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Friday, October 10, 2014

Horror Marathon Day 10

Black Rock

I am doing a service here, I am saving you all from seeing bad horror movies.  So here is another film that you can skip out on.  Black Rock.  It's barely a horror, in fact the blog that listed it as one of the best in 2013 must be high on crack. 

Am I supposed to cheer these women?  I kinda feel like they are jerks and I'm rooting for the men in this movie.  Not like Cabin In The Woods either, where the main characters are supposed to be jerks, I think the women were supposed to be sympathetic, but it was not working for me.  Sure the men turned into animals halfway through, but in the beginning, it wasn't either fault.  This actually would have been a good court drama if they went to the cops after the incident.

 I can't even remember how it ends, but it's boring and not worth it.  Luckily I was watching this while working on the latest draft of Pariah Missouri, so it wasn't a total waste.  www.pariahmissouri.com

Tomorrow I have a horror film I actually am excited about!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Horror Marathon Day 9

All The Boys Love Mandy Lane

At first glance, and maybe second, this movie is just another slasher film.  But I think they are trying to give a grindhouse feel to the film, although it's not that successful.  The main character, which make a good turn towards the end is beautiful, no doubt about that, but other than her looks and chaste demeanor, there's not much going on. 

 Her supporting cast doesn't make that much more of an impact other than the stereotypical teenage dipstickery.  The end has some interesting parts to it, but that's not enough to make it worth going through.  

So here I am doing you all a service, don't bother with this one.

Horror Marathon Day 8

Lords of Salem
Rob Zombie made a new movie and cast his wife.  Should you go see it?  It's actually not bad.  I liked the idea of music being a trigger for this evil awakening in people.  I like some of the visuals they were going for, it's an almost Kubrick look in some places, clearly films like The Shining were an inspiration.

There are however some moments of cheesiness and it's hard to shake those moments off, but overall I enjoyed the film.Not much more to say about it.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Horror Marathon Day 5

The Battery

Zombie movie meets indie darling.
It's your indie film, like Garden State, with little narrative and plenty of indie rock in the soundtrack set in a zombie world.  Two of my favorite things actually. 

The soundtrack is great, sounds like a little Modest Mouse in there.  Small budget film about these 2 ex-professional baseball players who are trying to make it through the south during this zombie apocalypse. 

There's some good scenes, but it's not purely horror with tons of zombie scenes, so if you are looking for that, then I'd head over to Day of the Dead for that.  There is a point in the movie about half way where you think it's going to go one way and we unlock this world and meet all these new characters and go down the path of this standard adventure-horror story, but nooooo, we do NOT go there and it moves to a less-conventional storyline.  That's the kind of stuff I like, although, I would have liked to learn about X.

The ending is good, a little unexpected.  Over all I liked this.  It's horror, but almost barely qualifies.  Yes there's zombies, but it's so small, indie and personal that we kind forget that in a way.

I say go see it.

Horror Marathon Day 7

Berberian Sound Studio

Foley artists?  Horror movie foley artists? Sign me up.  I think this movie does so many things right.  This is what I want to see, something innovative and original.  The directing is wonderful and the idea to NOT show you the movie that they are making is brilliant.  I didn't see the version with the subtitles, so the Italian was lost on me, but I kinda liked in that way, so I was more plugged in to what the main character was feeling.
It's not gory or bloody at all, but it is creepy as all get out.  The imagery and lighting is wonderful, and I have to mention the acting is top notch.  Our main character emotes on the screen with skill.  

Warning, this is foreign, it's not paced like hollywood and there's no big bad guy or monster so if you like cerebral, slow and deliberate films this is it.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Real horror in Salinas, CA last night!

In a real turn of events, we had a real-life horrific moment (don't worry everything turned out okay).  This weekend, I was at APE (Alternative Press Expo) in San Fransisco, CA.  We planned to drive home to Ventura that same Sunday night after the show, which is about 6 hours away.  So at 7pm, we headed back home, about 10 pm, along the 101, we drove through the town Salinas. 

About 100 yards from me on the road a car made a swerve into the median of the lane.  The car crashed into it, spun around and ran off to right side of the road, crashing into a large oak tree and flipping over.  It was like one of those videos of a race car track crash and there it was right in front of me.  My initial thought was that this guy fell asleep at the wheel.  I pulled over quickly to the side of the road, threw my phone at Nicole, who just woke up and told her to call 911, as I opened the door and headed over to the crash.

I had a flashlight in my hand but as I ran in the night to the crash I didn't know what I would be seeing, the car power of was off, no lights and it was not on fire, but I was fearful that it would be a gruesome sight and I didn't know what I'd be able to do.  What if there was something horrific, like a dismemberment?  How would I react? I ran through the brush and got down to the totaled Honda Accord, and bent down.  I saw a man's arm against the window, and remember this was completely upside down.  The car was clean of blood.  No fluids were leaking so I figured it couldn't get worse.  I saw that were was only one occupant, the driver, male, white, by the top of his head, which I could barely see, salt and pepper gray.  I called out to him.  Again I called out.  No answer.  The door was smashed in and there was no way for me to try to get to him, and I knew that I should not move him.  I told him my name was Andy and I called the police.  I finally got a response, his name was Jim.  I got him talking, he lives in Paso Robles and I kept him talking and told him not to move.  He was out of it a bit and kept asking me, is the car upside down?  I said yes, but don't move, help is on their way. 

