Friday, May 31, 2013

Hannibal: episode 10 "Buffet Froid"


What I like about this weeks episode is that Will Graham is the main focus, the killing and story are the background picture. This episode we got to see exactly how far Will is slipping into insanity, and I found some of it to be hair-rising.

A woman is murdered by someone under her bed. After Will relives the crime scene, he sees Hannibal about losing touch with reality. Hannibal gives Will a note pad and tells him to draw a clock with the arrows pointing at 7 o'clock while stating where he is. It's a tactic used to ground someone who doesn't know if they're awake or dreaming. Will draws the clock perfectly and passes it to Hannibal and when we see what Will really drew, it's nothing close to a perfect clock. The numbers are all over the place and they aren't even going in a circle. This tells us that Will's grasp on reality is slipping away worse than we thought.

Will undergoes MRI's to check his brain for anything out of the ordinary, only for us to later find out that Hannibal and the doctor conducting the MRI's are working together against Will. I liked that Lecter and the doctor were working together, it added that touch of cruelty that was needed. It also goes to show that Hannibal knows exactly what's happening to Will, and he's allowing it to happen. Good twist.

When another murder happens, this time the victim being Will's doctor, Will is able to put it together that their killer can't see faces. 

Will draws another clock for Hannibal and it's the same. Looks perfect to Will, but in reality it's way off. Yet again, I loved this element. We knew Will was bad off, but this is something worse than we thought.

Will finds the killer, a female, and grabs her arm as she flees, only to have her skin slip off of her arm. After testing, the doctors say that the murderer has a bad skin condition. My first impression was that she was a skin crawler aka shapeshifter. But I knew this show wouldn't got that far into sci-fi.

Once Will goes home, he realizes that his dogs are barking at something under his bed as he's trying to sleep. He finds the murderer under his bed. Hiding. Scared. They take her for tests, and the episode ends with you seeing Hannibal kill Will's doctor and hand the scissors to the murderer, framing her. Due to her not being able to read faces, she can't identify him. Again, good twist and character development. I'm liking this show more and more every damn week. I really hope it gets renewed for a 2nd season!


Thursday, May 30, 2013

Trick or Treat (1986)


Synopsis taken from IMDb
Sammi Curr was a famous, devil-worshiping rock star who died under mysterious circumstances. Now he wants to come back to life. Doing so requires possessing radio wave and automobiles and making a few human sacrifices.

This is one of those films that I've been wanting to see for a long time. Regardless of how many movies I chip off of my "watch list", there's always some you forget. This is one of them. I know of it being a favorite amongst horror freaks, and considered a classic. So last week, I finally popped this film in and gave it a watch...

Back in 2006, Anchorbay was going to release this film on a special 20th Anniversary Edition DVD, but unfortunately encountered licensing issues with the films music. However, you can purchase the Platinum Disc Corporation's 2002 release on DVD, but it's almost impossible to find it for less than $35 due to it being out of print.

When the film opened it grossed $6, 797, 218 at the US box office and went over well mostly with fans of the genre. A year later it was released on VHS (how I watched it), the VHS is a lot cheaper and I find that watching VHS's to be somewhat charming on occasion due to the picture quality.

When 'Trick or Treat' started, I was getting that feeling of suspense and excitement. I knew this was going to be a movie that I liked. It instantly fell into the same category as 'Night of the Demons', only not as on point. Still, this film ended up being fun and very entertaining with a few scares. Mostly it was just an entertaining story. Like the aforementioned 'Night of the Demons', this film was the embodiment of what 80's horror is. 
If you're as big of a fan of 80's horror as me, this is a film that'll hit home.

This film has a big flaw that I think is obvious. However, I feel as though they didn't know what to do with Sammy Curr's (Tony Fields) character after the Halloween dance. It's easy to see that they had the film in control up until that point, then lost it and didn't know how exactly to kill Sammy off. Nonetheless, the last few minutes of the movie aren't enough to ruin it for me. I instantly became a fan!

