Sunday, December 19, 2010

Oh, The Horror! #58: Horror of Tim Burton

I'm a huge nut for Tim Burton as he's the reason as to why I'm currently a film major and lover. Since I'm so all over the place with a busy schedule then I've ever been, decided to at least do an easy update posting trailers of Burton's horror films. Now, some of these films weren't horror per se, but the man has a knack for incorporating his love for horror and Gothic art in various of his movies, for one getting various actors from the old black and white horror days to appear in his film, legends like Michael Gough to Christopher Lee.

One of my absolute favorites was in PeeWee Herman's Big Adventure. Everyone knows this scene, the Large Marge scene. I can't post an embedded version, but here's the link. It's a lot of fan's favorite scene in this movie and I remember how much it scared me as a kid watching this for the first time.

Next up is the great Beetlejuice, starring Michael Keaton, Geena Davis, Alec Baldwin, and Winona Ryder. A horror comedy which never gets old. A ton of charm and hilarious moments with some fun, zany special effects.

Nightmare Before Christmas. A lot of people mistake this as a Burton directed film, but he was the originator of the story and the producer. It still essential counts as a Burton film as it has all his staple and style. This is a movie that also never gets old, especially for the Christmas season. Great music by Danny Elfman. Jack, the Pumpkin King of Halloween, wishes to take over Christmas from Santa Claus. Next to Edward Scissorhands, Jack has always been my favorite of Burton's outsider characters. He's just so damn relate-able.

Sleepy Hollow, perhaps Burton's most straight forward horror movie. Adapted from Washington Irving's classic tale about the Headless Horseman, Burton does a fantastic job with Andrew Kevin Walker's script with the help of his number one man, Johnny Depp as Icabod Crane.

Corpse Bride. I truly cannot understand the aversion for this movie. I've noticed quite a few people don't like it but I find it to be a truly brilliant and haunting movie. The characters were all very done in a sympathetic way and you can tell Burton had all types of fun with this. I do think a problem people have with this movie is that they can't help but compare this to Nightmare Before Christmas. I had that problem initially when I first saw this movie and was disappointed. But watch it as it's own and I find it to be bliss. A romance horror movie about a shy and timid man who accidentally marries a corpse. Has win written all over it. And it has the awesome track, Remains of the Day. Heck, even my mom loved this movie and she's not into animated films.

Remains of the Day! It even has Ray Charles!

"Die, die, we all pass away! But don't wear a frown 'cause it's really okay! You might try and hide and you might try and pray, but we all end up the remains of the day!"

"At last! My arm is complete again!" Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Love love love love this movie. Love horror, love musicals, and Burton does a beautiful job which I honestly can't help but see this as a bit of a masterpiece. I feel a lot of his previous films have all been practice to make this one movie. Although very critically acclaimed, I do know from non-critics it seems to get a mix reaction, but that's due to them having terrible taste! Depp once again and the great Helena Bonham Carter as Mrs. Lovett.

Although not really a horror movie, Edward Scissorhands is my favorite film and incorporates a lot of horror elements, from the gothic atmosphere and setup, a Frankenstein influence plot and imagery, some truly dark moments, and horror scream king Vincent Price!!! The soundtrack from Danny Elfman is also a favorite of mine and always cheers me up whenever I'm in a down mood.

Last, I'll post Tim Burton's Vincent, his homage to the great Vincent Price, an actor I truly adore. He's one reason as to why I wouldn't have too much of a problem if I end up getting typecast as a horror actor. Him and Boris Karloff. We need more horror actors of their caliber in status.

That'll be all for now. Thanks for checking this out. I think I may do more of these type of posts/updates if I can't churn a review out here and there.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Screen Caps of my film, Crossing Fear

One reason as to my busy schedule and not being able to keep this blog as up-to-date and frequent is due to me working insanely on my film thesis, Crossing Fear. Very excited thus far of the product and how it's coming out. Still have a few ways to go before fully finished, sound and animation being the big final touches.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (2010)

Apparently this is a remake of an old made for TV horror flick. But this looks all types of sick! Written by the great Guillermo del Toro and Matthew Robbins, directed by Troy Nixey. Starring Katie Holmes, Guy Pearce, and Bailee Madison.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Oh, The Horror! #57: Hellboy: Double Feature of Evil

A TON of fun is what this one-shot was. To begin, I am a Hellboy fan, from the movies to the animated series and the comics, although I'm not too well versed on the universe of the character in the funny books. I have two trades and a few issues here and there. I know the essentials of the character and I feel whatever story I read of the universe always leaves me pleased and satisfied. The last one-shot I recall was the issue with the Mexican wrestlers teaming up with our hero to battle some demons. Good fun.

This issue once again was no different. Mike Mignola continues to breathe life and horrific enjoyment into the mythos of his character as he scripts a double feature piece, two short Hellboy stories where he encounters two different types of evil. The first being a haunted house that pays it's "resident" coins every time he leaves a poor victim for the house to snake on. The second story being a gift shop employee at a museum who gains the powers to summon assistance of Egyptian Gods and control mummies. These stories are big epic stories with deep meanings. While there are other Hellboy tales of that ilk, this one-shot was a way to just entertain you and make you laugh. The ending of both stories got a good chuckle out of me and you can sense the enjoyment Mignola has for this character all these years.

