Saturday, October 31, 2015

2015 October Horror Challenge #99 "Ouija"

I wad excited when this movie came out.  Yeah, it looked like it might be a little silly, the typical "teens get menaced by evil spirit" fare, but I like those movies, so I was hoping I'd like this one, too.  Plus, I just like movies about evil board games.  "Witchboard," "Jumanji," "The Black Waters of Echoes Pond," and on and on.  I dig them all, so I was hoping this one would join the ranks.

Truth be told, it holds up pretty well, especially for a movie with a PG-13 rating.  There's some silliness here and there, but it's a pretty solid spooky flick.  The acting isn't bad, and some of the special effects creeped me out (I get creeped out when things happen to people's eyes).  The plot is pretty standard: teens play with Ouija board, release evil spirits, start dying, have to figure out how to stop ghosts. Nothing I haven't seen before, but it's done pretty well, and Lin Shaye plays a small but memorable role. It's nothing groundbreaking, but I had fun watching it.

2015 October Horror Challenge #98 "As Above, So Below"

This is another movie I've been impatiently waiting to watch for awhile now.  Just the title sounded haunting to me, so I was sure that I'd like it, and I decided to wait until Halloween to watch it, since I had an idea that it would be really scary, and I wanted to save my scariest movies for Halloween (which seemed like a great idea at the time, but now I've watched both this and "It Follows" and I may never sleep again).

I didn't know anything about this movie going in.  Again, I swore all my friends to secrecy under penalty of death to keep them from spoiling the movie, and when I bought it, I didn't even read the cover.  You ain't spoiling me, goddammit.  The result is that all I knew was that the movie was of the "found footage" type, and it had something to do with archeology students.

It turns out that only one if those things is totally true, the other is only partly right, and I was grateful that I hadn't read much about the movie, because everything came as a surprise that way. The actors do a great job here, and though I kind of wanted to stab them, I still felt for them and the horrible situation in which they find themselves.  The movie does a much better job of explaining why everyone kept filming, too (the cameras are attached to their headlamps, so as long as the lights were turned on, they were filming, and you need light to see in dark tunnels, so it makes sense).

The atmosphere is great here, too.  The catacombs are creepy all by themselves, without even needing evil spirits or curses to make them scary.  Plus for someone who's claustrophobic like me, seeing people crawl through small tunnels makes my heart race.  Damn movie. I also had some help being scared here, since there's one scene where the characters suffer a crash, and the sound goes out on their cameras, and there's nothing but a "ringing in your ears" type noise.  My ears picked thst moment to clog up and start ringing.  It's probably just sinus pressure, but it almost made me pee my pants.  In case you couldn't tell, I loved this movie, even the ending.  It's not perfect, but it's close enough for me.

2015 October Horror Challenge #97 "It Follows"

This movie freaked me out so bad I don't want to think about it, and now I have to write this review so I have to think about it again.  Thanks a lot.  I've been hearing about this movie for awhile.  A lot of the reviews were bad (not that this means anything, since I usually like movies other people think are bad, it's almost a guarantee that I'll like a movie if it gets bad reviews) but some friends whose opinions I trust really liked it, so I was looking forward to seeing it.  PLUS I'm always excited when a new horror movie appears in theaters and gets people talking about horror movies.  As a horror geek, that's important to me.

I knew almost nothing about this movie going in.  I avoided trailers and reviews like the plague and threatened all my friends with violent death if they tried to tell me about the movie, since I didn't want to risk spoiling something, so all I knew is that the movie features something killing teenagers, and that sex has something to do with it.  That's all you should know coming into this movie, I swear, because the less you know about what happens, the better (plus I'm not sure it would translate well; the plot sounds kind of silly when I say it aloud, so it's best just to watch it play out onscreen).

Everything in this movie conspired to scare the shit out of me.  The idea of something following you that won't stop until it kills you is freaky to me, no matter what form it takes.  As a person with an anxiety disorder, I sometimes get chills hearing footsteps outside my door or seeing someone walking toward me, even if I know I'm being ridiculous and no one us coming to get me.  In this movie, however, thst person walking toward you probably is going to kill you.  That terrifies me.

It's not just the idea behind the story, either.  The acting is great here too, again even by those playing small roles.  The music is incredibly scary too, often almost becoming another character in the movie, indicating a presence in the room, something waiting to get you.  The movie also doesn't try to overexplain things to death.  The mystery surrounding what's happening helps ratchet up the tension too.  This movie was just such a surprise for me.  I loved it, but now I want to hide in my room and never have sex with anyone ever again.

2015 October Horror Challenge #96 "Jessabelle"

I've been hearing good things about this movie for awhile now.  It sounded like just the kind of movie I'd love, so I've been excited to watch it for the challenge this year.  It's about a young woman who returns to her childhood home and finds that there seems to be a presence there that wants her gone.  I'm a suckered for stories about people who return to their childhood towns as nd homes to confront old secrets, so I was sure I'd like this one (or at least fervently hopeful).

The acting in this movie is great.  I mean even side characters who ate only in the movie for a few minutes are good actors. There's big budget movies that can't be arsed to get good actors for main roles, so the quality of the acting here is a nice surprise.  The setting is beautiful, too.  There's something Haunting about the bayou that sets me up to be scared before anything scary even happens.  I also have to mention the music, because there are plenty of scenes where the music made everything scarier, and for that, I was grateful that the filmmakers put that much extra care into crafting a good scary movie.

The story is brutal, more than I expected it to be.  Suffice it to say that there's no happy family reunion in store for these characters.  The girl's father creeped me out almost as much as any ghostly characters did, and while I can see a sort of retribution in what happens here, it's still tragic to watch it play out.  I won't spoil anything, but suffice it to say this one is worth checking out.

2015 October Horror Challenge #95 "Monster High: Escape from Skull Shores"

Hey everyone!  What do you kniw, I found myself another Monster High movie to watch! I know that you're all excited to hear all about it, right?  Here goes!  In this movie, it's officially Spring Break at Monster High, and Lagoona Blue (daughter of the sea monster) takes her gilfriends across the sea to the Great Barrier Reef, but they are ship wrecked and end up on a mysterious skull shaped island. Ooh, spooky!

While on the island,  they enjoy the local hospitality until they realize that they are being used by a slippery showman named Farnum to lure the rarest, most mysterious monster of them all, "the Beast" into a trap. Anyone thinking of King Kong yet?  So then, Frankie Stein is taken by the Beast, but tables turn and she ends up rescuing him and returning with him to Monster High.

The story gets even more complicated though, because then the girls realize that Frankie has inadvertently led Farnum to the location of the greatest gathering of monsters anywhere...Monster High.  Uh oh.  Of course Frankie abd the other girls have to save the day and protect their friends at Monster High.  It's a lot of fun!

2015 October Horror Challenge #94 "Monster High: Freaky Fusion"

I have to say, I love this theme song.  We are mpnsters, we are proud, we are monsters, say it loud!  Don't stop rocking your right to fright, we are monster high!  Hey, leave me alone, I grew up being called a freak for liking monsters and horror - related things.  I wish I could send this video back in time to my 10-year-old self.  It's going to be ok, kid!

This is the last of the Monster High movies I have this Halloween.  It's a Frankie Stein centric movie, where Frankie goes back in time and brings a friend back with her who causes a lab accident that creates some new monsters.  Whoops!  

