May 31, 2009

We just hit 100,000 page hits!

It's a proud moment for us here at THC; our little horror blog has been looked at and searched 100,000 times! I installed the hit counters sometime in November, just as a goof to see if people were actually checking us out on a regular basis. Imagine our surprise when the numbers kept climbing, and climbing... -The top number indicates actual page views. For instance, if you come here, that's one page view; if you click on 5 of our links, that's 5 more. -The bottom number is the number on unique ISP's that have visited the site. If you come here once, the number goes up by one and won't count you again unless you have one of those ISP's that change every time you browse the net. This first screen grab was taken by me on December 30th, 2008: This next one, was taken today: That's 83,618 times that people have read our pages since essentially the first of the year. It's also 62,072 new people who have found their way to us. To us, that's simply amazing. We love horror, we love all of our friends around the world (you), so keep coming back and we will keep doing our best to give you a reason to.

May 28, 2009

Acolytes (2009)

It doesn't hit DVD until July, but I just cant wait anymore to post our review of this little Aussie gem...

Sub-Genre- Serial Killer
Cast Members of Note- The hotness of Hanna Mangan Lawrence, Joel Edgerton, Michael Dorman, Sebastian Gregory, and Joshua Payne. Directed by Jon Hewitt. 

Mark and James are best mates, and Chasely is the sassy young harlot who comes between them with her schoolgirl uniform and blossoming sexuality. You see, Chasely and Mark are an item, but like, James likes her and stuff, but she doesn't know what to do because she thinks she likes James or whatever but she doesn't like know for like sure... OMG! (This concludes my good-natured poke at Teenage culture. What can I say, I'm snarky like that.)

Sexy McSassbox.
One day, while they're all making out together in the woods, James wanders off (presumably to rub one out) and stumbles upon Somebody's Dad burying something and then running off. Soon enough, they find out that Somebody's Dad is actually a serial killer, and that they've stumbled onto his hunting/burial grounds. At least Somebody's Dad didn't catch them snooping around, or they may have just ended up grounded... to death! (Stop rolling your eyes, It's the best that I've got!)

You can't tell me that that's not Somebody's Dad.
I really don't want to explain away too much more of the plot other than to say that instead of calling the cops and reporting their grisly discovery, they decide to track the killer down and do their best to blackmail him. I don't think I'm giving anything away by saying that things pretty much go to hell from there on out.

Oh yeah, you fucked up real good.
 
I've been waiting for what seems like forever to see this movie, and when I finally had the chance to, I wasn't disappointed at all. This is a taut, tense thriller, that may walk the road of "Now why would they do that instead of...?" territory, but makes up for it with high marks in every other category. Visually, this movie is stunning. The characters, though frustratingly dumb at times (because sometimes kids can be that way), are believable and sympathetic.

The script is great. The casting, cinematography, direction... works on all levels. I also like that there were several twists and turns in the plot which never seemed like the "twists" that so many Horror flicks get caught up in trying to amaze us with these days; instead, they were actually important plot developments, and were handled perfectly.

Thank you Jon Hewitt for not treating horror fans like we're idiots... it's quite a refreshing feeling for a change. Some have said that the beginning half of this movie dragged a little, but I beg to differ; the first half of the movie seemed to me a meditation of sorts on Teenagers, in which sexual angst and troubled pasts are set up to play an important role in what comes later. Good stuff.

From Left: Christian Bale's little brother, My future wife, and the 4th Jonas Brother.
Again, stupid kids making painfully stupid decisions all but decides their fate. Are all Teenagers truly this frigging dumb? I mean, I did plenty of stupid shit in my youth, but never anything close to blackmailing a serial killer or trashing my moms car on purpose. Or antagonizing a recently paroled bully that once raped me. Just call the damned cops!

The whole rape subplot was really creepy. I know it's rape, so of course it's a disturbing topic, but the dirty flashback scenes really skeeved me out.

