October 31, 2009

The Final 31 Days of Horror tally...

Now that The 31 Days of Horror is over, let's take a quick gander at what kinds of movies made up our little countdown. Which country gave us their best, and what kinds of movies sucked the most? Read on...

The Gems
The U.S.- 13
France- 5
Norway- 3
England- 2
Japan- 2
Sweden- 1
Evil Sheep- 1
Spain- 1
Austria- 1
Mean Dogs- 1
Evil Vagina- 1

The U.S. won of course, because we make more movies here per year than probably everyone else put together, so it makes sense by sheer number alone. Nice job to Norway though, because who knew you had it in you?

The Train Wrecks
Crappy Remakes- 10
Crappy Sequels- 5
Uwe Boll- 3
Lame and/or Glittery Vampires- 3
M.Night Shamalylanan- 2
Un-scary "Haunting" Movies- 2
Wes Craven- 2
The Rape of Lovecraft- 1
Painful Musicals- 1
Male Wee-yotches- 1
A Rare Romero Failing- 1

...and Crappy Remakes win! If you combine all of the categories though, crappy PG-13 movies would win hands down... But, if Uwe Boll ever made a PG-13, musical remake of let's say The Lost Boys, using half retarded Emo vampires, the actual fabric of time and reality would unravel itself. Let's pray this never happens.

October in Review

As sad as it is that October is almost over, we horror fans can at least rejoice in the fact that we all had plenty to be thrilled about this year, especially on DVD. At the Box Office we got: Zombieland was a fantasticly fun hell of a ride that kicked all sorts of box office ass and gave us a much needed zombie fix... The finally released Paranormal Activity kicked plenty of ass in theaters as well, even humbling the perennial Saw release with its word of mouth and fresh content. The limited release of The House of the Devil (both in theaters and on some cable In-Demand services) gave us a retro treat that felt just right. The Vampire's Assistant is definitely aimed at the Twilight crowd, but was fun for what it was... We could have lived without the remake of The Stepfather, ewhich lacked the oomph of the original, thanks mostly in part to the absence of Terry O'Quinn. And what to say of Saw VIIXXI... Enough already? Please, no more? For the love of all that is good, please stop! That about covers it. On DVD we got: Own it- Trick r' Treat, The Children, Audition (10th Anniversary Edition), The Gate (SE), Drag Me to Hell, Happy Birthday to Me, The Stepfather, Night of the Creeps, Orphan, Black Devil Doll, Sauna. Rent it- Thaw, It's Alive, Gnaw, Left Bank, Infestation, The Killing Room, Wrong Turn 3. Skip it- The Skeptic, Blood: The Last Vampire. Rent it or Skip it, we can't decide- Offspring, Seventh Moon, Dark Country. November looks to quiet down a ton now that Halloween has come and gone, but we still have some good things to look forward to none the less. At the theater we get The Box, The Road, and The Fourth Kind, each of which look like they could be well worth our horror dimes. On DVD we can look forward to... well, not a whole lot I'm afraid. Summer's Blood could be good, and the Blu-Ray of Near Dark is a must have, but the rest of the month's DVD offerings are iffy at best. I guess we will just have to watch and see... *Make sure to check our Release Date List to stay up to date on what's coming out and when.

The 31 Days of Horror- #1

And we have arrived at the top (or bottom in the case of the Train Wreck) of the heap... so sad that October is nearly over...

"The Quintessential Halloween movie, and everything that is wrong with Hollywood's PG-13 horror marketing strategy..."

The Hidden Gem:
The Master says: Shelved, held down, shuffled, abused, and kept from the world for the better part of three years, this is the Halloween movie for the ages. This is one movie that not only lived up to the years of massive hype surrounding it, but in my (and many other eyes), surpassed it. Other than A Christmas Story, I don't know that I've ever seen another movie that quite captures the magic and atmosphere of a holiday so well, especially Halloween. A fresh, imaginative, gorgeous, atmospheric, creepy little Horror movie... isn't that a rarity these days for Hollywood? It's not a remake or sequel, nor is it a cookie-cutter PG-13 Abercrombie Ad-looking snooze-fest, and yet it works, and works very well. Maybe Hollywood should stop sticking movies like this on the shelf and release them. They can keep Saw XXI, we won't mind. This movie has also given us an new all-time great Horror icon in Sam, the creepy little costumed kid who may just be the physical manifestation of the spirit of Samhain. I hope we get to see more of him in other movies, or at least comic books or something; he was a truly awesome character. Watch it, love it, and spread the word...
 
