Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Stepfather: A Man of Faith (In the Family)

Well I feel gyped. After years of being addicted to LOST and Horror movies- no one ever told me that John Locke was the Stepfather! How rude. It just so happens that I'm kind of glad I didn't know- or else my image of John Locke would be severly tarnished. He's still just as magical and intelligent- only in The Stepfather, he's crazy and really kills people. But thankfully he cleans up nicely. Who else could go from this.
to this

No one except John Locke obviously.

He is a magical Jesus wizard after all.

OK where was I? Oh right The Stepfather actually surprised me quite a bit. I must say that the opening scene was fantastic. It completely set the mood and let you in on the very sick mind of our main character. Here is a man who has just brutually murdered his family. But he is calm and collected- absent mindly washing his hands of the blood, showering, and having a nice shave and a hair cut. A little change in outfit and hair piece- and he sets out of the house- while walking past the bloody bodies of his family on the way out. We then start to think- now we're going to find out how Terry O'Quinn meets his next family in which he will become the Stepfather to a smart and savvy teenager daughter. But wait no- he's already been her stepfather for at least a few months! Once I realized that very simple fact I was completely sold on the movie.

Unfortunately the rest of the movie is a little slow moving- and at times kind of boring. We get one brutal head beating with a big piece of wood- but the discovery of the Stepfather's true identity wasn't as terrifying as I thought it would be. The introduction of Jim- the brother of Terry O'Quinn's previous wife- seems to do all the dirty work. It is him after all who discovers the truth, alerting the papers and getting Stephanie to start wondering. This would have been find and dandy if Jim didn't bite the dust so suddenly and disappointingly. Sure it is a bit tense when the Mom confronts him and he starts talking all crazy- but for the most part I found the best part of the movie to be in the beginning.

To be honest the only really great part about the Stepfather is Terry O'Quinn. The man is fantastic. He is pretty phenomenal at switching from psycho path to normal all American Dad- and with that beginning scene everything is just all the more scarier. That simple idea of thinking that you know someone, only to find that they have this whole other life that includes being a sociopathic murderer is frightening. In fact it's one of those movies that makes you question.....EVERYTHING.

I still enjoyed the movie- and I do not intend on seeing the remake as I've heard that it's atrocious. If you really want to be creeped out read up on who the movie was loosely based on, John List. Now there is a creepy man. Still a pretty decent movie- although falls victim largely to slow plot lines. Watching the fall of Terry O'Quinns epic plan is pretty terrifying though- and seeing him try to make his next move on another woman is even more terrifying. Plus, what better way to celebrate the final season of LOST then with a blast from Terry O'Quinn's past. Oh John Locke I love you- even if you really are dead- and if currently you are possessed by a black smoke demon. Oh well!

The Blob (1958): The Blob and I Both Hate the Cold- Nifty!

I'll admit it. I was always extremely dubious of the Blob and what power it would actually have to cause me to shake in my boots. The idea of the monster being a ball of jelly just never seemed like something I wanted to admit to being scared to. Now I realize the 1958 version is pretty tame compared to the remake- but before I feast my eyes on the remake I must of course watch the original (I learned that lesson the hard way when I saw Cotton Weary in The Omen). As it turns out- a giant rolling ball of raspberry jam is actually kind of scary. I'm not sure how it would feel to be killed by it- but I'd imagine it's not a far cry from being slowly digested for over a thousand years in the belly of the Sarlaac.

Now right off the bat I noticed a striking similarity that many of the movies I have watched recently have. A strange shooting star type of object crashes and someone goes looking for it- resulting in some serious trouble. People... stop going to investigate a fallen shooting star!!! Worst case scenario you'll find a giant circus tent with Killer Klowns
OR creepy crawly slugs looking to fly into your mouth rendering you into a zombie! Then there's also the off chance that you'll turn into a giant plant after touching said fallen star
or even that some sticky raspberry flavored jam will attach itself to you and then slowly take your entire body over!!! It's just not safe no matter how you look at it. So please stop doing it.

Now anyways- The Blob begins it's reign by crashing down to earth and then sticking itself on the hand of a nice old man. "This is the BLOB?" I thought to myself. It was so small, so harmless- how could this be? Don't worry though because as time went on that little piece of jam start absorbing that poor old man more and more- until through his absorption- the blob became an even bigger ball- that now had the power to roll. Yes that's right it's mobile.

