Wednesday, November 7, 2012

5 From 31

Okay, one last blog to squeeze out of my 2nd Annual 31 NIGHTS OF HORROR marathon.  Here, I'm going to attempt to recommend just a few films from the pumpkin patch.  No spoilers or rotten Jacks.  Grab your butcher knife.  Let's get carving.

(2011 - New Zealand - Director: Paul Campion)
This one gets my award for the unexpected surprise of the marathon.  This film was the equivalent of that Snickers bar you find at the bottom of the left over remnants of your Trick R' Treat bag.  It is a well done period film that takes place on the Channel Islands on D-Day.  It concerns two soldiers who are on a mission to distract from the Normandy invasion and stumble upon a Nazi plan that has to do with the occult, demonology and the supernatural.  Hi-Jinks ensue.  There is somewhat of a slow burn pacing, which I generally enjoy, some great special effects, splatter and the acting is solid.  Director Paul Campion does a great job building enough suspense to cut with a knife.  Craig Hall, Matthew Sunderland and Gina Varela all turn in great performances.  These are the indies I love the most, the unexpected gems.  Kudos to cast and crew.

(1996 - USA - Director: Andrew Fleming)
My choice to include The Craft in this list is in large part due to me not remembering thinking much of it back in the 96' when I first watched it.  The Craft put the ruler to my ass and knuckles for my dissidence this time around and, yes, I enjoyed it.  The film centers around a teenage trio of Catholic Prep School girls who are down with witchcraft.  If that isn't fucking hot, what is?  The flick is wonderfully 90's and many of us who were teens during that decade can definitely feel the nostalgia here.  The plot setup isn't breaking any new ground but it doesn't have to because the film is extremely effective and does include it's share of unexpected moments.  The direction, script and awesome cast really makes this film what it is.  Neve Campbell, Rachel True, Skeet Ulrich and Breckin Meyer are great here, however Fairuza Balk is top notch and really raises the bar with her incredibly dynamic performance while Robin Tunney does an awesome job at anchoring the film.  I don't know how you pull off being alluringly sexy and run away creepy at the same time, but Fairuza did it.  That said, I wish Fairuza Balk was involved in some higher profile projects because she is a stunningly good actress.  Anyfuck, grab your black eyeliner, choker, some grunge CD's, ratty jeans, a flannel and a Pepsi Blue and revisit this one if it's been awhile.  It might surprise you.

(1981 - Italy - Director: Lucio Fulci)
There's really not much for me to say here.  This is a personal favorite of mine and possibly Fulci's best film besides the seminal Zombi.  The House By The Cemetery first came to my attention about a decade ago when I was really getting into Giallos and Italian horror, which are now consequently some of my all time favorite sub-genres.  I love the fantasy elements, surreality, creepy mood and tone, as well as, all out splatter of Italian horror films and The House By The Cemetery displays these elements in spades.  It has classic traits of a haunted house flick, a slasher, a ghost story, a mystery and an awesome dose of splatter along with a "what the fuck is happening?" quality.  I love the mood of this film and greatly admire the techniques used.  If you haven't seen this one, strap in for a nutty fuckin' ride friends.  This movie is a classic in my book. 

(1979 - USA - Director: David Schmoeller)
Alright, I'm not saying shit about the plot on this.  It's a 70's horror film starring Chuck Connors, a deliciously young Tanya Roberts and a bunch of actors most of us have never heard of or from again.  I can honestly tell you that this film has an amazing sense of dread and creep factor.  I don't get the fuckin' willies very often, but when I watched this about 7 or 8 years ago I actually paused it at one point and said out loud, "Holy Shit".  I would say that even in horror circles, this one is massively gigantically enormously underrated.  I absolutely love this film.  I do believe this is one that ooged out Stephen King and became a favorite of his as well.  Hunt it down and watch it.  If you like horror movies at all, this one will not disappoint.  I'd also like to note that there was a certain remake from a few years back that I found to be done incredibly well and titled itself as a remake of a different film.  However, in truth this remake was way more like Tourist Trap.  Any ideas what remake I'm talking about? 

