October 23, 2014

31 Days of Creepy Scenes, #9: The Exploding Head


They've given us nightmares, given us chills, made us cringe, made us  laugh, made us gag, and made us stare at the screen in awe: these are  the scenes that pop into our minds when we think of great Horror Films, and we love them all.

*We recommend that if you've never seen these scenes before, that you experience them for the first time unspoiled in the movies that they come from, if you can. With that in mind, we'll try to be as spoiler-free as possible while discussing them; try, being the key word here.

"The first time I ever saw an exploding head..." Now that's a phrase that you don't hear everyday, and that's probably a good thing. For we horror fans though, that very phrase is not only appropriate, but it's also very important; because for most of us, the first time that we ever saw an exploding head was in the 1981 David Cronenberg classic, Scanners.

Cronenberg was in top form in the early 80's, his unique brand of "Body Horror" films just beginning to take hold, and propel him into the pantheon of genre greats. While his other movies may have been more accessible to general audiences (The Dead Zone and The Fly, for instance), it was his more experimental and "out there" offerings like The Brood, Videodrome, and Dead Ringers, that made many regard him as some sort of a subversive genius.

With Scanners, Cronenberg told the story of international espionage, centered around a group of telepaths who could control people's thoughts, and inflict pain on others, using only the power of their minds. In the case of Darryl Revok, the most evil Scanner of them all, they can even make heads explode during seemingly innocuous business seminars.


We can thank the late, great make-up artist Dick Smith (and his crew) for that brilliant, exploding head gag. The man was responsible for some of the best make-up and special effects of all time (The Godfather, The Exorcist), and we'll probably never see his like again. Both he and his work were classics.

The story of how he and his crew pulled off the effect, is almost as great as the gag itself:


Scanners may be David Cronenberg's finest movie; amidst the exploding heads and melting bodies, it has an almost classy feel about it, relying more on the psychological aspects of Horror than the visceral. It may not necessarily be an ideal film to add to your October horror movie marathons, but it certainly is one worth seeing.

After all, it's got an exploding head.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00JPUUQVE/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00JPUUQVE&linkCode=as2&tag=thehorclu0a-20&linkId=XZN3OIBP5QJYYNPW

October 22, 2014

31 Days of Creepy Scenes, #10: Angela's Secret


They've given us nightmares, given us chills, made us cringe, made us  laugh, made us gag, and made us stare at the screen in awe: these are  the scenes that pop into our minds when we think of great Horror Films, and we love them all.

*We recommend that if you've never seen these scenes before, that you experience them for the first time unspoiled in the movies that they come from, if you can. With that in mind, we'll try to be as spoiler-free as possible while discussing them; try, being the key word here.

Sleepaway Camp is one of MANY 80's slasher flicks that we love even more now than we did when it first came out. Why? Because it, like many other lower-budget 80's offerings, has a kitschy appeal to it that didn't really resonate in the same way back then; back then, it just resonated as "that movie sucked, but it had some cool kills!"  It also had a killer ending.

Sleepaway Camp is the story of Angela, who is going to summer camp for the very first time! Of course there's a killer on the loose in the camp, and everyone around her is being killed in creative and grotesque ways, but that's any summer camp, isn't it?

The thing about Angela though is that she's a little bit shy, and the fact that she had a really rough childhood is most likely to blame; she lost her brother in a tragic boating accident, and then she was shipped off to be raised by her odd/creepy Aunt... So really, the chances of her turning out normal were pretty slim from the get-go.

WHAT THE HELL WERE PEOPLE THINKING IN THE 80'S?
*We'd love to show you a video clip of this infamous scene, but not only would it ruin the ending (because it is the ending), but it also involves nudity, and we're not pornographers!

Sleepaway Camp is a fun, bloody little slasher that was rocketed to classic status due to its ending, which is the scene we're highlighting here. Now, we won't spoil the ending in detail, but what we will do is tell you that it's one of the craziest, creepiest endings to a Horror movie that we've ever seen. You can probably gather from the pictures that the ending somehow involves Angela, but it's the way that it involves her that is so shocking; the face she makes, and that growl... The scene plays in an almost silly way, but there's just something about it that is downright chilling.