I really liked the main character, Eddie Weinbauer (Marc Price). He was sympathetic and easy to relate with. Marc Price is actually known from the 80's smash sitcom 'Family Ties' as geeky Erwin 'Skippy' Handleman.

I found this film to be very dark and gloomy, but with a lot of cheese and dark humor. In other words, it was a good combination of good things. It isn't overly slapstick, but like most 80's horror film, it's got it's fair share of humorous moments.

Tony Fields did a good job as Sammy Curr as well. I really liked his character, he's the rock star version of Mary Lou from the second 'Prom Night' film. He's very iconic and memorable, wardrobe and all. It's a shame that I've just gotten to see this film but, better late than never, right?

'Trick or Treat' is full of metal music and hair bands, and for its time, has some cool special effects. It's a very likable movie to any fan of the horror genre. And, of course it was awesome seeing Gene Simmons and Ozzy Osbourne! Every year on Halloween, I watch all horror movies that take place on the holiday, and this year I'll be adding this film to that list, alongside 'Halloween', 'Trick 'r Treat', 'Night of the Demons' and some other classics. This film is a winner!


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Grimm, Carnage and the Madeiros girl part 3. [REC] 3: Genesis (2012)


Synopsis taken from IMDb
A couple's wedding day turns into horrific events as some of the guests start showing signs of a strange illness.

This is the crossover review. I have no idea what Doctor Carnage's take on this film is, we just watched it and reviewed it. Now we'll find out how different or alike our opinions are on this. His review is posted below mine.

After not knowing what to expect from the second film, I decided I'd stay away from spoilers with this film as well. Sadly, this film strays far from what the first two films had created. They drop the POV angle for this film after a few minutes, and go live action style. I didn't like what they did with this installment. They tried way to hard to be a Resident Evil film, thus they lost that grip of reality the previous films had.

I liked that the film took place during a wedding and that it interlocks with the previous films. The concept of this virus of possession breaking out in the middle of a wedding ceremony is clever. However, once the action picks up, you're just hit with gore effects. I know the other films had gore, but this one showed it off, used the gore as a means to make the movie better. That's not the case.

I like a lot about the film, it had good things to go off of. I feel as though they didn't know how far to take it and ended up losing the integrity the series had. The good angles they worked from weren't done in the idealistic way I wanted or expected. 

I liked that this film is a love story, that's good, we can work with that. Then, it turns into too much of a love story! Every time the bride and grooms see one another, dramatic music plays, and it becomes over-the-top and just doesn't seem genuine or real at all.

The infected (yes, I said infected. They're not zombies), certainly look good in this film. There are some jump-out-of -your-seat moments, but they're just cheap jumps that have loud music accompany them in order to achieve the scare. The makeup and gore wasn't used as a means to tell the story any more. Instead, they use the gore and effects to make the story good, and that's not how it works. Great story is everything in a horror film, it's the foundation. I think they focused too hard on the wrong material to make this movie a success.

Overall, this film is entertaining and a fun, gory mess. It's far from great though and by far the weakest in the series. There are some twists and turns that keep you invested in watching, but there isn't any good payoffs. The ending is twisted and tragic, though I feel if this film were meant to feel more realistic, it would have gone over better.


You can also view this review HERE

This is my crossover review for [REC]3 Genesis (2012). I hope you all enjoy both of our views and opinions on what I found to be a very entertaining movie.

The third movie in the [REC] franchise was surprising in many ways. The story follows two characters, Koldo and Clara, on their wedding day, which is rudely interrupted by people infected with Madeiros girl virus. The film follows the characters through all kinds of gory and chaotic situations, and always manages to keep it's tongue planted firmly in it's cheek. 

