Saturday, March 20, 2010

"I Shot Him Six Times!" or Halloween II (1981)

In this era of The Horror Remake, it's sometimes easy to forget that there was once a time before Rob Zombie was taking giant dumps all over an iconic baddie like Michael Myers. But there was indeed a time in history when we weren't supposed to feel sorry for Michael because his mom was a stripper and nobody took him trick or treating as a child. No, this old school Michael put on his William Shatner mask and killed just because he is eeeeviiiil, and that's what made him scary.

In 1978, John Carpenter created Halloween, and audiences were scared shitless, and he saw that it was good. But lo, Halloween suffered from the debilitating disease of No-Sequel-Itis. In the early 80s, no doubt inspired by the swimming pools full of money that Friday The 13th and its first sequel had brought home, the executive bigwigs over at Universal were like "We should totally get in on this shit." And so, in 1981, Halloween II was born.

I find it incredibly delicious to think that they hired somebody to add two words to the first movie's tagline and slap it on the poster there.

Halloween II picks up right where the first one left off, even backtracking a bit to show Laurie Strode's final showdown with Michael Myers and Dr. Samuel Loomis shooting him. Michael, of course, gets up completely unperturbed from the bullets that have just riddles his body. Because he is the very picture of eeeeeevil. And then we have opening credits.

Cut to Michael's POV as he watches Loomis bark at the police for a bit ("I shot him SIX TIMES!!!!!!!") and then stalks his way into the home of the Elrods, an elderly couple. Mrs. Elrod is preparing sandwiches and asks her husband, Harold, if he would enjoy mayonnaise on his. Harold, a product of the old days in which women were expected to always be able to read their man's mind when it comes to condiments, doesn't answer her. Mrs. E. spreads mayo on his sandwich anyway. God help her if he didn't want it. While she is distracted watching a conveniently placed newscast recapping the body count from the first movie, Michael sneaks into the kitchen and steals her sandwich makin' knife. Harold isn't going to be pleased. Mrs. E. finally reaches for the knife and her fingers brush a spot of blood that Michael left in his wake. She screams.

Meanwhile, next door, a teenage girl named Alice has heard Mrs. Elrod screaming and pokes her head outside to yell "Are you alright?" Receiving no answer, she assumes all is well and goes back to her phone conversation. Good going, Alice. What if the Elrods are laying in a pool of their own blood and can't answer you? They're not, but what if they were? I'm glad you aren't my neighbor.

Alice reports to her friend on the other end of the phone that she was just checking out some mysterious screaming. She deduces that Harold has perhaps grown weary of Mrs. E.'s nagging at him and has decided to start beating her. And Alice doesn't think that this is a problem. Alice's friend tells her about the babysitter massacre that just occurred down the street and Alice barely has time to react to this news when Michael sneaks up on her and jams his knife into her jugular. This makes absolutely no sense, as it is out of character for him. In the first movie, he basically only killed the people he had to in order to get to Laurie, yes? Thus, killing Alice serves no purpose whatsoever. But I digress. Body Count: 1

The po'po have gathered at the house where Laurie was babysitting earlier. She is being carted out on a stretcher, wearing the worst wig ever to disgrace the silver screen. For serious. Take a look at this handy comparison. On the left is Laurie in the first film. On the right is her in this movie, which takes place on the same night:

Wow. I have no words. So, moving on, Laurie is being transported to the hospital. Cut to the outside of the hospital. A woman is seen taking her kid inside because, I think, the kid has bitten into a razor blade that was in his candy. Cute. Also, WTF does that have to do with anything? It's really random. Laurie arrives at the hospital and begs the doctor not to put her to sleep. He does. He also opts not to have armed guards stationed by her door, even though she is being pursued by a knife wielding maniac who is still at large. Gotta love movie logic.

Loomis and Sheriff Brackett are driving around and come across somebody dressed exactly like Michael, mask and all. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that this probably isn't our guy. Nevertheless, Loomis and Brackett start to chase this person down when all of a sudden, a police car comes zooming down the street at 1200 miles an hour and runs the guy over. The question of why a police car is going such an outrageous speed on a residential street where he knows children are trick or treating is best left unpondered, as it will give you a headache. The point is, Faux Michael is caught between the police car and a van, both of which are on fire. Another police officer comes running up to Sheriff Brackett and tells him that his daughter's body was among those found in the house of horrors. So, no time just yet to figure out the identity of Faux Michael.

After yet another scene with the woman and Junior Razorblade (seriously, this woman must have slept with the director or something, because this whole little subplot is extremely irrelevant), we cut to some hospital staffers watching a news report on the murders and tsk tsking. Jimmy, the young paramedic who attended to Laurie in the ambulance, comes into her room to flirt. Because the best time to flirt is always when the other person is recovering from multiple stab wounds. Laurie seems to be going for it though, so go figure.

Outside the murder house, Sheriff Brackett leaves Loomis on his own to go home and mourn his daughter's death. The police are fairly certain that the guy who just burned to death was Michael and are ready to be all "Yay, he's dead." Loomis, of course, knows better and tells them so. An officer asks what they should do then, and Loomis launches into a monologue as only he can, dramatically stating that Michael is eeeeeeeeviiiiil. Hey Loomis, how's about you shut up and just help the police, ok?

So, where exactly is Michael while all of this is going on? Here it is almost half an hour into this movie and we've barely seen him. Michael, it turns out, is strolling through the streets of Haddonfield as leisurely as a daisy blowing in the breeze on a summer's day. One would think that the townspeople would see him carrying his knife and, you know, start screaming and running for the hills, but they don't. Michael comes across a conveniently placed sign that says "Haddonfield Memorial Hospital," with an arrow pointing him in the right direction. Well isn't that just quaint and dandy. All that's missing is for him to tip his hat and stroll away humming Singin' In The Rain with a piece of straw in his mouth. He reaches his destination awfully quickly, as 20 seconds later we see him walking right past the security cameras and into the hospital. The guy who is supposed to be watching the monitors doesn't notice, of course, because he is a slasher cliche.

In the hospital break room, we are formally introduced to the victims we will watch die within the next hour, and a lame attempt at "character development" is done for each of them. A young nurse named Karen, who arrives to work late and who is presumably the hospital whore. Another nurse named Janet, who hates when people swear. A dude named Budd who swears just to piss Janet off. This is the extent of their characters. Jimmy stands in the corner brooding over Laurie. He decides to go and visit her long enough to tell her that it was Michael Myers who was after her. Laurie is shocked to hear this, as she assumed that damn Myers guy was locked away in an asylum.

Michael, meanwhile, is wandering around the hospital's basement. This hospital, by the way, is practically deserted except for our motley crew of staffers, Laurie, and some babies in the maternity ward. It is also dark as shit. I have been inside my share of hospitals at nighttime, and not only does every light stay ablaze, but never are there less than two dozen doctors/nurses walking around exchanging medical jargon with each other. Especially in the juvenile ward. Shenanigans, Halloween II. Shenanigans.