I did happen to love the scene in the doctor's office- when the doctor realized what the blob was capable of. Unfortunately the nurse had to ruin it by being a complete moron--but anyways- I was surprised at the decent amount of tension that that scene created. Slow moving ball of sticky goo or not- one wrong move and your body is feeding that sticky goo and making it larger. Even more awesome was the movie theater scene- the classic movie theater scene of unsuspecting movie goers suddenly being taken over by "the monster". I couldn't believe how much I loved seeing that scene because of how iconic it really is. People screaming and running away- and then the blob just blobbing behind them? Brilliant!

Now certainly the effects leave little to be desired-
but it's a movie from the 50s and although the miniaturized versions of the town and the blob taking over are very obvious (I personally like when the force of the mini blob makes the mini diner kind of move by accident) the actual scenes still have some impact. I think what works well is being shown the blob when it first started it's assault. Then seeing it completely take over the diner is terrifying for two reasons; because it's completely ridiculous size is now capable of pretty much anything and because you know that it's massive size is due to all the bodies it has absorbed and killed.

The other part that really surprised me- was how morbid everything seemed at the end. Not to be a complete loser but that scene reminded me of the end of Never Been Kissed.
When she's standing on the pitcher's mound just waiting- and the time runs out and he doesn't come! And everyone sits back down and is sad. Yes that is exactly what was going through my mind- when all hoped seemed lost and our main characters were trapped inside the diner waiting to die and be absorbed. Complete and utter depression. Phew my coolness is taking over- I need to sit down.

Parallelled to Drew Barrymore or not that scene was very surprising to me. I did for a minute there think that that was it- it's over. Good try Steve McQueen but you are done for. And then of course we get that great moment of realization and understanding and tada! The blob gets taken care of. Happy endings seemed to be much more prevalent back in the old days- man usually always being victorious and usually due to the fine art of Science. Now however our emotions are toyed with and we leave the movie theater feeling as though a ball of jelly has absorbed our hearts. It's a cruel world.

I also wouldn't be opposed to the idea of remaking the Blob (again) but having it be called THE BLOG.
(Which someone cooler and smarter already thought of) This is actually what my typo kept being when I'd type too fast. At first I was annoyed- but then it totally made sense. My blog will probably one day absorb me- and I'll be lost forever amongst these pages. I'm crossing my fingers that I'll be smushed on a page with John Landis but with my luck I'll probably be stuck in a room with someone ugly and uninteresting like Brittany Murphy (whoops too soon?) Sorry.

Buy The Blob at Horror Movie Empire

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Night of the Creeps: Murray Futterman is Back!

What else can I say about Night of the Creeps other than it's a delightful treat filled with squirmies, hilariously bad aliens, and Rusty from National Lampoons European Vacation? I guess I covered everything- except wait no- there's a crippled best friend sidekick who gets interrupted by creeps during pooping AND Murray Futterman makes another fantastic cameo. The positives are endless. Another fantastic 80s treat that I just can't get enough of.

As the saying goes- they just don't make em' like they used to. And I have to say it's true. The only problem is people think they can make them like they used to- so they end up remaking all the wonderful cheesy 80s horror movies and completely failing! The simple fact is that 80s cheese does not translate well to the current era of horror. People just confuse it with the fact that they think it's a bad movie- when it's suppose to be a bad movie. A GOOD bad movie. The same can be said for some not 80s cheese fests like Wild Things and Showgirls (the two greatest bad movies on the block in my opinion) but are these movies commonly referred to as good bad movies? No they as just referred to as crap! Depressing idea in my opinion.

So back to the creeps. Night of the Creeps gives us a couple of different eras here. We begin in space as a band of aliens are failing to keep an experiment inside the ship. The experiment falls to earth and is picked up by a 50s frat brother- while his date is hacked to bits by an axe wielding psycho. Next we go to the wonderful 80s- where Rusty and his crippled friend JC decide that the only way to get Rusty a woman is to join a Frat. The frat brothers are repulsed by these two and make up an impossible prank for them to pull if they want entry. Guess what the prank is? Stealing a corpse from the medical lab and leaving it on a sorority houses front steps! Seriously what is up with frats getting a hold of corpses and suggesting them so frequently as pranks?! Who are these people??! Anyways- they stumble upon a cryogenically frozen guy from the 50s- yes the same guy and let him loose. He immediately comes back alive- tries to get them- the kids run- the zombie whatever guy is on the loose and once his head is split open the creepy slug thingys let loose. These creeps are what turn people into Creeps! They enter through the mouth. It's no surprise then that the small college population of douche bags soon become creeps- and all havoc breaks loose!

