Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Don't count on your Parents and Don't be afraid of the Dark

There seems to be a lot of mixed feelings out there about the Guillermo del Toro produced Don't be afraid of the Dark.  I for one loved it and it was just what I needed, despite the presence of two things I hate about modern horror films: CGI and Katie Holmes.

Oh I am sorry Katie.  You are actually not that bad here, and it only took me about 20 minutes to quit thinking about how Tom Cruise and friends have brainwashed you.  Girl does not look happy.  Too skinny, sunken eyes, pained expression: it works perfect for this film!

Don't be afraid of the Dark is a remake of a 1973 made for T.V. film.  Guillermo del Toro claims it was one of the scariest films he had ever seen.  I have never seen it, but reading the description of the original gave me chills.  It has jumped to #1 on my "must see list."  Sally, an adult woman in the original film, is now a little girl, played by Bailee Madison.  Dumped on her Father (Guy Pearce) and his young girlfriend (Holmes), Sally is hopped up on anti-depressants, forced to eat a gluten-free diet, and basically just pissed at the world.  She also gets the very real feeling that she is not wanted.  Her busy Father is trying to remodel a Rhode Island mansion with the hopes of getting it on the cover of "Architectural Digest."  Mom is totally absent, heard only over the phone dismissing her daughter to go to a party.  The only one who seems to pay attention is Kim, Dad's new girlfriend.  It is hinted that Kim had a rough childhood herself, so perhaps she feels a connection with Sally.  Sally begins to explore mansion, which once belonged to an Artist named Emerson Blackwood.  Blackwood disappeared many years ago, along with his young son.  In the prologue to the film we see why...

The things that were haunting Blackwood soon begin to haunt Sally.  Although at first she is fascinated by the creatures that call out her name from the basement, she soon realizes that being friends is the last thing on their minds.

God they are ugly little buggers.  Reminds me of my cat after rubbing his face in catnip.  The creatures are Homunculi, better known as goblins or really nasty little fairies.  They need a soul, and Sally's is the perfect fit.  They begin to pursue Sally, and despite a lot of evidence to the contrary, the adults don't believe her.  Dad thinks she is having a psychotic breakdown.  I would be having a psychotic breakdown as well if these ugly little suckers ambushed me in the bath!

One frustrating thing about this film is how long it takes the adults to wise up!  One thing I liked about Insidious is that the parents GOT THE FUCK OUT!  Not in this case, but it is classic del Toro.  Someone wrote that being a child in del Toro's world is never easy.  All is horror.  My own childhood was quite wonderful, but my firm belief in Monsters meant that I was always scared.  Parents don't want to believe that there is a Monster in your closet, despite that fact that everything in your being tells you there is.

Don't be afraid of the Dark is Lovecraft scary.  I didn't read Lovecraft until I was an adult but my childhood self would have totally have got it: The universe is a big, bad, scary place and things far more powerful than ourselves might be out to get us.  Pretty much the message of this film.  The ending is unexpected and chilling, with no question left as to who the real victors are.  The film is beautiful and the performances are excellent.  The CGI is a little annoying, but luckily used sparingly.  I loved this film.  It is like a nice warm blanket for horror fans to wrap themselves up in.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

If I had a kid.....

I would totally buy him this:

Check out some other horror inspired toys at:
movie-merchandise-kids/.  In other news, I actually went to the theatre and watched a new movie!  And it was annoying!  Everyone on their cell phones!  I have officially turned into a grumpy old man.  Review of Don't be afraid of the Dark coming soon.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Woman

Check out the trailer and theatre list for Lucky McKee and Jack Ketchum's The Woman over at Bloody Disgusting.  I am so in the mood for this kind of film!  It outraged viewers at Sundance.  Sign me up!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Night of the Comet 1984

I was just flipping through the new issue of Vanity Fair (better articles than Vogue and I still get to enjoy fashion porn) and I noticed that the Eighties are back in a big way!  Shoulder pads, dramatic eye make-up, scrunchy boots, giant earrings, everyone looking like they are totally coked out: I love the Eighties.  It is not just the fashion that is making a comeback: all of the awesome eighties movies are being re-made.  Yes, all the remakes suck, but that is not going to stop me from seeing Footloose redux.  One of my favorite Eighties films, and one that contributed to my early horror obsession, was Night of the Comet.  This movie had such an impact on me I can still remember seeing the preview and begging my Mom to let me go see it.  I would like to say that I had an early preoccupation with post-apocalyptic horror, but the truth is I wanted to see the shopping mall scene.

I swear to God the first thing I am going to do when the fit hits the shan, whether it be next year or twenty years from now, is hit the mall.  What girl wouldn't?  Unless I have a girlfriend as a fellow survivor, I might skip dancing around said mall to "Girls just want to have fun," but I am going and getting me some nice clothes!  If my future is toting a machine gun around and killing zombies, I am going to look good.  This is practical!

So it is 1984 and a big comet is scheduled to pass by Earth.  No one seems really worried that the last time this comet came around the dinosaurs went extinct.  It might all the coke.  Two Valley Girl sisters, Regina (Catherine Mary Stewart) and Samantha (Kelly Maroney) happen to spend that night in steel enclosures.  They are spared being turned into "red dust."  The comet basically wipes out all of humanity, save a few.  The sisters, who were raised as Army brats and know their way around a machine gun, soon find themselves fighting for their lives.  See, not everyone died.  Some turned into crazy-mixed up zombies.

