Thursday, October 31, 2013
Happy Halloween everyone! Thanks to all of you who read my reviews and share them with your friends, you make the time spent writing them worth it. I hope everyone's got some great plans for this year's Halloween and in case you're throwing a party, I thought I'd suggest some movies to rent. I hope you guys enjoy and have an awesome Halloween!!!
Who doesn't love a good ghost story? Here are some supernatural/ghost movies worth checking out:
Lords of Salem, The (2012)
Apartment 143 (2011)
Art of the Devil II (2005)
Grave Encounters (2011)
Grave Encounters 2 (2012)
Sick Nurses (2007)
Carved: The Slit-Mouthed Woman (2007)
Evil Dead (2013)
Echo, The (2008)
Conjuring, The (2013)
Do you prefer monsters instead? Here's a good mix of creature features to entertain your party guests:
Bad Milo! (2013)
Jeepers Creepers (2001)
Dog Soldiers (2002)
Dead Sushi (2012)
Feast II: Sloppy Seconds (2008)
Feast III: The Happy Finish (2009)
Piranha 3D (2010)
Piranha 3DD (2012)
Who doesn't love a good slasher? If you like your horror bloody and violent, check out:
Dream Home (2010)
Wrong Turn (2003)
Wrong Turn 2: Dead End (2007)
Collector, The (2009)
Collection, The (2012)
Hills Run Red, The (2009)
Hatchet II (2010)
Hatchet III (2013)
Laid to Rest (2009)
ChromeSkull: Laid to Rest 2 (2010)
If you like to get the most horror movies you can in one sitting, here's a list of Horror Anthology films:
Campfire Tales (1997)
V/H/S 2 (2013)
Theatre Bizarre, The (2011)
ABCs of Death, The (2012)
Body Bags (1993)
Three... Extremes (2004)
Trick 'r Treat (2007)
For all you Walking Dead fans who are just waiting for the next episode, check out:
Burial Grounds: The Nights of Terror (1981)
Serpent and the Rainbow, The (1988)
Zombie Ass: Toilet of the Dead (2011)
Horde, The (2009)
[REC] 2 (2009)
[REC] 3: Genesis (2012)
Day of the Dead (1985)
Here's a good variety of Horror movies that's great for Halloween parties or a quiet night at home!
Night of the Demons (1988)
Mother's Day (2010)
Stake Land (2010)
The Blob (1988)
I Saw the Devil (2010)
Trick 'r Treat (2007)
I hope this was useful to anyone couldn't figure out what they wanted to watch for Halloween this year. If you already know what you're watching tonight, let me know in the comments what your lineup is for tonight. Be safe, Happy Halloween to all!!!
The Conjuring (USA, 2013) - Color, Director(s): James Wan
MPAA Rating: R
Approx. 112 min.
Z-rating: 5 stars out of 5
Cheese Factor: 0 stars out of 5
"Based on a true story" is an overused adage when promoting horror movies in an attempt to lend some credibility to the film's story. What could be scarier than the possibility of the events in the movie actually being true? Unfortunately, these movies often take many liberties with the plot in order to produce an entertaining film and, in embellishing the story, give critics a reason to doubt that any of the events have actually taken place. Enter James Wan's third supernatural horror film based on Ed and Lorraine Warren's real life paranormal investigations during the 1970's. The Warrens are featured as prominent characters in the film but what you might not have known was that they also investigated the hauntings depicted in the films The Amityville Horror and The Haunting in Connecticut. In fact, Lorraine Warren even mentions specifically that of all the places she's visited throughout her career, the Amityville house is the only one she would never return to.
The film opens with the Warrens investigating a demonically possessed doll, which is based on their real life investigation of a possessed Raggedy Ann Doll named Annabelle. What we're seeing is footage played during a lecture given by the Warrens to a University class on the supernatural. After a brief title crawl, we cut to the Perron family moving into their new home. The family experiences some supernatural occurrences after their first night in the house but initially writes it off as strange coincidence. Not until something attacks one of their daughters in the middle of the night do they seek professional help from the Warrens. Agreeing to come out and visit the house, the Warrens conduct an initial investigation and conclude that the house needs an exorcism in order to "cleanse" it. After doing a little research on the property, they uncover the original owners' relation to a woman that was hung during the Salem witch trials and a curse that was placed on the land. Now, it's up to Ed and Lorraine Warren to save the Perron family.
I cannot stress enough how much I loved the focus on the Warrens and their career as professional paranormal researchers. I grew up LOVING the movie Mr. Vampire because it was just amazing to watch a Master ghostbuster/vampire hunter at work. I prefer watching professionals who actually know what they're doing as opposed to amateur home video artists that you find in a Paranormal Activity movie. The fact that these characters were based on actual people that really did this type of work is what makes the story so enriching. The Perrons are such a sweet family, you really hate to see all this happening to them. I have two young nieces myself, so I can relate to the fear of something happening to them that I have no control over. I'd rather take my chances on Jason Voorhees, Chucky, or something I can actually fight against.
