Top 10 Modern Borefare Posts of All Time. ALL TIME!!!

This site has been around for four (count ’em) years? Damn. We’ve covered a ton of stuff in that time too (though not too recently; thanks adulthood) but the following are our Top Ten Posts of Alllllll Tiiiiiiiiimmmmeeeeeee

  1. MINIMALIST VIDEO GAMES POSTERS MIGHT BE THE BEST VIDEO GAME POSTERS 
  2. FRIDAY THE 13TH! FLIX: TERMINAL INVASION
  3. A SINISTER TREND: HORROR MOVIES & THEIR BUDGETS
  4. FRIDAY NIGHT FLIX: ENTITY
  5. WEIRDEST SIMPSONS COUCH GAG EVER: ALL ANIMALS CAN SCREAM
  6. BORDERLANDS 2 GEAR: IS IT A PROBLEM IF I BUY ALL OF THESE?
  7. THE RISE AND REIGN OF NAPOLEON BONAPARTE….IN FIFA
  8. GOTcha…GAME OF THRONES INFORGRAPHICS BY NIGEL EVAN DENNIS
  9. NEXT STOP, KING’S LANDING: GAME OF THRONES SUBWAY MAPS
  10. ‘AFTER DAYZ’ SHORT FILM IS THE BEST ZOMBIE MOVIE I’VE SEEN ALL YEAR

Sooooo….guess I should be concentrating on Game of Thrones and horror movies then?

Friday Night Flix: Nightbreed (The Director’s Cut)

Screen Shot 2014-12-04 at 9.26.33 PMWelcome to Friday Night Flix, where there’s never a need to leave the couch or put on pants. When the mood strikes, I’ll use this space to recommend an under-the-radar movie currently available on one or more of the major streaming platforms. They won’t all be classics, but every selection is guaranteed to be 100% watchable or your money back.

Nightbreed! (Netflix) FINALLY.

Can you believe I’ve never seen Nightbreed? I’m not the biggest Clive Barker fan but I never would have missed a movie of Nightbreed’s cult cachet were it not for the fact that it has been damn near impossible to find for the past 15 years.

It came out in 1990 and did less box office than it’s meager (though enormous by Barker’s standards at the time) budget of $11 million. Barker’s original edit was like two and a half hours long. The studio hacked it down to around 100 minutes before pushing it out to theaters with a tepid marketing campaign that made it look like a slasher movie, rather than the elaborate, crazy ass horror fantasy it was.

A guy who did a few of my tattoos was so obsessed with Nightbreed he had each of the main characters’ faces inked on his legs over the course of a very painful week. I won’t say I liked it that much, but there’s a lot of really cool shit going on here.

First off, Barker is a nutcase. His Books of Blood novels have spawned as many coherent films as they have batshit insane ones. This leans more toward the latter, which is a good thing in my book. The best part is it’s totally original. For this movie (well, the novella he wrote first) Barker created a detailed, totally fresh mythology rooted in snippets from the Old Testament. He populated it with zillions of unique creatures, gave them a bunch of ornate sets to play on, and then presumably made everyone eat their weight in acid while filming.

The plot goes from rock n roll love story to a serial killer movie to a mad monster party to full-on Armageddon in no time at all. That’s a lot to squeeze in so naturally there are hits and misses. Barker’s biggest mistake is directing this shit himself. He has no sense of spatial relations or exposition, so a lot of the time you’re left wondering who the fuck is doing what the fuck and why.

The monsters live in a place called Midian, a mythical world hidden beneath a forgotten graveyard in the middle of nowhere. Except it’s not hidden or mythical, or even a world at first. It’s just an ordinary mausoleum with a back room. For the first half of the movie, all we see of this “world” is two tiny cement rooms. Then, out of nowhere — Oops! — it’s a whole cave system with hundreds of residents. It’s a shame he decided to cast David Cronenberg in the movie instead of asking him direct the damn thing.

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The sloppiness of Nightbreed has always been laid on dumbass studio meddling. That’s probably true but even in this version — supposedly the definitive cut — a lot of things make little sense. The rules of Night Club (I funny!) tend to change radically from moment to moment. An invincible Nightbreed can casually decimate a police station full of armed cops, yet later he’ll get his head chopped off in a fight with one knife-wielding middle aged dude.

