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Wow.
So I had no idea there was an Ape-Woman Universal series. None.
You have left me speechless.
I will have to come back when I am not undone.
Yeah, it's weird. Had they stuck to the usual routine of naming the first film "The Ape Woman" followed by "Return of the Ape Woman", etc, then I'm sure we'd all have come across it by now.
Look at those posters again. The monster makeup doesn't show up until the 3rd film and even then it's not the focal point of the design. Then there's the strange insistence on jungle imagery when there is none in any of the films. A gorilla is transformed into a woman in a lab. At no point is she wearing that Tarzan outfit and sitting on a tree like in the second poster. So I've probably seen that poster before and never gave it a second thought.
I was given this set for my birthday earlier this year--



and until then I didn't know this was a trilogy that existed. Crazy. Botched marketing, I say!

(Monster and the Girl is unrelated, and I haven't watched it yet)
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Also not knowing the Ape Woman series existed does not sound like it would bode well.
Yeah, really the only thing going for it is the Jack Pierce makeup and an occasional familiar face like Ankers and Hatton. Carradine's lab is a bit spooky but other than those few seconds you don't even get any of the patented Universal fog and cobwebs and so forth. I would recommend them only to the Universal junkie that has seen everything else.



I found that one disappointing for its relative dearth of apes (only 1.5, if I recall correctly) and for having a Mexican wrestler but never having her actually wrestle with an ape.
That's not enough apes.
Nor is it enough Mexican ape-wrestling.



It is usually on about the third or fourth day of this that I feel like it is time for a little Bloodletting. So let us enjoy The Vampire Song.
Because you were a vampire and, baby, I'm the Walkin' Dead.




Woolz, are you familiar with Messer Chups? I don't know a lot about them, but they'd seem to be up your alley. They're always showing up in my Youtube recommendations.
I do not, I shall peep it.




Well, I've thought about it a good bit and I think the take I'm going with is, "If you dislike this movie, I'd like to hear why."
And the reason that I've come to that is that I (and my two horror-loving friends I watched it with) felt like it was, above all, a completely successful movie. Could there be some even better version of it? Maybe. But here, director James Wan sets out to make a movie on his own terms (now that Aquaman has given him studio-cred) and he made the movie he wanted to make and, taken on its own terms, it absolutely holds up. If you can allow for most of Tarantino's on-screen masturbation you can certainly allow Wan to have this one go at it.

So, what is this movie about?
It begins with something frightening but vague happening at a remote medical facility in the middle of the night. Fast-forward some number of years and a young woman comes home from work, pregnant, to an abusive husband who knocks her unconscious. That night, their home is visited by a malevolent presence and the movie takes off as this presence "haunts" our heroine, Maddie, for the remainder of the film, dragging her along its violent path without explanation. And while Maddie, her sister Sidney, and the police try to understand and stop this bloody rampage, an imaginative Horror mystery unfolds.
If I am being vague, it is because it is fun to let this movie do its thing. The story may seem obvious at times and at others perplexing, but it is a fun story and Wan must have had a great time with this. While my initial notions of just what the hell was going on proved to be correct by the end (though I admit, my imagination did not go quite as far as Wan's did), the journey to get there took me through several periods of doubt and wondering and the way that Wan unravels this story really rewarded us all in the end. My friend Amy just loved it. I don't blame her, there was a lot to enjoy.
I will comment first on the lead actress, Annabelle Wallis, who I have never seen or heard of before, but who carries the narrative with a challenging performance. I mean, this is pretty crazy stuff to happen to a character and she keeps it grounded but also stretches out with real emotion at times. You need to sympathize with her character for this movie to work but the character must also be strong and she delivered on both fronts. Also, as in any Wan movie, you have to be able to convince the audience that a bunch of mumbo-jumbo should not invoke eye-rolling and she pulls this off. She's tough but also weak and she conveys real terror when it's needed.