Other than the really hilarious concept of the puppet aliens running through their space ship- and all the hilarious lines and cheese- I did find that the moment of regeneration was particularly frightening. And I mean specifically when David Paymer gets off the autopsy table with a pair of scissor still stuck in his chest.
The fact that those scissors are half inside his skin and half out is terrifying looking. Plus he's just walking around like that! I truly found it to be a completely surprising moment of fear hidden in this comedic masterpiece! Also notable- is the scene where all the frat brothers emerge from the crashed bus! What a waste of a bunch of good tuxes. But honestly talk about it's cheese all you want- but Night of the Creeps has some decent moments of horror fo realz.

This may just be me but I really enjoyed the part where JC was trying to take a crap and all the creeps were squirming around. When he lights one on fire- it curls up and looks exactly like a inflamed turd! My maturity is startling I know.

What else what else? I loved how Cynthia didn't curl up and die when she saw that they were being stalked by an endless amount of frat douche bags. She picked up that flamethrower and really became an important asset to the team. Then of course the ultimate bad ass scene of Detective Cameron in the basement counting down from 20 to the moment of sparking? Classic! What a great character. Sure we've all heard the "Your dates are here but they're dead" line about a million times- but that scene is too classic for it to become cliche and outplayed. It's great. I love when he just grabs the hairspray and sticks his cigarette in front of it- so resourceful in times of crises!

I must also point out that I kind of loved the beginning when the girl is in the car while the frat guy goes searching for the shooting star. She hears the radio report about the escaped mental institution patient and then realizes she's in the exact place where he has been seen! And that last shot of the guy approaching the car with the axe- and even better- the detective's flashback- and the reunion moment in the alley with the axe murderer! Pretty darn creepy.

The concept of the slithery creepies was great- it's not your typical take on a zombie movie and it really makes the movie more interesting. Those great shots of the heads splitting open and the squirmies flying out- then being torched with the flame thrower was such an interesting The Thing shout out. Flame throwers are always the best- and what better man to get them from than Murray Futterman??!

God I love this man.

So I'm sure I don't need to tell you to watch this- as most of you have probably seen it. But in case you haven't-- please watch it. (It's on Youtube!) Since it is done by the same guy who did the Monster Squad there's not doubt that it's pretty amazing. And if you don't like The Monster Squad then just get the hell out. You deserve a zombie cat right in the face!

Buy Night of the Creeps at Horror Movie Empire!

Friday, January 29, 2010

C.H.U.D: Does Not Stand For Whoops I Thought This Was "Critters"!

Yes yes laugh it up. After years of prowling the horror movie section of my local video store as a young child- my lack of photographic memory has caught up with me and I've neglected to notice that C.H.U.D is not the movie with the dust bunnies who have teeth.

Whoops! I was so confused as to why the Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers did not look like they did on the front of the VHS that I almost emailed the distribution company in anger. Luckily- the word "critters" rang a bell and a quick google image search reinforced my mistake and stupidity. C.H.U.D. while not about cannibalistic dust bunnies- is about some toxic waste- and harkens back to those delightful creature features that we all know and love!

Well it had to happen. Someone noticed that the homeless people had started to go missing and an investigation was started. This investigation uncovers the truth that a dwelling of mutated creatures that were once human beings has taken over the sewage system. Since most of their food was compromised of the homeless people who are now all eaten- they've taken to the streets and started munching on the...non-homeless. Marv from Home Alone
and the dad from Home Alone plus a dectective who was also in Home Alone 3- team up and try to put an end to those pesky C.H.U.D's. Forget the six degrees of Kevin Bacon- C.H.U.D and the connections to Home Alone are off the charts!

Once I got over the fact that the CHUDs weren't the reverse effect of Gremlins- meaning they would get cuter if more time went on- I started to realize that C.H.U.D does a pretty decent job of taking the creature feature reins. Once again toxic waste proves to be the ultimate enemy- and the movie teaches a valuable lesson in the importance of NOT using the sewage system to throw away all that sludge. Although the creatures aren't exactly terrifying
I do enjoy how their headlight eyes turn off once they are killed- plus they squirt out toxic waste blood.

There were also several enjoyable comedic moments but my favorite perhaps under the radar hilarity comes when the Bosch and Marv are trying to convince the important people that there are evil creatures in the sewer. When Bosch says that he met Marv who is the head of a soup kitchen the important people chuckle about soup kitchens. I don't know why this is so funny to me- maybe it's not really funny at all but it sure made me laugh out loud. It also however brings up an interesting point- that C.H.U.D might be an interesting solution to rid the world of homelessness. I kid!

