AUTHOR'S NOTE: Yes, I know that this liveblog is written between My Little Unicorn and the positive liveblog. Consider it a special liveblog in the spirit of Halloween coming up. Likewise, this liveblog isn't canon to the Rika Liveblogs' storylines, presenting my own views.
Happy Halloween, everybody!
Yes, I am taking a small break from liveblogging what I have, in the spirit of the holiday. Why? Well, this liveblog is a bit more special than any other ones. Before I got into writing arcs and liveblogging bad fanfiction (and hopefully liveblog something good soon), my initial reason for liveblogging was covering obscure stuff no one else had heard of. So that way, those works would gain some sort of audience, whether it's for a good reason or bad reason.
So today, I'm going back to liveblogging a really obscure horror film.
Directed by David DeCoteau in 2004, this film features something that has a good (if a bit hokey at first) premise: a zombie boy band. Now, lately, boy bands have been rather prevalent...okay, only One Direction is, but you get my drift. But does it make for a good horror film?
Not by a long shot.
What we do get are plot holes aplenty, some famous names showing up to make you go, "why the hell are they even there?", a pretty flimsy plot, and really bad special effects. And padding. And lip-syncing.
Did I even mention that one of the stars was from American Idol, and some of that shit even shows? Yeah, you thought From Justin to Kelly was bad? Well, you're right, but this comes dangerously close.
What am I talking about? Well, from the batshit insane mind that brought you so many liveblogs comes...the liveblog of Ring of Darkness.
Now, like in the My Little Eye liveblog, I can't really show any clips from the movie unless if you have a copy of the movie beforehand. Luckily, you can download it on iTunes or rent it on YouTube, for starters.
So let's get started with...
After we get the opening credits, we open with a mansion of sorts as pop-ish music plays. Inside it, a young man packs his bags for an unknown (for right now) reason. And yes, before you ask, the guy's nearly shirtless. And no, I'm not going to make a mention about that particular bit of Director Appeal.
Before he finishes packing his bags, he takes out a silver cross necklace. Keep that in mind for later, kids, just trust me on this one. At first, he puts it in the bag, only for him to take it out and wear it around his neck. Before he leaves—
- Gordo: "Be cool, Gordo. Be cool."
Holy crap. Greg Cipes, what are you doing there, and why the hell are you in this movie?
Yes, if you didn't catch that, Gordo here is played by Greg, he of, among others, Teen Titans fame. Now, DeCoteau has had a habit of casting semi-big names (or formerly-big names) for his films—Eric Roberts, Cynthia Rothrock, that chick from Eight is Enough, and Jason Faunt, just to name a few. But to cast a big name (YMMV, of course) in western animation?
Yes, even I went, "what the hell?" the moment when I found out he was in the movie.
Anyway, after comforting himself a bit, Gordo shuts off the lights and decides to get the heck outta dodge. And we get a fleeing sequence that lasts one minute and 56 fucking seconds, ending at the beach, with Gordo surrounded by four mysterious men. (And yes, I counted how long it took.)
...also, is it me, or does the beach look...near-morning in some areas?
The leader of the men calls Gordo, asking where he's going. Our hero answers that he's going away, causing said leader to mock him. Well, technically, since he's pulling out the "after everything we've done for you" card.
By the way, if you're expecting a badass fight, you're dead wrong. Then again, it does show how much of a good actor Greg is compared to literally everyone else. Seriously, he does show a bit more emotion than the guys, especially the leader, who's one-note smug here.
Gordo laughs at them, saying that he knows what they did for and to him. Oh, shit. Then again, what they did to him isn't really explained. The leader pulls out yet another "card", this time the "you're nothing without us" one. Yes, I'm listing "cliches" as "cards".
Gordo continues to deny it all, and he decides to go solo and tell everyone the story of what the band really is. He'll say it to Spin, Billboard, and (yes, really), the National Enquirer. While the last one may be a bold move, I...dunno. Then again, it may be a desperation tactic on his part.
The leader then says that even the Enquirer wouldn't believe him, but Gordo's still determined. He wants to bring the band down...but unfortunately for him, the band will not stop. He, however, is done.
