Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Death came in instead. And it came with teeth.

When the inevitable end-of-days outbreak finally happens, if movies have taught me anything, I'm totally f--ked. Best case, I die quickly, likely as the guy who checks on a noise and never returns, or more likely, the guy whose car breaks down and is devoured by monsters while YouTubing how to siphon gas. 

Hopefully, after my cowardly (yet satisfyingly gruesome) death, my kids are left in the hands of some grizzled older guy, whose resourcefulness far outweighs his vocabulary. That guy will never show how much my kids mean to him (though they do), as he's too busy concealing the pain of losing his own family.

Look, there are no hard feelings in this future, as I'm all for following the rules. The only problem? I have two kids. That's like...double the limit.

Continuing my annual (and wholly unoriginal) tradition of watching only horror movies in October, this past weekend I stumbled into Stake Land after scouring Netflix for something not terrible. Perhaps surprisingly, director Jim Mickle's 2010 vampire epidemic flick was actually pretty good. In fact, for a low-budget horror flick, it's borderline fantastic.

As the world around them is becoming increasingly unsafe, sixteen-ish Martin and his family are packing up and getting the f--k out of their rural home. In an instant things head south, as blood-thirsty vampires attack and kill every member of his family (including a very little one...for f--k's sake). At the last possible moment, a mysterious man shows up and gloriously lays waste to the bloodsucking freaks, saving Martin from certain death. It's creepy, it's intense, and it sets the (familiar) stage for what's surely to come.

Like these movies go, Martin and the man, only referred to as Mister, will form a father-son bond/alliance. Mister will be hard on him, sure, but Martin will quietly appreciate not only the company and the protection, but the countless lessons/TED talks about how to kill a f--king vampire. We've been down this road, no doubt, but there's something different about the scenery.

While the violence and gore are exactly where they need to be, Stake Land shines in the little things. Both Martin and Mister are interesting characters we actually care about, and each portrayed with the right amount of innocence and stoicism, respectively. But further shirking low-budget (horror) conventions, are the additions of two female characters, a nun referred to only as Sister (that's f--king Kelly McGillis? Holy shit!), and a pregnant teen named Belle (the incredibly lovely Danielle Harris). These ladies bring a tangible weight to the group's quest to get to Canada, and complete the strong, yet entirely dysfunctional, family dynamic.

Oh, and the whole film looks gorgeous, too.

There's also a fairly rad villain, Jeb, who has interpreted the vampire apocalypse as an act of God. The religious angle is all kinds of crazy, and the actions of this f--ker and his crew blew my mind. It might seem silly in hindsight (Hell, maybe even in the moment), but I was floored with how far they were willing to go. Trust me, it gets pretty f--king ridiculous.

Also falling into that category, are the Yays and Boos. Admittedly they aren't the biggest fan of vampires, but after this and What We Do in the Shadows [review], we might have to go balls deep into vampire lore. Two words: Team Edward.

  • F--k me (and you), but Martin reminds me of a younger version of my older brother. (what insight, right?)
  • In this new version of the world, debit cards and Apple Pay can eat a dick. Here, we pay in vampire fangs, motherf--ker.
  • Oh, so you fellas wanna rape an old lady? Oh, you're going to get it.
  • Whoa. Sister Agatha? She's like Mother Theresa...except blood-thirsty and crazed out of her f--king skull.
  • I've never seen Mister's wallet, but I'm pretty sure it's the one with Bad Ass Motherf--ker on it. That shit in the trunk was awesome.
  • I thought Kirk Cobain's version of Where Did You Sleep Last Night? was my favorite. Well, okay, it still is, but what we get here is pretty damn close. Rowr.
  • In a world full of vampires and religious freaks, it's pretty easy to believe there is no God. But when likely virgin Martin finds a deck of nudie playing cards? Hallelujah!
  • Two words I thought I'd never type? Vampire Santa. *pumps fist like 90's Tiger Woods*
  • I'm telling you, this world the filmmakers create? It's very well done. It's creepy, it's depressing...but it's entirely believable, too. You can't see, but I'm tipping my cap in their direction. Promise.
  • There's a point where the movie basically turns into Left4Dead. And that's a good thing. I'm calling Pregnant Lady. You can totally be Black Guy, or Young Kid. If we can get a third player, they can be Ex-Military Dude. Don't shoot the witch!
  • And finally, the ending. It organically sets up another one, which between you and me, I'm totally in for. (though apparently a TV show is in development...so, yeah, I'm out.)

A) Wow. She finally lost that loving feeling.
B) Her breath? Totally taken away.
  • I lied. Vampires didn't kill Martin's whole family. Mister kind of helps out, too (damn, dude).
  • So, you're saying the world has been wiped out by vampires and now we've got cannibals to worry about? These f--kers can start by eating my ass.
  • Can you really close the eyelids of the dead? And you just wave your hand over to do so? Really? I figure that shit would be way awkward. Like, only one shuts. Then when you do the other, the first one opens again, you know? Like blowing out birthday candles.
  • Ugh. Mass suicide. This is so sad- nope, wait. They're all standing up. We're f--ked.
  • The Brotherhood. These guys are the f--king worst. Especially when you kill one of their sons. One of their hillbilly, nun-raping, totally-deserved-what-he-got, sons.
  • Scamps. Holy shit that was unsettling. 
  • Oh no! Vampires are attacking us AT NIGHT! Quick! To the cornfield! (I'm saying f--k it, just eat me).
  • Martin and Mister stay up while the very pregnant Belle sleeps. That's fine. But when they hear something? Guess how many of them stay behind and keep an eye on her? Here's a hint: It's also the number of people currently reading this blog. Minus one.
  • And finally, Jeb, the super dick. While I admire his can-do attitude when it comes to ruining everything, this guy is quite possibly the biggest A-hole in the history of B-movie cinema. Honestly, if some passersby wants to go to Canada, f--king let them, eh? But you want to talk about ruining a dance party? Shit. Carrie ain't got shit on this dude. Not even close.
So far this month? Creepy ass weirdos? Check. Vampires? Double check? Gross shit being jammed in someone's ear? Unfortunately...check. Where do I go from here? Zombies? Cults? Werewolves? Cults full of zombie werewolves? Hmm. The future is wide open. Well for my kids, anyway. 

Cause I just heard something. I'm gonna go check it out.

I'll be right back.


  1. Kelly McGillis is effing scary!

    1. Well, yeah...I guess.

      I mean, she's almost sixty. Maybe inhaling all that jet-fuel fumes aged her tremendously.

      (why do I feel bad, now? Should I feel bad? Shit.)

    2. No, don't feel bad. She's aged about as well as salami that's been left in a hot garage for 6 months.

    3. That sounds about right. Damn she looks....scary.

  2. This one seems like it's worth checking out. And I'm with you ... no way am I going to survive a day after the apocalypse hits. Once my 17-year-old son, who once practically made a career out of preparing for the zombie apocalypse, callously ditches the woman who gave him life (yes, he's already informed me that this is going to happen) -- well, I'm f**ked.

    1. Ooooohh, that's tough, but as far as the rules are concerned - I'm pretty sure you're a goner too. Oh well, we had a good run. I really don't even mind my fate, as my terrible onscreen death almost guarantees that my little ones make it.

      Unless this is I Am Legend. Then, the whole thing's backwards.


  3. Going to be watching this one in the next few days, too.

    1. Dell, I hope you dig it, as I was really surprised by the quality of the entire production. I probably shouldn't be so surprised, but you dig around Netflix enough, and you start to assume the worst, you know?

      Anyway, looking forward to your post. Should be pretty groovy.