My one sort of flaw with the film is that I would have loved to see more evidence of the creatures taking the streets and actually leaving the sewer system. Sure we get that nice scene in the apartment, and the coffee shop- but it all seemed so brief- and the coffee shop scene barely showed anything at all. I figured the creatures would be running amok all over the place- but sadly they DID end up just staying in the sewers for most of it- what a gyp!

While I did enjoy C.H.U.D. I thought I was going to enjoy it more- which again I blame Critters for- but nevertheless still a great little 80s movie. And it keeps me alerted to all the other horror movies where CHUD's make an appearance (like the Descent!). Oh and I must mention I cried out loud when the dog got snatched in the beginning- but later rejoiced at the fact that a stuffed animal was found gutted when the woman goes down to investigate the drainage system. The budget for this movie must have astronomical! I also could not help but smile at all the ways C.H.U.D was a nice little homage to movies like Them! What with the sewer scenes- the gassing of the dwelling and how the creatures came to be. It was all so lovely! Plus Bosch is the coolest character ever. Marv is second.

Buy C.H.U.D at Horror Movie Empire

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Dead Birds: O.K. There is NO Way They Had CGI in the Civil War Era.

Dead Birds is one of those movies that I wanted to like so much. Actually I didn't really know what it was about- except that there were probably some dead birds somewhere- and that it had made it on a few peoples best of the decade list I think. Naturally I was intrigued but imagine my surprise to find that Dead Birds was a CGI infested tale that took place during the Civil War and had largely to do with hairless Brundlefly's from another dimension!

So yes- Dead Birds follows a "posse" of deserters who rob banks and make a real mess of things by shooting up everyone's head and what not. Eventually they come to a cornfield- where this comes flying out of the corn.
Your guess is as good as mine as to what that awful beastie is. Strangely unperturbed, the gang moves on towards the sprawling mansion. Then someone steps on a dead bird.

Yes you are correct in thinking that that is not any normal "dead bird" (it's a messed up one). So the gang enters the homestead anyways- and strange things start happening. Odd voices are heard, a book of voodoo or SOMETHING is found in the cellar- and people keep disappearing and turning up as the above altered version of Brundlefly. In short- the family who once lived there were all turned into evil Brundlefly demons. Sort of. The wife got sick- the father was upset and tortured and killed some slaves to appease the disease- but everything went wrong and opened up a door to another dimension and those creatures came and turned everyone into one of them. And now the house is doomed.

Here are a few beefs I had with the movie. For starters- there was no way in hell that the main characters could convince me that they were from the Civil War era. All horrible anachronisms aside- if I hadn't known this was set in the Civil War era I would have assumed these were just a couple of kooky Civil War reenactors. I think Elliot had an accent in the very beginning but then everything just turned real present day for me. The girl had way too much make up on, the lanterns did not flicker like candles- and people made out like they were hot and horny teenagers. To be fair the girl was really the worst offender of this- and everyone else was just half bad. But seriously- horrible job, also probably due to the script.

Next- this whole demon/other dimension thing was not translated well at all. There were way too many elements to this story and it seemed like they were all forced into that brief flashback that we get of what exactly the father did. But is that flashback really enough to make you understand? One quick glance at the IMDB board for this movie and you'll realize that the answer is NO. No one understands what is going on unless you read this stupid Dead Birds Glossary movie guide and even then you are still scratching your head because no where in the movie did it outline those facts. Sure we get some gist that the father did some pretty bad shit and let in some pretty shitty looking demons--but what is this other dimension crap? You're telling me that when Isaiah Washington turns into swirly green dust all of a sudden that I'm suppose to know he got zapped into another dimension?

(Look it's a stunt double!)

Yeah I didn't think so.

Finally- the movie relies far too much on CGI and bad Asian horror movie scare tactics. Yes seeing a creepy little boy under your bed is pretty scary.
But when he suddenly turns into this with no warning...
It's just sort of insulting. Yes that was terrifying- but only because it was a jolting- scary- unexpected and tampered with emotion. I'm thinking that that scene would have actually been scarier if the little boy had stayed the way he was before that CGI change? I think so. If there's one thing I've learned with supernatural themed horror movies- understated terror works best. Think The Changeling and the red ball. Also it didn't help that they used that same scare tactic 100 more times.

Did it make me jump every single time? Yes. But anyone with a pulse will jump when the scene suddenly flashes to a scary face accompanied by a loud velociraptor noise. It's just not enough for me. I want to be scared because something legitimately makes me feel uneasy and just really really unsettles my nerves- I don't want to be forced into feeling that way.