But the star of this movie, clearly, is James Wan.
This really feels like his Tarantino movie and by that I do not mean that he copies Tarantino in any way other than saying, "It's ok for me to make a movie totally for fun where I take all homages to all the things I love in Horror and throw them in a blender then take whatever comes out and make it work." There are direct and indirect references to a number of directors here from more obvious Bava lighting references to Carpenter to another director that I will not name because it will give up the ghost, as it were, but you guys will know once you get to the end of the movie. Wan doesn't care if you think the character should really do that, or if that would really happen, or if this bit even totally makes sense because Argento and Fulci never cared and neither should you.
And that's what I would say about this movie. If you are willing to just take the ride with Bava, Argento, Fulci, Tarantino for that matter, like so many of us do, then give Wan the same license here because, whether you like all of his successful Horror films or not, he's better than most to begin with and now he really just stretches out and lets it fly. Yet unlike those directors he still delivers the story this time and it's a good one.
Is this a new favorite for me? I dunno, I'd probably need to watch it again, and maybe I'm just won over by someone with studio-backing trying to deliver something that's not so formulaic in the genre. But to dismiss this film, honestly, I think is to be disingenuous. I look forward to some discussion of this with people who generally don't like Wan as well as those who do and those, like me, who fall somewhere in the middle.



A system of cells interlinked
Yes!

My wife and I loved Malignant. For the first 10 minutes or so, I was thinking I wasn't going to be a fan of this movie, as Wan's aggressive direction and the kinetic camerawork had me thinking Wan had regressed to his Saw roots, and I am not a big fan of that flick or its many sequels. Alas, it didn't matter, because it pretty quickly became apparent that this was a whacky horror ride that, like some macabre roller coaster, just keep accelerating until it shoots the viewer off into a maelstrom of bonkers mayhem that had us laughing and cheering by the end of the movie. Wan's intent was clearly to entertain, and realism and suspension of disbelief be damned!
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Yes!

My wife and I loved Malignant. For the first 10 minutes or so, I was thinking I wasn't going to be a fan of this movie, as Wan's aggressive direction and the kinetic camerawork had me thinking Wan had regressed to his Saw roots, and I am not a big fan of that flick or its many sequels. Alas, it didn't matter, because it pretty quickly became apparent that this was a whacky horror ride that, like some macabre roller coaster, just keep accelerating until it shoots the viewer off into a maelstrom of bonkers mayhem that had us laughing and cheering by the end of the movie. Wan's intent was clearly to entertain, and realism and suspension of disbelief be damned!
Exactly. I think to dislike this film (given that one is a genre fan) you really just have to be an habitual Wan-hater who's just reflexively dissing on him or you just don't like fun.



Exactly. I think to dislike this film (given that one is a genre fan) you really just have to be an habitual Wan-hater who's just reflexively dissing on him or you just don't like fun.
Challenge accepted!
Just kidding. Yall are making quite a persuasive argument here. I'm hoping this is the first Wan film I can enjoy without qualifiers.



Given that Wan has yet to indicate he has even the slightest bit of originality in his films, and is potentially less a director than some kind of algorithm that hacks into the most obvious reflexes of every horror genre he tackles, I would suggest he might just be trying on another shoe with Malignant here.



No, I haven't seen it, but what I know of what he has previously done with the haunted house film (nothing), and how what he thought grindhouse revisionism needed was some Marilyn Manson video aesthetics (it didn't), I'm hoping throwing a bunch of random violence and absurdity at the screen isn't all he thinks a Lucio Fulci film is (of course it is).



Challenge accepted!
Just kidding. Yall are making quite a persuasive argument here. I'm hoping this is the first Wan film I can enjoy without qualifiers.
I like the movie, but I would say there are definite qualifiers, if like
me you have a strong aversion to the early 2000s style that the movie traffics in during its first act. (I feel like people sometimes forget
how bad that era was for studio horror movies.) But even that section is interesting in seeing Wan pour his not insignificant technical prowess into something most people would call "bad". It took me until the second act to really get into it, as at that point it was mixing up tropes with enough glee and actually matching the narrative thrust of the movie to its visceral style to work on its own giddy level.



