Wednesday, January 28, 2009

If You're Into Make-up EFX ...

You gotta check out this new Starz documentary which just came out on DVD this past Tuesday ...

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It's a pretty awesome little love note to the world and art of special make-up EFX. It runs only 60 minutes so ya probably won't wanna shell out the cash to buy it, but you can actually already watch it instantly and free of charge on Netflix if you're a member at this spot right here! One of the many joys of having a Netflix account. Sign up, will ya!

It covers everything from horror films such as Grindhouse (awesome footage of how they did the big car crash), Cabin Fever, The Exorcist, The Thing, and American Werewolf to movies like Sin City, Transformers, Dances With Wolves and even The Chronicles of Narnia and features interviews with the likes of Quentin Tarantino, Eli Roth, Robert Rodriguez, John Carpenter, and George Romero. It goes into the history of make-up EFX and pretty much covers all the well known artists like Dick Smith (Exorcist), Tom Savini (Dawn/Day of the Dead), the boys of KNB (what haven't they done?!), Rick Baker (American Werewolf), Jack Pierce (Frankenstein), and Rob Bottin (The Thing). All in just under an hour! Jam packed fast paced gory fun full of interesting stories and tidbits.

It never ceases to amaze me how incredible these artists are and how much work they put into pulling off a single effect on film. These guys are truly magicians and i'm endlessly fascinated by behind the scenes stuff like this. This documentary even manages to provide a lot of never before seen footage and pictures, like the early make-up tests for Linda Blair's Exorcist look. A lot of times documentaries like these get repetitive and regurgitate the same information and footage that we've seen everywhere else a million times before, but this one manages to stay fresh and interesting the whole way through.

Speaking of The Exorcist, one of the most amazing make-up jobs in the history of cinema that Dick Smith pulled off is so rarely recognized because of how amazing it is and you really get to see that on here. And it's not the Regan makeup. Max Von Sydow, who played Father Merrin, was actually in his early 40's when the movie was filmed, despite the fact that he looks well into his 70's in the movie! I actually remember looking up Von Sydow years back and being amazed that he was still alive because I figured he must be in his hundreds by now! Turns out it's just an amazing make-up job on a relatively young actor. Interesting little bit of trivia on that note ; Stellan Skarsgard, who played a young Merrin in the Exorcist prequel, was actually a good 10 years older than Von Sydow when he played the role of the much older Merrin! If that's not a testament to the wonders of guys like Dick Smith, I just don't know what is!

If you're into this kinda stuff like I am, you'll highly enjoy it. If you're not, watch it anyway to see the magic these guys work and to see why CGI will just never be as good as the old school practical effects! In fact, i'm so fascinated by this stuff that i've long dreamed of being a make-up EFX artist. And I probably would've attempted to tackle it if I had any artistic skills whatsoever! I did do a little dabbling this past Summer with some cheapo gore effects, using things like pumpkin guts and latex appliances to simulate severed limbs and missing eyeballs, so i'll leave you with that!

I lose my leg

Jen loses her eyes

Well That Sucked!

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I first heard about this movie in the latest issue of Fangoria (#280), where they did a whole four page spread on it and I was immediately excited because it looked and sounded awesome and, well, i'm a total sucker for horror anthologies. Not to mention it looked gory as hell and there was a killer clown in one of the stories. It just came out on DVD/Blu-ray on January 20th and I quickly snatched it up from Netflix. It was originally intended to be given a theatrical release but I believe the company behind it was shut down so it was relegated to straight to video release. Or maybe it just sucked too bad to be released theatrically, i'm not exactly sure. Either way, I should've immediately lost interest in the movie when I found out that Jake Wade Wall scripted it. He previously wrote The Hitcher and When a Stranger Calls remakes, afterall. That being said, the movie is not totally without merit.

Without giving too much away, Amusement tells the three seperate tales of Shelby, Tabitha, and Lisa, who were inseperable in their youth but haven't spoken or seen one another in many years. All three are linked by a disturbing childhood incident that brings them together in the film, and not in a good way.

Shelby is on a road trip with her boyfriend when a creepy man they meet on the road turns out to be more than just the usual creep. Tabitha is a babysitting niece who is haunted by a seemingly living clown doll in the house. And Lisa returns home from a night out on the town to discover that her roomate is missing. Each of the three stories runs about 20 minutes long and end with major league cliffhangers and then the final half hour of the film is when all the stories merge into one another and everything is explained, sort of.

Like I said, it's not completely without merit. At times, the movie is actually quite a fun little roller coaster ride of an anthology. Most of that fun however takes place entirely in the Tabitha clown segment, which is really well done. I'd almost suggest just checking that segment out then sending the movie right on back to Netflix! It's in the last half hour or so that the movie really falls apart. You've been kept guessing and kept somewhat interested for the first hour and then it just becomes a total cluster fuck of a let down wherein you question why you were ever into it in the first place. And then you get mad at yourself for enjoying any part of it.

Amusement had a lot of promise and a cool premise, but it's far too poorly executed for me to even suggest you check it out. I guess the whole reason i'm making this post is to tell you to stay away from this one! So stay away! The way I see it, it's my job as a horror blogger to tell you what flicks to watch and which ones to avoid! But if you already did sit through it prior to finding out you should not have, please leave a comment with your thoughts.

Somewhat Pointless Post ...

But i'm posting it anyway! I just came to a startling realization! I probably should have come to this realization a good couple years ago, and I think maybe I even did, but it didn't really hit me until now.

Lauren German, who played the lead character Beth in Hostel Part 2, is the hitchhiker chick who blew her brains out in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake!

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I think we've got a new next generation scream queen on our hands! First she pulls a gun out of her womanhood and then kills herself with it, then she cuts off a dude's manhood and feeds it to a canine! From being a sniveling suicidal Leatherface victim to being a wealthy empowered woman who beat the unbeatable Elite Hunting system, this chick is the real deal!

By the way, is her suicide scene at the beginning of Chainsaw not one of the coolest scenes ever in a horror flick (sorry Edwin Neal!)? I could barely believe what I was witnessing the first time I saw the movie. Did that chick really just pull a gun out of her hoo hah? And then blow her own brains out with it?!?! I thought surely I must have gotten the wrong impression from the scene and she really just pulled it out from under her or something. But no! It truly did come from her nether regions! God bless you, Lauren German!

But there is one thing about that scene that realllllllly bothers me ....

Am I the only one that can't get past the fact that once her dead body falls back against the seat, it's far too obviously a dummy?

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I realize in order to get that through the head shot they kinda needed to use a dummy, but it just looks too much like one of those CPR dolls I had to revive in health class ...

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I never did pass my CPR certification test ...

By the way, check out an alternate suicide scene from the awesome 2 disc Platinum Series release where German's ear flys off and hits the gang!



O, and thanks to the blog Live For Films for mentioning and linking to me earlier today! Check that site out to keep up to date on all the latest movie news, trailers, and so on and so forth!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Remake Jason Unmasked!

So what will Jason Voorhees look like underneath his hockey mask in the upcoming Friday the 13th remake, you ask? The answer comes in the form of NECA's new 19 inch Jason action figure! Believe it or not, the figure, which is currently on store shelves, comes with a removable mask! Here's some pictures, courtesy of my pal Tony, who runs Benevolent Street ....

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For much better pictures and to read Tony's full review of the figure, head over to the Fridaythe13thfilms.com blog!

Whadya think? I personally think it looks awesome and it's a nice blending of the looks of Jason in the earlier Friday films, which i'm glad is what they went for. I never really was too big of a fan of the over the top "undead" Jason look. I prefer the more deformed human look myself. Now why Paramount would allow this 'spoiler' figure to be released well before the remake, i'm not entirely sure. They've been pretty hush hush on the look of remake Jason in the past, so it's kind of surprising that they'd let this out there. I'm thinking maybe we never even see Jason without some form of mask in the remake and this look is just something NECA came up with. But I hope i'm wrong as every Friday movie needs at least a brief Jason unmasking!

Hm, that gives me an idea. Let's take a look at the many faces of unmasked Jason over the years, shall we? Thanks to YouTube's EvanDrumm for making this handy walkthrough video! A BIG thanks to you, Mr. Drumm, for saving me the time and trouble of pulling images from each and every Friday DVD!



Also, if ya wanna see what all of those Jason's look like under their masks and makeups, as in what the actors/stuntmen look like in average everday life, check out the Men Who Have Donned The Hockey Mask post I made a couple months back!

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By the way, you still have some time to enter the Benevolent Street contest and win Mezco's 7 inch remake Jason figure (pictured above)! Head over there to find out how ya can! The contest ends Friday, February 13th and, between you and me, once it's over, we'll be giving away the 19 inch NECA figure as well! So stay tuned for that!

