Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Bay


Well, I can see why The Bay might have missed the mark with a few folks at the box office. It's not 28 Days Later-like as the trailer kinda leans towards. It's more of an eco-horror film about the "what ifs" involved in pollution in a local area. And, I loved it.

Firstly, Barry Levinson Directed it. Barry "The Natural, Good Morning Vietnam, Rain Man, and more" Levinson. The man is fan-frucking-tastic!


The film is a found footage film, but it's done properly. They've used various video sources, but they do it in such a way where the framing isn't perfect and the aspect ratio of the visual changes based on the device. As someone who is constantly rolling his eyes as perfectly framed found footage, this aspect helped to keep me firmly locked in the reality the film was trying to present to the audience.


Which brings me to another aspect of this film that I loved - the story. Barry Levinson and Michael Wallach (with just The Bay under his belt currently) present a scenario that I found to be believable and frucking frightening. Thought a series of political, economic and tragic events, a bay in Maryland - Levinson's birth place - is polluted and some of the small creatures that live in it's waters are not so small anymore. They have also managed to get into the town's drinking and use water...which can't be a good thing. The body horror in this film had me squirming. It's not "slasher fear", it's grotesque and nasty business that was made very real.



I really enjoyed this film. The pace and flow of it was grand. We're introduced to characters enjoying 4th of July festivities who we are told are going to be dead by the evening and it brings a rather dark tone to the whole of the film. And, an intense feeling of dread. We know things are going to get very bad very quickly and we are not given a chance to warn anyone - it's already over. And, the fact that there are very few recognizable faces in the film makes things more believable as well. Kristen "Cabin in the Woods" Connolly actually wrecked this for me. When I saw her, I thought, "Oh...it's her," and it took me out of the film a bit.



This is far from an action film. It's not a zombie film, infected film or anything of the sort, either. It's a monster film if anything. Very tiny, nasty little monsters.

Like a slow burn, plot based gross out with a very real feel to it? You'll love The Bay.


METACRITIC gives it 65 out of 100. I'd go 80 easy.





You're Next

The trailer for You're Next is up and it's looking pretty dern grand.

Now, I'm not thrilled with the home invasion theme of the film, the players are some heavy hitters in the genre. I'm a huge fan of Director Adam Wingard (Pop Skull, V/H/S , ABCs Of Death) and writer Simon Barrett (V/H/S - writer / actor, ABCs Of Death, V/H/S2) and can see them knocking it out of the park again.

Odd point - IMDB has You're Next dated 2011. I looked it up and it was due to it being shown at the Toronto International Film Festival. And, here we are years later with it hitting screens. LIONSGATE picked up the film in 2011 and it had a 2012 released planned, but that didn't happen.

I'm really hoping that this genre crew does what it usually does and provides something that takes this specific, home invasion idea to a new level and presents some more interesting content than something like The Strangers managed to do. (Not a bad film, just predictable.)

So...do you think Wingard, Barrett, AJ Bowen, Ti West, Kate Lyn Sheil et al can win our hearts as the try to stop them with You're Next? :)







Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Retake on Remakes



A while back in 2011, I wrote something that bashed remakes.

(( http://horrorsho.blogspot.com/2011/09/horror-remakes.html ))

The general take-away on it was that many remakes just don't do as well as the originals when you look at reviews and the like. Since that article was written, I've been knee deep in life. Work issues, my little girl going into the "Terrible Twos", a new baby, a daughter going into Stanford and the loss of my Father and all the fallout from that. It's amazing how one's views can change when real issues come on hot and heavy! :)

So...remakes. Whatever. It's fallout from a system that doesn't work in the artist's favor, honestly. Writers write new things, but many studios want a guaranteed return on their investments. Hell, I want that, why wouldn't they? So, they go with things that worked before over unproven ground.

Ti West pointed out in the Innkeepers Extras that there is a ratio that is industry wide.

more studio money = more studio involvement - creative control over the project + more cash

less studio money = less studio involvement + more creative control - less cash

So, it's great having the cash when you're making your movie, but you're going to be facing less creative control more often than not. And studios will remake or sequel out a franchise if it's made money in the past.

