Love At First Fright (Love In The Time Of Monsters review)

For someone who claims to not want to watch horror movies, I seem to be reviewing a number of them already this year.

I would complain. but I’ve been rather fortunate to have watched really excellent movies, ones that walk the fine line between fear and folly. Which only adds to my theory that satire is the best way to communicate issues we’d rather ignore.

And so here we are, at this week’s Theatrical Tuesday with a horror movie that just might warm your stone cold heart.

 

 

 

Love In The Time Of Monsters (2014)

Cast: Gena Shaw, Kane Hodder, Marissa Skell, Danny Vasquez, Michael McShane, Hugo Armstrong
Director: Matt Jackson
released on blu-ray February 17, 2015
******** 8/10

love-monsters-poster

IMDB: 5.4
Rotten Tomatoes: N/A, Audience Score 74%
The Guardian: N/A

 

Matt Jackson is something of a unicorn as it relates to the movie industry. I scoured the internet and found very little in the way of information about him other than learning he has been involved in entertainment for over a decade now, getting his start in Arizona and developing his skills over a myriad of independent productions. He has directed the action/adventure/comedy Background(ed) and the horror/comedy Love In The Time of Monsters.

He frequently collaborates with producer Andy Gunn, and I hope they are either working on a sequel or something equivalent soon. Did I just give away my thoughts on the movie?

Love In The Time Of Monsters is not, despite the clever title, a parody of Love In the Time Of Cholera, which I am thankful for because that movie was super boring. I know, I know, it’s beautifully shot, but so what? If something is polished and turdlike, that doesn’t make it worthwhile, its just shiny shit.

So what is LITTOFM then, you ask?

It’s a story about two sisters who have lost their father to a family vacation accident many years previous and how they have grown up as a result of said accident. One is a hopeless romantic about to get married, and the other a cynic with no interest in long-term attachment.

We follow them as they take a vacation to Uncle Slavko’s All-American Lodge, where Carla (Marissa Skell) hopes to surprise fiance Johnny who is working at the resort as a Bigfoot impersonator (one of many). Marla (Gena Shaw) wants to have fun and hopefully have a casual encounter or two, though she has no luck with this. While this is happening the entire fleet of Bigfoot impersonators (save one) are exposed to a chemical waste that turns them into mindless zombielike creatures, and some/one of them even gain powers akin to Gremlins 2, which gave me a particular moment of glee.

What is amazing about this movie is that somehow through all of the absurdity, the tongue-in-check horror movie moments, the b-movie practical effects, and the expected Bigfoot cameo, we easily relate to each member in the sizeable cast of characters. The backdrop mainly serves as a plot device, but it truly is a story of love in the time of monsters. And if you’re caught of guard, love will appear.

 

Pros: There are a number of horror actors who represent in the movie and the cliches are played to a T. I especially enjoyed the dynamic between Carla and Marla. Also Dr. Abraham Lincoln was comedy gold.

Cons: My major complaint is the introduction to the story – I kept expecting there to be more of a tie-in to the father’s death and the one scene about it felt somewhat forced. This is worrisome because a casual movie viewer might get turned off before the story gets interesting.

Runtime1 hour 37 minutes

Points of InterestThe one gratuitous nudity/death scene was delivered by Heather Rae Young – she happens to be a former Playboy Playmate.

I keep thinking back on the film as I write this review and I can’t help but smile when I think about all of the goofy special effects and the use of CGI in a disarming and fun way. I always wonder if a horror comedy is going to go off the rails and make me want to swear them off altogether, but Love In The Time of Monsters has cemented that love in my heart to keep back at least a dozen bad examples of the genre.

Jackson has done an excellent job adding to the oeuvre of horror comedy and I sincerely hope that another of these flicks gets made, even if it’s on another horror topic. With that said, I highly recommend you take some time out of your day and watch Love In The Time Of Monsters, I have a theory you just might fall in love with it.

Tim!

Old School (timotheories presents: Cross Talk)

Do you ever look at all of people who wear shirts with the statement “old school” emblazoned across the front, and shake your head?