Richard Corben's art just works perfect with these two stories. I'm one of the majority of Hellboy fans who wish Mignola continued on art for his character. No one can beat Mignola when it comes to his Hellboyverse, but he always finds the perfect artists that still captures his spirit on each new story. The art, like typical Corben fashion, is grainy but filled with fluidity. It reminds me a lot of the old school horror movies where the film stock was filled with grain and added to overall texture and mood of the film. This book captures that perfectly. And let's not leave out Dave Stewart on colors, both muted and dull yet seemingly sharp and direct at the same time.

And speaking of films, starting and ending each stories with a group of corpses sitting down in an old, deserted movie theater and watching the Hellboy adventures introduced us to just what to expect and it left a wonderful smile on my face and a good chuckle at the end when the corpses clapped at the end of the book. Bravo indeed, Hellboy crew. Another winner in your hands.

Also, geekgasm at the poster of Val Lewton's Cat People!!!!

Rating 11/10

Monday, November 1, 2010

Oh, The Horror! # 56: What's Your Horror? Part 2: Movies

Part 2 of my recent comic column where I ask creators about their favorite horror movies.

Nathan Edmondson
birdsevil_copy(Image Comics' The Light and Who Is
Jake Ellis?): THE BIRDS because its execution is flawless and its viewers are left clawing after, but at the mercy of the mystery in the end. THE SHINING because those halls will never lose their dread.

Jimmie Robinson (Image Comics' Bomb Queen): This is harder [than books] because, and I'll be honest... I'm pretty desensitized to horror films. Nowadays I search for the most obscure, extreme and surreal horror because it takes a lot to get my motor running. It's not that I need to see the knife going into the eye without cutting away, I also want to see and feel something unique and horrible. Most horror is made for an audience that already knows the rules. Sure, some films have bent those rules but not many have completely broken them and replaced them with a new language of horror.

But if I must pick something perhaps the French film, MARTYRS could float my raft off a deserted island. Not just for the violence, but for the deeper meaning found in the twist ending -- which makes an impact after sitting through an hour of torture porn. It's an interesting take on the subject of gore, plus the horror aspects dwell in the extremes that some people justify for *their* cause -- whatever it may be. It also keeps you guessing to the end and that's brilliant.

Erik Larsen (Image Comics' Savage Dragon): PLANET TERROR from GRINDHOUSE comes closest.

Mahmud Asrar
(Marvel Comics' Shadowland: Powerman): I think I'd go for THE RING by Gore RingVerbinski. Although I watch a lot of horror movies and have many favourites, The Ring was really a movie that terrified me especially came at a time when I gave up on the horror cinema. Great visuals, lots of atmosphere and that said I do enjoy a wide variety of horror films from the likes of ROSEMARY'S BABY to NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET to ALIEN to THE DESCENT.

Hector Casanova (Image Comics' Screamland): It's hard to have a single favorite horror movie, especially for a horror movie fan. So I am breaking it down into subcategories, as the Horror genre really is much too diverse. I am a HUGE fan of certain subgenres of horror, like Creature Features and Magical Realism, whereas I do not care at all for others, like Torture Porn or Slasher flicks... and then there are the ones that could go either way: Vampires, Haunted House, Dark Fantasy, etc.

SO, favorite Creature movie: THE HOST (2006) by Joon-ho Bong- A giant walking fish monster that swallows its victims whole only to vomit them up again later back in its den for slower enjoyment? A 10-year-old girl survives regurgitation and tries to escape? There is nothing not-awesome about this movie. Plus, it has the most realistic, freakiest, grossest creature I've seen yet, and just enough slapstick humor to keep you from being completely traumatized. If all creature movies were this good...

exorcistTomm Coker (Marvel Comics' Daredevil Noir and Image Comics' Undying Love): THE EXORCIST is the scariest film ever made. William Friedkin approached the subject matter with an almost documentary style, playing the situations as real rather than fantastic, and in doing so grounded the story in a way that was believable and relatable and therefore more frightening.

eraserheadDavid Hine (DC Comics' Azrael and The Spirit, Image Comics' Bulletproof Coffin, and Radical Comics' Ryder on the Storm): ERASERHEAD because it's the most innovative and disturbing film ever made. The Radiator Lady alone would have made it a classic, or the embryo/baby, the chicken dinner, Jack Nance's hair!

Harold Sipe (Image Comics' Screamland and IDW's Garter and Ghouls): My favorite horror movie in forever was THE DEVIL'S BACKBONE. There are such horrifying subtleties in that film. The scene where you first see the ghost still gives me chills to think about.

Phil Hester
(Image Comics' Firebreather and Top Cow's The Darkness and Boom! Comics' The Anchor): I find NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD to be the scariest, mostly for the matter of fact presentation, newscasts, and claustrophobia. For newer stuff, I really dug THE RING, but not the sequels and knock offs. I should also add that my favorite monster movie is AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON. Perfect blend of horror and humor.

Alex Grecian (Image Comics' Proof: Endangered) : I'm gonna go ahead and be conventional and say that THE EXORCIST is still the scariest film I've ever seen. I saw it when I was a little kid and it kept me awake for weeks afterward, terrified that I might end up possessed by a demon. (Or worse, visited by a priest in my bedroom.) On the other hand, I also saw the first HALLOWEEN film and Kubrick's THE SHINING when I was a kid and thought they were great. The Shining was amazing fun and Halloween was just the right amount of creepy. Speaking of creepy, there was a scene in SALEM'S LOT with a little boy vampire hovering outside another kid's window that prompted me to keep my curtains closed at night. More recently, THE RING gave me goosebumps. (I know a lot of horror fans make fun of that film, but who isn't scared of little girl ghosts?) And LET THE RIGHT ONE IN was a wonderful movie on nearly every level.