Well, anyway. Michael is wandering around undetected. Janet Who Doesn't Like Swears and Mr. Garrett, the security guard, have gone to investigate why the phones are mysteriously not working. Mr. Garrett figures out that someone has broken into the storage room and yells through his walky talky for Janet to get the police. Unfortunately, nobody ever taught Janet how to use a walky talky, because she only fiddles with it and complains "I don't know how to use this thing!" Seriously? Pressing a button and talking into the microphone is beyond your skill level?

As Janet struggles to understand the genius behind the walky talky, Mr. Garrett opens a door and 9 million boxes come crashing down on his head. I would love to think that Michael took the time to set that up, because it makes me giggle. Eventually, Mr. G. runs into Mikey, who has apparently grown bored with his butcher knife and has decided to do Garrett in with a hammer instead. Body Count: 2 Back in the dark, deserted hallway, Janet is still trying to figure out her walky talky. Thankfully, she gives up and stalks back to her post.

At the coroner's office, the identity of Faux Michael is still being determined. The coroner informs Loomis and the police that nothing will be certain until dental records and x-rays have been checked. Obviously, that just won't do. The decision is made to assume Michael is still alive, and the police head back out, where they come across an actual angry mob throwing rocks at the Myers homestead. All that's missing are pitchforks and torches. I'm not sure exactly what these people are hoping to accomplish, because Michael is clearly not in there. Maybe they're hoping that he will come home, see the damage done to the house, shake his head, sigh, and think "Why do I do it? Why do I alienate myself from the mainstream? I should change from now on."

Loomis launches into another variation of the only monologue about Michael that he knows (key phrases such as "eeeevil," "Halloween," and "not human" intermixed with various mumblings). This dramatic speech is interrupted by two Haddonfield teens, who say that they're awfully worried about their friend, Ben Traymer. Ben, you see, has not been seen since he left a Halloween party a few hours ago. And he had a "stupid mask" on. Gee, do you think Faux Michael could possibly be Ben? Me too. Loomis agrees with me. Let's see what's going on at the hospital in the meantime.

Nurse Karen has decided that the babies in the maternity ward can just fend for themselves, and she heads on down to the basement to have a soak in the therapeutic hot tub with Budd. Across the hall, Laurie is having a dream/flashback about learning, at the age of 10 or so, that she was adopted. She also remembers visiting Michael in the sanitarium, and presumably knowing that he is her brother. *Gasp!* Like you didn't know. Since Laurie is apparently aware that she is related to Mikey, it makes the earlier scene where she refers to him as "That kid who killed his sister" more than a little bit odd. But anyway. Karen and Budd are enjoying the hot tub downstairs. Naturally, Michael is lurking in the shadows and is wondering how on earth he is going to kill them. I mean, really. Butcher knives are soooo '78. No, this kill really needs to sparkle. Behold, my children....the hot tub temperature gauge:

Pay extra attention to the right side of the gauge that's colored all red. Although it may be hard to make out in that picture, there's no doubt as to what it says on my TV screen right now. It says "Scalding" and it goes up to way more than the posted limit of 100 degrees. What. The. Hell. I feel I must ask...why oh why does a hot tub for humans possess a setting for scalding? That seems like it would just be a major lawsuit waiting to happen, wouldn't you agree? Unless they make hard boiled eggs in there during off hours. Yes, that must be it. But back on topic, Michael is slowly turning the temperature up. Karen makes Budd get out to check the gauge, where he is quickly eliminated (Body Count: 3), as Michael hardly has the time to creatively kill the men. No, the best kills are always reserved for the ladies. He stalks up to Karen, who does the cliche thing of mistaking him for her boyfriend. Michael lets her suck on his fingers for a bit before grabbing her head and stuffing it right into the scalding water. Gore isn't skimped on here, as the water spectacularly melts Karen's flesh right off. Ouchies. Body Count: 4

Back to Dr. Loomis and Co. A nurse from the Smith's Grove Sanitarium catches up to them and informs Loomis that he is to return to SGS immediately because he has severely fucked up this whole Michael Myers thing. Oh dear. Cut back to the hospital, where Jimmy The Paramedic has stolen back into Laurie's room to make a heartfelt speech about how he's never going to let anything happen to her. Aaaw. Too bad Laurie didn't hear any of it, because she has had a reaction to her medication and is catatonic.

Jimmy summons help, and Nurse Janet runs down the hall to Dr. Mixter's office, as he is clearly the only doctor in the entire hospital. He is also as dead as Winona Ryder's career after that unfortunate shoplifting incident. Body Count: 5. Janet barely has time to react to this when Michael ambushes her with a syringe to the eyeball. Body Count: 6. Whoever is playing Michael here tries his best to do the little head tilt thing from the first movie and make it just as creepy. He fails. Tell me that doesn't look like a sad clown:

Jimmy has grown tired of waiting for that useless Janet to return with Dr. Mixter and goes in search of the head nurse, Nurse Alves, which leaves Laurie's room unattended. Michael creeps in with a scalpel at the ready. He's going to finally murder Laurie and damn if anything is going to stop him now. Oops...not so fast there, Mikey. Take a look under the covers. Go on, look. LOOK I said! See? You've been stabbing nothing but mattress, because Laurie is gone. HA. Also, what? I thought she was comatose, unless maybe she was merely pretending for some reason. I dunno. Just go with it. Laurie stumbles her way across the hospital and attempts to phone for help. I guess she didn't get the memo about the phones being out. Time for Plan B. Jimmy and a nurse named Jill have suddenly realized that the hospital's staff of utter morons are all gone and they're mysteriously alone. Jimmy is all "We have to find Laurie!!!!!" and his brilliant plan is for he and Jill to split up and search separate wings of No Lights Memorial Hospital. This should turn out well.

Jimmy's search turns up the body of Nurse Alves, who has been given the IV drip of death (Body Count: 7). As he turns around to leave, he slips in her blood and falls right on his head. Good job. Jill, meanwhile, has opted to get the hell out of Dodge and is scurrying across the parking lot to her car. But oh noes...her engine won't start! And every last car in the parking lot has flat tires! Whatever you do, Jill, I definitely wouldn't run back into the...goddammit. I said NOT to go back into the hospital. *Sigh* Jill happens to run right into Laurie's path and implores her to stop stumbling away from her. Laurie turns around just in time to see Michael lift Jill up off the floor by sheer force of his scalpel. Body Count: 8. And it's ON.