This movie also features some hybrid monsters who change schools a lot because they have a hard time fitting in, being made up of two different monsters, but they're hoping to find a home at Monster High.  The girls have to learn to accept those who are different, so this is a cute way to teach your kids about equality (I know some adults who could stand to learn that lesson too).  I really liked this one.  Long live Monster High! 

2015 October Horror Challenge #93 "Monster High: Frights, Camera, Action"

These movies are perfect ways to get your mondter-loving kids excited for Halloween (and really give them an excuse to love monsters and other scary thongs all year long).  I love it, because when I was a little girl, I loved monsters and scary things, and everyone thought I was crazy weird for it.  Nowadays, it's normal, and movies like this made that possible.  I'll always love them for that.  In this movie, Draculaura finds out she's supposed to leave school and be the vampire queen, but it turns out there is an evil plot to pit vampires against all other monsters, and the Monster High girls have to stop it.  They work together, they help each other, there are lots of monster puns, it's a lot of fun.

2015 October Horror Challenge #92 "Monster High: Scaris, City of Frights"

I have to continue my journey through all the rest of these movies for Halloween this year.  I only have a few left!  This one is about Clawdeen Wolf and how she dreams of being a fashion designer.  One day, she's picked to train under a famous designer in Scaris, France, and she brings her friends with her.  Like the other movies in this series, this one is all about being true to yourself and this one has an added message of expressing yourself and having faith in your talent.  I liked it.

2015 October Horror Challenge #91 "Scary Movie 5"

These movies are ridiculously stupid, but I love them anyway.  The fourth one is my favorite, but I heard really bad things about this one, so I prepared for the worst. Typically, these movies pick one movie to mock as the main plot of the movie, and then they throw in references to other movies along the way.  This movie's main plot followed the movie "Mama" and also a great majority of "Paranormal Activity 2" and it threw in a lot of references to Black Swan and the Evil Dead remake as well as a lot of others.

I gotta say, I didn't find this one as funny as part four, but a lot of the references to "Mana" were funny, and I cracked up at the references to the Evil Dead remake as well.  The ending of the movie was kinda stupid and not all that funny, but there was some good stuff here that made it worth a watch.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

2015 October Horror Challenge #90 "The Entity"

I've been wanting to watch this movie for approximately 5,498 years.  This is another movie that I used to gaze longingly at in the video store, wishing I was allowed to watch horror movies.  I don't know why I waited so long to finally buy this movie.  Probably got distracted by shiny objects and kept forgetting it existed.  I'm glad I finally got to check it out for the challenge this year.  Did it live up to the hype?

Supposedly, this is based on a true story.  A woman is repeatedly attacked and raped, but no one believes her story because her attacker is a ghost.  Ugh.  I really don't want to think about that, and I especially don't want to think about it being based on a true story.  Ick.  I really hope Frank DeFelitta made that up.  Or whoever told him the story fid.  I know that Sully on the X-Files talked about ghost tape being reported but never proven, so I figure she knows what she's talking about.

Barbara Hershey does a great job here.  I totally felt for her character.  She's a strong, take - charge kind of woman in the opening of the movie, and to see her crumble over time as she's worn down by this horrible situation is disheartening. It's horrible to watch her break down as no one believes her and everyone thinks she's making the whole story up.  When someone finally believes her because they witness the entity destroying the house, she smiles and cries with relief, and it almost brought tears to my eyes.  Suffice it to say, this movie really affected me and I thought it was excellent.

2015 October Horror Challenge #89 "Phobia"

I've been wanting to see this movie for a long time. Ever since I saw the poster on Facebook last year with the spiders crawling all over a guy's face (ew) I was pretty sure that I was going to love this movie.  It's about an agoraphobic guy, terrified to leave his house, who becomes convinced he's being haunted by his dead wife.

It's a sad story.  Agoraphobia has different causes, but in this guy's case, it happened after a traumatic event.  His wife died after leaving the house, therefore he sees the house as safe and the outside world as dangerous.  Haunted house movies always trade on the idea that home is a sanctuary and it's being invaded and violated by hostile intruders, but that's even more prevalent in this movie, where home is literally the only place he feels safe, so it's extra horrific for him when that space is invaded by a spirit.

Or a bunch of spirits, to be more precise.  He sees lots of different creepy visions of people, alive and dead, taunting him, trying to kill him.  The annoyong vocal effect they all have that distorts their speech grates on my nerves, but the visions themselves are creepy.  The movie drags for awhile near the end, taking way too long to get to it's point, but it's still a pretty cool movie for the most part.  I totally called the ending, though.  I've seen too many horror movies.

2015 October Horror Challenge #88 "Tourist Trap"

I've wanted to see this movie FOREVER.  It came out two years before I was born, so it's been on my radar as long as I can remember as a cool looking scary movie that my mom would never let me watch.  I figured this year that I'd better get off my ass and watch it before the second coming of Jesus, so I bought the DVD and looked forward to checking it out.

The movie has a fairly simple plot: every year, young people go missing on road trips after visiting this particular roadside attraction, "Slausen's Museum." Those roadside attractions aren't as prevalent now, but back when I was young they were advertised everywhere. Museums, curio shops, souvenir shops, etc. all usually out in the boonies and isolated, but cool little places to stop and waste time while on vacation.  As one character says near the beginning of the movie, "people are in too damn much of a hurry these days" to enjoy attractions like this.

The museum in this movie is creepy as hell.  The wax figures freak me out, and the thought of being trapped with a bunch of them moving around  (as happens to one unlucky character) gives me the heebie-jeebies.  The actors who play the youngsters aren't great, but they don't really need to be to portray these rather disposable characters. The guy who plays Mr. Slausen is good, so that's the important part.

The sounds in this movie really got to me, too.  That's something I don't usually notice in movies, but they're well-placed in this movie in order to freak you out.  Music, singing children, whispering voices (and I won't tell you why, but I wish my name wasn't "Eileen") all work together to keep viewers on edge.  The movie drags a bit near the end,  but there's enough creepiness and some great scenes that make up for it.  I really ended up liking this one.

2015 October Horror Challenge #87 "Let Us Prey"

I've decided that I'm only going to watch good movies from now on.  I've been inspired by watching several good movies in a row that good horror movies are the reason I love this challenge, so I don't want to waste my time  with terrible movies anymore.  We'll see how long this lasts (since we only have two days left and all) but I'm checking out all the movies that I've heard good things about and that have higher ratings on the movie sites.

With this decree, I move on to this movie, which I've waited patiently to debut in this challenge.  It's about a new cop at a small police station in Scotland.  It's her first night on the job, and she's going to need all the help she can get, because strange and terrible things are happening.  Pollyanna McIntosh plays the new cop, and that's a good sign, because the other two movies I've seen her in were both great.

THIS Movie Is really good for a long time.  The gore is drippy and nasty, the acting is good, the plot is mean-spirited but well played, and there are several cool little twists. It's a shame that the ending sucks, because the rest of the movie is pretty great.

2015 October Horror Challenge #86 "Come Back to Me"

I decided that I really only want to watch good movies from now on, or at least for awhile, so I turned to this movie, which seems to have higher ratings than most of the ones on my list, and Netflix gave it a pretty high rating for me, meaning they think I'll like it, which is always a bonus.  I love that poster, too.