Characters do things that make no sense, like the drunken priest who’s released from jail to act as some kind of spiritual guide for a lynch mob. At some point he decides the monsters aren’t evil and tries to stop an attack on them. A few minutes later, he decides he needs to kill them all himself. Um, what?

Enjoy this movie for its loco, off the wall ideas and visuals. Try not to get to caught up in the details. If nothing else, you owe it to yourself to see this edit. According to Barker it’s truer to what he intended than any version so far, including the 7,000 minute “Cabal Cut” that made the festival rounds a few years back. Shout Factory used that version’s buzz to build an audience for this one. By all accounts fans are finally getting what they wanted. We live in heady times.

Added Bonus: Why is one of the monsters just a shirtless white dude with a nipple clamp and a Boston terrier? Who knows!

Friday Night Flix: Beneath

Screen Shot 2014-11-07 at 7.59.21 AMWelcome to Friday Night Flix, where there’s never a need to leave the couch or put on pants. When the mood strikes, I’ll use this space recommend an under-the-radar movie currently available on one or more of the major streaming platforms. They won’t all be classics, but every selection is guaranteed to be 100% watchable or your money back.

What is it with bargain bin horror and generic titles? How on earth can your movie gain any traction when no one can remember its name? Today’s selection is Beneath (Netflix), which is a perfectly relevant title since it takes place primarily in a coal mine. That would put our characters beneath tons of rock. So, sure, appropriate. But ten minutes after I saw it I forgot what the exact title was. I’ve seen a dozen movies with similar titles and I’m sure in a week I won’t be able to tell you which one of them was Beneath. Beneath, Below, Behind, Betwixt, Be-BORING.

Screen Shot 2014-11-07 at 7.56.40 AMI’m a stickler for titles, and this one could have had a million better ones. But that’s admittedly a minor (Ha! Miner!) issue. Beneath has bigger problems. Like the central conceit. A coal miner’s daughter (not kidding) comes back to her home town to celebrate her pop’s retirement. The party occurs the night BEFORE his last day at work, which makes exactly zero sense. A few drinks, some bold talk from manly miner types, and suddenly our heroine decides she’ll show these tough guys what’s what by volunteering to spend a day working in the mine. No one has a problem with this. For real? Like it wouldn’t be a huge insurance risk to take an untrained dilettante down into a mine shaft on a bet?

Screen Shot 2014-11-07 at 7.57.34 AMGetting past the silliness of that setup, you have to admire what the writers do here. They clearly did their homework on mining lingo and culture. It gives the movie a ring of authenticity that many low budget horror movies lack. Even if it all kind of spirals into a thoughtless, throwaway ending it’s a pretty tense ride. It even has a brief but terrifying claustrophobia sequence that reminded me of The Descent. 

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Added bonus: This movie is not Canadian! Usually when you see an unheralded English language horror movie with exactly one known actor (in this case, Jeff Fahey) surrounded by a troupe of nobodies, it’s because it was made in Canada. There are huge financial incentives for shooting in Canada as long as you use a certain number of Canadian actors. Production companies just pay one American “star” to come out and work for a week or two so their movie can pass as a Hollywood feature. I assumed that’s what this was but apparently it’s not. That’s right, your added bonus is me admitting I was wrong. Don’t get used to it.

Friday Night Flix: Las Brujas de Zugarramurdi

wb1Welcome to Friday Night Flix, where there’s never a need to leave the couch or put on pants. Each week I’ll recommend an under-the-radar movie currently available on one or more of the major streaming platforms. They won’t all be classics, but every selection is guaranteed to be 100% watchable or your money back.

Notice how I didn’t put the English translation of this week’s movie up there in the title? I usually include the translation because I am not (generally) a pretentious purist snob. I didn’t this time because that perfectly reasonable if straightforward title Las Brujas de Zugarramurdi translates to The Witches of Zugarramurdi. But what did they call it when they ported it over to the U.S.? Witching and Bitching (Netflix). I smell a rant coming on.

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It’s perhaps fitting that whoever bought the U.S. rights to this thing chose that title. The movie is built on disturbingly pervasive misogyny, which of course the word bitch is as well. You may not think of it this way, but bitch is about one micron less offensive than the dreaded N word. (Perhaps that one micron accounts for why I can bring myself to type one and not the other.)