So if you haven't realized it by now I felt horribly let down by this movie. With a bit more thinking, and a serious decrease in the amount of CGI used it probably could have succeeded. I'm still undecided about all this other dimension stuff and having it be set in the Civil War Era and I will maintain that setting it in such an era was pretty pointless and possibly an attempt to have it not be like any other supernatural horror movie. Sure there were some pretty powerful moments--like when Elliot would stay awake at night and get all weepy about E.T. still being gone...
Plus this scene with the slave woman was kind of creepy.

But for the most part- I was pretty underwhelmed and very disappointed AND let down. Perfect proof of that is the title. Originally there was suppose to be a much bigger scene with dead birds which would enhance the nature of the title and actually have it make more sense to the viewer. Due to budget and time constraints that never happened so we really just get that one close up of a dead bird which of course equalled confusion and now nobody knows what the title is suppose to mean. Much like the rest of the movie. Although if you have a little bit of common sense you can probably figure it out- but still...what are all those dumb people on the IMDB message boards suppose to do?!

Buy Dead Birds at Horror Movie Empire

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Cape Fear: No One Ruins Atticus Finch's Bowling Game and Gets Away With It!

"Hey Buster! You got some um salted peanuts (garbled words about it having to be in the shell)
"Not in the shell"
"...Ok forget it."

Max Cady: A man who knows what he wants.

When I watched the 1991 remake of Cape Fear I remember being so revolted by the Robert De Niro/Juliette Lewis scene that I thought I could never look at the Bob the same ever again. Well I'm here to let you know that I thought right. But we're not here to discuss The Bob we are here to talk about Atticus Finch and the completely different but equally unsettling character of Max Cady that Robert Mitchum portrays.

Cape Fear builds up some truly great tension- that has the stunning ability to make you yell at the screen every time Max Cady slithers into a scene. Sure Bob De Niro was scary as fuck- but Robert Mitchum has something...understated and truly creepy going on. I think it's because he seems more normal and unexpected than Bob. When you see Bob De Niro- you are pretty much turned off immediately (how he ever got Illena Douglas's character into bed we'll never know) he pretty much puts up an enormous red flag the moment he enters any scene or situation. Robert Mitchum on the other hand--well he's just a guy! No insane Jesus tattoos- just a nice white hat kind of guy. Sure the minute he opens his mouth he turns slimy and blagh- but from an outside point of view- no real threat there. Which then- ends up making the movie incredibly horrifying.

In case you don't know- Cape Fear follows the Bowden family as they are relentlessly stalked and harassed by Max Cady- a former prisoner who blames Mr. Bowden for his initial conviction. Cady is a sicko. Let's just say that. I mean get over it need to poison the family's dog because you're a little sore (mwaha) from having to spend 8 years in prison for something you obviously did because lets face it- you are an actual psychopath.

The scenes that filled me with the most anxiety- had to have been when Nancy was sitting in the car and waiting for her mother to return from grocery shopping, and Max Cady gets closer.....and closer.........good god. Then there's the bowling alley scene- which is especially heart breaking because Atticus was having such a good game- and then he turns around and sees Max Cady

.... and misses the chance to sweep up that spare. The nerve. The scene with the woman just sitting on the bed watching Max draw nearer- and she just knows something ain't right! AND how she just walks away after that whole debacle and cannot help out the Bowden family by reporting the crime that Max Cady committed against her. Biotch.

Then of course how can you deny that that last scene isn't a complete nail biter? Poor Nancy... although I was pretty relieved to know that there would be no creepy "let me put my finger in your mouth and yeah- yeah that's OK you can put your finger in my mouth" scene. THANK GOD.

In closing- Cape Fear may not be as intense and utterly terrifying as the 1991 version- but it has the kind of honest, no frills horror that I just completely adore. What is more terrifying than an ex-convict stalking your family and turning up everywhere that you go?

Way to Go Moments in Horror History: Alison Jones

Way To Go Alison Jones

Alison loses on so many different accounts that it's hard to keep track-the least of which has to do with her brilliant shade of fire crotch/butch hair. We'll start with the obvious. She promised. She promised Hedy that there would be no chance of her getting back together with her dead beat fiance who cheated on her with his ex-wife. You promised Alison!!!!! So how do you think Hedy feels- an emotionally unstable young woman with a traumatic past, who finally finds a replacement for her dead twin sister- only to find that she has to move out after only a few months???? You know, I was watching "Friends" the other night- and the same sort of thing kind of happened where Monica and Chandler decided that they needed to live together in a 3 bedroom apartment so Rachel had to move out. How rude! Get your own fucking place morons- and you too Alison. What is Hedy suppose to do now? Huh huh huh!? Oh I don't know THROW A PUPPY OUT A WINDOW IN ANGER? Yes that's exactly what she does, and it's all Alison's fault.

