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!