The description of this movie intrigues me.  A young wife suffers blackouts, and strange things seem to happen while she's out if it, so she sets up cameras around her house trying to see if she can figure out what's going on, but the footage reveals a terrifying secret.  This movie plays on my fears of setting up a camera in my home and recording scary things.   I blame "Paranormal Activity" for this fear, mostly.  Damn movie screwed me up and convinced me that horrible things are going on in my apartment while I skeep, and if I ever try to capture them on film, I will anger the demons that are haunting me.

In this movie, it's not demons that are the problem, it's humans (way scarier if you ask me).  I really like the main character, Sarah.  I want to kick her husband off a cliff, but he's played by a good actor who does a good job making me want to stab the character.  Sarah's best friend is also good.  I liked how she was a good friend to Sarah.  The creepy next door neighbor is played by a good actor who makes the character genuinely scary, too.  Lots of good characters and actors here.  My nerves were shot before she even put up the cameras, so this movie does a good job getting under my skin.  Of course, there's a twist that even I didn't see coming, but the movie makes it work.  I really liked this one.

2015 October Horror Challenge #85 "Blood Glacier"

Here is a horror movie with a very real scientific component to it.  The climate change going on really is raising temperatures and melting the glaciers, like this movie shows.  The opening titles of the movie explain that this is happening and that it will change life on earth.  It's not totally out of the realm of possibility that melting what has been frozen for centuries could release ancient DNA and over time evolve creepy creatures like those found in this movie.  Nighty-nightmares!

The movie is about a brilliant researcher who is also a lone wolf who would prefer to work alone, but has to deal with a team of people working at a remote outpost.  One day, the researchers discover a glacier that is a strange red color and seems to have an unusual effect on the wildlife that surrounds it. Something also seems to be attacking animals around the glacier, and something attacks the researcher's dog. At first they blame a rabid fox, but it seems to be something much more serious.

The acting is good here.  I want to punch all the characters, but the actors did a good job portraying them.  The creature effects are good, too.  The movie kind of reminds me of John Carpenter's "The Thing," with the researchers trapped at a remote outpost with a terrifying creature, but those researchers were a lot smarter than those in this movie.  In that movie they realized right away that something was wrong, but here they keep saying everything's fine while they keep getting attacked by increasingly stranger creatures.  Sounds fine to me!  The movie is good, though, with an ending that is evocative of "Prophecy," another environmental horror flick.  I really enjoyed this one.

2015 October Horror Challenge #84 "A Haunted House 2"

I liked the first of these movies.  Yes, it was silly and stupid, but sometimes I LIKE silly and stupid.  I've seen all the horror movies it mocks, so it's fun sometimes to sit back and laugh at something that creeped me out.  At the end of the first movie, Malcom and his wife Keisha met an end much like the characters at the end of Paranormal Activity, so I wondered how they were going to continue the story in this movie.

The beginning of this movie gets to finish the story while also skewering "The Devil Inside," so I appreciated that.  Then we move into the main story, and Malcolm is moving into a house with his new wife Megan and her two kids.  This movie has some really funny scenes that mock the movie "Sinister," as well as some less successful jokes mocking other movies.  This movie is a mixed bag, some funny and some stupid, but I enjoyed it about as much as the original.

2012 October Horror Challenge #83 "The Crow: City of Angels"

The Crow was such a classic, iconic movie for so many people.  People like me, moody kids obsessed with dark stuff, that was our movie.  Knowing this, and knowing that the movie's star Brandon Lee had died tragically during filming (so he wouldn't be available if there were a sequel) I suppose I thought there wouldn't BE a sequel, period.  Of course, like I said, the movie was iconic for a generation of people, so the desire to make a sequel and cash in on the success of the first movie was too high.  When the sequel came out, I wanted to hate it before it was even released, so I never watched it.  I heard it was terrible, and I figured I'd made the right decision.

Fast forward a few years, and now I'm an adult approaching middle age, and it seems kind of silly to continue to hate a movie I've never seen just because it's a sequel to a movie I love.  I decided to finally give this movie a chance.  I like Mia Kirshner, and she plays a grown-up Sarah, the troubled preteen from the first movie.  She works as a tattoo artist now, and still has a close connection with the dead who visit her in her dreams, particularly a man named Ashe, who was killed (along with his young son) for witnessing a murder ordered by a local drug kingpin, Judah.  I recognize the actor who plays Judah, too.  It's Richard Brooks from Law & en i wad s teenOrder, though he's way off from his role as an ADA in that show.

This movie isn't great.  I think it's going fir the sane sense of poetry in the first one, but a lot of the line delivery is wooden and kind of silly. It's not all bad, though.  There are some cool death scenes, and Iggy Pop gives a surprisingly good performance (hey, someone else I know!) People have a point about it not being as good as the original, and I probably would have hated it even more if I'd seen it when I was a teenager obsessed with the original,  but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

2015 October Horror Challenge #82 "Monster High: Fright On"

This is one of the first Monster High movies.  It's cute to see how different everyone was back then.  They were all drawn differently, and this is back when the school was first integrated, so werewolves, vampires, and other monsters all went to different schools. There's a good message about equality.  I liked it.

2015 October Horror Challenge #81 "Housebound"

Aaaahhh, crazy families.  Gotta love 'em.  In this movie, a woman who is in and out of trouble with the law is ordered to return home to the care of her estranged mother.  She and her mother don't get along, and she insists her mother is suffering from dementia, while her mother insists the house is hsunted.  At first she dismisses her mother's concerns, but after several creepy experiences, she's not so sure.  What is haunting the house, and will they be able to stop it in time?

The movie is a horror comedy, and it's often aiming more for "funny" than "scary." At least that's what I thought at first, but I was in a crabby mood from the last movie I watched.  Once this movie gets going, it's pretty good.  It's a little comedy, a little horror, and a little mystery all rolled into one.  I dig it.

2015 October Horror Challenge #80 "Mr. Jones"

Perhaps this is all my fault.  I mean, netflix has been recommending this movie to me for months now, but they did only give it one star, so it's like they were telling me to watch it while also warning me that I wouldn't like it.  Strange, netflix. And it's not that this movie is completely horrible either. There's a lot of potential here.  It's too bad the filmmakers decided to take a bunch of drugs instead of making a good movie.

I'm getting ahead of myself here. First, let me tell you about this movie.  It's about a husband and wife who decide to move to the wilderness for a year in order to make a docementary film.  "Walden" for our generation, or something like that.  Too bad they really didn't think things through, and over a month later, their film hasn't really taken shape, nothing good has happened, and they're fighting about everything.  That's when they discover that their reclusive neighbor is a famous artist known for his creepy sculptures.  They decide to focus the documentary on him, but then things get stranger and stranger until they're terrified.  What's going on?  Can they stop it?

That's the central problem I have with this movie.  It never satisfactorily explains what's gojng on.  Yeah yeah, there's some mumbo jumbo at the end about who Mr. Jones really was, but that's not a real explanation, that's what happens when you take too much meth instead of finishing your movie.  I can't really say more without giving too much away, but suffice it to say I'm unsatisfied with how the movie chooses to conclude it's story, and it gave me a headache.

The thing is, this movie has a lot of potential.  The acting is good, there's a lot of creepy imagery, the idea is interesting.  They had all the components of a good movie here, then I don't know what happened.  I was convinced I must have missed something that makes the whole movie make sense, so I went online and read a detailed plot summary, only to find that NOPE I understood it perfectly, it just didn't make sense.  OK then.  There are a few reviewers who insist that the movie is brilliant and people like me are just too stupid to get it, so if you check it out, maybe you'll love it, who knows.  I need to take some headache medicine though, and I am not impressed.