I've recently taken a look at some remakes and I've really tried to remove my old "TO HELL WITH THEM!" filter and I have to say it's not as bad as all that. The thing that drove me to do this was hearing some of the ranting from the other side. People bashing remakes to the point where they seem like they may be worse than murdering someone and eating them. :) "HOW DARE THEY TOUCH THAT SACRED FILM!" I've taken the tack of just not caring as much - there are so many more important things in the world to care about, really.

On that note, I re-watched  Rob Zombie's Halloween and I enjoyed it. It added some little side-note story items, had some nice "re-envisioning" of the classic Carpenter version and had that Rob Zombie look that you either love or love to hate on. All in all, I watched it and liked it. I'd watch it again for sure.

I've also started re-watching some other remakes like THE BLOB and writing about them as well. I'm sure they have SOMETHING to offer in the mix. I'm also sure that there's crap mixed in there as well (SEE: The Fog remake disaster), but that's a numbers game.

One of my favorite examples of right and wrong remakes can be found withing the LIVING DEAD series. The NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD remake was great and brought some grand things to the table - like the fact that the zombies were so slow you could really just walk around them if you had a little room. Fantastic. I love the DAWN OF THE DEAD remake, too. As a matter of fact, it got to me enough to were I actually had a little nightmare experience. A first in LONG while when it comes to horror and horror movies. I just don't scare anymore. hehehe  But, then you hit the rotten stench of the DAY OF THE DEAD remake and....ouch....it puts me back in the mindset of,  "Hmph, maybe they really shouldn't remake movies. That was horrid."

And...my gawd...the EVIL DEAD remake looks great to me and I'm so excited to see it, but the first thing I thought when I heard about it originally was "HOW DARE THEY TRY to remake that CLASSIC!!!" Well, that all ended when I saw the first, shake cam trailer view from Comicon. The second trailer has gotten me even more excited. So much so that I've cleared the decks and gotten flight ok from the Mrs. to go see it opening weekend! :)


How do you feel about remakes?

Are you sick of the moaning about remakes or are you a true believer that nothing should be remade?

More on remakes:

Night of the Demons VS - 
http://horrorsho.blogspot.com/2011/02/versus-night-of-demons.html

April Fools Day Remake Disaster - 
http://horrorsho.blogspot.com/2010/05/april-fools-day-remake.html



~M~





Monday, March 25, 2013

The Easter Bunny Hates You

He hates you, you know.




Special Dawn of the Dead Star in Walking Dead


Are you among the select few on the Horror Geek Tip that caught the DAWN OF THE DEAD call out in THE WALKING DEAD on Sunday night? I was thrilled when I saw this fellow shamble into frame. ( I'm 24 hours behind due to watching via iTunes )

I like to think that Greg Nicotero topped off his Directing on WALKING DEAD with slipping this gent into the mix.

I pointed at the screen and said, "LOOK! Dawn of the Dead zombie! From the airport scene!" 

My wife stared at me. :::blink blink blink::::

Fun stuff! Nice work!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Alice, Sweet Alice (Full Movie)



 Someone put up the delightfully creepy ALICE, SWEET ALICE (aka COMMUNION) onto the YouTube. :)  While usually I say that a full movie on YouTube isn't the way to go, watching here might actually add to the creepiness. Might also add to the VHS-like look of it, which is fun as well.

The film is a mystery in a style that kinda reminds me of Argento. Very giallo / who-done-it, we see a murder happen, but we're not 100% sure who did the deed. We just know whoever did it...is seriously disturbed. GREAT FUN! :)




Alice, Sweet Alice is a great little film. Director Alfred Sole only made four films, but he's still producing today. (Castle TV series) It stars Linda Miller and a bunch of other "hey, it's that guy!" types, but the big go to for Alice is a super young Brooke Shields, though she's not around a long time. :::grin:::





This film is full of disturbing imagery and characters. The film's mask is damn creepy in and of itself. The famous Alice, Sweet Alice mask even makes a little appearance in V/H/S.  :)

If you're looking for some good mystery, 70s horror and interesting visuals, you should check this out or re-visit this film at once! 













Thursday, March 21, 2013

Dolls of Despair

Dolls of Despair ( http://dollsofdespair.blogspot.com ) bills itself as "Horror news, PR and reviews from a gals point of view." 