(1977 - Italy - Director: Dario Argento)
I'm going to put it simply.  One of the best films of all time, any genre.  A pinnacle of horror.  Probably my second favorite movie, ever.  This is a masterpiece on every level.  Like I stated in my previous posting, this film bends reality, is stunningly gorgeous and operates on a level that is akin to fantasy.  The plot has to do with witches and there are actually two thematic sequels to Suspira but that's all I'm going to say about storyline.  This film stands on it's own right next to any of the greats.  One of the most influential stunningly artistic and disturbing horror films of all time.  The colors, the direction, the music, the acting, the sets... masterpiece.  So many great directors from all genres admire and discuss Suspiria for very good reason.  If you haven't seen it, no matter your taste in films, it should be on your must watch list.

It's been badass fun to share some of my incoherent rambling lunatic murmurings on my second annual 31 Nights of Horror marathon with you.  I've created a new tradition for myself and though I watch horror movies all year long, it's just different when Autumn hits and Halloween is in the air.  I am already anticipating the 2013 list and though I don't pre-plan all of the films on the list, I certainly have a couple of flicks picked out especially for 2013 already.  Feel free to share any thoughts or make suggestions for next year in the comment section below.  Thanks for reading and bleeding.

Monday, November 5, 2012

31 Nights of Horror - PART 3: The Final Battle

Sluts, I'm fresh off of a FRINGE: Season 3 marathon (I'm late to the ballgame on this show but I fuckin' love it and I'm 1/3 through Season 3) and I'm back to finish off this trilogy of reviews.  My God, someone give me a medal because I know I'm the best at least entertaining myself.  For fucks sake, look at that previous sentence.  Who reads this shit anyway?

October 22nd - MOON OF THE WOLF  5/10
This 1972 ABC Movie of the Week is good... for a made for TV movie from 1972.  Obviously, there's not much in the way of gore or fright factor.  I like the straight ahead honesty of this little flick and some of the performances are actually quite good.  For that, along with a pretty decent wolfman, this one earned a quiet nod and a smile.  I'd shake it's hand and buy it a whiskey but I wouldn't take it home to bed.  Entertaining for what it is, it was a nice segue between the previous film and the next.

October 23rd - THE CRAFT  8/10
First off, I didn't realize the first time around how Fairuza Balk is ridiculously talented and her performance in this film is fucking amazing.  The whole cast really nails it here but she stands out.  I honestly did not remember this film being this entertaining or solid.  It sort of took me unaware because I haven't seen it in years and it not only holds up really well for a 90's flick but was much better this time around.  The whole vibe of the film is just so 90's dope, anyone who was a teen during that time can't help but dig on this.  It's also cool, now that I'm living in L.A. to notice all off the places this was shot.  I highly encourage you to revisit this one if it's been a while.  Lastly, there is something so enigmatically sexy and appealing about Fairuza's damaged, off the reservation, character and performance, I've had a crush on her since I was teen.  Crush renewed.

October 24rth - THE LOST BOYS  10/10
I make no apologies.  I am in no way ashamed of the constant references I get to looking like a young Kiefer Sutherland from Lost Boys or Stand By Me.  Happens all of the time.  I don't understand it, but fuck it.  It's a nice break from the Thor and Jax Teller references.  Bottom line is this film is a fucking 80's classic.  If you don't think so, I will tear your gorramned lymphatic system straight the fuck out and use your heart for a fucking coin purse.  You've got the 2 Coreys, you've got a young Jason Patric Solarbabying the shit outta this film, you've got an amazing script, cast and performances, you've got gore, you've got the appearance of PeanutButterBoppers in gramps candy spot, Billy Wirth straight getting the death by stereo, fucking Bill S. Preston Esquire mulleting your oculars like a fucking champion and you've got KIEFER FUCKING SUTHERLAND making this film his little backyard whore and I don't even know what that means.  Fucking classic.  Son of a bitch, someone go get me my parachute pants, my baby blue GT Pro Performer, a boombox loaded with some 80's metal and new wave, a line of cocaine, a paint splattered lime green shirt and get your bodadical radacious ass out of my fucking way because I'm already sporting some Roos, got the retro sideswept River Phoenix hair and drive an 87 Fiero GT and giveth no fucks.  Where am I?  What am I talking about?  Brah's and Brahnettes, I'm nurkin' and you can go suck an egg if you aren't feelin' this film.  Fucking Lost. Fucking. Boys.

