Paul Harvey’s “If I Were the Devil”: More Relevant Than We Know

“If I Were the Devil”:

“If I were the Devil, if I were the Prince of Darkness, I’d want to engulf the whole world in darkness, and I would have a third of its real estate and four-fifths of its population, but I wouldn’t be happy until I had seized the ripest apple on the tree, thee.

“So I’d set about however necessary to take over the United States.

“I’d subvert the churches first. I’d begin with a campaign of whispers. With the wisdom of a serpent, I would whisper to you as I whispered to Eve: ‘Do as you please.’ To the young, I would whisper that the Bible is a myth. I would convince them that man created God instead of the other way round. I would confide that what is bad is good, and what is good is ‘square’. And the old I would teach to pray after me: ‘Our Father, which art in Washington.’

“And then I’d get organized.

“I’d educate authors in how to make lurid literature exciting so that anything else would appear dull and uninteresting. I’d threaten TV with dirtier movies and vice versa.

“I’d peddle narcotics to whom I could. I’d sell alcohol to ladies and gentlemen of distinction. I’d tranquilize the rest with pills.

“If I were the Devil, I’d soon have families at war with themselves, churches at war with themselves, and nations at war with themselves, until each in its turn was consumed. And with promises of higher ratings, I’d have mesmerizing media fanning the flames.

“If I were the Devil, I would encourage schools to refine young intellects but neglect to discipline emotions – just let those run wild – until, before you knew it, you’d have to have drug-sniffing dogs and metal detectors at every schoolhouse door.

“Within a decade, I’d have prisons overflowing. I’d have judges promoting pornography. Soon, I could evict God from the courthouse, and then from the schoolhouse, and then from the Houses of Congress. And in His own churches, I would substitute psychology for religion and deify science. I would lure priests and pastors into misusing boys and girls and church money.

“If I were the Devil, I’d make the symbol of Easter an egg, and the symbol for Christmas a bottle.

“If I were the Devil, I would take from those who have and I would give to those who wanted, until I had killed the incentive of the ambitious.

“And what will you bet I couldn’t get whole states to promote gambling as the way to get rich.

“I would caution against extremes in hard work, in patriotism, in moral conduct.

“I would convince the young that marriage is old-fashioned, that swinging is more fun, that what you see on TV is the way to be. And thus I could undress you in public, and I could lure you into bed with diseases for which there is no cure.

“In other words, if I were the Devil, I’d just keep right on doing what he’s doing.”

Paul Harvey was not only right back in 1965 when he said this, but he’s even more right now.


Interesting experiences at work: February 16, 2018

To get anyone who’s reading this up to speed, I quit my job at Walmart back in November, dealt with some various things until December, when I got a job at High Sierra Patrol as a security officer. My job is to watch over a particular hotel/resort/spa overnight. I audit keycards, deal with any checkins or issues with other customers, patrol the grounds at least twice a night, and make the coffee in the early morning. It’s an easy job, but it doesn’t come without its own bullcrap.

Like tonight. So I’m on my first patrol of the night and getting toward the end of it. I get to one of the smaller buildings toward the north end, and I see this guy outside his room talking to someone on the phone. He calls me over to him, and I ask what the situation is. I am subject to a barrage of verbal carnage as this guy yells at me about being locked out of his room and his keycard not working and him having supposedly been waiting in the lobby for nearly an hour and him supposedly having been standing there for the better part of two hours (obviously not) and him being in the middle of calling the police and him saying that he doesn’t trust my security officer uniform and him demanding that the hotel/resort/spa comp him a bunch of stuff. I try to explain the situation to him including what my job is and why I’m the only employee here overnight; I even show him my badge, but he doesn’t even let me get a word in. Even when I’m trying to talk over him to explain what’s going on, defuse the situation, and ask what I can do to help, he yells over me, calling BS on or shutting down everything I’m trying to say, and possibly waking other patrons. I even try to offer to let him into his room with my master keycard and then go back to the lobby to program a few keycards for him, but he calls BS on my keycard and heavily implies that I’m just some random guy trying to impersonate a security guard. I don’t hear what the 911 operator is saying in response to his complaining. Eventually he somewhat calms down and his call ends. I offer to let him into his room and to program some keycards for him. He hands me his nonfunctioning keycards, and I head for the lobby.

The police are already there, as well as one of my senior officers. I explain the situation to them and they go to talk to the guy. I reprogram his keycards and head back out. Upon arriving at the guy’s room and seeing the police and the senior officer talking to him, I see that the guy is still being a massive craphole and being seriously uncooperative. Ultimately the police have had enough with this guy, and they leave, telling him not to call the cops for this type of situation. The senior officer tells me to go back to the lobby as he talks to the guy. As far as I heard from the senior officer, he eventually calmed the guy down despite the guy still being a serious asshole. My senior officer and I meet up in the lobby a little while later and I write up my report.

