Monday, November 30, 2009

Way to Go Moments in Horror History: Way to Go Chris Hargensen

Way to Go Chris Hargensen

Chris Hargensen has one of those faces that you hate. It's scrunchy and stupid and just plain obnoxious. For starters- she's a bitch. It pretty much goes without saying that she is the leader of all Anti Carrie White groups that have taken over the school. I would also fathom a guess that she snuck into school one night and spray painted "Carrie White Eat Shit" on the walls. It pretty much goes without saying that she was a hop skip and jump away from joining the Ku Klux Klan. So what if Carrie White is quiet and a little weird? YOUR best friend is a dumb ass who always wears a red baseball cap. Real cool Chris.

Chris is such an obnoxious bitch that she refuses to be punished for being a complete asshole to Carrie therefore forfeiting her prom ticket and inadvertently causing the death of everyone at the prom. Think of it this way; if Chris had just sucked it up- Carrie would have had the happiest night of her life and probably would have summoned the courage to finally get rid of her psycho mother. But no no- she has to hold a grudge and perform the evilest most vile form of payback known to man. I'm not sure where Chris grew up- but unless she grew up in the devil's anus- payback should never include dousing a girl with a bucket full of pig's blood during her prom queen crowning. Real funny joke Chris.

Due to this "prank" Carrie goes nuts and uses her weirdo powers to kill everyone. Once again this little tragedy could have been avoided if Chris had just done a few more sit ups. Way to go Chris. Everyone is dead and it's all your fault. Now the only kids left in town are the loser's with no dates and that curly haired sort-of nice girl. GREAT!

Midnight Meat Train: Well That Can't Be Sanitary.

Midnight Meat Train is a perfect example of how and why the concept of beautiful blood is becoming a lost art. Based on a short story by my man Clive Barker, Midnight Meat Train was a less than thrilling ride filled with CGI blood, impossible stunts, and really bad "NOOOOO" acting by that girl that kind of looks like Lauren LC Conrad.

The story is actually a really interesting one. It follows Leon a photographer who stumbles upon the presence of a very strange man on the train. After stalking him relentlessly, Leon discovers that the strange man who is a butcher in real life- butchers people on the train. Leon embarks on a journey to put a stop to the crazy man and figure out just what all this butchering is really about.

Now the overall story I found to be somewhat engrossing but I just could not for the life of me get over that horrible CGI blood. I even looked around at one point excepting someone to jump out and tell me it was just a joke and that the real movie would be starting shortly. But that never happened and the awful blood kept on coming. Let's take a moment and breathe in the CGI and get it out of our system.

Watch out for the flying eyeballs!

Remember that time I saw my own face reflected in my own pool of blood?

Me neither.

So there we have some super examples of this movie was a bad experience for me. I also wasn't too pleased with the pacing of things. It seemed like everything happened within the first 30 minutes or so and I thought the movie could have easily ended once it hit the 60 minute mark. But rest assured there was still another 40 minutes left! It got to the point where I didn't really care what the outcome of things were I just wanted the damn thing to be over with.

The other problematic area was that part where Bradley Cooper suddenly is possessed by Indiana Jones and jumps onto the back of the speeding train with a meat hook and pulls himself up and into the train. I'm sorry but nowhere in this movie did I get the sense that extremely campy stunts and special effects were a vital part of the film. All I got was seriousness- and this part really made me laugh out loud. Then there's the battle of the butcher face off at the end- also unintentionally hilarious. I especially loved it when he threw a severed arm at the dumb girl. Oh and let's not forget when Bradley Cooper suited up in his chain mail butcher apron and ran all sparkly and heroically down the tunnel.

Now it's not all bad. I found myself really enjoying a few images- the bodies hanging in the train for one.
It created a lovely juxtaposition to the rows of hanging meat in the actual butcher factory and also made me look twice at those arm holders that are always too high for most people to reach. I also enjoyed the opening scene and....hmm I thought I had more...oh well.

I'm not sure if other people had as much as a problem with this movie as I did but something was just insanely off to me. There was a lot of gore- which isn't my favorite thing about horror movies- but it was there and I guess it was entertaining- but I just really wasn't having it. I couldn't stand that dumb girl and her horrible aim at close range, and I also felt the overall purpose of the meat train and the creatures was suddenly forced down our throats in the last 5 minutes. After revisiting Rear Window yesterday I really felt that what this movie lacked a lot of was suspense. I didn't feel once ounce of suspense during the entire thing- even in the butcher factory scene- nothing. Again I think it has more to do with the terrible pacing of the movie and my complete lack of interest in any of the characters.

I felt like there could have been much better ways to bring Clive Barker's story to life- possibly hinting at the cops sympathy with the underground creatures instead of suddenly telling us, or maybe even something as simple as cutting the movie down by 40 minutes. I think the short story follows a much more linear path and doesn't interrupt us with all this promise ring, spontaneous butt sex and whiny girlfriends bull crap. As I said it is a pretty awesome idea but I did not think it translated well to the screen. Hopefully there's someone else out there who felt the same way that I did so I can stop feeling so betrayed.

Oh I just thought of another thing that bugged me. I wished we had seen things happen more from Leon's point of view. In that I mean we knew that guy was butchering people on the train because they showed us all of his victims prior to Leon's eyewitness account. This is what I think made the pacing and the entirety of the movie feel so off. If those death scenes were cut out we would only miss out on the terribleness of the CGI- and Leon's eyewitness account would be much more tense and surprising. But I know how everyone wants to see gore gore gore so I'm not surprised they showed the death scenes the way they did. It just seemed to really be detrimental to the overall impact of what the butcher was actually doing on the train. It's like by the time Leon gets to see him in action we are starring at our watches and wondering where he has been the whole time. He's out of the loop and I don't like it!