Honestly, it's not that hard to grow some skin and not take back your scummy, sleazy, fiance who cheats on you and isn't even that dashing or handsome. Grow some balls sister. Sure Hedy started to get a little creepy- but if you had only kept your promise you wouldn't be hanging from the rafters waiting to stick Hedy in the back with a screwdriver- and a puppy wouldn't have died- and your fiance wouldn't also be dead with a stiletto stuck in his brain (although there are no complaints there)

And if you really want to get serious- why on earth would you fall for Hedy as a perfect roommate in the first place? She's a creeper. You took advantage of her yes- but all in all Hedy was weird from the first time you met her- and although she was pretty good at hiding her sociopathic tendencies- I really expected more from your rigorous roommate screening process. For instance- an in depth background check which includes criminal history/ are you insane or have you ever thrown a puppy out a window would have been nice. Gosh Alison- thanks to you, you now have no fiance, no creepy roommate AND no puppy. Sucks to be you.

Celebrate Black History Month with The Horror Digest

I realize that February is suppose to be "Women in Horror Month" in the horror community- however women get their own month in March so I've decided that I will be celebrating Black History Month like everyone else in the US of A I've mapped out the calendar, the arrangments are made- and once February starts you will receive one post a day about a famous black figure in horror- some well known others not as much- but all equally important and fascinating. So get out your appointment books and pencil in The Horror Digest for the entire month of February as your go to source for learning about these historical horror figures!

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Crazies: Congratulations Knitting Needles, You Are My New Favorite Murder Weapon!

On the advice and plea of my good friend Chris Hallock of All Things Horror I have decided to participate in the discussions about George A Romero's 1973 hidden treasure The Crazies. One of his earlier films that is seldom talked about except in regards to the upcoming remake in February, The Crazies is a genuine piece of untouched disease ridden perfection- well almost. There are quite a bit of bad acting moments, bad script writing, and just some overall oddly placed scenes--but that doesn't prevent my eye from noticing some stunning images and scenes that filled me with quite a bit of unease.

Romero loves his disease ridden small towns- where the army must intervene albeit poorly and The Crazies is no exception. When an army plane that is carrying an untested biological weapon crashes and pollutes the water supply with said "weapon"- the town starts acting "crazy". Either the disease kills them or causes them to turn into homicidal maniacs- which panics the government who sets up a quarantine. In true disease hysteria fashion- if any infected townspeople get out the government is ready to destroy the entire town with one drop of the bomb. The only problem is- how do we sort out the "crazy" people from the actual crazy people?

The Crazies tickles my brain waves more so- then the themes of zombie movies because it tackles the idea of the infected not really being infected. So we have this disease that makes people un-relentlessly angry and violent usually culminating in murder- except that's usually prevented by an army man with perfect aim. So who's to say all these infected people actually had the disease? If you were being unfairly held against your will and shoved into a small area with tons of people- do you think you would react sanely? What the army so horribly ignores is the fact that it's mostly their own actions that are making the citizens "crazy". Sure there a few who are actually "crazy" - the old lady comes to mind. But most people are merely just panicking. The government sucks!

Here are some of the more creepier moments that really made me shift uncomfortably in my seat.

When the storm troopers enter the house with the little old lady and that girl is absentmindedly playing the piano with that silly look on her face. Something is obviously wrong here. Then one of the soldier's heads upstairs to where the old lady is calmly knitting with a smile on her face. The way she just rises up from the chair, walks over to the solider and stabs him with the knitting needle is insane! And to top it all off after she's done she takes her blood soaked needle, sits back down and gets right back to knitting! It was one of those scenes that I just wanted to rewind and play and over and over again. And surely one of the creepiest scenes I have ever seen.

Then there's also the deeply unsettling moment of the father raping his daughter- although let's get serious that wasn't rape it was pretty consensual which makes it even worse. The horrible part about that is that you could sense that building up- but purposely ignored it out of sheer disgust. He kept touching her in these uncharacteristically close ways and I kept thinking I had just pretended that he said she was his daughter. Bleck.

A subtly creepy scene is when that woman is sweeping up the blood stained grass after all hell breaks loose. Honestly who thought of that- it's amazing! Nothing says crazy like sweeping the grass.

