October 31, 2012

All Day Horror-Thon- Update #2


The Shrine is a cheap little movie that should have sucked, but ended up being an example of how filmmakers can make a decent, scary horror flick on the (relative) cheap.

If you can get past the whole "girl does stupid shit that puts everyone's life in danger because she wants her career to take off" thing, which really annoyed us to no end, the rest of the movie is a smart, taut little supernatural thriller that ends in a place that I didn't expect it to.

There were some genuinely creepy scenes and moments in this one, and we're sad that it's still a largely unknown flick to most people. See it if you can, you won't regret it. We think. *Tastes can be subjective, you know.

The more we watch The Collector, the more we love the hell out of it. Filled with all kinds of great TV character actors and one of the most clever maniacs to come along in quite some time, this movie is an absolute instant classic around these parts.

So a guy (Arkin) breaks into a house, intent on robbing it, and finds himself interrupting a serial killer's torture and murdering of a family, which kinda kills his whole robbery scheme. Trapped in the middle of a trap-filled house, he has to fight for his life, and the lives of the family that he's trapped with, and so a battle of wits unfolds between he and The Collector...

Originally intended as the basis for a Saw prequel, it became its own movie, and are we ever glad that it did; it was nice to see a movie that involves nasty and elaborate traps away from the Jigsaw mythos, and given its own life. The traps in this movie are quite something to witness, and for the record, they are nothing like those seen int he average Saw movie. There's no moral lessons doled out here by some maniac on a mission, only death. And some collecting. Hence the title.

We can not wait to seethe sequel to this one, The Collection, which comes out in theaters this November. With the first one being so enjoyable, we can only imagine the 2nd one will be at least as good. Hopefully even better.

More to come.....

All Day Horror-Thon- Update #1

As promised, we got the creepy ball rolling at 12 A.M. Eastern Time.

Suspiria is an all-time favorite that we need to see at least once a year. The Argento classic was one of the last feature films to ever be processed in Technicolor, and rightly so; it's a visual spectacle that uses vivid colors as well as any other movie I can recall.

The first of Argento's "Three Mothers Trilogy," Suspiria tells the story of an American ballet student abroad who runs afoul of a Coven of Witches, lead by one of the Three Mothers (Mater Suspiriorum, in this case). It's stylish, beautiful to behold, creepy, gory as hell, and boasts one of the best Scores of all time (courtesy of legendary composers, Goblin.)

If you've never seen this gem, get a hold of a copy and see it asap. It's as close to required viewing as a horror movie can get.

*For the sake of continuity, the other two parts of the "Three Mothers Trilogy" are Inferno and The Mother of Tears, both of which are worth a look.

Say what you will about the much maligned flick, The Last Exorcism, but for our money, it's one of the better Exorcism flicks that's come along in forever.

Shot Cinema Verite style, The Last Exorcism is about a shady preacher named Cotton Marcus, who runs around pretending to do miracles and such, while really being nothing more than a complete fraud. Things get interesting when he takes on a new case of a possessed girl, and instead of his normal gig he gets the real deal, which he is woefully unprepared for.

We liked this one mainly because the guy who played Cotton Marcus was likeable and played one hell of a role. Then there's the movie itself, which slowly unraveled to reveal a pretty creepy and intense supernatural story. Lots of people didn't like the end, but we thought it was kinda cool; the "it came out of left field" twist leaves things open for a possible sequel, which we'd definitely see.

We love the feel of this movie, and had the urge to make it a part of this year's Halloween viewing.

Now, back to it...

The 31 Days of Horror- Halloween!

All day, all night, nothing but one flick after another. Starting at Midnight, we're watching some old and new classics, until we can't watch anymore!

Or until we have to go do something, like you know, pee. Or eat. Go to work. Stuff like that.

But aide from those kinds of things, we're doing nothing else but watching movies for the entire 24 hours that Halloween is here!!!!!!!!!!

*Also, sleep will have to factor in there somewhere, so, yeah.

First up, at the stroke of Midnight, is Suspiria...

October 30, 2012

Review: Paranormal Activity 4 (2012)

Be warned: I'm going to spoil this movie and a lot of its happenings in this review. Why am I going to do that? Well, because  so many things that happened in this clunker confounded to no end, and I kinda have to.

It's a rant, kids.

We're fans of the Paranormal Activity flicks around here; they may not be perfect, but they are effective as hell and somehow manage to deliver a creepy atmosphere and plenty of scares, despite their shortcomings... at least they did right up until part 4.

