Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!!!!

Its the most wonderful time of the year! Happy Halloween to everybody!! Don't forget to watch The Walking Dead tonight!  Support Zombie TV!!!  Now, enjoy two of the best scenes from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.  I only now realized that Bing Crosby does the voices.  How cool is that!!!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Paranormal Activity 2: written while doped up on Dayquil.

 So I am so sick I am taking a sick day at work.  Remember how sick days were great when you were a kid because you didn't have to go to school (I was never an overachiever)?  Well, now they suck.  But, I present to you my doped up on Dayquil review of Paranormal Activity 2.  All who read this are so lucky.

I had and have mixed feelings about Paranormal Activity.  I am always happy when a horror film does well at the box office, and even happier when it becomes a cultural phenomenon.  I am always happy when a low-budget film and filmmakers make it big.  What bothered me about Paranormal Activity, and I know I am not the only one, are the lead characters.  Katie and Micah are assholes who can't decorate.  There, I said it.  I disliked them.  I know people like them, and I wouldn't want to see a film about them.  I am no Martha Stewart but come on: their house had no personality.  And neither did they.  But, the film had a couple of good scares and some weird mojo.  I admit, I had a hard time sleeping that night.  I kept being worried that I would wake up and my husband would be standing over the bed staring at me.  I did wake up, but just my cat was staring at me, which is pretty normal.

Paranormal Activity 2 is a big improvement.  The characters are a whole lot more relate able and likable.  Katie and Micah even make a return appearance, and their asshole meter has been turned way down.  I don't want to give away much about this film: the genius of the filmmakers and the marketing department is that they really didn't tell the audience what the film was going to be about.  I thought it was going to be a straight sequel, and it isn't.  It follows the "concept" of the first film but changes it up just enough so you are not seeing the same thing over and over.  It expands on the "mythology" of PA (I smell a franchise) and takes it in a new direction.  It was good, much better than I expected.  Is it perfect?  Hells no.  The film kind of starts to fall apart at the end, after someone is "possessed" and a quick, split second decision is made that will effect many characters.  It didn't feel right. 

What I loved about this film is that it had "Baby Trauma".  You just don't see enough baby trauma in films.  It's always cat trauma or dog trauma (this film had that too) or upper middle class crafter trauma.  What I also loved about this film is that it made me jump about 3 times.  That is pretty impressive.  At one point I was actually laughing while covering my eyes: I was so happy to be scared.  In many ways, the PA films are like Haunted House Attractions.  You stumble around in the dark, waiting for the big scare that you know is coming, you just don't know when.  After, you laugh and move on with your life.  That is Paranormal Activity.  I will take it any day over Saw.

By the way, it should really be called Demonic Activity.  Ghosties are nowhere to be found in these films.  I guess Demons really are the new "in thing."

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Coming soon: PA2

Coming soon, my review of Paranormal Activity 2!  Yes, I finally went OUT to see a movie!  But first, something even more terrifying, more shocking than demon possession............

My parent's cat Garfield dressed in his Halloween costume!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday night fever

OK- so I love Violet's death/dance sequence from Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning.  But of course, this isn't even the best dance sequence from a Friday movie.

This is the best dance sequence from a Friday movie!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Check it out: Turnip carving!

Yes, Turnip carving is as awesome as it sounds!  I did it, I wrote about it: check it out at The Vault of Horror.  Thanks to B-Sol for asking me to participate.  I am rather obsessed now and planning to hang many carved turnips from my own Halloween tree.  Better to keep away Stingy Jack and all haters of turnips.

Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (part V)

This may be the worst Friday the 13th I have ever seen, save for one thing: the awesome robot dance done by Violet near the end of the film.  Only redeeming feature.  Jason is not even the killer in this! Sorry, that was a spoiler.  Tommy Jarvis, Jason's killer from part 4, is now grown up (but unfortunately not played by Corey Feldman) and living in a halfway house for troubled teens.  He keeps having visions of Jason, and when people start showing up dead, Tommy and the audience begin to wonder if Jason is really dead at all!  A New Beginning features one of the most annoying final girls in all of film history: Pam.  Pam fights back and can kick ass, but there is so much screaming and crying that I was really hoping she would take a machete to the face.  I actually cheered when the redneck Junior bought it, but not as much as I cheered when the final credits came up.  Because it was over.  Now enjoy this awesome trailer featuring the robot dance sequence.  Thanks to Dread Central for bringing it to my attention.

In case you didn't see enough...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Happy Birthday Bela

As if October wasn't awesome enough, today we celebrate Bela Lugosi's Birthday!  Happy Birthday Bela.  This interview is pretty darn hokey, but it has it's charm. Enjoy.

Yikes! There was so much sexual tension I kept waiting for him to make a move!