Ok I think that's all.

P.S.- amputating the tumors was both horrible and amazingly hilarious at the same time and I'm not really sure why. But I think it has something to do with the fact that he pickled and saved the tumors. Yeah that's definitely it.

Buy Midnight Meat Train at Horror Movie Empire!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Children: Snow On the Ground and No One Is Wearing a Jacket? Now I've Seen Everything!

After watching several horror movies in the past 5 months or so, I have decided that the key to survival in any circumstance, is to trust no one. If your daughter has turned into a zombie- she's no longer your daughter. If your cat was buried in an Indian burial ground he's not going to be the same old cat. And if your children develop a strange illness don't think twice about slicing them up. Simple rules to follow really- but always ignored.

The Children is about 2 families celebrating the New Year's holiday together. The children soon start developing strange and irritable behavior- which ultimately escalates in complete and utter ridiculousness. They turn on their parents- and the parents are just too oblivious to realize that their children have turned evil. The film offers up the question- what do you do when your own children start to turn on you?

Right away this movie clues you into a very important fact; the children are everywhere. Running around and screaming like a swarm of beasties. It really made me want to punch a wall sometimes. Screaming kids are something I just cannot handle. So it was easy to see that everyone was pretty much doomed the moment they started reproducing. Casey- the eldest daughter who apparently was saved from being aborted while in the womb- is the obvious black sheep of the family. She wears mini skirts, has purple streaks in her hair AND wears thigh high socks. Good grief! She also has a strange bitterness towards her mother for not being able to understand the idea of contraception- and even got a tattoo of a fetus on her belly button. Plus she jokes about abortion- what a rebel!

What I found to be really creepy about this movie is the lack of explanation for why the children turn the way they do. Sure we get that close up view of the cells doing god knows what, and the occasional coughing up of blood and green vomit- but the actual cause is left very muddled. This truly makes the movie more terrifying because when there are no reasons- things are indefinitely hopeless.

The first death scene was pretty darn amazing. I meant to take a screen shot of the blood on the snow but I forgot and don't feel like finding that scene again so you'll just have to imagine how beautiful it was. I also loved the way the kids didn't seem like they were outwardly infected. Sure they looked a little pale and did some weird things but we weren't hit over the head with the fact that they were infected with some crazy disease. The way that they killed the parents still managed to be such an innocent undertaking and it was pretty remarkable. Their random bouts of laughter were both unsettling and utterly terrifying- and never truly knowing what was happening made it all the more scarier. That one shot of the little boy just standing and looking at his parents while they were sleeping? Yeah. Terrifying.

The scenes of the children dying were most likely uncomfortable to those who felt it is wrong to kill a child on the screen. But I'm pretty much immune to child killing after seeing Baby Blues. Yes it may be startling but these children were just going to kill everybody anyways! At least their deaths were justified.

Anyways- crazy and really fucked up kids will always get the better of me. As much as I hate them they have such a unique power of winning over any and all adults. As we see in the case of Casey- adults will seldom believe that a child could ever do anything as malicious and evil as the act of murder.

Best scene hands down? Ramming that stupid girl with the car. Sooooo wonderful. The ending I felt kind of meh about because I don't feel like it was necessary to leave us with that ambiguity but I suppose it was better than full out telling us. Then I would have been really angry. I guess I just feel like horror movies often get stuck in that last scare motif. I am so refreshed by horror movies that just fade to the credits after the final death scene. Why can't things just end??!

But anyways I was really impressed with this film. Lots of really great shots, some serious creepiness and some really jarring editing techniques. The film is so open to interpretation and really opens the door for some serious thinking. The movie does at times delve into this really annoying pro-life commentary. Like basically shoving it in our face that killing your children is awful and bloody and a sin. I don't know maybe it was just me but I definitely felt some agenda pushing! I guess it could also be looked at as a pro-choice commentary though....if you don't kill your children...they will kill you? Yeah I don't really get it. Someone who is smart tell me which side they were pushing!

My biggest gripe is that even though it was cold outside and I mean like snow on the ground cold- everyone was just running around with no jackets on! They didn't even look cold. Maybe the children wouldn't have gotten diseased in the first place if someone had just put on a jacket. That's all I'm sayin'.

Rear Window: Apparently Dead Dogs Are Also a Good Fertilizer.

It has come to my attention recently that I have never done a post on Rear Window. I'm not sure I can answer why that is- but I think it has something to do with that fact that I just assumed I posted up a review once when I was delirious or something- therefore forgetting that I never actually wrote anything in the first place.

So I will proceed in saying that Rear Window is one of the greatest films made by non other than Freddy Hitchcock. It stars James Jimmy Stewart as well as one of the most beautiful women in the world... Princess Grace of Monaco.
Sigh. Let's just take a moment to remember the wonderful Grace Kelly shall we?

OK. So Jimmy Stewart plays L.B. "Jeff" Jefferies a photographer who was injured while taking what were probably some really exciting photos. As a result, Jeff is confined to his home in a wheelchair with his sad broken leg and his camera. So what is a man to do when he has a broken leg? Spy on the neighbors of course! It's a good thing Jeff's apartment consists mostly of windows because he lives around some truly enticing characters. Now let me be clear that I am the number one offender of spying on people- so it was no surprise that I found those spying scenes completely moving. BUT even if you don't like spying on people- Hitchcock does something insanely marvelous here...he forces you to watch- AND become enthralled and invested in the action as much as Jeff does! It's probably one of my favorite parts about this film and not just because I'm super nosy.