October 25th - 1408  7/10
John Cusack could make a Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich on camera and somehow be completely entertaining, affable and make me want to take him out for a beer and shoot the shit.  Just be my friend John Cusack.  I give props to this film for Sam Jackson's performance here as well.  Really makes an impact with such little screen time.  Straight up kudos to myself for living in a fucking hotel (no comment) and watching this.  Made it that much more disturbing.  Stephen King, you twisted badass, thank you for the story.  Solid film.

October 26th - GHOST SHIP  5/10
Alright, this film straight ripped the poster art straight the fuck off of the eerily moody and still out of print 1980 flick Death Ship.  Only fucking Hollywood ends a fucking ghost story with such pomp and explosions.  Ahh, maybe I need to give it a 3rd go in case I need to listen to some Mudvayne and am more prepared for what I think is more action that horror.  I almost need to give this film an extra point for Karl Urban's American accent.  It's more American than mine and I'm from Texas.

October 27th - DEADLY BLESSING  7/10
Hello young Sharon Stone who shows up in the 2nd act.  You are 1981 HottieHot.  Wes Craven makes a flick about Devil worship in Amish country.  They weren't Amish... something else stricter than that I guess.  I don't know.  Religiousy Religion stuff that is oogy.  Deadly Blessing has a somewhat palpable sense of dread, some solid acting, a satisfying last act and I didn't really know where things were going.  All of that is good.  Started off a little stiff and dry (that's what she said) but got better.  This would be a good double feature with Children of the Corn.  Similar vibe.

October 28th - SUSPIRIA  10/10
Suspiria is an absolutely seminal, genre shattering, 1977 Italian horror film from master director Dario Argento that is, and will continue to be, one of the most influential stunningly artistic and disturbing horror films of all time.  The colors, the direction, the music, the acting, the sets... masterpiece.  So many great directors from all genres know this film well for a very good reason.  If you haven't seen it, no matter your taste in films, it should be on your must watch list.  I envy you because I wish I could watch it for the first time every time.  The reality bending fantasy terror concerns a ballet school in Germany, a centuries old coven of witches led by Mater Suspiriorum, The Mother of Sighs, one of three witches that will bring about the end of times on a world wide scale through their black magic.  One of my absolute favorite films of all time.  A pinnacle of the genre and of all films.  Period.  End of story.

October 29th - INFERNO  9/10
Not nearly as critically loved as Suspiria, this 1980 film carries the theme of the the Three Mothers to New York, where the cruelest of the trio, Mater Tenebrarum (The Mother of Darkness), resides.  Even less straight forward in plot structure than Suspiria, this film is still considered by many to be a masterpiece of surreal supernatural terror and probably still makes the top 25 list for me of best horror films ever made.  Death personified.  Love the artistic flare of this one and the mood of this film and much like Suspiria, cannot be matched.  Keith Emerson of Emerson, Lake and Palmer lends a top notch thundering soundtrack of creep to this.

October 30th - MOTHER OF TEARS  7/10
The final entry in the Three Mothers trilogy, this brutal 2007 entry wraps things up with Mater Lachrymarum, The Third Mother known as The Mother of Tears.  Argento directs his sexy daughter, Asia Argento, in the lead role.  Less colorful, more straightforward, the tone of this film differs vastly from the previous films in the trilogy and has a blunt edge; a rawness and harsh brutality that takes the place of the fantasy feel of the other films.  This is an incredibly solid movie but some of that intangible magic is missing here.  All the same, I enjoy a great many things about the final film but it always leaves me wanting more... still highly recommended.

