Stuff I’ve Been Watching (Human Centipedes and Boring Zombies Edition)


i rarely get horror movie related questions at work, despite being known as “the horror guy.” the exception to that rule happened earlier this year when i was asked on no less than four occasions if i’d seen THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE. usually the questions basically boiled down to “omg! i heard about this sick, depraved movie i can’t even imagine a normal person wanting to see called THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE. have you seen it yet?” like everyone else, my interest was piqued by the film’s central concept because it is undeniably disgusting and bizarre, but also so instantly understandable that it’s oh-so-easy to describe to shocked friends and co-workers. the film itself is not nearly as shocking as it’s premise as most of the graphic details are left to the imagination. however, the core of the story still revolves around sewing people’s mouths to other people’s anuses — so it’d be difficult for the film to not be shocking, no matter how much restraint the director used. while not a great film, THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE is entertaining, well-acted and about as enjoyable as a film about pooping in other people’s mouths could be.


part re-telling of an ancient myth, part twisty time travel cluster-f, deciphering an exact linear explanation for everything in TRIANGLE would be a daunting task. in many ways though, piecing that together would be a waste of time… the film is more about appreciating the puzzle rather than solving it. at its core, TRIANGLE is about human subjectivity and the futility of trying to fight our own nature. while you may not be able to understand and even abhor the actions of a future you when seen from the outside, once you’re put in the same situation, you’ll inevitably make the same choice. we’re all stuck in a predictable pattern of behavior determined not by gods on high, fate or a clever screenwriter… but by our own graces and flaws, acting themselves out over and over again. smart, creepy and filled with plenty of “wtf?” moments, TRIANGLE is well worth searching out.


while THE BOX certainly features a box as a central plot point, a more accurate name for the film would be WACKINESS: THE MOTION PICTURE. i have little idea what happened in this film, but even less understanding of what it meant or why i should care. this film goes in so many bizarre directions and is so ultimately unsatisfying, that i’m utterly perplexed at how it ever got made. still, it’s a refreshing change from the scookie-cutter sci-fi trash we’re usually being spoon-fed, so i will at least give it props for trying something new.


i’m a bigger jason fan-boy than freddy, but this documentary is easily superior on almost every level to the similarly structured HIS NAME WAS JASON doc released last year. slick, polished and comprehensive, this impressive documentary succeeded in both increasing my enjoyment of the ELM STREET series and reminding me of why i loved it in the first place.


there are few films that are, to me, truly unwatchable — but this is one of them. after less than twenty minutes, my opinion of the film is probably a rather unfair critique because it is based on only 20% of the film, but holy hell did that 20% suck. unfunny to the point of being aggressively so, i felt had no choice but to order the TRANSYLMANIA disc to exit my player and march itself back into its netflix envelope. i was prepared to use force if necessary, but TRANSYLMANIA seemed to understand my reasoning and went quietly.


I admire romero for avoiding large studio productions and sticking to his independent roots. say what you want about his zombie films, but each is undeniably his own. DAY OF THE DEAD remains my favorite of the films, but it’s been a fairly steady decline since then, hitting a low point for the entire series with SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD. i’m not sure why romero thought the focus of the series should turn to two old guys arguing over whether zombies could be taught to eat farm animals, but that’s about all i got out of this film. i’ve seen positive reviews, some even calling it a return to form for the series, so maybe i’m in the minority here — but i found SURVIVAL completely unsatisfying. it’s not necessarily a bad film… but like DIARY before it, it just seems to lack any sense of joy or energy and seems content to just quietly sit and spin in a mess of shallow metaphors and uninspired social commentary.

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