but not the theatrical. Who knows if that one will ever pop up somewhere.
I'm still not a fan, but the original version is certainly better than the one that's currently being loved by everyone who isn't me. My friend and his sister-in-law (the wife isn't big on scary movies and was busy watching the latest Harry Potter in her room) dug it, so there you go. When it comes down to it, the original cut of Paranormal Activity is a creepy/tragic tale about a woman driven to the brink by a force beyond her control, while the theatrical cut is about a couple of assholes who get a visit from a perverted entity looking to cock-block the husband. I'm exaggerating, of course, but you get what I'm saying. I don't, I finished up my bottle of Sobieski, so I really should stop writing but...
The second film of the evening was Trick 'r Treat, a film that not only got every geek and genre website and publication praising it to the high heavens, but even regular people who managed to catch a screening dug the hell out of it -- so naturally Warner Bros. sat on it for a couple of years before sending it straight to video. Because why bother releasing a Halloween movie in October when you got shit like Saw LXIX to contend with? Or maybe it was revenge against Trick producer Bryan Singer; that motherfucker shot a Krypton sequence for Superman Returns that supposedly cost upwards of $10 million and then junked it. If that's true, then Holy Shit. Whatever reason Trick 'r Treat didn't get a theatrical release, it all adds up to Quel dommage.
I think this flick is supposed to take place somewhere in Ohio, but it might as well be Halloween Town, U.S.A. considering all the holiday-related craziness that ensues there. You got four stories being told out-of-order, Pulp Fiction style; one follows an evil kid-killing school principal, another is about some asshole kids going to the site of a fatal school bus crash, you got one where Anna Paquin is being all virginal and alone on such a scary night, and the last is about Brian Cox paying a hard price for being a such a Halloween Scrooge.
Unlike Pulp or even Go, Trick 'r Treat doesn't stick to telling one particular story at a time, it kind of mixes it up and there's a bit of cutting back and forth between some of the shit going on. So in addition to being Halloween Pulp Fiction, this also feels like Halloween American Graffiti. It's got a bit of Creepshow thrown in there as well, since the entire movie is framed as if they were stories from a comic book. Plus, the credits are in the John Carpenter font, which I got a big kick out of and I know that shit wasn't an accident either.
It may sound like some derivative shit going on here, considering all the different movies I mentioned, but it isn't. This flick is really its own thing and it's too bad it didn't get a shot at theaters, but if there's any justice in the world, it'll find a big audience on video. Is it the greatest thing since sliced bread? Not by a long shot. But it's definitely a lot of fun and it hits on damn near everything Halloween related. It's kind of a mean asshole of a film, too, with some ultra dark humor thrown in. I don't want to give away everything, but I'll give out one example of some of the dangers Trick 'r Treat offers the audience --
And not just your regular, garden-variety zombies, but Retard Zombies. Think about that, that means you have laughing zombies with superhuman strength to contend with. A Retard Zombie is almost up there with the teleporting zombies from City of the Living Dead/The Gates of Hell when it comes to inevitable That's Your Ass ownage. If the world is taken over by Romero zombies or even those fast zombies, I'll load up the guns and fight to survive. But make that a Fulci zombie outbreak or an onslaught of Retard Zombies to deal with, and I'll save myself the pain and make like R. Budd Dwyer instead. I wouldn't be able to handle it, the news bulletin alone would make me shit myself. Would blasting reruns of Life Goes On out loud help or would that speed up my demise?
You son-of-a-bitch, that's not funny. My brother is mentally handicapped and I don't --
Stop it. Please stop it. I can make these jokes because I know I will pay somewhere down the line. I'll get hit by a car and become a paraplegic or a Terri Schiavo or I'll get the HIV and live Rent for real or I'll get Alzheimer's or I'll lose control of my faculties and start kicking it Depends style or someone in my family will die in front of me or whatever. What I'm trying to say here, sensitive people, is that I make all the fucked up comments and jokes that I want because God will have the last laugh. He always does. The motherfucker killed his goddamn SON, what hope do WE have? None, that's what. But I digress.
Anyway, this small town, this Halloween Town is a terrible place to live considering the high mortality rate -- even higher if you're a kid. Oh yeah, kids get straight out fuckin' murderized in this flick. Some people say that's part of the reason this didn't play in theaters; the studio thought that kind of shit would be upsetting. I hope that's not true, otherwise we really are beyond help as a society if we can't handle over-the-top unrealistic fantasy kid death. It's not like you're dealing with weeping kids getting shot in the fuckin' head like in City of God. Calm down. But for the record, I'm pretty damn sure more kids get it in this flick than adults.
