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Showing posts from August, 2014

Some Life Changing Movie Recommendations

Some movies you watch because you're a miserable sucker who likes to torture themselves and then you hope to never have to watch them again - ever - as long as you live. That's most of the movies I review.

Some movies you watch because they are "classics" and bring something amazing to the table: great acting or writing or cinematography or some combination thereof and you feel like a better, more well-rounded connoisseur of the arts for having seen them.

Some movies you watch over and over again because they speak so loudly to you that they have literally changed your life in some way.

Since I rarely take the time to write about movies I truly love, today I'll share with you some movies that I consider life changing and should be on your "must watch" list, even if you've seen them before. Enjoy.
Fight ClubThe story: An every day guy's life is turned upside down by a crazy man and a seductress.
The lesson: What other people think about you is irre…

The Politics of Cannibal Families

Can one be said to have a "favorite cannibal movie"? I fear that, were you to run that poll right now, most respondents would pick some form of zombie movie. I'm not only (personally) tired of zombie movies but, I believe there's a significant difference between the subtext of a zombie movie and the subtext of a cannibal movie.

Zombies are mindless consumers. In the context of horror, they eat flesh without worry about if it's right or wrong because they are no longer human and don't know what right and wrong are. They are essentially animals, functioning on instinct. It shouldn't take much to figure out the critique of capitalism virtually built into that model. 

Cannibals are transgressive humans who refuse to obey our culturally accepted standards of appropriate behavior. In the context of horror, they eat flesh knowing it's socially wrong, but they just don't care. They may use their cannibalism to menace and control those they are going to co…

The Shining (requested)

In the past, as I endeavored to write a book, I binge-watched The Shining multiple times a day for a week or so.

While it remains one of the greatest horror films of all time, anything in excess loses its "oomph" and, in this case, becomes absurd. There were literally moments where I would just start laughing out loud, alone on my couch, much to the displeasure of my cat.

Even after watching The Shining so many times through, the thing that maintained its power to leave me unsettled was the soundtrack. There is something so profoundly, gut-wrenchingly terrifying about the warped, dream-like, thunder deep rumble of the opening soundtrack. It seems to roll up out of the hills like the menacing murmur of some sleepy elder god.

I've spent a fair amount of time trying to figure out how one writes about one of the most famous, most talked about horror movies of all time without coming off as a whack job like the loonies in Room 237.
TANGENT: I have rarely heard any other gro…

The Lying Game

I've just finished watching one of the worst TV shows in all of human history. The Lying Game.

Let's take this crapfest apart a piece at a time, starting with the plot: Twin girls (both played by Alexandra Chando - because it's apparently too hard to hire twin actresses) are separated at birth, then find one another as teenagers. Together they embark on a quest to find their birth mother. It's kind of Parent Trap-ish and a little Patty Duke-ish and a little Trading Places-ish.

One twin is living with a man who it'll later be revealed is actually that twin's birth father. And wait! It turns out that twin knew who their birth mother was almost the entire time! They're embroiled in some conspiracy to get her and the girl's birth father back together in one BIG happy family.

And what about the twin's friend Madeline (Alice Greczyn) who has a torrid love affair with her dance teacher until her father tries to murder him and then starts sleeping with her…

30 Days of Night

When I was younger, I totally loved vampire stories. While every other misanthropic, maladjusted "weird kid" was swooning over the sexy, seductiveness of the undead - I was wishing I could be all powerful and crush my enemies. What can I say? I was an angry kid.

This isn't just a commentary on what type of creepy asshole I am, it's actually a really interesting breakdown of the typical types of vampire stories out there:
The sensitive, swooning emo vamp who is just soooooo sad about their dreadfully long lives and this "terrible condition" they are suffering from;   The larger than life rock star who can actually push themselves to the very limits and reeeeealy enjoys living it up every day, forever;The pure evil, killing machine who cares nothing for anyone but themselves and wants nothing but to completely destroy every other living creature they come into contact with. Translated from the pages of a graphic novel, 30 Days of Night just hit the right spot …

Skeleton Key (requested)

Way back in 2005, my BFF and I got together for dinner. After dinner we decided to go to a movie. Being wild and crazy kids, we decided to just go to the theatre and see the first, not terrible option playing.

What's out?...
Four Brothers? Four adult men who were foster brothers seek vigilante justice for the murder of their former foster mother. Nooope. No. Nope.
Deuce Bigalow? I can barely translate the bullshit slew of words that make up the plot description into a cohesive description. What I can tell you is that it's got something to do with Rob Schneider. Fuck no.
Dukes of Hazard? ... No. No. Noooope. Low-brow, white-trash TV show turned full-length feature film starring Jessica Simpson and Seann William Scott - two of the stupidest humans on Earth.
Skeleton Key? Creepy voodoo horror shit? Well... okay. How bad can it be?
Tangent I've written before about how idiotic movie characters are always asking, "How bad can it be?" just before the proverbial shit hits t…

All Cheerleaders Die (2013)

Does High school ever change? When I look at high school movies from my youth and compare them with the high school movies of today the only things that have changed are the clothes, the music, and possibly the insults teenagers hurl at one another.