Anyways- Jeff soons starts paying close attention to one of his neighbors-- Lars Thorwald a perpetually grumpy sort of man and his bedridden wife. After Jeff starts noticing that Thorwald takes several late night trips, often emerging with a large hand case- and polishing off a knife and handsaw he starts to wonder what has happened to Mrs. Thorwald- and whether or not Thorwald is up to some bad behavior.

Another simply great thing that this movie does which I can actually connect believe it or not to Martyrs- is that it creates a sense of disbelief. We too are experiencing the same strangeness when observing Thorwald's behavior- but what if Jeff is sorely mistaken? What if Mrs. Thorwald really has just gone on a vacation? How can he be so sure? This sort of feeling stays with us right till the end- when Thorwald's final confession to the police is almost like a deserved slap to the face.

Now as for the tension in this movie....holy crap! The scene where Grace Kelly breaks into Thorwald's apartment and we watch her every move from Jeff's point of view is so freaking intense. Every single time I watch that scene and see Thorwald mosey back into his apartment- while the unknowing Grace Kelly still searches in vain for evidence--I scream out loud with anguish.

And then of course the ultimate scene of intensity and excitement!--when Thorwald discovers why Grace Kelly is pointing at the ring on her finger... When he looks right into Jeff's apartment- I seriously lose my cool. Poor Jimmy Stewart is helpless and alone in his wheelchair- trapped with nowhere to go! It may be the most thrilling bit of cinema to ever grace the screen.

So in a nutshell- this is one of the best Hitchcock movies ever- and also just one of the best movies ever period. It's got suspense, it's got comedy and it even has a little risque interaction with Kelly and Stewart that caused many people in 1954 to stare at it with disgust! Can you imagine the sort of hate mail Alfred Hitchcock received when he showed that Grace Kelly brought her nightgown over the Jimmy Stewart's house?!

Oh and also sad dog death in this one folks. Keep a box of tissues close at hand.

Patriotic Danger: Proof That Beautiful Blood Can Exist in Action Flicks.

Whilst at one of the many Filmsnobbery live chats that I attend I met and spoke with Matthew Shea- Writer, director, producer, editor- all around renaissance man for Patriotic Danger. With a budget of $3,000 mostly spent on props- Matt does the unthinkable by creating a fun and exciting Independent action flick.

The movie follows David Striker (Masa Gibson) who after returning home late one night comes home to find his love interest shot and killed on the kitchen floor. We soon learn Striker was recruited by a strange company, claiming to be testers of the video game American Heroes. As it turns out this company actually creates government assassins- enlisting Striker's help and therefore changing his life forever. Now Striker must set out to find out who is behind the murder- and why they have targeted him.

What Matt accomplishes with this movie on such a low budget is pretty phenomenal. It should be said however that at no time do the action sequences outshine the overall purpose of the film. It is an action film yes- but what is really at the heart of the movie is Striker's journey into the unknown and the destruction of those who have wronged him. The angst that Striker encounters within the first few minutes of the film is clearly portrayed on the screen. The scene in the kitchen instantly puts us on Striker's side- justifying any and all actions that he takes during the course of the film.

One of my favorite scenes however came during the flashback of Striker's recruitment. The big boss man puts a gun in Striker's hand and tells him he must shoot the man tied to the chair. A man who apparently is responsible for the deaths of several agents. When Striker seems resistant the boss puts a gun to his head and gives him three seconds to shoot. I could actually feel a true sense of turmoil boiling up inside of Striker. The scene is extremely well done and I was nothing less than impressed.

As the movie goes on and the mystery starts to unravel- my interest never faltered. The introduction of the tough woman sidekick Brandi (Katie Jones) was interesting, although their history seemed clouded. The scene in the house where Brandi's shirt gets ripped open was startling- and the uber creepy Victor made me insanely uncomfortable. That scene also however presented to me one of the my favorite things in the world; a beautiful shot of blood!

The ending action sequence is nicely built up- although the assassins and guard's lack of aim did startle me a little bit. I cannot stress the fact that what is accomplished on such a little budget is thrilling. There are some truly stunning moments of cinematography, and editing in this little film that make me appreciate just what indie films can do. Patriotic Danger proves that you don't need millions of dollars, and bad acting by Megan Fox- to make an entertaining and thrilling action movie.

If you are interested in buying or screening Patriotic Danger (which you should be) check out Matt's website. Do your part to help out Independent filmmaking and support an extremely talented guy like Matt.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Invasion of the Body Snatchers: The 2nd Biggest Threat to Civilization--Next to Zombie Sharks

What a treat I found when I woke up a tad too early this morning---The Invasion of the Body Snatchers on TCM! The movie is a classic case of you against the world. It's one of those movies that makes you take a second look at your friends and wonder if they've been secretly replaced by a pod person. And then it goes one step further and makes you wonder if the entire world is compromised of pod people and that you are the only sane one in the bunch. This way of thinking is not far from my all time paranoia thinking that the whole world is in on the plan and you aren't aka The Truman show--which when that came out I almost shit my pants. I was positive someone was trying to send me a message and that my Batman poster was hiding a secret camera!! From that moment on I always changed my clothes in the closet. Whoops ANYWAYS The Invasion of the Body Snatchers is terrific.

The people in the town of Santa Mira are acting strange. Several townspeople have been complaining that their significant others are not who they say they are. We follow Miles whose voice over work is entirely charming although sometimes confusing. We soon find that a number of the townspeople have been turned into emotionless clones with no fingerprints. Miles and his sweetie Becky soon start to realize that the whole town is being taken over! How will they rid the town of these pod people? Will the pod people take over the entire world? Are the pod people still around today?!!