I’m currently typing this up at about 2:30 AM PDT while it’s still fresh in my mind, and I’m not sure what the repercussions of the situation will be come morning. I will update this if anything happens.

UPDATE: As far as I’m aware, nothing really came of the whole thing. Thank heaven.

Hellraiser: Judgment (0/5)

So I just saw Hellraiser: Judgment, and it was so bad that it made me want to die. When I saw Hellraiser: Revelations, I thought that the series had hit rock bottom, and that there was nowhere to go but up. Oh how wrong I was. There is a long way to go still after hitting rock bottom, and Judgment does that. It is even worse than Revelations.

There is no plot. There is no beginning, there is no middle, and there is no end. It’s just seventy minutes of nothing. The premise is half ripped off from Hellraiser: Inferno. Though there has been a string of brutal killings that three detectives are investigating, the movie just drops us into the gap between the thirteenth and fourteenth murder (out of what is supposed to be fifteen) and expects us to just roll with it. And the ways in which the killer murders his victims of course have to reflect their earthly sins, and the messages left for the police are obviously words taken from literature about the wrath of God. Yes, this killer is basically a hyper-radical Christian version of a mashup of Jigsaw and Kevin Spacey in Se7en. That’s all we get. And through the entire movie, I never have any freaking idea what is going on. Meanwhile, we deal with porno-quality actors playing flat, lifeless, boring characters and halfheartedly spouting painful dialogue, absolutely garbage cinematography with pathetically bad color grading that looks like the cameraman and lighting crew have never shot a movie before, a worthless soundtrack, and blatant, aggravating contradictions to the Hellraiser mythos. And it all ends with a braindead, nonsensical twist about the identity of the killer, and some unintelligible bullcrap about Pinhead / the Hell Priest.

See, I regard the first two Hellraiser movies as having set up the mythos, and I look at each proceeding sequel separately to determine just how unfaithful it is to the mythos of the original. And thus far, the only Hellraiser sequels after Hellbound that have remained even the slightest bit faithful to the original two’s mythos is Inferno and to the barest extent, Hellseeker. Judgment is easily the least faithful. By far. But that doesn’t stop it from making pretty ridiculous references to the original.

So what happens is that you get some sort of summons to go to this random rundown house in the middle of nowhere. You go in the front door and randomly show up tied to a chair in front of some sunglasses-wearing bald guy with a cut-up face calling himself the Auditor. You confess your sins to him as he types them down on a typewriter. You then randomly wake up in a different room as a big, obese man with a whiny voice wearing a suit coat who is called the Assessor puts the papers with your sins typed on them on a plate, soaks them in the tears of children, and eats them. He vomits them up into a tube which leads into another room, where three naked twentysomething girls with various facial mutilations called the Jury stick their hands in the vomit and do…something with it. I don’t know. Then you are taken to another room, tied down on a table, licked clean by some naked middle-aged women called the Cleaners, and forced to swallow their spit. Then this other giant obese guy called the Surgeon comes into the room and turns around to show his clothed backside. Some skinny guy wearing a full-body gimp suit and a gas mask jumps out of the fat guy’s clothes and sits on you. He wields a pair of crescent-shaped blades, and he skins you alive. I have no idea what happens after that, I have no idea why or how it happens in the first place or why it just seemed like the writers decided on each detail via dartboard, and after the first forty minutes, nothing of the sort is ever mentioned again. I’m not joking. In fact, the first ten minutes as well as every single scene involving this house could have been cut out of the movie. But then it wouldn’t have been feature-length. Every last one of the rules regarding how to summon the Cenobites, what they do to you, and whatever rules the Cenobites follow in regards to fairness are completely gone. And then about halfway through the movie, the script sees fit to introduce an angel character, who is supposedly the angel who kicked Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden. Up until now, the Cenobite mythos had completely avoided any semblance of similarity to any of the three Abrahamic faiths, but here, Pinhead / the Hell Priest and the other Cenobites are directly opposed to the Judeo-Christian God. They even occasionally quote the Bible and even once quote Dickens’s Tale of Two Cities.

This doesn’t even feel like a Hellraiser script. None of the themes from the original two are here. Nothing that made Hellraiser, Hellbound, or even Inferno great is here at all. You could cut anything to do with Hellraiser out of the movie and nothing would be lost. Pinhead / the Hell Priest is barely in the movie, has absolutely no reason to be, and looks as bad as he did in Revelations. At least Paul T. Taylor’s electronically deepened voice sounds slightly like Doug Bradley, unlike Fred Tatasciore’s painful impression.

