Saturday, September 29, 2012
Vampires. Vampires that are designed for adults, not teen girls. Now, there's nothing wrong with Twilight-pires that glisten...if you're a romantic, a teen, or just have that sort of taste for film. But, the Twilight-pires are not made for the likes of THE HORROR SHOW. No my friends, we have stronger tastes. A taste for lust. A taste for blood. Maybe a little more lust, I dunno.
And...to the list!
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If you like vampires, you've already seen this film. But, re-watch it.
Half human, half vampire killing vampires? Yes, please!
The wondrous Grace Jones leads a pack of vampires and uses a strip club as perfect honey to catch their flies - men. This pre-dates FROM DUSK TILL DAWN by ten years.
30 Days of Night
Alaska is the perfect spot for vampires during the long, dark winter.
Vampire with western / trailer park undertones. A fantastic film by Kathryn Bigelow.
Twins of Evil
Sexy, dubbed twins find out that their uncle is a witch hunter. One good, one naughty - the twins soon find out the real threat to the town is a vampire. Hammer Horror goodness!
An epic vampire film from South Korea. This film is a prize and must be seen. Park Chan-wook's masterful direction and the acting of Song Kang-ho and Ok-bin Kim are pure gold.
The Vampire Lovers
The delicious Ingrid Pitt stars in this little lesbian love triangle vampire tale. Another Hammer Films classic. It's slow, but filled with great scenes and lusty feelings.
Catherine Deneuve, David Bowie and Susan Sarandon. BOOM! Slick, stylish vampire lives.
This made for TV King based film is rather great. Now, it's dated in parts, but the story is solid and there are some scares throughout. Well worth a view.
From Dust Till Dawn
A strange and fun film. Half of the film plays as a crime story and the other half vampire fights in a bar. Add Tarantino and Clooney and you get gold.
The Night Stalker
The beginning of Carl Kolchak's adventures chasing monsters. The reporter tracks down a killer...who's a vampire. I could not find a trailer, but this promo will give you a taste! :)
Let the Right One In
The original Swedish version of the film. Oscar is bullied and alone...until he meets the cold and mysterious Eli. The cold, Swedish landscape is as chilling as Eli's thirst for blood and company.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)
Ok, Kids, I know...I know...Buffy was a TV show you watched. But, back in the EARLY days of film, it was a movie. Like, one you saw in a theater. :) This is a solid film worth seeing.
Friday, September 28, 2012
"When there's no more room in hell, the dead will appear in every horror film and studios will try to cash in on the word zombie whenever they can." Malcolm Johnson :)
I have to say, I'm somewhat tired of zombies and the undead. When you start seeing ELLEN mentioning zombies or they appear on children's t-shirts, it's time to pack it up and put it away. :)
However, there are certain nuggets that I find myself returning to time and time again - usually around midnight...in the dark....curled up in a comfy chair.
If you've missed some of these, check them out at once. If you have a favorite, let me know in the comments section. I won't bite...
The dead downunder. Wacky, Peter Jackson style madness.A unique and fun film.
Shaun of the Dead
The pinnacle of modern horror comedy. Zom-Rom-Com.
REC and REC2
The undead ravage an apartment building in Spain. Shocking.
Return of the Living Dead
Some blissfully awesome undead, gory comedy from the 80s.
Splatter-gross dead from the twisted mind of Peter Jackson.
Nightmare meets madness in this horror romance from Italy.
Robert Rodriguez brings his spin to grindhouse dead. So good.
The battle of the sexes with a UK comedy twist. It's no Shaun, but it's trying hard to be.
Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things
A favorite of THE HORROR SHOW from the 70s. Slow pace. High creep factor.
Asian zombie sword swirl with a dash of WTF?! Good, bloody battles.
Dead Nazis rise from the snow and RUIN a groups mini-vacation. (Norwegian)
Italian classic. 1979 goodness from director Lucio Fulci. Main thing: SHARK VS ZOMBIE!
Dead and Buried
An interesting look at the undead, this film is packed with atmosphere and has a great story.