Movies like this tend to freak me out a little more than movies about ghosts and serial killers. The scene where Miles and Becky are in that apartment and watching all the trucks line up with the pods is so freaky to me. Not to mention that if you close your eyes for like 2 seconds you'll be turned into a pod as well!! The moment where Miles realizes Becky has fallen asleep and that she is no longer herself is actually one of the most heartbreaking scenes I have ever seen. Becky, like Glen Lantz fails any chance of helping out in the fight against Fred Kruger er- the pod people I mean. Big BIG way to go moment there.

The scene where Miles witnesses the pod stuff coming out and forming a person is also very disturbing. Poor Miles. There's no way he can win. He's all alone in this world now. Actually he's probably a pod person by now. This wonderful film really makes you question who you can trust in this world. Much like The Thing, imagining a solution or ending to the problem is entirely bleak. Aliens have a way of getting what they want I suppose. Bastards.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Satan's Pimpdom is Exposed!; The Top 5 Spawn of Satan.

After watching several devil themed movies as of late- it has been brought to my attention that the Devil certainly gets around. He is a pimp of all trades- so much baby mama drama and so many babies with some serious Daddy issues. So join me in celebrating some of the Devil's most notorious children.

5. Little Nicky

I have never seen this movie and don't plan to. However when this movie came out I personally decided that I hated him since he had the same kind of puffy blue coat that I had. Despite the coat's obvious warmth I vowed never to wear it again for fear of being called Little Nicky. The only thing I know about this movie is that Adam Sandler is the Devil's favorite son....which pretty much makes the Devil lose any or all credit that he ever had. Bad luck I'm afraid.

4. The Witches of Eastwick Babies

Why procreate just once when you have the option to inject your sperm into 3 beautiful women (eh Cher is debatable) and have them all be pregnant at the same time! That is exactly the kind of resourcefulness and quick thinking I appreciate in a man and in the Devil. Jack Nicholson knows how to get his devilish spawn out there- and he even knows how to contact them from the beyond. Using TVs! Who knows if these babies will grow up to carry Satan's legacy- for now they're just working on their rolling skills in their baby rolling chairs/walkers/rollerskates.

3. Rosemary's Baby

His Eyes!! What have you done to his eyes!!! The Devil really turned up his game with this one. He tricked a pathetic man into giving him his wife for a good old fashioned drugged up raping. And so began the pregnancy of Rosemary and the eventual reclaiming of yet another spawn of Satan. I think it's safe to say that this little devil is going places- what with the enormous support from the cult of devil worshippers, how can he go wrong? It seems that even his poor mother is willing to trade her dignity and distaste of warm climates in order to provide a teat for the devil to suck on. How sweet. He even gets a black basinet- instant pimpdom!

2. Damien

Probably the most successful of the Devil's spawn, Damien achieved his path to greatness with the aide of his creepy Nanny and pet dog. He achieved what the book of revelations predicted and so begins the reign of the Devil. Congratulations to you Damien.

1. Mady Gosselin

This may seem out of place to many of you- but I am taking this list very seriously and to me Mady Gosselin is the ultimate spawn of Satan. She's the worst human being I've ever encountered. When Jon and Kate (RIP Jon and Kate's marriage) talk about Mady they use words like "difficult" and "free-spirited" which as we all know are just other words for THE DEVIL. I also recall a particularly moving episode where they talked about the fact that Mady doesn't like going to church...aka SHE'S THE DEVIL. Anyone who disagrees with me can, but I will debate this until my dying day. She hits her siblings, pretends to be all nice and hilarious in front of the camera, kicks balloons for no reason and constantly insults her nicer, more angelic sister Cara. What a bitch.

The Omen: What Does a Jackal Giving Birth To a Human Actually Look Like and Followup Question; Is That Even Possible?

I'm sure unlike many of you, I made the grave error of seeing the remake of this movie before the original. Unfortunately Julia Stiles' best performance will always be Save the Last Dance- and Cotton Weary....why did he get that part anyways? Needless to say after watching the original I, firstly do not see a reason for the remake and secondly- did they even bother to change anything? OH WAIT Gorillas try to attack Damien instead of Baboons! My Bad!

The Omen is the ultimate son of Satan event. As much as I love Rosemary's Baby, we never really get to see what that little tyke is capable of. Damien however shows us exactly that--although I'm not entirely convinced he really did anything wrong at all but we will get to that later!

If you don't know the sad story of the Thorn's rest assured I will tell you. The Thorn's have finally gotten pregnant and given birth to a baby boy- the only problem is- the baby died. Atticus Finch is distraught and doesn't know what to do. A strange priest suggests he adopt- for another baby boy was born that same day- and his mother died during the birth. How perfect! Turns out...not so much because that baby just happens to be the son of the Devil.

Now one thing you will always hear people talk about when speaking of this film is the music. Never was there a more perfect feast for the ears when dealing with the spawn of Satan. The demonic chorus of voices is spectacular and always comes at just the right moment. What I love the most however is the beginning scene of the nanny hanging herself. The way she is so possessed and says it's all for you blah blah what the fuck! That part seriously messes me up every single time.
I think I've voiced my dislike and utter discomfort for hanging scenes before- so it should be no surprise that I find this scene especially traumatic. Not to mention a dog makes her do it not Damien.

Then of course we have Damien.

Some say he's the devil-- I say he's just trying to rid the world of bad style one hat at a time. See the above scene for more information. Damien is an interesting one- because it doesn't seem like the kid really knows he is the son of the devil. He laughs and plays with the other children- and the only reason bad things happen is because the evil Nanny manipulates him with her evil mind. Occasionally he gives the token spawn of the devil evil glare- but for the most part I think he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. And by wrong place I mind inside a Jackals uterus.

This movie is classic and has several moments of extreme beauty- and beauty and blood at that. The deaths are so wonderfully set up that it truly makes me appreciates and long for the days when this kind of masterful filmmaking was more common- in horror that is.