October 31st - Double Feature - HALLOWEEN 4: THE RETURN OF MICHAEL MYERS  8/10
The return of the boogieman to the formula that the original Halloween film redefined, which in turn invented a genre.  An incredibly fun slasher film with my favorite personification of pure evil.  Amazing performance by Danielle Harris as well.  Love this one.  Biggest bone to pick though was them using the cheap Don Post mask that just can't duplicate the original.  Hate it.  The original mask is so far superior.  All of the Halloween films have a special place on my shelves but... this is the last really good Halloween film until, in my opinion, H20.
The one that began the fucking Druid mythology, man in black, dumbass storyline that infected the franchise.  This one was the beginning of the end for the Halloween sequels.  Though it certainly still has it's moments, a lot of the general ambiance from the previous Michael Myers films is lost in this one.  Danielle Harris turns in another awesome performance, there are definitely some good scares, the mask is much better here (though still not as good as the original).  This is the one that spelled doom for the franchise.  I still love it nonetheless because it, at the very least, it doesn't completely lose coherency, has some memorable scares and does not star a fucking rapper.  Whatever... easily still my favorite horror film franchise and there is no other icon of horror that will ever be the personification of evil or the boogieman like Michael Myers.

Well, that's it for the 2012 31 Nights of Horror marathon.  Can't wait until next year to do it all over again with a new batch of horrifying, and not so horrifying, flicks.  Don't know when I'll post again or much else.  Hopefully before next year starts.  Leave a comment if inclined.  I love to hear other peoples thoughts on my favorite genre of movies.  Otherwise piss off and have a wonderful day or fantastic night or whatever the fuck time period you're dealing with in your version of reality.  Roll credits.

Friday, November 2, 2012

31 Nights of Horror 2012 - PART 2

I'm always varying things up when doing these marathons, whether it's different eras or sub-genres. I always throw stuff in I haven't seen and there were actually a couple of surprises in this group.

October 11th - ROAD TRAIN (US TITLE - ROAD KILL)  6/10
This is an Aussie flick from 2010 about a demonic Road Train, which is basically an 18-Wheeler with extra trailer, that traverses the outback hunting people.  I am a sucker for killer vehicle movies and I've been a fan of nearly every cult Aussie flick since I was a kid.  With all of that going for it, this film was a bit of a letdown.  Without giving anything away, the film actually has a solid concept.  They just spend way too much time on a plot that would be better suited for a soap.  The pacing needed work, the dialogue was shit so the actors couldn't overcome the script and some of the artistic flare just didn't work.  However, this flick shows promise and tried to be a little different and surreal.  For that I gave it an extra point.

October 12th - SCARECROWS  7/10
HayAy!!  There just aren't many decent killer Scarecrow movies out there and really no great ones.  Another opportunity for someone to do something badass, I say.  Anyfuck, this 1988 film is easily one of the better ones and some might argue the best.  It sets a great tone and does it's best to overcome its many faults.  Bottom line though is that its an entertaining flick with a better than average plot.

October 13th - THE DEVIL'S ROCK  8/10
This one might be the surprise of the month.  I wasn't really expecting much to be honest and this film delivered the demonic goods.  From 2011, the storyline actually takes place on the eve of D-Day, so it's a period piece and it's done well.  Interesting plot focusing on 2 soldiers who are on a mission to distract from the Normandy invasion and stumble upon a Nazi plan that has to do with the occult and the supernatural.  I highly recommend this one so I'll say no more concerning the story.  Great pacing, a slow burn, goopy gore galore, incredibly solid acting and go ahead and Netfix this whore because it's streaming for your pleasure.

October 14th - ELVIRA: MISTRESS OF THE DARK  5/10
Looking to lighten the mood, I decided it was about time I watched this film.  Anyone who is a horror geek is familiar with the bodacious boded Elvira as a host of some of the best horror and science fiction schlock flicks around.  Elvira may be stacked but the jokes in this were flat.  Her brand of humor is great in small doses but can't carry a film.  Also, there are little to no horror elements.  This is really a full on comedy and a pretty generic one at best.

