Friday, 21 December 2012

The Dead Don't Rise in Death Valley Anymore


About a year ago, I enthusiastically wrote about the MTV horror comedy mockumentary, Death Valley. At the time, the finalĂ© had just hit (ending on a cliff-hanger, of course), the show was getting praise from horror fans everywhere, and we were proudly informed a second season was on the way.

It's in CAPS LOCK, so you know it means business.

Well, it turns out the Undead Task Force won't be patrolling the streets of California anymore.

I had been happily going about my life, eagerly awaiting the return of what turned out to be one heck of a good show, when a friend informed me it wasn't coming back. 'No', I yelled. 'It is definitely coming back. Real people who make it said so!'. And then, because I am an egotistical monster who has to always be right, I went to check this out. Lo and behold, it had gone from CAPS LOCK returning, so being no more;


That tweet there is from Caity Lotz, who plays Captain Kristen Landry. This casual tweet that does even have ANY capital letters publicly marked the end of Death Valley. The show ain't coming back. Everywhere has now labelled the show cancelled. I know this is old news, but it is a sad day. It went out not with a zombie head explosion or a stake through a vampires heart, with a hard rock soundtrack booming away, but completely under the radar, hoping no one would realise that clever little show was gone. Among the heavies of The Walking Dead and American Horror Story, Death Valley stood out as an easy comedic aside that everyone could enjoy. It'd be like there being Mad Men and Boardwalk Empire, but cancelling The Office or 30 Rock. 

Oh...

Anyway, better late than never, there it is; Death Valley, a great and entertaining show, is no more.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

The FULL rundown of the 30 Day Horror Challenge

December 19th, 2012 shall officially be remembered as the day that I, Richard, completed the 30 Day Horror Challenge! Ok, it did take me 58 days (October 23rd to now) to complete it, but hey, still. 

What have we learned from this? Well, obviously, I sucked at the challenge, but also, I am awful forgetful and repeated certain films several times (I can't help it if the US remake of The Grudge had such a big impact on my horror life!). There seems to be a nice appreciation for films both new and old, which is nice to see. I will stand by all my choices (including Species, which is a film that would have been good if it had been cast better!), even if HellraIser counts for a fair whack of em. Did you learn anything new about me and my horror ways?

For those who are too lazy to have checked each individual post, here's the rundown of all my answers to the 30 Day Horror Challenge (if you want to check out the individual posts, you will find them all to the side of the page under the Oct 2012 to Dec 2012 headers).

Day 01: A horror movie that delivered a scary theatrical experience.
The Grudge (US remake)

Day 02: A disappointing or unnecessary remake. 
A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

Day 03: A scene or image burned into your mind.

Head dismemberment from George A. Romero's Day of the Dead

Day 04: A movie that kills off countless main characters.
Saw 3D

Day 05: Excellent use of sound effects.
Evil Dead 2

Day 06: Doesn't seem to scare other people as much as it scares you.
Silent Hill

Day 07: An incredibly twisted movie. 
Mermaid in a Manhole

Day 08: A terrifying inanimate object.  
The Lament Configuration from the Hellraiser series

Day 09: A movie that you like to show people. 
The Ruins

Day 10: A great sequel. 
Alien 3

Day 11: Wonderful use of lighting. 
Suspiria

Day 12: Plot you would least like to end up in. 
The Happening

Day 13: A formidable antagonist. 
Jigsaw from Saw

Day 14: An egregious misuse of the 'based on true events' claim. 
The Amityville Horror (1979)

Day 15: A painfully suspenseful movie. 
Drag Me To Hell

Day 16: A frightening dream sequence/hallucination. 
The Serpent and the Rainbow

Day 17: A bad ass post/pre-kill one-liner. 
'Jesus wept' from Hellraiser

Day 18: A movie with unsettling scenery. 
The Haunting (1963)

Day 19: A horror movie that gives you nightmares. 
The Grudge (US remake)

Day 20: A great remake. 
The Amityville Horror (2005)

Day 21: A horror movie that only makes you laugh. 
Zombie Flesh Eaters 2/Zombi 3

Day 22: A frightening child actor.  
Daeg Faerch from Rob Zombie's Halloween

Day 23: Graphics that pull you out of the movie. 
Cube

Day 24: An effective jump scare. 
Blood test scene from John Carpenter's The Thing

