Tuesday, December 21, 2010

By All Means, Go In The Water: Piranha 3-D

Greetings, friendly readers! I have returned after almost a year's absence with a new Fashion Victim post for you. I apologize for my beyond-sporadic posting, but I just haven't seen a lot of horror films where I can actually talk about the costuming.

No matter; last night I saw a movie so awesomely awful, so hilariously, unashamedly tasteless, that I had to share it with you despite the fact that I can really only mention the LACK of costumes.

Man, I love Alexandre Aja. You can always count on him to squint at the line of tastefulness, class and subtlety, and without missing a beat just drive right through that sucker with a Mack truck. Such is the case with Piranha 3-D, a remake of the original 1978 Joe Dante film.

Okay, so the plot, like I even need to tell you: earthquake opens seismic rift in lake -

- clearing the way for thousands of prehistoric killer fish to attack obnoxious partiers during Spring Break. Good times.

I never got the whole concept of Spring Break. Let me give you a little history. Not so long ago, I was an Adult-Movie Reviewer. Hey, the pay was decent, and it was educational. Every so often I would get one of those Girls Gone Wild-type vids to review, and they were always subtitled "Spring Break Edition." Reviewing just one of those things was the Eighth Circle Of Hell.

That's the one where they force you to watch 3-hour long unedited footage of loud, insecure, attention-seeking girls flashing the camera and sticking their tongues in each others' mouths, with no actual sex, and then another 4-6 hours of "bonus footage." It was mind-numbing, and instilled in me a great aversion towards screaming, topless college girls.

Now, I haven't appeared in even a one-piece bathing suit since 1987, nor will I ever do so again in my life, but I have a pretty fair idea of what the college kids are wearing on the beach or lake these days. Seems to me that not all of them do their shopping in the pole-dancers' section of Frederick's Of Hollywood, and that not all swimwear consists of a series of one-inch wet-look lycra triangles held together with single-strand thread.

There is not a single one-piece or tankini in this movie. Not one. I'm not just talking the pr0nstar girls. It's the "regular vacationers" too.

Okay, so of course we have the usual cast of characters. Elisabeth Shue as the tough mama sheriff -

her teenaged nerd son, who you can tell is different from the Spring Break fratheads because he's wearing a Pixies shirt -

Christopher Lloyd, typecast as the deranged eccentric scientist -

his younger counterpart, the cute, heroic seismologist -

Insanely obnoxious Girls Gone Wild-style pr0n director and his hott bikini girls -

 a seemingly endless sea of nearly-naked college girls whose sole ambition in life (well, in this movie anyway) is to pop their tops -

Ving Rhames, because they needed a gruff badass cop -

 - and Richard Dreyfuss, who absolutely cannot catch a break when it comes to water-related activities. (Note to readers: Don't Go There. I deliberately did NOT say "water sports," but I know some of you are headed over that way anyway.)

There is so much in the realm of exposed breasts, legs chewed down to skeletons, WTF-you-don't-have-time-for-that situations, booty shots, wonky science, scenery chewing moments, completely gratuitous use of 3-D, and the inevitable Stupid Ass People Getting Their Skin Chewed Off, that I was literally rolling on the floor laughing.

I'm sure most of you are very glad you were not there with me, because I was talking back to the movie like a madwoman. "Haven't ANY of you seen Jaws?"

I mean, at one point, ol' Ving and Elisabeth are trying to save the dumbass tourists, who won't get out of the water, by shooting their guns at the fish. In the middle of a horde of screaming, splashing people. At thousands of flesh-eating piranhas, attempting to pick them off one by one. Brilliant idea, that's really safe for the tourists.

And when they run out of ammo, Ving grabs a boat engine propeller and starts making a piranha smoothie. Awww yeah.

Also, when they blow up a boat, one of the characters says "Look, they're all dead!" and points to about twenty dead fish floating in the water. Everyone rejoices, having defeated the menace, despite the fact that it is a huge-ass lake and Chris Lloyd already told them there are thousands of these things.

Oh yeah, and the pr0no director gets his, er, man-parts bitten off, and then in case we missed the sight of the dismembered organ sinking to the bottom of the lake, we get a shot of the fish spitting it back out. That Aja, what a classy director dude.

(No, I will spare you that screencap.)

Biological fact: wieners do not float, apparently, nor do flesh-eating fish find them tasty. I'm sure if you tossed a hot dog to a shark, it would totally reject it.

Now, you're reading all of the above and thinking, man, the Costuminatrix totally hated this movie, avoid at all costs. You would be wrong. This is AWESOME. This is awesome in much the same way the Two Thousand Maniacs! remake was awesome.

I have not been so grossed out, or laughed so hard at a movie in a long, long time. If this is any indication, I also saw Black Swan the same night, and I would give the Oscar to Piranha 3-D instead, it was so incredibly great.

