Saturday, December 27, 2008

Dead on arrival.

Another bad movie warning: Don't dare bother with 'Dead of Winter' (2007)... not even if you are stuck choosing between it and say, the Prom Night remake. At the very least, Prom Night has Kellan Lutz in it.

First of all, the reason I rented this gem from Netflix is because I read somewhere that it was a cross between 30 Days of Night (which I really liked) and The Shining (obviously a classic and a fave of mine)...
Well, quoting lines verbatim from The Shining does not a good movie make.... and as for the correlation between this dreck and 30 Days of Night? That I don't get at all. Ok, there was snow in both films, I'll give them that. But no vampires, and certainly NO scares whatsoever.

The threadbare plot consists of this: Tiffany and Kevin are in their early twenties, about to move in together, and headed to a New Year's Eve party. At the party, one of Kevin's friends slips some LSD in their drinks and then tries to make it with Tiffany. (great friend, eh?)
Tiff and Kev angrily leave. They soon start tripping on the drugs and have a car accident because Kevin thinks he sees someone in the backseat of the car. (If only - at least that would have been somewhat alarming...) They leave the car and start running through the woods.

The End.

No, seriously - this movie really was as bad as it sounds. It is supposed to be scary I suppose, but to be honest, I was frightened more by Willy Wonka and his psychedelic boat trip down the freaky chocolate river and through that nausea-inducing tunnel to hell ("There's no earthy way of knowing....which direction we are going....")
All these two do is trip out, run through the snowy woods, and find abandoned buildings and shacks to scare the shit out of themselves in.

The acting is poor, to say the least. The cinematography is crap. There is no gore to speak of- and absolutely not one scary moment. I've been more shocked watching an episode of American Idol than this rubbish. They actually tried to startle the viewer with a malicious snow tram/plow (another rip off from The Shining?)... and then attempted to pull off a seriously malfunctioned twist ending that you could see coming a mile away.
Even funnier is the fact that at the beginning of the movie, it says this was based on true events. I find that incredibly hard to believe.

If you're looking for movies with drug induced stupors causing weird shit to happen, rent 'Shrooms' - though not an instant classic, it's much more effective - and the acting doesn't suck.

Dead of Winter = really really bad.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Merry Christmas from the gang!

It's so hard to get everyone together for a group photo...

Friday, December 19, 2008


Read on the internet today that some woman in Wilkes-Barre, PA. tried to sell "Gothic Kittens" over the internet.

Guess they had piercings and what not.

You can read this crazy shit here.

*No mention was made if the kitty came with his own iPod filled with emo tunes from Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance, Dashboard Confessional, etc...

Friday, December 12, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

No pulse whatsoever

Well, add another movie to the list of "OH.MY.GOD. why did I rent this?".... and say thank you out loud that I didn't purchase this.

To be honest, the 'Pulse' remake (2006) was pretty bad, so why I thought this would or could be better is beyond me. What a waste of time. I could have watched a repeat of City Confidential and been more entertained. Why on earth it is marketed as a Dimension Extreme movie is the real question. There was close to zero extreme moments. No blood or guts to speak of.

Here's my take on it: Dude and daughter are running from an internet ghost, which happens to be the girl's mother and the dude's ex. The End.

Don't rent this. I just can't even be bothered telling you any more about it. Suffice it to say the acting is hollow, the plot is non existent, and the special ghosty effects are like watching Land of the Lost.

I'm just doing my duty, warning you to avoid this at all costs. Actually worse than Prom Night 2 and Paranoid Park combined. Bad with a capital B.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A few recent viewings

Seems I have been on hiatus from watching scary stuff these last few weeks. It's a busy time of the year for everyone, and seeing as how this is the silly season, I feel completely hurried and rushed all the time to get everything done for the holidays. This cuts into my horror habit and makes me cranky and unwilling to write.

I have, however, managed to watch a view films. (Besides seeing Twilight for the second time, that is...)

First, we have Immortality - a 1998 thriller (?) starring Jude Law.

With the Twilight book series coming to an end in August and the first book's movie adaptation, as well as HBO's vamp show, True Blood, it seems 2008 has been the year of the vampire.
I have forever been a fan of vampires, and so this strange obsession the world is having is old school to me. But it has brought a resurgence in my quest for new or unseen vamp action.

Immortality is a very different vampire film. Originally titled 'The Wisdom of Crocodiles' in its native Britian (there is a line in the movie that justifies this ridiculous title, but I can still see why they re-named it for American audiences), it tells the story of one Steven Grlscz (yep, no vowels, Vanna!).

Steven is, apparently, a vampire - but they never show his fangs, he walks around in the sunlight, he doesn't seem to have a problem with mirrors, etc. (Gee, kinda like Twilight now that I think about it). He does stalk women though, that much is true.

The beginning of the film establishes in no uncertain terms that any women that Steven gets close to seem to meet an untimely end. He does actually kill a woman onscreen - he violently bites her and 'apparently' drains her dead. This woman and he were in love, and that seems to be the real clincher for your damnation. You have to fall in love with Steven before he will kill you for your blood. He needs you to be IN LOVE with him so he can feed off that energy I guess. Like I said, a different take on the concept.