Day 25: Excellent use of soundtrack. 
Free Bird by Lynyrd Skynyrd in The Devil's Rejects

Day 26: An aggravatingly incompetent protagonist. 
Bobby from The Hills Have Eyes (1977)

Day 27: A terrifying creature. 
The Tarman from The Return of the Living Dead

Day 28: A horror movie that is hard to watch. 
Martyrs

Day 29: A great horror movie with a terrible cast. 
Species

Day 30: Your favourite final scene, scare, or image. 
The chainsaw dance from The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

30 Day Horror Challenge-Day 30: Your favourite final scene, scare, or image

For the next 30 days (or whenever I stop being lazy and finish it), I will be giving my fingers short bursts of exercise by completing the 30 Day Horror Challenge, found here. Hopefully it will give you a bit of insight into what horror is for me. Don't forget to check back every day for a new installment.


Day 30: Your favourite final scene, scare, or image.

What can I say? The final shot of Tobe Hooper's classic, Texas Chain Saw Massacre, is such a brilliantly strong ending. Beautiful yet terrifying, this disturbed figure wearing someone elses face over their own, dancing around as the titular massacre draws to a close, but there is an unease to this moment. Stop now if you haven't seen the (nearly 40 year old) film, I'm gonna do some spoiling; Leatherface has just had a victim escape, has just watched his brother be run over by a semi, and has cut in to his own leg with the chainsaw accidentally. Yet he dances. It is a dance of some frustration, but for some reason, there seems to be an awful lot of pleasure to it too. And then... cut to black.

Creepy.

Monday, 17 December 2012

30 Day Horror Challenge-Day 29: A great horror movie with a terrible cast.

For the next 30 days (or whenever I stop being lazy and finish it), I will be giving my fingers short bursts of exercise by completing the 30 Day Horror Challenge, found here. Hopefully it will give you a bit of insight into what horror is for me. Don't forget to check back every day for a new installment.


Day 29: A great horror movie with a terrible cast.

Gosh darn it, another tough one. Typically, a film with a bad cast ends up being a bad film, and if a film is good, the cast won't seem bad. The only example I could think of was 1995's disappointing big budget scifi outing, Species. The film has an all-star cast with money-hogs like Ben Kingsley, Michael Madsen, Alfred Molina, Forest Whitaker and Marg Helgenberger, all big names and top-notch actors individually, but in the H.R. Giger-designed monster flick, they can be described in only one way; a clusterfuck. The film is pretty lame at best, what with psychics, unscientific scientists and uncountable plot incongruities, but what always stands out is that these powerful actors all swagger around the screen as if they are the best movies 1950s B-movies could offer. Almost every scene involves this large group of people gathering in a small location, where they awkwardly knock around each other, exchanging aggravating arguments with all the weight of preschoolers who want a new toy. The basic plot of the film, experts chasing a scientifically engineered alien that has escaped, is simple and nice, and the effects are great, but there are too many chefs in this kitchen, and they all have destroyed what should have been a lovely dinner.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

30 Day Horror Challenge-Day 28: A horror movie that is hard to watch

For the next 30 days (or whenever I stop being lazy and finish it), I will be giving my fingers short bursts of exercise by completing the 30 Day Horror Challenge, found here. Hopefully it will give you a bit of insight into what horror is for me. Don't forget to check back every day for a new installment.



Day 28: A horror movie that is hard to watch.

I have written about this film before, but I cannot stress enough just how tough the French torture porn film Martyrs is. I'll stress I think that even though it is a tough film to watch, it is one that has to be bared for its meaning to be effective. My last post on the film covered pretty much everything I want to say about the film, so I will finish by reiterating; it is tough, but ultimately worth watching, and you have to go from start to finish, no breaks, no skipping, no half watching. It is not the kind of film you can watch while messing on your laptop (a lot of films will argue this about themselves, but rarely does it apply). So, be hip and check out Martyrs before the retooled and lobotimised remake is made and soils the good name of the film. You'll have seen it before it was cool (and in English).

Friday, 14 December 2012

30 Day Horror Challenge-Day 27: A terrifying creature

For the next 30 days (or whenever I stop being lazy and finish it), I will be giving my fingers short bursts of exercise by completing the 30 Day Horror Challenge, found here. Hopefully it will give you a bit of insight into what horror is for me. Don't forget to check back every day for a new installment.