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But the truth remains: bitch is to woman (a traditionally oppressed, marginalized and victimized subset of humanity) as the N word is to black people. By using it we are denigrating whatever we’re talking about – a nasty person, too much complaining, a victim of prison rape – by comparing it to women. To our mothers, wives, daughters and sisters. How horrible is that? That we do not think of it as terribly offensive on the larger spectrum of curse words just shows how far we have to go before gender equality is anywhere close to real. So stop saying bitch, okay?

And the movie? It’s okay. It’s got some funny parts (see, e.g., gold painted Jesus leaning out of a car window blasting a shotgun at the cops) and some cool atmosphere. It’s well shot and acted, even if it skews a tad goofier than I’d like. It’s biggest sin (other than the fact that ALL the male characters’ wives and mothers are painted as hideous shrews) is that it fails to explore the relatable side of its cannibalistic witch cult.

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See when our bandits flee to this witch village (for the real life Zugarramundi is the Spainish equivalent of our own Salem) the witches don’t attack them outright. There’s some vague prophecy aspect (the kid is the Chosen One or some such) but the ladies are overall pretty nice until these chump thieves piss them off. They get some comeuppance I guess so maybe that’s part of the message? Who knows.

Added bonus: Next Friday is Halloween! Holy poop!

Friday Night Flix: The Believers

Welcome to Friday Night Flix, where there’s never a need to leave the couch or put on pants. Each week I’ll recommend an under-the-radar movie currently available on one or more of the major streaming platforms. They won’t all be classics, but every selection is guaranteed to be 100% watchable or your money back.

The Believers (Netflix) is not a move about Justin Bieber. It is an 80s horror/procedural thing starring Martin Sheen(!) as an I guess hearthrobby psychologist working with the NYPD. It’s a total product of its time what with the novelty of “Santaria” and “voodoo” and whatnot. It’s immensely fun.

If you haven’t seen it, definitely check this one out. Sheen is terrific even though the material is sorely dated. From the opening scene you know you’re not in a modern movie, the editing alone makes it feel totally goofy even though the events being depicted are totally tragic and horrifying.

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If you’re wondering if Sheen just so happens to have a Santaria practitioner as a maid, the answer is yes. This movie follows the religious horror playbook page by page and it is awesome.

Added bonus: Casual child abuse! At one point Sheen’s kid throws a fit and runs into traffic. How does President Bartlett explain the severity of the kid’s bonehead maneuver? He tans his hide in the middle of the street. It was a simpler time.

Friday Night Flix: Big Ass Spider

bas1Welcome to Friday Night Flix, where there’s never a need to leave the couch or put on pants. Each week I’ll recommend an under-the-radar movie currently available on one or more of the major streaming platforms. They won’t all be classics, but every selection is guaranteed to be 100% watchable or your money back.

Today was supposed to be all about Ti West’s latest movie, The Sacrement. I was already a huge fan of the director’s work from The House of the Devil and The Innkeepers, both of which I thought were subtle and smart. I expected more of the same from The Sacrament. For at least the first hour, I was convinced I was getting it. I even texted a friend to be all, “Ti West finally broke out of his comfort zone and did a different kind of movie, and it’s good!” But then I realized the whole movie boils down to one of the sloppiest, most haphazard mashups of found footage and mockumentary I’ve ever seen. The story has literally nothing to say that every movie about religious cults hasn’t already said in every way possible. So fuck that movie.

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Instead, why not have some fun with Big Ass Spider? (Netflix) Is it a perfect movie? Of course not. There are seams. You can tell it’s stretching its modest budget pretty thin, what with the 60′ spider crushing downtown Los Angeles and all. I listened to an interview with the director of this movie, Mike Mendez. He explained that they were able to get such high quality CG (perhaps not quite studio quality but way better than Syfy Channel shit) on the cheap by farming it out to a company in India. And now you know that.