I'll say this, the Salinas response team was pretty darn good.  I ran back to Nicole and I spoke to the dispatcher, after a series of questions, they got the info they needed and sent a team over. Within a few minutes we had a helicopter, 2 firetrucks, 2 CHP and a couple of ambulances.  They were doing their job well and I stuck around to make sure Jim was okay and got out of the vehicle.  When I saw the Jaws of Life being carried by the firemen, I must admit I was excited to see that, I've always wanted to see one in action.  Jim was alive, he had a head-wound, but he looked much better than a feared.  The car hit that tree right behind the driver's seat. another 10 inches forward and Jim would have been a goner.  I told him it was me, Andy, wished him luck and left the scene. 

I'm glad I was there to help out and that Jim is okay.  Wear your seatbelts.


Friday, October 3, 2014

Horror Marathon Day 4

Evil Dead (2013)

I've seen all the Evil Deads, but I'm not a huge fan or know all the lore.
I will say that this puppy starts off VERY strong and freaky.  All the crazy horror imagery is there and it's very powerful.  I was thinking, this might be the best one yet.

Now if you are into special effects this is for you, the make-up and effects are very current and look great, usually that type of gore is so much that it loses some of the horror aspect to me, because I see and think about the effects, but the filmmakers do a great job is keeping the suspense and action going so you get into the film. I think the brilliant music really helps in this department.

This isn't a plot-driven film, by no stretch of the imagination, it's a supernatural horror with a evil demon that is raising hell and killing these 20-year-olds.  There's still something to be found here, and the imagery is damn horrific so that will keep you up at late with nightmares. 

It's definitely the best of the Evil Dead films, but I only recommend this to those lovers of serious gore, graphics and bloody guts.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Horror Marathon Day 3

Now we are getting somewhere!
Byzantium has a very Anne Rice-ian feel about it, and I forgot how much I enjoy that period gothic horror.  The two female leads are great on stage and we get a real sense of their relationship early on.  It's shot very well, written and acted with skill.  It's not revolutionary or groundbreaking like Near Dark or Lost Boys in terms of the modern vampire story, but I think it has some great moments and looks great.
The flashbacks to the past are very well done, and I like the effect of how the world looks when you turn vampire.  It would have been nice to see a little more of that kind of thing.

The main love-interest was fine, a little tiresome, but what can you do when this is the story you have to tell.  I think something like Let Me In does a better job at a unique look at a relationship that is quasi romantic with the undead.

This is the type of story I'd like to see more of, learn the world and the vampire organizations.  I liked this movie a lot, if you dig the modern vampire story with some gothic/romantic elements to it, I say check it out!

Horror Marathon Day 2

Contracted.  2013
I'm 0 for 2 so far.  I found this on a site that stated the best horror films of 2013.  Well, I can say that I ain't trustin' this site any longer.  

It wasn't a bad concept, all be it shallow but I think there could have been something there, but I wasn't feeling it.  I think a story about a girl who after has a one-night stand and starts getting horrifically sick and diseased would be telling people about it.  It's one of those deals where the main character is going through the drama/conflict only because they don't want to tell anyone about it.  
Her excuse to people?  Cramps.  Now if I be having cramps that makes my eyeball fall out and look like the damn undead oh hell yeah I would be tellin' people about it.  One more reason why I'm glad I'm a guy.
 Maybe if there was a reason behind her being so closed off from everyone I could understand more, and yeah we get that she's a lesbian and in recovery from drug abuse, but still if you have open wounds and bleeding out of your orifices, I'd be up on google like a mofo.  So that odd logic annoys me.

The ending was a let down as now the whole movie feels like a "How did the Zombie outbreak happen?" deal and I guess that's cool, but I didn't buy it.
It's not a badly made film, and it's pretty good for a horror, I just have problems with the story structure and logic of the characters.  This is a writing/script problem more than acting or directing.

A better movie of this genre might by Contagion.

That's my take.  Tomorrow I talk about Byzantium, our first good horror movie for the month.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Horror Marathon Day 1

Well it's that time again!  The 31 days of horror films that I go through every October.  This is the 3rd year of me doing this and I'll admit, there are times that it is a real challenge to find good films, as I've seen MANY horror films.
So we start off this year with the movie The Sacrament. (You can find this on Netflix right now.)
We're starting off with the Cult sub-genre of horror, which I'm a big fan of.  Those of you who know my professional work as the creator of the Pariah Missouri graphic novels will note that my most recent book 2, The Promised Land is about a religious cult, so it's a topic that I am very interested in.  The Sacrament is also a found-footage film, which for me is another plus. 
We start off very similar to some other cult films and after I watched it I realized it's almost the exact same story as many of the other Jim Jones movies out there (which reminds me there is a brilliant doc about the Jim Jones incident; Jonestown Paradise Lost) It isn't until about minute 50 that things start getting horrific, but by then I was bored. 

As you can imagine it gets very gruesome at the end, not in a bloody way but the mass suicide scenes are pretty rough. 

I find it odd that people thought it would be worth making this film when it's so close to the other Jonestown films.  In fact, there's nothing really original or different about it.
I would say a much better film would be Jonestown Paradise Lost (on Hulu) which is a more accurate portrayal of those events. 

Overall, I was hoping for a new take on the cult sub-genre, but I think Sacrament fell short, I should have known when above the title it said Eli Roth.  A much better film in the genre is Martha Marcy May Marlene.

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