Greg Nicotero Short

Ran across this on AMCTV today.  The site is all Halloweened out with lots of great shorts and interviews and tons of The Walking Dead stuff.  Only a few more days to go!  I love this short for so many reasons, number one being that it was directed by Greg Nicotero.  I can trace my horror obsession back to AMC actually, back when it was just classic films with no commercials.  It was one Halloween that I had a fever and stayed in bed watching all the classic Universal monsters in one marathon.  Changed my life it did...

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Harryhausen Chronicles

If you love Ray Harryhausen, and who doesn't, you should check out The Harryhausen Chronicles. This short but informative documentary from 1998 was directed by Richard Schickel from Time Magazine.  It features interviews with such luminaries as Ray Bradbury (a lifelong friend of Harryhausen) and George Lucas. 
The film examines Harryhausen's childhood, and the one event that shaped his life, seeing King Kong for the first time.  Thanks to the support of his parents and his own incredible work ethic, Harryhausen was able to make a name for himself in Hollywood, even working with his idol, Willis O'Brian on Mighty Joe Young.  The documentary features all of Harryhausen's masterpieces, including my favorites Jason and the Argonauts and The 7th Voyage of Sinbad.  The thing I found really fascinating about this documentary however was the shots of his early animation and test footage.  I had no idea that he had made a series of "fairy tales" that became his calling card.  Here is his last one, begun in 1952 and finished in 2002!  Enjoy, and check out this documentary!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Dead Set

So the IFC website does NOT make it easy to find anything you are looking for.  Thank goodness for "Entertainment Weekly" or I would have totally forgotten about Dead Set, the British series that will be playing on IFC October  25th-29th at Midnight.  It is like a little appetizer for The Walking Dead.  Here is the website to save you a bit of frustration:

The Devil's Bride 1968

 Like many horror fans I am lovin' Friday nights on TCM this month.  It's Hammer time!  Last week was a hodgepodge of films including The Reptile and The Gorgon, both of which I had been wanting to see for quite a while.  But the film I want to rant about right now is The Devil's Bride, aka: The Devil Rides Out.  I was jazzed about this film not only because of Christopher Lee, but also because Richard Matheson wrote the screenplay.  I love Matheson.  He is right up there with Romero and Karloff in my top horror loves.  This script was based on the novel by Dennis Wheatley.  I don't know much about this British author except the fact that he was friends with Lee and his novels are very popular (or infamous) in England.  Satanism, Wheatley's speciality, is one of my favorite subjects, right after cannibalism and zombies.  So I will check him out.  But now, on to this hot mess of a movie...

Christopher Lee plays Duc de Richleau, whom we learn nothing about besides the fact that he is rich and knows an awful lot about Satanism.  Him and his buddy Rex (Leon Greene) are unofficial "Godfathers" to Simon (Patrick Mower), a young man with lots of money and time on his hands.  When Simon misses a "reunion" with Richleau and Rex, they seek him out at his mansion.  What they find is a meeting of an "Astronomical Society" that Simon is hosting.  Simon tells his old friends that they must leave, that there is room for only 13 members in this society.  Richleau, his Satanic radar activated, soon discovers that this is no "Astronomical Society" at all.  They are a bunch of freaky Satanists and they are about to indoctrinate Simon into their cult!  Richleau does what any good friend would do: he punches Simon out and kidnaps him! 

Thus begins a ridiculous journey of kidnappings and escapes.  Rex falls in love with Tanith (Nike Arrighi) another recruit.  As Richleau and Rex try to save their friends, the evil Mocata (Charles Gray), the leader of the Satanic group, uses all his evil mojo to pull Tanith and Simon back into the cult.  He even calls in the Devil himself, who looks like this:

I don't know about you, but I want him at my Halloween party!  The Devil's Bride is not without it's charm, and I have to say that it was my favorite Hammer film of the night.  It just looks like it was thrown together without a lot of forethought.  All of the action supposedly takes place over the course of 2 days, and I kept thinking "when do these people sleep?"  And why does Richleau know so much about Satanism?  And "is this what people really do in the English countryside?"  And if Satan can be stopped by repeating a line of verse then he is not that powerful is he? 

Maybe The Devil's Bride shouldn't be your first Hammer film, or your first Christopher Lee film.  But it is worth spending a little time with.  It features a fully clothed orgy, time travel, possession, goat-murder (not so good), and a good old fashioned car chase!  Plus the goat-Devil!  It is what I am going to be for Halloween next year.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Open House 2010

The straight to video film Open House is an example of a good idea poorly executed.  Directed by first-timer Andrew Paquin (Anna's brother, hence the cameo's by her and Stephen Moyer), the film suffers from a lack of character development, poor pacing, and a misleading marketing campaign that is sure to piss some people off.

Despite their prominence on the poster, Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer hardly appear in this film.  The cleaning people have more screen time.  Rachel Blanchard (the lead, who is not even on the poster) plays Alice, a woman getting divorced and trying to sell her gigantic house in L.A.  One day, while the Realtor is conducting an open house, someone sneaks into the basement and hides.  When Alice arrives home that evening, she discovers that she is no longer alone.