And even the torture sucks. It’s painfully obvious that this movie had no budget. Whatever practical effects there are look insultingly cheap and its sound effects are overblown, loud, cartoonish, and are obviously either purchased from a storefront or found online. In every scene of violence, the movie splashes around the stage blood, but only a very tiny amount of the actual infliction of injury happens onscreen, and the two instances that happen onscreen – a skinning at the beginning and the flesh of a face being pulled off in two directions while somehow having split perfectly in half – look laughably pathetic. Seriously, there is one scene at the end where a character is shot in the throat, and it shows not the wound, but some blood most likely flowing from a tube beneath his clothes. And then the shooter empties the clip into the character, yet no new burst blood squibs or even bullet holes appear on the person. As I said in my Revelations review as well as my review of the original Hellraiser, Clive Barker created some of the most incredible practical effects ever put to film all the way back in 1987 on a one million dollar budget. There is no and will never be an excuse to not be able to replicate those perfectly in 2018. And none of the gore or even extremely tame sex is even remotely transgressive in the slightest. At least Revelations did that. Good heavens, did I just defend Hellraiser: Revelations, the former worst installment in the Hellraiser franchise? That is what Judgment has reduced me to.

Oh, I should probably mention that part of Judgment‘s marketing was the fact that Heather Langenkamp was in it. She is in the movie for less than ten seconds. She randomly shows up about halfway through and then disappears entirely. I didn’t even realize that it was her that I saw until after the movie was over.

Hellraiser: Judgment doesn’t even attempt to show that any effort was put into making itself look like it possesses even the slightest shred of quality. It doesn’t even come close to even making an attempt to be an actual Hellraiser movie. And it was so obviously made so that Dimension Films could prevent the rights to Hellraiser from reverting back to Clive Barker.

I can’t even imagine how Clive Barker must feel, seeing what garbage this franchise that he started has become.

And I’m giving Hellraiser: Judgment a 0 out of 5.

Please don’t see it. These disgusting hacks don’t deserve your money.


The Ritual (2/5)

So I just saw The Ritual, and while it wasn’t all bad, it was pretty disappointing.

The Ritual is the first feature-length movie directed by David Bruckner, a director whose ample talents have heretofore been relegated to making three short films that were part of horror anthology movies. He directed the “Crazy in Love” segment in The Signal, the “Amateur Night” segment in V/H/S, and the “The Accident” segment of Southbound. Regardless of the rest of the movies’ quality, Bruckner’s segments were easily (or arguably, if that’s your opinion) the best ones in each movie. The Signal was pretty great with Bruckner’s segment being the best. V/H/S was absolute garbage with Bruckner’s segment being the only part of the movie worth sitting through. And Southbound was okay, with Bruckner’s segment being the best one again.

And now we have The Ritual, and it’s really disappointing. Well, it’s really disappointing that Bruckner’s directorial talents were wasted on such a generic, predictable script. I can relieved-ly say that David Bruckner was not involved in the writing of the script.

Because the script is worthless. The plot is as cliche and predictable as you would expect. There are multiple instances of characters making such bewilderingly stupid decisions that I legitimately groaned every time I realized, Oh, of course they’re going to decide to take that course of action. I wonder if they’re going to take that shortcut through that thick forest that may as well be screaming, “I’m the domain of a horrifying creature! You should really just stay away! You don’t need to go through me if all you want is to shave one day off your journey!” I wonder if they’re going to spend the night in that dark, rundown, abandoned, spooky house. Oh, what a coincidence, they all had horrible nightmares. I wonder if they’re going to take that path that just randomly appeared overnight that so obviously does not lead to civilization. I wonder if they’re just going to stick to the path instead of head up that steep hill up to the ridge where they will be able to see where they are supposed to be going. I wonder if instead of heading directly for the nearest edge of the forest, they’re just going to waste precious time by standing there and arguing. Oh, look, they’ve camped for the night and the monster has taken one of them from the camp and is brutally murdering him. I wonder if they’re going to run after their friend in a blind panic and get lost. I wonder if the only non-white character is going to get killed. I wonder if they’re going to come across a cult that worships and offers sacrifices to the monster. I wonder if the monster is going to not only be shown, but explained to be some sort of fiend out of Nordic mythology, utterly shattering any semblance of fear I felt toward it. I wonder if the monster is not going to just straight-up kill our main character, but rather give him the chance to injure it so he can make his escape. I wonder if the creature’s guidelines and behavior as well as the now-dead cult’s practices and methods of survival are never going to be explained and instead will just feel random. I should probably mention that the movie’s title is a big spoiler, but not only is the titular ritual not the centerpiece of the movie, but it isn’t even important to the movie at all. And the movie as a whole is so forgettable.

The characters themselves, while very well acted (thank you David), just feel flat and lifeless. While I certainly don’t hate any of them, I don’t find them to be likable either. They spout profane dialogue that really starts to wear on you after a while. The only two characters that are anything more than “just there” are 1) the cliche everyman that made a really bad mistake in the past that he needs to atone for, and 2) the cliche craphole killjoy. There are no character arcs. The main character does not learn or gain anything from his experience in the forest. Okay, he learns to let go of his guilt for his friend’s death, but I’ve seen that before in so many better movies. And the script never gives me a reason to care.