Sigh. Isn't that just swell? So basically the gist here is that I love The Omen. I still don't get the whole human baby through a Jackal's vagina thing but whatever-- I'm not a veterinarian. The revelations of the seriousness of the situation will always surprise me no matter how many times I watch this. For some reason I always forget the major sort of twist that happens when Gregory Peck opens up that second grave! How is this possible? Because it rocks. End of story.
It also has inspired me to do a Top Spawn's of Satan come soon. And by soon I mean in like 20 minutes...because it's raining and I can't go anywhere.

OH and on a side note- Damien may be the heaviest sleeper that has ever been born into this world- son of the devil or not. Who sleeps through their Dad pulling their hair and cutting off a giant piece of it to reveal your sacred 666 scar on your head?!

Buy The Omen at Horror Movie Empire!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Eyes Without a Face: You Could Take a Few Lessons From Hannibal, Doc.

When I began watching Eyes Without a Face I was convinced that this would be one of those older movies where the actual face of the horror would be absent. But boy was I wrong. This movie somehow managed to keep me surprised and shocked the entire way through. Let's just say that in case you've ever been curious to know what removing a face would look like- search no further.

The movie begins with a woman in a pleather jacket dragging a completely lifeless (bad doll) body to a river. We soon find that the body has been discovered- with her face completely removed and only her eyes remaining. She is believed to be one of two people; either the daughter of a well known surgeon or the daughter of some other guy. The surgeon is brought to identify the body where he promptly states that yes it is his daughter. At the funeral the doctor is seen standing with the woman in the pleather jacket....hmmmm! Upon returning home that night the Doc goes upstairs and speaks to his daughter- still alive and well-- only, she has no face.

So it suddenly becomes apparent just how creepy this movie is willing to get. The doctor and his pleather coated accomplice search for girls who bear resemblance to his daughter. In the meantime his daughter is left at home and is forced to wear the creepiest mask I have ever seen.

I was purely convinced in the beginning that we were never going to see what her mangled face looked like. Then the pleather lady put a mask on the girl and when the camera revealed her masked face I practically yelled out. The way it just binds to her face and how she just walks around completely lifeless and devoid of any emotion is just so remarkable. Who needs to see a mangled face when you get to feast your eyes on that creeper?

Now the last thing I would have ever expected from a movie that did it's best to hide the main character's mangled face- was an up close and personal removal of a face. When the doc drew the pencil line on- sure. Even showing the scalpel cutting the flesh- why not? But the attaching of the forceps to all corners of the face and then the actual lifting up of the skin and removing it to reveal the bloody fleshy mush?! Yup. That is exactly what happens.

Now, granted it's not the most convincing face removal- and Hannibal Lector did a better job in half the time-- but the fact that it was showed that up close and personal is amazing- especially for this time. I honestly felt a little sick to my stomach watching it- skin removal has never been my strong suit in the gore department. I was just completely shocked....and I still am....

The movie is filled with so many beautiful and spooky images that constantly surprised me. The release of the dogs and the birds at the end- the way the feathers floated down like snow while the girl walked slowly away. Also the shot by shot evidence of what happened to her face a few weeks after the face graft had healed. Turns out her body rejected the new face and made her looks like our old pal Fred Krueger.
Tough luck on that one. Don't worry though-- her Dad just assumes it was his error and finds a new girl's face to steal! I also loved the constant barking of the dogs in the background. Just a simple added touch that makes things even eerier.

Overall this movie is pretty incredible. The idea of kidnapping girls, stealing their faces and sewing them back onto your daughter's face is just mind blowing. What a concept. I don't think I'll ever be able to get that image of that damned mask out of my head. Apparently John Carpenter once attributed his decision to use Michael's mask to this movie. Pretty understandable-- but Michael Myers's face has never haunted me this badly. Definitely check this one out- it just became available to watch instantly on Netflix. It's extremely well done and just damn intriguing at that.

Session 9: So Much For Those Asbestos Being Taken Care Of!

If there's one thing I've always been insanely thrilled about it's abandoned mental hospitals. You can look as hard as you want but I'm pretty sure you will never find anything as creepy. There's something to be said about the history that gets left behind. They always look like one day everyone just got up and left- not bothering to pack things up. Chairs, desks, operating tables- it's probably the eeriest thing that can ever be captured on film. You see the remains and all you can think about is what went on there.

I did a giant paper on De-Institutionalization and the effects of it on homelessness my junior year of college- focusing on an abandoned mental hospital in Northampton MA. So when I began watching Session 9 last night I felt instantly excited and even more so when the characters spoke about the history of mental illness, institutions, and the types of crimes and cover ups that happened. What Session 9 does that I find to be so remarkable- is that the atmosphere it creates makes you feel like you are trapped inside the institution as well. A cold, bitter and suffocating environment that would be very similar to the way the patients felt. After I finished the movie I felt like I was suddenly surfacing after having been underwater for an hour and 40 minutes.

The movie follows a group of asbestos cleaners who have 1 week to clean an abandoned state hospital. They are led by Gordon who suddenly became Scottish somewhere after 10 minutes, and Phil aka CSI Miami guy.

Don't let CSI Miami guy worry you- because although his ginger-ness will never fail to creep me out- it didn't take away from the movie. The men soon find that the hospital has a way of unleashing our darkest side- as old histories are dug up and new ones are created.

There aren't a whole lot of jumps in this movie- in fact there may be none. All the fear and terror is- as it should be more of a psychological and deeper fear. To me one of the scariest parts was when Hank found all the coins and gold- and then the camera panned out to reveal that he was digging out coins from a crematorium. Yuck.