It's safe to say that at this point the producers behind this series are just interested in getting a new PA flick out in theaters every Halloween for a quick cash grab. It's almost as if they're making up the story as they go along, and doing the best they can to make it all make sense, but it just isn't quite gelling.

And for the record, this is a Found Footage/POV/Cinema Verite movie. Some folks out there in cyber-moron land seem to think this movie beyond those confines, but it's not. Same old, same old.

The movie opens with a flashback recap of the end events of PA2, in which Katie murders her sister and makes off with her nephew. Five years later in Nevada, we're introduced to the new family that is to be put through the paranormal ringer; Mom, Dad, a young son and a too-hot-for-her-age jail-bait daughter. So that's the setup.

The story really starts when  the creepy kid from next door keeps showing up wherever this family is; a soccer game, at their house, in their yard, in their tree fort, in their shower... and no one really seems to be all that concerned with a six year old kid just "showing up" all over the place, and alone at that.

By the way, the kids' "Mom" is Katie, so you get where this is all going.

Creepy kid talking to the Kinect.
One day, this kid shows up and says that his Mom, whom the family has never met nor even seen, is in the hospital and he has nowhere to go. Without batting an eyelash, the Mom of our moron family decides he should stay with them until she gets out of the hospital, because that seems logical. Don't call the cops and say that some kid showed up on your doorstep, don't even call the hospital to see what the deal is with his mom, just let him stay with you, because it "seems like the right thing to do." This absolute lack of any sort of logic pretty much illustrates just how inept this entire movie is.

From here on out, it's PA business as PA usual, minus any true scares; a knife moves, a chair moves, the X-Box Kinect is haunted, a ball rolls down some stairs, a chandelier falls, the toys are haunted... it's all riveting stuff.

There's lots of figures standing still in this movie...
The only one who suspects that anything odd is going on is the daughter, and her older boyfriend pretends to believe her because he wants to tap that 15-year-old ass; honestly, the scene with them at the beginning had a truly rapey vibe to it. "What say we go for a walk through your dark backyard, and maybe examine that lonely tree house of yours, eh?" He was totally making his move, like a true creeper.

So after about 60 minutes of not-scary stuff, we get to the climax of the movie, which finds our young heroine running around with her Macbook, filming the most terrifying and chaotic moments of her young life, with a very professional touch. Then, 200 witches show up and we're left wondering WTF just happened.

There's lots of Katie standing still in this movie...
There are a few make-you-jump moments here and there, but nothing close to what the previous PA movies have given us. Even if there were, the story is so bland and disjointed, that I can't imagine how any truly creepy scenes would have played in this one. I wanted there to be a fast-forward button on the Theater screen. I wanted some NoDoz. I wanted it to be over.

About the only good thing in this movie was the performance of 15-year-old Kathryn Newton. She's a pretty good little actress, and shes a looker to boot, so it won't be long before we see more from her. Hopefully she'll get to be involved in some better flicks though.

Good job, kid. Put this one behind you and keep on going.
The camera scheme for this one is brought to us via multiple Laptop Webcams.... which are turned on and recording all day and night, for no apparent fucking reason. Oh wait, the teenage daughter thinks that they are being haunted, again, for no apparent fucking reason. So I guess that that's the reason.

It's also neat that the daughter carries her laptop around throughout the whole movie, everywhere she goes, near or far, all so that the movie can exist. Even at the end, when she finds people dead and is running for help, she carries her laptop in front of her to capture it all on film. She climbs through a window, terrified for her life and with a demon on her heels, and still, she carries her laptop.  Once again; a terrified 15-year-old girl, running for her life, has the presence of mind to film everything in front of her with a laptop...  it's so implausible that it borders on being ludicrous. Screw that, it is ludicrous.

Behind her, a figure stands still...
Was this script written in a day? The films' viral marketing on Youtube and its plot elements were better than those in the actual movie. Care to explain how Katie lost her nephew, and how he got adopted by some family in Nevada? And why does Toby (the demon) do useless shit like throw a ball down some stairs or make something move? There's no sense in it. Why did he trap the daughter in the garage and turn the car on to try and kill her, rather than just throw her against something like he does with everyone else?

Then there's the ending, which comes along and adds more questions to the already lingering questions that went unresolved from the previous movie. And honestly, how does a pretty white girl screaming her head off in a well-off, predominately white neighborhood, draw absolutely no attention from neighbors or the Cops? Come on, if Cops do anything with exacting precision, it's protecting upper class white folks in their time of need.

