Sunday, October 23, 2011


I am going to be unplugged all week!  Until my return, please enjoy this video of "Inception Cat."  I could, and have, watched this all day long...

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Rob Bottin

Where are you Rob Bottin?  We need you now more than ever!  Check out this great article on Rob Bottin's career and disappearance:

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Thang 2011

Minor Spoilers.

So everyone is harping on this movie and quite rightly so, but let me take a moment to say something nice before I join the shit parade.  The filmmakers behind The Thing 2011 took great pains to ensure some continuity between Carpenter's seminal 1982 film and this prequel/remake hybrid.  I re-watched The Thing just hours before going to see this monstrosity and I have to say that you can see that the love is there.  The only joy I had while watching this film was seeing all the references to Carpenter's masterpiece.  Also, I rather like Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Joel Edgerton as actors.  I am sorry to see that they are in this film, but I just wanted to throw that out there.

Also it was cool that they used real Norwegians to play Norwegians.  Now I am done.  Time to start complaining:  This movie is awful.  Let me use my favorite lazy writing device, the list, to illustrate:
  1. It is not scary.  At all.
  2. The CGI is awful.  It made me appreciate Rob Bottin's work on Carpenter's film all the more.
  3. The first 20 minutes of the film is the "prequel," the remainder of the film is a remake.  This is not a good combination.
  4. I really didn't care about any of the characters with the exception of Kate.
  5. It's obvious who is "Thing" and who is not "Thing."
  6. WTF with the ending?!?  What happened to Kate?  Are they trying to set up for a sequel?  Why didn't we hear about the Russian base before?  Does every Country have a base on Antarctica?
  7. Would a bad ass helicopter pilot really wear a tiny gold earring?  I don't think so.

I think the idea of doing a prequel was a good one, but the filmmakers got lazy and basically just remade Carpenter's film.  What a wasted opportunity.  Save yourself the money.  Re-watch The Thing from 1982 and watch, if you haven't already, The Thing from Another World, made in 1951 and 10 times scarier than this new version.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Stake Land


The best horror film of the year was technically released last year, but it only came into my radar a few months ago.  Rue Morgue did an article on it, then Fangoria, then Horrorhound (my personal holy trilogy of horror mags.  Although, if you can find Scream magazine, that one is awesome!  It was only carried at a Border's 3 hours away from my house and that closed.  Yes, I could subscribe but I love the thrill of the hunt in these matters.)  Anyway, the best horror film of the year (in my opinion) is Jim Mickle's Stake Land.  Stake Land is a post-apocalyptic road film where the beasties are vampires.  Now, I am not usually a huge vamp fan, but these vampires are more like feral cannibal mutants.  Correction: there are human feral cannibals in this film.  These vamps are more like fast zombies that can only come out at night.  They have to compete with the human feral cannibals for some sweet meat that looks a lot like Eric from Gossip Girl.

It IS Eric from Gossip Girl!  Connor Paolo plays Martin, a young man whose parents are killed by vampires.  He is taken under the wing of "Mister", a mysterious vampire killer played by Nick Damici.

In this post-apocalyptic world civilization has gone by the wayside.  There are only a few pockets of survivors that get along the best they can.  The survivor's greatest problem isn't the vampires: it's the other humans who have de-evolved.  A group that calls themselves The Brotherhood controls most of the roads.  The Brotherhood are a bunch of white supremacist religious fundamentalists who think nothing of raping nuns and using non-whites as vampire bait.  Not surprisingly, Mister and Martin run afoul of this group and have to avoid them and the vampires on their way to "New Eden."  New Eden is a place supposedly free from infection.  We all know how this scenario will likely play out.


What is amazing about Stake Land is how well all of the characters are developed.  We really care about every single one of them.  Martin is a realistic boy on the verge on manhood.  Mister, for all his toughness, has a heart.  Danielle Harris plays Belle, a pregnant young woman trying to make it to New Eden for her baby.  Her character, in another film, would have stood as a beacon of hope.  She would have made it to New Eden and her child would have symbolized humanity's hope.  This is not that film.  This is not a pretty world.  This is a gloomy, gory, and scary film.  It's message is that humanity will survive, but at what cost? Yep, it's a bit of downer, but I was practically jumping up and down after it was over: it's that good. 

It! The Terror from Beyond Space 1958

The year is 1973.  Earth has lost contact with the first manned mission to Mars.  A rescue team is sent to investigate.  Their ride is really groovy...

When they arrive they find one survivor, Col. Edward Curruthers (Marshall Thompson).  The rest of the original crew is dead.  One of them has a gunshot wound.  The rescue crew decided Curruthers must have murdered his crew.  He denies the charge, and soon they all discover that the real murderer is It! The Terror from Beyond Space!