David, a handsome young psychopath from the Norman Bates school, has taken up residence.  He kidnaps Alice and hides her in a crawlspace in the basement.  We soon learn that David has a partner, the beautiful and deadly Lila, played by Tricia Helfer.  Lila is even more bloodthirsty than David, and she gets her kicks by seducing and then killing visitors to the house.  David videotapes the action and then disposes of the bodies.  Lila knows nothing about Alice.  She is David's secret.  Knowing this, Alice tries to convince him to let her go, or better yet, get rid of Lila so that they can run away together.

See, a pretty good set-up right?  Unfortunately, the pay-off is disappointing.  I kept expecting the film to go in one direction, and it goes in another.  Usually this is a good thing, and unexpected twist, but in this case it is a missed opportunity.  I kept wanting to know more about the relationship between Lila and David.  There is a tremendous amount of sexual tension between them, but also a bit of sibling rivalry.  Was Lila a prisoner of David's like Alice?  Who really controls who?  Is David really interested in Alice or just bored with Lila?  These really interesting questions are never answered.  The character of Alice is so underdeveloped we don't really care if she lives or dies.  The scenes that are supposed to evoke tension are textbook. 

There are good things about this film.  It looks and sounds great.  Brian Geraghty, who plays David, is a creepy revelation.  He is so good I would be happy to see another film about his character alone.  The whole thing was interesting enough to make me want to see Andrew Paquin's next film.  I hope he sticks with horror.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

City of the Living Dead

 The jury is still out for me on Lucio Fulci.  City of the Living Dead, aka The Gates of Hell, is only the second Fulci film I have seen, the first being Zombi 2.  I am not a gore hound, and Fulci's films are very, very gory (I have opted not to post a pic of the vomiting entrails scene from this film, but here is a picture of what you look like BEFORE you upchuck your guts.)

Actress Daniela Doria apparently really spewed sheep's guts out of her mouth for this scene.  I hope she was paid.

Another problem I have with Fulci is that his films don't always make much sense.  The ending of this film in particular had me crying blood.   The whole premise of this film, that a priest who commits suicide in a cemetery can open the Gates of Hell and raise the dead who can hypnotize you into throwing up your stomach is pretty silly.  But really, what horror film isn't just a bit silly?  I think this is part of Fulci's charm and why I will see The Beyond and The House by the Cemetery.  So what that I have to cover my eyes throughout most of the film lest I see yet another person get their face ripped off?  So what that the plot makes you feel like you are having a fever dream?  His films look great, have great music, pretty people (getting their faces ripped off) and are more funny than scary.  Sign me up-- but not all at once.  My mind is disturbed enough already.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

I'm back and Tagged!

Sorry I haven't been around in a while.  My internet connection completly shut down, and then I went on vacation and had no internet access.  See, I still live in the dark ages (by choice) and can't constantly update.  I need to enjoy it while I can-- the siren song of constant access is calling to me.  Must resist!  What happened while I was gone?  I went to the happiest place on earth, which was all decked out for Halloween!  Check it out:

 The body of L.Ron Hubbard once resided here.

 It was awesome and crowded and rainy.  I had a great time!  What else happened?  The Spooky Vegan tagged me!

WhoHoo! The tag rules are simple...answer the 8 questions from the tagger, then come up with a new set of 8 questions and tag 8 new bloggers

1. If you could get away with one illegal act in your life, what would it be and why?
I would smoke week on the roof of the White House like Willie Nelson.

2. What is your all-time favorite Halloween costume that you've worn?
A Charlie Chaplin costume I wore in Junior High.

3. What are five movies from your childhood/teen years that define you?
Night of the Living Dead, Star Wars, I spit on your Grave, Casablanca, and Frankenstein.

4. What character in a movie/book/TV show/etc. do you identify with the most and why?
That is a really hard one.... I guess Barbara from Night of the Living Dead because I too would be a basket case in that situation.

5. What is your favorite Halloween-related activity to do in October?
Watch scary movies of course!  And carve turnips.

6. What's your favorite Halloween-themed movie to watch around Halloween?
It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown and Halloween.

7. Who is your favorite horror movie villain/monster?
I love them all equally.  They are all my best fiends.

8. What is one "luxury" product you can't live without?

Since I am late on this and all the cool kids have already been tagged I will skip the other part of the requirement.  Thanks Sarah for thinking of me... and please check out her site: The Spooky Vegan

Check back to this site soon as I have thoughtful musings on City of the Living Dead and Open House coming up, as well as my Halloween tribute that I planned before AT&T decided to not work at my house.

RIP: Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe died on October 7th, 1849 under mysterious circumstances.  Take a moment to reflect, maybe read "The Raven", celebrate this master of the macabre.  The world is a spookier place because of him.