Also, if you're wondering where the Horror In Your House is for this week, that column will now be called Horror Comes Home and will be featured on Benevolent Street! It's gonna be a lot more thorough and will include every single horror DVD/Blu-ray, good or bad, big or small. So check out today's releases now! Leave comments over there and check back every Monday for the next batches.

One last Benevolent note .... I'm currently working on an exciting new column over there that will include participation from well known horror celebrities. I've been in contact recently with two stars from one of the best and most classic horror films of all time, and that column should be debuting soon so keep your eyes peeled for that! I think you'll like it!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Interesting Find ...

Let me preface by saying that i'm somewhat of a collector of VHS horror movies. I've got a few big boxes of them and for some reason I can't seem to resist picking up a sun faded copy of say, A Nightmare On Elm Street, when I see it for sale at a yard sale or some such event where people would still be selling VHS. I'm sure it's got something to do with my childhood and the fact that I used to rent all those sun faded movies in my youth, but there's just something about watching the classics in VHS form. In any event ...

Jen and I went snowboarding in up state New York yesterday (first time and yes, i'm currently in unspeakable pain) and we hit up a Barnes & Noble on the way home which happened to have all kinds of used VHS for sale. Being that i've never seen such things at Barnes and being that i'm a VHS junkie, I spent a good portion of time perusing their collection for the one gem that I surely would find. And I found it! I'm not a big fan of this movie (although I haven't seen it since probably the early 90's) but for $3 (plus 10% Barnes member discount!) I picked up this screener copy of Wes Craven's Shocker ...

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Pretty cool, eh? I figured a screener copy like this would surely be rare and may even be worth something, so I couldn't resist. Not to mention it's just a cool little collector's item. The back has all kinds of info about the movie and lists the street date as March 22, 1990. It goes on to say that "this cassette is property of MCA Home Video and is being provided for promotional use only. Any duplication or sale of this cassette is strictly prohibited." And yet this was for sale at Barnes & Noble! I haven't yet checked out what's actually on the cassette being that my VCR isn't even hooked up at the moment, but i'll get around to that soon enough.

I did some research when I got home and found out that while such screening cassettes are pretty rare, they're really not worth much. Companys would send out these copies of movies to retailers, as press kits of sorts, and then they could determine whether or not they wanted to purchase and sell them at their stores based on them. And I now own one of those screeners! So while it's really not worth much, it's a pretty cool new little addition to my collection. Who would've thought you'd ever find something like this at a major retail store!

I guess the bottom line is, if you see a big batch of VHS laying around for sale somewhere, browse through them! I came across a whole yard full of VHS last summer at a yard sale down the road from me and it turned out that the woman selling them used to own a video store that had the largest selection of horror flicks on the east end and she now had no use for them! Needless to say, I spent pretty much that whole weekend going through the thousands of movies on her lawn and came out with a few handfuls of gems. My favorite was probably this copy of Texas Chainsaw with some pretty badass cover art ...

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I also picked up a copy of The Town That Dreaded Sundown, which I ended up selling for $25 on E-bay. Those horror flicks that aren't out on DVD yet sell for a pretty penny, so become familiar with which ones haven't yet been given the DVD treatment and don't just walk past a bunch of VHS movies with a for sale sign on them because you're all hip and can't be bothered to watch or even touch anything that's non Blu-ray!

You will always hold a special place in my heart, VHS cassettes!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Shameless Self Promotion

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ATTENTION ALL BLU-RAYERS! I just posted the second edition of my new column over at Benevolent Street titled The Black & Blu Lagoon, where I take a look at the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre on Blu-ray! I've spent the past couple days making my way through the plethora of special features and I can safely say it's the true definitive edition of Chainsaw that all must own! Check out the full report and then go buy yourself a copy!

On a related note, Benevolent Street was featured on the IMDb homepage yesterday! A lot of hits poured in and a good day was had by all! The site is quickly growing and I want you all to be a part of it! So here's what ya do ...

JOIN THE FORUM! (which has already become the official forum for the Scare Fest convention!)

It's a fun place to hang out with some cool fellow horror fans (including the dude who writes the Camp Crystal Lake novels and even a psychic!), so if ya wanna talk horror with myself (name's Johnny Boots on there) and people like myself, join and start chattin! Become a part of this site in its infant stages and be with us for all the fun that is to come! Would love to see ya over there!

And if ya do head over there, you can even enter yourself into the contest that's going on right now where my pal Tony is giving away Mezco's new Cinema of Fear Jason Voorhees remake action figure to one lucky reader! Find out what ya need to do to put yourself in the running HERE or better yet, just drop tony@benevolentstreet.com an e-mail with your name and address and you're entered! Simple as that! Tell him Freddy In Space sent ya, it might help your chances! (Kidding! It's totally random! Sorry!)

Hm, guess that's really all I had to say. Go down one post to vote for the best gore scene of '08! Oh and the Oscar nominations will be announced today. As long as Richard Jenkins gets the best actor nom, i'll be a happy camper. Rent The Visitor, will ya? And good lord, if you have not seen Six Feet Under yet, just go buy the entire series and have your life changed already. Goodnight!

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Best Gore Scene of 2008

And the nominees are ...

Inside - Head Blown Apart



Frontier(s) - Axed and Table Sawed



The Ruins - Double Amputation



The Machine Girl - Chainsaw Legged In Two



Other - If you have a favorite gore scene of 2008 that I have not included, leave a comment and let me know about it! And don't say the Mirrors jaw rip. That movie sucked and that scene did too! Except for the part with Amy Smart's buttocks.

CAST YOUR VOTES!

* Don't get on me about Inside and Frontier(s) being released in 2007 because it says so on IMDb. They came out in America on DVD in 2008 and that's what i'm basing their release dates on.

Monday, January 19, 2009

What The Hell Am I Gonna Watch Now?!

I've just learned of the incredibly sad news that my favorite channel, Monsters HD, has gone belly up (it was just pulled today). Pause for moment of silence please ...

MONSTERS HD

2003 - 2009


If you head on over to the channel, you will see the words "This channel has ceased operations and will no longer be available. Please check your local listings for similar programming." Only problem is, there is no similar programming! What other channel plays nothing but uncut horror movies in HD all day and night long?! Cablevision has taken our one sanctuary away from us horror fans and there's really nothing we can do about it. This is truly a sad day for the horror community.

I used to pretty much have the channel on all night in the background as I sat around on the computer going about my nightly business. I could always count on something interesting being on there, even if they mostly played the same movies over and over again and played way too much stuff from the 50's and 60's, which is probably why the channel failed. Granted, they didn't really have the budget to score newer and more varied material, so ya can't really blame them. They did everything in their power to present the best horror they could each and every day, and for that reason they will forever be appreciated and missed. Monsters HD not only carried movies, but also incredibly informative little segments called "Monsterama", where host Elvira would talk about the history of the genre's special effects, masks, action figures, and things of that sort. Now where am I gonna get my daily Elvira fix!?

Here's the official statement from the website :

"TV's first and longest-running hi-def horror and creature feature channel will cease operations and mad experiments this month. Thanks for all the screams and support over the years. Fear not - monsters never die ... they always come back! Pleasant dreams, fiends."

Lets hope Monsters HD does come back someday, bigger and badder than ever! For now, may it Rest In Pieces!

Guess That Movie - The Voorhees Edition!

Can you guess which Friday the 13th film (the ones that matter ; 1-8) each one of these screen caps is from?

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On a related side note, Jen and I are currently balls deep in a F13 marathon, which is pretty fun considering she really hasn't seen most of them and in fact i'm not sure she's seen any of them in their entireties. We've made it through Part 3 thus far (within a 24 hour span!) and we're both in agreement that Part 2 is the best of that bunch. Looking forward to showing her Part 4 as it's my favorite of the whole series. Anyone else planning on watching all the Fridays before the remake comes at us February 13th?

Horror In Your House - Tuesday, January 20th

Fairly big week this week with a couple titles i've been dying to get my hands on ...

Click the links of the titles for trailers!

Repo! The Genetic Opera - DVD & Blu-ray (2008)

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In the not so distant future (2056), an epidemic of organ failures breaks out. GeneCo, a company that offers organ transplants for a hefty price, sprouts up. If you miss your payments, they hunt you down and kill you. And sing to you. A young sheltered gal, who is on the hunt for the cure to her mysterious ailment and the answers behind her familys mysterious history, gets sucked into the grips of the company in this rock opera directed by Saw 2-4's Darren Bousman.

From what i've heard, this is a pretty kick ass movie that should look pretty spectacular on Blu, but i've just never been able to get into musicals. I didn't even like Sweeney Todd. I wanna check this one out, and i'm sure it'll be pretty cool, but it's really not my cup of tea. Check out my pal Avenger's review of the flick over at Benevolent Street.