Steven then meets Anna, a strong willed and brilliant engineer, and cannot bring himself to end her life - he truly falls in love with her and feels that they are soul mates. But his internal hunger makes keeping her alive a real challenge for him.

All the while, Steven has a detective on his trail for the murder at the beginning of the film - in which he dumped the body out on a deserted watery causeway, which covers with the tide and makes hiding the body convienient. But Steven didn't cover his tracks as well as usual, and the detective and him form a rather strange bond throughout the investigation.

Jude Law is completely watchable in this brooding and eccentric movie. I find it difficult to call it horror - or classify it as a typical vampire film. There is little to no blood (save that one murder) and all the classic elements are non-existent. But there is a mysterious and psychological element that draws you in. I couldn't stop watching it and found it strangely intriguing.

Joy Ride 2: Dead Ahead (2008) is a direct to DVD sequel to the highly entertaining original from 2001. Obviously there was no reason to make this movie other than to capitalize on the name.
Having said that, it wasn't the worst movie I've seen recently (that honor would go to the awful Paranoid Park, or maybe the Prom Night remake).

Joy Ride 2 is basically just your average 'death on the road' flick.

Melissa (Nicki Aycox) and her fiance Bobby (Nick Zano) are on their way to Vegas for a pre-wedding bash of some sort. Along for the ride is sister Kayla (Laura Jordan), who in turn meets up with her online crush, punker/goth wannabe Nik (Kyle Schmid) - who she is hoping to get to know better (and we all know how much better that will be)...

Along the way their car breaks down ( - get some new tricks, movie people!) - then they find an abandoned house (we're reaching stretching the boundaries of NEW here, eh?) and decide to break in (Hello?) and end up 'borrowing' the gorgeously restored '71 Chevelle in the garage (yeah, like that would happen).

While having a meal at a local diner, they get a phone call from the nefarious Rusty Nail (our truck-driving, gravelly voiced villian from the first film) who has Melissa's boyfriend (apparently abducted from the rest room) and he wants to make a deal.

The movie just plays out like a cat and mouse thriller with some blood and guts thrown in for good measure. But there was something about it I liked, I can't put my finger on it. I think the production was a bit higher in class than most Direct to DVD flicks. The acting was good, in my opinion - with horror veteran Aycox seemingly scraping near the bottom of the barrel for work lately.

All in all, not a bad 90 minutes, and worth a purchase out of the $5 bargain bin at WalMart perhaps.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

It's the holiday season...

I've gone off Christmas shopping for no other reason than to destroy my self confidence after looking at the crazy wealth walking around all the malls...
And they say there's a recession....
Be back soon.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Meandering piece of rubbish

Now I know that Gus Van Sant is an acclaimed director and all that, and I suppose I am missing something here - maybe this was a good little independent art-house kind of movie and I just missed the 'good' parts (snoozing no doubt) -but to be honest, I hated Paranoid Park!

I'm thinking that people who think they are deep, thoughtful, discerning film critics will rave about the "astuteness and intensity" of this "profoundly moving and thought-provoking" piece of rubbish. It won awards at the Cannes Film Festival, and to that I say... WTF?

Anyhow, in layman's terms, the story goes like this:

16 year old Alex (played by Gabe Nevins, to whom I say 'get a freakin' haircut!') lives in Portland, Oregon and is somewhat moody and depressed (aren't all teens?) because his parents (hot mom and tattoo-heavy dad) are getting divorced. He starts spending alot of time at a local skateboarding park frequented by all types of wayward and rebellious characters. (To me, it looked like a great place to score some drugs.) And he never actually skates there, he just sits and watches the others.

One evening, he goes off with a somewhat older stranger (despite what parents always tell kids - they really are not listening) to try jumping a nearby freight train. Why? Because it's fun, apparently.
So they do, in fact, jump a train and are riding along when a lone security guard spots them and attempts to apprehend them. In the scuffle, Alex smacks the guard on the head with his skateboard, causing him to tumble backward onto adjacent tracks and into the path of another oncoming train. Uh-oh!
Naturally, Alex's buddy quickly runs off.

Now, right here is the only horrific and worthwhile part of the film. The security guard doesn't die outright. He is literally cut in half and begins crawling on his arms towards Alex, intestines trailing behind him in orderly fashion, all the while pleading with his eyes for Alex to help him. Of course Alex is completely dumbstruck, and does the least responsible thing possible. He beats feet out of there, leaving the man alone to die. In a subsequent moment of bewilderment, Alex chucks the skateboard off the bridge over the skate-park and into the water below.

The whole of the film is based on this morality dilemma. It shifts back and forth in time, and reveals the effect that something so horrific can have on a person. It shows the detectives questioning all the skater-boys in the high school - prodding for answers because they know the death was caused by foul play, as they have recovered a skateboard with the guard's DNA on it (though how the DNA wasn't compromised after being in the water I don't know).

