Tuesday, December 10, 2013
I just watched Jon Wright's Tormented - the film he made before Grabbers. I'm not sure if I liked it, but I didn't hate it. It was strange.
Like Grabbers, there is some comedy involved here, but it's not as obvious as in his follow up. There's an awkwardness and clumsy quality to the whole of it that makes it uncomfortable to watch at times. The camera work is overly kinetic, the pace is odd and the story seems like it could be far stronger if the running time was shaved by 20 or 30 minutes.
HOWEVER, this is not a "bag on it" review. I still enjoyed the film. The point here is that Grabbers does many things better than Tormented which is a good thing. I was actually happy that I viewed the films in this order. It shows a progression forward that got me excited about seeing future works by Mr. Wright.
Tormented is somewhat basic. It opens on a school memorial service for a boy that killed himself. The boy's one friend calls out that various people in the school tormented (Heh? Heh?! ok...he didn't come out and SAY tormented...) the boy and that they were all hypocrites for being at the memorial. Long and short, there was a "Beautiful People" group that teased and harassed the boy to death. One boy one, said group gets nasty comments texted to them via the dead boy's cell phone. Death and violence ensues with - spoiler - graphic violence and some supernatural turns.
Tormented has another level to it as well. While the device of bullies and vengeance is really nothing new, there's a grand show made of the other end of the spectrum that is overlooked from time to time. Those folks that may not bully directly, but may not jump in to help the victim either. I liked this aspect of the film. Sadly, I've been that person before with disastrous results. (The girl I didn't stand up for in 3rd grade turned out to be a model later in life. She had the pleasure of smirking at me and slowly shaking her head no when I said we should hang out sometime.) :)
While the main plot is very well known, there are a few fun twists and takes on this familiar, genre classic that I enjoyed. Again, while I wasn't thrilled overall, I wasn't sad about the time I spent watching, either. All in all, it's worth a viewing.
Jon Wright's OUR ROBOT OVERLORDS (currently set for a 2014 release) will be the tie breaker. Will it be even better than Grabbers or will it drop back to Tormented levels? I'm hoping the upward and onward progression continues.
TORMENTED can be found on YouTube at the moment.
Friday, December 6, 2013
Tales of Paz de la Huerta being truly "off" and walking around the set in the nude even when she's not filming. Talk of the film being off the rails. And the blood drenched Paz poster that made the rounds months ago.
After seeing the trailer, it looks like this Single White Female-like tale might live up to all the buzz.
Time will tell.
Director Douglas Aarniokoski has a lot of second unit experience and some Director credits that include the Sleepy Hollow TV Series, Criminal Minds TV Series and The Day, so it will be interesting to see what he's been able to do with some big screen goodness.
It could also be a good thing for the writer - David Loughery of 1989s STAR TREK: The Final Frontier fame.
Interesting for sure. But, is it going to be another movie that cashes in sex and sexuality just to be "naughty" unlike AMERICAN MARY that really used it as the icing, not the cake itself - a smart and dark journey into female empowerment by female Directors. Tongue seems to be firmly in cheek with some of this, but I really hate when women are tossed around on screen in their underwear for no reason at all. Not that I don't like SEEING that, but it's boring and easy and happens far too often, unfortunately for the horror community.
It's going to be a wild ride either way!
The trailer is NOT safe for work (as the freeze frame below suggests) and it packs a lot in.
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Another quickie review for the film MUTANTS - a French film that might be overlooked. I was zooming around the NETFLIX horror list a few years back and saw the cover for Mutants and was intrigued. It looked promising, so I gave it a go. I'm happy that I did.
The plot is simple - a plague situation is sweeping through the world and changing human DNA. A med-tech and her husband are traveling through the snow and are seeking out refuge after hearing a radio broadcast from a help center. (Memory is fuzzy here, but I think that's close) Of course, some of the most frighting things they need to deal with our other humans.
It's a tough one to drop into a bucket. It's not vampires, not zombies....they are...well...mutants. They come close to the 28 DAYS LATER infected - that's the closest. They look great and are frightening for sure.
The pace is slow and there is a lot of character interaction more than action, but it's really well done and the acting is grand and the tension high. It's always great to see a strong, female character kick some butt as well. No mincing around here - she knows what she needs to do and does it. Great to see.
Seek MUTANTS out if you like story based horror. Especially now that the weather is colder. The cold plays a part in this film as well. So.....cold..... :) It's still on Netflix streaming at the time of this posting.
Let me know what you think!