Laurie can run really well all of a sudden for someone who was stumbling mere seconds earlier. She runs and runs until she reaches the basement, where Michael has conveinently laid out the bodies of all the victims. I'm rather confused as to when he had the time to do this, but I'll go with it. He catches up with Laurie, who quite conveniently manages to hail the elevator just in the nick of time to escape. She exits the elevator like a bat out of hell and hauls ass out of the hospital and into the parking lot.

Cut to Loomis being escorted back to Smith's Grove with the nurse lady. He begins one of his patented Dramatic Loomis Monologues, but she interrupts him and informs him that there is a SECRET FILE on Michael Myers that was so super duper SECRET that nobody ever knew about it, because it was such a SECRET. And the best thing about secrets is secretly telling someone your secret, thereby adding another secret to their secret collection of secrets, secretly. Ahem. Anyway. According to the SECRET FILE, Laurie is Michael's sister. Um, wow. I would totally be astonished, except for the fact that they pretty much already revealed this information thirty minutes ago via Laurie's flashback. So...yeah. Loomis convinces the driver to turn the car around and go to the hospital, by way of firing a gun near the driver's head. Loomis is awesome.

Laurie is hiding in a car when who should appear but Jimmy The Paramedic. He assures her that he will get her out of here, and then he faints right on top of the horn, providing Michael with a loud, blaring signal as to their whereabouts.'re full of fail. Laurie manages to pry him off the steering wheel and tries to start the car. It won't start. She has the good fortune to stumble out of the car right as Loomis and Co. are walking into the hospital, but wastes this stroke of luck by waiting to scream for help until they're already inside. Good job, Laurie.

She finally gets her wits about her and pounds on the hospital doors. They let her in, but Michael is right on her ass and just barges through the glass doors because he is made of badassery. Loomis is ready with a gun and shoots Michael down, not that it worked before. And guess what? It didn't work this time either. As the cab driver/police officer bends down to get reeeeally close to Michael's face, Mikey sits right up and slashes the hell out of the dude's throat. Body Count: 9. Idiot. Everyone knows you never get right up in the killer's face when you think he's dead. Because he never is.

Anyhoo, Loomis and Laurie must now run. And run they do, as Michael slowly stalks them like he's got all the time in the world. Loomis shoves his gun in Michael's face, and Michael responds by shoving his scalpel into Loomis' stomach. Score one for Michael, I suppose. Laurie has had quite enough of Michael's shit tonight and shoots him right between the eyes. As Michael hilariously swings his scalpel blindly at Laurie, Loomis gets up and blows up an oxygen tank, totally annihilating the entire wing of the hospital they're in. Never mind that there might be patients in that wing, or anything. The important thing is, Michael and Loomis are both dead. Until we get to Halloween 4, that is, when they are both miraculously resurrected because it turns out that you can't slap the title Halloween 3 on a movie that's not in any way, shape, or form about Michael Myers and expect a great box office return. But that will be another blog for another day. Body Count: 11. Roll credits and get Mr. Sandman stuck in my head for the rest of the night. Thanks.

I would be lying if I said I didn't love the entire Halloween franchise, faults and all. So here's to you, Halloween II, for being such a delicious slice of the slasher era of old.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

"It's Four Years Later...What Does She Remember?" or The Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977)

Picture it. Movie theaters everywhere, 1973. People are lined up around the freaking block in the middle of winter, excitedly waiting for their turn to witness the phenomenon known as The Exorcist. Once inside, the movie has such a powerful effect on them that they lose their shit and start a grandiose display of fainting and vomiting, the likes of which have never been seen before (or since, really). That's how full of awesome The Exorcist is. It's the kind of film that really doesn't need a sequel.

So naturally, they made a sequel. 1977 saw the release of what is quite possibly the worst horror sequel of all time. I speak, of course, about The Exorcist II: The Heretic.

This movie takes everything you loved about the original Actually, no. It doesn't take anything at all that you loved about the original. My mistake. What I meant to say was, it takes elements that tie it to the first film (Linda Blair! Priests! Possession!) and mixes it with a bunch of stuff that makes no effing sense (Everything else!). All of these things are put into a big ol' pot of fail and stirred until frothy. Seriously, this one of the most confusing movies I have ever seen, not to mention the most insulting excuse for a horror sequel ever. Let's begin, shall we? You'll know it's time to turn the page when you hear the chimes ring like this: *CHIIIIIING*

The movie opens with, of course, an opening credits sequence, set to what I first mistook to be the most horrible "WAAAAAAAH WAAAAAAAAH" music that had ever disgraced my ears. It was actually the sounds of a woman possessed. So I'll let it slide. This is where we are introduced to Father Lamont, this movie's answer to Father Karras. Lamont is played by Richard Burton, although the exact same performance could have been handed in by a wooden log. Anyway. He tries to perform an exorcism on the possessed chick, but she catches fire. Lamont looks only mildly disquieted at the flaming ball of human in front of his face.

The film then switches gears and reunites us with Regan MacNeil, four years after her possession by the demon Pazuzu. Get used to the name Pazuzu, because you will hear it approximately 65,398 times before this movie is finished. Regan has taken up tap dancing and shows off her mad dancing skills for the benefit of the sax player who's trying to flirt with her from in front of the stage. After that, she goes to her appointment with her therapist, Dr. Gene Tuskin (Louise Fletcher). While Gene asks Regan what she remembers from four years ago (supposedly not a thing), I wonder why exactly a therapist's office is equipped with glass walls. Seems like it would squelch the whole privacy factor, wouldn't you say?

Gene shows Regan some mechanical doo-hickey that she says they can use together, and it will make them "very relaxed, and very comfortable." My inner eleven year old finds that funny. Especially when Regan's reply is "I don't think you're ready for it." Haha. Ok, anyway, the machine supposedly will erase all the nightmares Regan has been having lately. Meanwhile, Father Lamont is being asked by the Catholic church to investigate the details of Regan's exorcism leading up to the death of Father Merrin.

He starts by paying a visit to Gene, hoping to interview Regan before she leaves. Gene tells him that she would rather not dredge up any memories right now lest Regan become suicidal with guilt over the deaths of three people. Regan herself pops in and suggests they try the hypnosis machine thingy the next day, and an invitation is extended to Lamont to "help." Oh goody.

That night, at home, Regan pretends to be able to bend a spoon with her mind in order to freak out Sharon, her nanny from the first movie. Regan's mom is off filming a movie somewhere and is therefore not present, presumably because Ellen Burstyn took one look at the script for this thing and, after laughing her ass off, told the producers to get off her property and never come back. Or at least, that's how I would like to imagine it went. Anyway, Regan fakes out Sharon with the spoon. Joke or not, after what Sharon witnessed in the first film, I'm surprised she doesn't run screaming from the house at the mere notion that Regan might have superhuman abilities again.

