Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Black Christmas 1974

My life has been changed thanks to TCM.  For some reason, in the middle of June, they played Bob Clark's Black Christmas.  I was fortunate enough to see that it was playing and hit "record" on the DVR.  See, I had never seen Black Christmas despite it's reputation as "the first slasher" (debatable, I know) and the fact that it was directed by Clark, who made two of my favorite films, A Christmas Story and Porky's (don't hate: you love Porky's, you know you do.)

I have no good excuse for never seeing Black Christmas, I have just never gotten around to it.  Maybe I needed to be at the right time in my life, emotionally and intellectually, to appreciate the massive awesomeness of this film.  This film is so massively awesome on so many levels I need to resort to my favorite lazy writing technique: the list.  Here we go...

1.  Olivia Hussey's hair.  I almost could not pay attention to the plot due to the magnificence of Ms. Hussey's hair.  It's so shiny and beautiful.  She must have washed it in baby tears to get it that soft.  Seriously, I have a serious girl crush on Olivia Hussey circa 1974!  She plays Jess, one of the sorority sisters who lives in this house that is targeted by a deranged killer hiding in the Attic.  Jess is the final girl but she is no saint.  She is knocked up and has decided to terminate the pregnancy.  Good decision considering the father is......   

2.  Keir Dullea!  I have been obsessed with Keir Dullea ever since I went through my "serious" film phase and watched 2001: A Space Odyssey 20 times.  What happened with him?  He should have been a bigger star.  Keir plays Peter, Baby daddy.  He is a music major and borderline psycho.  He does not want Jess to have an abortion, and goes ape shit when she tells him she is going to anyway.  He also wears a turtleneck throughout most of the film, so you know that he is disturbed.  Never trust a man in a turtleneck.  

3. The Killer hiding in the house.  Clark never shows us the killer.  We just get glimpses of him like the one seen above.  All we know is that he is hiding in the house, watching the girls as they prepare to leave on Christmas break.  He may also be making disturbing phone calls to the house, shouting nonsense about "Billy" and "Agnes."  He stalks and kills in interesting ways.  His first victim, Claire, gets asphyxiated and put in the Attic.  She is left facing the window, "watching" the action so to speak.  Another poor girl gets killed with a crystal unicorn.  It was the Seventies man.

4.  It was the Seventies man!  The fashions are so cool.  Look at this guy: he is wearing a fur jacket!  He wears it throughout the film!  Abortion is a hot topic and handled with sensitivity and from a woman's perspective.  Shit, that doesn't happen in today's films.  Margo Kidder is in it!  And she plays a sexually liberated woman who wants to drink and have fun and doesn't feel bad about it!  Yes, she gets killed, but not first!

Seriously, I loved this movie.  Great cast, damn good directing, and really good scares.  I found myself screaming at screen.  "Don't go upstairs Olivia Hussey!  He might harm your hair!"  I like that the ending is totally ambiguous, that nice people die, and that poor Jess, although a Final Girl, will be fucked up for the rest of her life.  Plus, the whole thing is so "Christmas-y."  Bob Clark really knew how to lay on Christmas.  Now, every December, in addition to A Christmas Story, I can watch Black Christmas and revel in the Yuletide joy.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Coming Soon: Black Christmas

Bad Blogger!  I know it has been a while: I am just lazy lately.  But I am really excited to write about Black Christmas, which I have just seen for the first time.  In the meantime, enjoy the trailer....

Friday, June 17, 2011

Commerical interuption by Rob Zombie

So this Woolite ad is really directed by Rob Zombie.  I think it is the best thing he has done in years.  And it makes me want to buy Woolite.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Rest Stop: Don't look back 2008

 I am not quite sure why Rest Stop: Don't look back showed up at my house. I like to think that Netflix just randomly sends me shit.  I don't think this was the case.  At some point I put this on my queue and forgot about it.  Why I did I will never know.  Turns out Rest Stop: Don't look back is a sequel.  Yes, to Rest Stop.  Which I never saw.  Didn't know it was a sequel, still don't know why I added it to my queue. 

It sat on my dining room table for 2 months.  A clue that I should just put it back in the mail.  Yesterday I was bored so I popped it in.  I won't say that Rest Stop: Don't look back is the worst horror film I have ever seen.  It is not even the worst film I have seen all year.  But I did feel like I had lost an hour and a half of my life that I will never have back.  I felt sad for all that I could have been doing besides watching Rest Stop: DLB.  I could have been volunteering, or communing with nature. I could have cleaned the bathroom or played free cell.  Instead I was watching this sad excuse of a slasher/torture porn/ghost film. 

