Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Friday, November 25, 2011
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Friday, November 4, 2011
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Monday, October 31, 2011
Well we’re finally here. Halloween Night. So of course I picked Trick R Treat. I’m sure every blog on the internet doing a 31 movie countdown ended with Trick R Treat or at least mentioned it somewhere. That would be because Trick R Treat is the best horror movie of the last decade.
I don’t want to reveal any of the fun twists but I will say that Trick R Treat is an anthology film and that it ranks equally to the original Creepshow as the best of the genre. It’s 4-5 stories are fascinating and and fun. What is extra fun is the time-line, while the movie is a quick 82 minutes the film’ time line is only about 50 minutes as characters stories intertwine throughout the movie.
Trick R Treat has become a becokon of hope to the horror community as well as a sign of what’s wrong with Horror today. Brilliantly written, acted and directed the film sat on the shelf for years before getting released straight to DVD. Why did it wait forever? To make room for the Saw sequels. Trick R Treat sits in the ranks with films like Hatchet that are original ideas but got the straight to DVD treatment.
Thankfully it didn’t take long for Trick R Treat to get it’s recognition. It became a fast cult hit, horror fan showed it to horror fan and eventually to non-horror fans. Today IFC is playing the film 24 hours straight. Is it an attempt to make Trick R Treat the Christmas Story of Halloween? Sure. But can you think of a better film in horror history than this one for that? I legitimately can’t.
Sunday, October 30, 2011
I’ve covered a bunch of movies this month. Some that are awful, some so bad that they’re good, some that are just plain good movies. Some have been unsettling, some have been laughable and some were atmospheric. But Sublime was the only one that emotionally fucked me up. Much like Jaws made millions of people afraid of the water, Sublime confirmed my fear of hospitals.
George Grieves checks into the hospital for a simple colonoscopy however confusion and a mixed up chart leads to him having a sympahectomy instead. George keeps experiencing weird nighmarish things in the hospital and realizes that he’s in a coma and he’s being haunted by his subconscious and his worst fears. It’s on going battle between George wanting to get out of his nightmare world and George’s family trying to decide if they should take him off life support.
Sublime is best compared to the equally nightmarish Johnny Got His Gun. Neither film is a 5 star masterpiece but it will still fuck you up in a big way. The acting, the strange feeling of the hospital and realistic horror all lead to movie that will terrify you on a mental and emotional level more than just a simple jump scare.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
Lair of the White Worm is a strange ass film. It’s a vampire film... but not a vampire film. There are no vampires in it, just snake watchers. There’s an equally bizarre sexual twist in the movies as well as a strong religious undertone.
The film follows archaeology student Angus Flint and unearths what appears to be a giant snake skull. It’s believed to be the head of the mythical snake slain in the near by cavern. The skull is stolen by Lady Sylvia March who is an immortal priestess to the snake god. This Skull will allow her to bring the snake back.
Hugh Grant appears in an early role as the rich Lord James D’Ampton. With a fun blend of gore and comedy Ken Russell’s adaption of Bram Stoker’s novel feels like early Peter Jackson at times. The film had average reviews but currently holds up as a fun but strange little horror film.
Friday, October 28, 2011
In 2008 I went to the movie with my girlfriend and a couple we were friends with. We went to see The Strangers. I was the only one excited to see it and it seems like I was the only one who enjoyed it at the end.
The plot line follows Kristen McKay and James Hoyt on a vacation at James’ Family’s remote summer house. They are tormented by 2 women in pin-up masks and a man with a sack over his head. This is really all the information you need to know about this movie.
One of my previous films on my list was House of 1,000 Corpses and I discussed people constantly comparing it to Texas Chainsaw Massacre, in reality The Strangers has more a feeling of a TCM than anything else in the last few years (including the remake of Texas Chainsaw Massacre). Everything in this movie feels like something out of 70’s cinema.
