Friday, December 30, 2011

Pet Sematary revisited

First I play with Judd, then Mommy came, and I play with Mommy. We play Daddy! We had a awfully good time! Now, I want to play with YOU!

There are many, many reasons I love Pet Sematary, the incredible cast, including Fred Gwynne as the curmudgeon Jud Crandall, is one of them.

He reminds me so much of Jimmy Stewart in this film.  Who else could utter the line "Sometimes, dead is bettah" not once but three times and sell it like he was reciting Shakespeare? 

I also love Brad Greenquist as Victor (the friendly ghost) Pascow.  Much like the Griffin Dunne character in An American Werewolf in London, the decaying, gory Victor tries to get the Creed family to do the right thing, but is limited by his undead situation.  To bad he wasn't a ghost from American Horror Story.  Those ghosts have no problem interfering with the humans, be it fucking or killing them.  The dead in Pet Sematary, at least the ghostly dead, are much to refined for that.

Speaking of the dead, they are represented three ways in Pet Sematary.  There is the ghostly dead, like Victor, and then there is the remembered dead, like the horrible Zelda.  Nothing more than a frightening memory for the doomed Rachel Creed, Zelda has become a horror icon.  I remember when I first saw the film as a teenager it was Zelda who scared me more than anything in this film.  She adds depth to the Rachel Creed character, and her story also adds to the overall theme of death and loss that permeates this film.   Grief, guilt, and emptiness are the results of death in Pet Sematary.  Dr. Creed feels guilty that he cannot save Victor Pascow.  He feels guilt that Church, the family pet, died on his watch.  Rachel is tourtured by her guilt over the death of Zelda, the sister whose death she wished for.  And finally, when the ultimate tragedy hits the Creed family, grief and emptiness spur Dr. Creed to do the most horrible, desperate thing.....

The third way the dead are represented in this film is the resurrected dead.  Jud, trying to be helpful, tells Dr. Creed (Dale Midkiff, always kind of creepy yet sympathetic) about the old Indian Burial Ground above the Pet Sematary.  Things buried there don't stay dead, but as we soon learn the ground has gone sour. 

I had not seen this film since I was a teenager, and watching it as an adult I experienced it very differently.  I found the film much more sad than horrific.  From the little girl learning what death really is, to Rachel and her tormented memories, to Jud, who wishes for death in many ways, Pet Sematary covers a lot of emotinal ground.  Of course, it is poor Dr. Creed, the tragic hero of this piece, that deserves our sympathy.  Who wouldn't want to protect his daughter from the pain of losing a beloved pet?  Who wouldn't, given the chance, try to bring their child back from the dead?  Pet Sematary is a perfect example of everything I love about Stephen King.  Great storytelling, horror, emotional depth, and a great payoff.  It didn't suprise me that King wrote the screenplay for this.  I really think it is one of the best King films.   Plus, that Ramones song is so damn good!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Coming Soon: Pet Sematary!

The Ramones - Pet Sematary by scootaway

I just watched Pet Sematary for the first time since I was a teenager!  Until I can get my lazy self to write about it, please enjoy the awesome Ramones singing a song that should have won an Oscar.  Really.  Try not to have this stuck in your head for the rest of the day.

Friday, December 23, 2011

American Horror Story: Revisited

 When I first watched and reviewed American Horror Story I was highly critical of it.  It seemed like horror made by people who really didn't have an idea of what was scary.  Characters, scenes, and even music were borrowed from various horror films and inserted into what seemed to be a family drama.

Well as time went on I fell in love with the show.  I loved the horror film references, I loved the completely fucked up family, and I loved Jessica Lange's performance as Constance, the ultimate survivor.

American Horror Story in many ways was a truly brave show.  Not only for some of the crazy things Ryan Murphy and Co. put on the screen, but for the twists and turns and the absolute delight they took in killing off anyone at anytime! 

Central to the series were two relationships.  Vivian and Ben, the married couple dealing with infidelity and heartbreaking loss.  There was also Violet, Vivian and Ben's depressed daughter, and her relationship with the psychotic but looking for redemption Tate.  The arc of both of these relationships plays out beautifully throughout the series and is really the heart of the show.

Then of course there are the ghosts.  As the series progressed it reminded me more and more of Clive Barker's Coldheart Canyon.  The ghosts, trapped in this prison of a house, make a society amongst themselves.  I loved that the last episode was kind of a "Grand Roll Call" of all of the house's otherworldly inhabitants.