Saw V - DVD & Blu-ray (2008)

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Detective Hoffman takes over Jigsaw duties and attempts to eliminate all loose ends and kill all of those who know his secret so that he can continue donning the pig mask and carrying on Jigsaw's legacy.

I actually really liked this movie and quite enjoyed how it focused more on story than gory. I posted a full review right after I got home from seeing it at the theatre, so take a peek at that if ya wanna know my full thoughts. Looking forward to seeing how it looks on Blu and i'll probably make a post dicussing some more in depth stuff that I wanted to discuss but didn't want to spoil while it was still in the theatre once I check it out again.

Amusement - DVD & Blu-ray (2008)

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Anthology flick telling the tales of three women who are linked by a disturbing childhood incident and who each individually cross paths with a crazed ex-schoolmate.

That's really all I know about this movie and quite frankly, that's all I want to know before delving into it. I found out about Amusement through an article Fangoria ran on it in their latest issue, and I cant wait to check it out. If there's one thing I love, it's a good horror anthology!

Boogeyman 3 (2008)

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A college chick witnesses the "suicide" of her best friend and she gets all afraid of the Boogeyman. She tries to convince her friends that he is real, they don't believe her, and they get killed. Now she must stop the B-Man before he wipes out the entire school.

Is anyone still watching anything with the Boogeyman title on it? I'm pretty certain that the first one was awful enough to keep everyone away from follow ups. How the hell do movies like these keep getting made when there's people out there with great ideas that just can't get the funding? The studios wont give us Trick 'r Treat, but they're happy to continually unload shitty direct to video sequels of shitty movies on us. Sigh ...

Vacancy 2 : The First Cut (2009)

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In this prequel to Vacancy, we take a look at another group of youngins who pay the fateful motel a visit. As i'm sure you're aware, they end up getting tortured and murdered all while being filmed.

I know i'm in the minority here, but I actually kinda enjoyed Vacancy. I know most respectable horror viewers/reviewers hated it, but I thought it was a fun little movie. That being said, I really don't think we need a Vacancy 2. One is quite enough.

Cold Prey (2006)

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Five snowboarders are forced to spend the night in an abandoned lodge. Only problem is, somebody, or something, already lives there. It's large, it's hungry, it's unstoppable, and it's pissed off!

I've said it before and i'll say it again ; I can't get enough of horror movies that take place in a snowy environment. This may sound like your typical American crap, but this one's actually Norwegian and has got a lot of buzz surrounding it. It's even been called the best slasher flick of the year in '06 and the best Norwegian horror film ever made. Good enough for me!

What will I be adding to my Netflix queue? Amusement, Cold Prey, and Repo and i'll purchase Saw V on Blu-ray.

What are you guys and gals gonna be checking out this week?

For a complete listing of all the new DVD's coming out tommorow (horror & non horror), head over to Amazon.

And if you're planning on picking any of the above horror titles up, why not get 'em from my Amazon DVD store. It's no different than buying from the regular Amazon page other than the fact that if ya buy from my link, you'll be helping to support Freddy In Space! And who doesn't wanna do that!

Don't Fool Around With Miners!

I've got a couple messages from people asking me if I saw My Bloody Valentine 3D yet and the answer is yes, of course I have! I was there bright and early at the second showing (overslept!) on Friday afternoon, I just didn't get the chance to type up my thoughts until now. To preface, I love the original My Bloody Valentine (can't wait to get my paws on that new Uncut edition) and I was incredibly excited about this remake not only because I thought there were some things that could be improved, but because it's a 3D horror flick! Pick axes and body parts flying at the screen! Fun for all! But something went a little wrong somewhere ....

I didn't have nearly as much fun with MBV3D as I expected nor did I like it as much as I had hoped. Something about it just didn't work for me. Yes, there's full frontal nudity. Yes, there's plenty of gore. Yes, there's Tom fucking Atkins. ALL IN THREE DIMENSIONS! Maybe it's just my shitty eyes, but save for a few shots, the 3D didn't really impress me and if anything it became annoying and dizzying wearing those glasses for the entire runtime. It made it hard for me to focus and see what was going on at times, but that may just be me. Jen had no problems at all with the glasses and i've had a history of shitty unfocused eyes, so that one is probably just a personal gripe. By the way, these are the spectactles you're handed upon purchasing a ticket (which you're supposed to give back...oops!) ....

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Another reason i'm starting to think I didn't have as much fun with the movie as I should've is because I saw it so early in the day and there were literally only 2 other small groups of people scattered throughout the large theatre. Total silence. No jumping, no screaming. A pal of mine, Jason (Takes Portland), sent me a message the other day with his thoughts on the film, which kinda confirmed this thought ... "saw My Bloody Valentine at a 3D theatre late Friday night. The theatre was packed with the typical 16-25 crowd which gave the proceedings a great energy. Half the fun was hearing the gasps/squels of girls at the slightest scare, or the drunk/stoned guy in the back yelling at the screen. Between the crowd and the gimmick it felt like I had stepped back in time to the early 80s, the hey day of the slasher film." Well i'll be damned, don't I feel left out! I can with much certainty say it would have been a better more fun experience in a packed theatre. Yes, a good movie should be a good movie whether you see it alone or with 500 other people, but the whole point of this one was supposed to just be a fun mindless experience. So if you're gonna see it, see it during peak hours and bring a gaggle of jumpy girls!

But all that gimmicky stuff aside! I just wasn't really feeling the movie so much. It felt like a I Know What You Did Last Summer type whodunit flick with a buttload more gore. Which may sound like a good thing, and I actually did like I Know, but it's just not what I expected with this one. It was like a really gory WB drama show, and the cast of young WB actors didn't help. (Anyone else just wanna punch Kerr Smith in the head?!) Ya know what else didn't help? The awful (and I mean awful) ending/explanation/whatever ya wanna call it ...

SPOILERS BELOW

If you've seen High Tension, and were pissed off by the shitty twist ending in that movie, be prepared to experience that dissapointed hate all over again! We find out The Miner is Tom, the hero. Ok, all fine and well. (By the way, in the original, it was Axel who turned out to be the killer). But then we find out that Tom didn't even know he was The Miner! In a scene towards the end, he sees The Miner approaching his gal pal from behind with a pick axe and tells her to turn around and shoot him. But she doesn't see anything! She looks behind, and The Miner walks right through her and literally fades away right in front of Tom! No joke! Why couldn't it just have been Harry Warden back from the dead killing motherfuckers! I think it would've been cooler if they just decided to go with no twist which, given our expectations from the original, would've actually turned out to be a twist!

END SPOILERS

The movies not totally without merit though. As I said, it's chock full of gore and some pretty cool kills, even if a bunch of them are a bit CGI heavy. There's some cool retro kinda kills that you'd only really see in an 80's flick and I don't think i'm spoiling anything when I say Tom Atkins gets it in the worst way, which makes for hands down the best scene in the entire movie. And it's a scene like that where the 3D is really utilized in the way I was hoping it would be. Other than that one, it's just guns and the sharp ends of axes being pointed towards us.

All in all, it's not a horrible movie and i'm pretty sure most people who go to see it will have a lot of fun with it, and for that reason I recommend you check it out and see for yourself. It's just not that good of a horror flick, in my opinion. I will say that I went to the theatre hoping to see nothing but mindless gore and nudity, and I can't really say it didn't deliver on that front. I just wasn't feelin it. But then again, I really didn't get the full experience. I'm pretty sure everyone would be shitting on this movie right now if they saw it in an empty theatre. It's kinda like watching a laugh a minute comedy alone. If no one's laughin with ya, it's just not that fun!

Now if only they would've used that amazing song from the original!



Anybody see it? And for that matter, has anyone picked up the Uncut original DVD yet?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ya Don't Know What Ya Got, Till It's ...

This song plays over the radio in an opening scene of The Wrestler, as Mickey Rourke's Randy "The Ram" Robinson is driving home from his latest wrestling event. Clever editing has the song cut off right after "it's" and cuts to Robinson walking up to his home, a trailer, that he fast discovers he has just been kicked out of due to his inability to pay the landlord. The final word in that line, 'gone', which should be well known to pretty much anyone watching the movie, resonates and is repeating in your mind (despite the fact that you never actually hear it) as Rourke attempts to get into the trailer and then ultimately heads back into his van, wherein he pops some pills and swallows them down with a few swigs of beer before turning in for the night. It's a sort of magic trick pulled off by filmmaker Darren Aronofsky and that scene, that line, and more importantly that last word, pretty much sum up the entire film the best way it could possibly be summed up.