The best element o the film comes from the soundtrack, or lack there of. The direction focused on legitimate suspense and eeriness over gore and jump scares. There’s minimal dialogue and almost no external music. While The Strangers was a box office success it received mixed reviews critically and is definitely underappreciated. Currently they are working on a sequel featuring all of the original cast (that survived the movie anyway). I’m interested to see how it is and if it gets a theatric or straight to video release.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
John Carpenter is one of the most important and inspirational writer/directors of all time. While not all of his films are hits, John Carpenter does whatever John Carpenter wants. He can make a film about a sidekick who doesn’t know he’s a sidekick (Big Trouble in Little China) or a film about ghosts hidden in a fog, John Carpenter wants to entertain John Carpenter (and maybe Kurt Russell), if the rest of you enjoy it, it’s just a happy mistake.
Claiming his best movie is pretty difficult, many would say either The Thing or Halloween but to me it’s always been They Live. Of all of his films it best shows his talent for pacing. Carpenter is always good with a slow burn into a pay off but never like They Live. The third of the film is more a statement on the economy than anything else. However our lead character (who is nameless but named Nada in the closing credits) feels like something is wrong. What he’s not sure, until he finds some magic sunglasses of course.
With these sunglasses Nada is able to see that the rich and powerful are aliens keeping the common man down. He decides it’s up to him and co-worker/friend Frank to end their control.
They Live is filled with memorable moments and lines. The fight sequence was recreated punch by punch in an episode of South Park awhile the line ‘I’ve come here to kick ass and chew bubble gum, and I’m all out of bubble gum” has appeared in such thins as Duke Nuke’Em and the IT Crowd. An 80’s classic for sure and something to not quickly be forgotten once you’ve seen it.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
I love Anthology horror films. Creepshow for instance is one of the finest horror films ever made, furthermore I love Tales From the Crypt (if you couldn’t tell from my Guilty Pleasures column on Bordello of Blood). House that Drips Blood is another classic Anthology horror film.
I got this film originally as a joke. One of my all time films is a movie called Freaked. In it they mention a newspaper article about the House that Dripped Blood (to which everyone inn the film goes Ewwwwwww), so when I found a film with the same title, I felt like I had to own it. I was pleasantly surprised to find it a film with such great british actors like Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee).
The stories are all tied around a single house and the stories of horror that happened to past tenants. One tenant (a horror writer) is haunted by visions of the murderous psychopath from his newest novel. The next tenant was fixated with a local wax museum. A Widower (played by Christopher Lee) is tortured by his daughter and her voodoo doll and the newest tenant, film actor Paul Henderson has gone missing while filming a vampire movie.
I won’t ruin the major twists but I will say that some of the segments borrow from classic horror movies meanwhile other segments could have easily been lifted for films in the 80’s and 90’s. Regardless it’s a quality film with a nice and well deserved cult following.
Monday, October 24, 2011
This film was almost immediately the butt of jokes. Kevin Costner has made a pretty large amount of poor film choices the last decade. The exception is Mr. Brooks. The Jokes were always ‘A horror movie for your grandparents”. While the film is tame in violence it’s very big in story.
Mr. Brooks (Costner) is a rich powerful business man, who also happens to be a serial killer. He has an imaginary ID called Marshall (William Hurt) that drives him to kill. One day however peeping tom Mr. Smith (Dane Cook) gets photos of him murdering a couple while they’re making love. Smith claims he won’t turn Brooks in so long as he takes him on his next murder.
The film has so many different influences. It could very easily have been inspired by Jeff Lindsay’s Dexter books (to a certain extent) as well as films like Man Bites Dog and American Psycho. Despite all the elements of other films you can find the movie still works perfectly as it’s own independent film.
The film did modestly at the box office and received mediocre reviews, but it’s worth visiting or revisiting.
Sunday, October 23, 2011
A few days ago I posted a guilty pleasures review on Dead Silence. I referenced this film in that article. It’s hard to completely call Magic a horror film. I typically hate when people use the term psychological thriller as a way to not call a good smart film ‘horror’. Unlike films like Silence of the Lambs (which has elements based on the same inspiration as Psycho and Texas Chainsaw Massacre), but Magic is so focused on the actual psychology of Corky (Anthony Hopkins).
The film goes out of it’s way to not answer the question of if Fats (the dummy) is evil and alive or if Corky is hearing voices. The film is purposely slow paced and it completely works. Burgess Meredith gives an incredible performance (as always) and Anthony Hopkins is just as creepy as he is as Hannibal but less eerie and moresome sad.