Their Facebook bio reads:
"Dolls coming together to talk about all things horror. It could be a movie, a book, a song or a story that's happening in the world right now. We want our say! Feel free to contact Splatter Flick Chick to share with us your independent project. The Dolls desire great partnerships on all things independent and dark."

I'm loving the blog. It's a super clean, Blogspot situation packed with horror news. They have a series of regular updates and seem to have a great mix of mainstream horror news and super independent horror news that makes the site a lot of fun to look over.

They also have a simple review system worked out - LOVE IT, LIKE IT or LEAVE IT. This makes me happy. Like DREAD CENTRAL's knife system, this breakdown makes things rather easy.



The site's main runner is "Splatter Flick Chick" and the interactions that I've had with her so far have been fantastic. No nonsense, horror related content and conversations with an independent bent.  

"I want to emphasize my dedication to independent...ANYTHING. Hollywood is so tired! I embrace those of you who don't have huge budgets, famous actors, signed contracts, etc."
 




A fantastic mantra for sure.


While the site has TONS of great content for me, there is a target audience that DOLLS has that I find to be another interesting thing to separate them from the horde.  Women who like horror.



" I want to cater to our female readers and Dolls Radio listeners as well (since the horror industry has always had a reputation for gratuitous sex scenes and lots of T&A) by featuring more hot, unique and interesting men in horror. There are so many fellas to feature so please check back often for new hot men in horror, their photos, bios and interviews, written live radio and video interviews."



Kudos! My Twitter Travels have shown me that there are many female horror fans out there. It's grand to see someone with a focus on that demographic. It's a differentiator that is rather huge. If you look at the scene and what is typical for it, it has a lot of "women in peril", women in little outfits and "Final Girls" who rise up to defeat the evils that are hunting them down. DOLLS is looking at the genre males and presenting articles on them and, while neither male or female actor articles are for me unless we're talking nostalgia from the 80s, it's great that this is here.

Splatter Flick Chick has an interesting crew with her as well. Delightfully Demented - A horror artist, Myth Alice, Big Top Terror, Shana Rae Sleaze and Sweet Charlotte.



There is a podcast radio component, too.


DOLLS OF DESPAIR RADIO - http://fearcast.net/fcn-radio-dolls-of-despair/

It's a great radio show. They have a free flow style that I like and MANY MANY interviews with directors, actors and actresses. The nature of it makes me happy. It's like being in the room with a bunch of folks that love to talk about horror - sitting around and shooting the shite.

While the audio isn't 100%, it is a fun, community based venture that allows people to call in and talk about horror items. I love this feature. It takes things away from the somewhat passive nature of podcasting - sitting back and listening - and gets people in the game more. I have not heard a lot of the podcasts yet, but I'm planning on working through their catalog and calling in at some point in the near future.


These items are a must visit for horror enthusiasts. Check them out!

Mimesis: Night of the Living Dead



Well well....look what we have here! Someone is doing a little thinking "outside the box" in horror again. Granted, this is similar to the WAXWORK concept in a few ways, but it's meta, one movie take makes this something that I'd kinda like to check out.

The trailer below almost lost me, actually. It starts out looking like a typical, set 'em up and knock 'em down slasher or BS supernatural teen splatter trip. However, it turns around and turns around quickly, taking things in a very interesting direction.

Or...is it better as a trailer? Maybe I should just be happy with that? We'll see.

The film came out in 2011 and got a big 30% on ROTTEN TOMATOES, but that doesn't scare me. People are trashing talking THE ABCS of DEATH and V/H/S and I loved those. I'll give this a go.

Sadly, it's not streaming on NETFLIX (at the time of this posting) , so I'll have to wait for the DVD.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Antiviral


From one of my new favorite blogs DOLLS OF DESPAIR 
(Check them out - great stuff with a podcast component!)


http://dollsofdespair.blogspot.com/2013/03/antiviral-screening-at-horrorhound.html?zx=a430e85f1368f74d

"Brandon Cronenberg's award winning, horror, sci-fi ANTIVIRAL, starring Caleb Landy Jones (X-MEN: FIRST CLASS), Malcolm McDowell (CLOCKWORK ORANGE), Lisa Berry (SAW V), and Sarah Gadon (COSMOPOLIS), will be released by IFC on April 12, but if you've not seen it yet, it's screening at HorrorHound Weekend at 6:45pm Friday night, March 22nd. As advertised, expect limited seating, so get in line early if you want to catch ANTIVIRAL on the silver screen! ANTIVIRAL has a limited theatrical release and hits VOD on April 12, 2013."