"The thinking man's zombie film". This takes place in one location and plays like a play. Fantastic.
Step One: Remove brain. Step Two: Enjoy! This wild ride is packed with...everything, really. Great!
A return to the ultra slow moving zombie film, THE DEAD takes place in the vast expanse of the African plains. Suspense and character based, this film rolls along nicely.
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Ok, I'm going to keep this short and sweet.
If you have not seen DREAM HOME, go to NETFLIX right now and stream it.
"Based on true events", DREAM HOME is a shocking and in your face thrillfest that had me whispering, "Holy crap..." several times.
It's a great film.
What would YOU do to get the perfect home? Hmmm? :)
Friday, September 14, 2012
I'm not sure how I feel about this.
DREAD CENTRAL posted an article about a new movie coming based on a short film. Now, I should be excited - the director of the short is making the feature. Andres Muschietti directed the short in 2008 and his feature shows promise. And, at the production end of things we have the wondrous Guillermo del Toro. Granted, his production on Don't Be Afraid of the Dark didn't seem to help it much.
The main rub is that, after seeing the short, I was SO excited about the feature. The short is amazing. Creepy and well shot. Great action and a full and frightening story told in a very short amount of time. Sure, it's not completely new and original looking - it has shades of J-Horror all over it. But, it freaked me out, man. It got me racing. I thought, "Holy $#!t - if I were there I would be yelling my head off and running!"
Take a look.
Cortometraje de Terror: Mama
Not bad, right? I watched it before bed and...well..it ran through my mind.
Excited and thrilled, I watched the trailer for the feature coming....
Now, is it me or does this look like the same, lame tropes strung together into 90 minutes of pop shocks and glam-thirty-somethings being full of emotions I don't care about? :::grin::: No, seriously. This looks like a bore worthy of Netflix streaming.
And, for some reason these thirty-somethings just...BOTHER me. Their look seems created and their "emotions" seem theater company. And we're talking Nikolaj Coster-Waldau from Game of Thrones. I like Coster-Waldau, but this still seems annoying.
At any rate, I just want this noted. I think that the short MAMA will be held up and a fun little scare for people to pass around while we lament what the feature film could have been.
With that, I'll watch the MAMA short again and wait for the public to judge. I hope to be proven wrong, honestly. I like Del Toro and...well...I like horror. I hope they make it work.
Thursday, September 13, 2012
If you have not seen the NIGHT GALLERY series and you're a horror fan, you need to make a viewing happen at once. Start with THE CEMETERY from the pilot episode. It's brilliant and diabolical with some grand storytelling.
The wondrous Rod Serling was behind this effort after the TWILIGHT ZONE and ran from 1969–1973. During that time, a equally wondrous assortment of players graced the show including Vincent Price, Burgess Meredith, Leslie Nielsen, Lindsay Wagner, Agnes Moorehead and many more. Other greats like Steven Spielberg and Richard Matheson were also involved with the production. The stories ranged from witty and comical dark humor to the most horrid and evil nightmares you could imagine. Serling himself acted as host and walked you through the gallery and to the night's painting selection which, in turn, would lead you into the story.
THE NIGHT GALLERY was a major part of my childhood. I loved it with a passion. So good.
George Macready, Ossie Davis and Roddy McDowall
The HORROR SHOW usually doesn't post anything if it's just going to be bashing or a public hanging of a movie following the "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all" rule of thought. However, there have been a few movies that have managed to be so annoying that we are back burnering the rule for a moment.
I recently watched THE UNBORN. Don't ask me why. I was working and needed something on in the background while I toiled away on mindless efforts. I wasn't planning to pay much attention, but I grew more and more caught up in the film as it went along. Why? Because I was getting more angry as it progressed. The fact that it got made and dumped on the genre loving public made me really upset.