[REC]3 Genesis takes things in a totally different direction than the previous [REC] movies, replacing the fear and tension generated by the first two movies with splatter and comedy. It also ditches the found footage style after around twenty minutes, with the guy documenting the wedding saying "people have the right to see this" only for one of the main characters to smash the video camera, and the film then goes for a more traditional camera format.

This is an incredibly clever way of freeing the franchise from the found footage drama, whilst also allowing the director to have fun with the movie, whilst also building to the fourth and final movie in the franchise, [REC] Apocalypse. It bugs me that a lot of people tend to put [REC]3 Genesis down because it's fun. Fun is what sets it apart from it's predecessors, and anyone who even hints at it not belonging in the franchise, are taking things way to seriously themselves.   

This movie is similar in tone to the awesome Evil Dead 2. There are some amazing moments of comedy, some incredible gore scenes, and some beautiful and touching moments between Koldo and Clara. Paco Plaza (one half of the twosome that directed the previous [REC] movies) has made an old school infection movie that harkens back to the days of splatstick (a phrase coined in the 80's for splatter comedy movies) movies like the aforementioned Evil Dead 2 and Peter Jackson's Braindead (Dead Alive). 

[REC] Genesis is certainly worth a look. Just don't go in expecting the same old thing as the first two movies, and don't go in looking for something serious, and I'm sure you will have a riot.

Darkest regards......Dani

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Grimm, Carnage and the Madeiros girl part 2. [REC] 2 (2009)


Synopsis taken from IMDb
The action continues from [REC], with the medical officer and a SWAT team outfitted with video cameras are sent into the sealed off apartment to control the situation.

This is the beginning of a crossover with another blogger. We discussed a theme for a crossover and since I haven't seen the second or third installment in this series yet, we decided that this would be a great topic. He reviewed the first film earlier today, you can read it HERE. I finally watched [REC] 2 and tomorrow we'll be co-writing the third film review together.

I saw the US remake of [REC], "Quarantine", before I saw any of the [REC] films. I was very fond of the US version and still am. However, once I finally saw [REC] I knew what all the hype was about. And I was definitely a big enough fan to want to see the sequel.

I didn't read any spoilers, I had no idea what part 2 was going to be like, or about. To my surprise, it takes place right after the first film, on the same night. I always like when films do that. It makes watching them back to back come off as one big movie. I've recently done this with "The Collector" and "The Collection". Both of which I've seen before, just never back to back.

This film doesn't take any time to pick up like the first film did, it's intense and nail biting 10 minutes in! Yet again, the viewer is thrown into the chaos. There's so much going on, that it's hard to keep track among all of the havoc. 

This film delves deeper into possession, allowing us to understand more than we could in the original film. The idea of possession going around as a virus isn't exactly original (they did it on the hit CW series "Supernatural") but, it's never been done this well before. As most of you know, possessions are the type of movies that scare me the most. I don't play when it comes to that stuff. So this one had me more scared than I was in the original, just because you know now that they aren't just rabid people. They're evil and that's why they're attacking everyone.

I thought it was cool that some of the characters from the original film were in this as well. A lot of people would have just moved on and picked up with a new film, but that's not the case with this one. It adds to the authenticity of it being a continuation, to see the little girl and the lead, Angela Vidal,  from the first film in this one. When Angela shows up, questions immediately arise.

The aren't allowed to leave unless the doctor gives the orders for the doors to be opened. He'll only do that when they get the blood from a possessed human, so he can come up with a cure. As if that isn't hard enough to accomplish, the situations never go as planned and they always end up worse. They're on the run for their lives inside the apartment building but can't leave.

I liked that we get introduced to new people, who are residing on the roof with their camera. Once they're involved, we watch things through their camera too. The film makers did a good job of making these teens or young adults come off as real people and not actors. 

As the film reaches its climax, a lot of death and twists are bestowed. Including one that I didn't expect, but had a slight suspicion about. This film is non-stop scary, it's the scariest parts of the first film and then some.