Day 27: A terrifying creature.

Return of the Living Dead's Tarman, just cuz. HE NEVER STOPS SMILING, EVEN WITHOUT A HEAD!!!

Braaaaaiiiiinnnnnssss!!!

His movement. His grotesqueness. The fact that even though he never stops, he seems almost laid-back about it, the Tarman is one of the greatest creatures to come out of the 80s, enduring without fail to this day.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

30 Day Horror Challenge-Day 26: An aggravatingly incompetent protagonist.

For the next 30 days (or whenever I stop being lazy and finish it), I will be giving my fingers short bursts of exercise by completing the 30 Day Horror Challenge, found here. Hopefully it will give you a bit of insight into what horror is for me. Don't forget to check back every day for a new installment.


Day 26: An aggravatingly incompetent protagonist.

Bobby, the brother in Wes Craven's original The Hills Have Eyes, takes the award for most aggravatingly incompetent protagonist. Played by Robert Houston, Bobby is the brother of the family whose car is sabotaged in the desert, miles away from any civilisation, and being hunted by a cannibalistic tribe. An important point of the film that Craven makes is that people don't communicate, which brings Bobby to perform his most annoying act; when one of the family dogs goes missing, he finds it disemboweled, yet he is too embarrassed to tell his family this, until later, when he awkwardly cock-blocks his brother-in-law to share the doggy secret. If he'd said it to them earlier on, they could have been prepared for something amiss about to happen, or else warned the family or the bad idea of splitting up. The cartwheeling bastard (yeah, he cartwheels) is pretty ineffective in a fight, shows himself useless with a gun, and seems to only make it so far thanks to his sister. In defense of him though, if he had been in any way competent, the Hills Have Eyes wouldn't have been nearly as classic a film as it is remembered as today.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

The worstest worst film of the year, which you shouldn't see, cuz it's bad.

You know, there has been an awful lot of stinkers this year, but I thought nothing could be the incredibly atrocious The Devil Inside. I was wrong. In the interest of sparing someone from buying this film for a dear friend as a Christmas present, allow me to warn you, the worst film of the year, possibly of the last ten years even, is The Chernobyl Diaries.


The word on the street for this film was pretty bad off the bat, but you know, the trailer was intriguing. It's a simple but effective story (a group of tourists visit Chernobyl, the site of one of the worst nuclear meltdowns ever, on an adventure holiday, end up stranded, and stalked by something not quite human...). I like found footage. Basically, it seemed like Hills Have Eyes meets Cloverfield in Chernobyl. I wasn't expecting a masterpiece, but that's hard to get wrong. I was impressed... Impressed at just how wrong it went.

First off, it's not found footage (I know a lot of people will let out a sigh of relief at that, but screw you, there is the potential for amazing found footage films, and by God, we will eventually get that standout!). Instead, it is documentary style, to the extent that it looks cheap and cheesy. The actors are alright, but they all seem to know just how ridiculous a film they are in. The crux of the film is that they are trapped, but even a blind monkey could see just how little an effort they make to get to safety. When a group does set off for help, they decide to turn back about 100 metres down the road, yet it takes them hours to make it back. Something is able to completely destroy a van, yet the mutants (oops... spoiler... actually, you should never watch this film, so you should know, it's mutants) are completely incompetent and harmless when we see them, even in crowds. The plan of action should never be back yourself in to a corner. Why does a mutant not attack people right in front of them? Even if they're blind, why can't they hear them? Why is the best scare in the trailer really poorly executed in the film itself? How come the people can be trapped without any chance of contact to the outside world, yet a prepped and planned army shows up? Does the film think its twist is good? Cuz it's not. It's lame. Why does this film just suck so much?

Like I said, the film seemed good. It's such a simple idea; mutants attack in Chernobyl. How can you get it so wrong? Now, obviously there is a big issue with the fact the idea of mutants in Chernobyl is actually really offensive, but when you can distance yourself from that and take it as a nuclear movie, every other single nuclear exploitation did this better. This film was boring. Flat out boring. People walk around. They run around. Then they run around again. Seriously... Don't put yourself though this film. It's not even so bad it's good (for that, see Zombie Flesh Eaters 2). It is just a pure waste of time. Easily the worst horror of the year, and it has been a year of stinkers.