If you've never seen Sleepaway Camp, we recommend that you seek it out and give it a spin, if only to see its wild ending. The Scream Factory Blu-ray is gorgeous.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00HRUQ7WG/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00HRUQ7WG&linkCode=as2&tag=thehorclu0a-20&linkId=OL2E2K7G5TTBJR5R

October 21, 2014

VOD Review: The Houses October Built (2014)

Haunted Houses are an American staple, and come each October, they scare the living hell out of millions of us. They're as much a part of Halloween as are jack-o-lanterns and candy corn. And costumes. And candy. AMC's Fearfest... you get the point.

Given that they are such a large part of our culture (at least for one month a year), it seems like a no-brainer to center a Horror movie around them; how creepy is it to think that a place we go to for some scary fun might actually be full of maniacs that want to end our lives? That's basically making the entire Haunted House conceit a reality, and we're all for it.

The Houses October Built brings that exact premise to life, and for the most part, it does it pretty well.

The Houses October Built is the story of five friends who set out on a road trip to find America's best Haunted Houses; they're thrill-seekers, you see, and only the very best haunted houses will do. They meet an odd and creepy cast of characters at every haunt that they visit, but it's not long before they become bored of the average spook house. When word reaches them that there are "extreme" haunts that exist on an underground circuit of sorts, they foolishly set out to find one.

DON'T TEASE THE CLOWN, MAN. HE'LL KILL YOU.
The more they ask around about these secret "extreme haunts," the more the name Blue Skeleton pops up; Blue Skeleton is supposedly a very underground haunt that constantly moves location, and it's said to be about as extreme as it gets, which makes one wonder just what the word "extreme" is supposed to mean here. As things get creepier and creepier for the group, they receive a cryptic note that tells them to head to New Orleans (NOLA if you nasty) if they want to visit the Blue Skeleton, and it soon becomes apparent that they may be in more danger than they had originally thought...

GIGGLES?
We won't spoil what happens for you here, because what kind of a jerk spoils the thrills and chills of a Haunted House right before their friends are set to go through it themselves, but suffice it to say that the idiots in this movie probably should have just stuck to the run-of-the-mill haunts, because at least you don't die at the end of those.

Supposedly.

SEEMS FAIRLY EXTREME TO US.
For a smaller Indie flick, The Houses October Built ended up being pretty entertaining. It had a bit of a lackluster ending, and some of the things the characters did were nonsensical (as per usual in these types of films), but for the most part, this movie did a good job at maintaining a creepy vibe throughout. How could a movie about Haunted Houses not be creepy? Haunted House are creepy by definition, and when you add to that a "real" story where people get murdered by the Haunted Houses, it all becomes doubly terrifying.

The idea of sinister forces lurking in the shadows at the Haunted Houses that we've all been too with friends or family, is just disturbing. They're supposed to be fun, not deadly! After watching this, we'll be casting a wary eye at every Haunted House worker we meet from now on, and that's a positive testament to just how effective this movie was.

The coolest thing about THOB is how it intersperses real footage of Haunted House/interviews with industry professionals, with the fictional story of the group of friends and their ordeal. There's apparently a Documentary of the same title that came out a few years ago (produced by the same guys), and we're really curious to see it now, because the real footage in this one was almost fascinating to watch. Maybe as a bonus feature on the Blu-ray?

THIS BITCH RIGHT HERE...
As great as the scenes which took place at the various Haunted Houses were, the "house" at the end was a bit of a let down.

I personally envisioned the group of thrill-seekers being lured to the mysterious Blue Skeleton, and the people who run it being like "Alright, you want the scariest Haunted House experience ever? You got it." You know, like they'd go through a Haunted House and get stabbed, cut, attacked, maybe smacked in the mouth a bit, etc... and that's kinda what we got, but not really.

Just like the characters in the movie did, we really wanted to see what exactly constituted an "Extreme Haunt," but when they finally got there, after all of the creepy build-up, everything ended far too quick, and it all felt a bit anticlimactic. It just wasn't the best payoff for all of the cool things that had come before it.

