Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sunday Bloody Sunday

Haute Tension

Friday the 13th

True Blood


Dawn of the Dead

HorrorBlips: vote it up!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Re-casting CLUE...

I've always loved Clue.

Call me a geek, call me silly, whatever. When I was a kid I played the board game any chance I got (yes, I'm from the era when we didn't have X-boxes and Play Stations, ok?) and was really good at it. And I thank my mother for all those hours she sat and entertained me.

When they made the movie back in 1985 I was all about that.
It is hilarious, I don't care who you are.

So....I've always wondered what it would be like to re-make it (not that it could ever reach the same ridiculous comedic tone the first one had) and so today I give you my re-casting choices.

A dream cast from the get-go, can't you just imagine the movie with these actors in the roles?

The original cast:

...and my choices, starting with Wadsworth the butler.

Tim Curry was fab. No doubt made the entire film. So I was thinking who else could lend that much humor to the role - and naturally Simon Pegg came to mind.

* * *

Casting the house help wasn't too hard.

First, Jenny McCarthy in the role of Yvette (played by Colleen Camp in the original)...
Jenny has the comedic chops and the (a-hem) body to get this one right.

* * *

The cook, Ms. Ho (Kellye Nakahara of M*A*S*H fame) will be replaced with Kathy Bates.

I believe she has some previous experience with kitchen utensils at some point in her career.

* * *

And now for the main players:

Christopher Lloyd as Professor Plum...

Philip Seymour Hoffman as the perverted Professor.

* * *

The wonderful Madeline Kahn brought life to Mrs. White...

I see Anna Paquin as a somewhat younger version of the "grieving" widow.

* * *

Michael McKean as the closeted Mr. Green would be replaced by:

Steve Carell. Because the man is funny, okay?

* * *

Eileen Brennan played Mrs. Peacock the bribe-accepting politician's wife.

Like I said, dream casting. Meryl Streep could be kooky enough if she wanted to.

* * *

Martin Mull, to me, would be hard to top. His performance in the movie as the always curious, nervous-Nellie war profiteer, Colonel Mustard was my favorite.

Could Gary Oldman break a smile long enough to portray the part?

* * *

I really wanted to go different for Miss Scarlet, for as much as I liked Leslie Ann Warren, I never thought she matched the playing card enough, you know? She, to me, didn't exude the sexual chemistry that I thought the role deserved.
I thought long and hard and in the end, after I'd had several possibilities (Eliza Dushku, Kate Beckinsale) I settled on an actress not as well known for movies as for television.

Lindsay Price would have been a perfect choice for Scarlet. I can absolutely see her with the cigarette holder that was so popularized over the years and all the different versions of the game. I think she's quite sexy, and I like the idea of having someone with not as much star power in the role.

* * *

I also picked out a Mr. Boddy, the blackmailer who is killed off in the beginning and is the entire reason everyone is playing detective in the first place.

Lee Ving (actually a punk rocker from the band, Fear) portrayed Mr. Boddy in the movie.

I've cast Alec Baldwin. Well, because he looks the part.

* * *

Let's not forget the three unfortunates who came to the door of the mansion that evening during the nefarious events.

A stranded motorist:

Jeffrey Kramer/Josh Hartnett

* * *

A singing telegram girl:

Jane Wiedlin/Katy Perry

* * *

And a policeman:

Bill Henderson/Tony Todd (because I had to give the genre great some love...)

* * *

And who could be better to replace Howard Hesseman (in a cameo seen only in the rare fourth ending version) as the police chief?

Why, Tommy Lee Jones, of course!

* * *

There you go. Bad choices or inspired casting?

Comments? Opinions?

Friday, January 29, 2010

Women in Horror and more...

Just a few random notes on this frigid friday in western Pennsylvania.

First off, Monday begins Women in Horror Recognition Month.

This is the brainchild of Hannah Neurotica of Ax Wound 'Zine , so I pass along thanks to her for being so damn brilliant. You can read about it here, here, and here.

As you may have read before at this site, I am doing something special to celebrate the occasion.
Each day in February I will spotlight a female villain in horror. It won't be a dissertation or thesis on each one, just a paragraph or two on why they deserved mentioning. That, in and of itself, was no lightweight task. I've been working on it for over a month...yikes.

That being said, it will not be a countdown to the 'best' or anything of that sort. That would be crazy-hard, and waaay too time consuming for someone who actually has a full-time daytime job, as well as a husband that doesn't live and breathe horror like I do. As much as I would love to "rate" these frightening femmes, I would go crazy trying to do so. I mean, do you go with someone insanely brutal like La Femme, or someone simply insane - like May? A vengeful ghost like Kayako from The Grudge, or someone just vengeful - like Carrie?
You see my dilemma.

