Saturday, October 21, 2017

October Horror Challenge 2017 #66: "The Bermuda Triangle (Rifftrax)"

This is a mostly terrible, badly dubbed movie about a creepy old doll found floating in the ocean that possesses a kid and causes a bunch if deaths on a cruise ship. I think the doll is the reincarnated spirit of a little girl who died at sea it something like that. It's pretty silly, but the Rifftrax commentary makes it fun.

Friday, October 20, 2017

October Horror Challenge 2017 #65: "Mirror, Mirror"

I always thought I'd seen this movie before, but I think I just saw so many trailers and add that I stored those in my brain and imagined that I saw it, because it's not ringing a bell when I watch it now. Whoops. Either way, I've wanted to see this for years apparently, and I'm excited to finally get a chance to watch it now. Mirrors kinda freak me out, so any horror movie featuring evil mirrors is automatically creepy in my book.

Karen Black is in this movie, and I love her, so that instantly makes the movie better in my book. She's in a lot of movies that I love. Her character in this movie is fun, too. The movie is about a teenage girl who moves into an old house and discovers a mirror in the house that seems to have supernatural powers. The teenage girl is played by Rainbow Harvest (cool name) and Karen Black plays her self-centered mother. The movie is a mix of the typical teen flick about an awkward teen girl learning to fit into her new town and a horror movie about a teen being corrupted by the occult. I dig the combo since I tend to like both of those types of movies.

The teen girl in this movie is kind of odd, which of course makes it even harder for her to fit in. She kind of reminds me of Winona Ryder's character in "Beetlejuice," like both before "goth" was a term you heard everywhere. She seems like a sweet girl though, and as an outcast she's easy pray for an evil force that promises to make her powerful if she surrenders. I almost don't blame her. I'd kinda like to see most of her stuck-up classmates die horribly too, and I don't even go to school there.

It's kind of sad in a way, because I genuinely like the main character and I think she eventually would have started to fit in on her own if the damn mirror didn't go and turn her evil before she had a chance. The mirror effects in this movie are kind of silly looking, but the evil behind it is creepy. The movie drags s bit in the middle and it's pure 80s cheese, but it's still spooky fun.

October Horror Challenge 2017 #64: "Green Room"

Ok, since critical acclaim is clearly not an indicator of whether I'll like a movie or not, let's check out a movie that got good reviews but is definitely not a comedy. Enter this movie, which was introduced to me as a new horror movie several times this year, but now seems to be classified as a "thriller." Well fuck you, IMDB, the last movie you told me was a thriller and not a horror movie had dead people coming back to life and people getting sawed in half with a chainsaw. I'll just go ahead and call movies horror movies if I consider them horror, and you can just deal with it, mmmkay?

So this movie is about an indie punk band, living on the outskirts of society, sleeping on couches and siphoning gas from strangers to keep their van running as they travel the country to gigs. You know, real punk stuff. Well, after one particularly gnarly gig, they witness something they shouldn't, and soon they find themselves fighting to survive.

Sounds like fun, right? But does it  sound like a horror movie? Let's discuss that. So on the surface, with that plot description, this movie could go either way. Depending on the level of violence and gore, right? Lots of gore means the movie is a horror movie, right? Ok, I'll tell "The Patriot" and "Saving Private Ryan" that they're horror movies now since they're some of the goriest movies I've ever seen. And despite it's title, "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" has barely any gore, and "Psycho" has even less, so those must be children's movies, right? Sounds asinine, right? Of course it does, because I'm being deliberately obtuse in order to make a point. And not the point that I'm a dick. I think we all know that by now.

Here's my point, and it's not just that a movie doesn't have to have a lot of gore to be a horror movie, and just blood and guts alone don't make a horror movie. I think we can all agree we know that already. For me, the thing that makes "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" a true horror movie is the brutality. The main character in that movie is tortured horribly, so much so that I found myself looking away from the screen more than once, and there wasn't even a lot of blood onscreen, it was just brutal and horrifying to me to think of that happening to another person.

Does "Green Room" fit that criteria? For me, it does. Some of the pain and torture our characters went through was horrifying. I actually said "oh God oh God what's WRONG with you?!" when I saw one particular attack, and I've seen a LOT of attacks and killings in movies, over a hundred each October, right? For a scene to unhinge me that way is impressive. I was also on the edge of my seat for most of the duration of this movie, my hand over my mouth when I wasn't yelling at the characters to run, get out, get away. Anything to escape what was happening. Sorry guys, I respect your opinions, but in my very informed opinion, this is most definitely a horror movie, and one of the best ones I've seen in a long time.