Also, I think it might give you an STD.

30 Day Horror Challenge-Day 25: Excellent use of soundtrack

For the next 30 days (or whenever I stop being lazy and finish it), I will be giving my fingers short bursts of exercise by completing the 30 Day Horror Challenge, found here. Hopefully it will give you a bit of insight into what horror is for me. Don't forget to check back every day for a new installment.



Day 25: Excellent use of soundtrack.

The Devil's Rejects use of Lynrd Skynyrd's ridiculously well-known hit, Free Bird. Without spoiling things, the song is used in the climax in the (much better) sequel to House of 1000 Corpses, when our antiheroes are involved in a shootout with the authorities on a desolated road up the sun scorched mountains. Helicopter shots, slow motion, and a looooong drawn out scene to fill a good portion of the song make for a fitting ending to the Firefly family's journey over the two films. The sequence moves in tone with the song, being lazy and contrary until it moves up to the frenetic energy of the machine gun solos. Director Rob Zombie states he couldn't find any use of the song in a film where it defined the use of the song in a motion picture, where, if anyone was to hear the song from then on, would invoke that film. For my money, Zombie has claimed Free Bird. Any time I hear the song now, I see images of beaten up murderers driving through the mountains. 

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

30 Day Horror Challenge-Day 24: An effective jump scare

For the next 30 days (or whenever I stop being lazy and finish it), I will be giving my fingers short bursts of exercise by completing the 30 Day Horror Challenge, found here. Hopefully it will give you a bit of insight into what horror is for me. Don't forget to check back every day for a new installment.


Day 24: An effective jump scare

A classic scene, and my favourite; the blood testing scene in The Thing. I remember being completely caught off guard by it, when Kurt Russell's MacReady was performing a test on each of the team's blood, trying to weed out who had been replaced by The Thing. The test was simple; they had realised the monster hated fire, and every molecule seemed to act independently, so by putting a red hot poker in the blood, the monster would try to save itself and be exposed. The scene plays out insanely slowly, and every member of the ensemble cast is on edge, giving the performances of their careers. There is nothing big and flashy about the scene, it is all matter of fact. These men are fighting for their survival using what can be their only recourse at this point. We are not even near the end of the test when BOOM, the antagonistic conversation is interrupted by a reveal. Very unassuming. Very unexpected. Very effective. The remake/prequel tried to do a similar scene, but with their own convoluted twist, showing that it was the simplicity and subtlety of John Carpenter's direction that made for one of the most effective jump scare ever in cinema.

Monday, 10 December 2012

30 Day Horror Challenge-Day 23: Graphics that pull you out of the movie

For the next 30 days (or whenever I stop being lazy and finish it), I will be giving my fingers short bursts of exercise by completing the 30 Day Horror Challenge, found here. Hopefully it will give you a bit of insight into what horror is for me. Don't forget to check back every day for a new installment.


Day 23: Graphics that pull you out of the movie

I'll take this as a chance to talk about a classic that a lot of people will know, and those who don't, should get to knowing; Cube. I've been in love with this film ever since I first saw it. Such a simple yet undone idea executed in an intelligent but not inaccessible way, with strong characters, acting and dialogue, but with one horrendously obvious incongruity; the computer generated effects. Now, there are a lot of well executed set pieces and effects in the film, but the moment you see the poorly rendered wire grate that sliced the first victim, you immediately step back and wonder 'Is this film some sort of Doom crossover?'. It really is this bad, too. The effects stand out like a (fake looking) sore thumb. For a film that is executed so well otherwise, the bad CG, such as seeing between the cube walls, are just underwhelming and tragic. Seriously, you'd be tempted to do your own pass at it and send it to Vincenzo Natali and crew, just to help em out. The film was insanely low budget, and the effects house that did the shots for them did it as a deal, so you have to appreciate it from that angle. From another angle, Cube is one of the greatest scifi films ever. Thinking about it, Cube would be one film I would almost encourage a filmmaker to go back and 'George Lucas'. Imagine, a rerelease with better and more realistic CG shots (and possibly some score tweaking. It dates a bit). I know them's fighting words, but have a think about it. Wouldn't it be amazing to have a version of Cube that will hold up 50 years from now?  