A short plot description.  A hot frat type guy who cannot act to save his life is back from the service.  He decides to take a road trip with his hot boozy girlfriend and dorky best friend to find his brother who went missing a year ago.  I guess the brother and his girlfriend were the stars of the first film.  Keep in mind, I had no idea this was a sequel.  It wouldn't have helped.  They find clues to the friends whereabouts and figure that their disappearance must be related to the asshole in the big yellow truck who keeps following them and trying to kill them.  Oh, and everyone is a ghost.  Normally I love ghosts but these ones are just annoying.  We see the girl's tits and everyone gets tortured. The end. 

I have many, many problems with this film, the first and foremost is that it is BORING.  Nothing makes sense, the dialog is terrible, the acting is worse, the torture is pointless, and really, everyone is a ghost?  This sequel doesn't make me want to seek out the original.   I would recommend Wolf Creek over this any day.  Similar vibe, but a whole lot scarier.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Rare Book Review: The Passage

Post Apocalyptic horror is one of my favorite genres.  I can trace this back to reading The Stand when I was about 13.  The Passage by Justin Cronin reminds me of The Stand in more ways than one.  Not only is it about a group of post apocalyptic survivors trying to survive while understanding the meaning of their lives, but it also has a subtle (well, more subtle than The Stand) religious undercurrent.  Not that Cronin or King are trying to push religion on anyone.  It just that when things seem the worst, when there seems to be no reason to go on living, we all need something, some kind of magic or faith, to get us through. 

The Apocalypse in The Passage begins as most apocalypses do, with the U.S. Government.  A plant found in South America seems to possess magical healing powers: powers that could really help the U.S. Army.  The Government begins experiments on Death Row inmates.  When these experiments don't go so well, they decide to try the drug on a child.  The child they choose, Amy, will go on to become "the girl who saves the world."  But you won't see it in this book.  The Passage is the first book in a planned trilogy.  We jump 90 years into the future when most of mankind has been wiped out by the "virals", vampire like creatures that were produced as a result of these experiments.  The virals need to feed on humans.  They are sensitive to light and seem to live forever.  They don't show much intelligence but they seem to hunt in packs.  They are essentially zombie/vampire hybrids.  A group of survivors find Amy, still alive 90 years later and hardly aged.  Amy seems to possess special powers.  It is as if she can "control" the virals.  Driven by some unknown force, Peter Jaxon, one of the survivors, decides he must take Amy to Colorado where the outbreak began.  So begins our journey.

I liked The Passage very much.  It is a real page turner and you really get to know and care for the characters.  Having said that, be aware that it is a trilogy.  The book just kind of ends: it's not even a very good cliffhanger.  I want to know what happens, I just wish the ending of THIS book could have been more satisfying.  Scary in parts, weepy in parts, I highly recommend The Passage.  Just be sure you know that it is going to be a MAJOR time commitment. 

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Call of Cthulhu 2005

Who knows the end? What has risen may sink, and what has sunk may rise. Loathsomeness waits and dreams in the deep, and decay spreads over the tottering cities of men.
H.P. Lovecraft "The Call of Cthulhu"

Damn I love H.P. Lovecraft! When I read his stories I always feel as if I am slipping into a fever dream.  I can't read too much at once, in case I wake up in the middle of the night chanting in some ancient, unknown language.  One of his most famous stories is The Call of Cthulhu, and understandably so.  I mean, who doesn't love Cthulhu?  Regarded by many as "unfilmable", this story, published in 1928, features the great and powerful Cthulhu in his first major appearance.  Director Andrew Leman and the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society decided the best way to film it was as if it was being made in 1928.  Hence we have a black and white silent film that looks like it could have been made by F.W. Murnau.

There are a few reasons that I really love this film.  I have always loved silent films.  I love the look, I love the history, I love that they forced you to use your imagination. Plus, they look so damn cool!  Another reason I love this film is that it is perfect for Lovecraft's story.  What he writes is almost too horrible to imagine, much less see on the big screen.  The simple special effects, the emphasis on atmosphere, and the other worldliness of silent cinema just seem to fit Lovecraft.  I don't want to see this CGI'd to death and starring Shia LaBeouf.  I want to be left unsettled.  This short film was unsettling, but in that warm and fuzzy good way that horror hounds love.

The Call of Cthulhu is on Netflix instant play (best invention EVER.)  Do yourself a favor and carve out 40 minutes to watch it.  Just be careful that you don't carve out your eyes afterwards.  Lovecraft does have a tendency to drive one insane.......

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Apes trailer 2

Alright-- this is the LAST movie I thought I would be excited to see this summer but after seeing the first trailer I jumped aboard the Ape train.  I am even more jazzed after seeing this second trailer.  Despite feeling that James Franco is seriously miscast: I am loving this film already!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Zombie proof house

This is pretty damn good and quite beautiful for a fortress.  Check it out at:
I especially like the drawbridge.