The Uninvited (1944)
Oh the dangers of nostalgia. I saw this on TV as a child and it scared me. Nowadays? Not so much. A dog chases a poor squirrel, a brother and sister buy a beautiful empty, gothic, seacoast mansion for £1,200. A neighbour named Stella whines that it was her mother’s house. The brother falls for Stella and her whining. The sister deals with wary pets, a drafty staircase and crying. This was dull with a twist ending.
“The haunted shores.”
“How I do hate living in a London flat.”
“Open fire where you bathe, what luxury.”
“That’ll feed us.”
“Withstood the Atlantic gales for centuries.”
“No house is haunted.”
“That window, it’s like a cucumber frame.”
“That’s what I do say.”
“How did she die?”
“Fell off the cliff.”
“A stomach like Gibraltar.”
“I’d sooner see myself dead.”
“Take hold of yourself Pam.”
“It’s all we’ve got to live in.”
Whatever you do, don’t step over the rope.
This terrible film was followed by the pointless exercise sequel ‘Waxwork II: Lost In Time’. Avoid both. This film hasn’t been remade which shows how bad it is. Mark the ‘hero’ (Zack Galligan of ‘All Tied Up’) is legally and morally problematic and fails to notice that an evil force has come to town via a suddenly appearing waxwork museum owned by an unnamed man who dresses like Willy Wonka (David Warner). Mark obsesses over and slut shames his ex China (Michelle Johnson of ‘Blood Ties’) and her shellacked hair.
The overdone soundtrack blares loudly. The virgin (Deborah Foreman of ‘April Fool’s Day’) bores and wears ugly clothes. The jerk (Dana Ashbrook of ‘Twin Peaks’) wanders around. There is bad ADR and Mark is a sexist classist pig who lacks objective reason. There is bad acting and one uninteresting female character wears a headband. The gang visit the waxworks and a midget butler looms. No one looks focused, serious or sincere. The boss, his lumbering butler and midget butler plot twisted, cruel and ugly fates for the unconcerned, unchanged and unrepentant morons.
One by one the twits step over the robe and are sucked via bad SFX in the display and die. The jerk dies via a werewolf diorama featuring John Rhys Davies of ‘Sliders’. China ends up with the creepy mumbling Count Dracula (Miles O’Keeffe) and runs around in a huge pimped out dress being drenched in blood and eating what she thinks is steak tartar. Somehow she fails to smell a rat and lets Dracula chow down on her.
Mark is pernicious and wears a moderately priced sports jacket. David Warner sneers dyspeptically. This is not heavy, threatening or tenable. The police are disinterested and then they are not. Ugly 80s attire is worn, everyone smokes, there is screaming and a cop is pushed into a mummy exhibit which would be effective if not for the bad acting. Then Patrick Macnee shows up in battle wheelchair leading a group of old codgers to fight the evil bastards. David Warner ends up in molten wax which looks like strawberry milkshake. Gore is obviously edited out, de Sade (who looks like a medallion man) menaces the virgin whilst pausing every so often to fix his hair and good wins sort of. The sequel is set up and then it ends. This wasn’t good in any way.
“Us is over.”
“Suffer? We live in America!”
“That sort of thing leads to anarchy.”
“Drink your milk, you’re late for college.”
“Waxworks are out of date, this is the video age.”
“I think dictators are the bad people, they have the shouting voices and the small moustaches.”
“The whole display is the ghost not just the figures.”
“The dead shall rise and consume all things!”
“There’s nowhere to run.”
“It’s such a small world.”
“Then why do you want to end it?”
“Someone has to.”
Scream 2 (1997)
Someone is taking their love of sequels one step too far.
The soundtrack isn’t as good as the first one and everyone mumbles. ‘Stab’ the film based on the Woodsboro murders is a big tacky spectacle. Would a film about real life serial killers really be so inanely received? 'Stab' stars an extremely serious Tori Spelling as Sidney and a hilarious Luke Wilson as Billy. Jada Pinkett of ‘Gotham’ gets the big large ham opening death.
Sidney (Neve Campbell) is at college fighting prank calls with a Caller ID device attached to her huge clunky phone. Cotton (Liev Schreiber of ‘Salt’) lurks like a bad smell. Randy is attending film class with fellow inept students Mickey (Timothy Olyphant), Cici (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and some other dude (Joshua Jackson). Why are Sidney and Randy at the same college? Sidney is dating Derek (Jerry O’Connell of ‘Sliders’). Gale (Courteney Cox) is still tacky trash and the obvious second surprise killer (Laurie Metcalf) lurks being obvious.
Dewey (David Arquette of the career killing ‘Ready to Rumble’) limps around panting after Gale, sorority twits (Rebecca Gayheart of ‘Earth 2’ and ‘Urban Legend’ and Portia De Rossi) lurk and David Warner has a one scene cameo as Sidney’s drama teacher. Neve Campbell shows off all her TV acting tics and then some. Sidney being a drama student was dropped for parts 3&4. Sidney punches Gale and her two tone skunk hair.
I don’t care about the Sidney/Derek drama and I really don’t care about the Dewey/Gale drama. Cici is murdered. There is 90s hair. Pages of the script ended up online back in the day and it had a very different ending - better than the ending they went with in the film. Dewey limps some more - it would wear off over time. Joel the idiot cameraman grates. There is bad ADR, bad acting and a nasty undercurrent of sexism. Still I can see elements that were later recycled into ‘The Following’.
There is only effective scare in this film, the daylight attack on one character which is a truly effective jump scare. This had videotapes, outdated computer software, Dewey gets stabbed again and the college kids ignore the psycho to get drunk. The car scene is tense in places but I didn’t like this film. Why did Sidney go to the theatre at the end? How did the killers find her? Why was one character there at all at night? The plot and ending make no sense and Sidney looks dumb and kind of a jerk. This was a lame sequel.
“Prank calls are a criminal offence.”
“Two serial killers who have been immortalized on film.”
“My motives isn’t as 90s.”
“Was that a negative, disparaging remark?”
“Isn’t Mickey supposed to be dead?”
“Isn’t anybody else down there is there?”
“Gale, you were so instrumental in my freedom. You’re not having character doubts now, are you?”
“Multiplex is just a very dangerous place to be these days.”
“No apparent psychotic tendencies.”
“The Ewoks. They blow.”
“So it’s definitely not a suicide.”
“Forged in the forum of art.”
“What’s your favourite scary movie?”
“Wrong guy dead boy.”
“Why copy two high school loser-ass dickheads?”
“What a rat-looking, homo-repressed mama’s boy.”
Eat Pray Love (2010)
A woman (Julia Roberts) runs away from her marriage to ‘find herself’. This was terrible.
“I’m willing to wait it out.”
“I’m not her.”
“Quitter! Quitter! Quitter!”
“You wanted the toaster.”
“Not my finest hour.”
“We broke it.”
“I bought a loom. A frigging loom.”
“You kinda want to be fully committed.”