Encapsulated Cinema: The Summer of Massacre, Alyce Kills, and Cold Sweat

The Summer of Massacre (2011) Movie PosterThe Summer of Massacre (2011)
“Terror Toons” mastermind Joe Castro’s balls-out insane horror anthology “The Summer of Massacre” is one of the weirdest cinematic rides you can experience without first ingesting scores of illegal narcotics. The first segment is clearly the most inventive — the body count in this story alone is through the freaking roof — though each chapter has its own unique set of strong points. However, Castro’s approach to on-screen mayhem takes some getting used to. At first you may think the effects look cheap, but by the end of the feature, you’ll grow to appreciate their decidedly peculiar charms. After all, some of the picture’s brutally creative kills couldn’t possibly work without the help of a little homegrown CGI. “The Summer of Massacre” isn’t for the squeamish, nor is it appropriate for those who proudly wash themselves in waters of political correctness. You know precisely who you are.

Alyce Kills (2011) Movie PosterAlyce Kills (2011)
“Zombie Strippers” director Jay Lee surprised the hell out of me with his deranged 2011 character piece “Alyce”. The film — a strange little tale about a young woman whose life spins out of control after her friend falls off a roof — is surprisingly thoughtful and oddly emotional despite Lee’s penchant for gory, over-the-top theatrics. Let me put it this way: If Gregg Araki had directed “May”, it probably would have looked a lot like this. My only real complaint is the picture’s blood-soaked finale, which seems to have been modeled after Takashi Miike’s “Audition”. And while I’m not against third reel freak-outs in general, this one seems a bit forced, and resolves absolutely nothing in regards to the story. It’s a minor complaint, really, given how incredible everything else is. “Alyce” is definitely a step in the right direction for Lee, and, believe it or not, I’m curious to see what he tackles next. Highly recommended.

Cold Sweat
Adrián García Bogliano’s unusual horror flick sounds like a one-trick pony. And, to be fair, the idea of a horror movie centered around two old guys armed with an impressive stash of acid and nitroglycerine does seem pretty darn thin. However, Bogliano and crew have delivered a seriously suspenseful motion picture, one that requires its audience to suspense their disbelief to astronomical degrees. The story is riddled with plot holes and enormous leaps in logic, so it’s probably not a smart idea to engage your brain at any point during the feature. That having been said, “Cold Sweat” is still a remarkable amount of fun. The film reminded me a lot of Wes Craven’s “People Under the Stairs”, right down to the random collection of sunlight-deprived ghoulies in the basement. As long as you’re not looking for deep characterization or a story that makes sense, chances are you’ll have a blast.