Then the part that made me insanely scared was when Mike started listening to Mary's sessions. The first time you hear that other personality start talking really shakes you- and then when you hear Billy's voice....and finally Simon's....good god. Multiple Personality Disorder is one of the most intriguing forms of mental illness. The fact that the patient has buried their past so deeply in themselves- deep enough to form other thinking and talking personalities is incredible. A lot of people like to believe that Mary was supposed to be possessed by a demon- Simon- but I think that's a load of crap. Simon is just as he says the part of us that controls us when we are weak minded. There may be no ghosts in Session 9 per say but the word ghosts has so many meanings and this movie really seems to tackle them all.

I liked how we instantly know something seems weird with Gordon. I also love how Gordon and Mary's stories link up with each other in that way. While I kind of felt that the twist or ending was pretty obvious within the first few minutes it was still a pretty big blow to find out the extent of what went down. I wasn't crazy about Simon talking to Gordon ala Frank in Donnie Darko- but it didn't ruin anything for me.

Overall the movie is truly powerful. If you are in the mood to have a good, restless night then give this one a watch. There are so many levels to it and so many ways of interpreting it that it kind of hurts my head. The hospital becomes a character of it's own, and it's presence is felt the moment the movie begins. I wish I could go deeper into theories but I don't want to spoil anything for the Session 9 virgins! Oh and wasn't it spectacular that the CSI Miami guy AND Jim Brass from CSI were in the same movie!? AND Warren from Empire Records....egads!
Also Mike is kind of a babe. Ok that's all.

The "Fuck You!" at the end of that scene will never fail to crack me up.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Way to Go Moments in Horror History: Wendy Torrance

Way to Go Wendy Torrance

There is no easy or polite way of saying this, so I guess I'll just man up and say it. Wendy Torrance- is ugly. Between her constant annoying questions, terrible fashion sense and overall ugly face I am just not sure why Jack Torrance even married her in the first place. What did those two ever have in common? After sitting through The Shining, it becomes very apparent why Danny developed that little habit of talking to his "friend" Tony. I too would invent an imaginary friend that lived in my mouth and talked through my finger if my mother was Wendy Torrance. Does Danny even like being called Doc? Maybe you should ask him.

It has always been my personal belief that Jack Torrance would have been just dandy- had Wendy not been there. She's always pestering him- holding useless and awkward conversations about nothing and worst of all- interupting Jack's very important quiet writing time. She's as useless as a sack of poo- although even a sack a poo has fetilizing capabilities so even that one ups her.

Wendy really did her part to make sure her family fell apart during these hard times. This includes blaming Jack for beating and strangling Danny when it was quite obviously the rotting old naked lady in the bath tub. Don't you know anything Wendy? Jack would never hurt his own kid- (except for that one time when he pulled Danny's arm out of his socket...whoops!) Who can really blame Jack for wanting to chop Wendy up into a million pieces? All I need is one look at that face and I'm off to go kill a baby. Way to go Wendy- your face has ruined everyone's hope for a happy life.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Frankenstein: Perhaps the Most Misunderstood of All Monsters.

I really feel for the Monster in Frankestein- I do. Not only is he created and brought back to life against his will, taunted by Igor and chased by peasants- he doesn't even get a real name! This perplexes me as so many refer to him as Frankenstein or maybe even as "Frankie" but he's not- he's nothing he's "a monster"!! It's one of those things that I find very hard to swallow- kind of like how knowing that a tomato is a fruit, and that Pluto isn't a planet...only more devastating.

I guess it just seems to be convenient and comfortable that the monster's name be Frankenstein because he looks like a Frankenstein. But perhaps he only looks like a Frankenstein because we associate the word Frankenstein with his face? See! It's a conundrum! It drives me mad, keeps me up at night and makes it really difficult to put on a happy face day to day. Maybe you think that's a little eccentric but the anomaly that is Frankenstein and the monster and their identities will soon start to haunt your dreams too! Just remember that Frankenstein is just the wacko scientist that created....the monster!

Frankenstein is of course a classic in horror history. The iconic images of Boris Karloff first coming to life, taking his first steps into the laboratory and throwing the little farm girl into the lake- are images that resonates far into the minds of most of us- horror fan or not. What this film must have done to it's viewers back in good old 1931 is beyond me.

What always gets me the most about this film however is the mistreatment and misunderstanding of the monster. He pretty much does nothing wrong except fear for his life- and the smelly peasants have to drive him out like The Beast just because he killed some annoying girl by accident. I guess he also killed the doctor and FRITZ- but honestly Fritz deserved it. Who waves a torch maliciously at a poor helpless monster? Nobody.

OH and Fritz... it's also your fault for getting a criminals brain to use in the first place. Not that it mattered much- because in all honesty I don't see much of his criminal, murdering side. The remorse that he shows after the scene with the little girl is far too startling and too genuine for him to ever have a mean thought in his brain. He was merely confused and the fact that he did show remorse speaks worlds.

My favorite images are the hanging man in the beginning
, and of course the burning windmill scene at the end. I will also always have a soft spot for that throwing flowers in the lake scene though....
so chilling and truly heartbreaking. It's the same heartbreak I felt in The Monster Squad when the monster realizes his face is "scary". Yeah that's right, I just made a real pouty face thinking about that scene...

Watching Frankenstein again also makes me think that it's time we had another monster movie. But an original monster- NOT a remake. Something classy....something sassy...something that shakes us to the core the same way that Frankenstein did in 1931! .....I'll think about it and get back to you. Anyone else agree it's high time we bring the monster movie back? Zombies don't count!

Buy Frankenstein at Horror Movie Empire

Twilight Zone The Movie: Yes I'm Aware That I May Have a Slight John Landis Obsession.

I can honestly say that I had no idea John Landis wrote and directed the prologue and first segment of this movie. I swear! Only after watching the prologue and laughing my ass off then jumping out my seat did I start to wonder who was responsible. And as it just so was good old John and he stole my heart again.