This white girl is unprotected!
PA4 exists only to be in theaters to make some quick Halloween cash, and it's written as such. When you put a movie on a fast track like that, and give it less than a year for its conception, writing, pre-production, shooting, and post-production, this is what happens.

PA5 has already been announced for next October, so again we have a rushed sequel that is going to get a fraction of care that a movie in development should get, and the results won't be much different than they were here.

This movie exists for no other reason than for it to exist; it explains nothing from the previous PA flicks like we thought it would, and leaves us with another ending that suggests we should seek answers in the already announced PA5. Like the Saw series, Paranormal Activity looks as if it's going to churn out a new sequel each year in time for Halloween, which absolutely tells you that the quality is going to be shit.

Go and spend your money on Sinister, which was actually a good and creepy flick, and pretend that the Paranormal Activity series ended with part 3. Trust us, it basically did.


Paranormal Activity 4 is available now on Blu-ray, DVD, and VOD.


A few years down the road, Kathryn Newton is going to be a Horror Hottie, and we will not feel bad about calling her hot. For now though, we will simply say what a lovely, talented young girl she is... just like we did with Emma Watson. See, we do have morals!

October 29, 2012

The 31 Days of Horror, Day Twenty-Nine- The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

Why are we watching this new movie when there are so many awesome classics that we haven't even seen yet this season? Well, the answer is simple; this movie may be new, but it too is an awesome classic in its own right.

Cabin in the Woods is one of those movies that just makes you smile; it's clever and different, and just self-aware enough that it works perfectly. It's got scares, laughs, homages to spare, and it ends in a way that makes us wish more horror flicks and their creators would pay attention to what it is that makes a good movie work.

Some of these guys look pretty familiar, although this is the first time I'm noticing the Klan guys... how appropriately controversial!

It would truly be a shame to spoil the movie for anyone who hasn't seen it yet, and so we won't. What we will say is that if you are looking for a fun horror flick that turns the "A group of friends head into the woods for a weekend of partying..." byline on its head, inside out, and then eviscerates it, this is a movie you will want to check out.

This will be one of the best, if the the best movie of the year once everyone's year end lists start popping up in late December. It definitely will be one of ours.

Now, we're off to re-watch the Blu-ray special features.

Own it now to see who wins!

October 28, 2012

The 31 Days of Horror, Day Twenty-Eight- The Walking Dead

So after our weekend long Halloween shindig (preparations included in that time frame), we got to lay around on Sunday, nurse our wounds, and close it all out by catching episode three of this season's The Walking Dead.

The first two episodes gave us non-stop greatness, and the third one delivered the same, albeit in a completely different way,

This week, TWD left the prison behind to focus on Michonne and Andrea, and their run in with The Governor. We knew it was coming, but what we didn't know was how close it would follow the storyline from the TWD comics.

Morrissey was great as The Governor, and it's clear from the get go that he is a twisted guy, and is going to be one hell of a villain this season. We won't spoil what he did in the episode, but suffice it to say that he is a touchy bastard who has no problem killing indiscriminately.

The last bit with him in his secret room was creepy, although not what we expected. *In the comics, his secret room harbors different secrets. Maybe he has 2 secret rooms, and the other one will show up next week? Probably not, but we'd be cool with it if that happened.

As for Andrea and her mysterious partner Michonne? Well, they're pretty much trapped. Something tells me Michonne ain't havin' that shit for too long...

One of these Ho's be trippin', can you guess which one? (Hint: It's the Strawberry.)

 The other big thing this week was the return of Merle, which was unfortunately teased in the trailers and promos for this season, even it began. We really wished they had kept it completely under wraps and let it be a surprise, but it was still cool even though we knew it was coming.

Merle is looking skinny and ragged, and he has a bayonet-thingy for a hand now, which makes him feel like a skeezy version of Ash (Evil Dead) to us.What we're wondering is what he'll do when he finds out Daryl is alive. Hell, we're wondering what Daryl will do when he finds out Merle is alive. Will the be on opposite sides of the inevitable Rick vs. The Governor battle that is on its way, or will they pick a side together? And which side will that be? Aaaaah!

All I'm saying is that for me, if Daryl dies, TWD dies with it. I've had enough of this "favorite character dying" B.S. this year with Sons of Anarchy, and I do not want to deal with it again.