THE SCARIEST MASK IN THE ENTIRE MOVIE.
Why do people in Found Footage movies never say "Screw this, let's just go home?" I know that the whole point of the FF sub-genre is to capture the "real" exploits of people who don't have the good sense to "git while the gittin's good," but it gets really old after a while.

Just once I'd like to see one or two people in a group like this say "Fuck this" and just leave. Gone. They survive the grisly fate of the dummies who stay behind, and are all like "Man, I'm glad we left when we did!" You could even do a video of them at the end, having survived, talking about their friends and their experience. "We sure do miss them... but at least we're alive!"

The Tunnel (2011) (our review HERE) did that "post-ordeal interview" thing extremely well.

DO THIS, AND YOU CAN LIVE.
There's some violence in this one, but most of it happens off screen. So off-screen were the killings in this movie, that we're not really sure that anyone actually died.

Wouldn't that be a clever twist; leave the victims of the movie beaten, bruised, stabbed, terrified, and _________, and be all like "Hope you enjoyed your extreme haunt!"

ZOMBIES HATE PAINTBALL GUNS.
There's actually a scene in this one that takes place inside of a strip club, where the dancers are all wearing masks and face paint, so, boobs.

SO WOULD THAT LAPDANCE COST MORE OR LESS?
Don't piss off the people who work at Haunted Houses; deep inside they're all disturbed, and will kill you if provoked. This goes double if said haunts are located in the middle of nowhere, run by yokels, and are kept secret because they are too "extreme."

ALWAYS WITH THE CLOWNS!
The Houses October Built is an imperfect movie in many ways, but it's also just as effective, in many others. We really enjoyed the hell out of this one, and while it's not as "Halloween Essential" as movies like Halloween or Trick r' Treat are, it's definitely one that we could see getting heavy play come each October. This movie is definitely worth the $6.99 it'll cost you to rent on VOD.

We really do hope they'll include the 2011 Documentary of the same name on the Blu-ray/DVD release as a bonus feature. If so, we'd buy it for sure.

B

The Houses October Built is available now on VOD.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00OCECH38/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00OCECH38&linkCode=as2&tag=thehorclu0a-20&linkId=5ZD4YJAI4J4EIIML

Here are a few more creepy images from The Houses October Built, because it was near impossible to find good/usable pictures of the hot chicks in this movie.

31 Days of Creepy Scenes, #11: The Spider-Walk

They've given us nightmares, given us chills, made us cringe, made us  laugh, made us gag, and made us stare at the screen in awe: these are  the scenes that pop into our minds when we think of great Horror Films, and we love them all.

*We recommend that if you've never seen these scenes before, that you experience them for the first time unspoiled in the movies that they come from, if you can. With that in mind, we'll try to be as spoiler-free as possible while discussing them; try, being the key word here.

If you told me that the Spider-Walk scene from The Exorcist made you laugh instead of freaking you out, I wouldn't hold it against you. If you think about it, it does play kind of silly, on some level, but if you think about it even more, especially within the context of the movie, it's truly frightening. Can you imagine what it must have been like for Chris MacNeil to see her daughter moving in such a disturbing way?

When we first saw it back in 2000 though, when The Exorcist was re-released into theaters, it absolutely gave us chills. Maybe it was so effective for us because it felt so odd and abrupt, or maybe it's because it was unexpected, and came out of nowhere. Whatever the reason, it made a bunch of grown men sitting in a big, dark theater, very uncomfortable.


Director William Friedkin cut the scene from 1973's The Exorcist, because you could see the wires holding the stuntwoman (contortionist) up, and back then, there was really no digital means to fix things like that. We're fine with that though, because it's not like the movie was short on scares or shocking scenes to begin with.

The Exorcist remains today one of the absolute best Horror movies ever made, and is an absolute staple for any Horror Movie Marathon.

Fun Fact: In the book, the spider-walk is very quiet, and consists of Regan following Sharon around and occasionally licking her ankle. Good lord, that makes it sound even creepier.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00L9K2EGS/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00L9K2EGS&linkCode=as2&tag=thehorclu0a-20&linkId=L6FX4QTV7NKW2OE2