Last year, between the two of us, we watched an average of 317 movies.
This year our goal is to top that by watching at least one a day.
And as an extra special torture, we've decided to write about all of them.

01 June 2008

Xtro, dir. Harry Bromley Davenport (1983)

NIKKI says:
I'll admit -- I was pumped. It's been a long time since I've seen that horrible alien face, the face that used to taunt me at the video shop, daring me to take it home and face its evil evilness! Eventually, after I'd watched everything else on the Magnum Video horror shelf, I went for it. I needed mum, though, as it was R-rated, and I was still in primary school (...I know, but things were different then).

So, yeah, it did freak me out. It freaked me out even more watching it last night that I remember so little of it. I remember the birthing scene and the bleeding ears, but not G.I. Joe coming to life and murdering the old lady next door. Or the clown or the spinning top, or the bathtub full of Xtro pods.

My main memory of this is just that awful backwards-body man crawling in the swampy leaves with Xtro's FACE! Ugh.

We discussed the movie, though, prior to watching it, that even if it was bad, it was still deserving of our attention because it has its place in the evolution of horror in the 1980s. What that place signifies, exactly, I'm not so sure. I think it was one of the first movies I remember to take the notion of the scary little beast and make him so cruelly awful -- perhaps a precursor to Bilal in Basket Case, or those ridiculously disgusting slobbies from Society?

It could just be that Xtro exists as the Anti-ET. The video packet, Steve tells me, contained a line about not all aliens being cute and cuddly. Too right.

I think, too, I noticed a subtext about boys going through puberty without their fathers. There's much here in the way of sexual themes and allusions -- the father being reborn, the kid getting mysteriously covered in "sticky stuff" at night, the kid 'walking in' on his mum with her new man, the fact that the kid has a SNAKE as a PET. Okay, maybe that's going too far, but I'm fairly convinced this is a child's coming of age tale in an era of sky-rocketing divorce rates. And that's all any good horror movie needs -- subtext and scary monster.

It was still lame.


STEVE says:
Okay, new rule: From now on, if a movie has been released in my lifetime and I haven't seen it, let's take it as read that there's a good reason I haven't seen it and just move on.

Xtro had some very good, very wet special effects sequences, an interesting story with a promising subtext, a nude d'Abo and not much after that. Seriously, once the midget clown turned up, I tuned out.

Again, it took me 25 years to watch this and it turned out to be shite. That's a hell of a build up for such a resoundingly bad movie, and I can't help thinking that I'd have been less disappointed if I'd seen it when I was 12.


13 Tzameti, dir. Géla Babluani (2005)

NIKKI says:
And the preview tapes come through once again... Here's a movie we'd never otherwise get to see. A French film from 2005 that appears to be getting a little DVD exposure in Australia. It's such a small release (and foreign and black and white -- all the killers) that my video shop won't get it. And neither will most others around me. So, without the preview tape, a movie like this would just pass us by. Ugh, think of the ones that must have done so in the past? How horrifying.

Anyway, 13 Tzameti... it's impossible to reveal anything that goes on here without utterly ruining it. We knew very little -- just that a man assumes the identity of another man in order to possibly gain a lot of money. How, what, where, and why is the crux of this. The 'how' part of that scenario, when we learn as the guy does, just what's going on is probably one the tensest moments I've spent ever when watching a movie. Lots of "oh my god"s and "no fucking ways"s. It's not that the 'how' is all that out-there in a conceptual sense -- this isn't Hostel -- but our young, naive hero in this place with these people who appear otherwise sane -- what is this all about?!?!

And the great thing about this film is that it chooses not to reveal everything. We leave still wondering what and why and who, but we don't question that so much because the experience we've just had has been and fascinating and shocking, cruel and brilliant. One tiny thing lets it down at the end -- but I'm looking into the reasons behind it. If I can find an explanation that satisfies me, I may have to lift my rating a full point.

Great, great movie. Apparently Brad Pitt holds remake rights.


STEVE says:
Oh my everloving Christ!