Our LAMB entry!

Visit Porkhead's Horror Review Hole at THE LAMB. Or read on here.

URL: http://porkhead.blogspot.com/
Site Name: Porkhead's Horror Movie Hole
Categories: Horror, Reviews and Humor
Rating: The site would probably fall under the age rating of NC-17, since I tend to fill it with bad language and other such foulness.

What is the main focus of your site?
Horror movie reviews, all done with a snotty, sarcastic and derisive slant.

What are your blogging goals, personally and/or professionally? In other words, what, if anything, are you trying to get out your blog?
As a wannabe film journalist, I'm looking to get my work seen, and to keep myself a busy and well practiced writer.

Do you prefer an interactive community for your blog or are you the teacher and your readers are the students?
I do love a good conversation and/or argument. Comments are welcome, if not encouraged. Even negative ones. An audience is an audience, even if they're shouting how much they hate me with every comment.

How long have you been movie blogging for, and how frequent do you post updates to your site?
I used to run a rather less impressive blog a few years ago, back when I was still a newbie reviewer. Porkhead's Horror Hole has been running since December '08, and I try to publish at least one new review a week. Since I've finished uni (where I used to write the reviews for the uni magazine) this has become once a day.

Name up to three of your favorite movies (and no more).
Evil Dead, Dead Man's Shoes and Ichi the Killer.

How did you hear about the LAMB?
Browsing other horror blogs, I noticed the banner for the LAMB come up with startling regularity. I want in on that.

Any additional comments, or give yourself an interview question that's not listed above.

All the Boys Love Mandy Lane

Director: Jonathan Levine (2006)
Starring: Amber Heard, Anson Mount, Whitney Able.
Find it online: Amazon UK, (not available yet on US DVD)

All the boys may love Mandy Lane, but as the titular protagonist of this horror movie cum teen drama, she comes up severely lacking. The biggest problem with All the Boys Love Mandy Lane is that its proverbial emperor is wearing no clothes. Yes, Mandy Lane is an entirely dull, charmless and humourless cut-out Scream Queen. If the whole movie weren’t devoted to her, she’d be just another attractive yet unmemorable horror movie heroine.

Mandy Lane is described on the DVD case as “The OC meets Friday the 13th”. I like how they say that as if it’s a good thing. For all its contributions to horror cinema (not the least of which is the iconic Jason Voorhees), the original Friday the 13th is a slow, fitfully boring slasher flick which hasn’t aged too well. And the OC is one of the worst television programmes ever to exist, anywhere. Combining the two leaves us with a slow, fitfully boring movie that is full of annoying, boring teenagers trying to get laid, interspersed with whiny American rock montages.

Indeed, this review was a shallow excuse to post nearly-naked pictures of Amber Heard

That’s not to say Mandy Lane doesn’t have its high points. The last fifteen minutes of the film are exceptionally good, thanks to a lack of dialogue and a girl being chased by a car whilst wearing only her undies. The acting is generally decent, if uninspired, and the cinematography is kinda nice, I suppose.

But I’m grasping here. Mandy Lane is let down by everything else. The villain of the piece is unscary, unimposing, uninteresting and a fucking whingy bitch, to top it all. All of the cast (no exceptions whatsoever) are tiresome adverts for (a) contraception (b) murder. I don’t know if you’re supposed to sympathise with any of them, but you don’t. You wish that the bad guy would just hurry up and shotgun them all in the face, before turning the gun on himself.

Overall, I’d say that this sounds like a negative review. That’s because it is. After all the hype I’d heard surrounding Mandy Lane, I’d expected to see something exceptional – or good, at the very least – and not another stupid Friday the 13th knock-off. From start to (nearly) finish, Mandy Lane is a disappointment.

Eden Lake

Director: James Watkins (2008)
Stars: Kelly Reilly, Michael Fassbender, Tara Ellis, Jack O' Connell, Chavs
Buy it online: Amazon UK, Amazon US

If the tabloids were to review this, the debut piece by James Watkins, they’d probably wheel out the hyperbole. They’d talk about holding mirrors up to things, and mention Broken Britain a lot (note the capitals!!!!) And normally, it’d be like listening to a slightly racist grandparent whinge about “the youth of today” and make with the populist ill-informed garbage. But in the case of Eden Lake, they’d be mostly right.

The plot (cribbed from a similarly themed French chiller) follows a pretty young couple as they holiday to the rural, titular lake. A heartstrings-tugging marriage proposal is in the air, and they’re so gosh-darn lovely that the forthcoming nastiness is practically signposted. Their romantic weekend is rudely interrupted by a gaggle of noisy, recognizably horrible yobs. Soon enough, petty arguments escalate into brutal violence, and it’s adult VS yoof – to the death!

The past few paragraphs fail to convey just how horrible Eden Lake is. This isn’t a film you watch – this is something you experience. It’s all humourlessly done, with a sadistic streak so wide you could park a landrover on it. Forget the creepy blonde kids of Village of the Damned – these pre-pubescent psychopaths are achingly plausible and terrifyingly realised by the script and the child actors themselves. Kudos must go out to Jack O’ Connell, who plays Brett, the gang leader. He’s far scarier than any Freddy Krueger or Jason Voorhees. And worst of all, you can half expect to see him loitering outside your local chippy.