I remember hearing about this from family members. They used to tell me how terrifying it and as much I love it, it’s not terrifying. I find the trailer much more frightening.
Either way it’s one of my favorite pieces of 70’s horror. If you like a good mysterious horror film instead of a body count then this is highly recommended.
Saturday, October 22, 2011
I don’t know why, but remakes definitely sucked less in the 80’s. For whatever reason directors felt comfortable doing their own thing with the source material while sticking to the general story. Of course the films they were remaking were also a good 30/40 years old.
The Thing typically is people’s go to for best horror remake (or The Fly). It’s easy to see why, the original Thing From Another World is enjoyable but tame at best. John Carpenter took a terrifying concept, blended in a good dose of gore and special effects and created one of the most claustrophobic pieces of cinema ever.
We have an alien that shape-shifts. Who can be trusted? This film has all the eerie atmosphere and bad ass transformation sequences a gore hound could ask for, but it also has the suspense and acting quality to make it a classic.
The Thing is a forever classic piece of 80’s horror and while it’s great, The Blob is still my favorite remake of the 80’s.
Friday, October 21, 2011
I’ve promoted some serious shit on my blog this month. I’ve pimped out Drive Thru, Troll 2 and Alligator all in the last 7 days. But this is the worst of the worst. It spends the entire film dancing the line between so bad it’s good and so bad it’s fucking painful.
Terror Toons starts off on a bad note. The camera is focusing on a DVD cover taped to a wall and zooms out, then a man who is the definition of overacting walks out and explains the movie you’re about to watch. That’s always a bad sign.
The film is about 2 cartoon characters created by Satan to kill a bunch of teens. Or at least that’s what they’ll tell you the plot is about. The film is actually about showing off what you can do with a Green Screen and Final Cut Pro.
The death scenes are cartoony and humorus at times... other times you feel like you’re watching an old episode of Scooby Doo. And then you start to WISH you were watching an old episode of Scooby Doo. I can’t recommend this movie unless you’re doing an event where you’re trying to watch as many shitty horror movies as you can handle.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
I’m not going to be able to properly explain the plot of this movie because it is the most confusing and contrived plot in cinema history. I’ll sum up the movie like this:
Troll 2 is about Goblins. Josh’s grandfather tells him stories about the Goblins. The Goblins consist of midgets in potato sacks with latex masks, only one with a moveable mouth. Josh and his family go to the town of Nilbog. Turns out Nilbog is Goblin spelled backwards. They kill the Goblins and return home. Suddenly a baseball rolls down the steps that says “mommy” on it. Josh goes upstairs where the shower is running and full of green slime. Josh is attacked by a Goblin. Credits roll.
Troll 2 is the best of the worst in bad cinema. Plan 9 from Outer Space and Robot Monster are classic films on the original “so bad, it’s good” genre, but while those movies are poorly acted, or poorly written or feature an alien that’s just a gorilla costume with a scuba diver mask they at least have a plot that you can follow. Troll 2 has dialogue so bad that it hurts your head, like this dialogue exchange.
Elliot: What’s wrong with having Friends?
Holly: Nothing, as long as you don’t mind being a virgin all your life
It’s movies like Troll 2 and Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 that gives us some of the most infamous Internet memes of all time. It’s these movies that are so bad that we stare at the screen dumb-founded going “why is no one bothers by the green slime on all their food?” or “why is there this dance sequence?”
Bad movies are incredibly addicting but only with a specific crowd. You cannot watch a movie like Troll 2 or Jaws the Revenge by yourself and truly appreciate it. These are the films that you get a group of friends together, a pizza, a case of beers and you just have a blast.
It takes a special type of person to truly appreciate and love these movies, the people who buy every film that Troma has released. It’s those people who remember the days of putting in a full moon pictures vhs, seeing all those trailers for films like Subspecies, Bad Channels and Shrieker or even remember fast-forwarding the closing credits to get to Shadow Zone’s behind the scenes feature. There are movies that the biggest appeal of them is that you spend the whole movie going “there is absolutely no way this script had a second draft”.
As the story goes, Troll 2 was made by a film crew that spoke very little to no English, directing a group of amateur American actors who spoke no Italian. Beyond the inability to communicate the director demanded that they read the script verbatim. Even the star Michael Stephenson says he can’t explain the ending of this movie.