And even the monster isn’t all that great once the monster itself is revealed. Apparently the monster is one of the j├Âtunn, a race of evil nature spirits opposed to the Nordic gods, with this one being a bastard son of Loki, but even this script’s attempt to utilize Nordic mythology is pretty inaccurate. Anyway, this creature resembles a massive monstrous deer, but it has a pair of humanoid arms attached to a black hole with a pair of yellow eyes in it in place of the mouth. I felt that the monster posed an undeniable threat in the first two thirds of the movie, but when we finally got to see the monster itself, I personally found it to be rather silly. See, utilizing a beast from Nordic mythology as well as a cult that worships it and sacrifices humans to it is a cool idea, but not for a “lost in the woods” type movie where the horror stems from what you don’t see and what you don’t know.

Aside from that and some annoying jumpscares, David Bruckner’s approach to horror is pretty great, especially when it comes to atmosphere and how he handles the monster until the script mandates that he show it in its entirety. This Swedish wilderness is drenched in atmosphere. The forest itself is thick, dense, and really claustrophobic, especially knowing that there’s an evil being out there hunting down the main cast. Actual tension and dread is established, and David Bruckner does his damndest to build on that, but he’s hampered by the terrible script. And the fact that we never even see the monster until the last third of the movie is phenomenal. I was genuinely on edge, incredibly curious about what the monster would look like. Unfortunately, I was disappointed.

But it’s not all bad. David Bruckner had no control over the things that brought this movie down. In the areas he does have control over, he absolutely excels. Like how he directs his actors. And, of course, the visuals. Oh, heavens, this movie looks gorgeous. He uses these locations perfectly. I love how he shoots the wilderness in wide, open, and distant shots, but in the forest, his shots turn into something confined, cramped, claustrophobic, and close-up. And I have mentioned just how drenched in atmosphere the locations are. All’s well and good for direction and cinematography until, of course, the last thirty minutes, when the movie, while still looking good, has completely gone to crap.

Also, I should mention that when the soundtrack is allowed to do its thing, it really flourishes. I don’t know if the Ben Lovett who composed the soundtrack is the same Ben Lovett of Mumford and Sons, but this particular Ben Lovett is pretty damn good.

In the end, The Ritual starts off strong, gets pretty shaky towards the middle, and finds its footing at the end of the second act, but once we enter the final thirty minutes, the movie is in total freefall.

I don’t blame David Bruckner for this film not being good. All this movie needed was less jumpscares. Oh, and a much, much, MUCH better script.

And considering this movie’s positive reviews, I don’t see David Bruckner going away any time soon. We’re definitely going to see him at the helm of more films in the future. Let’s hope he has more creative control.

At least the parts of The Ritual that David Bruckner was in charge of were absolutely stellar. But ultimately, when it comes to the story and characters, this movie fails miserably.

And I’m giving The Ritual a 2 out of 5.


The Cloverfield Paradox (.5/5)

The Cloverfield franchise has always intrigued me – this little franchise of Twilight-Zone-ish sci-fi stories that aren’t directly linked, but share a common theme. I’ve been a fan of this franchise ever since I saw both movies, and I was super pumped to see where the franchise was going next.

I get why they call it Cloverfield. Clover field. A field of clover. You reach down and pick a single clover, hold it to your nose, and sniff. Each clover is the same type of flower, but each one is different from the next. I finally understand the reason why the name Cloverfield was chosen.

I first saw the first Cloverfield movie back in 2015, and to me, it was a genuinely great and genuinely scary movie that approached found-footage and monster movies from a new perspective. It was a surprisingly unique experience, and Cloverfield remains one of the best found-footage horror movies ever made. I gave it a 4 out of 5.

In 2016, I saw 10 Cloverfield Lane, a palpably tense and claustrophobic slow-burn thriller, and it was not only amazing, but one of the best films I saw that year. The level of tension elicited from 10 Cloverfield Lane easily outpaced most R-rated horror movies I’ve seen. I gave it a 5 out of 5.

It seemed that with 10 Cloverfield Lane, Cloverfield had entered an entirely new frontier in franchise filmmaking, and I gladly awaited the next installment.