I remember a stretch of time when it was a very popular type of slang, especially with people in my generation. It was used to refer to gaming, music, and fashion especially. But pretty much anything that came from another era was subject to the old school moniker when brought up in conversation.

There was even a movie about this idea. And it was conveniently called Old School. At the time that this movie came out, I had just turned 18 years old. And in a fury of wanting to be an adult, participate in adult culture and do adult things, I went to see Old School in the theatre.

At the time, I thought I had hit comedy gold. It was quotable, it was rude, it had nudity, and I was finally part of a club I had wished I was a part of for years. 18 year old Tim was stupid, and I hated his motivations.

Hate is a strong word, and I really really really dislike using it. But it’s true.

I wanted to like old school things, and convey my taste, my wisdom, and my virtue. And I thought that watching a movie about men in their 40s who go back to college to start a fraternity, get drunk and sleep with coeds, was a pathway to this wisdom.

Appropriating without contributing, participating without earning anything.

Hence, I dislike the term “old school.” But that’s just the surface reason, let’s go deeper.

It also seemed to me to be a lazy way of contributing to a conversation without actually offering anything up. Equivalent to when people throw the word fuck around haphazardly or follow every other sentence with it.

The height of the “old school” slang for me was in 2003, when trucker hats were cool.

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But Coolio and LL Cool J were not. Cry me a river right?

B-Real - Hit Em High (ft. Busta Rhymes,Method Man & Coolio) [TV]

Sorry I thought of a quip and wanted to share it.

Anyway, as I mentioned, 2003 was a fun time. With lots of gentrification and appropriation going on in popular culture. We were just starting to define this trend and eventually landed the plane with a term called the hipster.

In this period of time, everyone wanted to address this overwhelming issue of postmodernism embodied in fashion. The hipsters took from every era possible and somehow managed to upset every niche culture in the process.

It was a fashionable form of nihilism and it stuck around for a quite a while.

Nihilism, subversion, and anti-establishment anti-hero types have always existed, but we needed to re-define and send this out into the world ourselves.

And because of the post-modernist movement, hipsterdom moved with the contemporary ideas of the day.

But as we hit the 2010’s, hipsters and attacking everything became faux pas. Or at least I stopped worrying about it myself. You see, I realized, and I think most artists are started to as well, that we need to move past post-modernism if we really want to create anything worthwhile.

Sure it can be fun to deconstruct something and take details away from it, but real joy can only be found in embracing and sharing your vision with the world.

Which is why I think that modern craft is the next big thing in the art world, in the arts, and in popular culture. You see, I have this theory. My theory is that every generation needs to separate itself from the one previous, but because life works in cycles, and we reference what comes before us, children are often the spiritual successors of their grandparents ideas and belief systems.

My parents (and the parents of all generation x and generation y kids) represent ideas of deconstruction, excess, and dichotomies that exist in the  extreme. That’s not to say that they are extremists, but it was a period of carving out and making broad strokes to deal with the world. In anticipation of globalization, the internet, and major issues of human rights.

I think that the next generations focus will be on nuanced issues, on craft, on communication, and on socialization. This is why more and more people are turning to small businesses again, why artwork is becoming about skillfulness again, and why we are tackling social media.

I’m going to end today’s post by offering a promise to you dear readers.

A promise in anticipation of a new year and new challenges! Next year, I am going to unveil a new component of the timotheories mantle called Cross Talk. On Cross Talk, myself and my co-host will be addressing themes we see in film (and eventually other realms)and using those themes to offer you up much needed insights.

It can be a lot of fun to learn about production details, fan theories, and celebrity gossip, but that is not the intent of Cross Talk. Cross Talk promises to be the kind of discussion you would have in a bar or on a couch with your close friends about a topic and provide you with a fresh perspective on a universal storytelling medium!

So stay tuned because we aren’t going to appropriate we are going to celebrate and bring something new to the table!

And that’s all of the theories I have today.

Tim!