Speaking of the finale, I loved it.  I am reading that some people are upset. They feel that it doesn't answer enough questions.  Personally, I don't have any questions left.  People that deserve to be alone are alone, and people that deserve to be happy are happy.  I found it very satisfying and I love that Constance is raising the Anti-Christ.  She is perfect for it!

Ryan Murphy today announced that the next season would take place in a new location with a new cast and that each season would be a self contained story examining some other aspect of America Horror (except Vampires!)  This has also pissed off some people.  Again, I love it!  As long as he keeps the show brave, gory, and shocking I will watch! 

For more info check out this article at DListed.

I love Michael K's writing.  Full of swear words and all over the place!  A bit like mine I think!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Coming Soon: Prometheus

No trailer for Prometheus yet, but we do have this awesome poster!  I am Alien geeking out!

Coming Soon: ALVH

First look at Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. I love the posters! 

Zombie Comics: Lio

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Merry Creepmas! Silent Night, Bloody Night

My horror lovin' mind has been blown by what I thought was another throw-a-way holiday slasher film.  I am so impressed not because the film is genius... but because it predates and possibly influences Black Christmas, Halloween, When a Stranger Calls, and Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  I had never heard of Silent Night, Bloody Night, and now I feel like it is my duty to spread the gospel!

Let me try to explain the plot: give me a little leeway here because there is an awful lot going on.  The film opens on a man who has just set himself of fire.  At least, that is what we think until the camera pulls back and we see a mysterious figure playing the organ while the man burns.  The burning man is supposedly Wilfred Butler, a rich tycoon.  Butler leaves his mansion to his grandson Jeffrey, with the provision that he never sell or change it.  Cut to twenty years later.  Jeffrey sends his slick lawyer, John Carter (sleaze-a-rific Patrick O'Neal) to negotiate the sale of the house to the town leaders.
Why do the town leaders want to buy the house?  Because it is cursed of course!  They want to buy it to tear it down.  None of this bothers Jeffrey in the least bit: he has never seen the house nor been to the small Massachusetts town where he was born and this tale takes place.

By the way, this poster tells you nothing about the film.  When I saw the cover art I thought this might be about a religious cult and the young girl fighting to get away from it.  Not so.

So these are the town leaders.  You might recognize one of them as John Carradine, awesome old-timey actor who spawned countless other awesome Carradines.   Carradine plays a mute newspaper reporter.  Didn't make sense to me either, but one of the many reasons this weird film is so endearing.

Back to the crazy plot.  The Lawyer seems more interested in banging his hot mistress (played by Astrid Heeren, with all the charisma of a store mannequin) than doing any real work.  Carter and the mistress spend the night at the Butler mansion and wouldn't you know it... things don't turn out so well....

Jeffrey shows up and cannot find Carter anywhere.  Instead, he finds Diane Adams, daughter of the Mayor and chick from Night of the Comet (Mary Woronov).  Diane, like every woman in this film, is not the brightest girl you have ever met.  She almost shoots Jeffrey when she first meets him, then spends the rest of the film trying to get him in bed. 

Jeffrey and Diane head to the mansion, but keep getting distracted by mute Carradines, abandoned police cars, creepy cemeteries, and revelations about the history of the Butler mansion.  Diane discovers that at one point the Butler mansion was an insane asylum, run by Wilfred Butler.  Butler's daughter, who is also Jeffrey's mother, was insane.  Jeffrey knew none of this, thinking his mother died when he was young.  It kind of explains why Jeffrey is so creepy.  At one point he kills a bird.  Seriously.  He kills it just for shits and giggles. 

Things get even more goofy when we go to a sepia colored flashback that explains what went down in the house when it was an insane asylum.  This long sequence is not to be missed: it is probably the best part of the film. 

Back to present time.  Turns out a lunatic has escaped from another nearby insane asylum (what is with all the crazies in this town?).  One by one the town leaders receive mysterious phone calls from a woman identifying herself as Jeffrey's mother asking them to come to the mansion.  One by one the town leaders go missing.  Jeffrey gets weirder and weirder and Diane discovers the truth about his lineage.  If this is beginning to sound a bit like a V.C.Andrews book then you are on the right track!  By the end of this film we have been exposed to betrayal, rape, incest, insanity, bird killing, mysterious phone calls, elder abuse, mute Carradines, death by wine class, possible cannibalism, and gross sex between O'Neal and Heeren.  It's a Gothic Christmas insane killer-polooza!