The next day comes and it's time to try out the hypnosis machine. Gene explains that the two headband things attached to the machine are synchronized with each other and will allow Gene to enter Regan's memories. Um...ok. Sure. Regan is hypnotized and is asked a series of questions by Lamont about her exorcism, at which point Gene begins to freak out. Regan takes off her headband and Lamont jams it onto his head, insisting that he knows exactly the way to get Gene out of hypnosis. This whole scene is incredibly stupid. I'm not even going to mention the fact that Regan is huddled around Gene with her hand on her chest. Oops. Guess I just did.

Inside Gene's view of Regan's memory, Lamont sees a reenactment of what happened right before Father Merrin's death. While Max von Sydow reprises his role in this little replay, Linda Blair does not, reportedly because she refused to ever wear the possession makeup again. Really? It didn't seem to bother you when you did Repossessed, did it Linda? But I digress. Possessed Regan is portrayed by some other chick. She and Real Regan play tug of war with Gene's heart (literally), and I have completely checked out of this scene. Long story short (too late!), everybody comes out of hypnosis.

Gene and Lamont have a discussion about what just happened, while Regan draws a picture of Lamont on fire. This freaks Lamont out and he starts frantically looking for things that are on fire. Eventually, he and Gene discover a box in the basement that is, indeed, on fire. While Gene rushes to call the fire department, Lamont attempts to beat away the fire with a wooden stick.

I don't think you heard me.

He tries beating the FIRE with a WOODEN STICK. I'll give you a minute to let that sink in.

Gene hangs up the phone and walks over carrying a big-ass fire extinguisher. That she had to walk past in order to reach the phone to call the fire department. And then, using that very extinguisher, she puts the entire fire out in like 3 seconds. So...WTF was the point of calling? The building is evacuated (over a small basement fire that's been put out? That seems a bit extreme). Lamont finishes puffing away at an oxygen mask and informs Gene that the hypnosis thingymajig has made him realize that Regan still has demonic forces buried deep within her. Wonderful.

Speaking of Regan, she is having quite the terrible night's sleep. Evil sounding voices call out to her and are like "Come fly with us!" We then segue into the dream she is having about a quaint little African village where a giant locust is flying around. I'm sure this has some deep, important meaning, but hell if I can figure out what that might be. Then a swarm of locusts descend upon the villagers while some dude is carrying another dude on his shoulders, and I am extremely confused. Meanwhile, Regan gets up and sleepwalks out to her balcony and wakes up just in time to discover that she is about 1/8 of an inch from becoming a squishy, red mess on the street below.

She screams and Sharon comes running. She finds Regan on the balcony calmly playing with some doves. Ooook then. Sharon lets Regan know that she won't be home when Regan returns home from school that day, as she'll be taking a jaunt over to the Georgetown house from the first movie to take care of some things that Mrs. MacNeil couldn't be bothered with. Who thinks something evil will go down when Sharon arrives there? Me too.

Sharon arrives at the Georgetown house of horrors and looks sadly down the concrete steps where Burke Dennings and Father Karras suffered their bloody demises in the first movie. Father Lamont meets her and they head inside the house and discuss what happened during the exorcism. Sharon recites a monologue about how she stayed away from Regan for awhile after the exorcism because she was afraid of her (as would I), but came back because she discovered that being near Regan gives her a sense of peace. Interesting. She asks Lamont why that might be, and Lamont is like "Have you tried talking to a priest?" Um, Lamont? Are you not a priest? And is she not talking to you at this very moment? Idiot. Sharon agrees with me, retorting with "I'm talking to one now, aren't I?" HAHA. Lamont enters Regan's old bedroom and there's a giant locust hovering in there, presumably the same one from Regan's dream. Lamont prays at the foot of the bed, and scene. That's it? Really? That sucks. I was expecting something more..not boring. But whatever.

Back at Gene's office, she and Lamont exchange uninteresting, unimportant bits of dialogue about nothing in particular, until Gene asks him if he ever "needs a woman." What a question to ask a priest. I'm not sure which is more unintentionally hilarious; her question or his matter-of-fact reply of "Yes." As though she had asked him if he takes sugar in his coffee or something. The acting. It burns. Thankfully, Regan pops in and it's time again to use the hypnosis whatchamacallit.

This time, it is Regan and Lamont sporting the stylish hypno-headbands. Gene asks Regan if she remembers dreaming of Father Merrin and Regan says she does. What? When did she dream of Father Merrin? All I saw in that stupid dream of hers were locusts and African villagers. Then again, I get the feeling that continuity was pretty low on the director's list of priorities, far beneath more important items like "foreboding music in situations that don't call for it" and "Making sure Linda Blair walks around in every scene clearly not wearing a bra." Anyhoodle, Regan and Lamont delve together into more of her dream, which really is inhabited by Merrin now. Merrin is watching some sort of ritual take place involving a young boy with "special powers" whom Merrin believes is causing the locust swarms because of his inherent goodness. Then Merrin runs across a field to the boy, who is laying down in a state of possession. We know he is possessed because he is wearing yellow contact lenses.

The demon inside the boy informs Merrin that his name is Pazuzu. We then cut back to reality, where Lamont repeats the name in a bored manner. He repeats the name Pazuzu several times. Pazuzu sounds funnier and funnier the more times you say it in a row. Try it. Pazuzu Pazuzu Pazuzu. Back to Regan's dream, some more weird shit goes on, including the boy/demon causing some guy to fall off a cliff at 2 miles an hour. What wonderful cinematography. Merrin attempts to perform an exorcism on the boy, which is successful, it would appear. Via voice over, Lamont and what I assume to be the voice of Pazuzu have a conversation wherein Lamont is like "Haha, Merrin beat you" and Pazuzu is all "Whatevah, I could totally reclaim that boy again if I so chose." And then Pazuzu takes Lamont on "a journey" to prove his macho demon power. This "journey" consists of a series of shots of just....stuff, for a solid minute. It culminates in a shot of James Earl Jones in tribal garb, growling like a wild cat. I bet he leaves this movie off his resume. I would.

Back in real life, Gene has turned off the hypno-whatsit. Regan and Lamont emerge from their trances and Regan is dismissed. Instead of leaving, Regan wanders around the lobby of the therapy building and comes across a little girl played by Dana Plato. She tries to strike up a conversation with her by asking her what her deal is. Little Dana replies that she is autistic and Regan is like "???" so Little Dana elaborates, informing Regan that she can't talk. Regan points out that she IS talking and Little Dana looks astonished. She then asks Regan what her deal is, to which Regan replies, "I was possessed by a demon. It's ok, he's gone." LMAO. At this point, Little Dana's mom comes in and LD points to Regan and is all "Mom, know what happened to her?"