The curious detective also questions the boys individually, and I doubt Alex could have looked more guilty than at that moment. He had the whole 'shifting eyes and avoiding the questions' thing going on.

There are a few other aspects of teenage life thrown in to kill time- Alex's girlfriend wants to have sex, and when they do, she calls all her friends and brags about it, then Alex breaks up with her - ? (Sounds like role-reversal there). Also there are some scenes of Alex going about his daily life, which are EXCEEDINGLY boring! Alex on the sofa, thinking or writing in a journal. Alex in his room, thinking or writing in his journal. Alex on a bench down by the ocean, thinking or writing in his journal! Alex walking down the street (nearly always shot in slow motion), thinking. Alex walking down the halls of the school, thinking. Just pointless filler.
The movie's running time wasn't all that long anyway (something like 85 minutes), and if you took out all the walking and thinking, it would be 15 minutes long, if that.
It is my assumption that we, as viewers, are to be amazed at the filmmakers uncanny ability to capture the essence of teenage life and the guilt that has taken over Alex's every thought. Yeah, I got that, ok? First 10 minutes and I understood he was pretty fucked up over his enormous life error, ok? I GET IT!!

To add insult to misery, the music that plays during this movie is some of the worst hogwash I have ever heard. It is not a score. They used random, genre-jumping, irritating songs (?) which quite honestly made me want to jab a pencil in my eye - or should I say ear?

This film is based on a book by Blake Nelson, and while I think the source material has almost certainly got to be more interesting, the film lacked any cohesiveness for me. I absolutely couldn't wait for it to be over, and was flipping through a magazine to pass the time by the last half hour. The ending.... well, let's just say there really wasn't an ending. One of those "go either way" kind of finishes. That was just the final punch in the gut for me.

I like all genres of film. Meaning this: if it has a decent or at least tolerable plot, I'm generally gonna like it. I really don't diss much - I can count on one hand the amount of movies I could not find any redeeming qualities in. Well, I might have to start on the other hand as of today.
I have such a hard time believing the same director that fronted 'Good Will Hunting' and 'To Die For' filmed this shit-fest. But then again, he was the same man who thought a shot-for-shot remake of Psycho was a good idea! Ugh!

Maybe I'm wrong, but this movie was just meaningless and insignificant, and may have been a better story if it was on an episode of Law and Order!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Morbid Anniversary

Today in 1978 was the day that the Jonestown Mass Suicides took place.

I debated on which of my blogs to put this entry, but decided it was, in fact, more grim and disturbing than pretty much any horror movie I have ever seen.

November 18, 1978

*Jonestown is the notorious "community" of followers of the charismatic yet mentally deranged Jim Jones.
In other words, a cult. And the worst one in history. They called themselves "The Peoples Temple"...
These people wrote the book on cults. Jones established his own town in the country of Guyana, in South America, and "led" his people from California to his self-proclaimed paradise.
He really was demented and unhinged to think it was morally acceptable to have 900 people commit suicide together. Under any circumstances.

Jim Jones

On this date 30 years ago, 909 people died - only two of which were not poisoned by Potassium Cyanide in grape Flavor-Aid (no, it was NOT Kool-Aid) - most of which drank the concoction willingly. Jones called it "revolutionary suicice", and had his followers believing it when he commanded: "Stop this hysterics. This is not the way for people who are Socialists or Communists to die. No way for us to die. We must die with some dignity."

To attempt to explain his bizarre beliefs would be something I am not knowledgable enough to handle. I cannot understand socialism, communism, and all of the other aspects of his wacky ideas and axis of evil. You can go online and google it - there is no shortage of info available on the subject.

On that gruesome day, syringes with the poison in it were squirted down infants and children's throats. Jones thought that if the children died first, the parents and grandparents would have no reason to live. Everyone else followed suit.

It took about 5 minutes to die. That's actually a long time when it's your last moments.
Jones was found with a gunshot wound to the neck, apparently self-inflicted. To which I ask the question: was he too much of a coward to die by cyanide? What the hell?

The events at Jonestown constituted the greatest single losses of American civilian life in a non-natural disaster until the incidents of September 11, 2001.

What else can I say?
Except that it is equally as important to remember these anniversaries as those ones that bring us cheer and happiness. I was only 10 when this tragedy happened, but I remember it well.
Still do.

Info gathered from Wikipedia, as usual.

Monday, November 17, 2008

I Love Bond...

Went to see Quantum of Solace this weekend.
Loved it.
Some of my thoughts: click here.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Oddity of the week

Occassionally, I like to surf the web for stories of the strange and bizarre.

I think this fits the bill:

In October, Travis Fessler of Florence, Ohio, broke the Guinness Book record by holding 11 Madagascar hissing cockroaches in his mouth for the mandatory 10 seconds.
[Cincinnati Enquirer, 10-13-08]

Madagascar Hissing Cockroach

Seriously! People will do anything for attention.
Where was he when Fear Factor was looking for these kind of numbskulls??

