Tag Archives: Indie

Easter Horror Movies – I Watch Them So You Don’t Have To

To celebrate Jesus’ resurrection, I thought I would do something extra special on the blog.

So, while you’ve been munching chocolate for breakfast, I have been exploring a small selection of crappy Easter horror movies (and munching chocolate for breakfast). Apparently the Easter horror sub-genre is really a thing and while it was hard to get hold of a lot of them, I did my best.

*Minor spoilers*

1.-eastershortbunnyjesus

JESUS Christ

Holidays (Segment: “Easter”) (2016)

HOLIDAYS is an anthology feature film that puts a uniquely dark and original spin on some of the most iconic and beloved holidays of all time by challenging our folklore, traditions and assumptions.

Nicholas McCarthy‘s segment “Easter” is a nightmarish short, playing on childhood fears and things that go bump in the night. I almost didn’t want to feature the above image because it is pure nightmare fuel and the story itself, while super simple, isn’t much fluffier.

A young girl gets freaked out on the night before Easter when her mum tells her about an impending visit from The Easter Bunny. Worried she might accidentally disturb him in the night, mum tries to explain the bunny’s connection to JC as his holiday mascot. When she does wake up and meets the bunny for herself, she soon realises he is nothing like his wholesome description.

Let me assure you that the image of the resurrected Jesus/Easter Bunny hybrid of this story will not leave you quickly. He’s grotesque in every way, popping baby chicks out of the holes in his post-crucifixion palms. He’s not evil per se, just otherworldly and he’s not about to let the girl off now she’s the first child to ever see him IRL.

For a short film I think this packs a pretty decent (and macabre) punch.

🐣🐣🐣🐣 out of 🐣🐣🐣🐣🐣

Hop it

Cottontail (2017)

A notorious Serial Killer known as ‘Cottontail’ faces a slew of personal issues as he falls in love with the girl of his dreams, all the while trying to put together his ultimate ‘Easter Egg Hunt’.

This plays like a high school media studies project but isn’t a terrible premise. Cottontail the notorious serial killer wears his ‘skin suit’ 364 days of the year but for one day – Easter Sunday – he gets to be who he really is: a very bad bunny.

CT swears down that nothing has happened in his life to turn him into a psychotic mass murderer but there are red flags. While he works on his physical fitness for the big day and gathers together a like-minded group for his Easter ‘game’ – he laments a broken heart and his feeling of guilt towards his family.

He’s surprisingly sensitive is our antagonist and when he falls for moll Carmela, a similarly beautiful monster – he realises he’ll do anything for love. Which is all kinds of cute if you can overlook all the horrific murder, obviously.

This is… not good. But it’s kind of fun and the earnest narration by our bunny is quite endearing. The masks are cool too.

🐣🐣 out of 🐣🐣🐣🐣🐣

Only the very best FX for this blog post

The Beaster Bunny! (2014) – also known as: Beaster Day: Here Comes Peter Cottonhell

A giant bloodthirsty Easter bunny starts viciously killing the local townsfolk. When the Mayor refuses to act and the attacks grow more gruesome, the town finds its very survival in the hands of a wannabe actress and a crazy dog-catcher.

This is an absolute travesty but it has a certain charm. I mean, I’m a sucker for crazed giant animals stomping humans like ants, especially obnoxious ones. Meanwhile, the film’s director seems to be a sucker for boobs – since almost all his female victims either lose and/or are stripped of their clothing before their respective death scenes.

This gives it a seedy feel which I can’t even be bothered to rage at. Anyway, it’s all pastiche right? Needless to say there are a lot of lame jokes and observations (young people are obsessed with social media!) peppered throughout, some truly atrocious but enthusiastic acting and the worst FX I’ve ever seen.

Want to know an Easter secret? I paid £3.49 on Amazon Prime for this monstrosity – and I couldn’t even finish it. So I don’t know why there’s a giant Easter bunny terrorising this town or how it ends. I suspect I’ll live with my decision though.

🐣 out of 🐣🐣🐣🐣🐣

Hello boys

Critters 2: The Main Course (1988)

Eggs of the small, furry alien carnivores are left behind on Earth and, after hatching, again set their appetites on the town of Grover’s Bend.

The sequel to 1986’s Critters has a tenuous link to Easter but fuck it, it made the list anyway. After the events of the first film, a couple of Grover’s Bend locals unwittingly discover a nest of eggs left behind by our alien buddies. Keen to turn this find into a profit, they sell them to an antiques store in town where they’re sold as Easter eggs to a nice old lady. What could possibly go wrong?

