Thursday, March 17, 2011

Hollywood Video Memories: Milo (1998)

Another great obscure horror movie I use to watch when I was younger was an indie horror movie called Milo; you know the one with the killer kid in a yellow raincoat? It’s a very obscure movie and it was marketed to include, “from the creators of Anaconda.” Well, I remember seeing the trailer on some old VHS’ from our local library (specifically on the VHS for ShadowBuilder and The Dentist) so when I found it at the bottom shelf of the horror section at Hollywood Video, I just had rent it out. There was just something about the trailer that caught my eye and maybe it was because of how it was edited. I’ll always remember that image of him standing in the middle of the road with his bike and the awkward yet tacky way those girls swung on the swing set. I guess it’s because it was one of the first trailers that I watched and went, “oh c’mon, it’s probably not even that good.”

Well it turns out that I was right, to a point. I don’t remember ever getting scared by it but rather enjoyed it for being fun. I think I was spoiled by Child’s Play at the time, which was the only “killer kid” movie that I knew of and Chucky wasn’t even a kid. Since a majority of the film was sporadic scenes of shocking involving Milo and his victim, I would often use the movie as white noise for when I drew. I use to draw a lot when I watched movie and I would rent out Milo so that I could draw the VHS box cover, but I would need put Milo on so that I can have white noise to draw to. It’s a complicated cycle. It wouldn’t be till the end that I got really into it. It was the only time where I would actually stop what I was doing and get all excited, waiting for Milo to pop out of nowhere. Even then it wouldn’t be scary, just thrilling. Sort of like how you anticipate an explosion in an action movie.

So what is the movie about? Well, it’s quite simple. A young woman returns to her hometown and takes up a job as a teacher at the school she once went to. Unfortunately, her past involved her witnessing the murder of one of her friends by a deranged boy named Milo. Now, sixteen years later Milo came back… from the dead looking the same way he did years go to re-unite with his only love and kill her. It’s a very interesting story that I didn’t really understand as a kid so I naturally assumed that Milo was a zombie, but he’s more than just a zombie… he’s something entirely different.

Almost 11 years later I revisited this movie since I found it on Netflix Instant and I thought it was decent. It was nowhere near as entertaining as I hoped or remember but it gave me a great sense of nostalgia. I liked how it was more than just a serial killer movie because otherwise it would have been really stupid. I personally believe that if it were given to the right people, they could have really expanded on Milo as a character. There is just so much that could be played around with. I guess the only real part of the movie that I enjoyed (and wanted to hear more of) was Milo’s back-story. It’s so gritty and disturbing that they make Milo seem like he’s a monster or something. I wanted to hear more and since they keep showing the empty glass with his birthday on it, it would only make sense that they would build upon it. I know the tagline compared Milo to other great horror movie villains like Jason and Freddy Krueger (tagline: Jason and Freddy were kids once, too) and I think Milo had the potential of being a great horror villain, even if he was only in a straight to VHS movie.

There were only two real problems that I had with this movie and that’s maybe because I’ve learned so much about movie/video audio and editing that it sticks out like a sore thumb. In the first half of the movie, there are a couple of scenes where the character is talking from afar and you can’t hear them because their voice is echoing. It’s almost as though they didn’t have an extra and strong enough microphone so they decided to leave it in. it only happens about 2 or 3 times so it’s not a big deal. The other problem that I had was with Milo’s voice, considering I build this movie up in my head for years it was kind of anticlimactic to hear him sound like a 23 year old with a bad cold. That was my fault but now I’m being too critical. Should you watch the movie?

I think that all depends on what your taste in movies is. If you like really campy straight-to-video fare, than boy is this a treat for you. If you enjoy anything outside the camp or cornball subgenre, than I would stay away from this movie. I found it just a tad disappointing because I thought I would still love it like I do with Proteus. Although I am glad that I did manage to see it as soon as I did because it gave me a chance to see, first hand, how my feelings towards certain movies changed. I use to love the most stupid shit but I’m sure that can be said for anybody. But to demonstrate, I once had an obsession for Darkness Falls because I thought it was one of the best horror movies out there. Needless to say, I was wrong. Milo can take out the tooth fairy with a flick of his bicycle wheel.

Side note: I always found it creepy that Milo used a kid to screw around with the teacher's head. I think this movie made me afraid of kids in yellow raincoats for a while. Funnily enough, I had a yellow raincoat as a kid too. And no, that's not what Milo looks like. Although, I believe he was in the Little Rascals movie.

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