October 15th - Double Feature - DOLLY DEAREST  5/10
I laughed, I cried (when I accidentally rubbed salsa in my eye), I watched Tasha Yar try and save her brat daughter, I saw a child that could have easily grown up to be Rick Moranis be a smartass turd to Rip Torn and I watched an older than the Mayans spirit possess some dolls that shook like they were having seizures when they screamed. 
DOLLS  8/10
This is a little nugget of awesome directed by Stuart Gordon.  That should tell you enough right there.  Love the mood of this film.  Gordon has a great sense of dark fantasy in his films, much like Argento, where you feel that you're in a world where all the rules don't quite apply.  If you haven't seen it, I can almost guarantee you'll be hooked after the teddy bear incident.  Enjoy.

October 16th - THE HAUNTING OF JULIA  4/10
Although from 1977, this one was new to me.  All I can tell you is that it's clear Mia Farrow is bad for children.  This much is crystal.  Probably the funniest of all children death scenes right off the bat that will leave you shaking your head in the disbelief of the utter retardation you have just witnessed.  From there it is a boring look at a dry self-possessed nutbar who does a bunch of shit that makes no sense.  This film is a yawn and a disappointment.

October 17th - CHILDREN OF THE CORN  7/10
The film that made cornfields creepy.  You've seen it.  You've heard the theme music.  You've become acquainted with He who walks behind the rows.  He's made of animation. 

October 18th - DON'T LOOK NOW  2/10
Don't Look Now.  Do not.  Look. At the screen.  Holy shit, I can't believe this was recommended to me so highly as some kind of classic.  The only thing more disturbing then the awkward weird grunts Donald Sutherland makes through this film is the love scene between him and Julie Christie where I swear she was up in his armpit nuzzling ferociously.  I'll quote a review of this I read after viewing it and trying to understand what people enjoy about this flick.  "God save us from the artist."  This film wants to be a giallo so bad but the talent is NOT there.  And by the way, the ending that every one says scarred them for life would be a fucking hors d'oeuvre in an Argento film.  Go watch Deep Red or Tenebre and see how shit is done.  And oh yes film friends, I understand very well the intended symbolism, etc, etc but I also understand that half of the shit you claim to be symbolism is in fact random nothing shots that dissolve into objects.  This movie sucks.  I'd never been so happy for a movie to end.  Tripe.

October 19th - TOURIST TRAP  9/10
This 1979 piece of uneasiness is such an underrated rarely seen film.  One of my all time favorite horror films, this flick is flat out disturbing.  The first time I watched this about 8 or 9 years ago I couldn't believe how effective this film is in creep factor.  The less said the better but if I could only recommend 2 rare films from this year's marathon, this would be one of them.  I would also be remiss to not tell you... young Tanya Roberts.

October 20th - PHANTASM  10/10
Listen, if you're not familiar with surreality that is 1979's Phantasm, you aren't familiar with a classic of the horror genre.  If someone mentions "the tall man" or "the ball" and you're clueless, I recommend you rectify that shit immediately BOY.

October 21st - HOUSE OF WAX (1953)  9/10
An absolutely gorgeous piece of cinematic history that is still stunningly colorful.  A Vincent Price classic that holds up amazingly well.  Can't believe I waited this long to watch this.

31 Nights of Horror 2012 - PART 1

Yeah, I haven't posted a review of anything since August 2010.  What did I do in 2011 and most of 2012?  Moved to L.A.  Got my ass whipped by life.  I am sure all 3 of you who read this have been aching in your loins for some SilverBulletCinema blog action.  So, I'm going to review my 2nd Annual horror film marathon, just touching on the pink parts.  I'm also including my rating of the film next to the title, in case you're color blind.  Here we go...

October 1st - SESSION 9  8/10
It surprises me how many people aren't familiar with this film.  It's a creepy as hell slow burn shot in an abandoned asylum that is actually haunted.  Session 9 has atmosphere to spare and an ending I will only refer to as murky. Fucking bad fucking ass. The acting is top notch.  And, yes, as a matter of fact that one dude right there is Josh Lucas.  You're welcome.

