September 29, 2008

The 31 Days of Horror- Criteria and errata explained...


The Criteria: Was is scary/terrifying/horrific? Was it bloody/gory? Was it well made? Did the plot make sense? Was it visionary? How big of an impact did it have when it was released? Did it change or define the genre? Are we sentimentally attached to it? Did it stay with us after all of these years? 

Be sure to keep this in mind too; every decade that we're dissecting here had its strong and weak points.

The 70's were basically Horror's birthplace; That's not a knock on anything that came before 1970 at all, but just think about it. It really wasn't until Romero came out with Night of the Living Dead and Polanski gave us Rosemary's Baby, both in 1968, that audiences became obsessed with the occult, and wanted a harsher brand of terror. They changed an entire genre. Horror made the jump from being mostly campy, to being visceral, gory and terrifying on a whole different level. Blood and sex replaced rubber suits and cheesy monsters. The movies became raw and brutal, offering a dystopian view of society, in some ways reflecting the horrors of Vietnam. This was a feeling out period for horror film makers, exploring the genre in ways that both shocked and delighted audiences. It was raw and fresh in many ways. Much of it was new. The MPAA instituting a ratings system in 1968 changed things too. The main themes of the decade (although not the only ones): The Devil Possession and Reincarnation Evil children Vampires Exploitation The Deluge of Euro Horror The birth of the Stephen King movie  

The 80's saw Horror moving ahead full bore, the major theme being "masked maniac preying on helpless female victims." The slasher violence was basically a metaphor for rape in most cases. Werewolves also had a strong run for a while, and were better represented on screen throughout the decade than vampires were for the most part. The market for horror was absolutely flooded, which ultimately lead to the genre's decline by the beginning of the 90's. The main themes of the decade: Slashers Teen Horror Horror Icons and the series they spawned Sequels The Decay of Suburban America The Birth of VHS and Direct to Video Horror  

The 90's saw a serious decline in Horror, both in quality and demand. Audiences were so bombarded in the 80's that they just lost interest, and apparently, Hollywood lost the ability to come up with a bunch of fresh, new ideas. There were a bunch of other reasons too, but this isn't a term paper, so lets just say that the 90's was a weak decade for horror for the most part. We can basically thank Wes Craven and 1996's Scream for putting the paddles on the chest of horror and shocking it back to life. The main themes of the decade: Sequels- Too many of them, and most of them crap. Teen Horror- You know, that late 90's Dawson's Creek crap. Cerebral Horror High End Horror The Emergence of J-Horror  

The 2000's started off dead quiet. Luckily for us though, the remake machine began to roll and liven things up! Ugh. There have been some great horror movies so far this decade, but they sit side by side with an equal amount of remade, cookie cutter, unimaginative crap. Thank God for the French. The main themes of the decade: Remakes Reality Horror Psychological Horror A return to violence and gore- Thank you torture porn. The Emergence of French Horror- Thank you France!!!!!!!!! Revisiting old themes from other decades.

So you may look at some of the top 31 films we have selected for the 90's and say "Really? That made the list?" and the answer is yes. The 90's was pretty weak overall. You may say "Why in the blue hell was XXX left off of the 80's list!?!" That answer is easiest of all; there are about 60 movies that could easily be in the top 31, so at some point you just have to pick and choose. "Where are the Sequels? Evil Dead 2 was much better than the first one!" Yeah, maybe so, but it didn't have the same impact as the first one.  

Were not perfect, but we think we got it mostly right: The top half of the 70's was easy to pick; pretty much any of the top 20 could have been top 10. Once you start looking at #20- 31 though, some more obscure films come into play; films that deserve to be included, but may baffle some people who haven't seen a ton of old horror movies. The 80's was the easiest and hardest to do; Tons of great movies to choose from, but good luck fitting all of the deserving one's in, and getting the order right. No matter how many times I rearrange that list, I won't be satisfied. Most likely, neither will you. The 90's was the hardest; it was a thin decade for really good horror movies. If you omit the 12,000 sequels that make up a majority of what was released, you don't have much left. Still some good quality though, just less of it. The 2000's were perplexing; how do we tell what is a modern day "classic" when most of it is still fresh to us.

Do we include remakes? What about these foreign films that a lot of people may not have been exposed to? In many ways, this decade was the most fun to do though, because of these questions. This is where we get to say "See it if you haven't yet!" Fun times. See you on October 1st!

Solo Review: The Entity (1982)
Sub-Genre- Supernatural.
Cast Members of Note- Barbara Hershey, Ron Silver, and Alex Rocco.

The Entity tell the story of a single mother of three who has had a pretty rough life; she was possibly molested by her father; she was married and knocked up at 16 to an alcoholic punk (who died pretty much right after they got married); she was abandoned by the dad of her other two kids... on top of all of that, she now finds herself being abused and raped by a vengeful spirit. Repeatedly. To say she's had a rough life is putting it mildly.

