Showing posts with label milestones. Show all posts
Showing posts with label milestones. Show all posts

Friday, March 28, 2014

Celebrating SIX Years Of Fear: Six Films That Wowed Me With Violence

Well, Fascination with Fear is six years old this week!  So in lieu of writing a post thanking everyone that ever lived (because I've done that before and those people know who they are), I've decided to do some lists.  This will come as no surprise to anyone who reads this blog on a regular basis (yes, all seven of you!), because lists are one of my favorite things to do!

Over the course of the next few weeks, I'll bring you some favorites in categories ranging from "violence in film" to "movies that made me stop and think"
Six will be the magic number here.  It will be difficult to keep any list of mine down to six items, but I'm going to give it a whirl.

First up, I wanted to get down and dirty.  Here's six films that wowed me with violence. I've seen a lot of violent horror films.  A lot of gore.  A lot of ferocious brutality.  And that's all well and good.  But what I am talking about here is a violent film that had a plot.  Something that made me think and not just sit on my couch like a lump while someone's head was removed.  Here's my six picks for favorite violent flicks. (Hey, that rhymed!)

This is one of my favorite films anyway, but it fits here so nicely.  Like The Hunger Games after it, Battle Royale pits children against each other in a battle to the death.  Also a book first (same title, by Koushun Takami), it depicts a society gone awry, with the Japanese government each year forcing a class of students to fight to the death on a deserted island.  Its focus remains on a couple that want to stay together and find a way to escape their fate.  I prefer this film to THG for a few reasons. It is less flashy and decadent, it is raw and brutal, and I saw this movie first, so it holds a special place in my cold little heart.

 Words can't describe the first time I saw this film.  Well, I guess they's my reviewISTD is such a great revenge flick, and some may say there isn't much plot.  But I beg to differ.  There is a ton of raw emotion here, with Lee Byung-hun capturing my heart during his heartbreaking performance of a man on a mission to find, torture, and kill the maniacal serial killer that brutally killed his fiance.  And Choi Min-sik could possibly be my favorite villain in all of horror.  Astounding.

 A film I just saw and reviewed, The Seasoning House gets under your skin even though you cannot imagine how it accomplished it.  A young girl torn from her mother's arms is forced into a horrific life at a house of horrors where women are held captive as sex slaves for the use of soldiers on break.  At once a gripping, gut-wrenching tale, it boasts heaps of violence in the form of brutal assaults and rapes and living conditions the likes of which you'll never see.  But the heart of the tale lies with Angel and her quest for freedom from such tortures. Surprisingly effective. Surprisingly affecting.

MARTYRS (2008)
The French are well known for their violence, and I could have added any number of films from there onto this list (Inside, Frontiers, High Tension), but for a movie that reached down into my gut for a visceral reaction, Martyrs takes the prize.  Full of brutality and bloodshed, it tells the tale of Anna and Lucie, two girls that suffer in such unimaginable ways it's hard to wrap your head around it.  Controversial as hell, it compels the viewer to keep watching, as the somewhat complex plot (at least for a horror film) delves deep into the heart of darkness.  And it's very hard to dig your way out. Not for the weak of heart (or gut!).

Sam Peckinpah was known for controversial films, but maybe none as much as this particular 1971 thriller. Dustin Hoffman and Susan George star as David and Amy Sumner, a couple who move to her native England to escape the violence in America.  Instead, they get in over their heads with a group of locals from the small village where they make their home.  Part of the controversy was a scene in which Amy was gang raped and appeared to enjoy it.  Other dubious violence occurs in the final scenes, in which David gets his revenge, shooting up the villagers like it was free.  But no one will argue when I say it is a truly excellent film.

I couldn't leave my main man Dario Argento off this list.  While Argento is often lauded for his "beautiful death" scenes, there can be no doubt they are violent.  And though many of his films would qualify for this small list, I'm going with my favorite (and most likely the one with the most cohesive plot). An American writer on a book tour in Europe finds himself embroiled in a murder mystery that seemingly echoes the plot of his latest novel.  Boasting copious amounts of the red stuff, Tenebrae is actually what I would consider to be a near-perfect example of a giallo film.  A fine example of a film, period.

Sunday, March 31, 2013


Friday was Fascination with Fear's 5th Anniversary.  Instead of celebrating in fine fashion I was trying to sleep off a stomach bug I've had for over a week.  I've been trying all month to think of a truly mind-shattering way to commemorate the occasion, but I'm coming up a little flat. Perhaps my brain isn't in full function mode just yet.

But let's put it this way, guys. I'm so thankful for this blog. It has made my life wonderful in so many ways. What started out as simply a little project for myself - a way to put down all my thoughts about the genre I loved best - it has turned into one of the most important aspects of my life.

Certainly the best thing about FWF is the fact that it has introduced me to some of the best people I know, some of whom have become extremely close friends and confidants. Most of whom I consider my life better for having met. I love my horror pals from all necks of the woods (and across the world)!

The horror community is a mixed pot. There's a lot of competition for attention. Some fighting amongst bloggers. A lot of jonesing for positions of prestige or influence. A lot of ridiculous antics that come and go. But more often than not, it's just a mutual affection between those who care about the same singular thing.