Yes, I finally got around to watching The Wrestler, like I promised myself I would this week. I am completely blown away and I will do my best to attempt to convey everything i'm feeling right now about this utterly heart breaking movie. Bear with me, this could get a little long ...

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For those totally out of the loop, The Wrestler is the story of professional wrestler Randy "The Ram" Robinson, a man as down and out and broken down as Rourke himself was at one point in his life. His daughter hates him, he's in love with a stripper who sees him more as a customer than a companion, and he's just suffered a massive heart attack. But wrestling is all Robinson's got and it's really the only place in the world he fits in, so rather than throwing in the towel and being left a self confessed "old broken down piece of meat" without the one thing that makes him worth anything in this world, he instead sets his sights on a comeback re-match against The Ayatollah, the man he fueded with 20 years prior in his prime. But in the meantime, without wrestling in his life for a little while, The Ram is forced to take a closer look at the highly troubled life his wrestling career has left him with.

First off, let's get a couple things out of the way right off the bat. Yes, Marissa Tomei is topless for the duration of much of the scenes she is in. I'm not gonna discuss that at length like a lot of reviewers have been doing because this movie has a lot more to offer than a naked Marissa Tomei and in fact Tomei herself has a lot more to offer in this movie than her tits. Nor am I going to wax on about Mickey Rourke and how amazing he is in this and about how amazing of a comeback this is for him and how impressed and amazed I am at him. All i'll say is, believe all of the Rourke hype and Tomei looks great naked. Let's move along now! (For the record, I was as impressed with Rourke's jacked up body as I was with Tomei's)

Well actually, one more thing before I get into the movie. I'm not one of those people who feels that Darren Aronofsky is the second coming. Pi? Pretentious. Requiem? Overrated. The Fountain? At times brilliant, at times pretentiously overrated. (JUST MY OPINIONS!) That being said, the man has finally crafted the film that I can back 100% and it is in my opinion that The Wrestler is by far and away his best work to date. He has made his masterpiece and this one is gonna be a hard one to top. Aronofsky has captured not only the world of professional wrestling perfectly but also the world in general perfectly. The Wrestler is just about the realest film I have ever seen. It almost feels like you're watching a documentary, watching real lives playing out right in front of your very eyes and Randy The Ram is perhaps the most human and realistic character i've ever had the pleasure of spending two hours with. I truly feel a deep connection with him and that brings me to the next thing I wanted to discuss ...

This story is one that is very near and dear to my heart because i've been a wrestling fan for pretty much my entire life (up until I was about 16 I was pretty certain I was gonna be a wrestler myself!) and quite frankly, I have never been prouder to be a wrestling fan. This movie is essentially a bio pic for all of the many professional wrestlers who I grew up watching who have given their lives and souls to entertain us. This movie shows the real life of a professional wrestler, which has never really been captured before. These guys, just like the fictional Ram, lose everyone they love for the sport. They lose their bodies, they lose their minds, they lose their lives. Believe me, i've been to conventions, i've seen what guys who were once on top of the business look like now (if they're even still alive). I've seen what their lives are like now. They are broke, they are lonely, and you almost feel pity for them when you hand them a 20 dollar bill for their autograph. It's almost a novelty, seeing who looks the most like a broken down piece of shit and laughing at them. They have action figures made in their likeness, they have people who appreciate and love them, but once they leave that convention or one of the many wrestling events where they're still lacing up their boots and competing, they are nothing. Once the chanting crowds and loud theme music have subsided after an event, they are just beaten up old men with barely enough money to afford food and a place to stay. They've been on the road for so long and for so many days out of the year that they've lost touch with their loved ones. They've been forced to neglect their families and friends. And what do they have to show for it? Nothing. Once they're too old, and their services are no longer needed, they're kicked to the curb and are forced to wrestle in high school gyms and bingo halls on the independent circuit. It's one of the saddest lives one can lead and Aronofsky and Rourke and everyone involved have captured that brilliantly. Nearly every scene, every moment of the film is a mirror image of what goes on in the life of a has been pro wrestler who needs a cocktail of drugs to even bear the physical and mental anguish they are going through (not to mention a steady stream of steroids to stay looking the way they need to). Look one of these dudes in the eyes and tell them that wrestling is fake, I dare you.

WRESTLING IS NOT FAKE. IT IS STAGED. There's a huge difference and you're doing these guys an incredible injustice (not to mention taking a huge shit on their entire life's work) if you mistake the two. Yes, the matches are planned out. Yes, most times the two guys competing against each other will be going and grabbing a beer with one another after the match. But believe me, what goes on in between those ropes is far from fake. These guys kick the living shit out of each other day in and day out. The pain is real, the wounds are real. There's a reason the life span for a pro wrestler tops off at about 45. Like wrestling or not, you must appreciate and respect what these guys are putting themselves through in the name of entertainment. You may have heard that the owner of the WWE, Vince McMahon, didn't like this movie. Why, you ask? Because it's just too goddamn real and accurate for him to handle.

I feel like I had a lot more to say but i'm not even sure right now what more to say other than that you must go see this movie, whether you love wrestling or hate it. Hopefully, if you're one of the haters who thinks it's fake nonsense, your mind will be changed after you leave the theatre. Diehard wrasslin' fans, you will probably enjoy it a bit more and you'll notice more than a few familiar faces throughout, which really adds to the atmosphere. But wrestling fan or not, i'm willing to bet the movie will stay with you long after you get up out of your seat and return to your daily life.

Joe Lynch over at his blog a couple months back said that if Rourke doesn't get a nomination for the best actor Academy Award, he will eat a rotten tomato. Well, Mr. Lynch, I second that and I raise you! If Rourke doesn't WIN the Oscar, I will do the same! I'm willing to bet this movie could even win the Oscar if only the subject matter were different ...

I leave you with this beautiful song that Bruce Springsteen wrote for the film which plays over the end credits. I don't think i'll ever be able to listen to this song again without squirting out a few tears ...



Springsteen's haunting ode and Aronofsky's gut wrenching film combine to form one of the most beautiful, sad, and raw pieces of entertainment I have ever seen.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Eden Lake - The First Great Horror Flick Of 2009 Is Here.

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This film was technically released in 2008 (in the UK, which is where it was made) but it came to the states on DVD on January 6th of this year. Regardless, it's one of the most disturbing and best horror movies I have seen in a long time and it's proven a great start to my 2009 horror movie watching year!

Eden Lake is the simple story of a young couple, Jenny and Steve, who take a vacation out to a wooded lake and run into a bunch of hoodlum youths who initially appear to be nothing more than an annoyance (loud shitting dog, loud shitty music, cursing, you know the drill). But the mere annoyances quickly escalate and the young couple finds themselves in the ultimate battle for survival.



Young couple in a beautiful location facing unimaginable terror. I know, I know. It sounds like the ultimate cliche and the makings for unoriginal horror. I'm not gonna pretend this movie is completely original or groundbreaking or anything, but it's a hell of a good horror flick and it really stands out from the hundreds upon hundreds of movies that have this same exact premise. Maybe it's the good acting or the competent directing. Maybe it's the fact that I was actually emotionally invested in the lead characters and thus was saddened when bad things happened to them, as opposed to craving bloodshed, gore and madness (of which there is plenty of all three) like I find myself doing in most horror movies. Maybe it's the fact that it's actually scary and disturbing (thanks in large part to the killers, who are real teenagers as opposed to masked super villains). Whatever the reason, Eden Lake has set the bar for 2009 horror and has got me all kinds of excited about the year to come. And I think we all need to keep our eyes on straight to dvd horror this year. The straight to dvd department used to be seen as a way to dump shitty movies on us without investing all the time and money into getting them theatrical runs, but the last couple years have proven that straight to video horrors are becoming far superior to those in theatres.

This movie really got me thinking, which a good movie should, and which horror movies quite frankly rarely do. It left me empty and disturbed and I was really left with the sense that bad people kinda always prevail in the end, in the real world. It seems like when someones doing wrong to you, you can either do one of two things. You can be a timid pussy and do nothing about it, in which case it will continue to happen. Or you can stand up for yourself and fight back, in which case you will probably end up either in prison, dead, or in a worse situation than you were already in. I feel like that's kinda the message that lies at the heart of this movie ; the world is a fucked up place and there's not much we can do to fight it. The good are, and always will be, outnumbered by the bad (much like Steve and Jenny are outnumbered by their attackers) and the bad will not give up until they prevail, no matter how hard you fight back. And that's pretty fuckin depressing! At one point, as Steve is about to fight back on their attackers, Jenny says to him. "it's not worth it" and Steve retorts "if everyone said that, where would we be?" It's a nice sentiment, but we soon find out that maybe it was best they did not fight back and stick up for themselves ...