30 Day Horror Challenge-Day 22: A frightening child actor

For the next 30 days (or whenever I stop being lazy and finish it), I will be giving my fingers short bursts of exercise by completing the 30 Day Horror Challenge, found here. Hopefully it will give you a bit of insight into what horror is for me. Don't forget to check back every day for a new installment.



Day 22: A frightening child actor

This is a pretty tough one. The obvious choice is the kid from Pet Sematary and Wes Craven's New Nightmare, but I thought I'd try a less obvious choice (as has been my wont to do for the entire '30' day challenge), so I am going to go with Daeg Faerch, the young Michael Myers in Rob Zombie's Halloween remake. In a role that was always going to be questioned by Halloween fans, Faerch holds his own and brings an intensity that ranges between sympathetic to all out rage. We are given a look at his troubled childhood, showing us where the darkness began, and we are on his side all the way, from abuse father, to schoolyard bullies. It makes it all that more conflicting when we see him begin his viciousness (which I will refrain from going in to, for those who might still check out the flick). When the boy is institutionalised, we see the poor kid drift further and further away from us and from reality, as he grasps to understand what he has done. Even though we have flat out seen him be a cold-blooded murderer and know he is mentally deranged, we still feel for him as we see him etch closer and closer to the Michael Myers we all know. Through an exploitation by his doctors, and the loss of his mother, the only one who was there for him, we see him become nothing more than The Shape.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

30 Day Horror Challenge-Day 21: A horror movie that only makes you laugh

For the next 30 days (or whenever I stop being lazy and finish it), I will be giving my fingers short bursts of exercise by completing the 30 Day Horror Challenge, found here. Hopefully it will give you a bit of insight into what horror is for me. Don't forget to check back every day for a new installment.


Day 21: A horror movie that only makes you laugh

Zombie Flesh Eaters 2, or Zombi 3, as it is otherwise known, is pure gold. Initially starting out as another zombie movie for horror master Lucio Fulci, the legend dropped out days in to the shoot due to health problems, and the film was completed by an uncredited Bruno Mattei. I'm not sure if the film was ever intended to be terrifying, but nothing hints at it being the comedy it came out as. The simple and familiar plot is a virus escaping a research facility and the military quarantining the area, with the story centring around a few survivors and the scientists trying to find a cure for the infected. The film has all the survival horror beats, and is action packed, but throughout, it only comes out as a laughable film. There is an inherent ineptness to everything. Dialogue is ridiculous (and really sounds like the script was written, translated, and translated again before being delivered), and characters constantly do stupid things, like back themselves into zombie infested areas. Performances are terrible, ranging from wooden to bipolar. People switch gears at the drop of a hat. And the scientists (who seem to be hold up in a hotel ballroom), who are more focused on being nihilistic and antagonistic to the soldiers instead of actually trying to find a cure (seriously, they seem more insulted that they have to do work than actually trying to save lives!). Oh, the zombies... They are either completely awful at their zombie job, or else fantastically effective (oh the luck of a character standing between a load of hay that they hide under...). People turn like no ones business, and are about as creepy as the zombies in The Last Man on Earth (as in, not at all).

Best laughable moments; when everyone from maids to hotel staff runs in to an infected man's hotel room without knocking or asking permission, but when the army show up, they can't open the door. Genius. 

Saturday, 8 December 2012

30 Day Horror Challenge-Day 20: A great remake

For the next 30 days (or whenever I stop being lazy and finish it), I will be giving my fingers short bursts of exercise by completing the 30 Day Horror Challenge, found here. Hopefully it will give you a bit of insight into what horror is for me. Don't forget to check back every day for a new installment.



Day 20: A great remake

The Amityville Horror. No doubt. There have been some remakes I have really enjoyed, but most have been so different from the original that they avoid comparison (the Dawn of the Dead remake being the prime example), whereas Amityville is very similar to it's 1979 counterpart in terms of general story and plot points, except it improves and adds to every single aspect. There is nothing about the remake that isn't superior to the original. It was just the other day when I was explaining a problem I had with the original Amityville Horror, which I feel exploits a real life tragedy, so feel I am in a bit of a moral dilemma with the remake, as it treads the same ground. The way I feel a bit more ok with it? The film is cinematic, definitely a film. There is no doubt this thing is a Hollywood product. There is a star in it (in Ryan Reynolds, who is awkward in the father role, but to the characters benefit). Michael Bay produced. The Indian burial ground subplot is brought to the forefront. In essence, this film is more inspired by what are said to be true events, as opposed to based on, which is quite a difference. Plus the Hollywood shine puts a major distance between the viewer, the screen, and reality. 