O.K.  This movie is really pretty silly but important for two reasons.  One, John Carpenter called it highly influential to him as a filmmaker.  This doesn't surprise me since It! is basically a siege film.  Carpenter introduced this film and Rio Bravo as part of his hosting duties on TCMRio Bravo is also a siege film, like Assault on Precinct 13, The Thing, and to a certain extent The Fog.  The siege "genre" also happens to be one of my favorites (Night of the Living Dead).  I like it when a group of people are trapped together fighting for their lives, sometimes from an unseen, unknown force.   That is the case with It!.  The clever alien sneaks on board and begins attacking crew members, sucking all moisture from their bodies.  He goes from level to level on the ship, often using the air shafts to move around.  The beleaguered crew are soon confined to one level of the ship, trying to think of a way to kill this unstoppable force...

My God this suit is awesome!  Anyway, if this story sound a little familiar that is because it is: it's Alien.  It! The Terror from Beyond Space served as a major inspiration to Alien, right down to the air shafts.

This is the second reason why It! is important, and if you are a fan of Alien I highly recommend you see this.  Plus, it's fun to see doctors and scientists smoking!  Oh, and the female scientists serve the men dinner!  They have a PhD in waitressing!

American Horror Story

I just finished watching the second episode of American Horror Story.  Although I can't say I am completely on board with this show yet, I know I am going to continue watching it, if only to support "horror" on television.  Which brings me to my first point of contention with American Horror Story: it's not very scary.

The Harmon's have recently moved from Boston to L.A.  Ben Harmon (Dylan McDermott) is a Psychiatrist who must work out CONSTANTLY.  We see him naked (a lot) and he is ripped!  He also cheated on his beautiful wife Vivien (the amazing Connie Brittan).  Vivien walked in on him having a special "session" with a student.  In an effort to repair their marriage, they move to sunny California with their teenage daughter Violet (Taissa Farmiga).  Oh, did I mention that Vivien had a horrible miscarriage before the affair began?  And that Violet likes to cut herself and is one Cure record away from becoming a Goth wannabe?  In other words, this family is kind of messed up to begin with.  It doesnt' help that the bargain Victorian house they bought has the local reputation as a "Murder House."

The family moves in and weird things begin to happen right away.  Their creepy neighbor Constance (Jessica Lange) shows up with her Downs Syndrome daughter who has a special gift for sneaking in and out of the house at will. 

Ben encounters a burned man named Larry Harvey (Denis O'Hare from True Blood) who claims to have once lived in the house.  He also claims to have killed his whole family in the house, and that the house made him do it.  Larry tries to convince Ben that he and his family should leave.  Good advice, considering that during the first two episodes a whole lot of freaky shit goes down.

I won't spoil it but let's just say that it includes a lot of masturbation, kinky demon sex, and various homages to just about every horror film made in the past 40 years.  Which brings me back to my first problem with this show.  Not scary.  Copying images and scenarios from other horror films and cutting and pasting them together does not horror make!  And that is basically what is going on here.  It's fun to watch the show and pick the horror films the Producers have cribbed from.  Here is a partial list:
  • The Shining
  • The Changeling
  • The Strangers
  • Rosemary's Baby
  • Poltergeist
  • Saw
  • The Collector
  • Halloween
  • The Haunting
  • Pet Sematary
  • Ghost Story
Even the opening credits look like a mash up of that show Oddities and a Nine Inch Nails video.  The music is ripped off of other films such as Vertigo and Psycho.  Because I have seen all of this before nothing is making me jump, nothing is sending chills down my spine.  And it's too bad, because this show has a lot of other things going for it.  Jessica Lange is brilliant as Constance.  She deserves an Emmy for her mysterious yet sympathetic performance.  Same goes for Connie Brittan.  When she was confronting her husband about his affair in the first episode it brought tears to my eyes.  The show looks amazing, and the score, although recycled, it very good.  I don't know how they are going to sustain this story throughout the entire season, and I hope the Producers have an end game planned.  So far this is seeming a little Lost to me.  Let's also hope that the Producers try to infuse the show with a little more originality. Then it might get really scary.

The Thing: The Musical

Alright, you have probably seen this everywhere by now (including the awesome Kindertrauma), but it is so good!  Watch it again!


The Walking Dead season 2 premieres tonight!  I am so excited!  Finally have a day off and lots to post including: It! The Terror from Beyond Space (awesome), American Horror Story (undecided), Stakeland (amazeballs), every version of The Thing including the book (this may take a while), and whatever else pops into my head!  Stay tuned.....

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sir John Talbot

I just finished my annual viewing of The Wolf Man.  It's my Dad's birthday today and this is his favorite horror film.  I love The Wolf Man.  I love Lon Chaney Jr.  It is perhaps the saddest performance I have ever seen in a horror film.  Look at the man:

Such pathos!  Such despair!  Seriously, it is a great performance.  But I am not here to talk about Chaney.  I am here to talk about the other tragic figure in The Wolf Man: Sir John Talbot.