But what's really disturbing is that these kids picked this happy couple to torture and kill and that was probably gonna be the end result of whatever path the couple decided to take anyway. A happy film with a happy ending, as i'm sure you've figured out by now, this movie is not! Writer/director James Watkins (who is a force to be reckoned with in the horror world and just penned The Descent 2) clearly is annoyed with today's society and that really comes through in this amazingly disturbing film. But don't worry, gore hounds! Watkins has constructed not only a meaningful horror movie, but also one that's pretty heavy on the blood and guts, which should please just about any horror fan out there.

The whole movie can be summed up in one shot, where Jenny is staring into a mirror out in the woods that's posted on a map of the nature trails she is in. The mirror reads "The Most Dangerous Animal In The Forest", which perfectly frames out her face, the face of a human being.

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Film Discussion - Irreversible

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If you ask a handful of people to list the most brutal films in existence, chances are that Irreversible will pop up on a lot of those lists and will probably top most of them. But Irreversible is not just one of the most brutal films of all time. It is also one of the most important and perhaps the most powerful film I, for one, have ever witnessed. So let's discuss it, shall we? I encourage you to leave your thoughts on the film in the comments section so that we can continue the discussion in there.

I've heard a lot of people talk about the brutality of the movie and question why it needs to be so brutal. Why is a head graphically and extensively shown being bashed in with a fire extinguisher? And why does Monica Belluci get hardcore raped for about 10 minutes? Is it for shock value? Is it exploitation? Absolutely not and i've never been so sure of anything in my entire life. There is so much more to this masterpiece than controversial violent images and graphic depictions of violence. It is the furthest thing from what some would consider mere cinematic pornography.

The reason these acts, particularly the rape, are so brutal and graphic is because showing them in that way is really the only way for the jaded film viewer to fully appreciate the magnitude and horrificness of such acts. How often in a film, and for that matter in real life, do you hear about someone getting raped? We hear it on the news all the time but it never quite registers just how horrible a thing it is, does it? We don't know the person who got raped and just hearing the word "rape" doesn't even begin to evoke the sheer terror and power of such a thing. We see it all the time in films, but we usually just catch brief glimpses. Again, without seeing the whole thing, we really don't get the full sense of it. In Irreversible, we see the ENTIRE thing. The beginning, the middle, the end, and all of its impacts on everyone involved. If that scene were to have been dulled down and cut short, the movie would lose nearly all of its power. It's not easy to watch by any means, but we absolutely NEED to see it in order for the film to affect us in the way it should. As Spacey said in Seven, "When wanting people to listen, you can't just tap them on the shoulder anymore. You have to hit them over the head with a sledgehammer, and then you'll notice you've got their strict attention." The same theory applies for the head bashing revenge scene. We need to see, in all its glory, how barbaric and animalistic a mild mannered nice man has become as a result of the brutal rape we are about to endure.

The way the movie is structured is equally important and it's got nothing to do with being cool and hip by telling a story in a non linear fashion. If the story was told straight forward, beginning to end, we wouldn't have that time to hang out with the main characters as they go about their daily lives, before the tragedy strikes. Getting to know these characters only after we see what has been done to them is so much more frightening. As Roger Ebert eloquently stated in his review of the film, "When Alex and Marcus caress and talk, we realize what a slender thread all happiness depends on. To know the future would not be a blessing but a curse. Life would be unlivable without the innocence of our ignorance." And ending the film with the newly pregnant Alex lounging in the sun with life and beauty all around her when we know what the near future holds for her? That's some fucking powerful shit and that end scene really showcases the reality that this can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere. Which is a big part of what makes people so scared and afraid of this movie.

Has anyone noticed that the guy Pierre kills in the beginning is not even the guy who raped Alex? Pierre and Marcus are so pumped up and out for blood that they mistakenly kill the wrong dude. Any ideas on why the filmmaker, Gaspar Noe, threw this in there? My first thought was that it was to show the pointlessness of revenge. Not in the sense that killing someone who's done such wrong to you is the wrong thing to do (if ever revenge was justified, this is the film), but in the sense that killing the person doesn't change what has already been done in any way. Nothing can change that. As the older dude in the beginning says, TIME DESTROYS EVERYTHING. The two men killing the wrong dude clearly highlights the sheer pointlessness, hopelessness, and desperation of such an act. Pierre, who as I said is normally a timid guy, was mad with anger and he simply wanted to kill someone. Anyone. In the end, does it even matter if he killed the right person or not? It doesn't change a thing either way. Killing even the right man would not bring Alex and her unborn child back. Life, for all involved, is permanently destroyed at the hands of one dirtbag pimp. Time has run its course and there is no going back (what's the name of the film?). And guess what? This shit happens every day, in the real world, and Noe has brought that to the forefront for all viewers of the film. If that scares you too much and you'd prefer to just write the film off as exploitative garbage, like many have, open your eyes. Instead of living in fear, live with the appreciation of what you've got and with the comfort that no matter what you're going through, it's in most cases not nearly as bad as what you could be going through.

Irreversible is one of the hardest films i've ever had to sit through, and i've sat through it many times. It's not a movie I like or enjoy watching, but it's one I try to show to everyone who comes into my life (I made Jen watch it with me one of the first times we hung out ... god bless her for staying with me!). I think everyone needs to see it. Everyone needs to endure it. According to Newsweek, it was the most walked out of movie of 2002. Honestly, I can see why. But I strongly encourage everyone reading this to watch it, pay attention, and see it through. It's a life altering film and if you spend the hour and a half in the grips of it, you can rest assured that you will emerge on the other end with a greater appreciation for your own life. It'll probably depress the shit out of you too, however. But like I said above, I think the films main goal is to make you appreciate what you have, rather than be depressed over what happened to the fictional characters. You have to go through the darkest of darks before you can truly see the light. This movie is scary powerful and it was a good long while after my initial viewing before it left my mind. In fact, it never fully will. No other film experience may ever come close to that of watching Irreversible for the first time.

Now's the time to share your opinions! Leave a comment with your thoughts on the film!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Horror In Your House - Tuesday, January 13th

Another small batch of horror releases tommorow, but one that contains some real gems ...

My Bloody Valentine (1981)

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Five miners die in an explosion after the supervisors leave their posts to attend a Valentines dance. One man, Harry Warden, survives and returns a year later to kill a couple people and tell them never to have a Valentines dance again. 19 years later, the dance returns and the murders begin again ...

This is not your average re-release of a horror flick on the heels of its remake. It's actually the long awaited UNCUT version of the film that has never been released before. Many scenes of gore that were cut from the DVD's out there currently have all been replaced in this version. Hallelujah! We can now see the original film the way it was meant to be seen before we go off and see My Bloody Valentine 3D this Friday!

Mirrors - DVD & Blu (2008)

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Kiefer Sutherland takes a job doing night security at an abandoned department store. An evil presence that's contained in the mirrors of the store makes its way out and terrorizes Kiefer and his family. Kiefer goes all Jack Bauer on the mirrors and beats up, yells at, and paints over said mirrors in an effort to save himself and his family. Alexandre Aja makes us wonder if High Tension and Hills Have Eyes were flukes.

I saw this movie in the theatre and HATED it. In fact, I wrote up a review for it right after I got home that day, so check that out for my full opinions. This time around, it's uncut and even comes with an alternate ending, which i'm sure do nothing to help the quality of the film.

Tokyo Gore Police (2008)

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It's the near future and the Tokyo Police Corporation are engaged in a bloody war with a group of genetically modified super criminals. Ruka, a sexy chick with an affinity for killing the super criminals (played by the crazy chick from Audition), is called in to do what she does best.

I've been dying to see this movie for a while now and it's quickly become my most anticipated horror DVD release in a while. It's from some of the same dudes behind The Machine Girl, which lets me know we're all in store for an incredibly bloody good time. In the latest issue of Fango, Dr. Cyclops says, "there's more arterial spillage in the opening 10 minutes than most horror movies can cram into two full hours" and calls it a "maniacal and uncompromising joyride" as well as naming it his video pick of the month. I think we have a new cult classic on our hands!

Underworld & Underworld : Evolution 2 Pack (2003/2006)

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Vampires and classily named werewolves battle it out and Kate Beckinsale runs around in a skin tight black number, which is so sexy that it really doesn't matter what else is going on on screen.

I've only seen the first Underworld and I had a good enough time with it to buy it on DVD a few years back. Don't believe there's anything new or special with these releases, it's just the two discs packaged together. As you're probably aware, Beckinsale is out of the franchise (which is probably the death nail for it) and Rhona Mitra (who's very sexy, don't get me wrong) is taking her place in the next one. We really should've petitioned for Megan Fox in that role ...