Thursday, November 21, 2013
The BEST-HORROR-MOVIES.com podcast featuring Director Fred Andrews got me curious about the 2011 film CREATURE. For those who are not aware, Creature was a somewhat low budget (ok, really low budget) horror film that got a major studio release. So major that it failed miserably, dying on the vine and earning a mere $327,000 from the 1507 screens it was shown on. Evidently, it was the lowest grossing first weekend ever for film being shown on over 1500 screens and the second worst per location...ever. I had to see it.
FROM MOVIELINE: $220 per screen and 6 people per showing
Now, in the interest of the new mantra of THE HORROR SHOW, there will be no bashing of this film. On the contrary - it's really not as bad as some I've seen.
The plot is super basic. Group of 20-somethings go off for an outing. Said trip sees them wandering too far off the path. There's a monster and "hillbilly bad guys". ::::shrug::: Stop me if you've seen this before. And, they start dying. Nothing new. Nothing major. The monster design and makeup were fine. I mean, it's a dude in a suit and it's obvious and the lighting doesn't help in hiding the fact. This film is lit up all sorts of ways and in all sorts of dramatic styles. I'm not saying that they work for this film, but...they are there. The story was interesting - a good mix of reality and "it just happened through some sort of magic" that appealed to me. No need to go into the micro-details of how a sad man became this alligator monster man. I'm good with magical unknowns. Sure! Why not? It's an alligator man for cripes sake.
The cast is...there....being the cast. Sid Haig Sid Haigs things up as usual - always fun. "That black dude from True Blood" Mehcad Brooks and "That hot brunette girl...from something I've seen before" Serinda Swan (turns out it was SUPERNATURAL) turn in performances. There's another girl that I'll call "NOT the delicious Linda Cardellini" Amanda Fuller and Lauren Schneider who couldn't hang on to her accent, but was intriguing in that redhead showing her breasts sort of way. The rest, like I said, were there being the cast and saying their lines. :)
Everything was going along just fine as I watched Fred Andrews work his directorial magic and the plot unfolded before me. It was going so well that I found myself saying, "Man, this film REALLY got a bad rap! I bet it was just marketed incorrectly - it's not bad at all." Then it happened. Everything started to fall apart in a rather spectacular way.
People were taken away and tied up to be offered to the creature...and their foot was cut off? Um...why? Why did they do that? I...
There were six people in the group. Two couples and a brother and sister. The guy and girl from the couples were brother and sister as well. When the S goes down, the guy asks his buddy to save his sister...but doesn't seem to remember that he had a friggin GIRLFRIEND there as well! LOL "Get my sister safe! To hell with the girlfriend. I can always get another girlfriend!" No, he didn't say it, but he thought it! :)
WHOLE GROUPS OF PEOPLE APPEAR...then just WALK THE F AWAY and DISAPPEAR. People that might have been able to DO something had they stayed. And...where did they go? They just wander away into the swamp area.
The creature bites NUMEROUS people through the film, but proceeds to punch and pummel the guy who fights him in the end instead of just...eating him, really.
It goes on. I'd love to go on as well, but it starts to get mean after a while. :::grin::: Above all, I was not mad about the time I spent watching this film. (Granted, I was doing other things as well most of the time) I had some laughs. I had some WTF?! moments. I found myself talking at the screen like crazy at the end with a big smile on my face saying things like, "Wait...they keep leaving these women around for the creature to find..." and "HA! POP GOES THE CREATURE! Didn't see THAT coming, did you, Buddy?!"
I had a good time, but I'd NEVER think about sending this thing off to the masses in a friggin theater! A few small theater showings around Halloween - sure, maybe. heheheh
WHAT the HECK was the studio thinking here? It's really their fault that this film failed in the theater. It shouldn't have been there. This would have done well released to DVD and Netflix, doing it's thing and being fine. If anything, it might have done better with more camp and less seriousness, but that's just a personal opinion.
Again, from the MOVIELINE article found here:
"Chalk the failed experiment, perhaps, to the elder Sheinberg's past successes; while at Universal Pictures, Sid Sheinberg released the game-changing Jaws and in the process birthed the blockbuster by forgoing small-scale roll-outs in favor of national release. Creature seemed to similarly attempt to launch a wide-scale release with but without sufficient awareness efforts among a proportionate audience, and as a result the film arrived without enough of a trumpet blast and lacking enough of a draw (great reviews, buzz) to make the gamble work."
I hope that Fred Woods recovers and makes more films. It looks like he's still going strong as a production designer.
CREATURE is not the problem here and is well worth taking a look at over pizza, beer and popcorn on Netflix some rainy night for fun. It's just a shame that it was pushed out into the world like it was.