Thankfully, there are a gang of space bounty hunters on the case to clear Earth of the Critters – but until they arrive, lots of high jinx and murder ensue. Exactly what you need to celebrate your favourite chocolate based holiday.

Well, this has an unfair advantage perhaps in the sense that it holds cult status and production values of more than $5 (looking at the last two movies in this list) – so it’s better all round. And it’s also nice to see the Critters again honestly. Sure, they’re no Mogwai and pals but they are a slice of kitschy horror history.

🐣🐣🐣 out of 🐣🐣🐣🐣🐣

Uh, wrong blog post, guys…

If you’re interested in exploring this niche pocket of horror movies, then I have a list of titles for you. I think I’ll line some up for next year:

  1. Easter Casket (2013)
  2. Easter Sunday (2014)
  3. The Night Before Easter (2014)
  4. Serial Rabbit (2005)
  5. Easter Bunny, Kill! Kill! (2006)
  6. Easter Bunny Bloodbath (2010)
  7. Peter Rottentail (2004)
  8. Kottontail (2007)
  9. Bunnyman (2007)
  10. Night of the Lepus (1972)

Happy Easter All!

Mid90s

Fall. Get back up.

Mid90s (2018)

Follows Stevie, a thirteen-year-old in 1990s-era Los Angeles who spends his summer navigating between his troubled home life and a group of new friends that he meets at a Motor Avenue skate shop.

Starring: Sunny Suljic • Katherine Waterston • Lucas Hedges

*Minor spoilers*

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You literally take the hardest hits out of anybody I’d ever seen in my life. You know you don’t have to do that, right? ~ Ray

Oh slow burning indie movies, how I love thee. Jonah Hill‘s directorial debut is beautiful and sweet there’s no denying it. However, I don’t know how long I will think about it now I’ve seen it.

Stevie (Sunny Suljic) comes from a single-parent home with a bully for a big brother. His mother Dabney (Katherine Waterston) is still young and gorgeous (having had her first child at 18) – and is dipping into the dating pool again. I would tell you more about her but apart from a couple of minor scenes, we know very little of her.

It is suggested that she’s had ‘a past’ that has included a revolving door of suitors – and this might be why older son Ian (Lucas Hedges) is so tormented (read: such a dick).

Stevie is yearning for something clearly, for when he stumbles across a group of skateboarders outside a local skate shop, he wants in – and makes it his mission to join them. Which is no mean feat when you’re just a kid.

Summer-summer-summertime…

Eventually he makes it into the crew and the new friends become the centre of his new world. The gang are: Ray, Fuckshit, Fourth Grade and Ruben – and they are all dealing with their own issues. Stevie rubs Reuben up the wrong way by quickly becoming the new golden boy – and this leads to an inevitable showdown between them.

The gang in general might not be as solid as they once were. Leader of the group Ray (played by the really fucking good Na-kel Smith) is drifting away from his BFF Fuckshit (Olan Prenatt), determined to leave the hood for something better. Can their friendship survive when Fuckshit is determined to just keep partying? Meanwhile, Dabney isn’t very pleased about her son’s behaviour now he’s part of something she can’t control – can she put a stop to it before it goes too far?

A mood

All in all, this is a lovely debut. There is a sex scene involving Stevie and an older girl which made me feel really icky though – so I am very glad it stopped where it did. Honestly, I get that this happens but he’s a literal child and I do not want to see him sexualised!

The female characters aren’t given much to do either. In fact the only women we actually see are Dabney and the skate groupies on the sidelines. That’s not great, Mr Hill. Come to my room and let’s discuss this further.

⭐⭐⭐½ out of ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

What are you watching?

Unicorn Store

Unicorn Store (2017)

A woman named Kit receives a mysterious invitation that would fulfill her childhood dreams.

Starring: Brie Larson • Samuel L. Jackson • Joan Cusack

*Minor spoilers*

A real quickie on Brie Larson‘s directorial debut, which appeared on Netflix this weekend. Reuniting Samuel. L with his Captain Marvel co-star, Unicorn Store is as whimsical and abstract as they come.

Kit (Larson) is a woman-child not doing so great. Failing at art school (at least in the eyes of her beloved professor), she finds herself back home, living in her parents’ basement. Her parents are well-meaning enough (played by blog favourite Joan Cusack, and Bradley Whitford) but are distracted by their new pet project and employee, Kevin (Karan Soni).