Little Dana's mom is understandably shocked at hearing her daughter speak for the first time in ever and starts crying tears of joy. Curiously, she opts not to rush over to her daughter and instead runs over to the receptionist behind the front desk. Little Dana has to go over to Mom herself, at which point the two of them hug and then rush off so Dad can hear her talk as well. Gene asks Regan what the hell just happened, and Regan is like "Nothing." Then she asks Gene if maybe she can start helping out with the other children patients. Gene is like "No effing way" and warns Regan that messing with other people's minds is dangerous. personally, I think there's only so much damage Regan could do by simply striking up friendly conversations with people, but whatever.

After Regan leaves, Lamont points out to Gene that Regan got inside Little Dana's head and caused her to start talking, to which Gene is like "Whatever, you ridiculous man." Lamont tells her not to hide behind science, and that they must find the demon that still resides inside Regan. Gene tells Lamont to stay away from Regan because she's had just about enough of his demon obsession and Lamont retorts, in his usual bored manner, "I'm not obsessed. I'm not." Really? What exactly is the point of all this demon-chasing then?

Later, as Father Lamont strolls around inside a natural history museum, he runs right into Regan. They discuss the theory some French priest came up with years ago about ESP and how someday the whole world would develop it, and how Father Merrin believed this theory, and something or other about Satan. I dunno, I checked out a couple of times during Lamont's uninspired monologue. Eventually, they stop walking when they come across a diorama of the same African locale of Regan's dream. Lamont theorizes that if he can track down the now grown boy from the dream (that would be James Earl Jones), then maybe he can figure out how to defeat Pazuzu, and I'm still lost as hell. In short, a trip to Africa is in order. He explains his need for a trip to the cardinal, who tells him that he will not allow it officially, and also tells Lamont he is officially off the investigation into Merrin's death and is to have no more contact with Regan. Well hell.

Cut to Regan standing on her balcony. Then cut to Lamont in Africa, in the same place where the one guy fell slowly in Regan's dream. He barges into some sort of ritual in progress. I zoned out for much of it, but I did gather that Lamont drank more than his share of communion wine, and I got a good giggle out of their giant communion cookie:

Back on Regan's balcony, Gene pays her a visit. Regan asks Gene to let her use the hypnothingy to go in sync with Lamont so she can "help" him. I'm not sure exactly how this will help him, but I'll go with it. Gene says no. In Africa, Lamont has a meeting with the Abbot to discuss the time Merrin visited. The Abbot tells him that there was a "devil wind" that knocked a guy off a cliff where he fell to his death (this is the guy we saw falling sloooooowly in Regan's dream), and his body was never found because of dust or something. Lamont tells them they looked in the wrong spot and that the body is somewhere over there (and he points), and I'm more confused than ever. He begins to descend down a cliff to prove that he's right. All of a sudden, we cut to Regan in a sparkly tuxedo performing a tap dancing number with several other people, also in tuxedos.

Back in Africa, Lamont has found the body of the dude, right where he said it would be. The Abbot and the other holy men are all "How did he know the body was there????" and Lamont tells him that the guy was killed by Pazuzu and that he knew the body was there because he personally took a journey with the demon. Naturally, this information freaks out the holy men just a tad, and they call him a devil worshiper and begin to beat the crap out of him and throw stones at him. At the same time this is happening, Regan's tap dancing is interrupted when she begins to suffer the same torments that Lamont is experiencing. Almost as though they are PSYCHICALLY LINKED. Hmmm. Regan ends up convulsing on the floor while Sharon looks on with that simpering whiny look of hers. Backstage, she sits by Regan's side as Gene plunges a needle into her to sedate her. Apparently, all therapists must carry needles full of sedatives with them at all times, just in case.

Back in Africa, Lamont is meeting with a French nun and asking if she knows where he might find the mysterious land of mud he saw in Regan's dream/vision/whatever the fuck it was. She doesn't, but fortunately at that very moment, Ned Beatty lands a plane outside and tells Lamont that he does indeed know where this land might be found. At this point, I give up trying to understand this stupid movie. It's nothing but a giant mind fuck.

Ned flies Lamont to the MudLands via his plane, and Lamont asks somebody there if they know where he might find James Earl Jones. They don't. Lamont continues to search the city while, back in New York, Gene tucks Regan into bed in her office of the glass walls. Cutting BACK to Lamont (and I have to admit, I'm growing tired of looking at him because he's fucking boring), he is still wandering around looking for James Earl when he comes across a group of men who say they will lead him in the right direction. It looks like they intend to mug him or beat him up or something, but instead they just lead him to a nude woman and point out her boobs and laugh. This movie has officially crossed the line into fucktarded. Meanwhile, Regan breaks free from her IV, because she's a rebel from the wrong side of the tracks. Lamont enters into his 1800th hour wandering around Africa and asks God for help in locating James Earl. Cut to Regan in bed in her hypnosis state calling out to Lamont, despite the fact that she isn't, as far as I can tell, hooked up to the hypnowhatsit.

Lamont gives the fuck up and asks Pazuzu himself for help in locating JEJ. I would argue that it would make no sense for Pazuzu to help him find somebody who holds the power to defeat demons. It works though, because lo and behold he makes his way to JEJ, who is dressed like a giant locust. They talk, and JEJ says something about Lamont having to rip our Regan's heart or something. I'm sorry, this movie is getting stupider and stupider by the moment and I'm just not sure how much more I can take. Anyway, Lamont falls onto some spikes or whatever and wakes up with James Earl standing over him dressed in a lab coat. I'm fucking confused. What the hell just happened? Was that a dream? How can I effectively track down all those responsible for this movie and get them into one place so I may torture them, so they can suffer as I have suffered? These are all perplexing questions.

Scientist James Earl shows Lamont his collection of locusts and warns him that there is no help once a locust's wings have brushed you. Whatever the fuck that means. Then he shows Lamont a new breed of locust that has been specially bred to resist wing brushing, and I don't even fucking know anymore. At last, at long last, we focus back on Regan. Just in time, as I'm not sure how much more I could have stood of Lamont standing there like a bored statue reciting his lines off a cue card. Regan is collecting her shit and preparing to escape from Gene's institution. And she's taking the hypno-whatever with her.

Gene finds out that Regan has skipped town and contacts Sharon, who answers the door to find Father Lamont dressed in a leisure suit. She yells at him to get out. Cut to Regan, waiting for him in the natural history museum, armed with the hypno machine thingy. He arrives and they discuss the need to remove her inner evil. They check into a no-tell motel and set up the hypnothingymabob. Once again, we enter a flashback from the first movie. Merrin, in voiceover, informs Lamont that he entrusts Regan's soul to him and yadda yadda yadda. Then Merrin is teleported to Africa somehow. Regan turns off the machine and Lamont woodenly makes his way toward the train station, with Regan following close behind. It seems there is work that must be done in Georgetown.

Regan calls Gene to tell her she's sorry and that she left the hypno-thing in the motel. On the train, she asks Lamont for money to pay their fare and he doesn't answer her. So she starts going through his wallet, and when the conductor tries to ask what the hell she thinks she's doing, Lamont is like 'LEAVE HER ALONE, SHE BELONGS TO MEEE." Well then.