What you get is a villain a day taking center stage. When I first decided to take this project on, I was wary of being able to think of enough to fill all 28 days... but then I started writing names down, and holy shit - I got to over fifty! So now the task has been narrowing the list down.
I will without a doubt have enough leftover to do an also-ran list sometime in March.

So, keep a look out for your favorites - Samara, La Femme, Mrs. Voorhees, Annie Wilkes - just to name a few.

And while I'm at it, I'm not the only one with something on the horizon for Women in Horror Month - Sarah at Fatally Yours will be doing a month-long spotlight on the subject, Rhonny Reaper of Dollar Bin Horror is running a Viral Scream Queen of the Day, and BJ-C over at Day of the Woman even held a contest to decide what to do to honor the month - she had so many great ideas she couldn't decide - so tune in to her blog to see what won out.
Many others are participating, so stay tuned for all the festivities.

Just a note: Mindless Movie Monday will be on a mini-hiatus during WiH month, but will return in March with more pointless yet (sometimes) entertaining entries.
Sunday Bloody Sunday will remain active, because everyone needs a little gore to start the week.

Also in February I will be bringing you the aforementioned interview with my dear cyber-friend, James Gracey - author of the forthcoming book on the films of Dario Argento - who also happens to have an awesome horror blog, Behind the Couch. (Jump on that bandwagon and be a follower - he's on Facebook as well, where Behind the Couch is a Networked Blog, so if you're on FB, hit that up as well!)

James writes a review that is so articulate and so freakishly first-rate that in the event that he was a major fan of Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, he'd make you one too. This guy should be writing books, and voilà! - he is.

And of course, anyone worth their salt in horror has seen at the very least one Argento film (come on people - at least Suspiria, right?). And most true horror fans hold Argento in very high regard and whisper his name only in the upper echelon of their power rankings - right up there with Hitchcock and Romero.
Therefore, a book breaking down Argento's career film by film sounds pretty good, 'eh?
So keep your eye out for the American interviewing the Irishman about the Italian, okay?

I've also got a few other ideas for the blog festering inside my head, but to be honest, it may be March before anything is realized at this point.
Fascination With Fear also celebrates its TWO year anniversary in March, so I will have to think of something earth-shattering to do for that milestone. Wait for it...

That's all for now;)

HorrorBlips: vote it up!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Perfect Creature -- Natural Selection Vampires

Recently I went to see Daybreakers, and it got me thinking about another vampire movie I've seen not all that long ago.
Perfect Creature (2006) never had a theatrical release in the US, so there may be many that haven't seen it - or perhaps not even heard of it.
I'm always skeptical of vampire films these days, what with all the Twilight hubaloo- but this movie seemed different, darker. I was pleased I took a chance on it as I think it is one of the more original vamp films I've seen in awhile.

The New Zealand setting is a bleak, fabulously dark city that seems like a cross between Victorian England and Gotham City from the Batman films.

I'd expect to see the giant Batman spotlight at any given moment...

Showcasing the slums and the police force that tries to keep things in check there makes for a very gloomy, desperate vision. In an alternate history, vampires are a race of evolved, higher intelligence beings, and have all the typical enhancements that you normally see in vamps - better vision and hearing, greater strength, etc. They were simply "born" over 300 years ago and have taken it upon themselves to be the protectors of mankind. They formed a church of sorts, and call themselves Brothers.

Stepford Husbands...

It is important to note that not one of the vamps are born female.

Humans look up to and admire the vampires, no doubt because they have never harmed them (they never take blood directly from a human source) and have earned their trust by protecting them for years. The humans donate blood willingly for the vampires via a blood bank, and things have apparently been running smoothly for some time. In over 300 years the vampires have not attacked a human.

Then the murders occur. People found in alleyways with their throats bitten open. Police are at a loss to determine how it happened because generally, the Brothers have total restraint, order, and control.

Looking for the next desperate housewife...

The Brothers allow Silus (our main protagonist vamp, played by Dougray Scott) to team up with a Lily (Saffron Burrows) who is a sullen detective trying to solve the mystery.

"Give me a reason, bloodsucker..." (And no, she doesn't really say that!)

Seems Silus's brother Edgar (Leo Gregory) is a research scientist who has been searching for a way to create female vamps (would they call them Sisters?) because no vampires have been born in 70 years and they feel they may be losing their "control" over mankind. Renegade Edgar has also now concocted a virus - one that infects humans and turns them into stark raving lunatics.

