Movie Review: Burke and Hare (2010)

This is a horror-comedy directed by John Landis (no one does this genre better) and starring Simon Pegg (who has found his forte in horror comedy, as well). It’s set in Victorian London, a setting that has found recent popularity again in the genre with NBC’s “Dracula”, Showtime’s “Penny Dreadful” …but this is more reminiscent of Sweeney Todd than any classic monster mash.

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Burke (Simon Pegg, Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, The World’s End, Fantastic Fear of Everything) and Hare (Andy Serkis, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) are two Irish immigrants living in London who can not find suitable work. They stumble on a profitable venture after trying to dispose of the corpse of another resident at their rooming house and they find that selling cadavers to a medical school could be quite profitable. Only, a good corpse is hard to find, and they become increasingly more desperate and ridiculous in their venture. Burke, for his part, isn’t that gung-ho about their scheme until he meets Ginny Hawkins (Isla Fisher) -a former sex worker looking for financial backing for an all women production of Macbeth.

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Burke becomes taken with her and their increasingly bizarre killing spree ramps up.

The find themselves in danger when the corpses become recognizable and the medical professor is confronted.

Some of this is based on a 16 victim killing spree in West Port in the 19th century, that much is true. The real story is much more macabre, Burke and Hare were found out and turned in by Burke’s lover, the duo found lure people in, get them drunk and suffocate them.

Slapstick murder, increasingly wild schemes and cover ups, naive lovers and neighbors, and a soundtrack and costuming that doesn’t try too hard at realism and atmosphere. It’s nearly perfect and I’m not sure why this film isn’t more popular.

That being said: all the women are side characters or motivation for the men. Not that they are quite 2-D… but they are not much more and there are virtually no PoC characters even in the background.

4/5

31 Horrifying Days- Day 20: A Fantastic Fear of Everything (2012)

This is one of my favorites that I’ve watched since starting this project. I’m behind, I know, but I’m catching up.

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The film centers around Jack; a crime novelist whose research on serial killers has turned him into a paranoid, delusional, insomniac wreck must confront his worst fears when a film executive takes a sudden interest in his movie script. He assumes that the exec is planning to kill him of course. He’s suspicious of the only person who’s still speaking to him: Clair (Clare Higgins, “The Night of the Doctor”). Clair is his friend with money who buys him lunch and fluffs his hair and affectionately tells him that he’s sensitive. Clair also wishes that he would go back to writing children’s books. But Jack is past that. His new effort is consuming him. And he doesn’t understand why she doesn’t understand.

#1 I frigging love Simon Pegg and he really brings horror comedy to the next level.

#2 I love when academics/artists/workaholics get pushed to the brink.

 I have undying affection for anyone who does anything so wholeheartedly that it eats them alive. So Jack starts carrying a butcher knife everywhere, losing time, seeing things out of the corner of his eye, falling in to narcoleptic naps, seeing a “psychopathic stare” in people’s eyes, narrating his own life, envisioning Vietnamese crimelords and concocting relationships between people that make o sense.

“I’m not here to hurt anybody. I’m a professional writer.”

His terrifying moments jump from seeing ghosts with eyes in their mouth to the humiliation of tossing his dingy underwear across the laundrette in front of a beautiful woman, Sangeet (played by an actress who is of Sri Lankan descent. Diversity is cool). 

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For any aspiring professional, not having clean dress clothes for an important last minute meeting is as terrifying as any serial killer. 

Visually magnificent, great soundtrack. Written and co-directed by Crispian Mills, it’s his first feature and it’s truly outstanding. Chris Hopewell co-directed. For two unknowns especially: it’s outstanding. Part of it is reminiscent of James and the Giant Peach

Towards the end of the flick Jack and Sangeet end up in real danger, held captive by a madman. Can Jack pull it together and help get them out of it? Or will he crack? Or will Sangeet save them? Or will art save them?

But is it scary? Parts are actually creepy because you don’t know what to expect. But really? It’s just a ton of fun and amusement.

5/5

 

Movie Reviews #8-#11 (City of Bones, You’re Next, The World’s End)

Spoiler minimal reviews of the week’s hottest Sci-fi, Urban Fantasy and Horror titles + one direct to DVD waste of time.

The World’s End– Was more serious and heartfelt than I thought it would be. Gary King (Simon Pegg) borders on unrelatable (while reminding me of Charlize’s character in Young Adult) as a forty something 12 stepper looking to reclaim his lost dream… of hitting 12 pubs  in one night on a crawl in his hometown of Newton Haven that they call “The Golden Mile” he hooks up with his estranged friends… and while they may not have picture perfect lives, most are beyond clinging to their frat boy dream. Through a series of deceptions, Gary convinces his friends to join him and reclaim the glory they/he has lost…. and then some don’t-call-them-robots filled with blue blood show up and start replacing the whole town of Newton Haven. There was so much awkward, “You aren’t as cool as me! I’m the King! Gary King!”

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The special effects were really cool… better than Hot Fuzz, but doesn’t hold a candle to Shaun of the Dead. 3.5 Pints!

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

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I didn’t read the books and was only slightly aware of what to expect. (I wanted to read the books before I saw the movie… didn’t pan out, whatevs). It’s about a girl, Clary, who starts coming into a power that her mother has desperately been hiding from her. On her birthday, after sneaking into a club and seeing a demon murdered… a chain of events unfolds which ends with her mom missing, her “best friend” being attacked by vampires and an interesting bunch of Shadow Hunters, powerful dudes, werewolves and demons making a grab for the mortal cup which Clary holds the key to. This movie was visually awesome. The demons were exceptionally cool, and I’m a little bit of an amateur architecture nerd… it was really awesome. It was also a little like Star Wars… lol. Clary was awesome and after realistic amounts of being stunned and overwhelmed grasps her new found powers and charges bravely forward. Oh and also, everyone who is all “boohoo, poor Simon” I’m telling you right now: Clary was clear that she didn’t have feelings for him and he was all “but I love youuuuu and I’m sooo sad” Yeah? Too bad. She doesn’t have to love you just because you are nice to her. Friendzoning is BS.

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Jonathan Rhys Meyers had incredibly bad hair in this movie. But he is really just a fantastic looking human being. Can’t wait to see how he does Dracula, BTW.

Irregardless… 4.5 Mortal Cups

You’re Next– A wealthy family is reuniting for their parents 35th wedding anniversary, with their own significant others in tow where a group of killers terrorizing the out of the way vacation home neighborhood set their sights on the dinner party. The women really have the lockdown on being awesome in this movie… well, one specifically.

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She was raised on a survivalist compound. Yeah. no one saw that coming. Especially not the mysterious psychos.

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(But the mom gets bonus points… male family members were treating her as irrational while they would have done better to listen to her paranoid meltdown). The gore, the survival tips, the plot, the creepy cute masks, the coldblooded killers, the surprises… eeep… No one is NOT over-killed. So many moments to gasp, and clever writing that sets it apart from others in the genre. 5 Severed Arteries!

Bonus Content:

The Cloth– which I was supposed to review last week. The big names promoting this movie hardly made an appearance. Promiscuous blond guy tells virginal Mexican girl that she’s so uptight because she never got laid. There’s a threesome that was highly unnecessary and just pandered to male fantasy with out any regard for plot. The opening scene was really gross and cool (a girl is getting a demon exorcised and blood is pouring out of her mouth and it’s irrationally gross and well done… sadly, that seemed to be all this movie had to offer. 1 Star.