(found at: )

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Even in death he had the final word

Headline: "Husband's coffin kills wife on way to cemetery"

Check it out here.

I can't make this shit up, folks.

I want to be cremated immediately.

Pathology (2008) stars Milo Ventimiglia (Heroes) as Dr. Ted Grey, a man with a promising future as a forensic pathologist. He's a new resident (doctor) at a prestigious pathology program at a renowned hospital, has a beautiful, wealthy fiance (Alyssa Milano) and seems to be on the right track to a blessed life.

Then he meets (and pisses off then impresses) his fellow young brilliant doctors in the department. They convince him he should be part of their funky after hours morgue game - namely, killing off unknown patients and the random street person for the sake of disguising the cause of death... then they can all rack their brains trying to figure out what happened and one-up each other.

Naturally, in a Flatliners-reminiscent kind of way, things get messed up. Someone goes too far (as if they hadn't already)...

Being set in a morgue, you have dead bodies and autopsies galore to stare at while watching Ted struggle with his conscience and try to keep the truth from his girlfriend, which includes multiple promiscuous interludes (read: all-out sex) with a fellow fiery resident.

There is alot of gore, guts and cutting and not much else.
Ok, some gratuitous drug use and sex in the autopsy suite as well. Let's not forget that. I mean, who doesn't want to have sex beside a dead body, right?

By the time Dr. Grey snaps out of it and realizes how completely wrong his actions are (!), he cannot get out of the game. He's in way too deep.

Pathology seems like a decent premise, but homicide for the fun of it has been done many times before.
Pretty much everyone else (doctors outside the game, police, family) is completely clueless to all this mayhem and that seems so very unlikely.
Basically this is just criminal mischief and murder by a bunch of smart asses with a God complex...with some gruesome effects thrown in for good measure.

I can't say I hated it, I just think it had a bit more potential than it ended up with.
Did this even make it to the theater?
Nope, I didn't think so.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

No thanks, I'll take the bus.

Creep is a British horror movie from 2005 that I just watched recently and found somewhat interesting.
The premise:
In London, Kate (Franka Potente, below) is headed to a late-night party and ends up taking the subway (or tubes or rails I think they call them overseas).

She is tired after a long day (and evening of partying!) and while waiting for the last train (to take her to a party where she apparently thinks she is going to seduce George Clooney- I shit you not), she accidentally falls asleep.

When she wakes up, she is alone at the station. Apparently she has been locked in.
Now if I'm being honest here, I had no idea, for one thing, that the subway ever closed in London. Does it? And if it does, what are the chances that the subway employees would neglect to wake you up and shoo you out?
It makes for a very spooky setting.

Anyhoo- Kate is locked in and soon becomes rather paranoid. She thinks she is not alone.
She's not. There is something lurking in the bowels of the underground and it has discovered she is there.

Here is our "creep".

He is some kind of mutant, not completely unlike the cave dwellers from 'The Descent', with a little bit of Darkman thrown in.
He's got some kind of doctor-complex and has an oogey collection of fetuses in his makeshift laboratory. I didn't completely get the whole reason that he was down there - maybe they said and I missed it, I don't know. In any event, Dr. Creep is determined to pick up a few chicks - what he will do with them... you don't really want to know.

While obviously not a big budget film, it does have some atmosphere - after all, wouldn't the subway one of the most un-nerving places to become stranded and alone?
It really put me in mind of that dude in 'An American Werewolf In London' - the one that gets attacked by the werewolf in the subway. The walls are all so starkly white and the blood just shows up sooo well. Same case here.

Kate is not completely alone, she finds out. Besides the Creep, there are some homeless people, a subway/sewer maintenence guy, and a few other random folks. There have to be others there so as to increase the body count, right?
I wouldn't have been too disappointed if they did away with Kate right away, a 'la Psycho - she was actually a fairly vain, annoying and vapid character.

But for a low-budget scarefest, this isn't the worst thing you could watch. The acting was decent enough, and like I said it had its scary moments. Not anything to lose sleep over though. It was basically a cat and mouse chase in subterranean tunnels.

One of those WTF? times in life...

Oh crap, I think I was supposed to like this.

striking a '300'-type pose...
As if.

'Jack Brooks, Monster Slayer' (2007) is really something... different.
I think, by reading many reviews on various sites (amazon, netflix, rotten tomatoes, etc.), that I am supposed to be enamoured with this satirical movie.
Well, sue me - I didn't care for it.

The only thing for me that remotely saved this film is the comedic and sometimes downright hysterical performance of horror veteran Robert Englund. I think he must have owed someone or been a relative of a producer or something - otherwise I cannot imagine why he chose to do this.

Robert Englund as Professor Crowley

Jack (Trevor Matthews) is a plumber in small town USA. He has serious anger management issues because when he was young, he saw his parents and little sister savagely murdered by some kind of bigfoot-el chupacabra-Jersey Devil-type of monster. Ever since then he has just been pissed. He sees a counselor but it just doesn't seem to be working.