2015 October Horror Challenge #79 "Starry Eyes"

Actors are crazy, yo.  And I have a lot of friends who act, and I've acted myself, so I know what I'm talking about.  The stress and pressure they put themselves through,  the rituals they have to help calm themselves down before auditions, practicing lines at 3 AM when you have a pillow over your head and you can still hear them yelling down the hall.  I remember it all, and this movie puts those memories to good use by giving me a lead character I could relate to in a lot of ways.

This movie is about an aspiring actress named Sarah who's struggling but would do anything to be famous, like many actors (though most won't take it quite so far, I hope).  She's a little touched in the head, methinks, and sometimes it's hard to tell if things that happen are real or only in her head.  That's one of the things this movie is known for, actually.  The reviews describe this film as what would happen if David Cronenberg and David Lynch made a horror movie together, which is pretty high praise for an indie flick.  Basically what it comes down to is that this movie is trippy and dreamlike (nightmarelike, to be more precise) so I suppose I knew from the beginning that I was in for a mindfuck when I decided to watch this movie.

There's a whole lot of scenes in here that make you feel like you're on drugs, or at least they did to me.  There's also some nasty, mean-spirited gory stuff, and the whole plot is pretty subversive.  I felt like I needed a shower after watching this, which is pretty high praise, since I watch a lot of horror movies, so I have a strong stomach for ickiness.  It all comes together in the end, though, and this movie is well worth checking out for those who enjoy some in-your-face horror.

2012 October Horror Challenge #78 "The Frozen"

I tend to enjoy movies that take place in winter.  Something about the snow swirling around makes the setting feel even more isolated.  I remember a few winters, as a kid, living way out in the boonies, walking home through a whiteout snowstorm, having to walk single file and hold the hand of the person in front and behind you because you couldn't see anything through the clouds of snow.  It's chilling (pun intended) and it makes horror movies scarier to me.

This movie is about a young couple who decide to go camping in the mountains during winter (great idea, dumbasses) and they find themselves being stalked by a silent killer.  I like the couple.  They're idiots, but that's to be expected in a horror movie, and they seemed really in love.  The girl, Emma, doesn't want to go camping in the sub-zero wilderness (clearly she's the brains in the relationship) but she lets her boyfriend,  Mike, convince her.  Soon they're seeing ghostly visions and dealing with other strange events, but they're stranded with no way to get help.  Whoops.

It turns out the couple don't have the perfect relationship, and the dangers in the woods are worse than their worst expectations.  I wound up not liking Mike much as a character, but I thought Emma was a solid character, and she carries the movie.  The movie does drag a little in the middle, but it gets better.  There's some really creepy stuff here, too.  The movie winds up being a good way to kill an hour and a half.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

2015 October Horror Challenge #77 "Monster High: Haunted"

I can't get enough of these movies.  I love the Monster High kids and their friendship and loyalty and messages about the importance of being true to yourself.  This one in particular is perfect for Halloween, because it's about the Monster High school being haunted for some mysterious reason, and the girls have to figure out why.  Spooky hijinks ensue.

2015 October Horror Challenge #76 "Monster High: Friday Night Frights"

It's a Monster High roller derby folks!  My dream come true!  This movie is about the girls of Monster High playing a roller derby maze game trying to won back their school spirit.  When Clawd Wolf is injured and can't play anymore, the girls have to form their own team to play.  It's another fun movie about friendship and teamwork.

2015 October Horror Challenge #75 "The Perfect Host"

I really like David Hyde Pierce.  I mean, I don't know him personally or anything, so if he's a big jerk and likes to kick puppies in his spare time, I don't know, but as an actor, I usually like him in things.  I liked the character of Nigel in the show "Frasier," and he voices a character in my favorite Disney movie, "A Bug's Life."  He usually plays a likeable character thougj, when I've seen him, so I wasn't sure how he'd do in this movie, where he plays a psycho.  I've always liked Stanley Tucci too, and seeing him play an evil character in "The Lovely Bones" really got under my skin.

He's really creepy.  I mean, at first he's all ramble and charming, but I had an idea what was coming, so I was on edge, waiting to see what happens.  The story here is that a man escaping from the scene of a robbery stumbles into a house and pretends to be a friend of a friend.  Unluckily for our bad guy, the owner of the house is creepy David Hyde Pierce, who winds up not being as kind and easygoing as he at first appears to be.

The movie is a little disorienting.  It jumps around s little, showing us what's happening now from two different perspectives, that of Warwick, David Hyde Pierce's character, and John, the robber.  The movie also shows us what led up to John deciding to commit the robbery, and also showing us the police investigating the tobbery.  Warwick's perspective is skewed, of course, which makes things off-kilter and creepy.  The acting is all good here, the story is solid and engaging, and the ending is great.  I really enjoyed this one.

2015 October Horror Challenge #74 "Hold Your Breath"

This movie has the coolest premise ever.  A group of friends get trapped with the spirit of a killer who jumps from one body to the next, killing them one by one.  Sounds awesome, right?  I thought so, and I was so convinced by this premise that I ignored the horrible reviews the movie got, the low ratings from IMDB abd other places, and I  was still excited to watch the movie.  After all, the movies I like tend to get low ratings anyway. I've come to expect it at t his point.  So was the movie worth ignoring all the negative reviews?

The opening sequence is a mixed bag.  The acting was overwrought and kind of silly at first, but after everythong went nuts, it got better (though I'm pretty sure what happened is against st least a few laws).  Once we meet our main characters, friends on a road trip who are going without their cellphones for the weekend (great, now they won't be able to call for help when they start getting killed) they are kind of annoying.  Plus the acting is atrocious, and I tend to be forgiving of acting in indie movies.  That is no forgiveness here.  May God have mercy on your soul.

Soon, I discovered the reason for all the bad reviews.  It's not that the premise isn't cool or that the movie didn't have the budget for some really cool gore.  The acting is terrible, the music is terrible, and while the premise behind the story is a good idea, the script has no idea what to do with it, so it just flounders.  Bad.  Like "10 minute sex scene with no nudity while a song plays in the background that appears to be a theme song written about the movie" bad.

I'm serious.  It's terrible.  My cat could write a better script than this.  Car engine won't start suddenly?  Let's all go get help, then break into an old abandoned asylum and wander around for hours, because that is the definition of getting help, right?  Then let's have sex in the creepy abandoned asylum while we can clearly hear our friends screaming for help.  What a turn on.  Our friend is suddenly acting weird and violent after we've just heard a story about being possessed by evil ghosts in a graveyard?  He's probably fine.  Let's all pile into the car that mysteriously starts now and continue with our trip like nothing happened.

Nothing pisses me off more than a movie that could have been good if the crew and actors put an ounce of fucking effort into making the movie.  Come on people, this is your job here.  I have better things to do than waste my fucking time watching a movie with a great plot that's turned into a terrible movie because of your incompetence. I wish this movie could be remade with better actors and a crew who actually give a shit.  That would be a movie worth watching.

2015 October Horror Challenge #73 "A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors"

This is my favorite of the ANOES sequels.  The idea of having super powers in your dreams that help you fight evil always appealed to me.  I remember seeing the trailer for this movie when I was 3 and the part where Heather Langenkamp gets sucked into a chair so she can fight Freddy in the dream world really stuck in my head.  It's still an iconic scene to this day, and the whole movie has such a "coming of age" "importance of friendship" message, as well as awesome gore like when Freddy pulls a kid's veins out of his wrists so he can control him like a puppet, that this will always be one of my favorite movies to check out year after year.

