So I’m plowing through a stack of horror DVDs my brother gave me, and while the fact that he’s getting rid of them should be cause for concern, I’ve actually liked a few, especially since they were free. But were Pickman’s Muse, May, and The Maid worth the cost?
PICKMAN’S MUSE (2010)
Pickman’s Muse is a dark short story more than a “horror movie.” No fun thrill ride or jump scares here. It runs an hour and fifteen minutes and even that’s too long. The tale, which is a pretty good one, could easily have been tightened up and told in about forty-five minutes.
An artist named Pickman is visited by a creepy shadow muse and starts painting in the exact style of a locked up psycho killer. The paintings are so appalling and sick that people are terrified of them. However, there is never a great reveal; we never get to see these paintings!
Pickman is hooked up with the same “muse” that was inspiring the locked up loony. So now he starts to go crazy as well. Eventually, he kidnaps someone to do to her what is being done to victims in the paintings we never see. But he’s stopped before he even gets to do that.
See? I told you it’s not really a “horror movie.” Although, at the end, there’s a quick glimpse of whatever the “muse” is—because it comes to get him for not delivering the art it wanted. It’s a pretty strong story that definitely would have worked better as a creepy episode of Tales from the Crypt.
Ah. May. I saw this one years ago when it first came out. It’s basically the 80s slasher Pieces from the perspective of the psycho putting the body together. Angela Bettis makes this movie so compelling because it’s pretty much the first time she played the kind of freak she’s played ever since.
In short flashbacks, we see that May had no friends as a child because she had a lazy eye. She had what was either a sexy father or stepfather (who seems like he’s either a pretty normal guy or a total pedophile), and a kind of weird mother who gave her a homemade doll, telling her, “If you can’t find a friend, make one.”
Now May is an adult, But still awkward and weird. She meets Jeremy Sisto and they start dating. He quickly discovers she’s a total freak and distances himself from her. So she starts scissoring briefly with her lesbian friend, played by Anna Faris. When Anna gets a hot girlfriend, she offers to either let May join in or get rid of the beauty if May is jealous. Instead, May meets that faux Keanu Reeves indie actor dude and brings him home. He quickly finds out she’s more freak than friend.
And so May starts hacking people up to create a human doll friend. It’s like The Brady Bunch! Mom always said, “If you can’t find a friend, make one.”
There’s subtle dark humor in the final scenes of the film as May goes out on Halloween to gather her doll parts. But that’s the most macabre fun in the entire movie. Otherwise, it’s just a film about a freak that I guess we’re supposed to feel bad for, which is pretty hard to do considering the people who come into her life are pretty damn nice to her.
Dear May. So you had a lazy eye as a kid and your mother gave you a spooky doll. Big fucking deal. I was fat and liked disco! Stop making yourself a lonely victim no one wants to be around by continuing to be a freak. Take meds or die and leave the only people who are nice to you alone, you mental bitch.
At least when Angela Bettis reprised her role and renamed herself Carrie, you felt bad for her and were satisfied that she got revenge on all the awful people who treated her so bad and deserved to be flung across a gym. May is just another self-centered nutcase looking for pity. Fuck you, May.
THE MAID (2005)
The Maid is the best in this bunch, especially if you’re itching for that Asian horror vibe from the early 2000s. Thing is, it’s basically a The Sixth Sense –The Grudge mashup.
This young chick comes to Singapore to be the maid for a man, his wife, and their mentally stunted son. It’s not long before she’s being haunted by freaky images of ghosts all around the house—beginning with a grudge girl crawling all up in her face. She sees dead people!
Yeah. It’s scary at first, but it gets so repetitive you can predict when it’s going to happen and start to think, “Bitch, that’s just the way things are around this house. Keep folding that laundry and ignore the hand that pops out from the towels and grabs you, because it will be gone in the blink of an eye.” And, here she is again.
There are also way too many unnecessary loud noise scares and dream scares. The movie totally suffers from overkill. Even so, the shocking truth behind the haunting is your usual twisted Asian horror tale of murder and revenge and is satisfying enough to make you feel like it was worth sitting through this The Sixth Sense/The Grudge hybrid.
Tell me you didn’t see that last one coming.