Sunday, February 22, 2009

Horror Movie Review: Teeth


Starring: Jess Weixler, John Hensley, Josh Pais, Hale Appleman, Lenny von Dohlen, and Ashley Springer

Written and Directed by: Mitchell Lichtenstein

Production Company: Teeth

Release Date: January 19, 2007 at the Sundance Film Festival

Awards: Mitchell Lichtenstein won a Special Jury Prize at the Gerardmer Film Festival and Jess Weixler won a Special Jury Prize for a Juicy and Jaw-Dropping Performance at the Sundance Film Festival.

Let's face it fellas...things are getting dangerous in the horror movie realm for the masculine members of the species and 2007 proved to be particularly dangerous. Both Storm Warning and Teeth debuted at the Cannes and Sundance film festivals respectively that year and both contained variations on the myth of vagina dentata...women with toothed vaginas. In Storm Warning, Nadia Fares's character creates a protective metal device to prevent her rape, but Jess Weixler's character Dawn has a bit more literal manifestation of the vagina dentata myth in Teeth.

Dawn a leading abstinence advocate in her town. She believes passionately in abstaining from sex until marriage, but when she meets new student Tobey, her dedication gets challenged as she starts to fantasize about him. Tobey is also trying to maintain abstinence as a born-again virgin, but during a moment in which he is overcome with sexual desire, he attempts to rape Dawn, shouting, "I haven't jerked off since Easter!" He finds out, however, there are worse things than not jerking off as Dawn's vagina teeth cut short his sexual assault.

As Dawn comes to grips with her vagina dentata, she seems doomed to encounter only asshole men including an immoral ob/gyn, another teen who loves her from afar, and her polar opposite step-brother. Each tries to take advantage of her, in some way, but finds that he's bitten off more than he can chew, so to speak.

Interestingly, Dawn grows to control her vagina dentata and embrace the power she now has over disreputable men. Jess Weixler is impressive in her ability to show Dawn's transformation from the innocent, virtuous girl to the strong, scary heroinne she becomes. She carries herself differently and her facial expressions change as the uncertain, uncomfortable looks become replaced by strength and determination.

Vagina dentata, as we learn in the movie, is found in several mythologies around the world and used to illustrate the dangers of sex and rape. It also maintained male dominance because inevitably a hero would come along and detooth the vagina and make the woman his wife. However, in Teeth with Dawn, the toothed one, as our hero, it alters the symbolism. And with Lichtenstein's twist that she grows to embrace her sexuality, it becomes less of a cautionary tale about sex. Lichtenstein's tale doesn't exactly promote abstinence since the abstinence group begins to look more and more like a cult with chanting and everything. Instead, Teeth reminds us the power of female sexuality and women should not fear it, but master it, lest men of the world master it for them.

The movie is very entertaining, although a bit slow in the beginning. It reflects the changes in Dawn, another sign that the tale is not anti-sex, but pro-sexual responsibility. The beginning is kind of dull, honestly, as we watch two awkward teenagers dance around their feelings for each other, but becomes more interesting as Dawn finds herself to explore her sexuality.

It is, as you can imagine, a dark comedy. You won't be laughing out loud, but you'll chuckle inside, especially once Dawn takes control of her life. And don't worry, the credits assure us that "No man was harmed in the making of this film."

Be careful out there, men. If movies like these are any indication, it's no longer a man's world. But at least it's entertaining.

Related Trailers

John Hensley featured in Shutter.

John Pais also stars in Scary Movie 3.

Lenny von Dohlen will appear in the upcoming sci-fi action thriller Downstream.

Asley Springer appears in the thriller Anamorph.

Storm Warning starring Nia Feres, with movie poster depicting her artificial vagina dentata.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Horror Movie Review Preview: Teeth

Coming Soon...Teeth. Still a stranger to her own body, a high school student discovers she has a physical advantage when she becomes the object of male violence. Dawn grows up in the shadow of a nuclear power plant. In high school, while her biology class studies evolution, she realizes she may have a hidden curse, an "adaptation." She lives with her mom, step-father, and hard-edged step-brother. She likes Tobey, a guy at school, and he likes her. She takes a pledge to remain chaste until marriage, so they date in groups, watch G-rated films, and don't kiss, but the power of teen hormones is great, so temptation beckons. Dawn has an admirer in Ryan, and when she breaks it off unexpectedly with Tobey, she turns to Ryan for help. Will he be her mythical hero and rescue her? Or can she find her way as her own hero, turning the curse into an asset?


Every rose has its thorns.

Starring Jess Weixler, John Hensley, Josh Pais, and Hale Appleman, Teeth won a Special Jury Prize at the GĂ©rardmer Film Festival and won a Dramatic Special Jury Prize for a juicy and jaw-dropping performance at the Sundance Film Festical.

Join us soon to see if Teeth has...bite.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

New Pinhead?

Pascal Laugier is planning on remaking Clive Barker's Hellraiser with a date around 2011 according to IMDB. Well, Gary Tunnecliffe worked make-up on Barker's Hellraiser for a while, but noticed he wasn't getting a call about the remake. Not to be discouraged, he went to work on his vision of a new Pinhead. Here he is...

Originally reported on

Monday, February 16, 2009

Horror Movie Review: The Devil's Chair

The Devil's Chair

Starring: Andrew Howard, David Gant, Louise Griffiths, Elize DuToit, and Matt Berry

Directed by: Adam Mason

Written by: Simon Boyes and Adam Mason

Production Companies: Renegade Worldwide and Brand Mason

Release Date: September 12, 2007

There's nothing better than sitting down with a horror movie having little to no expectation and discovering a film you thoroughly enjoy. Sitting down with The Devil's ChairSammy gets good chair., I had no expectation. I couldn't remember where I came across the title which prompted its inclusion in my Netflix queue. Doing research for my Preview post about this review, I didn't come across anything spectacular. I sat down figuring I was about to watch a shoot-by-numbers B-Movie horror. I was wrong...