This week was a bit "quieter" than the past two weeks have been, but it was still one hell of an episode. If the rest of this season even partially follows the storyline from the comics, things are about to get pretty crazy.

Fan, meet shit.

October 27, 2012

The 31 Days of Horror, Day Twenty-Seven- The annual THC Halloween Party!

That time of year is here again, where we THC'ers and friends will be drinking the night away to celebrate our favorite day of the year; Arbor Day! Halloween!

Sexy costumes, creepy costumes, and a drink made from part moonshine and part Everclear called apple pie... you know it's going to be a good night.

We will be back tomorrow, with hangovers in tow, for the new episode of The Walking Dead. Until then, we are off to make complete fools of ourselves.

Just imagine apple cider that makes you forget who you our for hours at a time, and that's Apple Pie!

October 24, 2012

The 31 Days of Horror, Day Twenty-Four- AHS re-watch, part 2

Finally finished Season 1, and saw the first two episodes of season 2, and all we can say is... who is Bloody Face?!?

The asylum setting for season 2 is pretty neat, and it already feels way different than last season, although it also feels quite the same.What I'm really liking about the 2nd season of this anthology series, is that we get ourselves a creepy serial killer running around offing people in the past setting, and one that may just be a ghost doing the same in the present.

I can't wait to see the havoc that Bloody Face is going to cause, and I hope the body count is high.

Lovin' it.

October 23, 2012

The 31 Days of Horror, Day Twenty-Three- AHS re-watch

Tonight (and most likely part of tomorrow) we're re-watching Season 1 of American Horror Story from the start.

When it premiered last year, we didn't really care for it so much at first; it was a well made and interesting show, it just didn't really pack much of a punch for us. Scares were what we were after, and it seemed light on those.

As the season wore on however, it got better and better, and by the time it ended, we were in love. Or at least we were in severe like.

In anticipation for Season 2, we need to get back in the AHS mood; Season 2 looks to be a drastically different story and quite a departure from season 1, but it's still all tied together, and so we need a refresher.


October 22, 2012

The 31 Days of Horror, Day Twenty-Two- Rob Zombie x 2!

We've been pretty harsh critics of Rob Zombie and his films around here. If you really look at his work, it definitely has a "shtick" about it, and for us, it has worked a few times, but largely failed.

His first two flicks, which we'll get to in a minute here, worked for us. His trailer for Werewolf Women of the S.S. in the middle of the Grindhouse flicks was a fun throwback. We even found ourselves really liking his remake of Halloween, despite its flaws and the fact that it was a remake of one of the most beloved and revered horror movies of all time.

Dr. Satan, and the guy who hosts The Talking Dead.

Halloween II though, was where we started to question his abilities as a filmmaker. It was a mess, and left us feeling angry and mistreated. Ditto for El Superbeasto... that movie was shit, although to be fair, we are not the core audience for that kind of animation flick.

As far as we're concerned, his first two movies are his best.

Ooh, ooh, oooooh, baby, baby.

House of 1000 Corpses is a messy film in a lot of ways, with all of its wacky cut scenes, spotty dialogue, and clunky delivery (in places), but damn if we don't just love it all the same.

It's definitely a throwback to the days of 70's grindhouse flicks, which Zombie obviously loves, and it delivers some pretty memorable characters, scenes, and some inspired ideas. Sid Haig and Bill Moseley are just fantastic in this movie, and their characters, for us, are instant classics.

I suppose that the gritty nastiness that 1000 corpses brings to the table was a welcomed thing back in 2003, because most of what we were seeing back then wasn't anywhere near its level of crazy. It felt fresh and different, and even today it still feels the same. In a retro sort of way.

We are family...

The Devil's Rejects continued the story of the Firefly clan, but it upped the ante and ended up being one hell of a film.

It's a road movie, for the most part; a tale of Otis, Baby and Captain Spaulding, on the run from Sheriff Wydell, and the havoc that they all cause along their journey. It's stark, brutal, and almost over the top in its violence. The writing and acting have improve vastly from 1000 Corpses, and it stands as one of the best genre offerings of the 2000's.

Viewed together, they make an oddly cohesive unit, and they look great on Blu-ray.*Quick note- Best Buy has both of these flicks on Blu-ray right now for $4.99 each! You're crazy if you don't go and scoop these up for that price... unless you already own them. Then you'd be crazy for buying them twice, just because they're super cheap.

Now let's just hope that The Lords of Salem can be half as good...