Adopt me please, Joan

Channel-hopping one day, Kit stumbles across an ad for a temp agency and decides to join the rat race as a new and improved version of herself. One who dresses appropriately for the office and drinks coffee.

Kit does pretty okay at her new assignment, particularly when her quirky nature catches the attention of her (creepy) boss – but her focus soon shifts onto more magical things when she receives a series of mysterious invitations to a secret location.

Someone didn’t get the memo about Wednesdays

At The Store, Kit meets The Salesman (Jackson) who puts her through a series of tasks to prove she’s ready for the ultimate challenge – to care for a real life unicorn. Yep, I told you it was whimsical.

Kit, you see, has been dreaming of this since she was a child and there’s practically nobody else more qualified for the role. Still she has to prove she can keep it fed and surrounded by all the love she can, which means making sure her relationship with her family is in tip top condition.

When she hires Virgil (Mamoudou Athie) to help her build a unicorn stable, it seems like she might be opening herself up for a different kind of connection but how’s he going to take news of the unicorn?

Virg(il)ing on the ridiculous

While this is sweet enough and I did appreciate it, it’s perhaps just a little bit too cutesy for me. I stan Brie Larson so I was on board with the character of Kit – and I do appreciate a surrealist indie. I really enjoyed Virgil too, a somewhat reluctant partner-in-crime who soon gives himself over to the concept of adventure.

Larson’s increasingly flamboyant wardrobe definitely deserves a mention as does Kit’s assistant Sabrina (Martha MacIsaac), who harbors her own dream – to open an Etsy store selling jewellery shaped like miniature food.

Will Kit get her unicorn – or is all an elaborate con?

US is abstract but really it’s about putting away childish things and accepting adulthood – while still keeping just a little bit of magic back. Which is a cool message and one I personally endorse.

⭐⭐⭐ out of ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

What are you watching?

Don’t Talk to Irene (Film) Review

Things are feeling a little gloomy all round (on both sides of the Atlantic) so Jill chose this charming little underdog indie to cheer us both up. Frankly, any movie that starts with Heart & Soul by T’Pau and has Geena Davis as a spiritual guide to our protagonist is going to be A-OK with me. Continue reading

Princess Cyd (Film) Review

The last film of Feminist February and as far as I’m concerned we’ve signed off with a bang. A slow and subtle Indie bang but a bang nonetheless.

And, last week’s bland sniffle-fest aside, I think this month has been a success.

*Spoilers*

Princess Cyd (2017)

IMDB Synopsis

Eager to escape life with her depressive single father, 16-year-old athlete Cyd Loughlin visits her novelist aunt in Chicago over the summer.

My Review

We begin Princess Cyd with a 911 recording played over the opening credits, depicting the death of a woman while her child is in the house. This is a blunt introduction to the character of Cyd Loughlin, who we meet 16 years later as a young adult.

Cyd has been sent by her depressed father to stay with her aunt Miranda, the novelist sister of Cyd’s late mother. Miranda has not seen or heard much from Cyd since she was a small child and since she lost her mother so is a little nervous about how things will go. She’s also very comfortable in her own routine.

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When Cyd first arrives, both the women are very polite and although there’s some nervousness, Cyd is curious and asks a lot of questions. While Miranda is an open book, some of the topics broached take her outside her comfort zone. She embraces this though and starts to relax in her niece’s company. Cyd challenges Miranda’s religious beliefs, her sex life and the way she leads her solitary (but not lonely) life. This shakes Miranda up, forcing her to look inward.

Cyd is quite taken with the idea of Miranda and her friend Anthony (James Vincent Meredith) getting it on but Miranda insists this isn’t on the cards. Anyway, Anthony is sort of married.

And while Cyd is settling into her new (temporary) life in Chicago, she meets Katie in a coffee shop and there’s an immediate spark. During a literary gathering at Miranda’s home, Cyd also bonds with Ridley (Matthew Quattrocki). She disappears into a bedroom with him and this causes some mild consternation between our new housemates, even though she doesn’t bang him.

Miranda swears she’s not going to be the person who nags Cyd about her life choices but when Cyd makes a snarky comment about her aunt substituting sex with food, Miranda lets her have it.