And then what I think the most disturbing scenes were- are the scenes where children are present and weeping over parents killed by the army. And even scenes of the children who had apparently caught a case of the "crazies". The two kids in the beginning for instance- and what they witness is pretty disturbing. Innocent kids usually have the power to tug at your heart strings- but something about these scenes just made me feel

Anyways- needless to say I am very glad Chris urged me to see this one- and I must urge you all to do the same. It is still available to watch on Youtube in 10 easy parts so get on it! After watching, I must say that I am somewhat curious to see what this remake will bring to the table. Although Romero's 1973 version is pretty decent there is a lot of room for improvement and I am so curious to see how they will portray the side of the government and all those shenanigans. Plus it'll probably be awesome to see some crazy hicks kill people with pitchforks. Oh wait that's Wrong then. Crazy farmers. Bring it on. Ok I just watched the trailer and it looks like this will definitely be concentrating more on the aspect of the actual disease- which eh kind of sucks. There are too many disease taking over the world movies right now. I prefer the angle of the government being dick heads. Also "Mad World?" Yeah that's been done.

Buy The Crazies at Horror Movie Empire

Dracula A.D. 1972: Too Groovy For Words.

I might be a tad biased in this review since throughout it's duration I was simultaneously dancing to those swinging tunes! I'm sorry I just couldn't help myself. How can you not love a time capsuled look at the swingin' 70s whilst Dracula is on the loose? Sure Christopher Lee doesn't have a ton of screen time- but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy yourself. I may be new at Hammer films- but I know what I like- and I like these groovy tunes and cheese ball action scenes!

In 1872 Dracula and Van Helsing were battling on top of a stagecoach. Once things started getting heated, the coach crashed into a tree and one of the wheels got Dracula right where it hurts the most. In the heart! Helsing died of other wounds- and while people were busy cleaning up the wreckage, a very slimy looking side kick scooped up Dracula's ring and his ashes then later sprinkled them in the ground near Van Helsing's grave site. Curiouser and curiouser. 100 years later and we're right back where we want to be. The 70s baby! A couple of hippie hooligans have highjacked a stuffy party to dance and frolic- and we notice that that slimy looking side kick is back! After the party he suggests the gang get together some night and have a good old fashioned black mass. Conjuring up the devil? Count me in! During the ritual things get a little...bloody and a little too serious and the group flees. In the meantime, Dracula rises again and sets his sights on Van Helsing's descendent Jessica! Looks like the ultimate battle between good and evil is back again for another round. Here here!

Now if there's one thing I couldn't shake from this movie, it was the slimy feeling that I got from that slimy sidekick- whose name is cleverly Johnny Alucard (Yes that would be Dracula un-cleverly scrambled)

Bleck. Doesn't he freak anyone else out? I know the 70s was all about grooviness and free love- but this guy gets no free love of mine I can promise you that. Whichever person in the group invited him to hang out- was sorely mistaken and the group gets a collaborative way to go moment for agreeing to attend his black mass. Of course my mind changed when I saw this masterful display of beautiful, thick as paint blood!!

No I couldn't decide which one I liked better- I just know that I love it! That girl was also an idiot. Way too excited about being the sacrifice- and when everyone was fleeing she just stood there screaming about having blood all over her. Wipe it off and run bitch! She also kind of looked like Audrina from the Hills!
Anyone else see the resemblance? Well fine. But she's still an idiot. And while we're on the subject of look-a-likes....

Robin Tunney anyone?

Anywho I happened to really enjoy this movie and it wasn't just because of those groovy tunes- although it is largely due to that. I guess I just really enjoyed how different it is from your typical Dracula horror movie. I was starting to get sick of the classic Bram Stoker tale and really "dug" how Dracula got to come back at such an iconic time in history! And while I did yearn for the re-appearance of some of Dracula's female victims- seeing Johnny Alucard's vampire styled apartment complete with coffin that doubles as a dresser, and then of course the black bath tub really made up for it.

There are many things I can imagine a true Dracula fan or even a Hammer fan would want more from in terms of this film- but if you look at it as just a film on it's own, I'd say it does a swell job of entertaining. The actual horror or fear aspect may be low but there's no denying that the movie has style! Plus it's funny and cheesy as all hell. And even though Christopher Lee has very little actual screen time- his short moments of glory are still fun to watch. Which reminds me...

It looks like Dracula forgot to pack his Visine along for the trip!

Lucky for him I always carry a spare bottle in my pocket.