So, moral quandaries aside, this is a remake that surpasses the original in every respect, taking what I consider a piss poor, lagging and cheap haunted house film and injects it with the Michael Bay steroids it needed to be engaging, scary, and a decent flick. 

30 Day Horror Challenge-Day 19: A horror movie that gives you nightmares

For the next 30 days (or whenever I stop being lazy and finish it), I will be giving my fingers short bursts of exercise by completing the 30 Day Horror Challenge, found here. Hopefully it will give you a bit of insight into what horror is for me. Don't forget to check back every day for a new installment.


Day 19: A horror movie that gives you nightmares

I'm sure that with this horror challenge people are losing respect for me by the post, so let me through any last cred I had out the window and answer today's challenge with the 2004 remake of The Grudge. Let's be uber clear here, I AM talking about an American remake of a decent Japanese flick, with Sarah Michelle Gellar in it. I stand here, unashamed (ok, slightly ashamed). There is a bit of a disclaimer here though. I have never watched a horror that has completely freaked me out to the point of giving me nightmares, or having leave the lights on. Never. But The Grudge was one of the first truly scary horrors I saw in the cinema. I had seen plenty of others before this, including the other somewhat slicker remake, The Ring, and though it had jumps in it, it was an easy bared experience. But The Grudge? Hell no. I have a brilliant audience to thank for one of the greatest cinema experiences I have had, as people were uneasy within minutes of the film, and quick off the mark to scream. 

Sure, everyone laughed at how silly we all were jumping at this silly little film, but we were still all in the zone for it, still jumping, still wringing every moment of tenseness we could from the film. I didn't have bad dreams after it at all, or even feel uneasy walking home in the pitch black dark, but one odd side effect of this group hysteria was I found myself on edge with some other films I watched, even if I had seen them before. Case in point, Resident Evil, a film I bemoaned as a bad adaptation of the great video game and just generally a bad zombie film in general. I had seen it before, with no worries, but I vividly remember lying on my couch, knowing exactly where the film was going to end up and- GAAAHHH! Where did those crows come from!? What the heck!? Why did that freak me out this time and not before? 

It wasn't a great film, but The Grudge was scary, at least with the crowd I saw it with, and it left a lasting effect at that informative time in my horror education.

30 Day Horror Challenge-Day 18: A movie with unsettling scenery

For the next 30 days (or whenever I stop being lazy and finish it), I will be giving my fingers short bursts of exercise by completing the 30 Day Horror Challenge, found here. Hopefully it will give you a bit of insight into what horror is for me. Don't forget to check back every day for a new installment.


Day 18: A movie with unsettling scenery.

An easy one; The Haunting. And let's be clear, I mean Robert Wise's 1963 sublime horror classic where the line between the supernatural and the paranoia is thinly drawn at best, not the ridiculous remake with Liam Neeson where bad video game characters get caught up in a lame and hole-riddled plot. It's a simple story of a group of people in a supposedly haunted house who are there as part of a scientific study, and are inevitably subject to experiences beyond explanation (one scientist calls 'preternatural', which is something unexplainable now but may some day be explainable). The most masterful stroke of the film is its lack of ghoultaculal special effects it makes up for in its completely unrelenting ambiance and tone. Like The Shining, it is the setting that is a character in itself, with The Haunting being the prototypical ghost house. We are told the house was made with odd angles, so doors would close by themselves (seemingly tidy ghosts), and you could walk down one hallway several times, and end up in a different place each time. A clear geography is never given to us, so we are always lost, and the classic yet not one time period specific set design leaves us unsettled. The greenhouse and the library (with its rickety spiral staircase) should be beautiful, but feel desolate and threatening. And what about the statues? The entire house is populate with statues of various sizes that you wait, every time they appear in frame, to turn and watch someone while their back is turned. They never actually move, but you know there are dozens of soulless eyes on your back. 

