Patty Jenkins’s (Wonder Woman) directorial debut Monster is a dramatization of the crimes committed by serial killer Aileen Wuornos, a prostitute who gunned down more than a few of her johns 30 years ago in Florida. It released in 2003 with Charlize Theron (Mad Max: Fury Road, Bombshell) winning a slew of Best Actress awards for her portrayal of Wuornos. The film beats out Bone Tomahawk for the least-horror choice this MASSACRE MARATHON so far, which isn’t surprising to me since I knew she killed with guns (as opposed to more traditional slasher weapons) going in. Still, I thought the movie might have been more thrilling.
Theron really transformed herself into Wuornos, prosthetic makeup and dramatics alike, and is totally deserving of her accolades. Monster presents a concise story touching on all the trademarks of the real deal. It is entertaining, but I was expecting a more frantic vision of Wuornos. The Hollywood version of the tale is glamorized in many ways, as is usually the case. If the performances and plotlines more accurately mirrored what really went down and added sharper, more heinous spectacle to the murders Monster would have elevated to something even greater. I wonder how much stretching the intro portion of Aileen’s terribly troubled childhood into a larger section of the film would have helped.
I have the documentary of Aileen Wuornos on my watchlist and am anticipating grading the accuracy of her silver screen adaptation.
3 monster’s balls out of 5
BONUS REVIEW (MM 2018)
V/H/S is my go-to horror anthology of recent days. Most of the stories within, each individually directed by talented lesser-known auteurs, are perfect examples of how to do found footage horror. The antagonists are all very memorable, from succubus to glitch man. I found upon rewatching that I desired the tales to be lengthened, although it is better than them being bloated with nonsense. They get straight to the point. As typical of anthologies, some shorts are weaker than others, knocking some points off the scoreboard. The meta wraparound idea of having burglar hooligans breaking into a dark home and happening upon the videotapes is a clever way to set things in motion. V/H/S was an instant classic to those who value the genre’s craft. My favorite segment is “Amateur Night”, but they all hold a special place in the sopping, cold spot where my heart used to be. (Not where it currently resides.)
4 reminders to rewind ‘er out of 5
BONUS REVIEW (MM 2019)
AMERICAN FRIGHT FEST
American Fright Fest or American Snooze Fest, American Shit Fest, American Fail Fest, or American Embarrassment Extravaganza, is a sad play at capitalizing on the emergence of interest in Halloween holiday haunting attractions. Run-on movie? Well there’s your run-on sentence. This trash heap has it all: horrendous acting, hackneyed writing, and the sense of dread that comes with accepting you chose to experience it. You could have been off bettering yourself. Shame on you. Fright Fest should never be your house guest, despite the creator’s request. Now that that’s off my chest, I can finally rest. God bless!
1 giant mess out of 5