Hit and Run (2009)

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Girl gets drunk at a party and drives home. Girl hits what she thinks is a cat. Girl gets home and realizes theres a not yet dead human being embedded in the bumper of her jeep. What to do, what to do.

Hm, sounds kinda like Stuck to me.

Yeti (2008)

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A plane full of a group of football players crash lands on a remote mountain. The survivors soon realize that the sub zero elements and a bum plane aren't the only thing out to get them ...

This is one of those SciFi original movies, which i'm sure you could ascertain. You can expect horrible acting and a really poorly CGI'ed Yeti running around in the snow. Hm, I think that sounds kinda awesome!

What will I be adding to my Netflix queue? Tokyo Gore Police has already been on there for some time and I would throw MBV on there, but I think i'll just trade in my old copy and buy the new one!

What are you guys and gals gonna be checking out this week?

For a complete listing of all the new DVD's coming out tommorow (horror & non horror), head over to Amazon.

And if you're planning on picking any of the above horror titles up, why not get 'em from my Amazon DVD store. It's no different than buying from the regular Amazon page other than the fact that if ya buy from my link, you'll be helping to support Freddy In Space! And who doesn't wanna do that!

Mickey Rourke Wins Best Actor Golden Globe!

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(and looks like a total badass rockstar in doing so)

Gran Torino tops the box office!

What a weekend! It's Oscar season and i'm excited and talking non horror for a bit!

I have not seen The Wrestler yet (I am hoping to never be able to say that again by the time this week concludes) but I can't tell you how happy I am for Mickey Rourke for nabbing the Globe. I really don't even need to see the movie to know it's amazing (the trailer alone nearly had me in tears) nor do I need to see Rourke's performance to know that his is the comeback story of the century (but let's not forget that Rourke had been on the rise a few years back, which a lot of people seem to not recall). I cannot wait to see this movie any longer but at the same time I almost want to not see it because I don't wanna lose that feeling of knowing there's an awesome movie out there for me to see that I haven't seen yet! Does that make any sense? But I will not hold off any longer, i'll be checking it out come hell or high water sometime this week. BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY! Throw Slumdog and Ben Button on that list of must see films too while i'm at it ...

I did however get around to seeing Gran Torino this weekend and i'm very thankful for that. It's an odd little movie with some poor acting (from the Hmong leads) that kinda takes some time to get into the groove of (and even gets kinda old hat at times) but let me tell ya, once it's all said and done, it's a hell of a rewarding experience and a hell of a good film. I had the pleasure of seeing it in a theatre chock full of nothing but senior citizens (Jen and I were the youngest there by about 40 years), and that was a really awesome experience for a film like this. I may be a youngin but I can certaintly relate to the anger over the shittiness of the youth of America these days that the film had at its core. Being Clint's last acting role (or so he says) it's really bittersweet and a complete must see. At 78 years old, the man has still got it!

I was watching an interview with him on AMC free on demand the other night and he was talking about how as you get older, you're supposed to advance in life (and career) and become better and better and more productive with each growing year, as opposed to withering away, retiring, and sitting on a porch drinking beer once old age catches up to ya (which is coincidentally exactly what Walt Kowalski is doing for much of the Torino run time). The idea being that you shouldn't spend your whole life bettering yourself then just let it all go and fall apart. Can I use that as an excuse for not doing anything with my life yet? I don't wanna peak too soon? Or something? No? Well i'm happy to say that Clint has gotten better with age and is, arguably, churning out his best work ever as both director and actor at the age of 78. Now that's something to be impressed with! It looks like he's certaintly gonna go out on top of his game, although I really don't like to think about him 'going out' anytime soon ....

Gran Torino just opened wide this past weekend and raked in over 29 million, making it number one at the box office. Go see it! And yes, I cried.

Oh, ya, right. This is a horror blog. Hmmmm. Did anyone see The Unborn this weekend? I'm of the mind that creepy kids stopped being interesting around about the time Bruce Willis' ghost paid Haley Joel a visit, so I didn't dare waste my money on this PG-13 shit fest (assumption!). Especially when there's so many big name Oscar contender films out there I need to be saving my money for. But that doesn't mean I won't be hanging the poster for it on my wall!

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Kidding, Jen!

From what i've heard, it's a cookie cutter cliche ridden piece of crap, which is to be expected. If you saw it, leave a comment with your thoughts. Same goes for Torino and The Wrestler.

And speaking of saving money for better flicks ...

My Bloody Valentine 3D this Friday! Anyone else as excited as I am? I figure even if the film itself is a let down, it'll be fun to strap on some 3D glasses and should make for a good time at the theatre. Unless of course, it reallllly sucks, but I don't see that happening.

One last note, just got my first issue of Fangoria in the mail! Jen got me a subscription for Christmas and the first of ten has finally arrived. This marks the first time in my life that i've ever been a Fangoria subscriber and the first time in a while i've even had an issue in my home. $9 an issue, fuck that! The new one's got Voorhees on the cover and has a whole ten page article on the movie as well as some stuff on MBV3D. Can't wait to sit on the toilet and read away!

If you can handle reading some more, I just started a new regular column over at Benevolent Street called 'The Black & Blu Lagoon' where I review horror Blu-rays (picture quality, special features and such) and let you know whether you should shell out your hard earned cash for the discs. Just did a comprehensive and exhaustive (and exhausting!) review of the Hostel Part 2 Blu, so check that out if you're interested.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Last House On The Left Remake Trailer Is Here!

And It's Amazing!

WATCH IT NOW!

Thoughts? As I said on there, I think it looks completely and unexpectedly awesome. Maybe it won't be so bad after all!

And like I always say with remakes, if you just 100% can't stand them and feel like they tarnish and piss on the originals, at least it helps bring those originals back to the frontlines and gets them new DVD releases, such as this snazzy new Last House Collector's Edition on February 24th!

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Be happy, remake hater. For every cloud has a silver lining!

I for one am very happy that the original is getting the new DVD treatment, because I accidently broke my copy of the original disc clean in half! I guess I got a little rough taking it out of it's little circular holder and SNAP! The new disc will be packed with brand spankin new featurettes, interviews, and commentaries. Fun fun.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Dear Uwe Boll ...

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You are a piece of shit and an incredibly untalented filmmaker. But I guess you already figured that out when the thousands upon thousands of people before me told you that, right?

So I just popped one of Boll's latest flicks, Seed, into the DVD player (which is actually a PS3 thanks to the good graces of Father Christmas) and I literally only made it about 60 seconds into the movie before I decided I wanted to see Toilet Boll torn to pieces by a rabid lion. If you know what i'm speaking of, i'm truly sorry, as that would mean you sat through at least some portion of this utter drivel.

First off, why did I decide to watch it? I'm not really sure but the only excuse I can offer up is that it's almost 8 in the morning, I haven't slept, my judgment is clouded and I thought maybe, just maybe, Boll might've learned a few things from his 20 previous massive film flops and churned out a mildly entertaining flick. Cut me some slack. I was bored out of my fucking mind and the plot, of a serial killer released after three failed execution attempts (under some kind of ridiculous fictional law), sounded somewhat interesting in my hazy state.

Now as soon as the movie begins, Boll announces his assholeness to us as we are treated to a good two minutes of various real clips of animals being tortured and killed. Real animals. Really being tortured and killed. As in, a dogs head being stomped in by a large boot. Why? According to a warning message at the start of the film, "We have incorporated this footage into the context of the film to make a statement about humanity." Now i'll admit I haven't watched the rest of the movie yet, but it's clear to see right off the bat that the footage was incorporated into the film for one reason and one reason only ... to be shocking. Granted, yes, this stuff does happen in real life. But why the fuck do you need to show it at the start of your film you worthless talentless piece of shit? You're not shocking or fooling anyone into thinking you're a cutting edge ballsy positive message bearing filmmaker. You're a nobody and you just want people to talk about you. Bad press is still press, right? But if all you've got is bad press, then what the fuck are you?

It wouldn't really be fair to cast out the film without watching the whole thing first (actually it probably would but I like to give every movie a fighting chance), so let me finish it and we'll continue this little discussion ....

JUST KIDDING!

FUCK YOU UWE BOLL!

I think i'll just watch this awesome clip instead ...



Eli Roth making shitty movies over and over again? This coming from the mouth of perhaps the worst filmmaker of our generation? Now that's some funny shit.

SIGN THE PETITION!

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When did these things become so hard to break?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Shut The Fuck Up, Will Ya?!

Was just reading Crystal Lake Memories (which I feel like I mention so often these days I should be getting paid for it) and I came upon a conversation with the director of Part 4, Joseph Zito, where he really kinda explained something about the genre the way i've never been able to explain it but have always tried to. That being the reason why characters in horror movies always do dumb shit, like leave their girlfriend in the house (when she's clearly in danger) and go off to buy cigarettes (name the movie!), or walk away when the killer clearly isn't dead. Allow me to explain ....