"Jack" - our hero

His annoying girlfriend (so lousy in this role I can't remember her name) suggests he take a night class to calm his nerves. Why this would help I don't know. If I was always angry, sitting through a boring science class would only serve to make my head explode in even more anger.
But he goes.

His professor (Englund) catches him after class to ask for some help with a plumbing problem at his recently aquired home which he is renovating.
Of course this turns out to be the old house on the hill with the shady past and troubling secrets.

When the Professor Crowley unearths (literally, in his back yard) an ancient evil, all hell breaks loose. He slowly turns into a freakshow of a monster - culminating in him basically turning into Jabba the Hut with JAWS teeth right there in the classroom. Yes. Seriously.
I know this was all meant to be tongue-in-cheek, but I just couldn't take an interest in it no matter how hard I tried. It just fell flat for me. There was like, no action for a good hour into the thing.

While I can appreciate schlock movies as much as the next person, I just couldn't get into this snoozefest. It took way too long to get going, the acting was beyond bad (even if they were trying for camp they were failing), and the monsters were just plain silly and out of place.
This is even worse than a saturday in front of the tv watching a sci-fi monster movie marathon.
To me, funny is "Shaun of the Dead", ok?
I just kept thinking "man, this has got to get better"... but alas, it did not.

However...I acknowledge and and thankful for the lack of CGI in this movie. It is my understanding that the effects were practical and not dubbed in with computers. I am respectful of the hard work that was put into this motion picture. But for me, it was like a Disney movie gone wrong. Very wrong.
It was just sluggish, simple-minded and moronic.

save me from this bad movie!

Dawn of a new era

Can't really say much more than this:

Guess we'll see what happens from here...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Make your voice heard!!

Monday, November 3, 2008

They Wait...

They Wait (2008) is a ghost story, first and foremost.
It relies on a creepy story as opposed to lots of gore and empty plot.
While nowhere near as scary as say 'The Ring' or 'The Grudge' (which is what they were going for here I think), it still is a slow burning, atmospheric film.
Though I have to say - I think the title is pretty half-baked.

The opening sequences (one of a present day Chinese man apparently hunting in the woods who gets attacked by what looks like a spirit bear, the other of a time 50 years in the past - in which a group of factory owners seem to be packing boxes and getting them prepared to send overseas) all figure into the plot significantly - you just don't know it yet.

Fast forward to the present yet again:

Sarah (Jaime King) has been living in Shanghai with her (chinese) husband Jason (Terry Chen)and their young son Sam (well acted by tyke Regan Oey).
Seems Jason is a big wig in his family business and that has kept the family overseas setting up an office for longer than anticipated.
When Jason's uncle Raymond dies unexpectedly (you find out that this is the man killed by the bear-spirit in the beginning), the family heads back home to the Pacific Northwest for the funeral and to stay awhile with the ill-natured and somewhat cranky widowed aunt, who apparently raised Jason.

Of importance to the plot is the information that Raymond and two associates were involved in some sort of benefactory practice of shipping the bones of deceased Chinese immigrants back to China for burial, as it is believed that if they are not laid to rest with their ancestors, they will be unable to rest. In other words - they will be unsettled ghosts.

So, soon after arriving back in Vancouver (in Chinatown of course), things start to get funky for little Sam.
He's creeped out by his favorite teddy bear, is afraid of the dark, and he starts seeing 'ghosts' taking the offerings from out on the street that people leave for the dead.
He finds out it is 'Ghost Month' - an old Chinese tradition that during this month in the year, the veil between the living and dead is broken. He develops more than a passing interest in the folklore and beliefs of this symbolism.
In fact, he becomes quite frightened by it.
Furthermore, he starts seeing a ghost of a young woman at his aunt's home, and being curious, follows it to the mysterious factory in the lower level of the warehouse/home.
Soon, Sarah herself also begins to experience some strange visions, but when Jason is called back to Shanghai for a business emergency, she stays on to help the aunt out for awhile.

Little Sam suddenly becomes ill and is hospitalized and near death.
Western medicine is unsuccessful in treating the boy, so Sarah does her own research into the strange goings-on in the factory, as well as the history of these cryptic Chinese cultures and traditions of death and ghosts.
She has some help with her apprehensions and concerns from an old-school "pharmacist" - more like a chinese herbal guru of sorts that knows all these philiosophies and legends and what will befall the little boy if the mother doesn't uncover the truth about what really happened in that factory, why the malevolent spirits have chosen Sammy to torment, and he also knows a bit about how Jason's family is involved.

I was pleasantly surprised to find this film. I like a good ghost story, and while it is not The Changeling, it is a refreshing change to see a movie that does not depend on gore and special effects to tell its tale.
There is alot of plot here, and while at first confusing, the tale is woven well and the ending is satisfying.

Truth be told, I found this to be more of a mystery than a horror film. There aren't alot of outright scares - I can only think of one thing that made me shudder. It tries to be similar in theme to most J-Horror movies, but doesn't quite produce the same scares most of those films are known for.
Still, I have trouble finding fault in most horror movies, because I enjoy them so much - and I have definately seen much much worse than this in my lifetime. (like, say- 'Feast 2' or 'Borderline Cult'!- aaarrrrgghhhh! save me from the seventh circle of hell that those films are in!)