Reginald Hudlin
(Marvel Comics' Captain America/Black Panther: Flags of our Fathers): Hmmmm, I guess 28 DAYS LATER because it felt really logical and totally terrifying.

Shaky Kane (Image Comics' Bulletproof Coffin):human-cen-2 When it comes to movies it changes all the time. Although saying that as far as impact goes it would be hard to beat THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE. Its a 'once in a life time' idea, and what a great character Dr Heiter is.

Visionary and fucked-up I loved every thing about this movie.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Oh, The Horror! #55: Let's Ask #3: What's Your Horror? Part 1: Books

On my recent Face To Greg, I ask various comic creators what their favorite horror books are.

Hector Casanova (Image Comics' Screamland): IT by Stephen King. At over 1000 pages, it's a fatty, but it's totally worth it. Pure King at the top of his game. It's got everything: mysterious deaths, ineffable monsters, killer clowns, alien invasions, domestic violence, even kids having sex... but most convincing, and scariest of all, is how well King can capture what it's like to be a 12 yr old misfit, terrified and terrorized by your peers and the world around you.

Jimmie Robinson (Shadowland Comics' Bomb Queen): Stephen King's NIGHT SHIFT. I like short stories and King did well with this book back in the day. It's also one of the most movie-optioned books in history. So many films were based out of this book that I think he set a record. In particular, Children of the Corn was especially well done. Granted the film version(s) is akin to a made-for-Syfy-Channel-movie, but the original story was solid. King is good at conflict creation. The ultimate "what if...?" writer. His high-concept stories (which Hollywood loves) have always held a place in my reader's heart. He also has a large body of work to dwell on and often you can find some connective tissue between books, and I appreciate that. However, he's not the only star in the horror sky, but since the question aims at a single work then I'll let it stand where it is.

Nathan Edmundson (Image Comics' The Light and Who Is Jake Ellis?): My favorite horror book is THE OATH by Frank Peretti. That, or IT [by Stephen King]. THE OATH is hardly a "horror" book, but I read it when I was about 5 and it scared me pretty good. IT seeps into you, and few other books have had me looking out the window like that one--and reaching for the book in the dark, too. For more shock horror, I think I could qualify BLOOD MERIDIAN.

Erik Larsen (Image Comics' Savage Dragon): Seriously--the closest I come is THE WALKING DEAD and it's more of a survival story than a horror one.

Mahmud Asrar (Marvel Comics' Shadowland: Powerman): This is a difficult one but when it comes to novels I lean towards the classics. Stuff with a Gothic setting and an ominous atmosphere really grab me. I'll have to go for BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA.

Harold Sipe (Image Comics' Screamland and IDW's Garter and Ghouls): My favorite horror book of recent memory has been Joe Hill's HEART-SHAPED BOX. There is a really chilling scene pretty early on in which the main character has to walk past a ghost sitting in his hallway. No gore. No screaming and carrying on. The horror came from all the description and subtlety of the scene, this seems to me where Hill really excels. I am really enjoying 20TH CENTURY GHOSTS by Hill as well.

David Hine (DC Comics' Azrael and The Spirit, Image Comics' Bulletproof Coffin, and Radical Comics' Ryder on the Storm): JAPANESE TALES OF MYSTERY AND IMAGINATION by Edogawa Rampo. The Japanese author took his name from the Japanese pronunciation of Edgar Allan Poe and he set out to outdo the master. Three of the stories in this volume would be in my all-time top ten: "The Human Chair", "The Hell of Mirrors" and "The Caterpillar." Here's the basic plot of "The Human Chair": A guy falls in love with an unattainable woman, so he constructs a chair that he can crawl into and stay there in a seated position. His arms are in the arms of the chair, his upper torso in the back of the chair and so on. Then he has the chair (and himself) delivered to her. Whenever she sits on the chair, she's sitting on him. He basically lives in there, only sneaking out at night to eat. Now that is scary...

Reginald Hudlin (Marvel Comics' Captain America/Black Panther: Flags of Our Fathers): I've never read a true horror novel. In comics, CROSSED is the scariest thing ever. WALKING DEAD is brilliantly written and drawn. Alan Moore's NECROMINCON is pretty damn good so far.

Tomm Coker (Marvel Comics' Daredevil Noir and Image Comics' Undying Love): DRACULA is where it all began. Horror in an extended novel form with all the mood, scares and beast we've come to expect from monsters and ghouls. Stoker invented the structure and created a great love story that scared my socks off as a kid.

Alex Grecian (Image Comics' Proof): The most disturbing novels I've ever read are probably LORD OF THE FLIES and THE ROAD, but they probably don't qualify as horror, so I'm gonna nominate Stephen King's THE SHINING as scariest ever. It's the only thing I've ever read that scared me so badly I had to stop reading and actually hide the book. I threw it as far back under my bed as it would go and never finished reading it. If you're curious, the chapter that did it for me was the one with the ghost lady in the bathtub. Yikes!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Oh, The Horror! #54: The Devil You Know by Mike Carey

Mike Carey is a master. I wanted to get that out of the way first and foremost. I’ve been into Carey’s writing since his churn in Vertigo’s Hellblazer, chronicling an era of everyone’s favorite John Constantine and then followed Carey for a whole on X-Men and been enjoying the hell out of The Unwritten (until my shop suddenly stopped ordering the damn book!). I finally finished his first novel The Devil You Know and once again… master!