That’s not to say it’s perfect. Too much of the tension relies on horror clichés, and the final twist – whilst deliciously vicious – is perhaps a bit too predictable. The movie’s particular brand of terror won’t be for everyone, that’s for sure. Its deliberate humourlessness and cruelty will put off the squeamish, whilst it’s probably a little too dismal to make for a good date movie.

All in all however, Eden Lake is an assured debut from a director who has already proven himself as a face to watch in the future of Brit-horror. This is a white-knuckle rollercoaster ride from start to finish - provocative, relevant, scary and gruesome in equal measures. Eden Lake will make you fear children… Hug these hoodies, Cameron.

4/5 screaming Scream Queens!!!

Kill the Scream Queen

Wherein the DVD case is as atrocious as the movie itself.

Director: Bill Zebub (2004)
Starring: Deborah Dutch, Heather Taylor, Rachel Plastor, Cellulite.
Find it: IMDB

Most people won’t have heard of this no-budget bite of STD by actor slash director slash Rob Zombie clone Bill Zebub. And for good reason; it’s a crass, exploitative pile of stinking old turds. Probably the most pointless and plotless movie outside of a pornography, Kill the Scream Queen is an incessantly boring, repetetive mess. Zebub claims to have made this film as an argument against everything that's wrong with modern horror. Brilliantly, he's only gone and made a film that actually characterises everything that's wrong with modern horror.

Just out of shot: a glass house.

There’s no real beginning, middle or end. Characterization is nowhere to be found. There are no characters anywhere to be found, for that matter. There’s no action and no climax to anything, besides perhaps inside the pants of those desperate enough to be jerking along to this masturbatory nonsense. The acting is uniformly awful (although Zebub would insist that’s the point) and most of the titular 'Scream Queens' are not an attractive sight to behold, unless you like cellulite. In place of its plot, Kill the Scream Queen consists of a series of vignettes (each imaginatively entitled something like “torture” or “molestation”) in which a different girl ends up variously bound, naked and dead.

This humble movie-drone ended up watching most of Kill The Scream Queen on fast-forward, thereby skipping a great deal of the horrible dialogue: “the problem with horror movies today.” The actor/director`s constant pontificating is probably the worst part, as he continually tries to make his 'movie' sound more relevant than it actually is.

Mr. Zebub has a bone to pick with the “scream queens” populating modern horror with bad acting and constant tit shots. He aims to make a snuff movie to remedy the situation. This is billed as a satire, which in this case is like advertising Little Man as a comedy. There are about six boring deaths before the movie comes to an end, although you only need to watch the first ten minutes to get Zebub’s gist.

In all honesty, the very movies Zebub is critiquing all wind up being better than even one minute of this cheap, sleazy, stupid crap. Avoid, unless you’re a masochist, and hate your own eyes.

I Know Who Killed Me

Director: Chris Sivertson (2007)
Stars: Lindsay Lohan, Julia Ormond, Neal McDonaugh, Crab Man
Find it: IMDB

In the wake of Li-Lo’s brushes with the law, drug troubles and sweeping Razzie wins, some say that her 2007 piece I know who Killed Me might be too easy a target for ridicule. Those same people surely underestimate how stinkingly, shockingly awful I Know who Killed Me is. And yet, either despite or because of its horrible reputation, I Know Who Killed Me is one of my favourite movies ever. Alongside Nicolas Cage's The Wicker Man.

The film acts as a sort of sequel to Lindsay’s breakthrough hit, The Parent Trap. Somehow, the twins have become separated and, at the start of the movie, have no knowledge of each other. It's quite a bold movie by Disney, reinvigorating the franchise with a horror sequel. Look out for Freaky Friday II, in which Li-Lo swaps bodies with Jamie Lee Curtis again. She has to rescue her mother from the grips of a serial killer before he destroys both mommy dearest and Lohan’s body.

One of the Lindsay Lohans works as a stripper who never actually strips, whilst the other wears intelligent spectacles and takes creative writing classes at school. As you might expect, it’s easier to buy into Lohan as a stripper than an intelligent student. She’s not very good as either, but the idea of Lindsay Lohan doing well at school is a leap of faith too far. A leap too far even for a movie which ends with her wearing a battery operated foot.

The supposedly intelligent Lohan is kidnapped and gratuitously tortured with blocks of ice and the colour blue. Watching I Know Who Killed Me for the first time, I was surprised by how gruesome the violence really is. Poor Aubrey comes out of her ordeal minus a leg, some fingers and possibly her mind. She insists that she isn’t Aubrey, but moreover, her twin, Dakota the prudish stripper. As you see, just like The Parent Trap, with one twin pretending to be the other, and vice versa. If you ask me, that aforementioned kiddie-flick could have used a serial killer, to alleviate the Dennis Quaid (replaced in this movie with the much more fun Neal McDonaugh).