 Many elements of this film pop up in Halloween, When a Stranger Calls, and especially Black Christmas. Killers hiding in the house, menacing phone calls, the holiday setting, the house with the past, the prodigal son returning: all chapters taken from Silent Night, Bloody Night.  So why isn't this film more well known?  Filmed in 1972, it wasn't released until 74, and only then on the drive-in circuit.  Now a public domain film, Silent Night, Bloody Night can be found on many horror compilations.  Even Elvira has tackled it!  It is not as good as Black Christmas or Halloween, but definitely worth checking out if you love those films. 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Coming Soon: Silent Night,Bloody Night

I sometimes wonder if I am getting too cynical.  I just read a review by a blogger I really like of Red State.  The blogger loved it.  I wanted to tear my eyelashes out while watching it.  I don't want to be cynical.  I don't want to be one of those reviewers that hates every movie she sees.  Just when I was about to give up, I saw a film that was so awesome I was dancing around my living room with joy.  The amazing film was Silent Night, Bloody Night.  Not Silent Night, Deadly Night, which has its charms, but the lesser known Bloody Night starring a mute John Carradine and the chick from Night of the Comet.  I don't have time to write about it now: I must suppress all joy and happiness and go to work, but soon I will.  In the meantime, enjoy this trailer.  Warning: The trailer gives away a major spoiler.  Of course, it is one you could see coming a mile away, but it is best to be forewarned!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Coming soon...

Head on over to the always excellent Dinner with Max Jenke to get a run down of horror for 2012. I am waiting anxiously for The Woman in Black starring Daniel Radcliffe.  I also have a soft spot in my heart for Silent Hill and I am super excited that Sean Bean is in the sequel!! 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Red State 2011

I am a bit confused.  I thought Kevin Smith's new film, Red State, was a horror film.  Turns out it is not horror at all.  It's kind of a drama, sort of a lazy social commentary, resembles a comedy, and aspires to be a thriller.  I am not sure what it is besides awful. 

OK, perhaps I am being a bit harsh.  It's just that I am a little pissed with myself.  I had 2 hours to spare today, and I wasted it on this.  Red State isn't The Thing 2011 awful, but pretty darn close.  It's like there is a good movie in here somewhere, but Kevin Smith is just too past it to draw it out.  The number one problem with the film is that it is boring.

The sermon by Michael Parks (whom I love, don't get me wrong) goes on way to long.  Parks plays Abin Cooper, a Fred Phelps type preacher who hates homosexuals.  Along with his family, Cooper begins to kidnap and kill "sinners", including three horny boys who were hoping to gang-bang one of the churches followers.  Cooper rants and raves against the evil-doers for what feels like forever.  The problem is that there is no passion in this speech, no sense of foreboding, no outrage.  We don't care about the three boys, who really should be dead anyway, and we don't care about the members of the congregation. 

When the ATF shows up and turns the whole thing into a Waco type situation, we don't care then either.  I thought the film was headed in an interesting direction when trumpets started blazing signaling the end of the world, but that turned out to be just more bullshit.  I was so bored with the whole thing I actually started reading The New Yorker.  The New Yorker people!!!

I used to love Kevin Smith.  I love Clerks and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.  I was hoping he would do something really interesting with his first "horror" film.  Problem is, he forgot he was making a horror film.  Badly edited, poorly shot, terrible acting ( I am looking at you John Goodman!  Why agree to do a scene with a bluetooth in your ear?  It's so distracting!!!).  Red State is a failure on all levels.  Now I am going to go do what I should have done with my 2 free hours: catch up on Gossip Girl.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Merry Creepmas: Oldies but goodies

I am sorry that I haven't been able to devote my time to Creepmas like I had hoped to.  I did go see the local version of The Nutcracker last night and it was kind of terrifying, but I suppose that doesn't count.  I do have a long history of reviewing Holiday Horror films however, so please enjoy some of these oldies but goodies from the archive.  Yes, I have an archive.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Shining: Christmas style

I am so excited to go see Peaches Christ present The Shining for Christmas!  If you are in the Bay Area December 17th I highly suggest you check it out!

The Shining is such a great holiday film.  Don't believe me?  Check out the trailer....

Merry Creepmas: Day 1

OMG I can't wait till this month is over!  I kid, I actually have more x-mas spirit than last year.  Maybe because this year I am embracing Creepmas!  Isn't everything a little better with a touch of horror?  Since I still haven't actually "watched" anything since all my time is taken with sleep and work, enjoy this classic commercial created in some far away land....