So- give 'They Wait' a chance - the acting (in particular the little boy) is good, the story is original, and the ending tied up all the loose strings.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

When Holidays Converge

Merry Christmas for Halloween!!

My generous in-laws decided to get the hubby and I a new tv for Christmas.
With all this talk of HD this and that, and tvs shutting down in February (which wouldn't have happened to us because we have a satellite and not an antenna), we'd been talking about that day in the future when we would get a new (nicer and larger) tv...

Well Merry Christmas in October.

Just in time for Halloween, the in-laws got us this lovely 40 inch flatscreen HDtv - it's a Sony Bravia, and I suppose that means something... to me it just means bigger and better.

They didn't want to wait to give it to us.. and so I say: thanks!!!!!

Of course we had some re-arranging to do, as we had a big oak entertainment center in our living room, and this tv would never have fit in the specific 'tv opening'... so it was out with the old (and now what do we do with this big honkin' entertainment center??) and in with the new.

And what did we watch to christen the tv?
Why 'Sweeney Todd' of course!

It was awesome seeing Johnny on that big screen!

We've still got some re-arranging and cord-tucking to do, but I am pleased as punch and look forward to seeing my other evil heroes bigger and badder than ever.

To be fair, I did watch Evil Dead II also - and those laughing deer heads were bigger and funnier than ever!

Setting the holiday mood...
(note the jack-o-lantern!)

Jigsaw's back!

So, in the great tradition of Halloween, I went to see Saw V.

My favorite uncle, Shawn, and I always go see a horror movie near Halloween, and the last several years it has been a no-brainer what to see. (Regardless of the fact that this year there wasn't much to actually choose from, seeing as how studios ripped 'Trick 'r Treat' from release yet again, 'The Haunting of Mary Hartley' sounds like a Lifetime movie of the week, and 'Quarantine' seemed to make a hasty exit into oblivion...)

But hey, we've been watching Jigsaw make his magic happen since way back.

This year is no different. Lots of traps, loads of blood, and enough confusion to make a Logic professor have sleepless nights.
Now, I don't want to give the impression that we are seeing something new here, or even that this is one of the better horror movies of the year (I'd give those kudos to 'The Strangers') but hey, it was Halloween, people!)...
Saw V is completely unoriginal and the concept is absolutely redundant and convoluted - purely there to throw some torture porn your way. So check your brain at the door (no pun intended) and just deal with it.

But Jigsaw died at the end of part 3! - you say.
Ahhh... but there is always a creative way to keep a killer in a scary movie, ask any horror buff.
If you 'saw' part 4, you know they did an autopsy on the creepy dude - so how do you bring someone back from that?

This ain't how.... (but it's a great photo and it does have a hidden meaning)

And try to remember Jigsaw has a habit of not working alone. Remember Amanda?
And by bringing in new characters, there always seems to be a method to his madness.
Besides, if Tobin Bell doesn't have the eeriest, if not one of the most recognizable voices in film, I'll eat my hat (though I'm actually not wearing one...)

You just have to have that "hello Amanda... I want to play a game" thing going on!

I can't really go into the plot without giving key points away, so I'll just say that though the traps are pretty decent - they may be running out of ideas at this stage of the game.

it sucks to be you, dude!

But I like the one best where there is a giant pendulum type blade swinging over this poor guy -suffice it to say it doesn't end well...

you can't see the overhead blade, but he sure can.

And in true Saw fashion, there are time constraints.
Never enough time before the door 'locks and shuts for all eternity'.
Never enough time before the guy next to you stabs you in the back, on purpose!
Never enough time to figure out the trap before it slams shut and somebody's body is never the same.
Never enough time to find the secret warehouse where all these traps and gizmos are set up.
Never enough time to secretly wish you hadn't killed, cheated, stole, or lied in your lifetime.
Never enough time to wish that freaking puppet would wreck his damn tricycle!

just. never. enough. time.

time is just about up...

End game.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!!!

Head Trauma

Head Trauma is a pretty weird and freaky film.
I think they had the right idea but it wasn't totally realized in the film.

George (Vince Mola) has been away for 20 years. It is never said where he has been, but he has recently arrived back in his home town after this long absence.
He has returned to claim his grandmother's house which is scheduled for demolition. It is condemned and so George wants to fix it up to save it from the wrecking ball.
He sets up camp (seriously, he literally sets up a tent in the living room of the empty house) and sets about cleaning things up.

A neighbors grandson comes over to investigate, and he and George have a scuffle because George thinks he's a squatter and neighbor Julian thinks he's broken into the home. George succeeds in falling down some steps and hitting his head in the little fight.

On a side note, this is apparently where the 'head trauma' title comes from. I don't really like the title after seeing the whole film - it deserves a more fitting title. It is not a medical mystery like the name eludes to. And it almost gives too much away.
I can only assume they chose that title becuase the trauma to George's head is what has given way to all the paranoia and fear that starts.