PrincessCydaunt

It is not a handicap to have one thing, but not another. To be one way, and not another. We are different shapes and ways, and our happiness is unique. There are no rules of balance. ~ Miranda Ruth

Katie meanwhile finds herself in an awful situation at home and is rescued by Cyd and Miranda. Miranda is kind and understanding, something both young women need and she welcomes Katie into the fold without question. Cyd and Katie get closer and closer; as do niece and aunt. Basically, this is what life looks like without the interference of arsehole men. Even nice ones are not needed here – and as Cyd prepares to go back to her own life, Miranda has her own decisions to make.

What will she decide?

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My Thoughts

Ultimately, this is the sweet tale of a young woman reconnecting with her mother through someone who knew and loved her too, while fulfilling her own need. It’s about the craving for maternal love and it is a love story in many ways, just one of your unconventional, familial ones.

The performances are realistic, warm and convincing – and all three women are likable. At no time is Cyd the destructive mess you might expect her to be, though she has a fucking right. She might be direct at times but she means well. She seems wiser than her sixteen years.

Don’t come into this expecting a rip-roaring ride, because you definitely won’t get that. What you will get is a beautiful rumination on adolescence and learning to do you.

My Rating

4.5 – Gentle and sweet.

What does my very own princess think of this one? Would she let it stay the summer or send it back to daddy? Find out here.

Until next year my pretties #feministfebruary.

Mr. Roosevelt (Film) Review

mrroosevelt_trailer1

Noël Wells is a triple threat apparently. Cool AND talented in writing, directing and acting? Fine. It’s totally fine. Good for you, Noël.

I don’t know much about the film going in so I can’t really preempt it with anything insightful. All I know is that I’m expecting a sort of Tiny Furniture/Lena Dunham vibe – which could go either way.

*Spoilers*

IMDB Synopsis

After a loved one falls ill, struggling comedian Emily Martin returns to her college town of Austin, Texas and must come to terms with her past while staying with her ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend.

My Review

Emily Martin (Wells) is a struggling comedienne living in LA. Things aren’t going great for her truth be told and they turn worse still when she receives distressing news from home.

Since Emily dumped her ex-boyfriend Eric (Nick Thune) for the bright lights of the big city via a telephone call, things are set to become super awkward on her return. Not least because she’s coming back to say goodbye to their shared cat Mr. Roosevelt, who has just coughed his last fur ball.

Eric still lives in their old house with his new (perfect) girlfriend, Celeste Jones (Britt Lower) – and in Emily’s absence, Celeste has taken on Cat Mom duties. This doesn’t rest easy with Emily but she has little choice under the circumstances. Things become even more uncomfortable when Celeste and Eric offer to take Emily in while she’s in town.

Nope. Nope nope nope.

During a group dinner, Emily suffers a minor melt down, brought on by insecurity about her career – and befriends waitress, Jen (Daniella Pineda), a girl she met once at a party. Jen proves to be a welcome distraction as Emily gets her head around several changes in her life, including losing her day job back in LA, the passing of Mr. Roosevelt, her relationship with Eric – and trying to deal with her growing resentment towards the perfectly together Celeste.

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Bewbs

They go to the beach and get their boobs out. Emily also hooks up with a hot but disheveled hipster. Meanwhile, she is dismayed to learn that Eric isn’t doing music anymore and changing quite a lot of who he is for his new relationship. During a party the two bond again over their shared love of performance.

Emily’s most popular YouTube video is also outed at the party and she gets all pissy thinking this is the only thing she will ever be known for (it’s a video of her in a bath tub full of spaghetti). Personally, who cares? But Emily does.

When Celeste steps on Emily’s toes more than once when it comes to celebrating Mr. Roosevelt’s life, things come to an angsty head.

The question is: Meh. Will the cat get the burial he deserves? Will Emily sort her fucking life out? Is Celeste a robot or does even she have her own insecurities/idiosyncrasies? Hmmmm.

FACT: I have a friend called Celeste Jones and she is way, way cooler that this Celeste Jones. I wish she’d been in this film.

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Emily absolutely SMASHED the Lena Dunham look-alike comp

My Thoughts

I found this super boring and I feel bad about it. I just didn’t care that much for Emily. She comes off as completely self-involved but without the charm of say, Shirin in Appropriate Behaviour (reviewed here).

The big difference is that AB was zingy and snappy in its dialogue, while this was a wishy washy offering that just sort of bumbles along.

Things I did like: It looks quite nice and the scene is which Celeste unravels slightly (*SPOILER*) to reveal she’s a normal human being is quite heart-warming. This film is as strong as its female relationships – and I would have liked much more of that.