And now, in 2018, we have The Cloverfield Paradox. And it really, really sucks. It’s so disappointing to see such a promising franchise fall so far. Its biggest problem is that it tries to explain the mysteries of the first two Cloverfield movies that were originally left brilliantly vague. And its explanation is perhaps one of the most ludicrous ideas I have ever heard in my entire life. It turns out that no, the Cloverfield movies are not just separate stories with a similar theme. No, they’re actually connected. Apparently, when this dimension-hopping device hops dimensions, it somehow brings all sorts of monsters over from a parallel dimension and deposits them all across time. How exactly it does this is never explained. The monsters brought over include the monster from Cloverfield which came to earth in 2008, the aliens from 10 Cloverfield Lane that came to earth in 2016, and now some massive titanic leviathan that looks kind of like the monster from Cloverfield that has come to Earth in the near future. This is so stupid that I can’t even wrap my mind around it. Seriously? This is the mystery solved? These are the secrets revealed? This is what I’ve been waiting almost two years for? One of the most preposterous and nonsensical ideas I’ve ever heard? Why? Why did it need to be revealed why exactly the events of the first two movies were happening? What even is this titular Cloverfield Paradox?

And even just on its own, the movie makes no freaking sense. Obviously, the story starts out with one of the most basic premises ever: Oh, no, the earth is out of resources, but we have this really cool science experiment involving a particle accelerator that we can try (that has to be done on a spaceship because reasons), and if it works, we’ve got aaaaaalllllllll da energys that we need forever! But if it doesn’t work, all sorts of random bullcrap will happen. We have to make the supposed negative consequences very clear and very specific to the audience by having some random guy on TV say that if we try this experiment that horrible monsters will appear in the past, present, and future. I have no idea how he knows this. OOH, POORLY DONE FORESHADOWING. Oh, and the main character of course has to have her only defining traits be that she’s black, British, a woman, and that she misses her dead family.

And then, of course, the experiment goes wrong, the systems go down, and the Earth disappears. And yet, not even once does a single scientist hypothesize that maybe the reason that they can’t detect the Earth or why they can’t just use the stars to help them is because the systems are down, not because the Earth has disappeared. OKAY.

The crew just randomly finds this random woman inside a wall with wires coming in and out of random parts of her body, despite her location being the source for obviously inhuman and inhumanly short screams. None of her injuries are fatal, of course, because she has to survive so she can become integral to the plot. OKAY.

The Russian scientist has eye problems which switch on and off randomly, and feels something crawling around inside of him, randomly crafts a gun on the space station’s 3D printer (that also has unlimited ammo {seriously, I never once see a clip and/or bullets crafted or see this gun get reloaded ever}), tries to go psycho but collapses into convulsions, flatlines on a table despite not being connected to any medical equipment, and has the station’s inexplicable colony of worms burst out of him. OKAY.

The Italian crew member who lacks an accent all of a sudden gets his arm sucked into a wall. The hole in which his arm is sucked into moves around all over the wall haphazardly, then bloodlessly chops his arm off. And the stump is some of the most ridiculous CGI I’ve ever seen; I don’t for a second believe that this actor wasn’t just wearing a green glove that goes halfway up his upper arm so the visual effects team could digitally remove it in post-production. Then the arm randomly appears elsewhere, crawling around on its own a la Evil Dead 2. Except in Evil Dead 2, the possessed arm was supposed to be funny, while here it’s meant to be taken seriously. When the crew traps the arm, its hand starts making what are said to be writing motions. I have no idea how they came to this conclusion. When a crew member gives the arm a pen, it writes a message, telling the crew to cut open the Russian crew member’s stomach. They do so, and they inexplicably find the ship’s gyroscope. OKAY.

I should probably mention that none of the characters even once consider that the random “arm getting sucked into a wall and cut off” or any of the other forthcoming random bullcrap might actually happen again.

So when they actually find Earth by only NOW using the stars, they discover that everything is upside down, that that particular Earth is saying that the spaceship was destroyed, and that there’s some war going on in Europe. Okay, so the spaceship just hopped dimensions and is now looking at a parallel Earth. Meaning that the Wall Woman is a crew member from the same spaceship that was performing the same experiment, but in a parallel dimension in which Black British Woman’s kids hadn’t died and Wall Woman had gone in place of Black British Woman, even though Black British Woman and Wall Woman were working different jobs on the ship. Meaning that this extremely specifically random event caused purely by circumstance not only happened in two separate dimensions, but somehow just happened to collide in the same location. OKAY. Wait, if the ship crashed back onto earth in the alternate dimension, then how did Wall Woman teleport onto the ship?

The Asian crew member is then randomly killed in a freak accident when she enters and closes an airlock, water randomly fills the room, and when the crew tries to open the airlock, their attempts at doing so for some reason cause the other airlock door leading to space to open just enough to instantly freeze all the water in that room the instant the water is exposed to vacuum. OKAY.

I should probably mention that throughout the movie, this Asian crew member always speaks Chinese (I think), but not only can she understand English perfectly, but everyone else on board can understand Chinese. The characters even occasionally switch languages mid-sentence at times. Why was this even a thing?

The crew tries to get the particle accelerator back running, because they believe that doing exactly what they did to get them to this parallel dimension will somehow send them back to their own dimension, instead of, you know, sending them to yet another dimension and/or causing even more random chaotic events. OKAY.