Not a crazy mixed-up Zombie

For sure a crazy mixed-up Zombie.

After getting ambushed by crazy mixed-up Zombies at the mall (after trying on fab clothes) the girls are rescued by a team of scientists who survived the disaster.  These scientists took every precaution to survive, except one: they forgot to close the air vents.  They are all slowly turning into Zombies and need the girl's blood for a serum.  Luckily, the girls know another survivor, the hunky Hector (Robert Beltran from Star Trek: Voyager nerds!) who helps them escape and they all live happily ever after with their shoulder pads and blue eyeshadow!  I just had a thought: if the world ended in the Eighties what happened with fashion?  Did they ever move on?  Not if it was up to these two girls.  They rock high waisted pants like no ones business!

Watching this film as an adult I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it.  I wouldn't say it stands the test of time, but it has some good scares and that amazing shopping mall scene.  This is not a "good" movie in any way, but neither is Mommie Dearest and I love that shit!  Now I have to go listen to the soundtrack to Pretty in Pink.  Good night!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Bucket of Blood!

According to "Wikipedia", Roger Corman's 1959 film Bucket of Blood is a "horror/comedy."  Well, the comedy must be so subtle that it completely flew over my head.  I mean, it is funny, if only for it's portrayal of Beatnik culture.  Wait, is this the intended comedy?  Am I that dense? (Yes.)  In any case, for a film shot in 5 DAYS (really), Bucket of Blood is pretty entertaining, or "Way out" as the Beat's would say.

If Andre from The Horror Digest hasn't seen this then she really must, because this may be the holy grail of cat trauma.  Nerdy, awkward busboy Walter Paisley dreams of being an artist.  Instead, he serves coffee to the hip in this coffee shop/bar where Poets and Sax players spout total nonsense and everyone smokes.  Walter is like the Mark Zuckerberg of his day:  no social skills but a genius!  One night, Walter accidentally kills his landlady's cat with a knife, as you do.  He covers it up by covering up kitty in clay, and takes it to the coffee shop the next day.  Everyone thinks he is a genius!  "Cat with knife sticking through it" is a big hit!  Because these people are all idiots and on horse!  Horse is slang for Heroin, the only thing I really learned from this film.

Walter, played by the awesome Dick Miller, decided to murder more things in order to make more sculptures.  Given that Walter is a class A idiot, the whole thing is actually kind of innocent and endearing.  I mean, you are actually rooting for Walter because he is putting one over on these Beatnik snobs!  Everything is going so well until Walter falls in love with the house watercolor artist.  Beatnik chicks ruin everything!

Roger Corman is the Man.  No doubt.  This film is great, even if I didn't catch the humor angle.  The whole thing was funny to me, but unintentionally so.  Is Corman a genius?  Yes. Duh.

Rec 2

Hello!  Yes, I am sorry it has been so long since I posted.  Seriously, the only one really concerned seems to be my Dad, but I am regretful (is that a word?).  I have a long list of excuses.  What to hear em? Here we go!

  1. I have had the Black Plague.  I still am in the coughing up a lung phase.
  2. Work has been particularly horrendous.  I mean, they expect me to actually work hard ALL DAY and do reports and be innovative and all that shit.  It is like Dilbert without all the humor.
  3. I do not have a computer.  Seriously, mine is broken.  I am using my husband's and I can't figure it out (its a Mac) and I can't figure out posting from my phone.  And seriously, I am not going to f-ing post from my phone.  It would take me 5 hours to write a post.  I have man hands.
  4. Any free time is spent trying to get my house back in order.  It looks like "Grey Gardens" pre-Jackie intervention.  Seriously.
So those are my traumas.  Please forgive me (Dad) for not posting in a while.  Good news is that I have completely given up on my house and embraced the Beale lifestyle, which gives me more time to watch crappy horror, drink, and write about it.  So here are my thoughts on Rec 2.

It was OK.  I loved Rec, and I seriously enjoyed Quarantine.  What was most interesting to me was the subtle differences between the two.  Whereas the Spanish Rec hints at a supernatural or spiritual basis for the outbreak, Quarantine is straight up "Science is going to kill us all."  I have not seen the sequel for  Quarantine but it seems a little to Snakes on a Plane for my liking so I am going to skip it.  Rec 2 takes place literally minutes after the first one ends.  A SWAT team is sent into the apartment building with a mysterious Doctor to scope out the situation.  The situation is, of course, nutso.

Rec 2 plays almost like a haunted house attraction at a State Fair.  The scares are cheap and plentiful, but you feel kind of empty inside after it is all over.  The supernatural element is interesting, but almost seems like a cheap out.  I was reminded of the Paranormal Activity films.  What should be a good old haunted house film turns into the complicated demon saga.  Same with Rec.  The Demons have ruined what could have been a good Zombie film.  Hey, I am not anti-Demon.  I love those little fuckers.  Just don't pretend to be one thing and then throw in the Demon curve ball!  I am also talking to you Insidious!  We can't all be The Exorcist, all right?

Monday, August 8, 2011


Hey!  I am back from New York!  I didn't find C.H.U.D. but I did get infected on the plane ride home.  I kind of look and feel like this:

The good thing about having the plague is that all I can do is watch movies.  As soon as I can see straight (and get over my craving for brains) I will write!  I am not dead yet!  Well, almost....