I've been lucky with this blog. Besides meeting fantabulous (just made that up) people, I've gotten a lot of really amazing opportunities thrown my way - getting published in both Paracinema and Fangoria have to be sitting at the top of that list. 
I also need to mention that Fascination with Fear has been nominated for the first time for a Rondo Hatton Award - one of the most prestigious honors for someone in the horror community.  If you feel so inclined, you can still vote for FWF (up until April 7) for this distinguished award.
Like everyone always says, it's just an honor to be nominated.  And that's the truth.

But the little things matter, too. A kind comment by a regular reader. Earning a mention on a top movie site like Total Film. A shout out from a fellow blogger on Facebook or Twitter. Getting to guest post on some of my very favorite blogs like Kindertrauma and Day of the Woman, and being able to share ideas and posts with a whole slew of great bloggers over the years.

This blog has been such a big part of my life for the past five years that now I can't imagine not having it.

And now I share it with my blogging counterpart, Marie.  Last year around this time I did a little searching to find someone to help keep the blog updated because of some real-life horrors that were getting me down and preventing me from posting as often as I'd like.  Thankfully, Marie happened into my life and she has been the burst of freshness that FWF needed.  So I thank her SO much for helping me and most of all for being such a wonderful friend!

In closing, I just want to thank everyone for supporting Fascination with Fear over the years.  There's more to come, so stay tuned!  And don't forget, comments are a blogger's catnip, so don't be a stranger!


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Celebrating And Keeping It Real

Last month was an anniversary month here at Fascination with Fear. For four long years I have toiled and plugged away on this blog, sometimes putting it ahead of things I should have been doing. But it is a labor of love. I've never expected to get anywhere with it, and I've always done it strictly out of my inherent need to write and my love of all things horror. 
I've met some exceptionally wonderful people in the course of the last several years - some of which I have formed life-long friendships with, any many of which I talk to more than my family and care for just as much as. I've had great opportunities (joining the Fangoria family for one, writing an article for the exemplary magazine, Paracinema, and being on staff at The Bloodsprayer).
I've also had a few bad times (the horror community can be a feisty bunch) but mostly it has been fantastic, four of the best years of my life.  I have no intention of going anywhere anytime soon, just in case you think I'm leading up to the big blog finish.  Not so.  

But in the course of those years, I've went through some rough times "outside the blogosphere" - upsetting changes at my job, my husband lost his job of 20 years due to outsourcing and had to start from scratch, my mother got brain cancer, I had a cancer scare of my own last summer... well, you see what I mean.  A lot of outside factors were stressing me and still, I kept up with the blog. Because it helped me through everything. (Well, that and a terrific marriage.)

Through thick and thin, horror has been there with me - to comfort me and to make me forget about things for awhile. I enjoy writing, even if only a handful of people ever read it. 

But I've been a bit dejected lately because I don't seem to have as much time to blog because of all these outside stressors. I'd become somewhat complacent, figuring not updating and writing on the blog is just the way it is and I'd have to deal with it, life would go on.  But then I felt like I was letting myself (and my ten readers) down.
So it is mostly with excitement - and a tiny bit of trepidation - that I announce I have decided to get some help. 
NO, not psychological help - I see where your mind went there...  Help for the blog.  I've decided to take on another writer.  If it works out, I won't be looking for any additional help.  And I've already got that person lined up and ready to go. 

My blog is my baby, my calm in the storm. So I'm determined to keep it up and running even if it means I had to admit I needed some assistance to stay in the loop.  I will of course, still be the primary writer, and everything has to come through and be approved by me, so it's not like I'm just letting random people post willy-nilly.  

That said,  it is my great pleasure to introduce Marie Robinson.  She contacted me through my blog and just seems to be a good fit.  Only 20 years old, she is what I would have to call an old soul, claiming Roman Polanski as one of her favorite directors and she is well-versed in such authors as M.R. James and Algernon Blackwood (If you're looking up who they are then I think you need a slight slap).  She's still a babe in the woods but already knows her horror!  I mean, this is a girl that proclaims The Sentinel as being one of her favorite films. Sounds pretty promising!

I hesitate to call anyone my protége, as I detest the word, but suffice it to say I am happy to allow her the space to profess her love of the genre.
By all means, let me know what you think.

And before I go, I just want to say thanks to anyone and everyone who has read my blog, and special thanks to those who have left comments (the catnip of the blogging world!) I'd also like to do a shout out to  people who have befriended me, others who have given me a chance within the genre to do bigger and better things, and others still that just make my day on a regular basis.  If you don't see your name then it's not because I don't love you.  It's because it's midnight and I'm tired! 
Here goes:

Andre ~ BJ-C ~ Kristy ~ Pax ~ James G. ~ Lance ~ Mike F. ~ Brian S. ~ Zach K. ~ Wes ~ James C. ~ Zach S ~ Christine M. ~ Rebekah M ~  James H. ~ William M. ~ Will E. ~ Matt H. ~ John C. ~ Emily I. ~ John S. ~ Sarah J. ~ Steve J.

Stay tuned for Marie's first contribution, a review of the 2011 British film, The Awakening!

Progress is what happens when impossibility yields to necessity. ~ Arnold H. Glasgow