There are definitely some scenes filled with uncomfortable violence to be found here; the film doesn't go overboard with the gore, but it's surely effective when it strikes. I guess it's really more disturbing that graphic for the most part.

Damn.
This movie is filled with Teen sexuality and erotic angst but no nudity save a mom bathing with her baby.

 "Do you know what an acolyte is Petra? It's a beginner."

Teenagers shouldn't ever leave the house; it's just too dangerous for them out there. Also, never antagonize a sociopath.

Sociopath.
A (9.0/10) This is a fantastic film, in both presentation and concept. It's not a perfect movie, but it's a damn good one that delivers the goods and treats its audience with some respect for a change. Buy this one when it hits DVD sometime in July, and feel secure in the fact that your horror collection just got that much better.
 
For the record, Hanna Mangan Lawrence is a sexpot. You heard it here first.

 
She's 18, so it's not creepy to ogle her. Well, it's legal anyways...

May 26, 2009

Clive Barker's Book of Blood (2009)

"Everybody is a book of blood; wherever we're opened, we're red."

Sub-Genre- Supernatural
Cast Members of Note- Jonas Armstrong, Sophie Ward, Paul Blair, and Pinhead himself, Doug Bradley! Based on a short story by horror legend Clive Barker.

This movie starts out with a homeless guy being kidnapped, then segues (via flashback) into a scene of a kinky death-obsessed girl being raped by a ghost for mocking the spirit world; she must have been goth. What other answer could there be? I've had sex with ghosts, but they've never "made" me do it... though I do think it's because I'm of "easy virtue." You know, a slut. (Just don't tell my mom, she still thinks I'm an Angel.)

This is proof that being goth can actually kill you.
The story then becomes a tale of a fake medium and a MILF professor/psychic researcher who decide to stay in the ghost-rape house to obtain proof of the existence of the spirit world. One of them does a lot of writing and self mutilation, the other turns into a whore and sleeps with him. I'll leave it to you to figure out which is which.

Yes, yes, put your hand down... we already know which one you are!
From here on out the ghost world gets even more mad at people mocking them, and decide to take action; they make dragonflies land on peoples faces, make whispery noises, and carve their untold stories into a guys body... I won't spoil the ending here, but suffice it to say that pissing off the entire spirit world at a nexus point between their world and ours probably isn't the best of ideas.

Sure I'm going up there all alone. Right.
 
Book of Blood is technically the cornerstone of Clive Barker's Horror world; The main character (Simon) becomes a living book of the dead's tales, their stories being imprinted on him for us to read. Lord of Illusions, Rawhead Rex, Candyman, Midnight Meat Train, and the upcoming Dread, all are from the Books of Blood series, and they could easily make about 5-10 more solid movies out of those little short stories.

The movie is filled with some great and gruesome special FX, and some pretty good moments of tension. My only wish is that they had tightened up the plot a bit and moved forward full bore, rather than spending so much time on set up and trickery. I did like the beginning and end wrap story though, which came from Barker's "sequel" to Book of Blood, On Jerusalem Street (A Postscript.) It added some nice nastiness to the whole affair and gave a bit of closure in a way. 

Not even a character in the movie really, "Girl in pub #1" was just too cute not to include here.
The third act... it was a bit disjointed. All of the tension and mood that had been built up from the beginning went right out the window towards the end... it almost made me feel bad for the ghosts instead of being afraid of them like I should be. I guess I just didn't like the "good guy" becoming the "bad guy." Having read the story years ago, and having always loved it, maybe I overreacted a bit seeing it on screen for the first time.

The dreaded "twist"... To be fair, the twist in this movie was a part of Barker's original short story, but I don't remember it leaving me feeling so cheated in print. I seem to remember it serving the plot in a more subtle way too, rather than upending the whole damned story.

Ghost-rape, face ripping, multiple acts of body carving/writing, vomiting, gallons and gallons of blood, and a skinning. This is one bloody book.

"Oh God! I can see forever!"
Plenty of nudity, eroticism, sex, and um... well, ghost-rape to go around. A good deal of it was creepy.