Trying out for the lead in Saw VII

In other words, vampires gone rogue. Edgar is fed up with the human race and feels they would be better off either dead or like him. When he finds out Silus has developed feelings for Lily, he makes it his mission to attempt to infect her.
There are hints at romance but nothing ever comes to fruition because they are too busy looking for Edgar. But it is insinuated in many instances.

Okay, so there are still some classic stereotypes in place. Black clothing, obligatory brooding, and the whole "I shouldn't be with you because we're so wrong for each other" complication...but the film is distinctly different than others in the genre, such as the Underworld series or - god forbid - the Twilight movies. At the onset, Perfect Creature draws you into its steampunk-like enviroment. A gloomy, impoverished part of the city comes alive in front of your eyes.
And lets face it, I like vampires in any way, shape or form.

Ok, I like most vampires. Babies with fangs: just disturbing.

At times, the plot seems too complex or too baffling to understand, as if we are given just a little less than we need to know, but it really didn't interfere with my enjoyment of the movie. (Hell, a lot of movies have almost zero in the way of a plot, but I still enjoy them - usually if they have either superb acting, great atmosphere or at the very least someone nice to look at as the lead!)
Perfect Creature has a lot going on, and you can see where they've set it up for a sequel, which I would not be adverse to.

It has been called an action thriller, which is not how I would classify it at all. If you're looking for Lestat meets Lethal Weapon then think again. Yes there is action and there are thrills, but at the end of the day, this is simply a bold, unconventional vampire movie with good-looking leads, an original plot, and loads of grim ambience.

HorrorBlips: vote it up!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Mindless Movie Monday: Conjurer

Quite often, my mindless movie Mondays tend to showcase films that are on the cheesy or substandard side of horror. Today's outing, the independent film Conjurer (2008), is really neither of those. Mind you, it's not exactly a celebrated entry in the horror hall of fame, but I didn't waste my time watching it.

I've heard it was on the Sci-Fi channel (back when that is how they actually spelled it!) and that is always a pre-cursor to me being wary of a film's competence and ability to entertain me. But I didn't know this fact when I ordered it up off my Netflix queue, and I was reasonably gratified after viewing.

Shawn (Andrew Bowen) and Helen (Maxine Bahns) are moving to a house in the country because of the tragic loss of their baby and they really want to make a new start. Yes, I know that sounds incredibly clichéd, but moving on...
Helen's brother Frank (John Schneider) has loaned them money to get the place, as Shawn is a currently out of work photographer. Moving from the city to the country was no doubt the reason for that hardship.

The plan is to build a new house on the property, and until then they will stay in the older one. Shawn has his own demons from the past to overcome too, and a little subplot works its way into the larger picture here.

Things seem to be going fairly well at first - the house is a lovely little place on a few acres in seclusion and the two are enjoying painting and fixing things up.
There is a little cabin on the property as well, and it is scheduled to be torn down to make room for the new place.

Here is where things get a little spooky. Allegedly there is a local legend about a witch of some kind who used to live there back in the mid-1800's. (Of course there is!)

One night, Shawn sees a strange light emanating from the decrepit cabin. It's the first in a series of strange occurrences (i.e. sounds and visions) that wig Shawn out. Nightmares plague his nights, and during the day he starts seeing a mysterious crow all the time.

It first appears when he is checking out the abandoned cabin and doesn't let up. This, combined with a strange jar of teeth (!) he finds, make Shawn more than a little suspicious about the property.

Foolishly, he doesn't tell Helen, as he feels she is in too fragile a mind-set to bring it up. He instead has a few conversations with the previous owner, whose mother apparently knew the legend of the witch, Hattie.

She evidently is out for revenge against people who have or are about to have children because long ago, she got pregnant with the child of a married man. He killed the child and she cursed the land.
So when Helen ends up pregnant, she's at a loss to understand why Shawn is so determined to move them back to town and leave the sprawling countryside behind.
Fighting ensues.

The acting here is actually not too bad, especially from Bowen.

I even developed a mini-crush on him during viewing (I'm alright now). He brings a very believable performance to this slow-burning ghost story, and John Schneider has just the right amount of cocky brother-in-law/loving brother to get by. The actress playing Helen was respectable but nothing to write home about.

The ending is supposedly a twist, but honestly I saw it coming. It didn't ruin my enjoyment of the film, and if I hadn't seen soooo many other similar films in my lifetime perhaps I might not have caught on.
There's no CGI to speak of, no jump scares, no Oscar-worthy performances. But nothing truly brainless enough to make me turn it off or denounce it entirely.
Not much I can say other than to check it out if you are so inclined.