And then the Italian crew member, while off in a different room, sees a bunch of metal things fly toward one wall because of some inexplicable magnetic field randomly popping up for some reason, and then,…uhh…hold on, let me try to explain: So whenever some piping needs to be fixed, the crew member uses some sort of caulking gun except instead of caulk, it uses some sort of goop made up of bits of magnetic material that once electrified, it hardens and sticks to the piping. But yeah, this magnetized goop reaches out, grabs the Italian crew member, and, despite the inexplicable magnetic field, drags him backward, holding him against a wall. And then an oxygen tank (actually, it might have been CO2) flies by, hits the wall, and causes a huge explosion, causing the ship’s accelerator ring to hang off the ship at a dangerous angle and put the entire ship into jeopardy. OKAY.

Three crew members go down there to decouple the accelerator ring, and, despite Black British Woman waiting until NOW to tell Black American Guy that the ring can be decoupled remotely, Black American Guy sacrifices himself to launch the accelerator ring into deep space. OKAY.

Black British Woman gives Wall Woman a uniform that she specifically says doesn’t fit, but later, the uniform fits Wall Woman perfectly. Aren’t Future Clothes amazing?

So after Wall Woman goes psycho, kills the Brazilian crew member, and is blasted into deep space by Black British Woman, Black British Woman sends the spaceship’s specs and a super heartfelt but insultingly vague message to her alternate dimension counterpart. But did the movie straight-up FORGET that the reason that Wall Woman was on the ship to begin with was because she was on its alternate dimension counterpart that used the exact same device that malfunctioned? OKAY.

And then the last two crew members, Black British Woman and Helmut Zemo, reuse the particle accelerator and get back to their Earth perfectly with not even a hitch. They take an escape pod back down to Earth. And as they reentered Earth’s atmosphere, I thought to myself, What’s the stupidest thing that could happen right now? And it happened. A freaking gigantic monster that is not only made up of garbage CGI but looks similar to the monster from Cloverfield pokes its head up through the clouds and roars. OKAY. And then the movie ends.

Oh, I should probably mention that the movie occasionally randomly cuts back to Earth, completely destroying any possibility for tense, claustrophobic atmosphere, where the boyfriend of Black British Woman is beholden to much destruction, saving some girl, and even seeing the silhouette of some sort of monster. I wonder why the alternate dimension counterpart of the spaceship isn’t there. It used the same device and had the same malfunction, right? Shouldn’t it be there? The crap on Earth could have been cut out of the movie, and nothing of value would have been lost. But the most insulting part is that the scenes on Earth were hinting at something so much more interesting, so much more important, and so much scarier than any of the crap happening in the alternate dimension.

It’s a garbage mishmash of so many better sci-fi materials, stealing elements from Alien, Event Horizon, Pandorum, Solaris, The Martian, Star Trek, The Twilight Zone, and not even slightly understanding what made those movies good on even a basic level. Hell, it even steals from that movie Life that came out last year, and that movie wasn’t even good.

Cloverfield Paradox doesn’t even know what it wants to be. Does it want to be a horror movie? A sci-fi B-movie? A drama? A comedy? The movie tries to utilize elements from all four of these genres, but none of them work even slightly, and it just makes the movie feel even more inconsistent.

There is no character here. This movie just acts as if the characters in the movie have already been developed, and even tries to make us care, but it completely forgot to develop anything. It doesn’t help that every character in this movie looks like an actor who has no idea how to work a spaceship or what all these sciencey words in the script even mean. And it all feels meaningless when they all just die at random moments through absolutely ludicrous circumstances.

It also seems like the Cloverfield references were just tossed in there at the last minute. It really shows, especially when the only people to ever mention the word “cloverfield” are the guy on the TV at the beginning or Black British Woman’s husband. And it became even more painfully obvious when I learned that this movie originated as a script written back in 2012 titled “God Particle” that was totally unrelated to Cloverfield. This entire movie could have eschewed any references to Cloverfield, and nothing of value would have been lost. Hell, this entire movie could have been cut out, and nothing of value would have been lost.

What freaking moron wrote this? Oh, the guy who wrote 22 Jump Street. Freaking perfect. Much of the dialogue is incomprehensible, poorly written scientific mumbo jumbo punctuated by the occasional painful comedic line.

Despite the fact that some of the movie’s shots look okay, it still looks and feels like a low-budget sci-fi TV movie.

J.J. Abrams suckered us in with two excellent movies and the promise of amazing things to come. You know, like he always does, except with Star Trek. That promise has been all but squandered. I can see why this movie’s release date got delayed multiple times.

And The Cloverfield Paradox gets a .5 out of 5.

I guess, …here’s to hoping Overlord is better…? Hey, maybe the Cloverfield franchise can learn from this, just completely forget about The Cloverfield Paradox, and just make Overlord the official third movie in the franchise.