Nick, played by Andrew Howard, and Sammy are a morally questionable couple who wander into the run-down remains of the Blackwater Asylum. There, high on acid, they discover a bizarre chair which becomes the seat of some sexual adventure...until...

Nick isWillard, annoyed he's being interrupted during his Porn Time. found later with Sammy's blood on him and the girl nowhere to be found. Despite claims that the chair killed her, Nick is determined to be guilty of her murder and insane. Nick is kept in an institution until Dr. Willard decides to use him as a case study to see what happens if he returns to the scene of the crime. Willard is joined by young assitants Melissa, Brett, and Rachel.

Each character views Nick differently. Dr. Willard, played by David Gant, sees Nick as a subject and it seems clear he's less interested in his recovery than he is with his book. Melissa, played by Louise Griffiths, is frightened of Nick, but she also seems slightly turned on by the taboo of a mental patient, but then she also clearly flirts with Brett and Dr. Willard at different points in the movie. Brett,Nick confronts his Chairophobia. played by Matt Berry, is the obnoxious jokster unable to take anything seriously and sees Nick as a threat, though not one to be...taken seriously. That leaves Rachel, played by Elize DuToit, who is the only one who wants to help Nick.

As the story progresses, we learn the history of the Blackwater Asylum, stereotypical of abandoned asylums throughout movie history, and in an attempt to show Nick that the events about the chair that he remembers are false, Rachel sits in the Devil's Chair. Soon, Rachel has disappeared into another demoniacal diminsion. And sRachel tells us, This Devil Chair can be yours...if the Price is Right!oon, by choice, force, or mistake, everyone has sat in the chair and find themselves running for their lives from a tentacled, hooded beast.

Admittedly, much of the first half of the movie is fairly standard fare, but Mason does a great job with atmosphere and the character of nick West, afraid of his insanity and judgemental of everyone makes for an interesting protagonist. But then Nick breaks the third-wall, talks to us the audience, and everything turns really interesting as we find out what's really going on.
Melissa likes the size of Nick's chair...Ok, that innuendo is off...
Nick speaks of the B-Movie horror films, saying, "As you can see it all got a bit silly at this point. Girl with her puppies out, demon, old banana in pajamas. Is this what I promised you? Are we prick teasing you enough? Are you full up? Is this what you came here to see, all my brothers? Look at this poorly written, badly acted bullshit! Is there any truth in this B-Movie banality? No! No, there is no truth, my friends. Believe no one. Believe nothing. I tell you what party people, you freaks and geeks, you bloodthirsty morons, fuck you! Bring on the red parade. So are there any pulses in the house? You deadbeat, midnight freak,geek-witted torture-porn gore whores! I know what you're looking for, so have it! Take it! Fare thee well and fuck you very much! Do you ever get the feeling you've been cheated?"
Rachel and her puppies
There are some problems with the big reveal leaving some questions and some things a little confusing, but entertaining nonetheless. The slightly light-hearted, partially whimsical end is just the silly icing onto of this fabulous B-Movie horror cake. I don't agree with Nick comments about "B-Movie banality" or "feeling...cheated," well, except the aforementioned "puppies" of Rachel's weren't really out. The one element missing is the B-Movie nudity. But still worth a rent.

Blackwater Asylum...Great Vacation Spot!
Related Trailers

Adam Mason reunited with Simon Boyes and called back Andrew Howard for the upcoming release Blood River.

Andrew Howard previously starred in the very good submarine horror film, Below. The video and audio are little off. I couldn't find a better video.

David Gant also appeared in Romasanta, aka Werewolf Hunter - Legend of Romasanta. The film won 3rd place for Best International Film at the Fant-Asia Film Festival. Gant will also appear in the 2009 German release Beyond Remedy. An international group of medical students takes part in a seminar on fear - with deadly results. Trailer available here.

The Devil's Chair was Louise Griffiths first film, but she's got three in the works already including the Revenant. Here's a scene from the upcoming release.

Matt Berry also stars in Moon, currently making the indy circuit and coming to the US in June for limited release.

Pollyanna Rose, who appears briefly as Nick's girlfriend Sammy, also appeared briefly in Turistas.

John Mason's first film, co-directing with Jonty Acton, is 13th Sign.

Simon Boyes's first writing credit was The Devil's Chair, but he and Mason followed it with Broken, which Boyes co-directed.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Romantic Horromedy

In today's "Secret Asian Man", Hollywood's inability to do much more than remakes of past hits is criticized, and rightly so.

I don't know about an animated kung-fu documusical, but if romantic horromedy sounds like something you're interested in, be sure to check out My Dead Girlfriend.

Steve (Brett Kelly, who also directs) has a wonderful relationship with his girlfriend, Amy (Caitlin Delaney) -- until he accidentally backs over her with his car and kills her. Desperate not to lose his great love, he uses an ancient book of magic to revive her. Unfortunately, she comes back to life as a flesh-eating zombie. Now, Steve must keep his neighbors from discovering the truth -- and keep Amy from eating his friends!

I've not kept my dislike of Shaun of the Dead because of its inability to balence the admittedly difficult, contrasting tones of horror and comedy. My Dead Girlfriend, on the other hand, maintains the comedic tone throughout and is very entertaining. And as with romantic comedies, the ending is an extent.

So be sure to rent My Dead Girlfriend for your romantic zomedy fix. It may be after Valentine's Day, but it's never to late to share a romantic, zombie horromedy with your loved one.