The Train Wreck:
The Master says: First of all, let's be clear on one point; this movie contains no haunting whatsoever. Satan is mentioned, and we hear whispering voices, but there's not anything resembling a haunting. Not in the least. Then again, this movie doesn't contain one moment of suspense or Horror either (save for Molly being stabbed by mom)... and cheap scare tactics don't count, sorry. This is nothing more than a High School drama in the guise of a Horror movie, plain and simple. There are actually points in the movie -most of the middle and the very end to be precise- that absolutely seem to abandon the Horror movie road altogether... It's almost a waste of my time trying to explain the movie and it's shortcomings to those who haven't seen it. We gather early on that when Molly Hartley turns 18, something bad is going to happen, and that's why her mother tried to kill her. Unfortunately, we never find out exactly what happens, she just turns 18, and locks her dad up in the loony bin and says "It's for the best." Then, she graduates valedictorian of her class, gives a speech about destiny, and the credits roll. I'm not being dismissive here either; nothing happens. Three fake scares in the first five minutes alone! All in the same scene! Ooh, and a scary "Just a dream" gag! Another fake scare! And another one! ...and were not even to the 15 minute mark yet. A bird, a boyfriend, a dad, a kid at school, a bathroom stall door, a frigging alarm clock... jump cuts, fake scares, whispers and the like are not what make a movie scary guys, especially when you use them every 34 seconds. Not only was the plot ridiculous, and the build up to the end shoddy at best, but when we finally get there, nothing happens. Absolutely NOTHING. We get no clue as to what Molly has become, what it means, only that she's 18 now, and it means something. Maybe. This movie exemplifies what is wrong with big studio Horror, and it should truly anger any Horror fan that has to experience it.
 
 

October 30, 2009

The 31 Days of Horror- #2


The Hidden Gem:

The Master says:"What isn't good about this movie? There are those that will complain that the "Twist" ending ruined the movie, but really, it didn't. Not one bit. This movie is sick, twisted, visceral, tense, and on many levels, even thought provoking. In fact, once you see it, the ending makes the second viewing better, and more challenging. Does the title High Tension refer to sexual tension and repressed desires? Maybe. At the beginning when we hear Marie say "Are we recording?", does that mean she's recalling the events from her point of view, to satisfy herself or to be deceptive? I can't say for sure. No matter what happened, this is a movie that challenges us, and stays with us long after we've seen it. Hate the twist ending or not, this is a spectacular film, and one that horror really needed to be made in the lull of the early 2000's. Bloody, tense, engaging, and ultimately disturbing, this one is a must see."


The Train Wreck:

The Master says: Fine, the original wasn't a perfect movie; the middle dragged something fierce, becoming more of a Police Drama than a Horror film, but for all of that, When a Stranger Calls had possibly (and arguably) two of the best beginning and ending scenes in Horror history. They were actually terrifying. The remake? Two minutes of what made the original great, followed by 90 minutes of being chased around a house by a scary killer. Plenty of cliche's to be had here too; the old cat-jump-scare, the car that won't start, ice machine scares... The legendary "Have you checked the children?" line absolutely goes to waste here. This was just not scary. Not even remotely. A remake like this is exactly why most Horror fans dread remakes; they lose most, if not all, of what made the originals so good/brilliant/classic, and therefore serve no purpose in being remade. This movie, like all others of its ilk, is unforgivable.

 

October 29, 2009

The 31 Days of Horror- #3

"A seriously creepy "haunted House" flick, and a movie that made me want to punch myself in the face..."

