WWS 12: The Void Movie Review

We’ve got a special treat for you this week, gang! Kevin and Travis review the BRAND NEW Lovecraftian horror throwback flick THE VOID!

The boys start with a completely spoiler free review for all those cats still on the fence about whether or not to see this super gory monster flick. They give their first impressions and film scores before diving in to the spoiler heavy portion of the show.

Did they love this homage to 80s creature features or is it another tired bore of a flick trying to capitalize off the glory days of horror cinema?

Find out on this week’s free WATCHING WITH STRANGERS podcast!

Help support this podcast and the entire Strangeville podcast network by donating as little as a dollar a month to Patreon.com/KevinTheStrange. For your support, you’ll unlock a dozen special WWS episodes as well as full, uncut Kevin Strange Fiction audio books. What are you waiting for? Donate today!

Till next time, gang. Keep watching!

Kevin Strange’s Star Wars: Rogue One Review

Lucasfilm and Disney took a HUGE gamble by breaking from the traditional Skywalker storyline with its “A Star Wars Story” franchise which follows characters only tangentially related to the saga of Luke, Leia, Obi Wan and Darth Vader.

Does this gamble pay off or does ROGUE ONE turn out to be a giant, unmitigated disaster?

STAR WARS: ROGUE ONE was directed by Gareth Edwards who last helmed the big budget American Godzilla film from 2014 (and incidentally shows Darth Vader here about as much as he showed Big Green in that film.)  So he’s no stranger to taking on franchises with a ton of history behind them.

But to be tasked with creating the first STAR WARS film outside of the Skywalkerverse? Lots of pressure. And rumors of massive re-shoots only months before the film was set to be released only intensified the feeling of unease as we inched closer and closer to its December 2016 release date.

As Han Solo famously says, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.”

So does it crash and burn like a Star Destroyer after one too many laser blasts from a squad of X-Wings? Or does it soar into nastalgia-land and do enough fan service to earn its place in the pantheon of STAR WARS films before it?

For me, it lands somewhere in the middle. It’s not as good as Episode 7 and still worlds better than any one of the prequels without touching the brilliance of original trilogy. ROGUE ONE is the kind of STAR WARS movie I EXPECTED to see back when THE PHANTOM MENACE came out.

It’s a big, loud, dumb blockbuster with enough heart to propel it forward while failing to create that charm that Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher had in the original trilogy.

None of the characters stand out as the kind that people will be talking about for years to come. For me, the only character I really gave a shit about was Forest Whitaker’s batshit crazy turn as Saw Gerrera the robot-legged, oxygen-huffing rebel who helped Jyn Erso (played wooden and dead-eyed by Felicity Jones) escape after the imperial general Orson Krennic comes for her father.

Mads Mikkelsen, who I normally love, phones it in as Jyn’s father Galen. The rest of the cast is a fairly generic (but ethnically diverse because, you know, political correctness) group of rebels who deliver the equally generic hero dialogue with little conviction and then die on command as the story calls for tragedy.

Even the android here, K-2S0, failed to impress me. Of all the droids in all the STAR WARS films, this one impressed me the least. He’s a cheap C-3P0 worry-bot knock off who looks like a rejected IRON GIANT prototype.

The only characters outside of Saw Gerrea that even held my attention were the duo of Donnie Yen’s Chirrut Îmwe and his friend Baze Malbus, played by Jiang Wen. These two would have been awesome characters in a better movie. In fact, I would have loved to see them in their own movie.

Same goes for Whitaker’s Saw Gerrera. I would have much rather watched a movie about him going crazy and losing his feet, slowly drifting further and further away from the rebel alliance’s core values until he practically becomes their enemy.

But we don’t get that movie here. We get 6 or 7 story lines all rushed to get us to the final attack on the imperial garrison on Scarif which, admittedly, is a breathtaking scene. It’s a scene that, by itself, makes Episode 4: A NEW HOPE a better movie.

It’s unfortunate that the rest of the film doesn’t have the same emotional gravitas as the brave rebel team’s doomed final mission at the end of the movie. There are so many cut scenes to new planets, new characters, and convoluted exposition scenes explaining which video-game-like task they need to complete next, that the film seems both rushed and boring at the same time. No story thread is given enough time to unwind in a natural way.

Even the score seems overly loud, driving us impatiently from one character death and set piece explosion to the next until we’re both bored and numb from all of the elaborate visual effects space ship fights and CGI aliens shouting orders at each other.

ROGUE ONE isn’t a bad film. But it suffers from trying to serve too many masters all at once. The re-shoots didn’t help to shore up the story lines. The score doesn’t help to add emotion to scenes that simply needed more time to connect with the audience, and ultimately, while the movie serves as a great lead-in to A NEW HOPE, it only manages to show how much better of a film the original STAR WARS is, rather than existing as a great  STAR WARS story in and of itself.

I give it an 89% chance of having 3 out of 5 Strangeheads.

Kevin Strange’s Review of Rob Zombie’s 31

“Murder school is now31poster_0 in session!”

My friend has this theory about Rob Zombie. It goes like this: Rob saw Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 only once, a long time ago, and he can’t remember the name of the movie.

So every film he makes is his attempt to recreate this elusive movie sitting in the back of his head that he just can’t quite place. My friend thinks that one day, someone is going to show Rob Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 and he’s going to flip out like, “OH MY GOD! THAT’S THE MOVIE!”

And so it goes with his newest horror film, 31. Hike up the most barren mountain in the world and shout the name Rob Zombie and someone will ride up the mountain behind you with sled dogs just to give you their opinion on his entire filmography. He’s the most divisive horror filmmaker since Eli Roth.

And I don’t really understand why because he really does make pretty much the exact same movie over an over again. This should come as no surprise because he pretty much records the same album over and over again in his music. His style and form has deviated very little since White Zombie. So why do people expect him to re-invent the wheel every time he sets out to make a new horror movie? If you’ve seen three or more Rob Zombie movies, or if you’ve heard three or more Rob Zombie songs, you know what this guy is capable of! This is what he brings to the table. This is all he’s got!


Me? I dig this shit. I’m white trash through and through. I dig his dirty, foul mouthed characters. His 70s aesthetic. His groovy soundtracks. His wordy anti-hero villains. His wife’s sexy butt.

I don’t know what exactly it is people who criticize him expect him to make. This elusive Rob Zombie movie that horror fanboys think he has in him. He makes very violent movies that star his wife. That’s all he’s ever going to do. If you don’t like it, don’t watch it. The next one, whatever it ends up being, will just be another slight variation on his trailer park horror gimmick. If you’re not sold on it by now, you never will be.

So 31. Some filthy pothead carnies are driving their piece of shit trailer to the next town to rip off some more locals when they’re ambushed by a group of lunatics who lock them in a giant industrial complex and set a group of sadistic killers lose to murder them violently one by one for the entertainment of several dainty bourgeois in powdered wigs and flowing garments surrounded by hot naked girls and lots of candles.

Stand out moments indoomheadclude a naked girl with a plastic blow up doll sewn into her skin with wires set as a trap by a pair of maniacal clowns wielding chainsaws. And a couple called Sex Head and Death Head who look like they fell right out of a Ramstein music video.

But the shining performance of this movie is Richard Blake’s Doom Head. The film is book ended by psychotic rants performed with shocking earnestness by this dude. He’s every bit as iconic in his delivery of Zombie’s dialogue as any of the nasty exploitation horror icons Zombie loves to pay homage to in these films. Doom Head is the god of this world and I for one hope we get to see some more of him in this 31 universe in the future. Here’s one white trash weirdo’s vote for 32, sooner rather than later.