In Devil You Know, we’re introduced to a freelance exorcist by the name of Felix Castor, a cheeky, rigid, and sarcastic English man who reluctantly takes up a job to exorcise a ghost haunting an old museum. Castor tries to figure out the mysterious background of this strange ghost and her connection to the museum. As his “research” goes on, more mystery gets introduced. What if this ghost isn’t haunting just to be a demonic nuisance, but she’s actually currently a victim of a continuing scheme? Filled with intrigue into an occult underworld and a humorous perspective from the protagonist, The Devil You Know is an enriching and engrossing page turner as we’re introduced to dark corners filled with ghosts, loup-garous, a beautiful and deadly succubus, a rival exorcist, and last but not least a powerfully scary gang boss and pimp. Carey does a fantastic job in building this world surrounding Castor and actually making us care for him, his supporting cast, and horrific truths as they unravel through each and every chapter.

It also didn’t hurt that Carey found a way of incorporating a loup-garou into the story, an animal/ghost/demonic shape-shifter who I’m accustomed to always hearing about through Haitian folklore. Be sure to read this book at night for a really filling and thrilling feel. It is a truly fantastic and great horror book for your collection. I can’t wait to read the sequel!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Oh, The Horror! # 53: Radical Comics' City of Dust

Let me start off by saying that although Steve Niles is dubbed as a modern master of horror, as a writer he doesn't do much for me. I've read his 30 Days of Night and while I was initially in love with it, I couldn't say it stayed brilliant with me through another reading. I've tried some of his other works and have always felt a tad underwhelmed. The one project of his I did like a lot was his short-lived Simon Dark book for DC Comics which I ended up dropping due to financial reasons, but sadly the fact that the book was heavily decompressed didn't make it a hard decision. I don't want to bash the guy. I love his enthusiasm for the horror genre and you can see his love and devotion for it. Heck, I've met the guy once and thought he was mega cool peoples. But I always feel as if a lot is missing in his work and I can never put my finger on it. I love his ideas, but execution can be a lot better.

And once again I feel the same for his Radical book, City of Dust. City of Dust me meet a cop in the future by the name of Philip Khrome who turned his father in when he was a child after hearing a fantasy story from him. So yes, we're in one of those futures where fantasy, literature, religion, imagination are all banned and illegal. Even porn!!! While we are introduced to the main character, he gets caught up in a weird murder mystery strangely connecting to monsters- monsters that are so far resembling monsters of old tales – Tales of Dracula, werewolves, etc. Things get a tad difficult when Philip kills a criminal for praying and later he discovers a children's book and starts reading through it. Oh boy!

Now, premise is cool and grabbing. Sure, it's a retread of Fahrenheit 451, but its still a rather good premise in this day and age when kids, even many adults, aren't even reading anymore (it tragically pained me when my little sister and cousin told me they've NEVER heard of Anansi the Spider!!). Niles does a pretty good job with the characters, my favorite parts being the scenes with the protagonist and his love interest, a prostitute. Niles also does a good job blending sci-fi with horror monsters with a mix of crime noir. The art is moody and works well with the atmosphere and world we're introduced to. No complaints with the art, Radical tends to always do well with that. But like all Niles books, I'm left unsatisfied. I still feel there's something missing. Extra beats that could have really helped it be great. For one, I felt the villains were a bit too weak in comparison to the protagonist. Not weak as in threat, but weak in execution. While they're wrecking havoc since the beginning of the book, they still don't seem to give an alarming presence. They seem to come out of nowhere, cause trouble, and move on. There's a revelation of how they come to be, but it gets presented in a seemingly nonchalant way where you just want to see this end.

If you're into monsters and a good blending of genres, check this book out for yourself. There's enough grit and gore for these type of horror lovers. Also keep in mind that I started off explaining the relationship between me and Niles' writing, so if you're a fan of his, maybe this'll be up your alley. Beyond that, I can't say I fully recommend this.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Scott Pilgrim vs The World

I am officially obsessed with this trailer and anticipating this movie's arrival! Next to Inception, this may be my most anticipated.

The first trailer that was released a lil' while back...

Monday, May 31, 2010

Oh, The Horror! #52: Carnival of Souls

I love this movie. I really really do. And I really appreciate it the more I see it and the more I think about it. I remember thinking this movie was just bizarre when I saw it the first time but the more I thought about it, the more I loved it. Carnival of Souls, directed by Herk Harvey in 1963, is a horror cult classic. It is a very low budget film, being filmed with the budget of $33,000 and without much use of special effects, it's really the atmosphere and the use of mood that really helps this film pop.

The film follows a young woman named Mary Henry (Candace Hilligross). She mysteriously survived a car accident in which her friends all died when their car sunk in a river after a drag race. We get an indication that Mary has changed since the accident as she decides to leave town and become an organist for a church at Salk Lake City. It is through her travels that we start to see her dilemma: she starts seeing a creepy looking man staring at her. As the movie goes on, Mary finds herself going crazy when whatever turn she makes, this spooky looking man just keeps popping out and walking towards her. It also gets even stranger when Mary starts walking around and tries to interact with people but instead is ignored, people around her being unable to see or hear her.

