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Showing posts from October, 2014

Stage Fright 2014

Stage Fright  is a visual cacophony of mismatched genre images. It's an immensely underwhelming  directorial debut that reads more like a film school project than an actual feature length film. The Gist: Theatre geeks go away to summer camp to sing their hearts out where no one can make fun of them. They attempt to produce something that looks a lot like The Phantom of the Opera and ends just as well for everyone involved. Knowing they are riffing on Phantom of the Opera doesn't make it feel any less like they are really riffing on Scream  or Scary Movie . Capitalizing on the popularity of shitty TV like Glee and the  endless  slew of High School Musical movies, there is very little to take seriously in this movie due to their immature production. I assumed, just by the production values, that it was an independent thing. I kept being thrown by it having a sort of (washed up) famous cast including  Mini Driver . I was surprised to see her in her underwear as she'

Hard Rock Zombies (requested)

On paper, in the 80's, Hard Rock Zombies  (HRZ) probably read like a really good idea: A metal band is murdered by Nazi hillbillies only to be resurrected as zombies who feel compelled to perform at their "big show". To signify their zombification, the makeup department was kind enough to dress them like Kiss . This, perhaps, is some sort of commentary on Kiss' commercialization or on how their fans seem like mindless zombies... I assume its best not to think too much about it. Anyway. After returning from the grave, all hell breaks loose and everyone is killed. Roll credits. Slight interjection here - wherever this backwoods hobo town is, it seems to have a lot of palm trees and California looking desert in it. Some movies are just bad . Some movies are so bad that they become beloved. Typically, the deciding factor in bad movies being forgotten or becoming cult favorites is how seriously the movie takes itself. Unfortunately for HRZ, and for those of us who ha

Escape From Tomorrow

I love creative people who are willing to take risks with their art. I appreciate the refusal to do things by the rules. I'm also terribly impatient with mediocrity. Enter  Escape From Tomorrow . Created by a team of rogue filmmakers, the movie was shot in the video mode of high-end still cameras. Actors shared scripts and shooting locations across their smartphones. Shot on location at Disney World, the parks were completely unaware this was all going on right under their mouse ears. I wanted to love Escape From Tomorrow. More than that, I wanted to be completely taken with its ingenuity and creativity and - oh yes - its originality. And there is really a simple brilliance to their covert plan; all families are roaming around the parks, taking videos and chatting on their phones. Just blend the fuck in, act like you belong, and you won't get caught. Too bad the movie can be summed up as: ambitious but Rubbish. As you can imagine (or possibly know), there was a ton of con

The Vampire Lovers

You've got to give it to Hammer , they really knew what they were doing. At the peak of their production in the 60's, they were the absolute undisputed masters of gothic horror films featuring extravagant costuming, titillating stories, and graphic violence all stirred up in one big cauldron. In the Hammer stew there is never a shortage of heaving bosoms, pursed lips, or lesbian affairs. You'll never go hungry for werewolves, vampires, ghosts, or witches. The writing team was also smart enough to leverage existing stories, making only very slight alterations to each, to create a gigantic library of movies. In some cases, they simply dug up offbeat little horror pieces and adapted those for the screen. In other cases, they worked various renditions off of classics like Dracula , spinning the story in as many ways possible to create multiple films. To be completely honest, there's nothing particularly stand out about The Vampire Lovers , aside from being part of a l

The Loved Ones (2009)

There's too few demented female murderesses in horror. We (of course) all know and love some of the real, historical, mad women like  Lizzy Borden  and the great Elizabeth Bathory . What about our fictitious vilenesses though? Mrs. Voorhees - Friday The 13th In one of those fun, movie twists, turns out the REAL  killer in Friday the 13th is Jason's mother, Mrs. Voorhees. She's apparently a tough old broad who can stab a man through a mattress, is skilled in archery, and can wield an ax like a lumberjack. A murderous lumberjack, anyway. She butchers a lively bunch of teenagers before finally being beheaded by one. Angela - Sleepaway Camp Horror, in real life AND in fiction, teaches us to watch the fuck out for the quiet ones. Oh. That girl over there is shy and awkward and doesn't talk much? We shouldn't piss her off. Unfortunately for the typically awful teens in Sleepaway Camp they do piss off the quiet girl who goes on a murder spree. Again in twist fashi

You're Next

I think I may need to write this on this one: THERE ARE SPOILERS. If you don't want the movie "ruined" for you, don't read this blog until AFTER you see the movie. The sad thing about having seen as many movies as I have is that there are very few surprises left for me in horror. Going into You're Next I had this thought bouncing around in my head: " Another entry in   the 'masked killer home-invasion' genre, oh goodie..." and when the movie ended, I felt exactly the same. So, expectations met, I guess. The gist of this movie can be gathered from the genre description - there's really no more to it. The overall look and feel is very 70's-ish with an amazing, Shining-esque soundtrack that may have been my favorite part of the movie. Impressively, the dated look isn't a low budget look - which is shocking considering they had about $1million to work with (a mere pittance by Hollywood standards). This puts the set design and t

Flatliners (Requested)

The brat pack for spooky kids So many of our late 80’s / early 90’s horror favorites are really just the decaying remains of the (more mainstream) brat pack crap. And I really say that with the utmost love and respect for 80’s horror.  In the past, I’ve gone on and on (like some idiot school girl myself) about how much I adore The Lost Boys . And while I can write objectively about it’s cheesy, audience-pleasing roots, it’s got more under the hood than just a creepifide version of that sappy, heart-string-tugging, feel-good nonsense that fueled the brat pack flicks. There’s actually this weird, meta evolution within 80’s films that can literally follow kids from their adventuring, childhood Goonies days through one of the stereotypes laid out in your standard, brat packy, high school flick: were you the bad girl? You might just find yourself in The Lost Boys (or Heathers ). Were you the good girl? Well fuck, you’re probably going to find yourself smack dab in the midst o

5 Horror Movies You Must Watch For Halloween

At the behest of a co-worker, I have scoured Netflix for the 5 horror movies you must watch this October. This is, by no means, a list of  all  watchable horror on Netflix right now, just move these suckers to the front of your queue (remember when you could do that?!) Think of this as your intermediate course in horror; you're no longer a novice, but you haven't quite made it to master level yet. Feel free to make additional suggestions - I love to hear your thoughts! Hellraiser  (1987) Written and Directed By: Clive Barker The Gist: There is a puzzle box that allows you access to Hell and carries the promise of fulfilling your dreams. Unfortunately, Hell has its own agenda and things end badly for anyone foolhardy enough to summon up demons. You'll find Hellraiser on many "best whatever" and "scariest whatevers" movie lists WITH GOOD REASON. Picture this: it's 1980 and the horror cinema landscape is about to shift dramatically. The past