The Hidden Gem:
The Master says: Hands down one of the creepiest movies ever made. Many people haven't even heard of this bad ass little movie, and that makes me sad. It's not much for blood or kills, there aren't jump scares or evil creatures running around, but nothing tops it for atmosphere; between the creepy "Session" tapes that we hear playing throughout, to the music and the isolation of the asylum, this movie unsettles the viewer and by the end, you will want to turn all of the lights on in your house. I especially like the ending; was the voice on the tapes just a disturbed patient, or something more... something that drives people to murder? I think it's a little Demonic if you ask me, but then again, I have a vivid imagination. If you haven't seen this movie, do so now... alone, in the dark, and preferably at midnight. It just sounds cool, doesn't it?


The Train Wreck:
The Master says: Wow, I can't believe what an awful, laughable, utter mess this movie is. If you see this, you will be angry for having wasted your time. If for some reason you like this, or think it good, then you're most likely slow in the brain. The acting is atrocious for the most part. Seriously unbelievable. Allison Miller was okay some of the time, but even she was bad. Onegen and the General were amongst the worst performances I've seen all year. Maybe ever. The script is just ridiculous. Whoever wrote the dialogue should be ashamed of themselves, and everything that happened in this movie was just laughable. The schoolgirl sword fight was the low-light for me... and that's saying a lot. The CGI blood and gore is horrible... is Karo syrup and red dye too expensive to use in movies these days? I've never seen a worse blood effect in a movie. Ever. The list could go on and on, exposing the crappity crapness of this lame live-action version of a beloved Anime, but you get the point. Don't ever watch this.

October 28, 2009

The 31 Days of Horror- #4


"A bloody coming of age story, and possible proof that Rob Zombie is a one dimensional hack..."

The Hidden Gem:
The Master says: Lat Den Ratte Komma In is sweet, disturbing, sad, brutal, beautiful, shocking and an overall inspired film. I dare say that it's a work of art. Everything seemed perfect to me when I watched it; from the camera work, to the story; the mood, to the acting. This was a vampire movie, and it had a ton of horror elements to it, but I didn't feel like I was watching a horror movie at all... It's amazing to me how a Horror movie made in 2008 can be as effective as it is brilliant and not have jump scares, quick cut scares, lame characters, nonsensical situations, a twist ending, a jump cut quick scare twist ending... oh wait, this wasn't made in Hollywood. Then again it's not totally Hollywood's fault; American audiences are fairly dumb to begin with... That's why we'll have Saw 14 eventually. Horror flick, love story, coming of age story, vampire movie... Let the Right One In is all of those, and more. You really need to see it to understand.

 
The Train Wreck:
The Master says: I give a lot of leeway with my Horror watching; I love some less than stellar movies for many different reasons, and I'm always willing to let some shit go and enjoy the meat of an otherwise poor movie, but this one just hurt. I think It hurt because I love Zombie and his work so much. What's bad about it? The story, the dialogue, the random excuses for Michael to kill, the mostly poor acting, the evolution of some of the characters... So about 75% of the movie. A frigging white horse? Dream sequences? Angel? This movie shits on the brand name of Halloween far worse than most people think that Halloween III: Season of the Witch does. At least that one was goofy fun... In all reality, it's as much of a "Do Not Want" as I've seen in years. Either way, I won't watch it again, and I advise you to avoid it too, if only to save your eyes the pain.

 

October 27, 2009

The 31 Days of Horror- #5


The Hidden Gem:
 
The Master says: Though not the scariest movie I've ever seen (as it's been hyped), Paranormal Activity definitely creeped me out, made me uneasy, and made me jump enough times to walk out of the Theater with a smile on my face. Love it or hate it, you have to give a movie credit for doing what most multi-million dollar Horror films can't seem to manage; scare the crap out of the audience... and they spent less than 20,000 to do it. Magic? No. Try atmosphere and minimalism, and maybe characters that remind us either of ourselves or someone we know on some level. It's all very familiar, and it's so subtle that it's not too far fetched to think that this could actually happen to us. It's nice to see a solid little movie beat the hell out of another tepid Saw sequel at the Box Office for the Halloween dollar, I just hope they don't turn this one into a multi-sequel franchise too...


The Train Wreck:
 
The Master says: To have seen this horrible film adaptation of a pretty fun video game is akin to having seen your father making love to the turkey the night before Thanksgiving; they're both thoroughly cringe-inducing, unsanitary, clumsy, ridiculous, and you will never, ever, never get that image out of your head. Ever.