Now, here's the funny thing. I see a LOT of bad horror films. I usually knock them out three or four at a time via high speed Netflix stream scrubbing so I don't waste too much of my time on them. For some reason, seeing these horrible horrors didn't make me as upset and pissed off as watching the Unborn and I think I know why. The Unborn was just lazy across the board. It took classic tropes of the genre and just tossed them into a big pile and said, "Here, Horror Fans, watch all this stuff we tossed together." Much of what I detested about the film could have been handled with another pass...or two...at the script.
We have a rather standard tale here. A girl is being "haunted" by some spirit that wants to be born. Ok, fine. I accept that. But then we start going into la la land on things. Visuals are tossed at us, but there is nothing to back anything up.
A dog appears to our lead at one point. It's wearing a mask. Ok, the visual was cool and frucking odd, but...WHY?! WHY is a dog wearing a mask?! What the HELL does it mean?!
When this demon...spirit...thing...boy shows up to kill folks, there's this visual trick where his mouth opens super wide and he screams and stuff. WHY?! When an old man is possessed and comes after another character, his body is twisted around and his head is upside down. WHY?!
So...how would I have fixed this? Made it a bit more locked into something? Make it so the demon baddie needs to scare folks first before being able to kill them, yeah? He needs to get their fear up and he uses that fear power to power himself. Done. Fixed. Now, all the stupid shite they tossed at us as a purpose other than just looking neat and computer graphicy.
And then we have Jane Alexander, Idris Elba and Gary Oldman in the film. When I saw Alexander, I shrugged it off. Then Gary Oldman showed up and I had to do a double take. I thought, "Whoa...what did he do - loose a bet? Did they not give him the full script? Did he get a DUI and this was his community service option?" (I'll stop....) Then Elba shows up as an exorcist type and I lost my mind. "WHY are these people IN THIS FILM?! It's not worthy!"
And you know that when you resort to tossing your lead characters butt up on your poster standing in the bathroom in her underwear...you don't have faith that the movie will draw people. You're fishing for the teen boy crowd. "Dude...she's kinda hot. Let's watch this. Maybe she gets naked."
And lastly...come on...fuck you on the "plot twist". You're not even trying. They treated it like it was a big shocker, but it was painfully obvious from 40 minutes or so into the film. Test audiences must have just flipped off the screen and walked out, tossing their questionnaires over their shoulders as they fled the theater. I know I would have. Don't waste my time.
I had a similar experience with THE MOTH DIARIES recently as well. The same scenario - something light tossed on while I did some renders and keying. The plot...simple at best. Girls school, our lead is excited to get back to all her CUTE AND WELL DRAWN MIXED GROUP OF BEAUTIFUL AND VAPID FRIENDS - one of each color so no one is offended...but the people subjected to this pandering. No one is fooling anyone. Strange girl is introduced. They call out the 1872 novel CARMILLA right from the start and basically sum up the plot of the film. Chic's a vampire and up to something. We all know it, the lead knows it, but no one else does.
So...we watch the lead stumble around and watch her friends get caught up in the vampire's plan and we're bored. Nothing really happens. For a while, I thought I hit the TV button and stumbled into a CW television school drama where boring people do boring things for people who are even MORE boring to watch. But...nope...it was still MOTH DIARIES unfolding painfully before me.
I could only think that Rachel Klein's novel was more interesting. I looked it up and I felt ashamed. It's listed as children's lit. Most likely the same sort of youth fiction that TWILIGHT and POTTER service. Had I known, I would have just passed or paid far less attention. I thought I was in for a more sinister fair. Students being bled dry as the cleaver vamp misdirects people towards the lead to throw people off her scent. The lead having to convince people she wasn't the evil one while the vampire plays with her life and smiles wicked smiles behind her back, all mounting to a classic conclusion where the lead kills the vamp. Maybe with a little sad twist where our lead is called out as a murderer. I dunno....
Anyway...the most scary part of THE MOTH DIARIES is the vampire lead and her CREEPY DOLL FACE! YIKES! Lily Cole is creepy!
|Lily Cole is a living, creepy doll|
I was sad to see that Mary Harron directed this. Her work on AMERICAN PSYCHO was fantastic, but she has not really pulled anything in that's been close to it since. The Notorious Bettie Page came and went in 2005, she did a lot of TV work, then she hops in with MOTH in 2011 and got a big, stinky 38 out of 100 on Metacritic. I agree with the score.