What else can I really say about this movie? The acting was great and it really helped draw me into the story and connect with the characters, even when I didn't like them. I'm sure you've heard Patrick Stewart is in this movie, and he amazes me. I've loved him most of my life. I saw him bash a guy's head into a wall in this movie, and I was jealous of the guy because he got to have his head bashed by PATRICK STEWART OMG. That's how good he is. I also really love Anton Yelchin (R.I.P. sir, you were gone too soon) and Imogen Poots and Alia Shawkat (I've wanted to marry her since I saw her in the revival of "Arrested Development" this year, and she's great in this movie) but really, there isn't a bad performance I can think of.

Even people in bit parts gave it their all, as sometimes happens in indie productions like this where everyone actually gives a shit about making a good movie. I'm just stoked. I loved every bit of this movie, especially when it made me cringe. See, unlike some people, when I call a movie a horror movie, I mean that as a compliment. I LOVE horror movies, how they make me look evil straight in the face and live to tell about it. I love horror, and I loved this movie, every horrifying moment.

October Horror Challenge 2017 #63: "What We Do in the Shadows"

Since the last movie wound up being so good, I figured I might as well check out this other movie that everyone else said was good. This is a movie that lots of people raved about, so of course it went on my list, as do all new horror movies that people actually like. That doesn't happen as often as you'd think. Horror fans are picky and crabby and tend to complain about new horror movies more often than they like them. Let's see if I agree with most horror fans and I like this movie (or if I'm the picky, crabby one here).

So this is a horror comedy (and you all know how leery I am of those, because they're more often stupid than funny). It's about a group of vampires who share a flat together in modern times. A documentary crew follows them around and captures footage and interviews with them detailing what their lives are like. Honestly, just typing that description I think it sounds pretty fucking stupid, so I'm really not holding out too much hope for this movie. Here's hoping, though.

The vampires themselves are funny. Three of them look mostly normal and human like, but one is a creepy Nosferatu looking guy, so that amused me. Plus there were a few jokes here and there that made me laugh. Just the idea of a film crew following a group of vampires around talking with them like luring people in and drinking their blood is normal is kinda funny. Overall though, I found this movie more annoying than funny. I really wanted to like it, but I spent most of the movie wondering when it was finally going to be over with, and it's not even that long. Ugh.

October Horror Challenge 2017 #62: "The Girl with All the Gifts"

This is one of those movies I've been looking forward to seeing during the challenge this year. It's a newer movie that's gotten a ton of good buzz, even from people who don't typically like horror movies. A lot of people are calling this a "thinking man's horror movie," which is a snide way of complimenting this movie while insulting other horror movies (because no THINKING MAN watches those OTHER horror movies, just us uneducated hillbilly folk) but I thought I might like this movie. It's not the movie's fault if its fans are arrogant pricks, and I love me a good horror movie, so I was excited to check this out.

I threatened everyone I knew with violent bloody death if they spoiled this (or any other) movie for me, so I knew next to nothing about it going in. It's about a girl, and she presumably has gifts of some kind, I suppose. Thanks to one of those aforementioned snide jerky people who couldn't keep their mouths shut about the plot, I also knew it has something to do with zombies.

I used to tell people I didn't like zombie movies in general. They're certainly not my favorite subgenre, like slashers, where I can enjoy most of them even if they're bad. No, with zombie movies, I was far less forgiving. If they were stupid or annoying, I hated them, and I'd seen enough stupid and annoying ones that I preferred not to watch them at all for fear I'd be wasting my time. It took me years before I'd seen enough good zombie movies that I was willing to give them a chance. Now I don't really mind thenm, but the good ones, the gems that stand out and become some of my favorite movies, those are rare. I'd probably list "Berlin Undead," "Dead Snow," "28 Days Later," and the original "Night of the Living Dead" among them. Maybe "World War Z," since I'm the only person in the world who likes that movie. And now this movie joins that list of great zombie movies, too.

The acting in this movie is top notch. I found myself staring in shock at the screen a few times just enjoying the performances. I don't do that very often. Glenn Close is great as always, but Gemma Arterton, Sennia Nenua, and even Paddy Considine do a great job in their roles as well. The depiction of a small group of people trying to survive after the end of the world is devastating as always.

That's one of the reasons movies like this work so well for me...I fear the end of the world and how I would survive it. Movies like this give me a kind of hope that there's a way to go on even after the worst you fear has happened. I'm thankful to movies like this for doing what I know horror stories are capable of doing so well: showing true evil and showing that maybe it can be survived. Thanks, horror movies (the best ones) for helping me find the hope at the bottom of Pandora's box.

October Horror Challenge 2017 #61: "Ruby (Rifftrax)"

They're really reaching down into the toilet for this one, aren't they? This movie is so bad even I've never heard of it!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

October Horror Challenge 2017 #60: "Swamp of the Ravens (Rifftrax)"

I wanted to see this movie at one time (shows you what terrible taste I have in movies). I'm kind of glad I never got the chance to see it before, because I think watching it without the snarky Rifftrax commentary would have been incredibly painful. Fun with the commentary, though.