Still reeling from the toad-licking crapfest that was yesterday's offering, I strolled through my Netflix Instant queue to see if there was anything that might ease my pain, so to speak. There wasn't. I even considered watching an old standy-by and pretending that I hadn't seen it already, just for this 31 in 31 series. But I'm not quite that desperate...not yet. So I went with the one and only John Carpenter film that I have never seen, The Ward. Even though I have NOT heard good things about it.
Oddly, I'm pretty jazzed to watch this. The opening scene of the various halls and rooms of the psychiatric hospital is technically evocative of his earlier work in films like Halloween, Assault on Precinct 13 and The Thing. So I'm in a good place to start with. And I have a gigantic glass of bourbon next to me. That should make things easier. I mean, he didn't use Panavision on this one. So it's not REALLY Carpenter-ish, but it's close enough for wakka-wakka.
In this corner, we have a troubled young woman (Amber Heard) who likes to light fires. In the other corner. The North Bend Psychiatric Hospital which may have a bit of a ghost problem. There was literally no reason for using a boxing reference there. Except that I'm already bored. So forget about that whole "I'm in a good place" thing. Although I will have to say that my favorite inmate in the women's ward so far is played by an interesting-looking actress named Marnie Gummer. She almost looks like a young version of Meryl Streep. Which, yup...she's her daughter. So there's that.
Wait a minute...shower scene! Except without any frontal or buttal nudity. Just a wee bit of side-boob. That's seems hard to do and totally unnecessary. These horror flicks are supposed to be gratuitous, or did John Carpenter forget that. Wait, he never did give us a naked Jamie Lee Curtis, Adrienne Barbeau or Kurt Russell now that I think about it. So why am I such a fan of his again? It's escaping me right now. And I may be thinking about Adrienne Barbeau's boobs. So I could be occupied for a while, okay?
Back to the storyline, I guess. There's this dead girl named Alice who is hunting down the other girls in the ward. Through a series of flash-backs, we see that she was tortured and raped by some gigantic sloth of a man. Or was she? And what do the girls have to do with it? And why would Alice hate the new girl? Those questions, mes amis, are something you are going to have to find out for yourself.
Overall, I enjoyed it. It was kinda boring at times, but that's what the bourbon is for. I did dig the way it was shot, but I was slightly disappointed that Carpenter himself didn't write the score. A Carpenter flick without a Carpenter score just isn't complete. Deducting a half a pumpkin for that very reason.
Verdant Dude rating: 2.5 out of 5 pumpkins