There isn't too much to say about the plot. It is a relatively simple story but Harvey, who also plays the spooky spectre dude, does a great job in building tension and using simplicity to actually get you uneasy. There's some wonderful scenes throughout the movie of the Man just looking at Mary, just standing simply next to her with a small smile on his face that is so effectively creepy that you just can't help but enjoy this film. The music also helps too. Now there are some errors in this film, that mostly being sound errors. There are times when Mary's fingers on the key boards of the piano doesn't match the music playing nor when she's running does the sound of the clicking heels match, but those small little ticks adds some weird charm to this already weird film. Man, do I love these creepy old black and white horror movies. I watch films like this and just get inspired.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Oh, The Horror! #51: The Strangers

This film being Bryan Bertino's first theatrical directorial prosper shows a ton of promise within the horror realm. The movie stars Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman (glad to see he's still getting some work) as a couple dealing with their relationship after James (Speedman) proposes to Kristen (Tyler) but sadly gets a rejection. The two drive off to their summer home where it is awkward between them. When things finally start to look a bit better for the two, there's a knock on the door. "Is Tamara home?" asks a young woman at the door. After being sent on her way, James' character decides to take a drive in order to clear his mind while Kristen's character stays at the house... but she's not alone. "Is Tamara home?" girl shows up again and is then followed by a creepy man wearing a mask quietly stalking Kristen in the house. There are little subtle moments that add to the creepiness of this wonderful scene. Before James left, Kristen mentions that she was out of cigarettes, no cigarette in sight for her to smoke. After James leaves, Kristen is noticeably tense and picks up a cigarette not realizing it wasn't there before, adding a slight bit of uneasiness watching. Things also start to be revealed to have been misplaced and you see that creepy man standing somewhere in the background, still like a statue. Yeesh. Definitely my favorite scene in this whole film. When Kristen starts to realize something is wrong, she calls James back home and soon after starts to get terrorized by three different strangers, all making it seem pretty clear they're out to kill her. When James finally returns, he's added into the danger when he finds his car smashed in, and phone missing, leaving the couple vulnerable.

The performances of the lead cast I felt were very strong and really added a lot to the overall film. Bertino also has a wonderful idea on how to build up tension and creepiness extremely well, a craft that seems to be missing in a lot of horror these days. Bertino adds just a right bit of pace, music, sound effects, and jump scares that's easy to get someone uneasy. Despite everything that's going for it, the film falls flat. The story could be a lot better and although you're finding yourself tense and hoping the couple make it out in the end, you're left wondering to yourself, "What's the point of all this? Why am I watching this?" While the pace of specific scenes are superbly used, the overall pacing of the story seems very off and is a bit discouraging. It makes me think about how much I enjoyed Vacancy over this film.

Overall, if you're interested in seeing specific tense rising scenes, Bertino's clearly shows he understands the craft. You can check it out for that. If you're looking forward to see a solid story, something that will shock and get into your head, I wouldn't recommend this. I will say, though, this film does a lot better job in actually scaring you than the recent Saw and Hostel films. While you can see this film as a slasher film and there is some gore, its the uneasiness that works well and places itself in a higher position that the torture-porn films with almost to no substance.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Inception Trailer

New Christopher Nolan!!!

Apologies and a Street Fighter Video

Man, I haven't been keeping this blog up to date for quite some time! Apologies for some of my readers. I've been so damn busy with school this semester, especially due to one class where we had to put on a show where I played the Devil, mwahahahaaa!!! Boy was that a freakin' blast. Working with everyone on the ensemble was just a wonderful blessing. I plan to post some pics/videos here when I can.

For now, I'll post this fan film Street Fighter video I just stumbled onto it. Bloody bleedin' awesome!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Human Centipede Trailer

Awww man, this trailer cracks me up. I may want to see this.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Oh, The Horror! #50: The Others

A movie I've been wanting to see again for years. I had only seen this movie once before and recall being absolutely amazed by it, from the quality of production to the performances to the ending. The ending is a fantastic modern classic twist if I do say so myself. Actually, the first time I seen this movie fully, I knew the twist because I walked in to the last 5 minutes of the film when it was in theaters when I was looking for my mother who was watching this film. But now that I finally own this film and watching it now with a clearer mentality and love for film-making and horror in general, this movie definitely still has and showcases the type of horror that I absolute love and strive to study and hopefully capture with my own art whether it be writing or filming.

The movie stars Nicole Kidman as a stern and sometimes very cold mother named Grace. She is very hard on her children Anne (Alakina Mann) and Nicholas (James Bentley), constantly pushing the words of the Lord and Bible in their minds. She is also highly protective of them due to their disease of being photosensitive. If the sun were to hit their skin, they'd get a terrible allergic reaction and die. Therefore Grace makes sure to cover the whole house in curtains in safety of her children. While she is very strict, you still get a sense in every scene of the love and devotion to her children. Her husband has also been missing and declared dead from fighting in the war and all her servants have abruptly left the house. Grace ends up opening her house to three servants passing by. While very nice and charming, as the movie progresses you're not quite sure what exactly their motives are. Especially in connection to the strange occurrences in the house. Grace one day hears the sounds of a child crying. She rushes quickly to her children but neither of them admits to the tears. That is when Grace's daughter, Anne, brings up a boy named Victor, the name of a ghost in the house. Grace, a believer of the afterlife and her religious teachings, refuses to believe this and punishes her daughter until she herself begins to experience the occurrences. She is very tough as she tries her best to find out what is going on in the house and attempts to fight these unwanted ghosts out of the house while protecting her children and trying to keep her sanity.