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Greg Grunberg (the chubby cop from Heroes) is really charming and he could totally still have a movie career if he lands the right opportunity. I love that he’s the lead in Big Ass Spider instead of some chiseled Casper Van Dien knockoff. Sure, we all love protagonists who can barely speak in full sentences but have rock hard abs. Alls I’m saying is it’s refreshing to see an ordinary schlub like the rest of us kill the spider and get the girl.

bas5Added bonus: Ray Wise is in this movie, and he is of course super classy in everything he does. (I do not watch The Young and the Restless, which he apparently still appears on despite being a sought after Hollywood actor. I assume his work is totally tasteful.) But for my money the best performance in the movie is Lombardo Boyar as Grunberg’s sidekick Jose. Yeah, he plays a little (a lot) to Mexican stereotypes but he’s really funny and keeps things light, just as a movie called Big Ass Spider should be.

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Friday Night Flix: Tucker & Dale vs. Evil

tuckeranddale4Welcome to Friday Night Flix, where there’s never a need to leave the couch or put on pants. Each week I’ll recommend an under-the-radar movie currently available on one or more of the major streaming platforms. They won’t all be classics, but every selection is guaranteed to be 100% watchable or your money back.

Welcome to October! Oh hot damn I love this month. I won’t be doing my 31-movie marathon this year because I am very busy, very important person you see. I will however use this space exclusively for horror for the next four weeks. Lucky you!

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To kick things off, we have Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (Netflix, Amazon). I actually reviewed this movie in 2011. I liked but didn’t love it then. It felt worth revisiting here because it’s grown in my memory into something more endearing.

Tucker and Dale are basically the reverse redneck horror cliche. They seem like they’re crazed killers, but they’re not. People just assume the worst and then when the worst starts happening, T&D get the blame. It’s a cute idea.

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As far as streamable horror comedy goes, you’re not likely to do much better than T&DvE. Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine are both so damn loveable, even if they’re not used entirely up to their potential.

Also, there’s this:

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Here’s what I had to say in 2011:

Despite its many flaws, the movie has a fair amount of genuinely decent laughs as Tudyk and Labine ad lib their way through what could have been extremely tedious relationship building. And for my money, Labine’s understated performance as a well-intentioned, insecure country oaf is by itself worth the price of admission.

Friday Night Flix: Blood Glacier

bg2Welcome to Friday Night Flix, where there’s never a need to leave the couch or put on pants. Each week I’ll recommend an under-the-radar movie currently available on one or more of the major streaming platforms. They won’t all be classics, but every selection is guaranteed to be 100% watchable or your money back.

Blood Glacier (Netflix) is your basic global warming hand wringer horror. We’re spewing all those greenhouse gases and glaciers are melting, blah blah blah. But, like, what if those giant prehistoric ice sheets have a secret hidden inside them? And what if melting exposes a dangerous threat to our survival, MAN?

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This is the basic conceit of the movie: Glaciers melt, releasing horrible nightmare organism. Scientist scramble for solutions, get fucking ruined, the end. It’s a shamelessly topical take on The Thing, what with its thawed out parasite, remote frostbitten research station and well-bearded cast. The twist is the organism here doesn’t imitate lifeforms in order to conceal itself; it knocks them up Alien style.

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It’s strange to me that the creatures birthed as a result of this process are universally hostile toward all humans. It’s hard to imagine what kind of evolutionary advantage they gain by killing everything in sight. Wouldn’t they be better off focusing on reproduction rather than slaughter? These are the questions that keep me up at night.

At a certain point I realized (long before the characters) that this organism would be a complete world killer. Just drinking melt water with a few single celled critters in it is enough to start the process. The hybrid monsters pass on the infection with every bite or sting or what-have-you, as long as they don’t stupidly devour or otherwise kill the new host. This would most definitely be the end of all life on earth, yet our heroes spend the first hour debating whether they should call for help. Wilford Brimley is not impressed.

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So why am I recommending it? As obvious as the premise is, you can’t deny it’s a solid idea. Despite all the slapped together visual effects and often disappointing practical puppets, it manages to show you just enough to be gross and occasionally startling. I also liked some of the cast, especially the Judi Dench-type politician who you think is early monster fodder but actually ends up being quite a badass.

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Added Bonus: When a movie prominently features a battery powered drill with a two-foot auger attached to it, what are the odds someone will eventually use said drill to take a core sample of monster brain? ALL SIGNS POINT TO YES.