______




Yes, old Brandon is a chip off the old block. Body horror, secret societies and hidden horrors are all in here and it looks like it will be a scream. There's a grand style here as well. Slick and clean - this is a strange new world that's been created and it all seems to work together really well. I love sci fi horror. There's so much to pull from that straight horror doesn't have. Things like EVENT HORIZON come to mind. Like a Reece's candy, the blend of chocolate and peanut butter...or in this case mad science and disgusting body horror...look like they'll be a delicious combination I can't wait to devour!

As with THE ABC's of DEATH, old Daddy Malco will be checking this out via download come April 12th. (Right on the heels of seeing EVIL DEAD on April 5th!) Review to follow.









Sunday, March 17, 2013

[REC]3

Ok...firstly, just stop. Take a minute.

Let's just call this film WEDDING DEAD or Til DEATH DO US PART right off the bat. If you go into it like this, you'll be happy and will have so much fun in this silly, action packed romp.

The MAIL ORDER ZOMBIE folks were expecting another [REC] film and were really disappointed in [REC]3  . (Great podcast, by the way) But, if you go into this film with the mindset that you're just going to see a fun zombie film, you're golden. Because, [REC]3 is just that - a big mess 'o' fun!

Paco Plaza delivers up something a bit new here. If you've seen the first two [REC] films, you know the drill. We're dealing with "special zombies" here and it's grand. Watching them back to back late at night is BRILLIANT! But, [REC]3 steers away from those films and the biggest problem with him doing this now is exactly what happened with the MAIL ORDER ZOMBIE podcast folks - people expected something else.

When you have something as cool as  the [REC] films, you face the issue of people just wanting more of the same. He would have been better off calling it something else and doing a bit of a re-write to separate the tales.

That said, this is just a fun (and at times, silly) film with lots of great scenes and some great gimmicks.

Leticia Dolera is delicious in this film. So cute. So adorable. And so wicked cool. And cute. :)

We run into the same sort of plot with this film - there are zombies of a special origin and they are eating people. The fact that it takes place during a wedding adds some dimension as well. You have two people's closest family members there...and being killed. The bride and groom get seperated and spend a lot of the film looking for each other. There are chases. There's a chainsaw. It's all brilliant and fun and light and well worth a watch.

That's really it.

WELL worth a viddy. Just keep it light and calm and fun and you'll love it. :)





Gore v. Fear: What's scary?

I was sitting here the other night watching THE CAR (...and giggling).  It was rated PG and didn't have much gore or blood or...well...anything. But, it was still engaging, even if the story was a little thin. I think I remember some blood on a wall at one point - that's all.

Then I thought about it not being at all scary because the premise was just rather flat. One car driving around just wasn't scary to me. I'd just run up a hill, down stairs....so many ways to get away from a car.

That, in turn, got me thinking about what really scares me. Gore in films tends to just be gross to me. (Sure...FUN, but...) Blood and guts are just that and they don't get me scared. Story based tension really gets me. Situations that place people I care about at risk. Showing the gore can up the risk factor and danger, but the true fear comes from the "surface tension" and story. And, there's just no fear if I don't care about the characters.

It's not to say that I don't enjoy a great splatterfest like BRAIN DEAD or EVIL DEAD, but the viscera just doesn't scare me on it's own. (Honestly, not much can really scare me these days.)


Films like SAW don't put fear in me at all. Neither does something like HOSTEL. (Those of you who frequent the site already know how I feel about those films as a whole.)  But, it's not the violence that really makes these films a wash for me. It's the violence with nothing at stake. Nothing is at stake because the characters are so hollow that I really don't like them, which makes it difficult to care what happens to them.