This is a film that has a sex scene with corn on the cob that turns into popcorn when the sex gets steamy. This is a movie where for no explainable reason Josh’s grandfather (who is a ghost) can freeze time (but only for 30 seconds) so that Josh can get rid of the food covered in green slime. So what does Josh do? I mean a normal person would… I don’t know… throw out the food, but not Joshua. He stands on the table, unzips his fly and pees on everything. This of course leads to one of the best lines of dialogue in any film “You can’t Piss on Hospitality, I won’t allow it”.
The film has become a cult classic, it was original an embarrassment to every actor involved. Michael J Nelson (from Mystery science theater 3000) recently filmed a rifftrax for the movie and in Morgan, Utah (where the movie was filmed) they have an event called Nilbog Invasion. All of these things happened under the noses of the writers, directors and actors from the movie. When star Michael Stephenson discovered this cult following he started to document it and show other cast members about it. After 2 years of touring is documentary around film festivals the film finally got picked up by Area 23, so definitely check out Best Worst Movie to truly understand how brilliant this trash cinema is.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
John Sayles isn’t really touching on anything different than what he accomplished a year prior with Piranha. If anything, he only improved on the Jaws rip off concept.
The film follows homicide detective David Madison as he tries to solve a mysterious case involving severed limbs coming out of the St. Louis sewer system. Once a news reporter (an uncanny Tony Danza look alike) is murdered, photos of the 36-foot long alligator are revealed to the world.
The Alligator (apparently knowing that the secret is out) explodes out of the sewer system and raises hell on the streets. A little boy runs into the house and grabs a knife, which would be a lot more effective if it was a giant loaf of bread attacking St. Louis. Not so much a 36-foot alligator. Finally, a professional alligator hunter is brought in to find and destroy the monster.
Good thing he brings along a bomb squad, which might be useful (and more entertaining) if the alligator started building bombs. Meanwhile, Detective Madison and young reptile enthusiast Marisa Kendall search for the alligator’s origin but end up digging too deep causing David to lose his badge (why not?). As we all know by now, no police officer can ever solve a crime this big (pun intended?) until his badge has been dramatically revoked.
The film is filled with similar clichés and loads of under-acting but in a strange way that’s the appeal of Alligator. This film has long been one of my all time favorite horror movies. In fact it even appeared in my list of Horror Movies That Ruined Every Day Activities for one particular scene with a little boy, a pool and night time.
Monday, October 17, 2011
In the mid-90’s I only knew George Clooney as the worst Batman. In the 2000’s I knew him as one of the best actors of the decade, but in the 80’s he was just a sitcom star who appeared in various B-horror movies. Return to Horror High he plays the sexy lead of a film who dies pretty quickly.
Return to Horror High is ridiculous, for starters, it sounds like a sequel. However it’s not, the concept is 5 years ago a series of murders and disappearances occurred. A film company wants to make a movie about it and shoot at the school where all these murders occurred. While filming they’re murdered one by one.
The ‘twist’ is beyond absurd. In fact in a matter of 10 minute there are 6 twists and I don’t want to ruin a single one haha.
The death scenes are entertaining enough, you’ll find yourself laughing and really enjoying the tongue in cheek humor. Recommended for fans of mildly meta horror comedies (In the same vein as Student Bodies)
Sunday, October 16, 2011
In 1962 a group of independent film makers made a small psychological horror film that to put it simply TANKED. It wasn’t until the days of grindhouse cinema and late night cable that the brilliance of this atmospheric film got the credit that it deserved. The film of course is Carnival of Souls.
After a drag race goes wrong a car full of beautiful girls die except for passenger Mary Henry. She emerges from the river disoriented but alive. She’s a talent young organist and gets a job working at a church in Salt Lake City. While there she’s haunted by various ghouls emerging from the river.
The film’s pace and visuals are what makes this $33,000 cult classic the masterpiece it’s perceived as today. Actress Candace Hilligoss is one of the most beautiful 60’s actresses I’ve ever seen, but sadly her acting career practically began and ended with Carnival of Souls.
If you’ve never seen this masterpiece of the golden age, do yourself a favor and get it now.