Winchester (.5/5)

So I just got home from seeing Winchester, and wow, what a steaming pile of garbage it was.

First off, there is no plot. I’m serious, there is no plot here whatsoever. I can sum up the events in this movie as follows: Psychologist goes to Winchester mansion. Psychologist and Sarah learn that a very angry spirit wants to kill all remaining Winchesters. They defeat it. End. I’m not freaking kidding. This movie is an hour and forty minutes long, and about fifteen to twenty minutes of the movie actually has things happening in it. In between the exposition at the beginning and a little exposition just before the climax, literally nothing happens to advance the plot aside from the passage of time, meaningless dialogue, pathetically wooden acting, a fatal lack of any character development whatsoever, and a barrage of really badly executed jumpscares. This expanse of nothingness takes up eighty to eighty-five minutes of this movie.

There is no character. I’m serious. I cannot tell you a single thing about who any of these characters are. I could tell you some of the events that happen to them either in or before the movie, but I cannot for the life of me explain who these characters are or why in God’s most holy name I am supposed to give a damn. The only character that even goes through the slightest bit of an arc is Jason Clarke’s character, but all that happens to him is that he kicks his addiction to laudanum, he lets go of his guilt for the death of his wife, and he tosses aside his skepticism toward the supernatural. Oh, and because Jason Clarke was physically dead for several minutes and came back somehow, he can see the spirits. All things I’ve seen before and in better movies. But here, not only is the character himself lacking any traits whatsoever, but Jason Clarke’s acting in this movie is really bad. Considering that not even a single other character has even the slightest bit of what would resemble an arc (I just remembered: Sarah Snook’s character conquers her fear. How original.), the whole cast aside from Jason Clarke and maybe Helen Mirren feels like they’re barely in the movie. Sarah Snook? Barely see her. Her character’s son? Barely see him. Angus Sampson slumming it and sporting a ghastly beard? Barely see him. The movie literally tries to insert this subplot about the main angry ghost possessing Sarah Snook’s son, and it not only adds nothing, but it was completely pointless. Seriously, you could cut Sarah Snook and her son out of the movie entirely, and nothing of value would be lost. Hell, you could cut this entire movie out of the movie entirely, and nothing of value would be lost.

And having no character isn’t helped by the acting being as bad as it is. It is a rare occurrence when a character’s voice is anything else but a bored, uncaring drone, with Jason Clarke being the worst offender. Sarah Snook is at least trying, but she’s barely in the movie, and even when she’s onscreen, she’s not even good. Helen Mirren is a fantastic actress, but this is one of those movies in her career in which she really doesn’t do a very good job. It’s clear that the actors know that this is a garbage horror flick that will be forgotten as soon as it leaves theaters, so they’re barely trying.

Speaking of Helen Mirren, is casting a big-name actor in a crappy horror movie released in an early month of the year a trend now? It’s not enough that last year, they managed to cast Vincent D’Onofrio in Rings, but they somehow got Faye Dunaway a cameo in The Bye Bye Man. How the hell do these garbage movies manage to cast such amazing actors in these roles?

And speaking of crappy horror movies released in an early month of the year, everyone is aware of the curse on horror movies released in January. Everyone knows that these particular horror movies are just quietly released in the dead of January because the studios behind them have no faith in their quality and just hope that maybe the movie will earn a little money from stupid teenagers and college students with no expectations. But now it seems that the release of crappy horror movies that studios have no faith in has spread to February. It seems that now even the month of February is cursed. While the January horror movie curse began in 2008 with the release of the remake of One Missed Call, the February horror movie curse has begun much more recently – in 2015, with the release of The Lazarus Effect. I’m not kidding. In 2016, it was Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. In 2017, it was Rings. And now, in 2018, it is Winchester. I dread what dreck will show its face in 2019.

Sorry, I went off on a tangent. I should probably talk about Winchester‘s approach to horror. And its approach to horror is as bottom-of-the-barrel as it can be: nothing more than Jumpscare Porn. There is no atmosphere. There is no tension. There is no dread. There is not even an interesting reason for the hauntings. There are just jumpscares, and really bad ones at that. There is literally nothing else but jumpscares. Literally every spoopy sequence has a jumpscare. For every jumpscare, you can literally sit there, watching the spoopy sequence, and be able to count down from five and get to zero at the exact moment the jumpscare happens. Every. Single. Time. There are so many freaking jumpscares in this movie. Almost all of them are completely unwarranted. Most of them occur with no buildup at all. Almost every one of them is fake, being just a character loudly bursting into frame, a ghost popping up for a half second before vanishing in the next shot, or another character doing something else that scares the crap out of the main character. You can see every single one coming, and every last one leads nowhere. And every last one involving a ghost is the most basic jumpscare ever: get really quiet to anticipate people for the jumpscare, wait ten seconds, and then flash a scary face on the screen accompanied by an instrumental sting. There is not a single jumpscare here that could not have been cut out of the movie. They happen throughout the entire movie except after the climax, just going to show how awful Winchester‘s pacing is. Not one of these jumpscares advances the plot, and they only serve to make stupid teenage girls jump out of their skins and scream loud enough to burst the eardrums of the lone horror fan that actually knows what makes a good, scary movie. Yes, that happened to me tonight. No, my eardrums did not actually burst, but they hurt so bad that I had to get up out of my seat and move up a few rows. No, I’m not going to be an asshole and berate them, because they’re just too stupid to know any better.