Director Alejandro Amenábar does a fantastic job guiding us through this psychological supernatural thriller. The atmosphere, tone, and mood set up since the very beginning is done beautifully and is compared well with the fantastic use of music, sound effects, and mixing. All the technical setups including seamless camera shots and editing really brings us to a very tight and coherent production. Combined with strong performances from the actors, the Others is overall a plain winner in my book. Very underrated, if you ask me. I also applaud the fact that I don't recall seeing any real CGI special effects. Nearly everything seen in the film seems very practical to shoot. It seems many people forget that you can easily get under people's skins and/or astonish them with just great use of camera work, tense shots and moments along with sounds and moving doors that you can simply have some one move with their hands while under the camera view, heh. If you have not seen this film, what are you waiting for?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Oh, The Horror! #49: Quarantined

Finally having seen this, this was probably the 4 or 5th time I've attempted to watch this movie and finally saw the whole thing. Not that the previous times I found it lacking or boring, I would just always fall asleep from tiredness or have been interrupted in someway shape or form. So finally about two months ago I was finally granted by the Fates to watch this film uninterrupted with the lights turned off with my wonderfully soft and warm cover. And wooo-boy was this fun! Now I have not seen the original but from what I hear, like nearly every remake, people were very annoyed that this film was made to begin with when you had the original titled REC from Spain. I've also read that both films are in fact nearly exactly the same, as the film seems to be a shot-by-shot recreation of the original. As someone who hasn't seen the original but only seen the remake, I have to say I'm definitely a fan and was entertained. I may have to look for the original to own if I found this remake so darn fun to watch.

The movie is filmed in a "found footage" style, the style of Cannibal Holocaust, Blair Witch Project, and recently Paranormal Activity. The movie begins with reporter Angela Vidal (played by very believably by Jennifer Carpenter) and her camera man Scott Percival (Steve Harris) filming footage introducing us to their next assignment where they follow a group of firefighters for the night. Through interviews and b-rolls, we're introduced to different firefighters, Jake (Jay Hernandez) and Fletcher (Johnathon Schaech), showing them the ins and outs of the fire station. Angela, who mentions when she was a kid wanted very much to be a fire-fighter, is anxious to get a call to go out and get some action. Boy, does that "Be careful what you wish for" saying come true. The crew gets a call and they rush over to a three story building where it seems everyone's in a panic. We meet the various tenants in the building and a police officer, Danny (Columbus Short) who isn't happy one bit when Angela and Scott get in his face with their camera, especially after shooting to death a tenant about to rabidly attack him. Angela's night of excitement is quickly halted after seeing an old woman get shot to death. This is no longer a "fun, laughing" matter. Her world will completely be turned upside-down by the end of this movie. The building suddenly gets sealed up as the tenants, including the cops, fire-fighters, and news crew get trapped inside of the building by what seems to be the government, cutting off their cable and cell phones. This ends up causing the building to become a death trap as a weird virus begins to trigger the tenants, bringing them into a state of rage as if being affected by rabies and attacking each other. The bacteria seems to be spread through biting and any type of saliva and while people begin to get infected one-by-one, there's seems to be no way out of this whole nightmare.

I absolutely enjoyed the heck out of this film. Having the film shot in found footage style really helps pull you into the action and it certain helps that the characters, actions, reactions, and decisions are entirely believable. None of the movements, specifically the camera, come out forced in anyway shape or form. It doesn't seem convenient that the camera was looking at a specific thing before an action took place. Cinematography through out was simply perfect. While I was enticed and having a ton of fun watching, as the movie progressed I really started to feel generally scared for the characters and would get annoyed when an infected character would come to cause terror. I laughed at how much I was into this film and I really wish I saw this in theaters to hear people shouting at the screen, "Run!" "Oh, you stupid bitch! Stop making noise!"

Directed by John Erick Dowdle, if you haven't seen this film I'd definitely recommend it. I feel with all I've been reading and what I've seen of this film, the film itself was recommending me to be interested to see the original which I plan to do now. Also take note of Doug Jones being in the film! I love Doug Jones! Yes, I said Doug Jones, so if anyone's familiar with that name, you know for sure what kind of role he'll be playing and of course he's as creepy as ever. And major props goes to the lead, Carpenter. Is it safe to call her a new-aged Scream Queen after this and her Exorcism of Emily Rose role where she was also excellent in?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Predators Trailer

Robert Rodriguez's upcoming Predators! I only recall him signing up for this film recently. And I'm still waiting for Sin City 2, dammit! C'mon, Robbie!!! But anywho, I have't seen the original two films in years, since I was a lil' kid. Hated Alien vs Predator despite drooling over Sanaa Lathan. Besides that... sign me up!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Oh, The Horror! #48: Angel Heart

A masterfully done film, one of my absolute favorites. Starring Mickey Rourke as Harry Angel, Robert De Niro as Louis Cyphre, and Lisa Bonet as Epiphany, a Vodou mambo, from start to finish you're hooked into this hard boiled noir inspired horror film. Alan Parker does a wonderful job crafting a film of complete and utter mystery, tension, and suspense. You're constantly at the edge of your mind wondering just where this film is going to go and the climax totally lives up. The tone given from beginning to end is creepy, enchanting, and pulls you in. From the music to the colors and the strong performances, you truly believe what you're watching. Is there a supernatural element to this movie? Is it all just in our heads or is the film tricking the viewer? You should see for yourself.