2015 October Horror Challenge #72 "Cockneys vs. Zombies"

I'm not sure if Netflix genuinely thought I'd like this movie or if they were just fucking with me, buy they kept recommending it to me, so I figured I should check it out.  I'd just watched a dead serious movie, so a comedy like this one sounded good to me.  Of course, the problem with comedies is they can turn out to be stupid rather than funny.  Time only tells whether this movie will actually be funny.

The movie has some good gore, which was cool.  The acting is also good.  The characters are kind of annoying, but the actors played them well.  The story is about two brothers who always manage to get into trouble (well, one brother usually gets the other in trouble) and they join a band of misfits who wind up fighting zombies when the zombie apocalypse starts.  Cool beans.  The movie was an ok watch, but nothing that really stood out to me.

Monday, October 26, 2015

2015 October Horror Challenge #71 "Evidence"

The plot of this movie intrigued me.  It takes the idea of s "found footage" movie a little more literally.  A murder has happened, a lot of people are dead, the one survivor is in a coma, and the police have to piece together the truth from all the video collected from the cell phones and other devices at the scene.  I love it!  I think found footage films are cool, so I had high hopes for this movie.

Further Raising my hopes, I also really like Rada Mitchell and Stephen Moyer, who play the main characters in this movie, the two cops who have to piece together the footage and figure out what happened.  There's an episode of the Batman cartoon series that was popular in the 90s.  The episode was called "POV," which was about a crime rhat happened and the story is told after the fact by srveral different witnesses, and it was the first show I ever remember watching that made me consider how different people's opinions and views might shape their perception of events.  That episode is responsible for my obsession with movies like this.  When in doubt, blame Batman.

The movie is pretty cool. The actors are all pretty good, and the story is creepy.  There are some genuinely scary moments here, which impressed me.  There is a sense that it's kind of silly for the characters to keep filming even after everything that happens.  The movie tries to explain it away, but the explanation leaves a lot to be desired.  The use of night vision camera from time to time is pretty cool, though, and it ratchets up the creep factor.   In the end, the good outweighed the bad, and I wound up enjoying this movie and I'm glad I checked it out.

2012 October Horror Challenge #70 "Monster High: Why do Ghouls Fall in Love?"

I needed something to cheer me up after the abysmal movie I just watched, so I checked out another Monster High movie.  This one is about Draculaura, daughter of Dracula, and her upcoming Sweet 1600 birthday, and she dreams of a great party.  Problem is, her friends have to plan it, and they're stressing out trying to make everything perfect.  Like all these movies, it's adorable and a lot of fun.

2015 October Horror Challenge #69: "12/12/12"

Well, since I just finished a good movie, I figured I'd go ahead and watch what will probably turn out to be a terrible one.  Wouldn't want to throw the universe out of balance or anything.  This movie has been on my list for awhile.  As I mentioned in the review for this movie's basted cousin, "13/13/13," this is The Asylum's sequel to their movie "11/11/11."  Really, it's not a sequel, since it has nothing in common with the first movie except the whole "evil killer kids" thing.  This movie is about an evil little baby, the spawn of Satan or something, who is going to take over the world.

It's fitting that this movie is #69 on my list, since it features full frontal nudity right in the opening credits (always a sign of a classy movie going experience to follow).  It also opens with a really awesome, gory scene.   Yes it's a ripoff of a similar scene from the movie "It's Alive," which is a much better movie than this, but it's still a pretty cool, gory scene.  And the actors who play the baby's parents aren't horrible either, so at least they won't be painful to watch the whole time.

The movie is pretty hilarious.  Please, by all means, go after an intruder in your house with a broom.  That'll show 'em.  Also, I'm pretty sure they don't send police detectives to check out routine intruder calls (but maybe the movie couldn't afford police uniforms).  The parents may be played by ok actors, but the characters themselves are idiots.  Your baby is evil, stupid.  He looks creepy and deformed and he keeps doing weird things a normal baby wouldn't do.  Wise up.  Not that THAT'S  likely to happen anytime soon.

Speaking of stupid things that happen in this movie, I'm also fairly certain they don't just give a baby back to a suspected murderer because people keep dying around him, but then counting the plot holes in this movie would take all day.  Suffice it to say the movie isn't great.  It IS better than "13/13/13" but that's setting the bar pretty low.

2015 October Horror Challenge #68 "Killer Mermaid"

Here is a movie that promises to be a little different, which would be welcome.  It's about some young nubile things on a vacation where the discover the lair of (you guessed it) a killer mermaid.  Now it would seem to me that someone involved with making this movie might want to retain some mystery surrounding the plot, so it wasn't the greatest idea to have the title spoil the twist.  Looking around the web, I see that t his movie was originally called "Nymph," and it might have been better to stick with that title.

Why do all these movies seem to feature drama from people who used to date or hooked up and then decided it would be s great idea to go on vacation together? And then they fight the whole time?   The last thing I want on my dream vacation is a bunch of drama.  I honestly don't really like any of these charactets, so I kinda Hoped they'd get dispatched by the killer mermaid before they had a chance to annoy me too much.  Unfortunately, after a cool opening, nothing much happens for over half an hour.  Usually that's when all the character development happens, but when you don't like the characters, that can be annoying.

At least the old guy that gives a warning no one listens to is kind of cool.  And once the action gets gojng, the movie gets better.  There's a lot of tension and the characters have less time to be annoying when they're fighting to survive.  The movie is gorgeous, too.  The scenery, the island and the water are beautiful.  The reveal of the titular mermaid is cool and well done, too.  It has the feel of a creepy old legend told around a campfire.  I ended up really liking this movie by the end.   I hear there's a sequel.  Bring on Killer Mermaid 2!

2015 October Horror Challenge #67 "13/13/13"

I suppose it's my own fault if this movie sucks.  It looks bad, yes, but I'll admit that sometimes I like watching bad horror movies, and even some of the movies The Asylum makes can be fun, even if everyone else hates them.  "The Asylum" is a bottom feeding movie studio known for releasing what they call "mockbusters," which are direct to DVD ripoff movies intended to cash in on popular flicks in theaters.  When "Snakes on a Plane" was in theaters, Asylum released "Snakes on a Train."  When "Transformers" was in theaters, Asylum released "Transmorphers," and so on.

As for "13/13/13," it's a continuation of the story from "11/11/11" which was released when the big studio "11/11/11" movie was in theaters (both were terrible movies about evil little kids and  how the world will end on the date 11/11/11).  After "11/11/11" made them some money, Asylum released a sequel, "12/12/12," and now I guess they're continuing the story of evil kids with "13/13/13."

Since that doesn't exist as a real date on the calendar, the movie spouts some mombo-jumbo about how the Myan calendar us different than ours, and this date is 13/13/13 on the Myan calendar...oh who cares.  Basically this movie is about how everyone on earth goes crazy abd starts killing people, except for those who were born on a leap year, who are left to deal with a world of people gone crazy.

The acting is pretty bad, even from actors who have done better in other movies, but there's some ok gore.  The story is silly, but I kind of expected that from a movie called "13/13/13."  I wonder if this movie made them enough money for us to see "14/14/14" or "15/15/15" or something in the future?  I hope not.  This movie is bad and you can safely skip it.  Some of The Asylum's movies are ok, but this isn't one of them.