Anyway, Julian is scolded by his grandma and made to help George clean up the house in retribution for 'throwing him down the steps'. So George and Julian make up.

A few days into the refurbishing, George starts seeing and hearing things, and believes that perhaps something bad has happened in the house. He starts to believe there are evil spirits after him, and with all the weird shit going on, you don't know whether there is something evil at work or if perhaps George should just punch his ticket for the looney tunes ride right now.

There is alot of creepy imagery and bizarre flashbacks that move this film along, but at times it is confusing.
Like the remotely similar Session 9, you are given clues (in the flashbacks and visions) that elude to the mystery of the house and of George - and it becomes obvious to the viewer that something very bad has perhaps happened in George's past and he has either outright forgotten it - or has chosen to put it away somewhere in his mind.

Head Trauma has alot of spooky moments, and I love the dark atmosphere it has.
But it is certainly not an action film - and those that like their horror fast paced will want to head elsewhere for their thrills.
But I'd give it a solid 3/5.


Apparently this is based on true events.

Here's the synopsis of the movie -

Brandi (Mena Suvari) is a nurse assistant at a rather large nursing home, and she is up for a pretty nice promotion.
But Brandi likes to party with fellow co-workers and her drug-dealing boyfriend until late into the mornings.
One night, after some hefty drinking and popping some ecstasy, she gets in her car - utterly messed up - and promptly barrells down the street, slamming into a homeless guy crossing the street.

This presents a real dilemma for our girl.
The dude she hit is now STUCK - I mean wedged in like a vienna sausage in one of those little cans - in her front windshield. The windshield wiper is even impaling him through the side, let alone the compound leg fractures and obvious other bloody injuries.
And he's still alive.

Now, Brandi could do the smart thing (call 911 for pete's sake!) - and she even thinks about doing the next smartest thing (drop him at the ER)... but when she arrives at the ER (yes, she's still driving around with this poor gent stuffed in the windshield) there are medics taking an ambulance out and she is unable to just drop him off without being seen.

So she does the unimaginable.
She drives home and pulls the car into her garage.
To think that someone actually did this just amazes me.

Her louse of a boyfriend (who had a separate car and had to go to the store before going to her house) then arrives and she tells him all about it. He thinks she has struck a bum and left him for dead and no-one will even know. She lets him believe this and they hit the bedroom for some nocturnal fun. (again, can you believe it?)

Meanwhile, Tom (homeless guy) is awake and trying to figure out how to get out of the car.
These events all takes place over the course of just a day or so.

In another ghastly move, Brandi calls a taxi and goes to work the next day - leaving poor Tom dying in the garage.
When at work she is reprimanded for not calling if she was going to be late.
This is when Brandi discovers she left her cell phone in the car!

I don't want to spoil the ending, so I'll just leave it at that.

This film is actually just a gruesome morality play.
What would you do? Up for a big promotion, don't want to get busted for alcohol and drugs, let alone leaving the scene of a crime...

Well, I'd have called 911 regardless of the outcome, but hey- that's just me.

Much more of a black comedy than a straight forward horror film, this is one unique and original story.

Ripped from the headlines, it proves truth really IS stranger than fiction.

movie poster for 'Stuck'...

My pic for Halloween.
Wish you were here.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Someone needs to cut the grass...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Just wanted to give a big shout-out to my favorite podcast!

They are celebrating one year of podcasting and I have to say thanks for all the awesome episodes, guys! You've kept me totally entertained!

If you haven't had a chance to hear Ted and Tony ramble on aimlessly (just kidding!), you really need to gear up your MP3 player and give these guys a listen. Or just go to their website and hear it there.

They really know their horror and each week gift their listeners with conversations ranging from the latest movie to scary tv to conventions, gaming, books, music and all things horror!
Sometimes there is a theme, such as 'J-horror' or 'Tim Burton' - sometimes they just do a 'from the hip' episode and discuss whatever comes to mind - horror related of course!
For instance, recently they did a super episode on Kevin Bacon. When you think about how many genre films the man has done, it's amazing the episode wasn't split in two.

You can find a direct download for the show at or you can get it from iTunes - either way it's free and you can't go wrong with these two. They are intelligent and have alot of fun doing it.... and by fun I don't mean they are a couple of drunks giggling and talking about themselves like alot of awful podcasts I have heard!

There is also a cool forum where people like us (weirdos that live and breathe horror) can chat amoungst other like-minded folks! Hey, I'd rather be weird than ordinary, right?
It's easy to register, so get on there!

So thanks again to for a year of great tuesday nights - and here's to another year, and another, and another... etc!

This one is in Ireland.
Nice gate.


Oh yes, this movie is Jaws on Outback acid!

I wasn't expecting much from this movie, simply because I figured it was more of a 'crazed giant animal on the loose' movie-of-the-week.

Not so.
Simply put, 'Rogue', as you can tell by the dvd cover, is about a rogue, oversized crocodile in Australia and a group of tourists who get stranded in the croc's territory.