There's nothing that angers me more than when people talk during movies. And the ultimate in annoyance in that department is when people, when watching a horror movie, constantly shout at the screen about how dumb the character is and how unrealistic a situation or event is. That pisses me off to no end and the only retort up until now that i've had for such outbursts of idiocy is that "it's only a horror movie" (preceded of course by "shut the fuck up!). Well what was actually burning inside of me that I hadn't been able to verbalize was this ....

Take it away, Joseph Zito!

"The audience has a very, very rare opportunity to be smarter than the characters in these films. They know that the people they are watching are deliberately doing dumb things. But it empowers the audience. It involves them in it.

A friend of mine, who is a film director, said "Yeah, the movie was alright, but in that scene where Jason busts through the door, and the characters used those little nails (to keep Jason out) - that was really stupid. Why did you do that?" We made that dumb on purpose. It's a pathetic thing for these characters to try and do, hammering with these tiny little nails, trying to hold down this door. That was exactly the point. We wanted the audience to think that those little nails aren't going to keep Jason out of this house. We did that specifically so you would feel that moment."

Joel Goodman, the film's editor, went on to say ....

"The classic Friday the 13th dynamic is the interaction, where you want the audience to say, "Don't go in the room!" Like when the main character, Trish, steps over Jason's supposedly lifeless body - you know he's going to get back up to grab her. It's a horror movie staple. What we were trying to do was not to talk down to the audience, but still do the best job possible within the conventions of the genre. Because, really, we'd be cheating you if we didn't give you that moment, wouldn't we?"

Yes, you would Joel. So ya see, this kind of character idiocy in horror movies isn't there because horror movies are stupid and the makers of them are dolts, it's there because it brings the audience into the film and gets them involved, which is what horror is all about. Horror movies need that kind of audience participation, they need that screaming at the screen and that sense of impending dread. That dread that we know is coming but the characters do not. That's the fun of it! When we watch a horror movie, we must understand that the characters aren't aware that they're in a horror movie! Therefore, we obviously are going to know more than they do (thanks to what we've been conditioned to expect) and are obviously going to be going into it with a better more clearer mindframe than them. Besides, when you're in life threatening situations, you do some pretty dumb shit! And besides besides, if the villain is killed in act one when he clearly could have been, the movie would end right there! Do you want that?! No? THEN SHUT THE FUCK UP AND JUST BE ENTERTAINED BY WHAT YOU'RE WATCHING! STOP BEING SO GODDAMN SERIOUS ALL THE TIME! IT'S A FUCKING HORROR MOVIE!

Now if you have a really good memory and you've been reading this blog for a while now (all one and a half of you), you'll be saying to yourself right now, "Hey! Didn't this clown bash these kinds of stupid character decisions in his horror movie pet peeves post?!" Why yes, I did. Thank you for noticing. Here is what I said, and I in fact referenced Friday Part 2 with my argument ....

Am I allowed to quote myself?

"This one is perhaps the most frustrating of all the horror cliches. After an hour and a half of being chased and terrorized by some sicko in a scary mask, watching him mutilate and rape your dearest friends, you finally get the upper hand. You manage to lay him out, stab him, shoot him, whatever the case may be. And then you just assume he's dead and fuckin walk off! Now i've never been in such a situation, but i'm gonna bet that if some dude killed my entire family and then tried to anally violate me with the business end of a steak knife, I would not leave that room until that motherfucker was in at least three pieces! The worst of this scenario is when the victim is in possession of a sharp object/gun, but instead of stabbing the shit out of him and playing with his entrails/shooting him in the head till the gun cant shoot no more, they drop it right by his feet!"

Yes, I do admit that this kind of thing in a movie is incredibly fucking annoying. I will not backtrack or pretend I didn't make the above statement. But at the same time, I understand it's a cinematic neccessity (especially with horror) and mark my words, you will NEVER catch me getting angry over such things aloud. It all happens internally and I quickly, and I mean quickly, put it out of my mind before it can really even bother me. In fact, when I made that post, I was more speaking to what the general publics most hated horror cliches are than mine personally. Shit, did I just backtrack? Hm. Ok, how bout this. I'm annoyed at times by stuff like that, not because it's unrealistic and stupid of the characters, but because I want to see originality in a horror film. I want to see just once a character totally tear apart the villain and give him what he deserves, rather than bitch out and run away. There, I think I cleared my name on that one and thus saved myself from being too much of a hypocrite. But I am still a hypocrite at times, i'm not ashamed to admit it.

I guess what i'm saying is, to sum up, if ya have a problem with stuff like this when watching movies, keep it internal! Don't impose it on everyone else! And try to understand why horror movies need stupid characters! After all, life is full of stupid people, isn't it?

By the way, in regards to that guy leaving his woman in peril to go get cigarettes scenario, that was from The Strangers and writer/director Bryan Bertino has himself stated that not only is he aware that it was a dumb move for the character, but he put it in there because he wanted it to be realistic. The dude didn't know he was in The Strangers, he didn't know three masked folks were outside his house ready to kill him, much like any of us would not know that if we were in the same situation. We only know what was coming to both of them because we were watching a horror movie and that's what happens in horror movies! So don't make the mistake of thinking filmmakers like Bertino are simply 'dumb'. A dumb person could never write and direct a hugely successful film, whether you like that film or not, fucko.

On one final note, and then I promise i'll shut the fuck up, I thought i'd let you all know that Jen, my wonderful girlfriend, very seldom bitches about stupid horror movie character actions and for that, I am truly grateful. In fact, I may have even been a single man right now if that were not the case! Can you say deal breaker?! Most women i've ever watched a horror movie around are unbearably fucking annoying throughout the whole thing so I really do appreciate her!

If You Have Netflix ...

You gotta check out this awesome movie Transsiberian that I just watched. It's available for instant viewing on there, just follow this link!

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Without giving too much away, it's about an American couple (Woody Harrelson and Emily Mortimer) having problems with their relationship who decide to board the Trans-Siberian Railway in an effort to smooth things out by embarking on the journey of a lifetime with one another. While on the train, they meet a foreign couple who appear, at least to us, to have something more going on than their friendly smiles suggest. And boy do they ever. The two couples send each other on a drug, murder, deceit, and narcotics agent (Ben Kingsley) filled ride that will forever change all four of them, in varied ways. And that's all i'm at liberty to say!

I'd suggest not even watching this trailer as it gives some stuff away and i'm of the mind that it's better to go into movies without knowing too much about them, but i'll provide it for those who need to see a trailer before they see a movie ....



The movie was directed by Brad Anderson, who you probably know from Session 9 and The Machinist. I'll admit I haven't seen Session 9 in many years but it didn't do much for me when I did see it. I loved The Machinist but didn't care for Anderson's Fear Itself episode, Spooked, which was pure garbage. Needless to say, I was on the fence about him as a director but I now see what all the hoopla is about him. Transsiberian is a hell of a suspenseful and intense thrill ride and I highly recommend ya check it out. Think of it as Hostel for adults!

If you've seen it or get around to seeing it, please leave a comment with your thoughts as i'd love to discuss it more in depth!

"With lies, you may go ahead in the world, but you may never go back."

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Horror In Your House - Tuesday, January 6th

Here's a look at the first batch of horror flicks to be unleashed onto DVD this year!

Eden Lake (2008)

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When a young couple goes to a remote wooded lake for a romantic getaway, their quiet weekend is shattered by an aggressive group of local kids. Rowdiness quickly turns to rage as the teens terrorize the couple in unimaginable ways, and a weekend outing becomes a bloody battle for survival.

I've been incredibly excited about this one ever since I first saw the trailer a few months back. In fact, I liked the trailer so much that I even made a whole post about the movie and included it in my list of 2009's most anticipated horror. So check either of those out for that trailer and more info. So glad it's finally out and I really think this could be the first great horror flick I see in '09. Hope, hope. Looks like the intended Blu-ray was discontinued, by the way.

Midnight Movie (2008)

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A midnight showing of an early 1970's horror movie turns to chaos when the Killer from the movie comes out of the film to attack those in the theater.

This is another one i've been looking forward to and in fact, another one that was included on that most anticipated of '09 list. So again, head over there for a trailer and more info on this movie. Looks like a fun throwback if nothing more.

The Alphabet Killer (2007)

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A ten year old girl is found brutally murdered outside the small blue-collar city of Rochester, New York, and obsessed police detective Megan Paige suffers a mental breakdown while trying to solve the crime. But when the child-killings resume two years later, Megan’s return to the investigation also brings back her own horrific hallucinations. Even if she can prove a ‘double initial’ connection to the slayings, will she hang onto her sanity long enough to catch a psychopath?

