February 28, 2010

HOUSE (1986)

HOUSE, is a haunted house movie from the 80's, from Director Steve Miner of Friday the 13th part 2 and 3 fame, as well as writer Fred Dekker who brought us Night of the Creeps and Monster Squad.

With these two names in Horror, you'd think they would have set us up with an amazing film. While HOUSE is a fun tour around the premises, it feels more like a playground. The stage is set perfectly with Roger as our main character. He has a very distinct history with this house, so it doesn't feel forced as to why he's there., it just feels right.

As the movie moves on, they play into his Vietnam experience while he is writing. And while his flashbacks are a nice diversion from the house, it also adds another layer to the movie while also almost making it a war story... and of course, the source of Rogers fears.

While this makes for an interesting watch, the movie isn't scary in the least bit. Many consider this more of a Horror movie than a Comedy, and I'd say that's about right. But, while watching this, I never felt the urge to laugh...well, except for when the bad costumes are on screen (fat woman getting shot by shotgun.)

George Wendt, known as Norm of CHEERS fame, plays Rogers neighbor. I would dare say that the whole movie feels like a Horror movie but for kids. While missing things like gore, nudity, and scares, this really feels like a good starter movie for your child. It's all in how it's presented. Where as in Evil Dead it's disgusting and over the top, as in adults can enjoy it. But, in HOUSE, it's a little bland and pretty safe. While the effects and stuff are kind of cheesy, there are many instances in the film in which they are used to a pretty good degree... just don't expect to be scared.

If you're looking for a light hearted Horror movie, with a good story and a lot going for it in the costume department, and maybe something to watch with the kids, then this will work for you.

February 26, 2010

A few words on: In the Mouth of Madness (1994)

This is what I consider to be the last great John Carpenter movie, next to Vampires, of course.

Sam Neill stars as insurance investigator John Trent searching for known author Sutter Cane. He has recently disappeared, just in time with the impending release of a new book. John begins discovering that the impact the horror writer Sutter Cane's books have on his fans is more than inspirational. After having entered and escaped the village Hobbs End from Sutter Cane's books, he finds himself haunted by the writer and his last book.

This film is great, and has a lot of nods to H.P. Lovecraft. This is the way Horror should really be done. No jump scares, no gore, just straight up smart confusion. Sam Neill is great as John Trent, playing him calm, cool, collective, and very superstitious to all of this Sutter Cane nonsense...but the moment things aren't all they seem, his mentality begins to crack, and Neill plays it perfectly.

The overall look of the film is great as well. Really have to hand it to Carpenter on that one. The locations are perfect.

And now...one of my favorite scenes:

February 24, 2010

A great scene...

I still cannot get over how great Suspiria is. The overall look, feel, and the great story...it's amazing. Dario Argento had quite the eye when it came to Horror, almost mixing an eclectic view of Art, while mixing the grisliness of Horror. The sets were great to look at, giving it an otherworldly feel.

Dark Night of the Scarecrow (1981)

Dark Night of the Scarecrow was originally a made for TV movie. Considering such a thing, this is actually a decent movie. I have fond memories of watching this when I was a kid, and it was pretty creepy for its time.

It's definitely entertaining. From the ridiculous dialog, the weird cast (Mr. Hazelrigg), and surprising ending, it's a definite movie to watch for a B-Move fanatic. If anything, it really goes to show us that Southern Lynch mobs, beer, and guns never amount to anything good. Anyway, if you like some pretty shoddy B-Movies, but also have a decent story, then this one is right up your corn field.

Black Christmas (1974)

Black Christmas is your standard slasher movie...except it takes place during Christmas. If you remember that one Urban Legend about 'The Calls coming from inside the house!" Black Christmas capitalizes on that.

The phone calls because increasingly creepy as the crawls goes on, too. Did I say crawls. Yeah, I meant to, simply because this movie moves so damn slow. Considering the pacing of the movie, it's pretty hard to believe that Television stations deemed it too scary for television in the 80's.

Now, I know in a lot of cinema, there are things that are left ambiguous or unturned for the viewer to decide. But, at the end of 'Black Christmas,' you realize that the cops haven't even checked the whole house, they leave Olivia open and vulnerable. What kind of shoddy Police work is that? Still, the ending is pretty memorable, if only for the sole fact that the killer is still out there.

Either way, besides the pretty slow pacing of the film, I still find this movie to be pretty enjoyable. There are many scenes of remembrance, mainly involving the POV of the killer in the house, the phone calls, and Olivia Hussey's acting is great. No matter what though...I still remember her from having to sit through that dreadful version of 'Romeo & Juliet' way back in the early days of High School.