Perhaps it's because it was my Father's birthday so Dad is on the mind, but during this viewing I couldn't help but concentrate on the sad figure of Sir John Talbot (played by one of my favorite actors, Claude Rains.)  Let's look at the facts: Sir John is a widow: no wife to be seen.  His eldest son, his favorite and heir, was killed in a tragic hunting accident.  His other son, Larry, he doesn't know at all.  Larry left the family to go America and never kept in touch.  Larry has returned to the family estate but it is clear that father and son have nothing in common.  As if this all isn't depressing enough, a series of grisly murders have taken place near the estate and Larry may be going mad.  His one chance to reconnect with his only son ends in tragedy:

Sir John is convinced that Larry is having a breakdown.  He can't believe that he is responsible for the murders.  To protect him, Sir John ties Larry up and goes to join the hunt for the real culprit, the wolf.  Of course, Larry escapes and father is forced to take the life of his only remaining child.  That, my friends, is tragic.  Poor Sir John.  Join me next year when I try to figure out what is going on with Gwen (Evelyn Ankers).  I mean really!  Why is she so nonchalant about Jenny getting killed and why is she so willing to cheat on her Fiance with Larry?  What is with her?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Trailers: The Awakening

This looks better. A bit like The Others, but that is not a bad thing.

Trailers: The Raven

This looks ridiculous. And not in a good way.

O.K.  Let me clarify.  This looks like it should be starring Bruce Willis.  Just not what I was hoping for.  Might be good.  Has a From Hell feel to it.  If I see Poe do fucking Karate I am leaving the theatre.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Cropsey 2009

Not to long ago I wrote a review of The Burning, a typical Slasher that featured a maniac named "Cropsey" who liked to slice and dice teenage campers.  Turns out "Cropsey" is an honest to goodness East Coast Urban Legend and the subject of a recent documentary....

Directed by Joshua Zeman and Barbara Brancaccio, Cropsey uses the famed Urban Legend to introduce us to a real life tragedy: a series of child abductions and murders that took place on Staten Island in the 70s and 80s.

Accused and convicted of at least one of the murders was Andre Rand, a homeless eccentric known to hang around the abandoned Willowbrook State School where he once worked as an orderly.

Willowbrook, which wasn't closed until 1987, became famous thanks in part to an expose by Geraldo Rivera.  Rivera revealed the deplorable conditions the "student" lived in.  The children were all disabled or mentally handicapped, "dumped" at Willowbrook and forgotten.  The "Urban Legend" surrounded Willowbrook is that some of the students were still there, living in the underground tunnels known to exist under the school.  The other story was that "Cropsey", a maniac who snatched children from the forest, also lived under the school.  Legend became reality when children began to go missing, and Rand was a perfect stand-in for the Cropsey our our nightmares.

Cropsey is more about the witch hunt and trials of Andre Rand instead of the Urban Legend.  Definitely a creep, Rand was convicted on the flimsiest of evidence.  Although the filmmakers refuse to share their opinions of whether or not Rand was guilty, what is clear is their disillusionment with the legal system.  Rand is a Hannibal Lecter type character who plays mind games with Zeman and Brancaccio, but that does not mean he his guilty.  Accused of everything from Satan worship to necrophilia, the community and the press were anxious for someone to blame, and Rand fit the bill. 

I had to do come research to confirm that this was an actual documentary and not a docu-drama.  Some of the film has a "Blair Witch" type feel to it, and some things just fit together a little to perfectly. As the viewer you feel you are being manipulated a bit, and we probably are.  Nevertheless, the film is very good and very chilling.   The "Cropsey" legend is still around to scare the local boy scouts, and teenagers still visit the ruins of Willowbrook to give themselves a good scare.  Few of the teenagers have ever heard of the real life child murders that took place in their backyard. Most of the bodies have never been found, and there are still doubts about Rand's guilt.  Real life can be as horrifying and fiction or legend.

For your October Viewing Pleasure

Halloween is upon us and three of my favorite channels are celebrating the month by showing a ton of great horror!  It's a month to sit on your ass and be scared!

Over at AMC they are showing a wide variety of films, including The Shining, plus October 16th brings us the premiere of The Walking Dead.  I have never quite forgiven AMC for introducing commercials into the mix, but their great original programming by far makes up for it. 

IFC is playing some great films this month, including one of my favorites, The Changeling.  They are also playing more edgy fare such as Hostel and Teeth.  If you can make your way through the endless Malcolm in the Middle reruns (really) you can even catch The Dead Set on Halloween.

This awesome British production introduces Zombies to reality television.  Two great tastes that taste great together.  Seriously, this is a good series.  If you haven't seen it, DVR it! 
Finally, we come to my favorite channel, the Granddaddy of commercial free classic programming,

TCM! Not only are they playing "The Horrors of Stephen King" all month (it began last night!) they also are having this dude as a guest programmer...