Oh, and no, Winchester, you are never going to make the song “Beautiful Dreamer” scary.

And believe it or not, this movie tried to get a little political. It tried to take a stance against gun manufacturing (this movie was made almost entirely by Australians, which explains a lot). But it is so bad at communicating such a message that every time they tried to say something about guns and how all they do is kill, I chuckled to myself. Seriously, Winchester does for gun control what Birdemic did for environmentalism. No, Winchester‘s politicking is nowhere near as hamfisted and heavy-handed, but its attempts to put forth a message about gun control are either throwaway lines or so unintentionally funny.

Also, I should probably mention that this movie even got the reasons why Sarah Winchester built her house wrong. See, in real life, Mrs. Winchester believed that the ghosts of those killed by Winchester rifles were after her and wanted to kill her, so she had her house built in such a way that it would confuse the spirits, and so she could hide from them longer. But in the movie, (…hold on, this is kind of confusing) she built her house in order to attract the spirits and commune with them so she can help them move on. But there are those who are pissed at Sarah and want to kill her, so she somehow traps them in various rooms via really stupid measures. But then when the main baddie spirit of the movie starts wreaking havoc and releasing the other angry spirits, somehow the trapping measures don’t work and then work again at random. And then when the main baddie spirit is defeated, the other angry spirits just return to their rooms for some reason. Why? I think if all the angry spirits teamed up on Jason Clarke and Helen Mirren, they could kill them and get their revenge.

This movie is directed by the Spierig brothers, the guys behind the okay Daybreakers and the really subpar Jigsaw. I expected better of them. Seriously, their approach to plot and character in Winchester is so incompetent that it is easily worse than most of the worthless horror movies I’ve watched these past few years.

But as much as I’ve bashed this movie thus far, it does do one thing right: aesthetics. This movie looks good. I’m serious. The camerawork is good, the sets are good, the costumes are good, and the lighting is good at times. Unfortunately, even that has a downside, as the entire movie at times is too visually dark. Seriously, even the scenes shot outside in broad daylight look like they have a 25% darkness filter on them. And some of the scenes shot in the dark are too dark, making it very hard to see what’s going on. When I watch a movie, I want to, you know, watch the movie. There’s nothing spooooooooky about scenes being so dark that I can’t see anything. Yeah, you can shoot a scene to be as dark as you like, but there still needs to be a way that we can see what’s happening. It’s annoying and it’s frustrating.

In conclusion, the Winchester mansion deserves a much better horror movie than this crap. Maybe someone talented will come along and direct a character study of Sarah Winchester herself.

We’ve just entered February, and we already have a candidate for the worst horror movie of 2018. Freaking fantastic. I will absolutely be reviewing this when this movie comes out on DVD.

Winchester has nothing. No soul, no shelf life, no plot, no character, no scares, and no purpose, and it will be forgotten before it even leaves theaters. And I’m giving Winchester a .5 out of 5.


Star Wars 8. No review. Discussions of it on the Internet are toxic enough already.

Ever since I posted by thoughts on Star Wars 8, I’ve seen the most verbal warfare on the Internet since Trump became president. I’ve gone through various online message boards and comment sections, and I’ve just grown so tired of seeing people engaging in the most vitriolic flame wars over the subject. Yeah, I hated the crap out of Star Wars 8, but even I want this to stop. This is freaking ridiculous. More so – it’s childish. Regardless of the movie’s quality, people getting this fired up over a freaking movie that isn’t even worth talking about is ludicrous.

To all of Star Wars 8‘s defenders and haters getting up in arms and engaging in total Internet warfare over a freaking movie: IT’S NOT WORTH IT. Not only will it make the both of you look like children throwing tantrums, not only will you no change the other side’s opinion one bit, but you will both lose.

There are so many other things and better movies you could be talking about. I mean, have you seen Phantom Thread or I, Tonya? Those are phenomenal movies that really deserve to be talked about more.

I’ve been done with Star Wars 8 ever since I saw it and posted some poorly worded, angry, hasty thoughts online. I posted my thoughts on this blog, and resolved to not think about it anymore.

I’ve put Star Wars 8 out of mind forever, and so should you.