What a fun little film! Is it SHAUN OF THE DEAD level horror comedy? Mmmmm...no, but nothing is, right? :) This is a load of fun and rolls along at a funny and fun pace for sure.
The long and the short is that something has fallen from space near a small, Irish island. The residents start dropping like flies as the grabby, tentacled monsters start feeding off of them. The one way to protect yourself from their attack? Being completely drunk, thus rendering your blood toxic to them. Silly, right? Oh yes, it really is. But, it's SO MUCH FUN.
Jon Wright's Direction is grand as well. I'll need to check out the film he did before this - a nasty little number called TORMENTED from 2009 and his new outing OUR ROBOT OVERLORDS due out in 2014.
It's a fun ride, but it doesn't let the horror go to get giggles. There are some nasty little bits of grabber goodness in this film that had me laughing for different reasons. Some of the kills are shocking and well played. And, while this is a lower budget affair, the computer work and practical effects work doesn't suffer. They manage to pull off some grand effects and I never found myself rolling my eyes at what i was seeing.
I imagine this would play well as a drinking game of sorts as well, though if you drank like they drink in the film, you might not remember most of the film come morning!
Check out GRABBERS. It's a hoot!
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
The folks over at Tirana Films passed me the latest and greatest trailer and images for their upcoming feature CRYING WOLF and I have to say that I'm excited about seeing it. We're not talking "mega-blockbuster-horror" here. We're talking "they love horror" here and that shines through in the trailer. There's a heart and soul to this feature and it has a style and look that I find very appealing.
CRYING WOLF https://www.facebook.com/cryingwolfthemovie
Now, let's really look at this trailer and what it offers. Fans of SHAUN OF THE DEAD, UNDEAD, DOGHOUSE, or more specific werewolf films like AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON or THE HOWLING should be able to appreciate this effort. You can see that the filmmakers are not dealing with AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF budget, but that they are all in and really trying to present something that will entertain. It's working for me for sure.
The acting stands out for me. I want to compare Crying Wolf to many other films right now, but I don't want to bash the others due to the new HORROR SHOW policy and standards for reviewing. (If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all.) Suffice it to say that I've seen many films of late that don't have this level of talent. This crew seems to be all in when they are working their roles.
The way the film was shot is getting me more excited about this production. This doesn't look like they broke out a single Lowel light kit, a Sony HD pro-sumer cam and a prayer. There is some attention to framing and lighting here and makes me very happy. The color and picture quality takes this film to the next level.
And they have some good old "werewolf human" practical effects going here. Prosthetics and real world effects work with some light computer work tossed in for flavor. That makes me happy as well. I love seeing this sort of effects work in film. (Why Greg Nicotero makes me so happy with THE WALKING DEAD - not a lot of CGI work) I'm a sucker for a biped werewolf. It's why I love the Howling wolves better than David in AMERICAN WEREWOLF. I love seeing this style of wolf growling around. :)
And lastly, they look like they are having a damn good time making the film and that energy is coming through in spades. It takes me back to a happy time for me. That time back in the 80s or so where people were excited about making films and really trying to not only get something on film, but to make people excited and happy that they watched the film in the first place. The golden time for me where my "internet" was Fangoria Magazine which I would buy religiously and read from cover to cover until the next issue would come out.
I wish these folks well and I hope that I'm on the short list when it comes to announcements in the future. I can't wait to get my soda (...or whiskey, depending on the time of day....:::grin:::), my popcorn and snuggle up with this good ole werewolf flick. BRING IT ON! I'll be looking for Tony Jopia's CUTE LITTLE BUGGERS as well!
Feel free to toss me a screener, Mr. Jopia - I'll review it with gusto! :) I really want to see this film. It just looks like tons of fun.
"From the director of Deadtime and the greatly anticipated comedy horror Cute Little Buggers Tony Jopia, comes the British comedy horror Crying Wolf.
Produced by Tirana Films International and Great Dayne Entertainment, ‘Crying Wolf’ stars Caroline Munro, Gary Martin, Joe Egan, Kristofer Dayne and Ian Donnelly.
Due for release in 2014, the comedy horror movie, ‘Crying Wolf’ starts its tale in the small village of Deddington where prankster Andy is bitten by a werewolf that kills his friend Charlotte. Andy tries to warn his friends, but winds up turning them into a pack of werewolves. Enter a pair of hapless journalists doomed to a grizzly end, then add a pair of hard boiled vigilantes hot on the heels of the werewolf pack and before you know it, everyone’s ‘Crying Wolf! during a bloody camping holiday in the Cotswolds."