Gene and Sharon are attempting to follow them by plane, which Lamont is trying to telepathically crash. Regan begs him not to be lost to her, and Lamont decides not to crash the plane after all. Because a plane crash would have injected something remotely interesting into the movie and we can't have that, now can we? Eventually, after many boring padded scenes of both pairs of travelers making their way to Georgetown, Lamont and Regan arrive at her old house and Lamont beelines it to Regan's bedroom. He is promptly attacked by a swarm of locusts (again with the fucking locusts), and Gene and Sharon's cab is attacked by an unseen force. Fortunately, they crash land right into the house's front yard. I hate everything about this fucking movie. The cab is wrecked to hell and I'm pretty sure the cab driver is dead. Nevertheless, Gene is all "We have to help Regan!!!!"

Meanwhile, Regan is heading into her old room and is greeted by her possessed self, causing Real Regan to let out a mild squeal of fright. Lamont comes out of nowhere and grabs her, while the Possessed Regan on the bed slowly morphs into Whore Regan.

Whore Regan invites Lamont to "be joined with us," prompting Lamont to start humping Whore Regan while Real Regan looks on in horror. Meanwhile, Sharon sets herself on fire outside, presumably because she's as sick of this goddamn movie as I am. Back in the bedroom, Whore Regan implores Lamont to kill Real Regan, so he goes over and starts bashing RR's head against the wall. Good. Now she knows how I felt watching this fucking thing. Meanwhile, Gene runs around like a nut outside trying to find help for Sharon, who is quite frankly beyond all help.
Back in the bedroom, Lamont has switched gears and is fighting with Whore Regan on the bed when a locust swarm pours through the windows. Also, the house starts to come apart for some reason.

Lamont rips out Whore Regan's heart while Real Regan does some kind of ritualistic dance and the locusts fall dead at her feet. She emerges from the wrecked to hell house to see Gene cradling Sharon's body in her arms. Lamont acts all important and is like "The enemy of the human race has been subdued." Sure it has. Gene looks sadly at the house wreckage while ambulances and police swarm it. And thankfully, that's the end of this travesty.

If you don't mind, I shall go on with life pretending that there is only one Exorcist film. The world will be better for it. Although, if you are ever in need of a movie to make your friends run screaming from your house in terror, this would be the one.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

"That's the story of..that's the glory of love" or Orphan (2009)


If you don't wish to know what, exactly, is wrong with Esther, I suggest you don't read this entry.
Orphan might as well have been called "The Bad Seed Of The Good Son," seeing as how it owes a lot to both those films. However, it does have a kick-ass twist ending that even I didn't see coming, and I can usually spot a twist coming from five states away.

Orphan starts out with a dream sequence in which we figure out that Esther's future adoptive mother, Kate, has had a miscarriage. Hence the reason she and her husband John (John and Kate? Really? LMAO) are planning to adopt. Kate is then shown in a therapy session talking about her drinking problem and pretty much outright admitting that she isn't ready to adopt a kid. After which, she picks up her deaf daughter, Max, from school and then almost kills them both by running a red light. And after THAT, she yells at Max for playing ball too loudly while Mommy is trying to play the piano. Because yelling at a deaf child makes complete and utter sense. Kate is a bitch clearly the most mentally stable person on earth and this adoption thing should absolutely go well for everyone involved.

Skipping ahead several boring scenes (nothing much happens besides Kate angsting some more to John about how she totally isn't ready to adopt, and the introduction of their other kid, Daniel, who is a little shit with an attitude problem), John and Kate arrive at St. Mariana's Home For Girls to pick out their new puppy daughter. Seriously though, the proprietor of this fine establishment just waves her hand and tells them to look around at all the girls and pick one. Somehow I don't think that's how it works. But whatever.

While Kate looks around and smiles at all the happy, playful children running around who are NOT evil, John wanders upstairs and seriously do orphanages REALLY just let people wander around wherever they damn well please? Aren't they concerned with possible kidnappings and such? Anyway, he hears singing and follows the sound to a room where none other than our pint sized psycho Esther sits painting a picture.

She is singing The Glory of Love, which is meant, I guess, to be creepy(?), but which only reminds me of this classic scene from Beaches:

John sits with Esther for a bit while she tells a long and convoluted story about the picture she's painting, and then he introduces her to Kate, whom Esther seems less than thrilled to meet. Nevertheless, she wins them both over with her super creepy high level of intellect for a 9 year old, and they decide they'll take her.

John and Kate have a pow-wow with the headmistress of the orphanage, who neatly delivers us all the background info we need on Esther: her last foster family in Russia died in a house fire that only she survived, she can speak perfect English even though she's only been in America for two years, she insists on always wearing black ribbons around her neck and wrists, and she will fuck your shit up if you ask her to remove them. That last thing right there would be a HUGE red flag if it were me, but J&K are just like "Cool, when can we have her?"

Several days later, they take Esther home to begin her reign of terror. She meets the other kids and Daniel acts like a tool by playing Guitar Hero at top volume while Esther is opening her homecoming presents. She gets her silent revenge by ferociously hugging John (who has been ignoring Daniel's cries of "Dad! Lookit my score!") and giving Daniel a shit eating grin while she does it. I'm going to give Esther applause for that one. *Clap clap*

That night is when Esther performs her first official act as Creepy Queen by barging into the bedroom while the parents are gettin' busy. She claims to be scared of the lightning and demands to be allowed to sleep next to John. Creepy. Anybody else hearing a warning bell in the distance? Show of hands.

The next morning is Esther's first day at school, and problems arise when she descends the stairs dressed like....this:

Kate tactfully tries to persuade Esther that she might not want to show up for her first day of school dressed like Vicki from Small Wonder, and suggests some jeans instead, to which Esther is like "Fuck that" and insists that she LIKES being different, dammit. Kate was right though, because upon Esther's arrival in her new classroom a particularly snotty little bitch in the front row makes a crack about Little Bo Peep wanting her dress back. Esther gives her bitch face, and we can safely assume that this chick is now on her Death List.

And now, for our first homage to The Good Son. Daniel accidentally shoots a bird with his paintball gun and it's still alive. Esther hands him a rock and is like "Put it out of it's misery." Daniel doesn't want to, so Esther takes matters into her own hands.

I think we're supposed to believe she's all evil and shit for doing this, except for the fact that she was TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY RIGHT to do it. Seriously, if she wanted to be evil about it she could have just let the bird lay there and die slowly while she ate popcorn and watched. The only thing we should notice is that she is strangely nonchalant about it. Almost as though she's killed before. Hmmmmm.