Nudity: None pervs, there are children in this movie!
Gore: Being a supernatural film, there isn't much in the way of blood being spilled either. Although a police officer is bitten on the cheek and we see the spouting blood for a brief moment.
|Room full of haunted, possessed, or cursed items|
Awesome: to the MAX!!!! Right before seeing this movie, I was complaining to a friend that there seemed to be a lack of truly creepy or frightening movies in recent years. (I was personally disappointed when The Woman in Black and The Innkeepers failed to thrill me) Although I understand that as an avid horror movie fan, the chances of coming across more hits than misses is lower when you watch them in such large quantity. I had to eat my words when James Wan killed it this year with back-to-back haunted house films in The Conjuring and Insidious: Chapter 2, which had to be the best supernatural movies I've seen in years. I will admit that watching the sheer volume of horror movies that I've seen, you do get desensitized a bit, but you can always tell the difference between a good movie and a bad one. This movie was fantastic and I highly recommend buying or rent it for Halloween!
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Mother's Day (USA, 2010) - Color, Director(s): Darren Lynn Bousman
MPAA Rating: R
Approx. 112 min.
Z-rating: 4 stars out of 5
Cheese Factor: 1 stars out of 5
I was really surprised they remade this movie, seeing as the original was a rape and revenge exploitation film released under the Troma banner (Directed by Charles Kaufman, brother of Lloyd Kaufman!). I didn't realize a movie like this would even be on the remake radar, but then again, what isn't these days? The new story is in the vein of home invasion movies like The Strangers and not only is this a serious remake, they even included a few references to the original (They mention "Queenie"!). Three brothers who return to their home/hideout after a botched bank robbery find it inhabited by new owners. Realizing their mistake, they immediately begin crowd control as the new owners had guests over to celebrate a birthday and stay safe during a tornado. They're able to reach their mother, who rushes over to help with their escape. Mother promises that they'll leave once they have an opportunity and nobody will be hurt as long as they cooperate.
|Should've saved everyone with your Iceman powers Bobby! Or at least gone Animorphs on their ass...|
Rebecca De Mornay plays "Mother" who was the ring leader in this circus of misfits. I was impressed with how authoritative she came off when giving orders while still remaining courteous. She was considerate and sweet, even baking them a cake to enjoy while waiting in the basement. However, she would not tolerate anyone unwilling to cooperate and was quick to punish disobedience. She was calm, cool, and in control the moment she walked in the door but had this underlying sadism to her. As time went on, her patience wore thin and her mean streak began to show. Rebecca was really believable in her performance, which is why I was so surprised to see her in that garbage remake of Apartment 1303!
|This lady, you do NOT fuck with...|
Each of the three brothers had different personalities that served different purposes. The oldest one was a little more responsible and handed down orders directly from their mother. There was a rowdy one that you could tell would've been happy to torture and execute the hostages. Their youngest brother had been shot during the robbery and needed to be "protected" like the baby of the family. This gave the antagonists much more depth than just a bunch of faceless criminals who break in and torture people for no good reason (like The Purge).
|Except maybe these two annoying bitches, but they got what they deserved!|
Nudity: None that I could remember. As the youngest son was about to die, they bring one of the female hostages up to pop his man-cherry but we don't see any nudity. She's forced to take her top off but covers her boobs with her arms.
Gore: A security guard is violently stabbed in the beginning and a girl who tries to make a run for the door gets shot in the face. This wasn't a Saw film though, so don't expect a ton of gore.
|They just dumped her body behind a dumpster too|
Awesome: Very. I liked how the movie is realistic (again, unlike The Purge which had to create an alternate future) and simple but still very effective. I already talked about the interesting family dynamic between the criminals but the hostages also had an interesting and familiar dynamic. If you're a fan of zombie movies like I am, then you'll understand that undead ghouls eating flesh is just half the reason those movies are so entertaining. What's interesting is seeing the "survivors" deal with one another and how quickly the democratic system breaks down in those situations. People disagree, fight, argue, and are unable to reach a group decision. When the shit hits the proverbial fan, that's when people show their true colors. The cowards only thought of self-preservation, they stopped being civilized, and these "friends" were quick to turn on each other. If someone tried to be a hero, it might've caused another person to be hurt. Very tense and uncomfortable situation to be in.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
I Saw the Devil (South Korea, 2010) - Color, Director(s): Kim Jee-Woon
MPAA Rating: NR
Approx. 141 min.