So....no need to say anymore. There are certain films that get a pass from me.
The DAY OF THE DEAD remake with it's CGI, leaping zombies and horrible script - pass. Who really cares? It's laughable. QUARANTINE 2...CHILLERAMA...whatever. But, these UNBORN and MOTH DIARIES types just push my buttons. I want to kick them in their celluloid crotches and call them names. I want to make the screenwriters write me apologies and submit them for me to critique before I have them rewrite them over again...maybe three times.
Are you out there, David S. Goyer? Write me and let me know what you were thinking when you hammered out the Unborn script. Did I miss something? Seriously. Was it the Evil Studio® messing with the works? Were you just looking to get money for something good you wanted to write. Hell, we've all been there. "I gotta get this crap done so I can get back to my cool stuff." I would really like to hear what you have to say.
Mr. Goyer's works include, but are not limited to....
THE DARK KNIGHT
::whispers:: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance...moving on....
THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
and MAN OF STEEL
I'd call out Mary Harron for THE MOTH DIARIES script, but...you know...she was working with the novel, right? Not really her fault. :)
Ok...back to talking about things we like. I need to watch LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE to wash the moth taste out of my mouth.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
THE INNKEEPERS got a bad break. It got a trailer that billed it as a jump out of your seat horror scare fest. One look at the trailer might have you thinking that you're going to see ghosts jumping out of the walls five minutes into the film. Don't watch the trailer for this film.
However, if you've seen THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL, you may already know that the film's director has more in mind than just jump scares and gore.
Director Ti West serves up another slow burn with The Innkeepers. He takes his time and tells a fantastic, creepy tale about two inn workers on their last shifts at an inn that's closing it's doors. Their relationship is on a slow burn as well - buddies that may or may not like each other in "that way".
Sara Paxton and Pat Healy play the inn workers and turn in great little performances as the bored folks who would rather play than work in an inn with a total of three guests. Kelly McGillis also stars as a somewhat washed up and out star staying at the inn while attending a conference. The characters drift around the big, empty inn and do their best to stay awake for the final, long weekend.
But, is there something else in the inn?
This is where the trailer leads us astray a bit. We're not looking for shocks and scares in the traditional, modern sense here. West takes his time and builds up character relationships - including their relationship to the hotel - and doesn't hold to traditional pacing. It's off-putting at first, but once you see what he's doing, it allows you to settle in and really take part in the build up.
And better still, when the characters are in scary situations later, you actually CARE that they are in potential peril. This is far different than the way things usually go in modern horror these days. Today's films often use what I refer to as the "set 'em up and knock 'em down" approach. They toss a group of "teens" at you, show a boob or two, talk about the scary thing in --fill in the blank-- and then they start getting bumped off one by one in Ten Little Indian fashion until the final girl breaks the spell or whatever. You don't really care about anyone, you just want the killing to start.
It's different with these West films. You don't want to see these folks get hurt. You lean towards wanting to see them make it out of danger.
If you choose to take on the particular challenge of watching this movie, make sure you have the volume up or listen with headphones. Particular care was put into the sound design and it's well worth making sure you hear it in all it's layered glory.
Downsides time. There are not many.
It's a strange film. No doubt about that. The pace is very different from other films of it's genre. Things came to light on my second viewing that I really enjoyed, but the first time through was like watching a new driver grind the gears trying to get things into place. I wasn't sure what I was supposed to be doing. Do I laugh? Am I scared? I blame the trailer for this and I have to agree with people when they say you are better off not watching it. It confuses the situation and muddies the water.
This film unfolds in a delightful, "old school" way. And, I say that with the utmost respect of Mr. West and his work. (SEE: THE HAUNTING in the Hill House Film Review) Older films took their time. They told a story. They let things unfold and let the imagination do some of the work. West does all that here and it works really well.