2015 October Horror Challenge #66 "Storage 24"

This movie is about a military cargo plane crash in the middle of London that releases it's highly classified contents.  Whoops.  Complications from the crash fuck with the wiring and electricity such that a group of people wind up locked in a high-tech storage facility for a night.  And you thought you were having a bad day.

To add a dash of drama, the people trapped in the storage facility include a guy who's just been dumped, his best friend, his ex girlfriend, and her best friend.  Great, we're locked up all night with a Jerry Springer episode.  Even better, there appears to be something evil and dangerous trapped in the storage facility with all the people (even more evil and dangerous than relationship drama!  Now that IS scary).

Once everything starts happening, the pace moves fairly quickly.  I'm a fan of the "people trapped in an enclosed space with a monster" type of movies, so this one was fun for me to watch.  I also liked watching a creature menacing such horrible people.  Not all of them, but some of them are skeezy assholes.  The movie isn't a masterpiece or anythong, but I had fun with it.

2015 October Horror Challenge #65 "Bloody April Fools"

This is actually a cool little movie that suffers from a HORRIBLE marketing campaign that makes it sound like something else.  This sounds like a bad DTV sequel to "April Fool's Day" or sonething, which guarantees that the people who'd probably like it will never check it out.  Great job, idiots.

The movie is about a prank at a youth hostel thst turns deadly, and then a group of teens 15 years later who stumble upon the abandoned hostel and decide to party there for a night (great idea if you've never seen a horror movie before in your life).  As it turns out, the place us cursed and the teens start to die horribly.

I do mean hirribly, too.  This movie has some NASTY deaths.  I was impressed with the gore.  The teens are s bunch of teats and I hated them all, but luckily they don't last long before they all start to die, so you don't have to put up with them for long.  The original prank that started everything years ago is pretty fucking sick  (what the hell is wrong with people?  How is that funny?)  Once everything is explained, I'm not totally sure I buy it, but the ending is still pretty cool.  This is a nasty little "dead teenager movie" with some good nudity, cool gore, and a few good twists, and it deserves to be advertised better so the people who want those things will actually see the damn movie.

2015 October Horror Challenge #64 "Bad Milo"

This movie is about a guy who is so stressed and holds his stress inside until it causes massive stomach issues,  in the form of a demon creature growing in his colon and popping out periodically to kill the people causing him stress.  Gross, right?  When I was a kid, I used to see this movie in video stores and I always wanted to see it.  As an adult now, with stress and stomach issues of my own, I'd love to have a creature pop out from time to time and get rid of the people causing me stress.  This movie is disgusting, but I thought it was a lot of fun.  It shouldn't be too difficult to figure out whether you'll like this movie or not from the description,  so proceed accordingly.

Friday, October 23, 2015

2015 October Horror Challenge #63 "Inner Demons"

This is one of those movies that comes highly recommended from Netflix, they were oretty sure I'd like it and give it at least 4 stars, so I was interested in checking it out, whether other people seem to like it or not.  The plot is about this college girl named Carson, good kid, who develops an addiction to drugs and alcohol.  Her family and friends convince her to go to rehab, but her behavior gets worse and seems to become more sinister.  Is she possessed by something evil or is it just addiction?

The setup of the movie is "found footage," and Carson ' s friends and family have convinced her that she's participating in an educational reality show about addiction when in reality they are planning an intervention to convince her to go to tehab.  The footage really dies make it look like we're watching an episode of the show "Intervention."  They did a good job with that aspect.

The description of the movie makes it sound like the girl came back from rehab possessed, but that's not exactly what's going on.  I actually think it was pretty clever the way the actress portrayed the character and handled the situation.  I think the character knew all along what was going on with her, but those around her don't understand what they're dealing with, because a lot of the "signs of demonic possession" are also signs of withdrawal from drugs (vomiting, seizures, apparent superhuman strength).  They think they know what's real answer what's not, that what's possessing Carson is not addiction but something more terrifying.  They don't know the truth.  But oh will they learn.

The scenes from rehab with Carson getting progressively worse are well done.  It's the same demonic show we get in all demonic possession movies, but with the "found footage" aspect, it's just the acting ability without the accompanying song and dance and special effects that can get in the way.  It feels more real to me, seeing it done this way.  I felt like it dragged a little too long there near the ebd, but then it came back with a vengeance and kicked my ass with sn ending thst I thought was great, so all is forgiven.  Well done, folks.

2015 October Horror Challenge #62 "The Lazarus Effect"

Well, I guess we'll have to see what happens with this movie.  Netflix seems to think I'll like it, but most other people said it was really stupid.  A guy at work said it sucked but it was cool and freaky, for whatever that's worth, and my cousin said it was stupid because it was so predictable.  I'm not sure what to make of that.  I guess I don't mind if things are predictable if they're done well, and I actually like the main character, Zoe, which is rare for a character played by Olivia Wilde.  I like her as an actress, but usually want to punch her characters in the face.

While I enjoyed the lack of wanting to punch Zoe, though, I found myself wanting to punch everyone else.  I suppose I get why everyone does the things they do, but they still do some monumentally stupid things.  Zoe's fiance, I get it.  He loves her so he freaks out at the thought of losing her.  The others, though?  I mean they all say "no no we shouldn't do this " but in the end they all go along with it instead of running for the hills or calling the cops or even notifying security.

After the action gets going, it continues at a pretty good pace.  The movie keeps the tension going well, and the acting is actually quite good.  There are some great creepy sequences, too, even though some of them are stolen from other movies.  I did enjoy the ending, though.  I suppose it's not the most unpredictable thong in the world, but it was still creepy and cool.  I dug it.

2015 October Horror Challenge #61 "Curdled"

I've wanted to see this movie for years, ever since Fangoria, a horror magazine, ran an article about this movie in the 90s before it came out.  Back then, Quentin Tarantino was just starting to become big (now he's so well known that autocorrect suggests his name before you can finish typing it) but having his name associated with your movie in any way must have been cool for a filmmaker, so since he co-wrote the scteenplay, this movie had some indie street cred going for it, and further, when the short film that inspired this movie was in turn rumored to have inspired a famous sequence from Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction," Tarantino fans must have been geeked.  I know i was, and it made me want to see this movie even more.

Reb Braddock was the writer and director of this flick, and  the movie was a quirky little horror comedy about a girl so obsessed with death that she gets a job cleaning up crime scenes, where she runs afoul of s local serial killer.  Since I was a young girl obsessed with death myself, the plot appealed to me, but I'd almost forgotten about this movie until Netflix added it to their catalog.  Now I'd finally get to see it!

The movie opens with a sequence showing us how our main character Gabriella first became obsessed with death after witnessing a murder as a child.  It would be easy to make her a creepy, annoying, or unlikable character, but she seems nice enough, if a bit strange.  She watches a lot of horror movies, but tends to find them funny.  Stuff like yhat.  Our killer is an arrogant, entitled.kind of guy, so not a fun person to be around (especially after he kills you horribly).