Well I guess that's all I really have to say. There's no masterpiece here that's for sure- but you still have to admire what these films do on the little budget they had. Yes the blood is a little too thick and red (just the way I like it), the acting isn't great, and the actual scenes involving Dracula are sort of anti-climatic- but where else can you find a Dracula movie set in the 70s? Like I said, it's just too groovy for words. Check this out for a bit of great entertainment- and especially if you are in the mood to dance...on the couch while watching this movie. Trust me, it's a good time.

Did I mention how much I LOVE this hairstyle?

Good because I really hate it. Makes me a little nauseous actually.

I also need to download that Stoneground Alligator song. Which is the 2nd song in the clip. Groovy!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Fog: Jamie Lee Curtis is a Ho Fo Sho!

I hope someone else out there thought that The Fog was about zombies because now I just feel silly! Maybe I was reading the wrong description- although I guess these ghosts could technically be considered zombies....and that one guy got up off the autopsy table so aha ghost zombies it is! The Fog above all else is a study in atmosphere. And a perfectly creepy and desolate sort of atmosphere at that. I think that may be my favorite thing about John Carpenter as I watch more and more of his films- the chilling and haunting autumn atmosphere is perfectly achieved in Halloween and the desolate, isolated freeeezing atmosphere is achieved in The Thing. The beginning of the Fog is no exception- as you can almost taste the sense of grueling anticipation that something very evil and foul is afoot. A calm before a storm if you will.

The Fog tells the story of Antonio Bay a small- very small fishing town in California that is about to celebrate their 100th year. Once the clock strikes midnight- strange occurrences begin happening and a heavy, eerie glowing fog eases in. The fog seems to center around an old legend or ghost story about the Elizabeth Dane, an old clipper ship that perished due to a thick fog and ill placed campfire. 1oo years after the fact, and it seems the crew members of the ghost ship have returned to seek revenge against those who led them to their death!

First off I must say that I am completely in love with how the film opens. What better way to open a ghost story then with a crazy old man telling a ghost story around a campfire?!
It's all just so wonderfully eerie. The sea gently rocking behind them, the campfire that is lit while the old man talks about how the ship met it's demise thanks to a campfire and the way that he tells it? Perfect. It's so drawn out and every single word echoes through your ears like this clear haunting melody. Dramatic maybe but I can't deny it's power- I love ghost stories! Although I will say- I don't know what "club" this old man is running but apparently it involves keeping youngins up at night til midnight

while he tells them terrifying ghost stories about the very town they are living in....parents seem to be very lax in this little sea side town...

I would also like to say that I HATE sea side towns. How much creepier can you get? There's always this eerieness- because there's some lighthouse, or buoy clanging bell adding that extra bit of yuck. Plus the town consists of about 10 people- and the morticians there insist you stay in the room while they dissect the body. Seaside towns are wack yo. But the perfect setting for a ghost story nonetheless.

What else do I love....? You won't believe it- but I actually did not mind Jamie Lee Curtis- and she got to act alongside her scream queen mother Janet Leigh! Of course Jamie Lee is a whore in this- but every seaside town needs one. I've really never seen anyone take their clothes off quicker-

especially with someone who just picked them up hitchhiking.....yikes! I guess this was before the time of The Hitcher or else he would have known better.

Now one of the creepiest things about The Fog- for me at least is the appearance of the ghosts in the fog. They look so unbelievably eerie standing there illuminated by that green tinged fog and just standing there.

They could easily have passed for aliens- and with those fishing hooks? Egads! One of my favorite shots hands down was that first appearance of the ghost ship-

and then of course the sudden disappearance. It just made me feel so uneasy- and then cold....and I swear I could smell salt water mixed with rotting flesh....hmmmm that's kind of weird. But anyways I thought it was well done- and just the right amount of subtle creepiness that I was looking for.

Sure the kills weren't great- and the actual moments of fear weren't superb- but you can't deny that this movie has a special power about it. It's almost as if the fog creates that same claustrophobic nature that we find in The Thing. There is a sense of never being able to escape that thick fog no matter how fast you drive. And the fact that those zombie ghosts just roll in with the fog and can show up knocking on your door is reason enough to feel like you are trapped. We can all learn a lesson from The Fog- don't live in creepy little seaside towns and definitely do NOT open the door when a dense fog rolls in---and don't pick up pieces of drift wood off the beach either- it just causes a mess! Thank you once again John Carpenter for giving me a pleasant night of sublime movie watching!

Buy the Fog at Horror Movie Empire!