Wednesday, 31 October 2012

30 Day Horror Challenge-Day 06: Doesn’t seem to scare other people as much as it scares you

For the next 30 days, 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 instalment.



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

l get a bit more current with this one: Silent Hill. It's long-gestating sequel has finally been released and by all accounts, people hate it, which didn't surprise me (why would they abandon the genius of Christophe Gans?), but one thing that did catch me off guard was how many people were now claiming how the original was so good and this one didn't hold a candle to it. Now, I have loved this film from the first time I saw it (about half a year after it's theatrical release), and I have seen more than my fair share of haters for it. Very odd. The typical complaint is that it is badly acted, not frightening, and boring. Now, the acting is very loyal to the videogame (as in, ridiculously wooden), but on the other accounts, I have and will continue to say no, this is a terrifying film. The shadows, the intense noises (and contrasting silences), the nursery rhyme-esque score, the malevolent dead. It all adds up to an intense film that always has me gripped. Whenever I hear that siren, I am put on edge. I'm sure this film scared the shit out of its fair share of people, but until the backlash of the sequel started, all I ever heard was derision at it. Well, I was freaked out and continue to be freaked out by this modern day Inferno.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

30 Day Horror Challenge-Day 05: Excellent use of sound effects

For the next 30 days, 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 instalment.


Day 05: Excellent use of sound effects

There's a lot of possibilities for this one, but I have to go with the classic Evil Dead 2 (mainly since I just rewatched it the other night), An intense experience, every shotgun shell, axe hit, chainsaw rev and eyeball pop gives you aural orgasms with the rich texture of the world. It's not realistic, but by fuck is it creepy and effective. You are juxtaposed between screaming and laughing in scenes such as Ash and the laughing deer head, hearing such a ridiculous chuckle, but being freaked out by it. And let's not forget the Evil Dead's famous use of sound effects on camera movement, adding a layer of paranoia most sane people wouldn't even think of. If someone asked you to describe the sound of this film, all you can really say is sticky and gross.

Here's a great example of it's mental sound:


Also, here's Evil Dead II with a stopmotion cat, cuz: 


Groovy.


Saturday, 27 October 2012

30 Day Horror Challenge-Day 04: A movie that kills off countless main characters

For the next 30 days, 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 instalment.

This poster makes no sense...

A movie that kills off countless main characters

Saw: The Final Chapter, or Saw 3D, depending on if you saw it in cinema (which I did, and I have to hand it to the film, it was great 3D). I've always enjoyed the Saw films overall as a series that has a nice overreaching arch, almost like a TV show, but as individual films, they start to fall apart after the Darren Lynn Bousman entries. At least with his films, there was the potential that characters would escape the traps, and there was always the tension that they might not. By this final entry, they did away with the tension and just used the traps as ways to display their spanking gore effects. Literally ever character who is put in peril in this film meets their maker, and boy howdy is it boring. I don't watch films for effects, I'm far more in to a good story, but this truncated-feeling instalment is borderline the former area. Incidentally  there was supposed to be a Saw 8, but the studio decided late in the game to just have the one film, eliminating story and tension in favour of blood and guts and 3D. But hey, it's a film that kills off countless main characters (and a film series that does the same), for better or for worse. In this case, the worse.

Saw 8 might do better.

Friday, 26 October 2012

30 Day Horror Challenge-Day 03: A scene or image burned into your mind

For the next 30 days, 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 instalment.


Day 03: A scene or image burned into your mind

Unquestionably, from the very first time I saw it, the death of Pvt. Torrez in George Romero's horribly underrated Day of the Dead has been ingrained in my brain and will never leave me. The film itself is a slow and monstrously heavy film, and once the zombie meleé gets going, you are completely unprepared for just how far it goes. The film didn't fair well with audiences back in 1985, who were more in to the camp gore of Return of the Living Dead or Re-animator  and this sequence is about as far away from fun as you can get. The entire section is intense, but for me, it is the moment Torrez is pinned down and the zombies go to work pulling his head off his body that gets me. So what, we see decapitations all the time. What's the big deal? Well, Torrez is very much alive for the slow separation, and screams all the way through, leaving me grimace as his vocal cords stretch as they are severed from his body. The sound and the excellently executed effects by maestro Tom Savini have made this one of the most disturbing moments I have ever witnessed, and saying it is burned in to my mind is an understatement.

For those who want to see the gory moment, here it is:


And if you'd like the gist, but not the gore, here's a Lego version (because of course):



Wednesday, 24 October 2012

30 Day Horror Challenge-Day 2: A disappointing or unnecessary remake

For the next 30 days, 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 instalment.


Day 02: A disappointing or unnecessary remake.

So many possibilities, only one I can spit all my vitriol at; A Nightmare on Elm Street. I was worried from the get go when I heard about the remake, probably more worried people would actually like it and it would replace Wes Craven's original in the public psyche. Then I saw the film… There was absolutely nothing about the film that justified its existence. Every character was completely 2D (even by horror film standards), the CG effects were lame, the story was pointless, and it made Freddy Vs Jason look amazing in comparison. The film actually teased with having there being an unexpected turn in Freddy’s backstory as a child molester, bringing something insightful and new to the character, but in the end, backed out and ended up where even the most casual Freddy fan expected. Jackie Earle Haley was the only thing close to decent about the film, bringing a real darkness to a role that had notoriously camped up, but there was too little to work with, plus his makeup made him look like a deformed hamster. Not exactly the thing of nightmares!