Harry Angel is a private detective hired by Louis Cyphre to look for a man who seem to have vanished off the face of the Earth, the man named Johnny Favorite. Harry searches high and low from NYC to New Orleans searching for Favorite. But things start to get highly tense when the the people Harry questions start to drop off like flies through disturbing ways. The cops start to pursue Harry along with other questionable people. He also meets Epiphany, a beautiful young Vodou priestess who's connected somehow, further entangling Harry into this strange web and world of Vodou.

I give this film full praises throughout from direction to overall production and acting. A lot of the tense moments are only pushed further by the fantastically strong performance of Mickey Rouke. I have to say from the different films I've seen played by Rouke, his turn as Harry Angel is by far my favorite, especially by the end of the film when everything gets revealed. De Niro clearly has a lot of fun in this weird role as Angel's client and Bonet is fine as a Vodou priestess. I'm impressed greatly in the scene where Bonet shows off her Vodou dancing skills along with a huge group of Vodou practitioners and Bonet really falls into character, making a sacrifice to whoever she's dancing to (why don't we find out she she is dancing to?). I also really adore the sex scene between Bonet and Rourke. A truly enticingly horrifying and mind-bogglingly scene, fantastically well shot with quick jump cuts and highly intense with blood dripping from the rain and pouring on the lovers. Definitely one of the very best "love" scenes I've seen in a movie that compliments well with the suspenseful tone of this masterpiece of a film. A highly recommend piece of art. If you haven't seen this do so. It's a wonderful film to add to your collection, whether you're a horror fan or not.

Also noted, I want to mention the special features from the DVD. There's a wonderful documentary going into details of the religion and practice of the Vodou religion in contrast to Hollywood Voodoo that's been pushed forth in movies. I loved this documentary and hope people check it out and don't have a close-mind of the belief and actually take into account just how much Hollywood and the media as tainted people's minds on the Vodou faith.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Oh, The Horror! #47: The Last House on the Left (Remake)

One of my god brothers introduced me to this film as he's a fan of both this and the original. I haven't seen the original and only heard about the movie until after the remake hit theaters. It seems my god brother is a big Wes Craven fan as he's introduced me to films such as People Under the Stairs and Serpent and the Rainbow. But anyways, he showed me this film and I can't quite say I loved it, but I was into it at least. The story follows a family, Emma (Monica Potter), John (Tony Goldwyn), and their daughter Mari Collingwood (Sara Paxton), who head out on vacation to their lake house. While convincing her parents to take the car and spend time with her best friend, Paige, they meet a young boy and got to his motel room and hang out. Everything is all fun and dandy until his father (Garret Dillahunt), uncle, and father's girlfriend come along and begin to torture Mari and Paige to the point of raping poor Mari in the woods. After all this, almost coincidentally (not too coincidentally, but whatev...), the criminal family make their way to John and Emma's home, both sides unsuspecting of their connection with each other. The tension between this is fairly well done and gets you interested in what's going to happen. It really becomes fun to watch when Emma and John figure out what these criminals have done and actually turn the tables on these killers and go all out on them.

This isn't a must see or total recommendation, but I do feel there are some winners in the film. The acting is fairly good, especially the main villain and the main parents (is Monica Potter trying to become a Scream Queen?). I really liked Potter in this film and I feel Paxton does some good stuff with her scenes. A lot of good tension rising moments throughout the movie but this film is rather passable although not terrible. The ending I felt could have been a lot stronger as I felt the protagonists could have done a bit more with the main villain, but that's just me... Nah, not just me, it would have been a stronger ending.

If you've nothing else to do, this is one of those films. Beyond that I wouldn't really recommend to go out of your way to catch this.

Directed by Dennis Iliadis.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Nightmare on Elm Street Trailer 2

Well, the second preview for the Nightmare on Elm Street remake was released. If you've been following my blog, you'd know that I just recently became a fan of the premise of Nightmare on Elm Street after years of being rather disappointed in it due to all the terrible sequels and feeling Freddy Kruger wasn't being used right to his full potential. I don't have too much faith in this remake as I've recently found a big appreciation for the first film, but here's hoping there's some redeemable aspects in this. I was very interested in seeing how Freddy could be used with all the advancement we've made with computer tech, though it seems most of the kills and special effects will just be rehashes of the original.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sweet Rebecca (Poem for Valentine's Days)

Sweet Rebecca was a pretty little thing
Who believed in love but kept getting flings.
Her lips were red as the color of blood
And her heart longed for a man to love.
Sweet Rebecca met Mark with eyes blue like the sea
But he had two left feet and could not match a beat.
Sweet Rebecca danced well with Chris
But his kiss could not give her bliss.
It was Chip who had the talented lips
But his face was filled with leaky zits.
Sean had a wonderful complexion, face with clarity
But had the most foul personality.
Sarah though had a wonderful heart, as if woven
But Rebecca remembered she was straight and Sarah was a woman.
Then Rebecca met Drake who had just the right sized penis
But his face kept reminding her of a deformed fetus.
Rebecca met Jamie, handsome with a chiseled jaw
But his chest was saggy and torso was a bore.
Jason, though, had just the perfect pecs and abs
But one day died in an accident in his science lab.
“What should I do?” Sweet Rebecca asked herself
Then an idea hit her head after finding a stitch in Jason’s shelf.
She met Mark again and cut out his blue eyes like the sea
And chopped off Chris’ talented and lovely right and left feet.
Sweet Rebecca ripped off Chip’s soft lips
And skinned Sean’s face that had no zits.
She cut out Sarah’s bloody beating heart
And also Drake’s right size penis and kept him apart.
She also detached Jamie’s chiseled jaw
And her smile lit up like a bright star
As she thought to put together all the pieces like a fine puzzle
She wondered if it’d be a struggle.
Sweet Rebecca returned to Jason’s science lab
And admired every pack of his hard shaped abs.
Days and weeks and months went by
And finally that one day she let out a sigh.
She finally created the perfect man And decided to name him Dan.
He had blues eyes like the sea
And could match a beat.
He had kissable lips
And had no zits.
He had a great heart you couldn’t buy with a dime
Whose penis fit her with just the right size.
He had a wonderful strong jaw
And each second of the day it was Rebecca he adored.
Of course he had the nice abs and great chest
And Rebecca loved Dan with all the best.