Don't really know too much about this one but it's directed by Rob Schmidt, the dude who did Wrong Turn, and stars Eliza Dushku, Cary Elwes, Bill Moseley, and Timothy Hutton. Truth be told, I hate Dushku, always have, and i'm not sure what to think of Elwes anymore (Princess Bride was amazing but what the fuck was that performance in Saw?!). I do always love to see Moseley on the screen though, so i'll probably check this one out if only for him. Although it does sound highly boring and generic ...

Netherbeast Incorporated (2007)

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Netherbeast Incorporated is a horror/comedy with a quirky twist on the vampire tale set in modern day corporate America. Employees of Berm-Tech Industries, Inc. have kept the family secret for a long time. For years it has been business as usual, until the top vampire in charge (Darrell Hammond - Saturday Night Live) contracts a dreaded disease, becomes senile forgetting that he's a vampire and starts killing off other vampire colleagues. A human efficiency expert (Judd Nelson - Breakfast Club) and "Dead Mike's" replacement are invited to work at Berm-Tech but soon they discover that some of their associates (Dave Foley and Jason Mewes) are not what they appear to be.

Well if that isn't an odd and interesting cast! Not saying it's a good one, but it sure is a bizarre pairing of actors. Who wants to bet that this one is as unfunny as Darrell Hammond usually is? And let's face it, while Mewes rocks in Kevin Smith movies, he's no good without Smith directing him. Kinda like Uma Thurman / Tarantino.

Better Living Through Killing (2008)

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Witness murder without shame as homicidal lawn care workers Otis and Welford Moses realize a Better Living Through Killing! It's not that they hate people - they just like them better dead! See people massacred with baseball bats, rusty saws, lawn tools, and even a cat's scratching post! The only problem is that the long arm of the law is hot on their trail! Oh... and there is a talking owl named Bonaparte who guides the Moses brothers on their killing spree.

Sounds pretty amusing. I've been hearing the title of this movie for what seems like years but I had never even known the plot of it until now. Although i'm still not sure I know what the plot is! If this is an uber-gory bloodfest like it sounds, it could be really fun.

What will I be adding to my Netflix queue this week? Eden Lake and Midnight Movie have already been on there for some time, so it's time to bump them up the illustrious number 1 and 2 spots. I'll toss Better Living on there too as it looks like its got potential to be humorous.

What are you guys and gals gonna be checking out this week?

For a complete listing of all the new DVD's coming out tommorow (horror & non horror), head over to Amazon.

And if you're planning on picking any of the above horror titles up, why not get 'em from my Amazon DVD store. It's no different from buying from the regular Amazon page other than the fact that if ya buy from my link, you'll be helping to support Freddy In Space! And who doesn't wanna do that!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Want Your Name Tattooed On A Scream Queen?!

Who doesn't!

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Brenna Lee Roth (above) needs to raise money for an independent horror film that she's producing (Till Death Do Us Part) and she's got seven spots on her arm up for sale! Get your face, name, company logo, or whatever you want tattooed on her body and help support her film in the process! If ya can't afford the $400 price tag for such an honor, you can still pitch in in several other ways!

You're gonna have to head over to my second writing home, Benevolent Street, to find out all the information! I know, I know. Clicking a link and navigating to another site is such a hassle. Deal with it!

Help a scream queen (and indepedent horror cinema) out, will ya!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Awesome Scene, Bad Movie - Turistas

Every so often, an incredible scene comes out of a not so incredible movie (the opening to Ghost Ship, anyone?), which almost makes the entire hour and a half experience worth it. I didn't really like Turistas, but I can't help but have a special place in my heart for it thanks to one scene in particular ...

So this chick and this dude are captured by the bad guys. The chick attempts to escape and save herself aaaaaand ... this happens ...




OUCH! Worth the price of admission alone!

Ki, Ki, Ki, Ma, Ma, Ma ...

A couple interesting Friday the 13th tidbits that i've read so far in the awesome book Crystal Lake Memories that i've been meaning to share but haven't gotten around to due to all the holiday hooplah. It's all over now and I can now return to my regularly scheduled postings!

First off, a highly humorous little story, as told by the man who played Jason Voorhees in Part 2, Steve Daskawicz (or Steve Dash if ya can't pronounce that other one). Dash is credited as the 'Jason stunt double' in the flick but he's actually the one who played Voorhees throughout most of the movie. Not to get too in depth on that, but Warrington Gillette was originaly hired for the role but quit after only filming a couple scenes. Dash was hired on but due to contractual obligations with Gillette, he was only allowed to be credited as a mere stunt double. The unmasking scene was Gillette, most of the rest was Dash. But anyway! On to the story ...

A little picture of Dash first to get an idea of who's speaking here ...

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"One day Cliff (the stunt coordinator) and I went into town to get a toaster oven and a hot plate, because we had decided to turn our cabin into a house. We even sealed off the whole cabin with plastic to shield ourselves from the cold. So we go into town to this K-Mart or whatever it was, and I say to Cliff, as a joke, "You buy the stuff and i'll get the toaster oven. And I bet you I could walk right out of here with it and not get caught." So as i'm walking out, and one of the girls who worked there comes out - a very attractive girl - and she says, "You neglected to do one thing - pay for that." So I say to her, "I tell you what. I'm the guy playing Jason in Friday the 13th Part 2 up at the camp. If you come up there tonight, i'll let you watch. And then i'll let you get laid. What do you think?" She did. She let me steal the toaster over. Then she came up that night and I had sex with her."

Such is the power of playing Jason! At a horror convention a couple years back I was hanging around with Richard Brooker, who played Jason in Part 3, and let me tell ya, there wasn't a woman in the place that didn't want a piece of the man. Ordinary looking older dude (although admittedly charming) who they wouldn't have bat an eye at under normal circumstances but alas, he played Jason and therefore he was a serious catch. Although i'm pretty sure if ya even had a walk on, get killed, walk out scene in any of the Friday flicks, the ladies would be flocking around you at a horror convention. In fact, I even caught some second hand attention just because I was bumming around with Brooker!

And now, a very interesting Friday Part 2 factoid that you can dazzle all your friends with next time you pop the movie in ...

Remember that opening scene where Jason approaches the house of the final girl from the first flick, Alice, before he kills her off? All you see are the legs of Jason in that scene and for those insert shots, a woman was playing him! This obviously marks the first and only time a woman played the role of Jason Voorhees! I uploaded the scene for you to check out ...



Those are the legs of costume designer Ellen Lutter!

Needless to say, Crystal Lake Memories is absolutely full of interesting stories and facts like these and really should be picked up by any fan of the series. You will most certaintly get your moneys worth. I cannot thank the author, Peter M. Bracke, enough for taking the time to compile such an amazing and complete history of arguably the greatest horror franchise of all time. Every turn of the page in this book is literally an event.

On a couple other Friday related notes that will fit perfectly in this here post ...

I'm sure most of you are aware of the re-releases of Friday's 1-3 coming to DVD (and Blu-ray in the case of Part 1) on February 3rd, but i've got some even better news for ya regarding my favorite of the series, The Final Chapter. Joe Lynch, the director of Wrong Turn 2, has his own blog called Transmissions & Confessions from a Mad World and he's made a sort of blogging New Year's resolution to make a post, every single day, that will include a picture from his day that kinda best sums up that day. Head over there to check those out. His picture for yesterday was of a recording studio of some kind, which led Lynch to spill the beans on an awesome project that he and Hatchet director Adam Green just did some work on. The two were asked to do a fan/filmmaker commentary for a future re-release DVD of Final Chapter which, according to him, should be coming out sometime this summer! Now i'm a huge fan of both of these guys, i'm a huge fan of commentaries, and i'm a huge fan of Final Chapter, so this is some pretty awesome news for me. Those guys are hilarious and highly informed and I really can't wait to sit down and watch the flick with them (that's essentially what a commentary provides). Re-release of Final Chapter with Lynch/Green commentary .... I couldn't be a happier camper!

With the remake of Friday the 13th coming at us real soon (Feb 13), it looks like the Friday series that has never died is back in full force and I for one am more into the whole thing than I have been in a good long while. I'm ready to indulge in a serious Friday marathon and I cannot wait for the remake to come out. Say what ya want about remakes, but this one looks completely awesome and really, who doesn't wanna see our beloved Jason back on the big screen?! Even if it sucks, you're gonna get Jason back up there slaughtering people! Who can complain! If that's not good enough for ya, the remake is at least bringing increased attention and focus to the original Fridays, so be happy about that ya grinch!

On top of all this, the documentary His Name Was Jason will also be released on DVD February 3rd! Us Friday fans have a lot to look forward to in 2009!