Wednesday, November 9, 2011

bad/awesome flixxx review: John Carpenter's The Ward (2011)

"Sorry, I don't converse with loonies." - Sarah

"Those orderlies caught me... and they hurt my arms." - Emily

"We have to get out of here." - Kristen

Yeah- no shit Kristen. Yer in a psycho tank with some kind of ghost girl who's face is pretty much melted off and she's already murdered a few hot chicks and assaulted you while you were naked in the shower, what makes you guys any different? Hello again everyone! I watched this horror flick the other night from my favorite director John Carpenter. I was up for anything seeing as how it has been 9 or 10 years since GHOST OF MARS (which I don't even remember really except for it not being very good). Well... How do you want it? The good news or the bad news? The bad news is, its not his best work... but we all figured that before we even heard of it. The good news is, its not THAT bad, and the cast is almost entirely made up of super amazingly hot chicks. Well, maybe it IS that bad, but still- super hot chicks. Which begs the question- how in the fuck is there a mental hospital in Northern Bend, Oregon with only 6 or 7 SUPER HOT chicks living there, and how did they end up on- THE WARD???

More bad news- NO NUDITY. With all of these hot ass chicks in the cast, you would think that ol JC would've opted for a few models who didn't mind showing off some skin. BUT I guess when you're John Carpenter, you have this legacy and all, PLUS the NEED to see these chicks naked is whats driving you to watch the thing pretty much throughout the first hour anyway. So I guess its a well played trick. We start out with some girl getting iced in the dark by a face outside her cell door in the dark. Then we cut to a scene in the mid 60s with an old Andy Griffith cop car chasing this chick through the woods and she's all dirty and she sets this house on fire, and then she just sits in front of it and watches it burn. AND THEN she's pissed when they come and grab her! You shouldn't have been sitting on your ass girl! Now your gonna be charged with arson.

But no- they don't rush her to juvie- instead, they rush her to the neighborhood psycho tank. Apparently this isn't a flashback and this pretty blond is replacing the girl who bit the dust last night or whenever it was. This girl is Kristen and she has no idea why she is here. She's smart enough to not eat the pills they give her, but immediately she begins to notice something awry at the hospital. She wakes up upon her first night there with her covers hidden under the bed and a bracelet with some letters laying there. So she sleeps on the floor, obviously! YEAH RIGHT! Plus she didn't just go- "who the fuck is Alice?" right from the get-go. She just hides the letters in her pillow case with all those pills. I like to think she's going to try and sell them when she gets out. She's in Bend in the late 60s. She could make a fortune on those things hitching down to Portland.

So, there's a young doctor trying to "cure" her, with no answers to give, a crabby nurse, 2 bumbling orderlies, and a gaggle of hot patients: the bitch/slut, the koo-koo bird, the innocent artist, and the cry-baby. The doc asks her why she burned down the house. She also constantly sees a little girl tied up in a room. Then she starts seeing this ghost girl with a ravaged face. Then she tries to escape several times and they end up giving her some "intense" shock therapy. So they have a big therapy meeting and they mention Tammy. Then the artist says she's getting out because she's cured. Then she has a private sesh with the doc. Then the ghost chick kidnaps and kills her. Now the girls are freaking out but no one else is. And here is why this is pretty good: The whole time I'm sitting there thinking- What the fuck!? Why is this crabby old nurse and these orderlies not doing shit about this girl going missing? Are they covering it up? All the while, I'm forgetting- oh yeah- they're in a psycho tank. This shit MIGHT not even be happening. But the whole time we are seeing through Kristen's eyes. Her point of view becomes our own, so we miss a few things here and there.

So, there's another 45 minutes of ghost killing off girls one by one. Cry baby tells Kristen that they killed Alice (the ghost) because she bullied them and now she is getting them back. Kristen is like, yeah but why the fuck is she after me? Then there's a big reveal and a little plot twist that makes you take a look at the whole movie differently. Nice trick - except one final scene. The whole ending is easy enough to buy. But then at the end he does a little "old school" horror move that we've definitely seen before in horror movies, but its one of those moves that MAKES NO SENSE. So the rest of it does, except for this little, very small final scene. I think he may have put it there to confuse us. Or it may turn out that there were alternate scenes, and he just went with this. Either way, he may have just needed to fit one last "jump" in there. I don't know. Was it worth it? Sure, I guess. But I'm a JC fan. If his name wasn't attached to it, would I dig it? Probably not, I don't really like newer horror flicks, and this one is a bit like an old school horror but made now. Even all the know how in the world can't bring back that film stock or the way people dressed or looked in the 80s. It somehow seems less than authentic. BUT- its set in the 60s so. I don't know. I'd watch it. I did. So there.


  1. i watched this two weeks ago and pretty much feel the same way. i'm too lazy to scroll back through all of your reviews, but i have a few films to suggest for viewing. all of these are available currently on netflix instant watch.

    steel justice - you just know a movie is going to rule all with a cast like this... martin kove (bad guy sensei from karate kid), capt. bogomil from beverly hills cop, bernie casey (dr. black, mr. hyde), peter kwong (bobby nguyen in gleaming the cube), and al leong (asian dude with a machine gun in every 80's action film).

    high ballin' - a trucking hijack film with peter fonda and jerry reed.

    c.c. & company - a late 60's / early 70's biker film with joe namath, william smith, and sid haig.