Basket Case (1982)

Just when I thought I had found, or seen, every B-movie there is...this one was always begging for a review.

'Basket Case' has all the classic ingredients for a B-Movie. Bad Acting, terrible dialog...the works. But what makes this film especially weird is Belial. Not only is he a creepy, weird looking puppet, that was supposed to be attached to Duane at some point, he's also given one hell of a back story to go along with his murderous attitude. It's actually pretty impressive the amount of back story the two of them get, for a movie of this caliber. Normally, movies will throw a monster into a situation and just expect things to go with it, an hour and a half of gratuitous craziness.

Not that 'Basket Case' isn't these things as well, but at least you get to learn about Duane and Belial, and what brought them to where they are. So....it's explained gratuitous craziness, even if it's not very believable. And I'm sorry, I've gotta ask: What's up with putting Belial in the garbage after they were separated? No Bio Hazmat disposal in the 70's? Who knows? What I do know is scenes such as that really set the mood of the film. Where in...it shouldn't be taken seriously at all. Watching Belial, as a puppet throwing himself around screaming, to watching a stop motion version of him throw stuff around. Thought Control, glowing red eyes, etc...

If you like your B-Movies ridiculous and over the top, then I'm sure 'Basket Case' is for you.

Review: Carrie (1976)

'Carrie' is another film based on a Stephen King novel, but it's a bit different. If you strip down the film to it's core, where there are teens going to a Prom, a very religious mother, and her daughter harnesses the power of Telekinesis, it sounds really strange and a little cluttered. But surprisingly it all works out pretty well. 'Carrie' could be interpreted in a lot of ways. It could be a simple 'nerds revenge' story, or her powers could be the power of P.M.S...or the devil, but what's the difference, am I right fellas? I'm just kidding ladies, after all this is a diamond in the rough of Horror, and a somewhat serious film for women.

Now, that's not to say that men can't enjoy 'Carrie' as well. But, it deals with a couple of issues that might hit home with some women. And who better to do that than Sissy Spacek? She does such a good job at playing Carrie, from where the point when she is picked on at school, to the point where she sees a bit of good fortune, your heart melts just seeing her actually be happy for once. This is partly due to the story as well, as it really is a build up, not for just the character of Carrie, but also the payoff towards the end. Which is both Triumphant and sad. 'Carrie' is a definite watch for anyone looking for more of an emotional driven Horror movie.

Review: My Bloody Valentine (2009)

I'll admit it, I tend to be very negative towards remakes. Today, production companies like to ignore what was special about the original film, and they just update it with this Hollywood shine. You're always greeted with movies made by people with a fixation of making things looking perfect and pretty. As opposed to creating a labor of love in the past. The fortunate thing about the 'My Bloody Valentine' remake is that they managed to make their own version of the movie which feels like a hybrid of the Hollywood shine, and the beloved slasher of the 80's. As far as updates go here, you have a pretty cast. The main guys are pretty, the girls are pretty, everyone is pretty. On top of that, they also included a pretty good story to follow for a Slasher film. This story plays into the whole Valentines Day motif by basing it on lost love between Tom and his ex girlfriend.

I think it's fair to say that this movie recharged the 3-D craze which is happening right now. It has scenes, in the normal version, which are evidently supposed to be 3D, but I don't think it really ruins the film. The movie is even guilty of including that stupid flashback montage that every Horror film seems to use nowadays. The twist in the end isn't really all that surprising, and given the fact that I loved the original, I knew that there was no way they could just keep the same ending in there for those that have seen the original, so there was only one other way to go. This however is where the Hollywood shine ends, and the classic feel and homage begins.

To start off, sure, this has a lovey dovey story but we're immediately greeted with a load of Gore. The film makers obviously wanted to prove that this wasn't just another remake. This is proven by putting B-Movie legend Tom Atkins in the middle of it. There are tons of great kills, a very gratuities nude scene, and a lot more face time for Harry Warden who actually didn't get a ton of face time in the original. I would daresay that this is a great example of a contemporary slasher.

For a genre that peaked in the 80's, it's very hard to replicate or even top what was done back then. But 'My Bloody Valentine' comes close with the 'films of today' type of gas mask that it wears. I think that this is a great Horror movie to watch with your special someone on Valentines Day. Just expect to see a bit more Red, in addition to that box of chocolates you got.

February 10, 2010

Well, Damn...

I really haven't been keeping up with this thing, have I?

I've been pretty busy in my life, trying to get a bunch of shit sorted out, in regards to some pretty personal stuff, so I really haven't been able to devote any time to this whatsoever.

But, now that I've given it a little attention...hopefully sometime soon I'll have an interesting entry in the coming weeks.