Title: Playback (2012)
Why did I watch this?: Why does anybody watch anything?
The viewing experience: Playback is about a lot of stuff: family secrets, urban legends, demon possession, horny teens, the Devil kinda, etc., etc. None of it adds up to a pleasant viewing experience however, in fact, I probably should’ve rolled with that “turn-this-off-now” feeling I got during the film’s opening sequence, which is primarily concerned with an infant in peril. I’ve found since becoming a father that I have a low tolerance for this sort of thing. But, feeling charitable—after all, it is the holiday season—I stuck with Playback and was the opposite of rewarded.
Playback isn’t all bad. There is a pretty big extended celebrity cameo. Which I’ll get to in a second.
Lingering questions: If the ultimate villain of Playback is the actual Devil (see also: Satan, Lucifer, The Prince of Darkness, Ol’ Horny Head Goat Feet), which we’re led to believe it is, why does he need to inhabit the body of a human being, or, rather, insert his soul into a fleshy human vessel, to complete his work on Earth? And what kind of work is he trying to complete? I mean, in Playback, Lucifer’s endgame appears to simply be replacing his next-of-kin’s soul with his own. Then what? And why would Satan need to use a video camera to capture souls? He’s Satan! Doesn’t he have eerie devil powers or whatever?
Also, the Devil spends most of the film’s runtime inside the body of a young man who isn’t blood-related to him, and things seem to be going just fine. So, why is he so keen on setting up shop inside Julian? There is a throwaway line, in which Satan, via Quinn—the film’s primary human antagonist, not my three-year-old daughter—mentions the weakness of human flesh and how he wishes he didn’t have to use it all the time and blah blah blah, but are things going to be any different inside of Julian? It is never suggested that they will be. Why am I still thinking about this?
Why is everybody’s favorite band Shiny Toy Guns? They are mentioned once every 15 minutes. It’s insane!
31 Days of Horror-worthy?: Of course not. Not even for the big extended celebrity cameo which I promise I’ll get to in a minute, OK?
IMdB Plot Keywords: shot in the arm; shot in the stomach; shot in the forehead (the film’s crowning achievement—we’ll get there); head in a toilet; wheelchair bound; reference to Martin Scorsese; murder of a nude woman
IOU: When a relatively big name shows up in a low-budget creepy—like, say, a Charles S Dutton in a modern retelling of the old Monkey’s Paw story (stay tuned)—I always wonder, “To whom did that guy owe a favor?” I then take a dainty sip of tea, adjust my ascot and continue feeling superior to everyone.
Playback’s got it’s very own Charles S. Dutton in Christian Slater, star of Heathers and Heathers DVD commentary track (probably). This is the second time in the last two months I’ve experienced a surprise Slater Sighting. First he popped up in Nymphomaniac: Volume 1 as the titular character’s oddly-accented father (I like Christian Slater just fine, but every time he’s on screen, the film grinds to a halt). And now Playback, in which he plays a perverted police officer who eventually gets shot in the forehead (told ya!) while the hypnotized object of his sick desires listlessly watches.
Lingering question about Christian Slater’s character's head: Was Christian Slater’s character’s head merely a balloon filled with blood? I only ask because when Quinn—the bad guy, not the sweet, innocent daughter I tuck into bed every night—shoots him, it not only explodes like a balloon, but sprays the wall and the face of teenage girl with whom he is obsessed, with blood only, no chunks of brain or shards of skull. Like the old woman’s head in Deadly Friend when Kristy Swason-bot throws a basketball at it.
Title: Creature (2011)
Why did I watch this?: I convinced myself that it might be a secret Killer Croc origin story movie. It wasn’t. Also, I hadn’t yet watched a “creature feature” this Halloween season and, wouldn’t you know, creature is right in the name of this one, in fact, you could say it is the name!
The viewing experience: Creature is a scuzzy little film about gross backwoods creeps who worship a hulking gator-man. It’s shamelessly exploitative, skin-crawlingly icky and just a smidge misogynistic. It’s also got a dude in a rubber man-gator costume beating the piss out of people, so, you know, it’s pretty good.
IMdb Plot Keywords: full frontal female nudity; topless female nudity; female rear nudity; female nudity; female frontal nudity; female full frontal nudity; lesbian kiss…hey, where you going?!? There’s another movie after this one!
A warning to viewers who are not fans of incest: Incest is a major theme of Creature, so people who do not care for incest, should probably watch something else. I mean, I know those above plot keywords suggest all kinds of nudity and sex, but you should be aware that at least one of those sex acts (i.e. a handjob) is performed by a sister on her brother while the brother is taking pictures of two other people having non-incestuous sex. Perhaps the fact that two kinds of sex are being performed simultaneously will help your mind cancel out the sex you find deviant and gross (i.e. the incest one) and you’ll be able to soldier through Creature unafraid and unoffended. I just wanted to offer a friendly warning.
31 Days of Horror-worthy?: It might be useful as a dumb palette cleanser halfway through the month, but you could probably find something better to scratch your creature feature itch.
Title: Halloween: Resurrection (2002)
Why did I watch this?: Oddly enough, this is the only entry in the original Halloween series I'd never seen. As a completist, I felt it my duty to finally experience Resurrection the way it was meant to be experienced: on a phone while I was doing something else. I largely experienced Halloween: Resurrection as if it were a podcast--the worst podcast ever recorded.
The viewing experience: I did not like this one bit. I felt like Professor Frink when he received the Happy Dude phone call from the AT-5000 Auto-dialer ("Oh, Halloween, look what they have you doing."). It was depressing, and no amount of Busta Rhymes calling Michael Myers a "motherfucker" could make it any better.
But what is it about?: I don't want to talk about it. Don't make me.
31 Days of Horror-worthy?: N/A
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