Tuesday, October 30, 2018

HEREDITARY - Like a really good Rosemary's Baby

In the spirit of the season, I got special permission to write about a movie not featured on the Out There Movies channel, so I’ll be talking about what I consider to be the scariest movie of 2018: HEREDITARY.

Ryan’s Recommendations:

  1. Watch this in the dark, at night.
  2. Slam some caffeine before. Get tense and get focused.
  3. Don’t chat or chuckle to cover up the silences.  Let that uncertainty invade you.
  4. If you have a need for subtitles, please use them. If you can avoid them though, they add a lot of white light to scenes that otherwise might be fundamentally dark. Seriously, run an experiment in your bedroom when it’s dark, look at all the extra light on your ceiling when subs are on.

Let this be a genuine encounter with cosmic evil. There’s just a little glass between you and hell, like a trip to the zoo in your nightmares.

Hereditary is a modern horror movie with clear nods to classic horror throughout. Like many horror movies we all love, selective focus is an important tool. Watch the backgrounds.  If you like the soundtracks John Carpenter and Goblin made for some of my favorite horror movies, you’ll be familiar and comfortable with the threatening sequencer that accompanies some scenes in Hereditary.

Recommendation number three is listed here because I love the original TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. When we first encounter the bone room, we can’t see what she has found, but there’s a shot of Sally’s anguished face as she looks around the room and realizes what she has stumbled into.  It’s an effective tension builder in general, and in the context of a chase scene is a really clever choice. We see the same technique used multiple times in Hereditary, particularly with Peter, and it’s still an excellent tool.

I don’t want to address the plot specifically, so no spoilers, but part of what unsettled me so much about this movie was the suggestion of contaminated blood. If you can honestly claim to have zero family members whose behavior has made you worry that you might carry the capacity for malevolence, and that you might enjoy it, that’s wonderful and I’m happy for you. For everyone else, there’s the suggestion in Hereditary that despite your desires, for all the effort you have made, your future might not be in your control. This movie doesn’t say that a monster is coming to eat you, but that as you live and persist, moving toward what the story of your whole life will be, no matter how foul the destination, your arrival there might be inevitable.

Hereditary is also scary to me because it isn’t some far off location where these events could happen. It was shot where I live, in Salt Lake City.  I play in a death metal band called WINTER LIGHT, and the cover of our first demo is a photo I took of the tallest peak east of my apartment. That very peak is a part of the range you see behind this funeral scene from Hereditary.  Just a little south of where that body was lowered is the peak shown on the cover of Momentum. It is my city, and just as easily it could have been yours.

This was a strong year for scary movies in general, so if you’re keeping up on what people are buzzing about, this name has surely come up for you before.  If not though, and you’re in the mood to see how the other half (of yourself) lives, check out HEREDITARY.

Check out Winter Light's music here, and pair it with a scary movie on a dark night:

Friday, October 5, 2018

THE BEACH GIRLS – Like I Was There But Didn’t Get the Free Bag of Pot

Purely a party movie that revolves around a Malibu beach house, a rich uncle, and partying college co-eds celebrating the end of the school year, THE BEACH GIRLS is a classic good time movie with plenty of laughs. No deep thinking necessary, no overly serious moments, and no moral lessons at the end other than HAVE FUN! Just sit back and enjoy the good times!

Our main character of our film is Sarah, a nerdy goody-two-shoes who’s rich uncle is letting her spend the summer at his beautiful beach house. She is intent on not doing anything bad or out of line this summer so OF COURSE she chooses to bring her two slutty, party-gal friends Ginger and Ducky, who pick up a cute hitchhiker along the way. These two start making calls immediately, getting every kid in the phonebook to come join in the party. The house becomes the biggest, greatest party around and the first night is a HUGE hit.

The neighbors, however, catch wind of what is going on and tell the rich uncle’s stuck-up fiance. She wants the party shut down at once, and sends Uncle Carl out to kick everyone out. Sarah is fine with following the rules, but Ginger and Ducky won’t give up their perfect party pad so easily hatch a plan to get Uncle Carl to loosen up, and they sure can be convincing! Meanwhile there are some drug smugglers out in the ocean being chased by the Navy, and the smugglers end up scuttling their cargo, causing garbage bags full of fresh, green pot to wash ashore and spice up the party even more.

Familiar faces in this movie are all over. Fans of ANIMAL HOUSE will be some of the first to be satisfied with the hitchhiker and main character Scott, played by James Daughton but also known as Greg Marmalard. The neighbors who tell on the girls’ party, but eventually join in the fun along with EVERYONE ELSE, are both of note. The husband is played by Beans Morocco (AKA Dan Barrows) who you can also see as “Bobby R,” the mama’s boy looking for a good spanking in EATING RAOUL. His wife is played by Mary Jo Catlett who co-stars in the John Waters film SERIAL MOM alongside Kathleen Turner. Countless other familiar faces abound, if you look closely at the party goers you will see plenty of them. I’ve yet to catch Catherine Mary Stewart, who I’ve always loved in NIGHT OF THE COMET, but she is there as “surfer girl” somewhere! Tell me if you see her…

Something to note about this movie is that the story is really only about 20 minutes long, MAYBE 40 if you really pay attention to all of the characters. With a plot like that you have a LOT of time to spend showing party scenes and elaborating on details that have nothing to do with anything other than having an amazing party or maximizing the amount of nudity and slapstick jokes. If the story was taken more seriously we wouldn’t have the Mexican gardener character, who is constantly longing to join the party but is afraid to join in, and has a series of mishaps on the sidelines. And it wouldn’t be an 80’s movie without a Japanese character doing karate, which also freaks out the Navy guys when they storm the beach looking for the missing pot. THE BEACH GIRLS is basically a neat party idea where everything works out in the end, doubled in length by hi-jinks, nudity, dancing and corny jokes. It makes for a truly enjoyable time, one where you want to jump in the pool right with the characters. And since you are watching the movie at home and probably not 18 you can get naked if you want and nobody needs to know.

The cool thing about this movie is I turned it on thinking it was going to be awful. I was surprised that not only was it a blast to watch, but it kept my attention the entire time. The jokes were funny, unique background characters bring the party to life, and the development of the story was done well so that I was actually interested in seeing what would happen. For a movie like this where there really isn’t much to think about, I found myself really engaged with the characters and rooting for the party to go on. I was never bored, it was fun and engaging and made me feel good, like I had a little party of my own. And like I wanted to go score some 80’s pot.

This film is a blast! Watch it with a bowl of popcorn on a day when you’ve had enough of adult life and just want to have a good time. It will rub off on you ;)

Check out this and other Summer Beach Party movies on our YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/OutThereMovies