Saturday, January 2, 2010

Family Oddities, it is.

Interestingly enough, you all were most interested in my family.

Hmm... perhaps when I offered you this option, I should have had some funny little family stories in mind.

Let's see. I could tell you about my family's yearly tradition of lightlooking... but this year we worked that adventure down to about a 35 second experience.

I could tell you about my family's first experience with a turducken, or... as they referred to it "turkenducken", "churchucken", "urckenturd", and "just plain wrong." But... we were all pretty disappointed when we cut into it and found it was mostly turkey cutlets with some indistinguishable chicken and a duck nugget (I know... but I don't know what else to call just a tiny piece of duck meat).

I could also tell you about playing with my nephews third cousins and having my age guessed as 17, 60, and 23... in that order, and being told by a two foot tall, one year old that I'm short. But that is neither humorous nor particularly surprising.

What I will tell you about, dear readers, are the horror films that punctuated the time I spent at home with my family. For some reason, there were a lot them this Christmas. Not quite the idyllic white Christmas post you had in mind?


I'll start with my favorite, just in case this is the only review you read.

High Tension /Haute Tension (2003)

This French film is flawless. Perhaps that's a lot of praise to give away, but I don't pretend to know anything about legitimate film review, so I'm okay with that. Basically, two friends drive out to the country to spend some time studying and visiting the one girl's family. How-ev-er... before they even get a chance to see the farmhouse in the daylight, a crazy psycho killer makes life very interesting (and bloody) for both of them. The movie is disgusting, empowering, unnerving, and a really good time.

My recommendation: Watch it more than once. The second time with newbies. And please, please, please watch it in French with subtitles, if necessary. Dubbing is an extremely poor choice for this film. Anyway, once the good stuff starts to go down, there isn't much talking at all.

IT (1990)

Well... this Stephen King gem is a classic. And... that is about all I can say about it. My brother had been after IT since I arrived in VA (and probably long before that... but I wouldn't know), so when we started it just before I left to come back to GA we were all atwitter. Sadly, the clown is not that creepy, the "special effects" are laughable, the acting is subpar and overall the film seems to be more about the evils of bullying than the evils of that yellow-fanged clown. There are reasons you should watch IT though; John Boy (of The Walton's fame, duh) sports a rockin' ponytail but you totally wouldn't know it from the feathery banged front. It's like the ultimate party-in-the-back situation.

Caveat: I didn't finish IT. I watched the first DVD but started falling asleep about 20 minutes into the second DVD.

My recommendation:
Watch this clip, starting at 8:15, to see the most tender love story I've seen in a long time. And don't forget to admire the ponytail. See how you'd never guess it were there from the front? Amazing.

The Plague (2006)

Now this one is not so easy to peg as High Tension (love!) or IT (snore!). The Plague, an indy film about the reawakening of all children aged 10-19 who became catatonic a decade ago, boasts a cast that includes... James Van Der Beek... and no one else we've heard of. The previously catatonic teenagers closely resemble zombies and their killing is ritualized and creepy enough, but the production value of this piece is what really sets it apart. For instance, I'm pretty sure that they used a high school in the first third of the film, hung plastic along the interiors and posted a sign about renovations, and used that same high school as the sheriff's office of the 20 minutes of running-around-scared action.

My recommendation: Watch it with those friends who will help you create a Mystery Science Theater atmosphere. The best part of this movie for me was when my friend yelled out, "OH! She got her with the pants pistol!!!"

This Christmas I also kinda watched The Hills Have Eyes, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, and another one that I can't even remember that involved zombies and a "To Be Continued" that has... well... yet to be continued. But... the three movies I presented you with here were the standouts for me.

Take away message of this Family Oddities post, Winter '09 edition: My family is odd. Given the opportunity to be together and have warm chestnut-roasting times, we will play nice during the daylight hours and do our very best to horrify each other come nightfall.

I'll leave you with a statement my dad very quietly made in the kitchen one night while my brother, sister, and their friends watched one of the Texas Chainsaw movies in the livingroom:

"Ya know, I have a chainsaw... "


Jecca Andrew said...

1) You don't have nephews.
2) "We will play nice during the daylight hours and do our very best to horrify each other come nightfall."- Hilarious. Absolutely hilarious.

Amanda said...

Hmm... You're right about #1. Who were those kids? And why was I playing with them?!

Anita said...

All I got to say is...I couldn't watch all of that clip from "IT" right here at bedtime.

A Slice of Concentrated Love said...

Any clown is creepy... blech

pita said...

love your dad's comment. it's something i would say. in high school, i watched teas chainsaw massacre with a group of friends. the brother of one of the girls was eating leftovers so he had a butter knife. nothing sharp, just your plain boring kind of butter knife. at some point in the movie, he pokes his sister in the ribs with the knife and she screamed like she had been stabbed with some huge sharp knife. we had to stop the movie because he and i were laughing too much after that.

Kate said...

I love Sistahair totally calling you out on your lack of nephews. And I feel like this post gave us more insight into your family than we could have anticipated from funny stories. Sometimes those funny moments are all of the "you had to be there variety," but this was delightful.

Amber said...

IT was def. scary when I was 6 but I haven't seen it since then and at that time, I wandered into the living room, saw one scene and took off.