Now, bring in some heavy hitters. Films like MARTYRS or INSIDE manage to ramp the gore factor way up, but that's not the draw. It's a solid story with fleshed out characters. You care about them and about what happens to them, so the threat of violence makes the stakes higher and the outcome more frighting. The fear stems from the situation. I want the characters to survive. I'm invested.

The 60s and 70s were thick with violent, gore-fests. NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, THE BEYOND, I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE, DEEP RED,  and THE WIZARD OF GORE were just some of the wet-works to come out of that time. Many of the films of the period were exploitation based with little or no attention to story, but some like the aforementioned DEEP RED had very strong story lines that the gore was meant to support.



Now, ramp it back a bit.

In 1973, a little film came out called THE EXORCIST. It didn't have chainsaws, hatchets, or body horror. It had a little girl that was possessed by something evil. Why was that frighting? Because we spend a lot of time with the family beforehand. We see them play, laugh and love. We identify with that. We care. When things start going bad for them, we actually don't WANT then to get hurt.


  
ROSEMARY'S BABY had people squirming, but I'm not sure there was any blood in it at all.

Now, the other side of this little coin is films - like SAW - where the main goal is to "Set 'em up and knock 'em down". I use this term for films where the main goal is the introduction of canon fodder. People introduced to get killed. There is a HUGE market for these films and I think they have their place, but they just do not illicit fear in me. It's more like what was going on back in the coliseum. "RELEASE THE LIONS!", as the crowd roars to life and the victims meet their deaths. Bloodsport done on a more humane level. 

I love a film like THE INNKEEPERS or INSIDIOUS or DEAD SET (BBC) where the stakes are high due to a good script, good story development and characters I care about. I don't need the gore like I did when I was a teen. Back then, I was in love with the monstrous visions of folks like Dario Argento - violent, bloody and nasty with the wet stuff. But, when I re-watched SUSPERIA recently, I realized that even the violent nightmares Argento put to screen were story based and packed with character development.

I also find that I'm more scared while watching a film if I can identify with a situation or character. 28 DAYS LATER and 28 WEEKS LATER had my heart racing a few times. There's one scene where a guy freaks out and leaves a loved one to escape from zombies. I found that horrid and horrifying.  Then he has to flee as a horde chases him down when he tries to make his way to an escape vehicle. It had my heart pounding.

And lack of fear doesn't mean I don't squirm from time to time due to the gross factor. The shivers are there, but that's not fear talking. :::grin:::

What do YOU look for in the scare department? Does the sight of blood instantly fill you with fear or just give you a little thrill? Do you need to care about characters to feel fear for their safety? 

Let me know! I'm curious!














Friday, March 15, 2013

The Car

This 1977 classic just needs to be seen. I was sitting around working the other day and realized that I had not seen it, so I tossed it on and watched it over a few days on lunch breaks and the like and...wow...it's...a classic.

James Brolin plays a Sheriff in a small town. A small town that the demonic CAR has on it's hit list. That right - a killer car. It's blasting horn trumpets every time it runs some poor soul down. How can you face the terror of...THE CAR?!

Well...you could....go up a hillside. Or over a river. Or...stay indoors.

ANYWAY....yeah...it's a classic. People get run down left and right and the MANY SHERIFFS of this small town need to fight it. Kim and Kyle Richards play actual sisters in this one (Kim had already made her Escape to Witch Mountain two years earlier, so she could totally handle...THE CAR and now she's a REAL HOUSEWIFE OF BEVERLY HILLS) , but MANY other folks can't seem to avoid that run down feeling. :)


And there are situations in this film that just had me scratching my head. "Wait...why is this happening at all? He's trapped...in a garage...with this...car? Didn't he JUST close a door leading outside? He JUST closed it. WHY IS HE F'ing AROUND TRYING TO GET THE GARAGE DOOR OPEN AND MOVING RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE CAR?!??!?!?!?!"  

This is just one of those great, bad films that you actually find yourself enjoying after a minute. Not sure how to explain it. It's like everyone thought they were making JAWS and really put everything they had into it, so it plays well even if the premise is a little shaky. And, I can see why this film at least looked the part. It was Directed by Elliot Silverstein who also Directed CAT BALLOU, A MAN CALLED HORSE (brilliant film) and a handful of TWILIGHT ZONE episodes. I wish he had a little more to work with here than just a killer car.