Z-rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Cheese Factor: 1 stars out of 5
WOW!!! I really can't believe I missed this gem during it's theatrical run. I'm a huge fan of revenge movies and I always thought Oldboy was the pinnacle of revenge cinema. After watching this one though, I really have to reconsider that (Funny that both movies star actor Min-sik Choi). This movie was one long cat-and-mouse game between a serial killer and National Intelligence Service agent, who I will now be referring to as Storm Shadow for the remainder of this review. So Oldboy is a serial killer and happens to murder Storm Shadow's wife one night. As you probably could've guessed, Storm Shadow loses his shit and methodically hunts down every suspect in his wife's murder until it leads him to Oldboy. Showing more self-control than expected of anybody in his position, Storm Shadow doesn't immediately rage kill Oldboy to death. Instead, he just beats the ever-loving crap out of him and plants a tracking device on him before letting him go. Once Oldboy moves onto a different victim, Storm Shadow sneaks up on him and delivers another fresh ass whooping. Oldboy eventually catches on and seeks refuge with an old friend. After figuring out who has been doing all this to him, Oldboy tries to even up the score and seems like he might even get the upper hand in this cat-and-mouse game of revenge.
Choi plays a cold-hearted serial killer, it's scary how remorseless and completely devoid of compassion his character was to the point that he seemed almost inhuman. I read that this was his first major role since exiling himself in protest of a reduction in Korea's screen quota system. Choi and Byung-hun Lee (Storm Shadow) are two of Korea's most recognizable stars and this was the first time they shared the screen together. Rather than a straight up horror movie, this is more like a crime drama and suspense thriller. The brutality and violence is rough and some of the characters are truly detestable.
|This fucker right here|
Nudity: Storm Shadow's wife awakens completely naked and covered in a plastic sheet after the attack by Oldboy. Other than that, he also attempts to rape a couple of his victims.
|Not exactly sexy...|
Gore: BRUTAL! This isn't the fun type of splatter-gore you find in your average slasher film, the violence here is serious and dark. In fact, the movie isn't even particularly gory, it's just the way it's depicted makes it difficult to watch. Absolutely brutal.
|Looks like Dr. Frankenstein's Lego set|
Awesome: to the MAX! Although some parts are a little ridiculous, this is a pretty suspenseful movie. Storm Shadow's plan of letting a menace like Oldboy free is far from perfect, but he's pretty much working solo as a vigilante so I guess he couldn't be always be there to kick the shit out of him. Storm Shadow comes out with a couple scrapes himself and just starts winging it whenever things don't go according to plan. With that said, this movie is an intense revenge flick with a gripping story that is sure to entertain all your guests for Halloween... as long as no one minds reading subtitles.
Monday, October 28, 2013
Fright Night (USA, 1985) - Color, Director(s): Tom Holland
MPAA Rating: R
Approx. 106 min.
Z-rating: 5 stars out of 5
Cheese Factor: 2 stars out of 5
No, not the Colin Farrell remake. We're talking about the 80's classic here! Tom Holland, who would go on to direct other entries in the horror genre such as Thinner and the first Child's Play, cut his teeth on this campy vampire flick. A horror movie fanatic named Charley Brewster gets a new neighbor that he suspects might be a vampire. Of course, no one believes him and thinks it's just his overactive imagination. Brewster tries to enlist the aid of a late night horror host by the name of Peter Vincent but he doesn't believe him either at first. Vincent runs through a bunch of fake "tests" to prove the guy isn't a vampire, but is finally convinced himself when he realizes the guy casts no reflection in a mirror. When the vampire starts coming after Brewster's girlfriend, Marcy D'Arcy from Married... with Children, only Charley and Peter Vincent can stop the vampire before it's too late!
The story is a mix of Dracula and Rear Window with a vampire moving in next door. This movie pays homage to older vampire films, like the Universal and Hammer films, while updating it for a newer audience. New being the 80's, of course. Peter Vincent's character is supposedly a send up to Peter Cushing and maybe Vincent Price too. Brewster's best friend "Evil" Ed is cool as hell to watch. The guy's just got a look to him that makes you feel like he belongs in a movie like this. When he's turned into a vampire, he's looks absolutely wicked! Usually the make-up enhances the monstrous look of the actors but this is one of those times where the actor's face actually enhances the look of the make-up!
Nudity: There's a brief flash of nudity at the beginning but nothing major.
Gore: Nothing too gory but the special effects are fantastic! I can't express how much I love practical effects in this movie, especially when people are melting in Nickelodeon slime. Something is very distinctly 80's about the effects. I have a Fright Flicks trading card with Marcy D'Arcy's vampire face on it
Awesome: to the MAX! Most of the best special effects comes towards the end of the movie but when it comes, this movie really gets kicked up to the next level. One guy melts into puddle of green ooze after getting staked through the heart, a werewolf is impaled and shown in mid-transformation back into a human, and Peter Vincent is attacked by a vampire bat. The creature effects are some of the best and most creative I've ever seen, making this one of my favorite vampire flicks to watch. This is a great movie to play at a Halloween party, especially as part of a monster movie marathon.