The evil kid-killing principal is played by Dylan Baker, which is kind of funny because he's an actor who made his mark playing a pedophile in Happiness. After this movie, the talented motherfucker has gone to the other end of the Bad Things To Do To Kids spectrum, from fucking kids all the way to killing them. Anna Paquin is in this movie, wearing a Little Red Riding Hood costume, so you can kinda see where that shit is going, but never mind, it's still fun to watch it happen. I don't know what it is about her, but I started really digging her in *that* way around the time she did The Squid and the Whale. A friend of mine thinks it's because she seems very attainable. I don't know about that, let me look up who she's dating and we'll see about that, give me a second. Okay, she's married to a guy who's about 15 years older than her and still better looking than I can ever hope to be, so fuck her and that ugly gap in her teeth. This is me being hurt. Lash lash lash.
There's a character here named Sam, and I guess you can call him the mascot of Trick 'r Treat. He manages to show up for each story and even becomes a big part of the final one. He's a really cool character, and I wasn't surprised to find out that they already sell little collectible Sam action figures now. I'm not even into the collecting thing, but I'd totally get a Sam if I could. He looks awesome. Maybe in a few years, if and when this flick picks up more steam, we might start seeing more and more Sams roaming the streets for Halloween.
Seriously Warner Bros., what the fuck? This shit was entertaining as hell, it had a cool gimmick, and a character with definite iconic appeal. Also, there be titties here. I'm sure would've done well on simple "Hey, it's Halloween, let's go see a Halloween movie" curiosity. But what do I know? If I ran a studio, we'd have Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man part 7 by now -- and that has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man is playing right now. Whatever, this shit was a fun time and next year when I visit Blockbuster on Halloween night, all copies of this movie better be rented out. I'm talking about Trick 'r Treat now.
After the two movies, I took off and made my lonely trek back home. I stopped at the end of a residential street and could hear music coming from a nearby house, so I U-turned and slowly drove past to check it out -- lots of people standing outside, milling about, talking. I had nothing else to do that night, so I figured, Why Not? and parked down the street. I put on a leather coat, thereby making it look like I put in some effort to my t-shirt and old raggedy jeans ensemble. The jeans, by the way, had a hole right where my left testicle would be. I don't remember scratching my balls that much as to wear down a hole in the fabric, let alone on that particular nut, but fine. So I walked to the front yard, nobody giving a fuck who I was, and I stood near the door pretending to check a text message on my cell but in reality scoping out the inside to make sure if I could get away with what I was intending to do. It was packed. Music and beers and chatting.
So I went inside and acted like I was looking for someone, but in reality checking out the partygoers; I would guess early-twenties, half in costumes, half in regular clothes. There were lots of goth-types, angels, devils, cheerleaders and anything else remotely slutty. I don't know what the guys were wearing, nor did I give anything resembling a fuck. I made it to the kitchen area behind the counter where there were three guys standing near the cooler, talking about the Phillies either winning or losing or whatever the fuck. I opened it and saw nothing but Coronas. These kind of motherfuckers are always drinking Coronas. I grabbed one and walked toward the back patio, where the music was coming from.
One of those little black strobe balls with colored lights shooting from it was placed near the D.J. in the hoodie. This was the only illumination in the backyard. There were about 20-25 people back here, and the yard wasn't that big. The music was really loud, playing some 80's mix that I couldn't put my finger on but I've heard it at damn near any house party. As I drank my Corona, a guy in Dead Presidents makeup nudged me -- therefore scaring the absolute shit out me -- and held out a joint. Because I'm unemployed and my next shit job could potentially be right around the corner (shit jobs always piss test), I had no choice but to decline. I have only the alcohol to soothe me for now. Because when it comes to getting lit after work, society allows you to Chinaski that shit but you sure as fuck can't Cheech & Chong.
After finishing the Corona, I left the house. Not once did anyone stop me or look at me weird. Driving home, I called another friend and left a message telling him to join me for coffee somewhere, preferably a restaurant where we can look at costumed girls coming from parties. I stopped at a Denny's and ate a slice of apple pie (a la mode) while checking out what I came to look at. It didn't seem as sad and pervy then as it does now. My favorites were the two girls who were wearing football jerseys, knee socks, cleats(?), very very short shorts and had what I can best describe as hair that looked very P.J. Soles. They looked like potential victims in any 80's slasher movie that involved a sorority sleepover. I never heard from my friend, so I finished the pie, and went home to sleep. During all of this, time went back an hour. Not far back enough, if you ask me.
3 days ago