THE CAR itself is fantastic! Such a beauty. It's been spoken about for a long while and had far more staying power than the film ever did.



If you're looking for a little fun with a few giggles, toss on...THE CAR! If you're looking for a little more horror in your car flicks, toss on CHRISTINE instead.

Another one of those trailers from the 70's that shows you....SO MUCH! They really wanted people to know what they were going to see before they saw it, I guess. :)












Tuesday, March 12, 2013

S-VHS (V/H/S 2)

Sooooo....who else is super excited about S-VHS?!?!?!  Honestly, I was sad about the negatives being bantered around by some about both V/H/S and THE ABCs OF DEATH. Here we finally have some people trying to do something new and interesting in the horror realm and people railed against it.

But, as my wife says, people LOVE to hate things. Especially in this antiseptic, hidden world of the internet. Look at any site where people can put up photos or videos and you'll have a group loving them and another group ripping them apart. I guess that's why we live in America, right? :)

 

ANYWAY, give me more of this goodness any day! It's right up my ally and so much fun to watch.










This round features the directors:

Simon Barrett (segment "Tape 49")    Also featured in V/H/S and ABCs of Death

Jason Eisener (segment "Alien Abduction Slumber Party") Grindhouse / Hobo / Treevenge

Gareth Evans (segment "Safe Haven")

Gregg Hale (segment "A Ride in the Park") Blair Witch / Lovely Molly

Eduardo Sánchez (segment "A Ride in the Park") Blair Witch 1 & 2 / Lovely Molly

Timo Tjahjanto (segment "Safe Haven") ABCs

Adam Wingard (segment "Clinical Trials") Horrible Way to Die / You're Next / ABCs








The ABCs of DEATH


I'm a parent of two in house and another two "offsite", so my time is rather limited these days. A 2.5 year old and 8 week old will tend to crush your time management skills with ease. However I managed to carve out a little time for The ABCs of DEATH and I'm glad I did!

I was waiting for this little nugget to come out for a long while. The concept excited me and I really wanted to see how it all turned out. 26 different directors each taking a letter of the alphabet and coming up with a death cause that starts with it. I was in. It's wild and strange and epic in scope. While some may find it hard to watch, I thought it was a fun little ride.







Now, I know for a fact that many people will find things to hate about the film as a whole or the sum of it's parts, but I have to defend it 100%. There are so many things that go into making something of this nature. You get a letter - let's say it's C - and you have to come up with a cause of death that fits it. You can go with the obvious, like CHAINSAW and have a madman kill someone with it, but where's the fun in that? :)  The directors and writers really managed to come up with some interesting items here.




And the reveals are fun as well. The title card and director for each little story comes AFTER the story plays. This way, you're not sure WHAT you are going to see before you see it. You know what letter you're on, but don't know what was chosen. I loved that. Some of them were real wild choices and I dug them.

 

Slight spoiler warning here - I'm going to talk through some of the stories.






There were some stand outs in my mind. Some that really were wild, gross, or well shot. D is for Dogfight really got me. Slow motion and fantastic lighting with no dialogue. Really dug it even though I'm not sure I totally got it. It really didn't matter - it was interesting. I think that happened a lot in this film. There were times where I really didn't understand what I just saw, but I was still happy that I saw it. :)



F is for Fart fell into that range. It was SUPER light and SUPER silly, but as a fan of the super-gore films MUTANT GIRL SQUAD, MACHINE GIRL and TOKYO GORE POLICE, this was something I could still watch and grin at even though it fell towards the weaker end of the ABCs spectrum.




The stories ran the spectrum for sure. Serious, disgusting body horror at one moment switching to strange, furry anthropomorphic animals in another moment, then right into a gore filled nightmare or artistic surreal vision in another.

While this film is NOT for everyone, it's well worth a viewing for those with a penchant for the strange, new and different. Be warned, however - you're not going to be seeing a narrative, straight horror film. This is an anthology of 26 - yes, TWENTY-SIX - short films strung together by one thing only - Death.

Do you dare watch? 
Can you take it? 
Are you artsy enough to get it?  :) 

I viewed this through Amazon Streaming and it worked like a dream. Check it!

If you get a chance to watch it, do let me know what you think!