Saturday, October 15, 2011
Not all horror movies are winners. For every Friday the 13th there were about 10 Slaughter High’s. But I love bad movies, I even love Slaughter High to be honest. The problem with bad horror films is such, accidentally bad movies are awesome, purposefully bad ones are not. The last 10 years or so we’ve seen an undeniable rise in purposefully bad horror movies, everyone wants to be the next Troma or Full Moon it seems, but they forget that it’s sincerity that makes those films work.
Drive Thru has plenty of sincerity. It’s an awful movie of course, but it’s delightfully awful. Horny the Clown is the loved fast food mascot of Hella-Burger (run by Morgan Spurlock). However when various teens end up dead from burger related deaths (my favorite being the horrifically gory face in the deep fryer scene, they have to figure out how to stop this seemingly demonic clown.
The film borrows a lot from Freddy Kreuger, except our villain never harmed anyone (until coming back as a demonic clown). The plot is ridiculous to every possible degree, the music is awful hardcore and sludge metal and the acting is atrocious, but I love it. I can’t wait to subject friends to it and have a great night full of laughs.
Friday, October 14, 2011
Picking out best Universal Monster is tough. They all have such rich histories be it Dracula or Wolfman in the 30’s or Creature from the Black Lagoon in the 50’s. While he wasn’t my favorite, I think the best from a film stand point is Frankenstein.
The original Frankenstein (and it’s equally brilliant sequel Bride of Frankenstein) have become part of our every day knowledge. In it’s hour and 10 minute running time there’s an over-whelming amount of iconic imagery. From the It’s Alive moment, to the little girl by the pond or the opening shot in the graveyard. People who watch this classic for the first time find a lot of familiar moments throughout. There’s a reason it’s so beloved.
My personal favorite moment is just before the movie even begins. A man walks out and informs the audience what the film is about and warns them that it might be too scary. It’s that type of showmanship we haven’t seen in the last 4 decades of horror.
Classics are classics for a reason, so check this one out sometime.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
DAY 12: HOUSE OF 1,000 CORPSES
There are few fans that have people as split as House of 1,000 Corpses. The film has a fair share of die-hard fans but an equal amount of people who despise the movie. I’m in the first camp but totally understand that the second camp has nothing but valid arguments. I just don’t care, sometimes it’s nice that when you’re going... “I can’t decide between Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Hills have Eyes or Friday the 13th” you have the option to watch them all at once.
As much as people shit on this movie, let’s be honest. As horror fans, we’d have probably made a similar film. It’s a tribute to the classic horror films of the 70’s and 80’s, it’s got some intense death scenes and it completely feels like a new director’s first film.
House of 1,000 corpses is a paint by numbers horror film, but Rob Zombie’s strange decisions make this worth watching. Casting (then unknown) comedians Rainn WIlson and Chris Hardwick as it’s lead victims and pitting them against exploitation horror icons Bill Mosley and Sid Haig says (to me) exactly what this movie is. It’s a tribute to the classic horror films of the 70’s but having a sense of fun mixed in.
I’ve watch this movie a ridiculous amount of times (basically because it was one of the first 3 DVDs I ever owned).
I recommend it to everyone but I know only half of them will like it.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
80’s horror is full of b-movie greats. The 80’s gave us such low-budget horror masterminds like Stuart Gordon, Lloyd Kaufman and Charles
Band. Right up there with the rest of the guys writing, directing and producing their own films on micro-budgets was Larry Cohen. The man
behind such films as It’s Alive and Maniac Cop, but to this day his masterpiece remains a little horror-comedy from 1985 called THE STUFF
Bubbling out of the group comes a white substance. Unsanitary or not, it tastes delicious. It gets packed and marketed immediately under the
name The Stuff. Soon all other ice cream companies are going bankrupt. They hire David Mo Rutherford to find out what’s up with the stuff
With the ad of a young boy named Jason, An advertising executive named Nicole and the infamous food mogul Chocolate Chip Charlie soon
discover the Stuff’s horrible secret.
Made around the same time as Street Trash and Body Melt this film doesn’t have the same goretastic effects and jumps, but it does have a much
more engrossing story. Regardless all three films are highly recommended.
never has the money for it.