Colour blind people and dogs should not watch this movie, because a lot of the subtext will be lost on them. Neither should people with Cyanophobia. Come to think of it, nobody should watch this movie, but you’ll need access to a full palette of colour vision to fully appreciate it. There is a lot of blue in this flick. I’m sure there’s some complex psychological reason for it, but it just comes across as pretentious. Everything is blue here, from a rose given to Aubrey to the gag and pill shoved in her mouth during the torture scenes. I'm still disappointed that nobody bothered to use 'Blue (Da Ba Dee)' by Eiffel 65 on the soundtrack. Conversely, the palette switches to red when she’s in the ‘Dakota’ persona to emphasize that she’s a whore now.

Actually an actual screencap from the actual movie.

The acting is a mixed bag. Lindsay Lohan is terrible throughout, except for when she plays being drunk, which she has a lot of practice at. The supporting cast of teenagers aren’t noticeably bad, but Lohan creates such a vacuum of awfulness that it’s hard to notice anyone else anyway. Well, anyone except for Neal McDonaugh and my personal favourite, Eddie Steeples as a kindly Doctor who helps Aubrey/Dakota come to terms with her mechanical leg. That's right, Eddie Steeples; Crab Man of My Name Is Earl fame.

I Know who Killed me is a movie so utterly terrible that it becomes accidentally quite brilliant. For this reason, I find myself unable to accurately rate the thing. Technically:

But if I'm being honest with myself:

I Know Who Killed My Credibility. Lindsay Lohan did, with her stupidly entertaining shitty movie.

All Star Batman & Robin: Volume 1

This cracking stuff makes up ninety percent of the comic's dialogue

Creators: Written by Frank Miller and illustrated by Jim Lee

Volume one of Allstar Batman & Robin collects three years’ worth of material from the run of the same name. Written and illustrated by comic book superstars Frank Miller and Jim Lee, the story shows how Batman met his infamous sidekick. We see the formation of the dynamic duo, and watch as they battle the might of an angry Justice League and the ever-growing threat of Gotham City’s criminal underworld. Sounds like your average Bat territory, right?

Wrong. The issues collected may have taken three years to write and illustrate, but it rarely feels worth the wait. Jim Lee’s artwork is astounding, but Frank Miller seems to have gone well and truly off the rails. To put it bluntly, he’s taken the gritty film noir of Sin City and mixed it with the camp fun of Adam West era Batman. And it doesn’t work at all. All-Star Batman & Robin is worth reading for morbid curiosity and comic effect alone. Many fans will be horrified at what Miller’s done here, whilst others will be offended by the lack of effort he appears to be putting into his script.

The first two issues (Volume 1 comprises the first nine of the ongoing run) are relatively sober, and concentrate mostly on a young Dick Grayson. The art is pretty but self-indulgent, whilst the script is of the standard Frank Miller variety (lots of repetition and faux-swearing) without ever even approaching the same level of quality of Dark Knight Returns or Year One. It’s bearable, though, and the characters are all fairly recognizable. And then Batman appears.

Yes, the biggest problem with All-Star Batman & Robin is Batman himself. As soon as the dialogue between Batman and Dick begins, the reader realizes that something is seriously amiss. This Batman has an affinity for the word “retard” and refers to himself as the “goddamn Batman” (several times). Watch, as he slaps a child in the face. Behold as he obliterates a squad of police officers. By the time they’ve reached the Batcave, you’ll either be ready to quit… or you’ll be completely, utterly, hopelessly addicted.

Reading All-Star Batman & Robin, you'll realize that this stuff is so bad that it is, at times, quite brilliant. Make no mistake; no writer has ever portrayed Batman in this way before. He’s a murderer and a psychopath the; he runs across rainy streets, laughing like a lunatic and spouting faux-tough guy dialogue. He also sleeps with both Catwoman and the Black Canary. Fully clothed. In a public place.

Other DC characters are equally degraded through Miller’s character assassination. He seems to harbor a pathological hatred for both Superman and The Green Lantern. Superman hasn’t had a lot to do so far, but he’s shown to be inept at everything. Poor Lantern, meanwhile, gets a whole issue dedicated to his torture and humiliation. I won’t spoil anything, but fans of the Hal Jordan incarnation of the character will not be best pleased.

Aside from the characterization, everything else is off too. The dialogue is awkward, clichéd and often incoherent.

So, then, All-Star Batman & Robin can only be recommended to fans with a sense of humor. It certainly isn’t for everyone, but if you can take it in the spirit intended, there’s a lot of fun to be had.

Next up for Frank Miller is Batman VS Al-Quaida in Holy Terror Batman! After reading All-Star, nothing would surprise me.

Either 5/5 or 0/5 stars. I really can't decide

The list of lists

The best horror movies of the noughties

20 favourite horror books

10 origins that ruined perfectly good characters

10 Banalities of Stultifying Terror

10 unsexy vampires

10 female horror villains

10 reasons I didn't update this week

10 movies no horror fan should admit to liking

5 scary Batman comics

5 ways to improve the Saw franchise

Crap serial killers of British TV