Aside from the shoddy acting, script, and Uwe Boll's craptacular direction, this movie fails at trying to be like an actual video game. Complete with crazy bullet-time action shots, dumb-ass kids that suddenly become deadly Zombie-killing mercenaries out of nowhere, Zombies that die from machete wounds, Zombies that are defeated by lame wire-fu Karate moves, and inter-cut with actual scenes from the video game itself, it's really insane how horribly horrible this horrible movie is.

In April 2008, Uwe Boll promised to retire if an online petition gained 1 million signatures asking him to do so. I pray to every God or deity that exists, please make this happen. I swear that if he retires, I'll stop watching clown porn, and let the kittens out of the "Hamper." I swear.



October 26, 2009

The 31 Days of Horror- #6

"Some creepy-assed British kids, and a movie that gives John Carpenter a legal right to commit murder..."

The Hidden Gem:
The Master says: Dread and unease permeate this movie and never really seem to let up, and are eventually joined by some vicious violence and gore; when mixed together, they basically have a square dance on your nuts until you end up hiding in your closet and crying like a small child. Ok, I may be exaggerating just a bit, but this is one taxing movie, and that's no joke . This movie is profoundly disturbing, and left me feeling a bit numb at the end. Only bits and pieces of the reasons for the children turning on their parents are given to us, and maybe that's the worst part. Actually, the worst part is probably the fact that 6 and 7 year old kids are hell-bent on killing their parents. The ending was one of the best I've seen in quite a while too. It came out of nowhere, and chilled me to the bone. It also left me with questions which I wish I had definitive answers too, but hey, at least it made me think.


The Train Wreck:
The Master says: Can someone explain why The Fog was remade? As a Horror flick, the 1980 version is a near-perfect creep-fest, which delivers in just about every way. The 2005 version is as bad as seeing your grandmother naked, and less scary. I mean, who the hell told Tom Welling he could leave Smallville? I guess random flashbacks and psychic visions of the past are useful... The 1980 version was about a fog bank that rolls into a sleepy seaside town, and the ghosts that come with it unleashing some bloody retribution; the 2005 version is about a girl looking to unravel a romantic mystery without anyone even caring to know the answers. No tension, no mood, plot holes galore, and can someone please tell me what in the fuck was up with the dance scene in the graveyard at the end? Happily ever after?!? The Fog isn't A GOD DAMNED ROMANCE!!!!!!!!!!! 

October 25, 2009

The 31 Days of Horror- #7

"A French movie that made us cringe, and another crapfest from the guy whose movies keep getting worse..."

The Hidden Gem:
The Master says: The French just have a way of making movies (especially Horror movies) mean something more. Sometimes it comes across as a being bit self-indulgent, and sometimes it just plain is, but adding a level of mental/spiritual depth to something as brutal and painstaking as Martyrs is, is a work of art. Plain and simple. They take chances. They push the envelope. They destroy both genre and human boundaries, and sometimes redefine them. Transcend them even. This is one of those times. I really don't mean for this to come across as a "Martyrs is the best thing ever!" sort of ass kissing, because it isn't perfect. I just think that Pascal Laugier did something bold and daring here, and he pulled it off extremely well. Some will truly love this film, some will absolutely downright hate it, and others will not know what the hell just happened to them... whichever way you feel though, it's a movie that deserves to be seen.

 
The Train Wreck:
The Master says: M.Night Shaymalananan is so clever! Wanna know why come? Because of clever things like this that he slips into the movie; he gives us the witty play on words "Kiladelphia." Instead of Philadelphia, get it? He makes mood rings an indicator of danger; He schools us about 435 times how plants react to human stimulus and do stuff; math riddles calm hysterical people down during a "Happening," plants, trees and grass can communicate with each other; wind is really scary; plants release co-transporters in the air; this movie makes little sense. Once Marky Mark screams "Get scientific, douche bag!" at himself, seriously, he figures it all out; Stay ahead of the wind, and stay in a big group , and the plants cant kill us. The wind chase is on! Luckily, it cant catch 20 milling city folk, because obviously wind is slow. Marky Mark finds a little tree in the den of a farmhouse they hide out in and says the following (looking terrified all the while); "Hello? My name is Elliot Moore, I'm just going to talk in a very positive manner, giving off good vibes... were just here to use the bathroom, I hope that's ok." The tree turns out to be plastic. Wow, that's funny... almost as funny as 9 year old cancer patients with aids being mauled by lions. Less funny even.

