Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Horrible Hokey Pokey: #1- The Back-to-School Edition

By Barb Breese

Greetings and welcome to the first installment of 'The Horrible Hokey Pokey'. This is where I'm going to share a little bit of my world with you, and also, we're just going to have a good time poking fun at the movies that beg to be made fun of , and appreciating the movies we can watch time and time again.

Because I'm new to you, and this is new to me, I wanted to start off with a bit of an introduction. My name is Barb and I'm a horror addict. It's my parents' fault. They exposed me to my drug when I was young, and they encouraged and enabled my addiction for years....and I absolutely love them for it. Because my parents were fans of horror themselves, and didn't trust anyone to babysit me when I was a child, I got to tag along on the weekly outings to the local drive-in for the horror double features that started at sundown. The first horror movies I remember watching from the backseat of my father's Duster were: "The Amityville Horror" , "Carrie", "The Exorcist" and "The Burning". Not too shabby, eh? Oh, I also lived in a haunted house during my younger years, but I'll save that story for another time. Remind me to tell you, okay?

Fast forward from that time to this one and here's where I am: I've been married for the past 14 years to a wonderfully tolerant man. Tolerant, as in...he hasn't killed me yet. I know he's probably thought about it a time or two, though. Hahaha! I also am a mother to two of my very own monsters. A six and a half year old daughter, who has earned my loving nickname of "Demon". She's totally a mini-me...which is terrifying, but really not that surprising. She also came up with the name of this column. She's a clever demon, no? My son is four and a half, and just the sweetest little devil. He's starting pre-school in a couple of weeks, and I think he's going to be a really ladykiller. No, not literally. Well, maybe when he's older. He's got a nickname as well, but I can't share it as it involves part of his real name and I just don't know any of you that well to share. Ha,ha. Aside from writing the column, I'm also a co-host on a horror radio talk show called 'Delamorte's Dungeon of Deadly Delights'. We're a nationally broadcast show and we talk to some of the greatest names known to the horror genre. If you'd like to see what it's all about, you can find us on jackaloperadio.com every Thursday night.

So, that about wraps up my introduction. Like I said, the column is just me trying my hand at something new, while sharing my thoughts and observations as I watch the best and the the worst of the horror genre. I hope you enjoy what I bring. Let's get started, shall we?

As is often the case, I found myself suffering from a bout of insomnia and was searching Netflix for something to watch. I scrolled through all of the suggestions and out of pure desperation, I settled on a gem of a doozy called, "Shattered Lives" (2009). You know it must be good if there's not even an image for it on imdb.com.

The description Netflix offered said something about clowns and crazy kids, so I figured it was right up my alley. I mean, it sounds like a match made in heaven, right? Oh...so...wrong. First off, I cannot suggest that anyone ever watch this movie. I might even be so bold as to call this the worst film I've ever seen. I know some of you might watch it out of curiosity and /or because I've just told you not to. Your choice, I tried to warn you.

Now, the opening sequence was quite graphic, in a way. Not a good way, but it was enough to keep my attention. Some nutjob in a gas mask comes and hacks up a bunch of stoned and/or drunk kids. Original idea, isn't it? Yeaaah, I know. Anyway, jump from the carnage to a scene where a little girl is playing with her creepy little dolls, having a lovely time. Along comes her mother, who eerily resembles Casey Anthony, who yells at the kid to get in the car so they can go to the park....where Mommy pretty much shoos her daughter off to play while she meets up with a guy she's obviously more than friends with. Once playtime is over, the mother and daughter return home, to get ready for dinnertime and dull conversation with Daddy. The little girl obviously loves her father, and knows that things between he and her mother aren't ideal. Every time she asks her father about her mother, all he can tell her is that, "Mommy's sad". I guess it would be in bad taste if he said, "Mommy's a whore", instead. So...anyway, it's more than obvious that the family's dysfunctional, and this is going to affect the child badly.

So, after dinner, the father tucks the kid into bed and reassures her that her mother loves her, and that she's just...sad (sigh). The father walks out, and the kid goes to sleep, only to be awakened by the sound of some loud whistling and clicking of shoes...and a spooky shadow moving along her wall. Then we finally see something...a midget dressed as a creepy clown sitting against the wall and and some grumbling "monster"-like thing trying to claw its way out of the television set. Creepy voiced midget clown-dolls start coming to life, they do some stupid dance and talking to the kid, telling her that they don't like her mother. Who does? Anyway, I guess this is supposed to signify the child's descent into madness. Are we scared yet? By the way, the fast forward button on the remote is my dear friend. It came in handy during the clown dance, which goes on for far too long and really makes no sense. Once the clowns-demon things are done dancing, they get in bed with the girl and they discuss fear and death and come up with a plan to kill Mommy....or something like that.

From creepy clowns, we move to Mommy and Daddy talking in the kitchen about how they need to "fix" their relationship. The guy bought 2 tickets to Hawaii, for goodness sake! But, the miserable woman can't be happy about anything because she comes out and admits that she resents their child and is jealous of the attention the kid gets. See, was I wrong about the Casey Anthony reference? Cue the dancing midget clown demons!! Oh, and they do make an appearance the very next day, when Mommy's boyfriend comes over for a playdate. Yes, there's a cheesy sex scene...gotta throw boobs into the mix somewhere to keep it interesting. Eventually, the annoying, foul-mouthed clowns come out to tell the kid to go play a game with knives, which she does. She goes into the kitchen and grabs the biggest knife out of the block, and exactly after she does....in comes Mommy. The clowns announce that it's time to play, and I get excited. And then... we cut to another family dinnertime conversation (WHAT?!), in which the kid tells her father of her mother's cheating ways. The mom flips out, curses at the kid and sends her to bed. Send in the clowns....again. Somebody needs to die at this point. More talking ensues. Another push of the fast forward button.

To sum things up: Daddy kicks Mommy out of the house. Mommy blames the kid for messing the family up. Kid gets stabby with her mom...finally. Blood gets splattered on the camera. Daddy sees what the kid did to her mother. He asks her what she did and she says she doesn't know. The house gets put up for sale. Is it over? No. Skip ahead to the kid now being a 'disturbed' teenager. On a fateful night, she finds out that her father , the only thing she has in life, has been killed in an auto accident, hit by a carload of drunk and/or stoned kids. Oh no. Whatever will she do now?! Send in the clowns...again, and grab the gas mask!

And that's what it's all about. I can't get my time back and I'm still recovering from the pain of watching this. Damn you, Netflix, damn you.

Until next month, friends.

--Barb Breese