Given that Wan has yet to indicate he has even the slightest bit of originality in his films, and is potentially less a director than some kind of algorithm that hacks into the most obvious reflexes of every horror genre he tackles, I would suggest he might just be trying on another shoe with Malignant here.



No, I haven't seen it, but what I know of what he has previously done with the haunted house film (nothing), and how what he thought grindhouse revisionism needed was some Marilyn Manson video aesthetics (it didn't), I'm hoping throwing a bunch of random violence and absurdity at the screen isn't all he thinks a Lucio Fulci film is (of course it is).
You will very likely not enjoy it (see my comments about the first act), but I find the comparisons to Fulci overblown. The rhythms are nothing alike even if they are similarly gruesome.*


I think a better comparison is The Happening, where a significant level of craft is being pumped into material this goofy.*Wan shows more self awareness than Shyamalan, which I suspect might ruin the fun for you.*



Anyway, James Wan ranked:


Conjuring
Conjuring 2
Malignant
Insidious
Aquaman
Insidious 2
Dead Silence
Furious 7


































































Saw



You will very likely not enjoy it (see my comments about the first act), but I find the comparisons to Fulci overblown. The rhythms are nothing alike even if they are similarly gruesome.*


I think a better comparison is The Happening, where a significant level of craft is being pumped into material this goofy.*Wan shows more self awareness than Shyamalan, which I suspect might ruin the fun for you.*

Hmm. I imagine I'll eventually see it, but only out of a sense of some kind of perverse obligation. I think it somewhat relieves me to minimize the Fulci ties though, because I think seeing that would have begun to annoy the intenstines right out of my mouth. At least as long as he mismanaged it the way I was imagining he would in my head.



I feel the comparisons between Shyamalan and Wan are generally the ones I agree with the most, as they both seem to not grasp the human element of horror very well. And then, similarly, try and hide this behind their relatively respectable levels of technical ability. Which is sometimes okay, but is particularly egregious with Shyamalan as his role model seems to be Spielberg, who does it better than most, and so it becomes all the more glaring.



But, oh, the happy accidental beauty of The Happening. *chefs kiss* A perfect marriage of his alien like creatures (otherwise known as human beings when in the hands of others) and a giantly stupid premise. Yes, his unawareness of this wonderful alignment of everything being wrong (but oh so right) is what allows it to work.



But I never get the sense that Wan is quite so removed from humanity to ever quite get there. Sure, he might only understand his characters as little more than chess pieces he transparently moves around for the necessities of the emotions and plot points he wants to articulate, but I at least believe he has been in a room alone with a person before. He's probably even made eye contact with a people. Which is obviously a handicap when you are hoping to reach The Happening like greatness.



I gave up scrolling through that whitespace, Rock, so I never got to see what you did there.



Given that Wan has yet to indicate he has even the slightest bit of originality in his films, and is potentially less a director than some kind of algorithm that hacks into the most obvious reflexes of every horror genre he tackles, I would suggest he might just be trying on another shoe with Malignant here.



No, I haven't seen it, but what I know of what he has previously done with the haunted house film (nothing), and how what he thought grindhouse revisionism needed was some Marilyn Manson video aesthetics (it didn't), I'm hoping throwing a bunch of random violence and absurdity at the screen isn't all he thinks a Lucio Fulci film is (of course it is).

In terms of movies that are trying to channel Fulci, have you seen The Dead and what did you think of it? I saw it years ago when I wasn't versed in Fulci, so I didn't really view it through the right lens.



In terms of movies that are trying to channel Fulci, have you seen The Dead and what did you think of it? I saw it years ago when I wasn't versed in Fulci, so I didn't really view it through the right lens.

I don't think I know of it, no. I'm finding one from 2010, but nothing about it seems familiar. And I'm pretty badly versed in horror films after 2000.