Of course, Gabriella does get a little crazy (there's a dancing sequence that has to be seen to be's pretty amazing) but I was still kind of rooting for her to catch the killer, learn a lesson, maybe kick down her craziness a bit, and live happily ever after.  Sue me.  I like happy endings.  This movie is a lot of fun, with enough of the old Tarantino style and charm (before he got caught up in his own hype and drowned his plots in vats of "style" until they became unbearable to watch).  It's too bad that the ending of this movie sucks, because until the last 20 minutes or so, I was having fun.  Pity.  The movie is still worth checking out though, I suppose.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

2015 October Horror Challenge #60 "Monster High :13 Wishes"

Muah ha ha ha ha!  I will watch all the Monster High movies and you can't stop me!  This one, like the others, has a strong message about staying true to yourself and being proud of who you are, even if people think you're freaky and weird.  Like the theme song says, "we are monsters, we are proud."  This particular movie has another message about being careful what you wish for, since the movie is about an evil genie trying to turn people's wishes against them.   It's fun like the rest of these movies are.

2015 October Horror Challenge #59 "Late Phases"

Somehow I always manage to stumble on the made for TV and/or DTV werewolf movies every year for this challenge.  I really don't mind, either, because I usually end up liking them.  Such is my life.  I'm fun at parties.  Anyway, this movie is about a blind Vietnam veteran who moves into a small town where he charms all his neighbors with his cranky attitude.  This guy songs more like me every monute.  Anyway, strange "dog attacks" start happening in town, and he begins to believe something evil is afoot.  Of course no one believes him, so he has to fight it alone.  Werewolf-y hijinks ensue.

Like I said, the cranky old guy reminds me of myself.  Despite his piss attitude, he's still a likeable character, and I was rooting for him.  Plus I love his dog.  I like dogs better than most humans anyway.  There's not a lot of gore, but it's got some pretty tense moments.  It also surprised me how emotional the movie made me.  I teared up more than once.  Stupid werewolf movie, making me cry.  I guess since I like this movie, everyone else will hate it, but for me it was well worth watching.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

2015 October Horror Challenge #58 "R.L. Stine's Mostly Ghostly"

I'm digging all these R.L. Stine inspired Halloween movies.  When I was a kid 2e didn't have nearly enough horror/monster/Halloween related stuff aimed at kids, and now thanks to Netflix and other streaming sites, we have tons of them to choose from.  I love it!

This story is about an unpopular preteen kid who is interested in magic and the supernatural, and he unwittingly summons a real ghost one night and then has to figure out what to do.  I was an unpopular kid interested in magic and the supernatural,  so I can relate.  I would have been stoked to summon a real ghost when I was a kid.  This movie is a lot of fun without being too scary or too gory, so it's the perfect flick to help get littler kids interested in this horrific habit of ours.

2015 October Horror Challenge #57 "Djinn"

I hadn't heard anything about this movie until I started binge - watching every horror movie on Netflix,  with the result that Netflix started recommending every horror movie in their collection to me.  This movie seems to have a lot of detractors (all the other people Netflix recommended it to must have hated it) so I wasn't sure what to expect, but I generally like any horror movie that combines ancient folklore with  modern-day happenings, so I gave it a shot.

The movie is about a young couple, grieving the recent loss of their baby from SIDS, who decide to return to their homeland in an effort to heal.  Unfortunately, they move into a high rise that seems to be haunted by evil spirits (I hate it when that happens).  The movie is pretty deeply rooted in folklore, like I said.  In the opening sequence we learn the legend of the origin of the djinn.  Allah apparently created two beings with free will; humans, who were made from clay, and djinn, who were made from fire.

Soon, we learn another legend, this one telling of a baby who was born half human and half djinn.  After exorcism failed to expelled the Evil djinn spirits, a ritual was performed to seal the child's identity, so he would grow up never knowing about his djinn heritage.  His djinn mother, however, never stopped roaming the earth searching for him.  I love this story, because it engages me in caring about the characters, feeling sad at the sense of loss thst permeates the plot, and also wondering which character will turn out to be half djinn (since I think that's the direction in which the story is headed).

The movie has a lot of jump scares, as the area around the high rise is so foggy it's almost impossible to see, and of course those pesky djinn keep jumping out and scaring people.  As for the married couple, all they really do is fight, and the husband is kind of a jerk, happy about his job opportunity in the new place, not caring that his wife had to leave HER job and her life to return to a home where she doesn't really feel welcome.  People keep asking her when she's going to have kids, like she didn't just have a kid that DIED (assholes) and even the local dogs don't like her, coming out of the fog to bark violently at her whenever she tries to go outside.  As the movie goes on, things get even more strange and it's clear something evil is going on.

Full disclosure: I get why a lot of people don't like this movie.  It's disjointed and confusing, probably intentionally so.  It seemed like a long nightmare to me, so I liked that, but I get why it annoyed people.  I also liked the ending, but again, I can see why people wouldn't like it.  I don't know if they were setting it up for a sequel or what, but it does seem unfinished.  I mentioned earlier that I liked all the jump scares, but many people don't seem to appreciate a bunch of jump scares or a disjointed narrative that seems like a nightmare you had that creeped you out but never got resolved.  I dig it, but it's not for everyone.  Proceed with caution.

2015 October Horror Challenge #56 "Mockingbird"

This is one of those movies that I've been putting off watching for awhile now.  The premise sounds awesome to me, but everyone seems to hate the movie, so I don't know whether it would be good.  Luckily, I tend to like movies that everyone else seems to hate.  I don't get why people don't like this movie anyway.  I mean, yes, it's a found footage movie, which people are getting tired of seeing, but it has an intriguing premise to explain the "footage" that is left behind.

Here's the premise: three different people receive a video camera, with instructions to keep filming no matter what happens.  Things get scarier, but they are told that if they stop filming or call the cops, they will die.  That takes care of explaining why people keep filming even after horrible things start happening, which is never explained and thus seems silly in other found footage movies.  Dude, zombies are eating you, put down the camera already.  But in this movie, people keep filming because they're afraid of dying if they don't.

I have to admit, the opening sequence of this movie freaked me out.  I kean, I knew what was happening, and I knew what was going to happen, but seeing it startled me even when I knew it was going to happen, which impressed me.  Plus I kind of liked the characters in the movie, so seeing them slowly get confused, then scared, as the movie progresses...I admit, it worked for me.   Plus I think the movie was supposed to be shocking to the senses, like darkness with sudden flashes of light from lightening and the titles in between vignettes, bright words on a dark background.  The sounds are shocking in that way too: quiet with sudden bursts of noise.  It might annoy some people, but it just left me really unsettled, so it had the desired effect.

Also, there's a clown.  I know, creepy, right?  Clowns seem to freak people out in general.  And I saw the clown on the movie cover, so I knew there was going to be a clown in the movie, but how they work the clown into the story is pretty cool.  I feel bad for the characters, being pawns of something they don't understand.  The movie got under my skin that way.  I imagine if it didn't get under your skin, you might just think it was silly, but I liked it (as much as I can say I "liked" being freaked out by anything)

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

2015 October Horror Challenge #55 "Wolfcop"

This is another movie people have been blabbering on about, praising it zealously, which like I've said before usually makes me suspicious.  It's about a racist, sexist, alcoholic dickhead of a cop who turns into a werewolf and suddenly starts caring about his job and doing it better. It's an interesting premise, but again, I'm always wary of movies that are hyped up like this.

At first I thought the acting was terrible, but after a bit, I just saw the lead character as distant and removed from his life, not so much a bad actor as a decent actor playing a guy who doesn't care much about anything.  Oddly enough, once he gets turned into a werewolf, he starts to care more.  Funny how that works.  He investigates, hoping to find out what happened to him and if there's any way to reverse it.