Check out John Carpenter on October 5th.  He will be discussing and showing such classics as....

TCM is also having a Val Lewton marathon.  It was through these channels that I discovered my love of Classic Horror, and they are part of the reason that October is my favorite month!  Click the links above for full schedules!!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Hell Night 1981

 There is nothing I love more than a good old Eighties Slasher.  I almost hate to admit it, but it's the era I grew up it.  I was raised on a steady diet of all types of horror films, but it's the Slasher I return to again and again.  Since Slashers were cheap to make and popular, there are a lot of them floating around.  Most of them very, very bad.  Typically, the crappier the film, the more I like it.  I was expecting Hell Night from 1981 to be awful.  I was wrong (not the first time.)

Despite the fact that Linda Blair rocks the worst Victorian up do bun that I have ever seen throughout the film, it is actually pretty good.  A Fraternity is putting it's pledges though a hazing known as Hell Night.  The pledges have to spend the night at the Gothic Garth Manor, site a horrific murder/suicide 12 years prior.  The demented patriarch, Raymond Garth, murdered his wife and children in the Manor.  He then killed himself.  The only problem is that the Police never found Raymond's body, nor that of his youngest son, the mute Andrew.  Rumor has it, Andrew still lives in the Manor. 

Of course he does!  You know it! Actually it's a pretty good back story, well fleshed out for a cheapo Slasher.  The Fraternity only has four pledges: Marti (Blair), Jeff (Peter Barton, who is so pretty I couldn't stand it.  He looks like a male Carol Alt.  I wasn't surprised to learn he spent the rest of his career in the Soaps), Seth, and Denise are the pledges.  Yes, it is a little weird that this is a male/female Fraternity but go with it!

Luckily the Scooby Gang brought drugs and booze to get them through the night.  Before long they start hearing screams throughout the manor.  When they go to investigate they realize that members of the Fraternity have "rigged" the house to scare them.  This sounds like a pretty good Fraternity!  Sign me up.

Everything is going along very well until the kids start really dying.  I mean, they start getting their heads chopped off!  The fun and games are over when the remaining pledges must fight to stay alive from the unseen terror lurking in the house.....

Oh, there you are terror!  Wouldn't you know it, it's Andrew, and he is super pissed.  I mean, he watched his whole family die, and now he has to put up with Linda Blair's whining!  I would go on a murderous rampage too!

Hell Night looks great.  The set design is fantastic.  Andrew is really scary looking, and the Director, Tom De Simone, really knows how to build tension.  Linda Blair's character is kind of an annoying Buzz Kill, but she finally flashes her Final Girl card at the end.  I was in the mood for a "so bad it's good" Slasher and I got a "well, that's pretty good" Slasher.  Lucky for me, there are plenty of bad Slashers out there, and I am sure it won't be long before I encounter my next one.

Warning: Hell Night has no boobs in it, if that is your thing.  Linda Blair has quite an impressive rack, but that hair! Oh God, that hair!

Coming Soon: The Grey

I have been trying to write a post but my brain is so foggy from yet another cold that I just can't.  I will try again later this afternoon.  In the meantime, enjoy the awesome Liam Neeson-ness of this trailer! 

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Human Centipede

Next time I hold a staff meeting at work I am going to show The Human Centipede.  I have never seen a better film about the importance of teamwork.

So I know I am a little late to the party on this one.  THC came out about a year ago.  I just really never was in the mood to watch it.  I mean, when are you every really in the mood to watch a film about people sewn together ass to mouth?  Turns out, last night I was in the mood for an ass to mouth film. That sounds like I wanted to watch a porno!  A porno would have been much more entertaining.

The main problem I had with The Human Centipede is that is wasn't shocking/gory/scary/funny enough.  It is a concept film and the concept is good: so good that it became a cultural phenomenon (much like Toddlers and Tiaras).  Problem was that the execution was just plain boring (unlike Toddlers and Tiaras, which is awesome and I wish it was on year round). 

The Human Centipede works best as a comedy. Dieter Laser as the demented Doctor is hysterical.  He is a modern day Dr. Frankenstein.

He also looks a bit like Geoff Tate from Queensryche.  I always wondered what happened to him.  When Laser screams "Feed her" I almost fell off the couch laughing.  Best part of the film.

I am intrigued by Tom Six.  I like it when Directors become part of the show, ala Alfred Hitchcock.  I am looking forward to seeing what he does after he is finished with The Centipede Trilogy.  I also like that his Cinematographer is named Goof De Kooning.  That name just makes me happy.  Enjoy the preview to the sequel.  I will see it, because it looks very different in tone from first one.  Of course, it may be many, many years until I am in the mood for a 12 person sewn ass to mouth film.