She can't catch a break.
Luckily for her, she goes to see a Doctor who really wants to help her. He may want to get in her pants too, but he thinks she's insane, so he's not sure what to do. Despite the fact that there's a violent poltergeist that rapes her on a regular basis, he still offers her his "Help." Creep!

"It's like he doesn't even know I'm in the room with him."
Some serious mayhem ensues from this point on, including the ghost raping and attacking her a bunch of times; her son being attacked when he tries to help her; her friend's house is demolished when the ghost follows her there; and she even ghost rides her whip. All the while, everyone thinks she is a fucking nut-job.

I won't ruin the ending for you here, other than to say the last scene is seriously fucking scary. Like that "deep in your bones" kind of scary.

I'd say run, and don't ever stop, but you can't can you?
The Entity is based on a true story, and whether you choose to believe that it was "real" or not, this movie is a serious creep-fest. Is there a more disturbing premise for a movie other than "Angry spirit violently rapes woman?" Perhaps the premise of Inside, but I don't know. This is some harsh stuff.

This is one of the creepiest movies I've ever seen, and that's saying an awful lot. From the beginning, everything about this movie is scary; the music, the lighting, and even some of the dialogue is just damn creepy. I actually got goosebumps when I watched this, and I've seen it before... I knew what was coming. I swear that the music in this movie may be some of the creepiest ever.

Ron Silver is a hell of an actor. I've always loved his work, and I wonder why he was never a "bigger" star instead of just the prototypical 80's character actor. Barbara Hershey is pretty damn good too. And hot. We must never forget that she's hot.

Not in this one, though. There's nothing hot about this movie.
Alright, so you've been raped by an evil, violent spirit once, attacked a second time which makes you flee the house, and you're so terrified, that you don't come home until the next night... and when you finally do come home, you walk around the house without turning one light on? Come on now, no one would do that.

Turn on some lights, woman!
Moe Greene, you are not a man, sir, but a gigantic pussy!

No gore. This is a psychological Horror movie, not so much visceral. There are 6 rape scenes though, that while being bloodless, are quite disturbing.

There's also lightning. Lots and lots of lightning.
You know, normally I'd be all excited to say that Barbara Hershey was all kinds of naked in this, and that she looked great. Since she was naked only when she was attacked/raped by a brutal poltergeist though, it's a creepy kind of naked, so we didn't enjoy it at all.

"Welcome home C**t." A seriously creepy line, from a seriously creepy scene. And yes, it's a harsh word at the end of the sentence, so I didn't type it outright. I have hardly any class, but I do have some.

Here's a hint: C U Next Tuesday.
Don't watch creepy shit at night. Ever. Especially if you are prone to peeing yourself. Also, screw this movie.

Poor girl.
I have no choice but to give The Entity an A, as this is one of the most disturbing and effective ghost stories I've ever seen. It still creeps me out to this day. If you have yet to see this early 80's classic, then grab a copy now and enjoy.

Just maybe don't watch it alone.


The Entity is available now on Blu-ray and DVD.

Let us never forget that in her day, Barbara Hershey was one of the hottest girls in Hollywood.

September 26, 2008

Review: Valentine (2001)
Sub-Genre- Teen Terror/Slasher
In Attendance
- Me, Geo, Chris, Christian and Machine.
Cast Members of Note- The yummy Denise Richards, The yummy (X2) Marley Shelton, Katherine Heigl's boobs, and the guy who played Angel.

A long time ago at the school dance, the poor ugly geek of the class asked the pretty girls to dance with him. Of course they all laughed at him, because ugly guys don't really count, and he had to resort to making out with the fat chick of the class. The hungry ones are always easy pickings, even for greasy geeks.

Thank god Angel is here. His "sexy" will save you!
When the popular kids catch geek-boy and team-hungry girl making out, she cries rape, and they proceed to strip and beat geek-boy unmercifully. It was a sort of quasi gay/geek bashing thing, which really makes you realize that fat chicks cant be trusted.

Just for the record, skinny chicks can't be trusted either.
Years later, all of the kids are grown up and still assholes, even the fatty (who is now mostly cute.) Of course they're all still friends, because it moves the plot along far easier that way. When they start to disappear and then show up dead, they all start to worry. "OMG, who is killing us! And like, why and stuff!" Yep, turns out the world is a better place without them anyhow.

I won't say anymore about the movie here, so as not to ruin any important plot points for you (also, because I just don't want to talk about it anymore), but suffice it to say that you're in for a shock! Not really though.