"We have such sights to show you!" Oh wait, wrong Clive Barker movie...

The dead have highways. Also, old chicks are pretty slutty, and easily duped.

Old chicks are also creepy.
C (6.0/10) This is a pretty good movie, albeit with some misgivings that keep it from being what it should have been. You can definitely feel Clive Barker's touch throughout Book of Blood, just not near enough of it. Check it out, but beware the twist that pretty much craps on the first hour of the movie.

Clive Barker has one of the most twistedly-brilliant minds that the Horror genre has ever known. Recognize.

May 23, 2009

The Horsemen (2009)

We're still all spending most of our time at the hospital with Matt (Machine), but I want to get back to some sense of normalcy, so here's a new review. It's not one of my best, but it'll have to do!

Sub-Genre- Serial Killer
Cast Members of Note- Dennis Quaid. Also, this is an original Platinum Dunes movie produced by... Michael Bay! Since when do they do anything but remakes? Interesting.

After seeing the title to this movie, I thought it would be about some Ranch-Hands gone insane or something, maybe killing a bunch of hookers and hiding them in the hay, or even a serial killer that targets horses or something like that, but no; it's about some morons thinking that they're the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse who kill people in elaborate ways to "make us see." How cliche'. What the fuck are we supposed to see? I like the horse-murder idea way better:
 
He found Butternut just as he had left him, with the exception of being raped and dead.
The serial killer (or is it killers?) is/are on the loose, and it's up to depressed and bitter Detective Dennis Quaid to stop them. He might neglect his kids, essentially leaving them alone in the world (their mother recently died), but he has his trusty partner Stingray by his side, and loves the Detroit Red Wings, so I just have to pull for him.

I like your style, kids. Go Wings!
As the grisly murders unfold, the deadliest lesson of all becomes apparent; adopted Asian kids grow up with huge issues, and are really creepy. If I say too much more, it will give away some of the intricate plot details and spoil the "unraveling" of them for you. That being said, you'll see E the big twist M coming from O a mile away... unless you're not very bright.

You know what Dennis Quaid, you're Emo too. Stop moping around.
Overall this movie works for me, mostly, as far as atmosphere goes. I love the stark, cold, "winter 1979" feel that it has about it. I do think that it makes the same mistake that so many American Horror flicks do in that they try to explain everything to the audience, thereby making it seem less effective in the end. Comparisons will no doubt be drawn between this movie and the brilliant Se7en; and yeah, there are some similarities, but not enough to really consider these two movies akin to each other. Se7en worked so well because it didn't preach... You eventually find out who was killing and why, but a lot of it was left ambiguous. the motives behind the killings are a bit preachy here, but it was decent overall.

"What in the fuck..."
Oh god no... whiny Emo kids! Seriously, no one wants to hear about your "problems" or watch you mope around all child-like when you don't get your way... Maybe brush your hair, stop writing your crappy "poetry", bathe, smile now and then... you know, give people an actual reason to want to talk to you. Sure the world is tough, and no, nobody cares about you, but you'll always have Twilight. And cutting.

Sure it's intolerance, but look at that hair! Very punch-worthy.
Kiddie porn. I hope I don't need to say any more on this subject to illustrate how horrendous it is.

Plenty of postmortem nastiness including a bag of teeth, and a bag with... well, I won't even say it here (it's nasty.) There's a moderate amount of blood and guts throughout to keep most of us satisfied. There's a scene that takes place between two brothers that is especially nasty...

Best scene in the flick.
No, although Dennis Quaid does take a shower. Yeah.

Anything Ziyi Zhang said was comedic gold, and not in the good way.

Raising kids is way too much work. Also, don't adopt.

C+ (6.5/10) This is a decent enough movie, although it could have been far better with a little more mystery and minus the lame twist ending. Still, if you dig serial killer flicks you might just dig this too. Check it out when it hits DVD in your country.

There is only one true Horseman... The Na-ture Boy, Ric Flair! Wooooo!