And so, Gordo becomes our Decoy Protagonist (kinda—I mean, we barely knew about him in the first five minutes of the movie), and...he dies by...the group huddling? And making eating noises? What?
Then again, I will say this. Death by huddle is still a better treatment than what Beast Boy suffers through in Dakari-King Mykan's works. (rimshot)
We get our title, and we have...oh, God. We have the song, "Sexin' Me", as lip-synched by the boy band, later revealed as Take Ten. Yes, I say "lip-sync", because that's literally all they do. And yes, the song isn't really performed by the band, or even by Greg himself! Does DeCoteau even realize that the dude has a band, Cipes and the People? (Then again, did Greg have a singing career before the movie?)
Also, another thing to note. Throughout this movie, we get clips of the music video interspersed and played after big events happen. Yeah, talk about padding.
Between this music video, however, a news reporter appears, revealing that Gordo has been sent to rehab after he was busted with a bag full of drugs. After a party celebrating the end of their tour, no less. Their leader (yes, I'm referring him as the leader since he does call the shots), Xavier (played by former Baywatch child actor Jeremy Jackson—remember when I said that the director likes casting former-to-semi-big-named actors? We can add "any second-stringer from Baywatch" to that), then gives out a statement, telling Gordo that he can beat the habit.
Except for the fact that Gordo's fucking dead. And for that matter, would anyone really suspect the dude to even have a drug problem?
Then more is revealed. As a first, Take Ten will hold a talent competition to see who would be the new lead singer. And yes, it'll be like American Idol, only without a snarky British judge. For one thing. Because...one of the other actors on there is from that reality show. Who'll be revealed in a few minutes. After that, we finish the music video. And I just realize, no matter how much the guy lip-syncs (even though, really, they should have actually shown him singing), Greg is...kinda adorkable.
By the way, curious to see what the video looks like? Here you go!
We go to our talent search, where each contestant must sing a song from Take Ten. Guess which song it's going to be. And we see an assistant with the band's manager, Alex. Played by none other than Adrienne Barbeau. And yes, this ain't the first time she starred in a work involving zombies.
Alex isn't too impressed by the selection, and the assistant goes on to say about how they can always use the demos from talent agencies. After all, it's getting a lot of publicity, but Alex doesn't give a shit about it. What she does care are two things. Getting the lead singer and staying awake. Really.
Then the other four members of Take Ten show up. Aside from the aforementioned Xavier, we have B.J., Kyle, and Jake. They are looking for someone with the best voice and who really gets the swooning fangirls going. Enter...the obligatory Hopeless Auditionee, a guy who doesn't have a name, but acts like a typical one-note bigshot.
Oh, and yes, they are playing the same song. You know what, I'll just say that "Sexin' Me" will be the band's freaking leifmotif, since it's, like, their main theme. And yes, everyone lip-syncs, too. Yeah, it's hard to believe which one's good or bad when they all sound the same.
Though I gotta love how squicked out some of the audience members are. Or just giving looks as if to say, "WTF?"
Back to the lines, a lover's quarrel. We see our actual main hero, Shawn, played by yet another person with some music expertise, Stephen Martines. (What is up with this film choosing some people with a little musical background, only for them to not display much, if at all, of their talents?) He's telling his girlfriend, Stacy, about how the audition would not make him become a "serious artist".
And yes. Stacy is played by Ryan Starr, the aforementioned American Idol contestant. Specifically, she was on the first installment, getting kicked off halfway on. And you can practically feel the "We're Still Relevant, Dammit!" vibe this movie has. Granted, as I've mentioned earlier, boy bands have come back in a way, but keep in mind that this was made in a year where pop didn't know what to do with itself, and crunk, R&B, those kinds of music dominated the charts.
Of course, it shouldn't come as no surprise that DeCoteau also did films that are of a mockbuster type, like a Hansel and Gretel movie out around the same time Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters premiered, or, hell, A Talking Pony!?! because God forbid the poor soul who would somehow mistake that for My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.