The prologue was as usual- fantastically written. The conversation between Dan Aykroyd and Albert Brooks was so natural and just naturally funny. I hadn't cracked up that much since... well since posting the naked man stole my balloons picture on the sidebar.

The movie is broken down into 4 segments directed by 4 different directors. Now not to be unfair to my new obsession but the 1st segment wasn't that great. I attribute this to the fact that there wasn't as much talking and even less actual fearsome moments. It featured a man who used racial slurs and was just an overall asshole after losing out on a promotion. After leaving a bar he finds he has been transported to various times of political uprising and is always the person you would least want to be i.e. a Jew in Nazi Germany, a black man in Ku Klux Klan country etc. Hmmm I guess looking back I did enjoy how the segment addressed the dangers of wearing a flammable white sheet while standing next to a burning cross...

The first segment was unnerving I suppose but I just found it lacking in overall creepiness.

Now the 2nd segment was where the real snoozing began. I appreciate the attempt Spielberg but I don't want to feel all warm and happy while I'm in the Twilight Zone! I don't care if you try to win my vote by using Mr. Hollorann from The Shining...The Story centered around a rest home where Mr. Hollorann allows for the old folks to rediscover their youth through a pleasant game of kick the can. I couldn't help but be put off due to it's annoying resemblance to Hook and Big Top Pee Wee (yes the movie where the cranky old folks eat cocktail wieners grown off a tree and revert back to their youth) Touching, heart warming and zzzzzzzzz.

Now onto the good stuff. The 3rd segment was I think the best part of the entire movie. It made me genuinely creeped out without allowing me to feel utterly hopeless by the end. The story follows Anthony, a boy who has the power to make whatever he wants to happen- happen. Pretty remarkable and standard right? Wrong. Because Anthony here wants his entire house to be a creepy cartoon-like world and has the power to remove people's mouths and turn his "Uncle" into a magician that pulls huge and scary rabbits out of hats!
From the moment Helen walks through the door and the scary family huddles around her- and Anthony takes her on a tour of the just brings this horribly creepy feeling. The story and setting just felt more genuine than the rest and I kind of wish the entire movie concentrated on Anthony and his cartoon world.

Which brings me to segment 4... a panicky tale starring John Lithgow- a nervous flyer who believes he sees an alien destroying the plane's engines in a storm. The segment does a great job of making you feel like you too are trapped in a flying metal coffin- and the ending provides just the right amount of satisfaction.

Overall the Twilight Zone movie is a very entertaining bit of film. I guess I could have done without the first 2 segments- but oh well! I still adore John Landis so never you mind. The Twilight Zone has always reminded me of a more sophisticated version of Are You Afraid of the Dark? and this movie definitely holds true for that assessment. If you can't spare the time at least do yourself the favor of just watching the prologue....

Buy Twilight Zone the Movie at Horror Movie Empire!

Getting Your Voting Pants On

Today is the day my friends- well, the week really. Get yourself to The Vault of Horror and cast your vote for Ms. Horror Blogosphere! You can only vote once so make sure you are making the right choice. Voting ends December 4th so you do have a little time to study the entries and decide who you believe is worthy of the title. Seeing as you are reading my blog I guess it kind of makes sense if you vote for me, but I won't hold it against you if you don't. However, I will not promise the disuse of subliminal advertising... So have a swell day and vote vote vote!

Monday, November 23, 2009

An American Werewolf in London: I Wish John Landis Was My Friend.

I've said it before and I'll say it again; I. Love. John. Landis. I'm thoroughly convinced the man is a genius. It's difficult to find such perfect comedic timing paired with such perfect fear and horror but he does it! An American Werewolf is the delight of the century because it both scares and frightens without being overwhelmingly pushed into one or the other genre. David is an extremely likable character whom we grow to love and even shed a tear for by the end of the film.

For those that do not know, An American Werewolf in London is about... an American werewolf in London. David and his friend Jack are backpacking through a rather vacant English countryside. They are warned to stay away from the moors and keep to the main road but of course neither are done and a werewolf kills Jack while scratching up David pretty well. David's last conscious image is that of a naked man lying shot to death on the ground. Back in a London hospital David is visited by Jack who tells him he must kill himself if he is to break the curse upon the werewolves victims.

I guess I just love everything about this movie. The bromance between David and Jack is fantastic, the scene in the moors is both painstakingly anxiety provoking and hilarious, and the movie is littered with fantastic lines, lots of fun gore and amazing make up. David's first transformation into the werewolf is so excruciating you can almost feel your own hands and feet growing to unusual proportions and werewolf claws ripping through your flesh. Every thrill is fun and entertaining- even the one with the unfortunate resemblance to that demon face in the Exorcist I hate so much....!

It could really be the demon's twin brother in all honesty. And there's even a pretty swell love story albeit a brief one, but a believable one nonetheless. David is such a great character it almost kills me to watch the ending. Oh right speaking of the ending....the Piccadilly Circus massacre is pretty outstanding. The carnage is comparable to Final Destination 2 and every body part thrown across the screen brings a smile to my face.

The dream sequences are also another amazing source for the hilarity/terror combination. They are so absurd and terrifying at the same time- it's a perfect representation for what a dream really is.

Werewolves will always be an interesting subject to me. The idea of a two part monster- a monster we fight within ourselves is pretty darn compelling and provocative. Sure there is an aspect within each of us that we hate and secretly want to warn the public about- but how do we do so without sounding like an utter nut job? David tries his best by shouting that Prince Charles is gay and what not but it's just no good.

The ending is very upsetting- and terrible idea by the way Alex, trying to appeal to David's emotions while being transformed. Do you know anything about werewolves? Amateur.