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

30 Day Horror Challenge-Day 1: A horror movie that delivered a scary theatrical experience


For the next 30 days, 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 instalment.


Day 01: A horror movie that delivered a scary theatrical experience.

I could go on again about the fun that was hearing grown men scream at ParanormalActivity 3, but seen as I already gushed about that, I’ll go a different direction and choose the first horror film I saw in the cinema that delivered a fantastically hair-raising experience; The Grudge. Yup, The Grudge. And not the brilliant Japanese Ju-On, but the Sarah Michelle Gellar, dumbed-down US version. People slate it all the time, but The Grudge was the first time I ever experienced an entire cinema audience scream, jump and laugh in relief in unison. I’ll stand by the film (though not its lesser sequels), probably because never before had I seen the profound effect horror could have on a crowd. There were dozens of very different people in that theatre, but when the strep-throated ghoul girl attacked, everyone was completely on the same page. Ridiculously terrifying. Ridiculously fun.



Wednesday, 10 October 2012

How you make a TROMA


So, the oldest independent film studio in the world, shlockmeisters Troma, have been putting their back catalogue up on YouTube in celebration of their upcoming 40th anniversary. Knowing that they embrace advances in technology, there might be some alternate reasons for this outpouring of fantastically horrid cinema, but hey, I love Troma and having just finished founder Lloyd Kaufman's semi-autobiographical book Everything I Learned About Filmmaking I Learned From The Toxic Avenger (which is a hilarious read and you'd be foolish to do without), I am happy to immerse myself in Tromaville.

For me though, more interesting than the films themselves is the story behind the blood and rubber. And Troma, being as honest as they are, have made some extremely interesting warts-and-all making of documentaries. And being as fan friendly as they are, have posted them on to YouTube for the masses to see.

Yelling, anger, bad days, explosions, bad stunts, grumpy actors; these documentaries follow the productions of their respective films as they unfold, and are compulsive viewing. Most making of docs are so middle of the road and paint everyone in a nice light, but Troma gives that fluffy shite the finger and has its icons as the assholes they are, the shoots as chaotic as they happened, and the passion as real as it was.

Below are, in order of production and release, the ins and outs of a real guerilla film shoot, showing the unseen grulling side of production in the most hilarious and captivating way.

So, do what I did and sit back for 5 or so incredible hours of how to make a film, Troma style, better than any films school could ever teach.

Farts of Darkness: The Making of Terror Firmer


Apocalypse Soon: The Making of The Toxic Avenger IV: Citizen Toxie


Poultry in Motion: The Making of Poultrygeist

Thursday, 4 October 2012

FINALLY, a trailer for Rob Zombie's The Lords Of Salem


And it is amazing!!!

I am writing this before the video has even made its way to YouTube, but you can watch the glorious minute and forty seconds RIGHT HERE.

Watch it. Go on, you won't regret it!

Ok, now that you've checked it out, can we gush about it? Cuz I want to gush about it. I am big in to my Italian horror, particularly liking the more visual work of Dario Argento and Lucio Fulci, and it is fair to say Lords of Salem not only gives the maestros a nod, but also gives them a run for their money. The storyline is even a throwback to the golden age of horror (70s and 80s, don't dare go on about Frankenstein with me!), with Zombie's wife Sheri Moon Zombie playing a DJ who plays a mysterious record that brings back a coven of witches who were executed centuries before. That always makes me think of Demons, and though that isn't a great film, it is so high on concept.



Overall, this trailer is the first trailer to actually get me excited. I've been following Lords of Salem since well before it even hit preproduction, and was worried all the amazing things I was seeing were too good to be true, but now I feel like this may in fact be an incredible film. Well, an incredible film for anyone who likes Italian horror. The trailer is even filled to the brim with startling and epic imagery, as all the classics had. 

If you don't think this looks like one of the most unmissable films of recent memory, then you are obviously the kind of person more excited about a sequel to Avatar. We have nothing more to discuss*.

Lords of Salem? Come on, how can you not??


*Please don't leave. I am very insecure. Is that a new haircut? It looks amazing.



UPDATE:
YouTube has come through. Here is the trailer, for those who don't like clicking through links above.




Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Texas Chainsaw 3D gets a trailer


And it isn't pretty...



So, you watched it? What did you think? Pretty unremarkable, right? Yeah, it kinda is... 

The TCM films would be up there as one of my favourite series, but they have always had patchy ground in terms of sequels. Unfortunately, this trailer looks like the film is going to be more TCM: The Next Generation  than TCM the remake (which, frankly, is one of the better entries in the oeuvre). The story right away seems done and lame (how many times can we watch kids in a house get butchered!?), the trailer is filled with 'Ooh look at it come out of the screen' 3D and, oddly, the actual visual style looks cheap. I can't believe I am about to say that this trailer tells me the film needs more Michael Bay!


Carrot Top was pushed too far.

There was some hope for TC3D, what with a lot of the original cast making cameo appearances, but this looks like it might be little more than a gimmick for the 3D crowd. But you never know, I know there is only a fleeting glimpse of something that is apparently quite a bit setpiece of the film, so this might be one of the only trailers to not show off the whole film in 2 and a half minutes.

Also, to be pedantic, but there is no 'massacre' in the title. Literally just a Texas chainsaw (albeit in 3D). I'm hoping some gardening enthusiast stumbles across this trailer, thinking Hollywood has finally caught on to his passion for pruning!