October 2nd - BLACK SABBATH  6/10
It's Italian. It's from 1963. Ozzy and company named their band after it. I prefer the first of the two films "The Telephone".  Love the look of this film too.  Based on the first 3 sentences I stated, you should watch it.

October 3rd -  Double Feature - THE VIDEO DEAD  5/10
 This flick from the 80's looks like it was shot on a camcorder with the neighbors kids as the leads. Disturbingly, I was entertained nonetheless. This fucking atrocity of cheesetasticness will retro rape your eyes.
THE GATE  7/10
Hello little Craig Sheffer.  I've loved this movie since I watched it at a slumber party when I was a hairless preteen.  If you haven't seen it, then what the fuck?  It has stop motion animation bitches.

October 4rth - THE BURNING  7/10
The Jewish Friday the 13th.  George Costanza gets murdered at summer camp.  Oh, I gave away a plot point.  What an arsehole. Fun movie.  Saw this for the first time a few years ago.  Nice gore, typical F13 rip off plot but easily one of the better ones.

October 5th - SLITHER  9/10
I know you've seen this.  If not, I'd tell you to just go kill yourself but then I wouldn't want you to die without witnessing the perfect storm of B-Horror on the A-Level.  If you haven't seen this, I'm telling Nathan Fillion on his twitter and he will tweet your failure to millions. 

October 6th - THE FACULTY  7/10
Robert Rodriguez and a shitload of talented young actors make a Drive-In worthy Sci/Fi-Horror rip of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.  Holy shit, he totally called the energy-drink fad.  Just imagine what a FourLoco would do to one of those aliens.

October 7th - THE HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY  10/10
Italian masterpiece.  One of my personal favorites.  One of Fulci's absolute best.  The pacing, the shots, the atmosphere, the gore, elements of the supernatural as well as a nice nod to Frankenstein.  What more do you need?

October 8th - Double Feature - CHILD'S PLAY  8/10
Chucky.  That's my review.  You've seen it.
These have steadily gotten worse and gone into straight bullshit camp.  I mildly liked the Jennifer Tilly plot but it has a fucking rapper in it.  Redman.  Who plays himself.  Who is referred to a couple of times as what sounds like "Redmin".  My guess is that this is an attempt to make it sound less fucking ridiculous to call some one "Red Man" in normal conversation.  This was my first time seeing this and it was everything I thought it would be.  I'm actually looking forward to the reboot.  That's fucked up.

October 9th - WEREWOLF: THE BEAST AMONG US  6/10

I don't know, there might be a plot point in the title y'all.  Fuck me with a turnip.  Meh.  The werewolf looked cool.  It's entertaining if you are a werewolf fan.  I still think the werewolf genre has not had it's night in the full moon, to silver coin a phrase.  I just threw up in my mouth proofreading that last sentence.  Seriously though, I really would love to see an amazing werewolf movie in the next few years.  I happen to be writing one and have ideas for another.  Tangent.  I gave this one extra point for actually having a werewolf in the film instead of a giant wolf.  Yes, there is a fucking difference.

October 10th - BURN WITCH BURN  8/10
Honestly, I have a hard time enjoying a lot of older horror films lately.  Maybe it's the rehashing of the same plots I've seen incessantly in newer films that ruins the old ones for me upon retroactively viewing.  Well, I have no such trouble with this film.  Masterfully acted and directed, this gem from 1962 still shines in all of it's black and white glory.  Originally titled Night of the Eagle (you'll understand after you see it), I really dug the storyline from start to finish. Highly recommend this and if Hollywood wants to remake everything in horror, I submit that this one would be amazing with the right director.

Okay, I'm sick of writing tonight.  I'm going to watch something.  Here is the list of the rest of the films that will be included in the next 2 parts to this review.  There were some real surprises for me and I can't wait to get to them.  

Double Feature - DOLLY DEAREST & DOLLS
Double Feature - HALLOWEEN 4 & HALLOWEEN 5