Friday, October 24, 2014

Thirteen more of my favorite horror films

It's October. Time to talk horror. I'll focus on horror-related posts until Halloween comes and goes.  

Here are thirteen more of my favorite horror movies to complete yesterday's post. By the time this posts I should be deep into Civilization Beyond Earth. Which makes me wonder why you're reading this crap instead of playing that crap. (In case you're wondering, there will eventually be a third list of thirteen, so don't give me shit for not having Mario Bava or some such director on here yet.)

In no particular order....



Thursday, October 23, 2014

Thirteen of my favorite horror films

It's October. Time to talk horror. I'll focus on horror-related posts until Halloween comes and goes. 

Okay, I'm phoning this one in. Civilization Beyond Earth comes out in about ten hours and I know this blog will likely suffer. Here's a bullshit list that doesn't mean anything. I know, lists suck.

If there's a remake by the same title, I'll use the director's name to differentiate between titles. Also, none of this is in any particular order other than Dawn of the Dead, which just happens to be first.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

ABCs of Death 2 is now on-demand

It's October. Time to talk horror. I'll focus on horror-related posts until Halloween comes and goes.

If you read my post about the original ABCs of Death, you'll know A) I'm a sucker for anthology films and B) whether or not the movie will be up your alley. Just to be clear: if you've ever been morally offended by any movie ever, you will not like these films. In summary, the original ABCs of Death was certainly sick and twisted, not to mention a helluva ride.


The sequel is almost as twisted, but there just isn't as much momentum. I think most of the films in the sequel look better than the films in the previous collection, but I just didn't laugh as much. Then again, that's probably a problem for horror sequels in general: you just can't be as fresh as you were the first time. There are some bits here that are wonderfully out of control (I will never forget the awesome insanity of the last film no matter how long I live) and the special effects are usually a lot better, but I think the first collection had far more memorable shorts. Dogfight, the masturbation contest, Fart,  the claymation stuff... I really do remember more from the first film even though I just saw the newer film last night.

That's the thing, though. If you liked the first one, it's only a little better than this one. It's probably safe to say this one is worth the $12.

* * *

Fangoria's Blood & Guts is back... sort of. Now it's called Scott Ian's Bloodworks, but it's just as good as it's ever been. I love Scott Ian's gleeful passion for cinematic gore. Here's the first episode of the return, but be sure to check out the newer episode, too.


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Horns is available on-demand before it hits theaters

It's October. Time to talk horror. I'll focus on horror-related posts until Halloween comes and goes.

A movie adaptation shouldn't be judged by the quality of its source material. It's impossible to avoid, though, especially when the material is so admirable. The adaptation of Joe Hill's legitimately insane Horns suffers in the typical three-act screenplay form. Whereas the novel opens with a guy who wakes up with devil horns, the film gives us a typical movie opening, putting off the horns for just a little too long. And the reason he gets the horns in the first place—the violent desecration of a memorial, if my memory serves me correctly—hardly appears in the film version at all. My girlfriend asked me, "Why does he have horns?" Then I realized the movie is a better companion to the book than a standalone feature. Maybe judging it by the book is excusable in this case.


That's the bad. The rest is quite good actually, at least when it's not trying to play it too safe. Sometimes it feels the filmmakers pussyfoot around the demonic aspects of the story, which kind of misses the point. Otherwise, there is plenty of snake-charming, plenty of startling confessions from seemingly normal people. To call this horror is misleading. Dark urban fantasy is a better label.

The plot: Ig Perrish is a twenty-something whose childhood girlfriend has been murdered. Everyone thinks he's the killer, including his parents. One day after a hard night of drinking, he wakes up to find devil horns have sprouted from his temples. The horns have an effect on people. Nobody seems to think the horns are out of the ordinary and they feel compelled to tell Ig their darkest secrets. Heather Graham's character, a waitress, confesses she's telling the cops lies because she wants to be on TV. A bartender tells Ig he wants to burn his establishment down for the insurance money and Ig tells him to do it. He does, laughing hysterically. The confessions are the funniest parts of the movie.

I'm happy to report Daniel Radcliffe doesn't suffer from the same fate as most former child actors. Whenever I look at Fred Savage or Elijah Wood, I still see them as children. But when I see Daniel Radcliff, I see an adult, which is good. He makes a good Ig Perrish. The rest of the cast is just as good. I particularly liked Juno Temple (I usually do) as his girlfriend, Heather Graham, David Morse, and the casting of Ig's parents: James Remar and Kathleen Quinlan, two generally underused actors.

It's a good picture, just a little rough in spots. Also, I'm not sure it's quite worth $10.99, but I hope it does well when it hits theaters.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

What the hell happened in The Walking Dead Season 5 premiere?

It's October. Time to talk horror. I'll focus on horror-related posts until Halloween comes and goes.   

*SPOILERS FOLLOW* 


Even though I've had a few days to think it over, I'm still wondering what the hell I just saw on Sunday.

When The Walking Dead's fourth season concluded, I was psyched. (This stands in sharp contrast to the previous season finale which spent too much time building up to one of the most anti-climatic "battles" I've ever seen.) Here were the Season 4 highlights for me:
  • The blonde finally went missing (she'll be back, of course, but in the meantime we don't have to hear her stupid singing).
  • Carol didn't hesitate to shoot a little girl who totally had to go. This is much cooler when you think about all the whining Rick would have done for 3+ episodes before finally arriving at the same decision.
  • The Governor was in danger of becoming sympathetic, which I thought was unnecessary, but then he was all like, "Nah, lol, fuck you" and killed a bunch of people, further rising in the annals of TV villainy.
  • The people at Terminus turned out to be cannibals.
  • And the high point of the entire series: the introduction of Eugene Porter, a redneck scientist with a mullet and an affinity for video games. I don't know why, but I like the three new characters more than any of the existing ones. I really don't give a shit who they kill as long as they don't kill Eugene and friends.
So here's what we knew up until last Sunday: we had zombies outside Terminus. We had cannibals inside. Nearly all the surviving heroes of the series were more or less fucked. It was shaping up to be a great big mind-fuck of a suspenseful season. But that's not what we got. What we got, instead, was pure action. Don't get me wrong. It was very satisfying action (that ridiculous bit with the pathetically aimed bottle rocket notwithstanding), but I can't help but feel some potential horror was wasted here.

First of all it's a horror show, not an action movie. While I appreciate the writers' attempt to give it some urgency (let's face it, the series drags sometimes), I had blown up what I thought was going to happen in my head. I certainly didn't want to see them spend an entire season in Terminus, but I thought that, at the very least, we were going to spend a few episodes wondering, "Who are the cannibals going to eat next?" Think about the potential for terror there! I kind of figured what we got Sunday wouldn't come along until the mid-season finale.

This is all to say that my expectations fucked me. The more I think about it, the more I realize the writers probably made the right decision. If they had done what I was expecting, I probably would have been complaining it was predictable.