CHICAGO – The issue of gender identity, especially for those who are born with a vagueness as to what to call themselves between/beyond boy and girl, has come front and center in the U.S., both with the legalization of gay marriage and the callous repudiation of identity by trying to pass laws dismissing it (the North Carolina “bathroom” laws). The performance companies of The Living Canvas and Nothing Without a Company is currently staging “[Trans]formation,” which presents gender identity art by six performers, who perform most of the play in the nude.
Film Review: Horror Spoof ‘A Haunted House’ is Pretty Horrible
CHICAGO – There is one funny line in “A Haunted House,” the new horror spoof starring Marlon Wayans. It’s “my foot has a cramp, don’t touch it.” The rest of the film is stunningly without humor, relying on a series of flatulence, sex and failed jokes to dauntingly fill the long, long 95 minutes.
This is a satire of the “found video” film genre – think “Paranormal Activity” – which would seem like fertile ground for making fun, but in this movie the subject quickly devolves into achingly stupid and oblivious attempts at humor. There is not one joke that isn’t thrashed to death, and “A Haunted House” simply repeats them in the hope that redundancy is the key to laughs. The actress Essence Atkins, playing the lady of the haunted house, should get a special award for the scapegoating she endures, as she is put through so many ringers that it almost seems sexist. In short, the film is devoid of any value as a satire or a comedy. Although 2013 is only 11 days old, “A Haunted House” could hold up as the worst film of the year.
Malcolm (Marlon Wayans) and Kisha (Essence Atkins) move into their dream house. To stylistically fit into the “Paranormal Activity” realm, it turns out that Malcolm is somewhat of a video nerd, and sets up cameras all around the house. This starts to capture weird happenings, mostly affecting Kisha. She seems possessed, bothered and bewildered by it all, and instead of getting the hell out of the house, Malcolm stands his ground.
This gives him an opportunity to bring in a series of wacky fixers for the problem including Chip the Psychic (Nick Swardson), Father Williams (Cedric the Entertainer), Dan the Security Man (David Koechner) plus best buddies Steve (Andrew Daly) and Rosa (Marlene Forte). Meanwhile, Kisha is imbued with a devil spirit, but more importantly to Malcolm – and apparently everyone else – is not forthcoming in her marital duties.
Photo credit: Open Road Films