Surprisingly, I really liked this film. Compared with the other croc movie 'Primevil' (2007), this movie was Psycho and Primevil was the remake of Prom Night (ugh).

It is by the director (Greg McLean) of the un-nerving 'Wolf Creek' - and that guy knows something about tension.
And it wasn't like a creature feature of the week kind of thing. It was so much better than that.
The croc was a BIG one, yes - but not too unbelieveable.
In the dvd extras they explained they didn't want something that wasn't true-to-life, so they found that the biggest croc down there that anyone knew of was like 37 meters big (!!!) so they went with just 35 meters. Still, the thing was so huge. It really looked pretty authentic- they used both animatronic crocs and a bit of CGI - it was extremely realistic in my humble opinion.

I believe I will purchase this dvd for sure when the price goes below 10 bucks. It's worth multiple viewings in my book.

Radha Mitchell & Michael Vartan

The stars (Radha being of Silent Hill fame and Vartan was on Alias if you remember) were quite worthy and added a bit of star quality to the flick.

Story goes like this: Pete (Vartan) is a travel reporter on location in the Australian outback.
He takes a scenic river tour guided by Kate (Mitchell). Educationally, she seems to know what she's talking about and the tour is going along fine with its cast of random stereotypical characters on board (the asshole, the sickly mother, the mourning stranger, the annoying bickering couple, the token beer-guzzling locals and such).
Then some of the tourists think they saw a signal flare along the rocky cliffs at river's edge, so Kate goes to a secluded area of the river that is not part of the tour to see if someone is in distress. Turns out, it's them.

(Of course right here is where you stop and say wait a sec...)

But they proceed and end up stranding themselves on a tiny island of sorts along the river that is quickly being overtaken by the tide... as well as our friend the giant croc.
The remaining half of the movie has our heroes attempting to find a way to escape the wrath of the deadly killer.

The director pulls a Spielberg in that he doesn't show the crocodile until pretty far along into the film, and at one of those 'holy shit!' moments. Well done.
Some aspects are of course preposterous, but this IS a monster movie of sorts, right?

Basically it adheres to the notion that crocodiles are absolutely territorial and will defend their homes with a violence and cruelty like no other beast.
I couldn't help but think of the late Steve Irwin while watching this, and I tended to wonder if he'd ever come across a croc of this size. If so, I'm willing to bet a year's salary that he hasn't tackled it and tried to relocate it.
"Have a look at this little beauty!..... Isn't she just dahhhling?"
(Miss you, Steve.)

Rogue is not a gore-fest but should satisfy any horror fan with a hunger for a good monster flick.
The cinematography is fantastic, and shows the Northern Territory of Australia in all its stark wonder and natural beauty. It's like watching an R-rated National Geographic show, or perhaps 'Wild Kingdom' (I'm dating myself with that remark).

So I would have to recommend this movie as a must-see. It's so hard to find decent creature features that aren't bad enough to have a Mystery Science Theater dialogue added to it.
Check it out.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Strangers

I've heard this movie: The Strangers, is based on true events.
Or at the very least, inspired by them.

I wouldn't go as far as to say I believe that, but I can believe it would happen, especially in this day and age.

The Strangers is a disturbing movie, and meant to be that way.
Everyone's seen the movie trailer, either in theaters or during a 30 second tv spot:

"why us?"
"because you were home..."

Now, I was expecting to truly be scared. I mean, as scared as I was at the end of the Blair Witch Project the very first time I saw it. Freaked.

I wasn't freaked.
But I was, I won't deny it, spooked.

James (Scott Speedman) and Kristen (Liv Tyler) are headed to a family house in the country after a celebratory night that turned sour. Already, tempers are flaring and you can cut the tension with a knife.
Soon though, they tame things down a bit and they start to get their groove on in reconcilliation.

Then there comes a knock at the door.

Seeing as how it is just after 4 am, they cannot imagine who would be knocking at this late hour.
They answer the door, and there is a girl, half in shadow, who asks if Terri (or some other name, forgive me I forget) is home. When they answer no and the girl says 'Are you sure?', that should have been their first clue. I mean, who would say that? Yeah, I'm pretty sure!

Things go downhill from there.

Chilling scenes of these 'strangers' in various locations start: outside behind a tree, sitting on a swing, standing in the back of a room in the house un-noticed... all are terrifying in their own way. They all wear white masks, albeit different ones - as you can see below.

What do the strangers want?

Apparently just to at first tease and toy with, and then torment and terrify our couple.
And they do just that, until it escalates to a somewhat unexpected conclusion.

What is most disturbing about this film is that this can actually happen, at any time, to anyone, anywhere...

There is a french movie 'Ils' (aka 'Them') which I have seen and it is very similar in theme.

I blogged about it here.

I can't say I prefer the french 'version' of this story - they both have equally frightening segments. Liv Tyler is very believable and genuine, and Speedman is equally up to the task.

And it was scary - in a real life kind of way.

But I was still able to go out my front door and onto my porch and un-plug my halloween light-up pumpkin right afterwards, so make of that what you will...