Rebecca and Dan lived happily ever after.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Oh, The Horror! #46: The Wolfman

The Wolfman is a film directed by Joe Johnston, a remake of the original 1941 Wolfman movie that starred horror scream king Lon Chaney, Jr. I'm going to start off this review by saying that I wasn't a HUGE fan of the original film when I first saw it. There were some shots I absolutely loved next to the setting and the mood presented in the film. The foggy forest? Just masterful. Chaney, Jr. as Larry Talbot was very appealing and of course you had the great Bela Lugosi making an appearance. This movie stars Benicio del Toro, one of my favorite actors, as Larry Talbot, a popular stage actor who is called back to Blackmoor after his brother is gruesomely murdered by what seems to be human... and inhumane at that same time. He is awkwardly reunited with his father (Anthony Hopkins) and meets his brother's fiancée, Gwen Conliffe (Emily Blunt) who was the one to track Larry down. Larry promises Gwen that he'll find the person behind his brother's death which leads him into the gypsy square near the forest where a werewolf causes death and injury to a lot of residents. Larry bravely goes after it only to be bitten, thus leading to his cursed transformation as the titled Wolfman.

So did I find this to be a great horror movie? Does it deserve hype from the trailers and special effects? Is it worth spending hard earned cash for? Eh. It was okay. So-so. The movie had good and bad parts. But not terrible. Let me start with the good. First and foremost: performances. All top-notch and it helps that everyone in the film were very well, established actors who knew their craft. Del Toro played a good performance of a brooding and cursed Larry Talbot although that's pretty much it. Besides playing a very good tortured character, that's all you'll see from him. The character himself is pretty much nearly one-noted besides specific scenes which I won't spoil. Anthony Hopkins plays Sir Talbot, Larry's father, and actually nearly steals the show during the first half of the movie and makes some scenes very creepy. Scenes that you'd believe would be cheesy under a lesser actor. Emily Blunt plays Gwen, the woman who eventually falls in love with Larry and becomes entangled in the whole story of the Wolfman. Blunt added a lot of depth and humanity to this movie and became my favorite thing about in this film. Hugo Weaving plays Inspector Francis Aberline, an officer determined in bringing Talbot down and stopping the murders. Although I flashed a grin when Weaving entered the screen, hoping his arrival will mean "shit is finally gonna go down!" he's nearly wasted in this film. Next to Blunt being my favorite part of the film, there were also scenes of Talbot's hallucinations starting to plague his mind. Larry's hallucinations were by far the scene-stealers of the movie. They were fantastically gripping, all focusing on Talbot's fragmented mind as both man and a werewolf, nearly driving him crazy, mixing reality with the surreal where you couldn't quite tell which was which at various moments. I was near the edge of my seat when those scenes played out.

Now the bad... the film was a tad boring. While I felt the performances kept me some-what interested with some amazing shots throughout the movie with very excellent musical scores from Danny Elfman, the movie couldn't quite get me excited. There were a lot of scare scenes that were in fact VERY well done, but the plot itself just seemed weak in parts. The first half of the movie dragged. Yet when it seem something was finally going to happen, it seemed rushed. The film did a decent job in adding some suspense here and there, but the story itself didn't seem to fully sustain the suspense that was going with it. While I also liked that the movie sort of strayed away from the original film, there were many times I wish it sort of did follow the original. For one, Larry Talbot was a much cheerier and happier person in Lon Chaney, Jr's version. You were amused and charmed with him when he started sweet-talking and courting Gwen who was also very happy-go-lucky. Then there was the weird feeling when Gwen's friend gets a bad omen. In this version, everyone is so gloomy since the very beginning of the movie. I missed the happy Larry who's world turned upside down when he gets bitten and cursed as a werewolf. Now there are some twists that I saw coming and I know it would be split between viewers if they liked this twist or not. Some people would find it cheesy while others would find it a very welcome surprise. I myself found it a welcome surprised although I did see it coming from near the beginning of the film.

The special effects were overall well done. I appreciated the Wolfman actually resembling the monster from the original movie but besides that there isn't much to really say. The transformation was okay, but its the use of the special effects with the hallucinations that take the cake for me. Gore and violence were all well done and none looked cheesy or out of place.

Would I recommend this film? Not really. There are things in the movie that would be enough to entertain people, but it'd be very hard for me to know which type of people that would be.
I will say, though, that I was very happy to see one of my favorite shots used from the original. The scene where Gwen is running towards the right of the camera in the foggy forest. Although the beautiful atmospheric fog was missing, the nod surely got a slight smile from me. I'll conclude that although I wasn't a huge fan of this movie... it really made me appreciate the original a lot more than I did before. So take that as you will.