Stacy goes on to say that, yeah, the boy band thing isn't her boyfriend's thing, but at the same time, he does want his big break, so he can join the band and put himself out there. Then after a few years, he can do whatever he wants. As Shawn is given some time to think...
...Lipsync Idol's obligatory Hopeless Auditionee is booed off. Yes, really.
- Alex: "This is gonna be a long day."
Understatement of the millennium, dear.
Kyle quips that wedding singers are doing well this time of year. Yeah, what? Then by that logic, that lead singer you guys killed by huddling should be wedding singer-material. I've noticed that throughout that audition, the dude was doing some random dance moves to set him apart, but...still.
The Hopeless Auditionee, unhappy, says that boy bands are on their way out. Eh, give them a few more years, they'll always be around. Hell, I've heard that there are several boy bands in, say, Japan...
The dude then storms off the stage and grabs several beers, and the next contestant is revealed. Max Reback, a young man with big dreams. And with the wildest costume. It's like Rambo if he has a jacket, wild shirt, and an afro.
Naturally, B.J. tells the young man that he has the wrong look, but Xavier states that it's about finding the voice. Yes, that one singular voice—are we sure it's a talent show?
Regardless, cue yet another round of lip-syncing...God. I think it's time to do a Drinking Game.
- Take a shot every single time someone lip-syncs "Sexin' Me".
- Take two shots if someone lip-syncs a different song.
- Take a shot every time you see a clip of the music video.
Remember, kids, always assign a designated driver. Unless if you're doing it with non-alcoholic beverages (which is highly recommended, because you'll get really plastered this time around if you use any alcohol).
And yes, Max does take his jacket off. This..."performance" in name only impresses everyone, and the assistant tells Alex what he is. Apparentally, he wanted to be an astrophysicist. And he's already accepted to Yale, at that. Alex thinks that they can compete, already marking him as one of the few finalists (yes), with some guy named Jonah. We'll get to him once we get introduced. They need one more. Who's it going to be?
...spoiler alert: it's one half of the squabbling couple. And yes, they're still going on about the "doing the gig" thing. Oy. Also. Donnie Walberg didn't just punch Mel Gibson and shoot Bruce Willis. His character in this horror film once tried to survive a deadly game in order to get his son back. And in this one, his character is an asshole cop.
Why am I reminding myself of slightly-better horror films I could be watching right about now?
One of the other people mispronounce Shawn's name and tell him he's next. He eventually decides to do it. I didn't mention this, but we have seen his characterization (so far): that of a rebellious spirit who wants to do his own thing. But thanks to other forces (read: his girlfriend), fate has given him another hand of cards.
...I might be reading too much, but really, that's how almost everyone's characterized. Just...one-note so far, with nothing to grow.
Shawn snarks at Kyle about how he's supposed to be the sensitive one, and...thankfully, this is going to be the last time anyone would lip-sync "Sexin' Me". I hope. This gets the crowd fired up, and the assistant tells Alex how his application reads like an anti-application. She doesn't mind it, as long as the rebelliousness can be kept under control.
Xavier gives Alex a head nod, showing that Shawn will be the third and final pick. If they find anyone else? The dude stays. Damn, they just saw him in action for a few minutes, and they're hell-bent to keep him? I mean, yeah, he's the protag, but come on!
After that ends, cut to later that night, where the Hopeless Auditionee wakes up, drunk, after everyone else is gone. He stumbles to a banner, saying that he hardly calls Take Ten a band. Not to say that he has a point, but...
I will say this. The next thing he does is uncalled for. He decides to pee on the banner. Squick. That is, until Take Ten shows up, surrounded in shadow. Yeah, it's no use to hide their identities when we clearly heard one of the members talking in the beginning, guys. They decide to kill the Hopeless Auditionee by huddling.
All because he trash-talked them. Or he was alone at night. Or something.
Well, that's part 1! Will Shawn, Max, and Jonah survive the next few days? Will we ever get character development? And will the band's secret ever be exposed?
Find out next time on the next Rika Liveblogs Ring of Darkness!