The "popular" kids are terrible, hateful, entitled, conniving, monsters bent on making everyone else's lives miserable. The smart, sensitive, "outsider" kids are desperate to be accepted and appreciated but somehow thrive on their mistreatment at the hands of the other students.

We all love to hate the popular girls; they are so plastic and fake - with perfect skin and perfect bodies and perfect clothes and so on and so forth.

Imagine me rolling my eyes here because this type of drama is one of the many reasons I hated high school and went as infrequently as possible.

Despite anyone's attempts to say otherwise, All Cheerleaders Die is a waste of an hour and a half. Some have called it witty - because they have …

Just bad science (Splice & Hollow Man)

I have been thinking about this post for a while now. After watching the first episode of Prophets of Science Fiction: Mary Shelley, which I really enjoyed, I decided it's finally time to bring this post to life - pun absolutely intended.

I love scifi. At it's best, it's smart and challenging. To be truly effective, scifi must present us with 3 elements:
A plausible account of the science of the day;A humanistic critique of that science;A viable prediction of what’s likely to happen if the ways of science and technology are not controlled. When one of those pieces is missing, or the acting is atrocious, or the writing immature, or any other thing that can go wrong, scifi can become just laughable. If anyone in the movie ever asks, "what's the worst that can happen?" you know that shit is gonna go down and nothing will ever be "okay" again.

If the movie you're watching has been shitty up to this point, you may want to return to browsing your Netf…

The Wolfman 2010

I don't always hate remakes but when I do, I tend to be vicious about it. I didn't want to hate the Wolfman remake and I kind of didn't. The remake was bad but so much more "meh" than that, I didn't end up feeling much of anything about it. 

Let me tell you what happened when I watched it. 
Wait. I'm getting ahead of myself.

Let's talk for a minute about the 90's remake of Dracula which is very stylized and has nothing to do with original story. What a beautiful movie with horrible, terrible, over-the-top acting. It's like everyone in the cast decided that they would embrace Expressionist film, add a pinch of Broadway, and then vocalize all their emotions. It's like a Spanish soap opera. 

The Wolfman is yet another example of a great cast not being able to save a terrible movie. Anything that stars Sir Anthony Hopkins is generally assumed to be awesome however, his looney performance in this movie is equal parts the exact same character he pla…

Coming Soon: Ouija

Release Date: October 24th, 2014
The People Responsible: Trace it all the way back and you'll end at Michael Bay. Blame Michael Bay.

The Gist: A bunch of teenagers awaken "something" by playing with an old ouija board.
Gut Feeling: This movie will be another failed attempt to turn a Hasbro game into a movie (like Battleship). The story will be predictable. The effects will be acceptable. They will rely too much on "jump scares."

Box Office Prediction: They'll make just enough to get a sequel made.

You can learn more from their website.

Recommendations For August 2014 - Horror Documentaries

Typically, people don't assume I'm the documentary watching type but, I can be really excited about great documentaries of all kinds. Today, I'm going to focus on some horror documentaries - including some you should really skip.

In the definitely watch columnNightmares In Red White And Blue
I knew of this movie before it came out. I was in this limbo of wanting to hate this movie because it is very close to my undergraduate work. While I appreciate how well done it is, I am so mad that it wasn't released in time for me to reference it for my work AND that it was released before I ever got off my lazy ass and published my own work.

Loaded with great insights and fantastic interviews, a "must watch" for up-and-coming horror nerds and a, "you may know it but will still enjoy it" for die-hard, old-school horror nerds.


Texas Chainsaw Massacre: A Family Portrait There is no way to love this movie if you're not 110% a die-hard fan of The Texas Chainsaw…

The Fifth Element

Written and directed by Luc Besson, this generation's most brilliant and prolific action movie creator, The Fifth Element is this superb little piece of filmmaking that some how manages to hold up over the years.

The quick summary: A cabbie, a priest, a radio show host, and a beautiful alien woman race to save the world. An evil power, a greedy businessman, and some ugly aliens try to stop them. Dramatic adventures ensue.

This movie is an amalgamation of all the sci-fi that came before it; Barbarella (There are whacky costumes galore!), Blade Runner Flying police cars? Yup. Asian noodles? Sure.), Star Wars (SO MANY stolen ship designs.), and Total Recall (nearly identical vision of future transportation.) with a little Roger Rabbit, Brazil, and  Toys on the side. In fact, I think you'd be harder pressed to find a movie NOT represented in The Fifth Element than for me to continue trying to list ones that definitely are.

It's also a mix of nearly every action movie trope you…