Kill the other bitches, Marley!
So this one is an average stalk-and-slash movie, packed with hot chicks, some good kill scenes, and not much else. I'm all for some mindless, visceral Horror, but this is basically the same movie that's been recycled 1000 times since 1980:

  • Someone was wronged/humiliated/mutilated/killed in the past.
  • Years later all of the people who wronged/humiliated/mutilated/killed said victim, are all still in contact with one another.
  • The victim/someone close to the victim, now a revenge-seeking maniac, returns to even the score.
  • The "bad" people are all shallow, pathetic, "no one-will-miss-them" type yuppies.
  • One by one, the "bad" people are picked off, oblivious to what's truly happening until the third reel of the film starts.
  • Then, the Final Girl is left to face off with the killer, and that's when the "shocking" reveal happens.
  • Then the final twist/shock/jump & "Oh-my-God" moment happens, and the credits roll.

Again, this type of flick serves its purpose, I just wish it would have offered a little bit more in the way of originality is all.

A little more in the way of nudity would have helped too.
Too many Hotties, not enough nakedness. Also, haven't I seen this movie before? And wasn't it done better?

She's even pretty when she's terrified.
What was with "Jason?" Do guys actually think that talking about yourself in the third person is manly or attractive? Loser.

Then again, dummies like this whore-in-a-hot tub don't care as long as he's cute.
This movie did have some good kills in it, although nothing overly spectacular.

A lot of teasing, but not much skin. With all of the hotness on display in this movie, couldn't at least one of them have gotten naked?!?

Even David Boreanaz, just someone!
"Wax it!" or "Roses are red, Violets are Blue, They'll need dental records to identify you." Aww, how sweet.

Hot chicks need to be punished. Also, speaking in the third person is really annoying. Also, don't pick on the losers in School, because they will eventually grow up and kill you.

No more bullying!
A fairly typical, yet mostly-decent teen slasher, Valentine is far from perfect. It's but it's worth a watch, if you're down for some familiar slasher hi-jinks, but maybe catch it on cable or give it a rent rather than buy it.


Valentine is available now on DVD and VOD.

The Girls of Valentine can be our Valentine any day of the year.

September 24, 2008

Solo Review: Mirrors (2008)

Sub-Genre- Supernatural
Cast Members of Note- Kiefer Sutherland, and the uber-yummy Amy Smart.

Jack Bauer has been suspended from duty and is forced to take a night job at an old, burned-out Department Store that used to be an Insane Asylum... deep breath... and his wife doesn't want him around because he drinks a lot, so luckily his hot-ass sister takes him in, and we get to see her strip down and take a bath later on in the movie... Whew, long sentence.

Yeah, go see what that noise was, dumb ass.
Jack begins to see and hear odd things as he patrols the creepy old abandoned Department Store/Asylum; mainly involving mirrors, because they're trying to kill him. The mirrors also send him messages (which he doesn't understand), right before people around him start dying. The mirrors kill them out of spite basically, because, get your shit together, Jack Bauer!

Not that wide honey... seriously, stop!
As the mystery deepens, so does the level of creepiness that Agent 24 must deal with. I don't want to say too much more here, since the movie is still relatively new and I don't want to spoil it for anyone, but suffice it to say that Demons are creepy. And mirrors. Also, You'd think that a world-class spy could handle guarding an abandoned building without everyone around him dying, but no!

Yes, it is your fault, Jack.
I was waiting for Mirrors to be the movie that came out of left field and blew me away, but it never quite reached that point. Don't get me wrong, it was good, and some of it was great, but it was another case of a foreign director who made an amazing film (Haute Tension) in his home country (France), coming to America and making just another Hollywood Horror flick.

I did love how this movie lulled me during it's first half, then became exactly the kind of movie I like in it's second. It's almost as if Alexander Aja combined elements of The Ring and [Rec], and shook them all together, making for a climax that I thought was pretty satisfying. Demonic Possession is always fun.

Look at all of that fun!
I think I'm scared of mirrors now.

Do any Horror movies these days have happy endings? Jeesh.

No happy.
A nice opening throat slash, a wicked bathtub scene, and plenty of other disturbing images of violence. There's also some decomposition and a possession that gets rather messy. This is not Alexander Aja''s bloodiest effort, but he still brings the red stuff.

The not-sexy-at-all batch scene.
Amy Smart Naked Alert!!! You only see a side view, but it was still neat.

Also, this happened, and it was good.
"Don't be scared, mommy. He just wants to come play with us."

Mirrors are evil. Also, Dodge Avengers are bad-ass cars.

Why are you stabbing a mirror?
While I wish Mirrors would have pushed the envelope a bit more in some areas, the overall experience was satisfying and fun. Rent it for sure when it hits DVD, because it's a pretty cool flick.


Mirrors is available now on Blu-ray, DVD, and VOD.

Who doesn't love Amy Smart? You know?