Friday Night Flix: Invaders from Mars

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Welcome to Friday Night Flix, where there’s never a need to leave the couch or put on pants. Each week I’ll recommend an under-the-radar movie currently available on one or more of the major streaming platforms. They won’t all be classics, but every selection is guaranteed to be 100% watchable or your money back.

Invaders from Mars (Netflix)! What!? How did I not know of this movie’s existence?

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This thing came out in 1986 when I was seven and deeply in love with fantastical childhood adventure movies. I was disturbingly invested in The Goonies, The Monster Squad, Flight of the Navigator, The Neverending Story, all that crap. Invaders from Mars, with its a nerdy little kid who gets caught up in the middle of an alien takeover, teams up with the pretty school nurse to stop it, gets to boss around the military, and ultimately saves the day…this would have been my jam.

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Directed by Tobe Hooper, Invaders is a remake of a 1953 sci-fi movie of the same name based on a short story that, like 1956’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers, was itself a shameless ripoff of Robert A. Heinlein’s The Puppet Masters. You ever read that book? It’s awesome but it’s also batshit crazy. Flying cars, legal drugs, mandated public nudity, limited duration marriages…it’s out there. Made for a pretty kick ass movie though.

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Despite it’s dubious pedigree, despite a truly dreadful child star, and despite  Karen Black’s bizarre cross-eyed histrionics, there’s a lot of fun to be had here. Practical Stan Winston effects and clever puppets coupled with extensive optical effects and a variety of large-scale sets give it the feel of a big studio picture, even though it probably wasn’t. The plot has some loose threads but mostly hangs together as it barrels toward an obvious but satisfying conclusion. OR DOES IT?

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Added bonus: You probably won’t adore this movie if you never saw it as a child. It hasn’t aged well. But if you convince yourself you’re watching a modern day spoof of 80s sci-fi adventures flicks, you will no doubt find it a work of pure, soul-skewering genius.

Friday Night Flix: The Poughkeepsie Tapes

pt3Welcome to Friday Night Flix, where there’s never a need to leave the couch or put on pants. Each week I’ll recommend an under-the-radar movie currently available on one or more of the major streaming platforms. They won’t all be classics, but every selection is guaranteed to be 100% watchable or your money back.

I realize I’m hard on found footage movies. It’s not because I dislike the convention as a rule. I just hate how some movies use it without feeling the need to explain how a prop in the movie (the footage) also exists in the real world such that we’re able to view its contents. It’s a pet peeve, I know. It’s also a big part of why I adored The Poughkeepsie Tapes (YouTube).

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Here is a movie that meets all my demands for found footage. Not only do we understand how and why the footage came to exist, we actually see it being discovered in the context of a mockumentary. Filmed in 2007, TPT even takes it a step further, reaching into the future to poke fun at all the found footage movies that would come after it with their wildly improbably camera angles and immaculate framing.

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In one scene we see the killer hitchhike his way into the back seat of a car occupied by two doomed good Samaritans. He of course kills both of them, recording the whole thing with a handheld camcorder. The thing is, the second one is recorded from in front of the victim, even though the killer is slitting her throat or whatever from behind. Cynical me immediately called bullshit on that. But – Ah ha! –  writer-director team the Dowdle Brothers (who would go on to write, direct and/or produce Quarantine, Devil and this year’s As Above, So Below) were way ahead of me.

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After the hitchhiking scene, the movie cuts to an interview with the forensics guy who had to review all 2400 hours of the murderer’s home movies. He explains how difficult it would be to kill someone from behind with your right hand while filming from in front of them with your left. How says the killer would have had to practice this maneuver over and over to get it right. That’s exactly what found footage camera operators have to do to film some scenes, but they gloss over it, hoping no one will notice the contortions they would have had to go through to get a particular shot. It’s a brilliant and elegant critique of the format, turning a found footage weakness into an asset.

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Added bonus: Did I mention this thing is on YouTube?! How cool is that? Granted, your only viewing options are low-res widescreen or a 720p version that’s tragically squished into 4:3, but still. You can’t findThe Poughkeepsie Tapes anywhere else because when it was made MGM decided to pull its theatrical release at the last minute. It never had a DVD release and only briefly appeared on VOD earlier this year. YouTube should really devote a channel to movies you can only find on YouTube. That might be good for business.