That night, Esther locks the door to the bathroom so nobody can come in while she takes a shower. Kate isn't having this and is all "We never lock doors in this house." I have to say, I'm kind of on Esther's side here. She's in a new house with a family she isn't used to. If it makes her more comfortable to shower with a locked door, then whatever. She isn't three years old or anything, so the chances of her slipping and falling are pretty slim. Anyway, Esther gets her way about the lock so long as she sings so Kate will know she's all right. So, as Esther is performing her Glory of Love number in the shower, Kate takes the opportunity to snoop through her stuff and finds an old Bible with a picture of some dude in it. Interesting.

Speaking of Esther's Bible, in school the next day the same chick who made the Bo Peep crack knocks the Bible right out of Esther's hands and pages go scattering everywhere. Then she makes a grab for Esther's neck ribbon and Esther freaks the hell out and starts screaming bloody murder. If that snotty girl wasn't marked before, she's fucked now.

Life goes on peacefully for a time. Kate attempts to bond with Esther by giving her piano lessons and making her a scrapbook of her new family. Then she shows her the memorial plant in the greenhouse, the soil of which contains the dead baby's ashes. Somehow I get the feeling that Esther is going to do something to the plant. Call it watching many evil child movies over the years, all of them the same a hunch.

That night, as John and Kate are having sex in the kitchen (always a great idea when you have three children in the house who could walk in at any moment) they suddenly notice that Esther is watching them and giving them bitch face.

The next day, feeling rightfully awkward, Kate attempts to explain to Esther what she saw by way of a birds-and-bees talk. Esther puts the brakes on this conversation by informing Kate that she knows very well what grownups do when they're in love: "They fuck." Kate is obviously taken aback by hearing it so knowingly put that way by a 9 year old and decides Esther needs to go to therapy before she starts teaching the other children to swear. Fair enough.

But before that can happen, Esther's got some business to take care of. On a visit to the park, she decides it's time to take care of that bitchy girl who made fun of her clothes, knocked away her Bible, and tried to touch her goddamn ribbon. She accomplishes this by following the girl to the jungle gym and pushing her off the highest point. She hasn't killed her, just broken her leg. I think she got her point across.

That night at dinner, Kate and John are like "Um...Esther, why did you push that chick off the jungle gym?" and Esther denies doing any such thing. And the whole issue is just pushed aside because K&J are SUCH great parents. During this same meal, that little shit Daniel edges himself ever closer to incurring Esther's wrath by criticizing both her Russian accent and the way she eats (which, incidentally, is the proper way; cutting the meat with her knife and fork and such). He suggests she should go "back to Transylvania" and Esther is like "I'm from Russia, you dillweed. Transylvania is a part of Romania." Not in those exact words, of course. Even so, snaps for Esther. That was a particularly fine display of ownage. This pisses Daniel off and he insults Esther some more, prompting his parents to finally step in and do some goddamn parenting by telling him to "apologize to your sister." Daniel retorts "She's NOT my fucking sister!" and gets his treehouse locked until he's ready to apologize. Good. He deserves it.

Kate takes Esther and Max to the grocery store, where she receives a call from the orphanage lady on her top-of-the-line iPhone, which she makes sure to position so that shiny Apple logo is facing the camera at all times. Product placement at its finest.

Anyway, the orphanage lady is calling to remind Kate that she needs to drop off Esther's dental records, and Kate says that Esther has thus far REFUSED to go to the dentist. Something tells me this is another warning bell that should be noted. Another one comes right after this scene, as Kate walks in on Esther flawlessly playing classical music on the piano even though a) Esther had said she didn't know how to play and b) has only had a few lessons with Kate so far. That little liar. Kate is like 'Why did you lie?" and Esther replies that she merely pretended not to know because she thought Kate would enjoy teaching somebody, seeing as how Daniel couldn't give less of a shit and Max is deaf. I'm not sure whether this is touching or a huge burn, so let's go with a middle ground and say it's both. Kate and John fight loudly over this very issue later that night, as Esther listens to them in her room and smiles. Hmmm...

Next morning, the orphanage lady pays the family a visit, much to Esther's chagrin. This is because the orphanage lady has some stuff to tell John and Kate that she conveniently forgot to disclose before Esther was adopted out. Firstly, at her old school some kid "accidentally" stabbed himself through the jaw with scissors and Esther was suspiciously present at the scene. And secondly, that fire in her old family's house that only she escaped was caused by arson. Both of these things would have been extremely helpful to know before anyone adopted the little demon child, don't you agree? Naturally, Esther is listening to all of this and damn it if she's going to let that orphanage bitch ruin the good thing she's got going here. She enlists the help of Max by telling her that there's a "mean lady" who has come to take her away and won't Max help her? Max agrees to this, presumably because she saw what Esther did at the playground and has decided it would be best to not get on her bad side. Or, you know, because Esther points a gun at her head and invites her to play Russian Roulette if she doesn't.

So, as the orphanage lady is leaving the house, Esther and Max are waiting for her by an overpass. The plan is for Max to rush out in front of the car so that the woman will have to stop and get out, at which point Esther will ambush her with a hammer to the skull. That's....a fucking terrifying plan coming from the head of a 9 year old. Especially since Esther succeeds in killing her, making Max help her hide the body. Ho. Lee. Shit. This kid doesn't fuck around, that much is clear. Macaulay Culkin WISHES he was this badass in The Good Son. When the deed is finished the girls get into Daniel's treehouse. As Esther washes the blood off her face and hides the evidence in a backpack under the floorboard, she warns Max not to say anything because she can be sent to jail for helping hide the body. This poor kid is going to be traumatized forever when all this is over.

Daniel sees them exit the treehouse and is all "WTF?" Unfortunately, Esther knows he was watching and ambushes him in bed that night with a pair of scissors to the throat. She warns him that he better not open his fat mouth and blab or else she'll cut off a certain bodily appendage. For all her evilness, Esther has her awesome moments. She has her first therapy session the next day and manages to win over the therapist with her creepy-kid charm. As the therapist has a private pow-wow with the parents (and basically says that all the perceived problems with Esther are all in Kate's head), Esther has a random temper tantrum in the bathroom. Meanwhile, the body of Sister Abigail (the orphanage lady) has been found and Kate is, to say the least, a tad suspicious of Esther by now. John, however, is firmly in the camp of believing Esther isn't capable of such a thing because she's a child. Whatever. Esther is in her room flicking a fluorescent light on and off in order for us to see that she has painted decidedly ghoulish pictures with fluorescent paint over the normal ones she has been doing.