Unless they can work in stripper-ballerina bikinis and have Natalie Portman devoured by ancient killer fish. I could get behind that.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

LOLITA KILLER!! X-Cross (2007)

There are times when the movie you are watching may be just OK, but then someone walks on in a costume so awesome your jaw just drops.

Since I am one of those undiscerning gourmands when it comes to J-horror (I blame Takashi Miike for this, though it isn't his fault that some of his countrymen don't make films as awesome as he does), I have waded through a lot of black-haired ghosts and terrified girls in sailor suits.

What IS it with the sailor suit/school uniform thing? Every female aged 15-35 in every Japanese horror film I have ever seen seems to wear their school uniform 24-7. I went to a uniform-mandatory school, and lemme tell ya, we couldn't WAIT to get out of those things once we left the school gate. It was considered so incredibly uncool for anyone to appear in a non-school setting in their uniform.

Different cultures, different strokes. Let's move on.

OK, so X-Cross has this wacky non-linear storyline with the diverging points of view of two cute girls; one of whom is kinda slutty and the other sweet and innocent .

The latter broke up with her boyfriend, so the two friends go to a mysterious village to soak in the hot springs. Turns out the village is inhabited by a bloodthirsty cult with a fetish for chopping off young women's legs.

And then the awesome walks on screen.

Deranged side-plot killer in full-on Sweet Lolita getup. Rocking an eyepatch. Wielding enormous sewing scissors as a weapon. OH HELL YES.

She also changes costume, because, you know, sometimes in between stalking your intended victim, you can suddenly decide that Elegant GOTH Lolita is really the way to go.

As soon as the Lolita Killer showed up, I lost interest in whatever the plot of the movie was. I mean, bloodthirsty cults really cannot hold a candle to scissor-slinging deranged Japanese girls in 50 yards of pink and white eyelet, bows, ruffles, knee socks, and platform Mary Janes with little roses on the straps.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Glam World of 1978: Eyes Of Laura Mars

Greetings, fellow Fashion Victims! After extended wanderings, I have returned to regale you with more horror film costumery.

I was recently on tour doing costumes for a ballet company. During late nights in some of the duller towns and hotels, I indulged myself with play-on-demand movies. One of them was this golden oldie slasher-thriller from 1978.

Man, I loved Eyes of Laura Mars when I was an impressionable young teen. I thought it was super creepy and exciting. Photographer who portrays scenes of fashion and violence can suddenly see through eyes of slasher killer who is systematically stalking her and taking out all of her closest pals. AWESOME.

Now, in my dotage, I just find it sort of hilariously campy, although it is quite a slab of fashion history. Seriously, the outfits in this thing veer wildly from fabulous to horrifying and back to fab again.

One thing you can say about Faye Dunaway, she does have the amazing ability to flare her eyes like she's trying to hypnotize prey.

Also, great legs. And her split skirt ensemble is not only practical, it shows that feature off to incredible advantage.

I do NOT have great legs, nor have I ever, but damn I wanted a few split skirts after I saw this movie. 'Course, I also heartily embraced the Flashdance fashion trend, so that about sums it up for my clothing sense during that time.

I also love very much how Dunaway's character can go from ultraglam...

...to Valium-soaked frump.

Plus she has one of the kinkiest bedrooms ever.

Her fashion models are no slouch either. Here's the famed "car crash" photo shoot, filmed in Columbus Circle:

You just can't go wrong with fur and lingerie, can you? And check out that crimp job on the center model.

Anyway, Laura's closest associate is this guy, the poor man's less comedic Gene Wilder. His hair is more feathered than Farrah Fawcett's.

His character's name is Donald, which makes for several utterly marvelous scenes in which a terminally freaked-out Dunaway races down hallways in her knee-high suede boots, calling "DOOOOOOOOOONAAAAAAAAALD!!!" in a voice like a foghorn.

Imagine a Tallulah Bankhead-style drag queen saying "Hello daaaaaahling" and you will get an impression of how Dunaway's voice sounds. It's like she's taken several hits of Nyquil after smoking for about a year.

Her love interest, by the way, is Tommy Lee Jones.

Anyone who has seen Jones' work AFTER he did this film will have a wonderful time seeing him emote in turtlenecks, mega-flared trousers, and rockstar hair.

Oh yeah, there's also Brad Dourif as everyone's favorite scuzzball. He's Laura's driver, and if you can't figure that out from the plot, he is wearing a hat that will remind you.

You know, originally this was supposed to be a Barbra Streisand vehicle, but she backed out because the subject matter was "too kinky." Guess she didn't like Laura's bedroom either.

She did do the theme song, though.

Don't get me wrong, I still love Eyes of Laura Mars. It's just that while watching it, I couldn't decide if it was all wonderfully glam and marvy, or whether I should be laughing myself sick at the high melodrama of it all.

Ultimately, I did both.