With some of the crap marathons I get myself into, it’s pretty satisfying to have a weekend of watching horror movies that might consist of films I may never need to see again, but which entertained me in the moment. For instance, this trio.
IT’S IN THE BLOOD (2012)
Having just recently watched the film Seventh Moon, when this film opened with a guy in the woods at night being chased by pasty white humanoid-demon type creatures, I felt like I was in familiar territory. However, It’s in the Blood turned out to be a character driven film, not a straightforward horror movie.
The general storyline has a man coming home to reunite with his father a year after something bad went down between them. When an accident occurs in the woods, the two are hunted by some sort of hellish creature and must work together to survive. It’s good to see Lance Henriksen—who plays the father—in a well-polished film again after the agonizing amount of crap he appears in these days.
Now comes the tricky part. It’s in the Blood goes the “smart” route, unraveling the truth of what happened between father and son through frequent—is that a dream? A hallucination? Reality? A flashback? Yep, it’s one of those. If you love smart horror, then prepare for a kick ass horror headache. Some heavy shit went down between the pair, and while their current situation of fighting a creepy creature in the darkness makes for some good old-fashioned horror thrills, if you’re looking to make quick sense (or any sense) of what’s really transpiring, forget it.
But damn, those monster sequences are definitely cool enough to satisfy us simple folk.
CHEMICAL PEEL (2014)
There’s really not much to say about Chemical Peel. Well, actually, I could say that instead of remaking Cabin Fever, they could have just slapped a “Cabin Fever 4” subtitle on this one to continue the franchise.
A bunch of chicks comes to a house for a party. Some guys show up to remind us that all heterosexual dudes can’t stop themselves from demonstrating what loud-mouthed, obnoxious pricks they are when they get around girls.
Next morning, everyone wakes up to discover it’s foggy and stinks outside. They soon learn that it is no ordinary fog. This fog kind of likes to take all your skin along with it as it floats by. So…they spend the film trapped in the house, trying to keep the fog out, fighting with each other, not trusting each other, turning on each other, and leaving one another outside to die in order to save themselves.
I haven’t seen the Cabin Fever remake yet, but I’ll bet when I do, I’ll prefer this derivative film over that pointless recast reshoot.
YAKUZA APOCALYPSE (2015)
This Japanese film seemed familiar to me in part because it essentially felt like a film adaptation of the video game Yakuza: Dead Souls. Plus, it’s pretty much just another addition to the martial arts/horror hybrid genre—with a good dose of the kind of what-the-fuckery you expect from Japanese films.
When a powerful a mob boss is beheaded during a nasty fight with some enemies, he…well…he’s kind of still alive. See, the mob boss is a vampire. So he bites one of his hot young men before the beheading can take full effect, passing on his vampirism and responsibility as a mob boss.
The main guy, while trying to find his place as both a vampire and a leader, is also determined to get revenge on the men who killed his boss. His biggest challenge as a vamp is not to just feed on everyone in sight, because it could lead to an infestation of vampires. I’m so glad this guy doesn’t have any willpower.
Vampirism starts spreading, and I wish I could say this becomes a thrilling horror movie, but instead, it gets really weird. Loaded with slapstick humor and martial arts fights, Yakuza Apocalypse has only a few fun vampire scenes. Instead, we get weird shit like a guy with a duck mouth, a psychotic axe-wielding kid, and the biggest enemy of all…a guy in a frog costume.
Okay, I’ll admit the numerous fights with the frog man had me laughing, but the movie gets ridiculously fantastical to the point of having the frog man appearing in a Godzilla spoof. I appreciate the horror-action-comedy mashup, but there’s way too much going on here, and yet despite all the nonsense, not much actually happens! The movie begins to drag badly and lose its charm, particularly because it’s nearly two hours long. What it needed was more of our sexy leading man doing things like this….