If you have not seen this movie I suggest you attend to the matter immediately. It's drop dead hilarious, scary, and just plain amazing. I wish I could show it to my family at Thanksgiving but somehow I don't think the images of flesh ripped open, and man pubes would sit well with Grammy Doris. Oh well.

The Divemistress has reminded me of one of the best scenes! Enjoy!

Buy An American Werewolf in London at Horror Movie Empire.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Tale of Two Sisters: Periods Get Such a Bad Rap These Days

POP QUIZ: Which Asian horror movie is this from?

WRONG! The answer is all of them.

Sigh. Ok here is my dilemma. I know many of you love love love Asian horror namely Audition(which I not so secretly dislike) and The Ring and possibly the Grudge. My problem is that as of late every asian horror movie to come out has been less than thrilling and gives me a terrible headache and case of deja vu. Headache because you never know what the fuck is going on, and deja vu because I've seen that creepy asian girl with long hair who makes gurgling noises one too many times.

Now this isn't to say that I don't find asian horror movies scary. They all have their scary points- and let's face it- the day a scary dead asian girl with stringy hair stops being scary is the day the care bear meter falls and the world has no soul. I just think asian horror movies have been slacking and people just think they have to love them because they are the Godfather of horror movies. Personally I've seen much much better things coming from French and Spanish horror movies but what do I know?

SO ANYWAYS A Tale of Two Sisters may be the most mind boggling movie I've seen to date. I should first mention it took me about 4 tries to watch this the whole way through as the beginning has a very slow build up. Beautiful cinematography and overall images but slow as fuck. I suppose it also didn't help things by knowing the "twist" or whatever because being the plot ruiner that I am I had to read the plot of The Uninvited...but oh well.

The movie is still powerful and strong despite knowing the ending or not. What is wonderful about the movie is that you can probably watch it 20 times and still pick up on new things. I would like to go back and watch it a second time with a clearer understanding in my head now that I come to think of it- but we can't have it all.

There are several beautiful blood moments that made me swoon, as well just some really great camera work and what not. What I find to be most upsetting though is that the twist in this is too difficult to wrap your head around. Now I will defend The Sixth Sense until the end of time- and the great thing about the Sixth Sense is that the twist made sense. Going back we understand that Malcolm never truly interacted with anyone other than Cole- so therefore the twist is warranted. Here however I had the feeling I was being a bit gypped. It's like being invested in a movie the whole way through until you find out the main character was dreaming the entire time. The twist while making sense in the long run- just felt like a giant cheat to the audience- or at least to me. It's like trying to follow someone's conversation when all they talk about are inside jokes with someone else? You feel me? Didn't think so. I just am not a big fan of movies where I only appreciate them once the twist happens. I didn't really give a damn about anyone in this until I figured it out and even then it was a lack luster damn.

I understand the whole idea of everything being a part of her sub conscious/ she's trying to cope with the idea of having her sister's blood on her hands- but it was just too....messy or something. Is there really a way to fix this? Probably not. The story is flawed from the beginning. The realization of why she would be going through so much inner turmoil is very startling and heart breaking. But I felt like that realization and the emotional effect it causes is too hard to grasp after only one viewing.

Another irksome thing was the ghosts in this. I felt like this was the real deal breaker. Oh wait every asian horror movie has to have a ghost in it! Never mind! But really- there was no purpose for the ghost. There are way too many things going on here. We have a story about two sister's hating their step mother, but WAIT there is a weird ghost that gets her period on you while you sleep and WAIT again actually nothing is what it seems and none of this actually happened....WAIT WAIT the stepmother really is a cold hearted bitch? It's just too much.

Again I can appreciate the story and the images and every little thought that was put into this movie. It is beautiful it is moving but I just felt cheated and annoyed by a lot of it. I know it's probably my general dislike of asian horror movies but there has to be someone out there who feels the same way I do? Anyone?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Village of the Damned: Aw Man Not That Creepy Kid Again!

I can't believe I didn't realize the really scary kid from The Innocents is the same really scary kid in The Village of the Damned. I cracked up when I read the IMDB forum where people complained that his voice being dubbed was distracting. Yeah obviously you haven't seen The Innocents or else you would know that that kid just naturally has one of the creepiest voices on the planet.

So Village of the Damned centers around a village- obviously, and one quiet day the entire village passes out- for a good couple of hours. They awoke later in a daze and did not remember a single thing that happened. A few months later all women capable of child birth become pregnant, and a few months later each child is born- bearing similar traits of blonde hair, scary eyes, and weird finger nails. The children grow and development at an alarming rate and the village soon realizes that these aren't children....they are aliens!

I will start off by saying that I loved loved loved the beginning of this movie. I was so pleased and excited that all the action happened right away and that I didn't have to pick my nose until something weird happened. The images of all the townspeople passing out is really amazing. The guy on the tractor, the woman ironing, and of course the bus were really creepy and unsettling.

Now lets get to the these children.

What a bunch creepers. First of all they all wear black pea coats. Second of all, their hair is exactly the kind of blonde hair that I HATE. No offense if you have that color hair and again no offense if I scream out loud if you have that color hair and I see you. Their eyes and the way they walk around in a pack and just stare at people....yikes. Then there's also that little issue of how they drive people to commit suicide by using their mind control powers! Pretty awesome super power if you ask me. I can think of a few people I would like to try that one out on...

Overall, a classic movie with some truly creepy and memorable scenes and images. I love the idea of the whole village fainting at once- and how some time during that- aliens impregnated the women! A true while you were sleeping moment! As creepy as it was it really makes me appalled at Bravo's decision to not include The Innocents on their 100 scariest moments list....what a bunch of whores.

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