A lot of people are too intimidated to watch older films, but this is one that, though it feels its age, feels in no way dated or dulled by time.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

30 Day Horror Challenge-Day 17: A bad ass post/pre-kill one-liner

For the next 30 days (or whenever I stop being lazy and finish it), I will be giving my fingers short bursts of exercise by completing the 30 Day Horror Challenge, found here. Hopefully it will give you a bit of insight into what horror is for me. Don't forget to check back every day for a new installment.


Day 17: A bad ass post/pre-kill one-liner

'Jesus wept'.

The shortest passage of the Bible, a sign of compassion, turned on its head in Clive Barker's Hellraiser, where Uncle Frank delivers the line with hooks embedded in his cheeks, knowing the demonic Cenobites are about to deliver their Hellish justice on him. He spent the film trying to escape the pain-loving creatures, but here, is almost embracing and defiant of the pain he is about to endure. He rasps out the cocky line mere moments before Pinhead and co rip his soul apart.

No Freddy wit or Hannibal class, just a purely powerful line.

30 Day Horror Challenge-Day 16: A frightening dream sequence/hallucination

For the next 30 days (or whenever I stop being lazy and finish it), I will be giving my fingers short bursts of exercise by completing the 30 Day Horror Challenge, found here. Hopefully it will give you a bit of insight into what horror is for me. Don't forget to check back every day for a new installment.



Day 16: A frightening dream sequence/hallucination

This entry comes care of Wes 'responsible for some of the arguably greatest horror films of the last 40 years, so you shouldn't need any titles here to help you out' Craven; The Serpent and The Rainbow. Starring Bill Pullman (or is it Bill Paxton... whichever blew up the aliens. You know which aliens I mean, right?), The Serpent and The Rainbow is Craven's most underrated work, possibly because a lot of viewers thought they were experiencing some mass nightmare and not a film. Now, I'll admit, this film isn't scary, and there are more terrifying dreams sequences out there, but there is no film that captures the essence of a dream as this film. There is never a moment where you are able to be sure if you are in the sane, waking world, or on your way down the rabbit hole. One moment, you're walking through the forest, the next, you are plummeting into a pit with disembodied hands reaching out for you. The film is an examination of drugs that turn people in to zombies and a Westerner's entitled ignorance in the subject, so not only is the topic rife for crossing boundaries, there is an added element of an entire culture resenting this man who is questioning their beliefs. It is difficult enough to tell the real world from the dream, but  the frequency and intensity of the movement between the two makes The Serpent and The Rainbow one of the most masterful displays of unreality in cinema. 

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

30 Day Horror Challenge-Day 15: A painfully suspenseful movie

For the next 30 days (or whenever I stop being lazy and finish it), I will be giving my fingers short bursts of exercise by completing the 30 Day Horror Challenge, found here. Hopefully it will give you a bit of insight into what horror is for me. Don't forget to check back every day for a new installment.



Day 15: A painfully suspenseful movie

I didn't realise how difficult it would be to remember what films I found suspenseful, because suspense obviously cannot carry over to repeat viewings. It took me awhile, but I finally figured one out (and get to be a bit outside the box with it); Drag Me To Hell. Yup, Sam Raimi's return to horror, which can essentially be considered Evil Dead 4 but with Alison Lohman taking up the Bruce Campbell mantle, that a lot of people criticised for being neither too scary, nor too funny. I completely disagree. On rewatching, I find the film a hoot from top to tail, but I remember seeing the film in the cinema, and being on the edge of my seat, wishing the film would hurry along and the credits would roll, so I could end my torture. It has a ridiculous edge throughout, with these archetypal lovable characters thrown in to a situation with no easy escape (as you may remember, I find seemingly uncontrollable situations pretty terrifying), the scares slowly rising like a cart on a roller-coaster, with the Lamia's (a demon that is set on taking the soul of our lead after three days) attacks starting subtle; shadows, banging doors, etc, and eventually moving up to old lady corpses vomiting bugs. 

The film famously seems to lose its mind halfway through, with cartoon anvils dropping from the ceiling, but instead of this causing me to scoff the film, it actually gave me a moment to catch my breath and remember 'it's a movie by the Evil Dead guy', and then I continued to be tense about where the Lamia might appear next. The film opens with a spectacular scene of a child being literally dragged to Hell, so you know that once the curse is in motion, it is only a matter of time before all sorts of matter hit the fan. And for my bet, the first viewing of Drag Me To Hell was as painfully suspenseful as any movie I can think of.