Also, more cats.

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“Let’s bury this film in this urn forever.”

My Rating

2.5/5. Not for me. Weirdly.

What did Queen Jill think of this one? Would she throw a pretentious wake for it or bury it in the garden? Find out here.

Tangerine (Film) Review

This week’s film has been on both our lists for a while. Filmed entirely on a freaking iPhone, it’s bloody remarkable if you ask me, with a bleeding heart beating within.

However, I did watch without subtitles so I feel as though I may have missed a substantial chunk of dialogue between Razmik the taxi driver (Karren Karagulian) and his family. Oopsy.

*Spoilers*

Tangerine (2015)

IMDB Synopsis

A working girl tears through Tinseltown on Christmas Eve searching for the pimp who broke her heart.

tangerine.0.0

“Please, please give me the biggest bit.”

My Review

Sex worker Sin-dee Rella (Kitana Kiki Rodriguez) is fresh out of clink for a drug-related misdemeanor and seems elated to be back in the company of her home girl Alexandra (Mya Taylor).

Over an iced ring in the local Donut Time, she’s about to reveal some exciting personal news when her BFF accidentally reveals that Sin-dee’s boyfriend (and pimp) Chester has been stepping out on her while she’s been inside.

What’s more, Alex reveals he’s been doing it with a local working girl whose name begins with a ‘D’. With not much more than that to go on, Sin-dee goes ballistic and thus begins a whirl wind day in the life of a woman scorned. Alexandra in contrast is the voice of reason, begging Sin-dee not to bring the drama. I think you can guess that our heroine isn’t the passive type.

Alongside the misadventures of Sin-dee and Alex, we follow cab driver Razmik as he goes about his daily business. His story soon intertwines with Alex’s (and then some) plus we also meet his family, waiting for him patiently at home on this eventful Christmas Eve.

Tangerine

Sin-dee did not get the ‘No Drama’ memo

Sin-dee is on a mission to find her love rival, D and eventually, through the power of intimidation and elimination, manages to track her down. D is Dinah (Mickey O’Hagan) and I definitely wouldn’t want to be in her shoes.

Dragged kicking and screaming from one end of town to the other in search of Cheating Chester (James Ransone), Dinah claims she doesn’t know what the hell is going on. On the way the women stop off to support Alexandra while she sings in a bar and narrowly miss Razmik, who has abandoned his domestic duties to pursue Sin-dee, on whom he has a crush.

During this respite from Sin-dee’s errand, the enemies almost bond, though it’s a flimsy connection. Meanwhile, it turns out that Alexandra has paid for the privilege of performing her set to a handful of people. Her only true and genuine fan is Sin-dee who backs her all the way.

The girls eventually run into Chester who reacts as perhaps you’d expect a pimp to react (is that fair?). He explains that he and Sin-dee are actually engaged to be married. Turns out he proposed just before she got locked up, after taking the rap for his crime. Yep, now I don’t feel so guilty for pigeon-holing this pimp.

While the two lovebirds work towards resolving their differences right there in Donut Time, Razmik is followed by his pissed off mother-in-law who busts him trying to score with Sin-dee and then, in desperation, Dinah. She’s soon followed by Razmik’s wife and young child. There’s really no easy way to talk your way out of a situation like this but Razmik tries. Though as mentioned, I couldn’t follow most of it. There’s a lot of shouting and things don’t well, which is the gist.

Sin-dee also learns something telling about Alexandra in the fracas that threatens to completely derail their rock solid friendship, but I’ll let you unravel that one for yourselves.

Tangerine1

What time is it?

Tangerine is a gem. It’s a touching tale of love and loss but above all, friendship and support and I really enjoyed myself. None of the woman have it easy and this paints a bleak picture of life for working girls in this neighbourhood. It’s comforting to know that at the least, these women have each other. When shit hits the fan and all hope looks lost, sometimes all you can count on is your girl, even if she’s done something really shitty.

It’s witty too, with some hilarious dialogue and side characters. Some of Razmik’s passengers are a true pleasure to meet, even for the few moments they’re on-screen. As for the way it looks, well that’s better in some shots than many movies shot on gargantuan budgets.

Definitely check this out if you get the chance, that’s my advice!

My Rating

4/5. Fun & fierce. One for drama lovers.

What did Jillian think of this one? Would she run around looking for this one or kick it to the curb? Find out here, of course.

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