Kate has had enough and decides she's going to investigate into Esther's past. She soon finds that the Russian orphanage that Esther supposedly was at before St. Mariana's has no record of her. How odd. One wonders how she even came to be with the previous, burned-to-a-crisp foster family, then. The next morning is supposed to be Esther's dentist appointment and she REALLY doesn't want to go. This dentist thing must be especially important, because this is the second time it's been mentioned. John is the only parent home so he agrees to let Esther skip her appointment and the two of them sit and paint pictures together. Esther complains that it doesn't seem like Kate is all that enchanted with her, so John suggests that maybe she (Esther) could do something nice for Kate. This is where my earlier prediction about the memorial plant comes true, as Esther's good deed is to pick flowers for Kate. From the plant.

Needless to say, Kate is fucking pissed and would probably have beaten Esther to a pulp if Esther hadn't broken free from Kate's death grip and ran upstairs. Kate is all "She did that on purpose!!!!!" and John takes Esther's side and insists that she was merely trying to do something nice. John is kind of an idiot and is starting to annoy me.

Esther, meanwhile, seizes the opportunity presented to her by Kate grabbing her so hard in her fury over the plant. While everybody is sleeping that night, she quietly sneaks out to the garage and breaks her own arm, then wakes John up and tells him Kate did it. This kid is smart. A calculating bitch, but smart. John takes Esther to the hospital (which I have an issue with, and I will explain what that is when we get to the ending) and makes Kate sleep on the couch when they get home, while he stays in the bedroom with Esther to make sure she's ok. Kate goes out to the liquor store and buys two bottles of wine, but ends up pouring them down the sink because damn if she's going back off the wagon. Good for you, Kate.

The next morning in the school parking lot, while Kate is attending to Daniel's broken backpack, Esther quietly puts the car in reverse and releases the emergency brake, causing the car (with Max inside) to go a-rollin' down a hill and land in a pile of snow. Max is fine, but Kate is at the breaking point and tells John she wants Esther out of the damn house. John replies by producing Kate's empty wine bottles and says either she goes to rehab or he's going to leave with the kids. Meanwhile, Daniel seizes the opportunity while Esther is in the shower to ask Max what she knows about her. Instead of just conducting this conversation is sign language, he speaks and signs at the same time so that Esther will be sure to hear every freaking word he says. Because he is a dumbass.

Esther turns up the bad-assery up a notch that night by letting Kate know that she's read her diary, and even quotes a passage about the miscarriage to prove it. Then she ominously remarks that Kate has taken her family for granted and that it's too late. Creepy. Kate steps up her investigation by harrassing St. Mariana's for information, but they don't have any. She decides that maybe Esther's Bible contains some helpful hints, and discovers that a) there are several pictures of different men hidden amongst the pages and b) the Bible was issued at some sort of institution. Good to know.

The next day, Kate calls the institution and discovers that it's not an orphanage, but a mental hospital. Kate thinks maybe Esther's birth mother was a patient and faxes the institute a picture of Esther. Meanwhile, Daniel breaks into his treehouse looking for the evidence Esther hid there. Unfortunately for him, Esther is waiting for him. She traps him in there and sets it on fire, and he injures his neck jumping to the ground.

So, everyone winds up at the hospital. This was actually not Esther's plan, as she had been intending to kill him with a large fallen log but was interrupted. While John and Kate are arguing over whether Esther is the guilty party, Esther and Max, along with John's mother, are sitting in the waiting room. Esther asks Grandma if she can have a dollar for the soda machine. Grandma replies that Kate wants Esther to stay where she is, pauses, and gives her a dollar. Grandma is kind of a bitch, but that was hilarious. Esther is not, of course, going to the soda machine. She is actually going to Daniel's room to finish him off, which she almost accomplishes, except that the doctors manage to revive him. Kate is on the warpath and when Esther comes around the corner drinking a Mountain Dew like nothing is wrong, Kate knocks her to the ground and is sedated.

Since Kate must stay the night at the hospital, John takes Max and Esther home. This is when Esther puts her master plan into action. She starts by taking one of Kate's little black dresses and cutting it to fit her. Then she puts on 500 pounds of hooker makeup. I think I know where this is going, and I am uncomfortable. And I'm right, because Esther makes her way downstairs and plops down next to John on the couch looking like this:

It's a far cry from the Laura Ingalls look she's been sporting this whole movie, that's for damn sure. John is drunk and doesn't even know half of what's going on, although he does take a moment to ask her what exactly is up with the pancake makeup before half passing out again. The uncomfortableness is turned up to eleven when Esther starts trying to kiss him. Thankfully, John gathers his wits enough to bolt up off the couch and be all "What the HELL?" He tells her to go to her room and expect to be sent back to the orphanage as soon as can be arranged. Esther is all "Stop talking to me like I'm a child!"

Have you figured out what the big twist is yet? Go on, think about it. Or just keep reading.

At the hospital, Kate receives a call from the institution. They have received the picture of Esther that was faxed over earlier, and they've got some surprising news for Kate. The picture, they say, is not of a little girl at all. No, it's a picture of a former patient of theirs named Leena who, according to their records, was born in 1976. That's right. Esther's secret is that she is a 33 year old woman with proportional dwarfism.

I know. I was shocked too. I'll give you a moment to go back over all the evidence that now adds up. The neck and wrist ribbons (they cover up scars from her trying to escape her strait jacket). The Raggedy Ann dresses (they hide her boobs and hips better than jeans and T shirts). The locked bathroom door. The whole dentist thing. Remember when I said I took issue with her being taken to the hospital for the broken arm? They would have totally been able to figure out she wasn't a child when they took her x-ray and saw her bones. But I guess I'll let that little plot hole slide.

Apparently, Esther/Leena's MO is to be adopted by a family and eventually try to seduce the father. If she fails, everybody is killed. So it doesn't take a genius to figure out what her next course of action is. As Kate breaks out of the hospital and hightails it home, Esther turns the power off and quickly stabs John to death while Max watches. There's no way that child won't be seriously fucked up for life after this is over. No way. Kate arrives home and tries to find Max while Esther hunts down both of them. Girl is on the warpath and she's going to kick ass and take names.

A chase ensues that ends up in the greenhouse, where Kate smashes the ceiling on top of Esther and assumes she is dead. She isn't, of course. That would be too easy for a film such as this. As the cops arrive (about 30 minutes after Kate called them...wonderful law enforcement department they have there), Esther ambushes Kate outside near a frozen pond and they both fall in. Max saves the day by shooting the fuck out of Esther, distracting her enough for Kate to kick her square in the neck. And all's well that ends well.

On the whole, Orphan wasn't really anything new or ground breaking, but I do have to give it points for having a relatively original twist.

That's it for now. Stay tuned for next time when I recap the hell out of Exorcist II: The Heretic.

Friday, March 5, 2010

First Post of 2010!

Only three months late, but you know. Better late than never. Anyhoodle, I have several recaps cooking (and yeah, I know I've said that before, but FOR REAL this time...they're half-written and everything). Specifically, expect a recap of Orphan sometime this week, followed shortly after by The Exorcist II: The Heretic. Good stuff. Stay tuned.