“Fire City: The End of Days” on IMDB
Fantasy/Thriller, 101 Minutes, 2015
The idea that demons feed on our suffering isn’t new. It’s been a staple of fantasy and horror for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years. The specifics vary, but one fact remains true: our misery is delicious. (To demons, at least.)
“Black Limousine” on IMDB
Drama, 101 Minutes, 2010
I had no idea what to expect from this. Literally none at all. David Arquette [IMDB] failed to set the world on fire, but he’s likable and fell into some really fun roles. Also, the only synopsis of the movie available was, “A ghost story set in the city of dreams.” and that intrigued me.
“The Visitant” on IMDB
Thriller, 90 Minutes, 2014
A bunch of friends got together. They didn’t have any plans for the night. They pooled their cash and ended up with 63 dollars plus, for some reason, like ten bucks in Canadian nickels. They were well stocked with snacks. Somebody suggested that they rent a movie. Somebody suggested that they go to a movie. Somebody else suggested that they make a movie. That guy won.
“Seconds Apart” on IMDB
Horror/Thriller, 89 Minutes, 2011
Low-budget horror is a mostly-miss affair. Characters as thin as the fake blood they’re splashed in and plots as trite as a “Love is…” poster. The train-wrecks are fun in their own way, but the real joy is in finding the (very) few that hit their mark. This is one of those.
“We Need to Talk about Kevin” on IMDB
Thriller, 112 Minutes, 2011
Kids suck, amirite or amirite? I mean you’re perfectly happy living your life, spending your disposable income and sleeping through the night. You want to go out; you go out! You want to beat “Final Fantasy VII” in a sitting; you do it! Then, out of nowhere, BAM! Then, nine-months later it all goes to hell. The crying, diaper changing and total lack of privacy. And don’t get me started on the enduring antisocial behavior, diminished empathy and remorse, and disinhibited or bold behavior!
“Dark Country” on IMDB
Thriller, 88 Minutes, 2009:
Thomas Jane [IMDB] stars in and directs this dark, psychological thriller. Dick (Jane) and Gina (Lauren German [IMDB]) met, fell in love and got married all in the same day. But that’s the kind of thing that happens in Las Vegas. They’re driving Gina’s old Ford through the desert at night – it’s the only way to beat the heat – so that they can start their new life together. Things go from bad to worse when they run down an accident victim and have to deal with a quickly unraveling set of circumstances.
I’m old enough to remember the rise of tabletop role-playing brought by “Dungeons and Dragons”. The popularity of the game (and the personal infighting of the authors) led to many versions of the game, multiple incompatible editions and dozens of imitators. Public confusion about the game led to accusations of demon worship and dumbass TV movies. Despite all this, my friends and I poured our imaginations (and meager allowances) into it.
In retrospect, that the game was so broken may have been a large part of the allure. Sure, it was complex – that kept away the people that we preferred not to deal with in the first place – but it was also versatile. We’d argue about the rules, toss those we didn’t like and make up our own. At every level of the experience the game offered awkward kids power. Imaginary power, to be sure, but power nonetheless. We created the world, we controlled it and we decided how it worked.
These two movies represent separate, but similar, evolutions of my childhood obsession. The first celebrates the transition from the tabletop to online multiplayer. The second to the more physical experience of live action role-playing (LARPing). Both embody such a deep-seated respect for the things I used to hold dear that I couldn’t help having a ton of fun with them.
“Would You Rather” on IMDB
Horror, 93 Minutes, 2012
A group of people, all of whom are down on their luck, are invited to dinner at a posh mansion by a mysterious benefactor who promises that can solve all of their financial problems. When they arrive they’re given some time to mingle and get to know one another before the true purpose of the evening is revealed: a sadistic, fatal game of “Would you Rather” for the amusement of their wealthy host. The winner is set for life, the rest lose their lives.
“Hatchet” on IMDB
Horror, 93 Minutes, 2006
[Wife and kids are away visiting for the holidays. I’m staying home with movies. Just call me “Scrooge”. The silly one, with Bill Murray. ]
“The Devil in Me” on IMDB
Horror, 108 Minutes, 2012
[Wife and kids are away visiting for the holidays. I’m staying home with movies. Just call me “Scrooge”.]