October 24, 2009

The 31 Days of Horror- #8

"A movie that should never be seen by pregnant women, and a nice try but an awful miss..."

The Hidden Gem:
The Master says:"I'll be damned if this movie took any more than thirty seconds to make me cringe; the opening credits even made my stomach start to churn. From the absolute beginning, this movie had me feeling uneasy, and as it went on, the unease turned to shock and eventually to genuine terror. I don't know if I've ever seen a movie that was this viscerally violent and hauntingly creepy all at the same time. To say that Inside is full of blood and gore is almost funny; It's jam-packed with the stuff, and to the point where I turned from the screen on more than one occasion. The gore, coupled with the terrifying atmosphere and tension of the movie should mess with even the toughest of horror fans. If you're any kind of a self-respecting horror fan, this is a must own. Beautifully shot, directed, acted and drenched in buckets of blood; this is a complete horror film in every way."


The Train Wreck:
The Master says: I get what they were trying to do with this movie, and I honestly do give them credit for going for it, but in the end this movie grated on me like nails on a chalk board. I know many will say that they enjoyed this one, and that's fine, but I will never understand how. Forget that Paris Hilton is in it, she's hardly the worst part... I guess the best way to sum up my feelings about this movie is to say that I can't stand The Rocky Horror Picture Show either, and that is still a mega-massive cult phenomenon. I'll say no more as I'm sure to get flamed more than enough for even including this movie on "The bad list."


October 23, 2009

The 31 Days of Horror- #9

"A disturbing Japanese commentary on society, and Uwe Boll strikes again..."

The Hidden Gem:
The Master says:"A bunch of elementary school kids killing each other off Survivor-style seems like a pretty fun time to me, and quite frankly the way American TV is these days, I'm surprised that a show like this hasn't hit the air yet. This movie does a great job of showing us how audiences will watch any shit that's shoveled at them, and especially if it's low on moral fiber, and high on the things we should be avoiding. Yes, society kinda sucks lately. Brutal, viscous, and disturbing, this ones a thinker and a must see."


The Train Wreck:
The Master says:"Seriously, what is Uwe Boll thinking when he makes a movie? Does he not watch is dailies? Does he elect not to read through the script, and miss seeing how stiff and lame it is? Does he ever sit and watch one of his movies after the fact and say " Man, I need to do better next time?" This is another crappy movie version of a video game that should have stayed in the realm of pixels and bits. WTF happened to Ben Kingsley's career? They guy is an Oscar Winner for Pete's sake, and now he's relegated to this dreck? Michael Madsen too, he used to be so good, but anymore he's painfully bad to watch on screen. This movie hurts to even think about... even more so than Twilight.


October 22, 2009

The 31 Days of Horror- #10

The top 10 is here!

"A fantastic haunted submarine movie, and an absolute gutting of a 70's classic..."

The Hidden Gem:
The Master says: This one is truly a hidden gem if there ever was one. Moody, atmospheric, dark and eerie, I never thought that a movie about a haunted submarine could be creepy let alone totally engrossing. The best part about Below, is that if you like submarine/war movies, this one will deliver for you. The depth charges and hook dragging alone will keep you on the edge of your seat. If you like slow paced, atmospheric ghost movies, or war pictures, then you will absolutely love this one.


The Train Wreck:
The Master says: Where do I start with this one? The original was bizarre, creepy, and by the time the last scene is over, fairly terrifying. The remake starred Nicholas Cage. See the problem here? Everything that made the original so captivating and unsettling was stripped from the updated version, replaced with bland, slick, overly produced PG-13-level "scares", and it failed miserably. How can you replace Christopher Lee's character with a bland woman who had none of his quirks or creepiness? All the charms of 70's British Horror flick are gone in the remake, and without them, it just doesn't work. And it also starred Nicholas Cage. Yeah. Find and watch the original, it's fantastic and leagues better than this mess could ever be.