While Wolfe boy gets more likeable after he becomes a werewolf, he's really the most likeable character in the movie, since all the other cops are assholes.  Except the only woman.  She seems like kind of a bitch, but she's been dealing with alkie the asshole cop for years so she may be entitled.  The town crazy guy who is supposed to be comic relief is kind of annoying, but I got used to him after awhile, and as the only one who knows our werewolf's secret, he is on the best position to help the guy.

The werewolf effects are mostly in shadow, to hide the lack of a budget, methinks, but what we see works (until we see it head on in good lighting, and then it just looks really stupid).  There's also some good gore, both from werewolf attacks and from human attacks (humans being the much scarier monsters here).  I don't know if I agree that this movie is great, but I definitely liked it a lot more than I thought I would.

2015 October Horror Challenge #54 "Girl vs. Monster"

When I was a kid, Disney movies were the best.   I'm not just talking about the theatrical releases, either.  The Wonderful World of Disney produced a lot of made for TV movies that were aimed at kids and we're supposed to reflect stories modern kids could relate to.  "Polly," a modern retelling of "Pollyanna," was my favorite.  This has sways been the case, really.  Disney tries to produce movies with characters kids can relate to.  "The Apple Dumpling Gang," "The Three Lives of Thomasina," and many more demonstrate this.  Now, for kids in the 2010s, we have movies like "Girl vs. Monster."

The movie is about a teen girl who just wants to go hang out with her friends and have a normal life, but her parents are overprotective.  What dhe doesn't know is that she comes from a long line of monster hunters, and thus monsters are gunning for her, particularly on Halloween.  When a big time monster gets loose on Halloween and gomes after her, will she be able to fave her fear and defeat it?

I don't care if I'm in my 30s, I enjoyed the hell out of this movie.  It brought back fun Disney movie memories for me, and I hope kids these days love it ad much as I loved the Disney movies of my day.

2015 October Horror Challenge #53 "A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night"

Everyone is raving about this movie.  That always makes me equal parts excited and worried.  Excited, because I love horror movies and I'm happy when one gets a lot of praise.  Worried, because often when everyone else loves a horror movie, I wind up being disappointed by it, and then everyone has to tell me how I'm stupid and I just didn't "get" the movie if I didn't like it.  Condescending sanctimony!  My favorite thing!

The movie relies a lot on trippy, dreamlike imagery (because most of the characters are high a lot) and this can get annoying, but it does work to set the mood because it seems otherworldly, so when the vampire shows up and starts vamping out, it almost seems like a natural extension,  like the whole movie is one long nightmare.  It's also black and white, which harken back to classic horror films of yesteryear.

The movie takes place in a very male dominated world, so the presence of a female vampire, the most powerful creature in the movie, turns everything on its head.  I have to admit,  it worked for me.  The vampiric reveal perhaps took a little too long (I may have yelled "come on, get on with it!  I got the point 20 minutes ago!" at the screen) but once it happens, it's awesone.

You have to remember, I like horror movies.  I like them when there's just a vampire or a monster eating people, and it's not trying to make some larger point about feminism or sexist or the impermanence of man or whatever.   There's nothing wrong with trying to make such a point, and horror movies, tapping into our primal fears if death the way they do, are often the perfect vehicle to make some larger point about society.

All I'm saying is that I resent the implication that a horror movie is worthless unless it's a pretentious piece of art house shit trying to deliver some "message," and I will always judge a movie more harshly the more people are blathering on about how "deep" it is, as though other horror movies are trash, along with the people who like them.  This movie though, it IS a monster movie, and it DOES make some larger points about society, but it's not the movie's fault if people are waxing pretentious about it.  It's a good, thought provoking movie on its own, and I appreciated it, abd it's fan club can go take a hike if they think they're better than me because they don't usually like horror movies.

Monday, October 19, 2015

2015 October Horror Challenge #52 "Blood Lake"

Apparently, this movie's original title was "Blood Lake: Attack of the Killer Lampreys," which is a horrible title that makes the movie sound like a cheap, crappy direct to DVD flick.  It IS a cheap, crap direct to DVD flick, but there's no need to ADVERTISE that fact and scream it from the rooftops.  People will probably figure that out on their own when Shannen Doherty is the only recognizable star in this movie.

This isn't yo say I didn't enjoy this movie.  It's terrible, but I still had fun with it.  It's about a bunch of lamprey eels in a small lakeside Michigan town that suddenly start attacking and snacking on the local population.  The special effects are silly at times, but it's gory enough to be kind of fun. Most people seem to disagree with me, though, so take that with a grain of salt.

2015 October Horror Challenge #51 "Children of the Corn: Genesis"

Creepy religious people are scary.  Creepy little evil kids are scary.  So the "Children of the Corn" movies, combining both creepy religious people and creepy religious rituals with creepy evil little children, should be easy to pull off and maje into good little scary movies, right?  That's what I've always thought, and that's what keeps me watching these movies, hoping they will be good, though they usually aren't.  Even though this movie only got like one or two stars from most every reviewer, I gave it a chance because the idea is a good one, so I always hold out hope that the movies will be good, too.

The opening sequence of the movie is good.  The special effecys arent great, abd im pretty sure a few things that happened defied the laws of physics and gravity, bit the idea was good enough for me to ignorr that.  A soldier returns home from vietnam to find all the adults in his hometown slaughtered by creepy little kids.  Whats not to like? I also really liked the married couple in this movie, the main characters.  They seemed sweet and in love, and yeah they do some stupid stuff, but they were stranded in the desert when their car broke down, so they didn't have much of a choice.

Billy Drago, who is the only well known actor I recognize in this movie, and he can go either way, being a over-the-top to the point of being ridiculous, or a little eccentric but not terrible in his performance, and in this movie he leans toward the second option, being really weird but not that bad.  His quirkiness fit his character.  Once it becomes clearer what's going on, and the creepiness factor rises, I actually think he does a pretty good job with his character.

In case you couldn't tell, I wound up liking this movie.  Among other horror movies, it doesn't stand out as anything special, but among the other "Children of the Corn" movies, it's a fucking masterpiece.  There's some well-placed gire, creepy religious rituals, evil children, and some performances that weren't half bad, and it ended up being an ok way to spend an hour and a half.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

2015 October Horror Challenge #50 "Zombeavers"

Yes, I know, I know.  I thought this was going to be the worst movie ever made, too, and it took me forever to bite the bullet and actually watch it, but once I got over my embarrassment at watching a movie called "zombeavers," I actually enjoyed the hell out of this movie.

The movie is that rarest of beautiful unicorns, a horror comedy that's actually funny, and it's also a pretty gory and nasty and fun horror movie, too.  Perchance to dream.  The movie sets up its premise (some toxic waste spills on some beavers and they zombify and start doing very antisocial things) and then introduces us to some nubile young things who are going to be staying at a nearby cabin for the weekend.

There's some actual character development that doesn't suck, and we get to see some nice nudity before the aforementioned zombie beavers start wreaking bloody havoc.  I have to say, I disliked a lot of the characters enough to enjoy seeing them become beaver food, and the acting is pretty good where it matters (the characters we're going to be seeing enough of to care if they can act or not).  I was shocked as hell to say it, but this was one damn enjoyable horror flick.  Long live the zombeavers!