It's a really tough call to make on if I like this film, or the first more. It's one of those ones I'll have to let sit with me for a while and give it time to sink in. Solid horror film though, no doubt. And a damn good sequel.


Monday, May 27, 2013

10 Greatest Movie Werewolf Designs

The werewolf has captured our imagination since childhood and ran away with it. The idea of being a man, or woman, and becoming something more has always been a fantasy for the human race. Even if that something is a beast, it still hits home in our psyche because we all have the hidden urge to be primal, to be a beast, a predator.

The first depiction of a man-wolf was inscribed on a cave wall, suggesting they go back at least as far as the caveman. The Book of Daniel (4:15-33) is the first written account of the werewolf. King Nebuchadnezzar had symptoms of being of werewolf for about four years. The Greek legend of King Lycaon of Arcadia, was transformed into a wolf by Zeus after serving the God a meal of human flesh. This started the scientific word for werewolf, "Lycanthrope".

In the middle ages, Gilles Garnier was a peasant who suffered from Lycanthropy and is easily the most recognizable story from the era. His four-month rampage resulted in the death of four youngsters. His tirade was witnessed by over 50 locals who swore they saw him in the guise of half-man, half-beast. After admitting to being a werewolf, he was burned to death on January 18, 1573.

So as you can see, the werewolf has been around longer than all of us living in present day. The legend has  been told and carried throughout the ages. We still try to find truth to the stories, and make them in movies as our imagination interprets them.

This is not a countdown of the greatest werewolf films ever made, that would be a different list altogether. This is simply the best looks our favorite cinema beast has had throughout the ages. And yes, if you notice, there's no real wolves used on my list. I think werewolves should show that they are part man and not just a regular wolf. I find that tactic very uninspiring and a cheap cop-out. It's also extremely overused.

It baffles me that 'True Blood' creator, Alan Ball, said that he uses real wolves on the show because it's original and hasn't been done too often before. Yeah...he actually said that. Leave it to the people who are experts in the genre, Alan. I don't understand how it's original when most werewolves in TV and film are portrayed that way. Hell, Twilight does it!

On this list you'll find only werewolf's that actually took effort to make, and that fit the true definition of what a Lycanthrope actually is. The monsters listed are the most alluring, and well crafted werewolves of all-time. The ones that found that balance of being a man (or woman) transformed into a monster.

10. The Wolfman (1941)

Lon Chaney Jr. wasn't the first person to play a werewolf, even though that's popular belief. No, the first werewolf  film came about in 1933 titled "Werewolf of London". However, Lon Chaney Jr.'s portrayal as The Wolf Man went on to find it's way into all of our hearts, captivating us all.

This is my least favorite werewolf look, but this guy got werewolves recognized. It was the fame and attention gained by this film that pushed werewolves mainstream. I couldn't not include him in the list. He's the all-time classic werewolf and without him, we wouldn't have such killer designs for werewolves in movies today. Regardless of how dated his look is, the movie still plucks chords in our hearts.

FUN FACT: Lon Chaney Jr.'s makeup took six hours to apply and nearly three hours to get off.

9. Silver Bullet (1985)

I still consider 'Silver Bullet' to be one of the best werewolf films ever made. Based off of Stephen King's short story titled Cycle of the Werewolf, this film packs a wallop. There were quite a few werewolf films released during the 80's. Some of which aren't even watchable, and others are now all-time classics. This film has such good and rich storytelling, and a great movie for siblings. My sister and I are really close, so this film always hit home to us and will always be cherished as a favorite.

However, I had to put this guy next to last because even though I like the design of the werewolf, at the end of the day it still looks too much like a bear to me. A really mean bear. But, the howling and growling sound so authentic, that it's terrifying. 

DID YOU KNOW: Dino De Laurentiis was very unhappy with the werewolf used in the film. He was disappointed in both the way it looked and the way the costumed actor  moved. This proved to be a bit of an insult to the actor wearing the suit as he was an accomplished modern dancer and was hired specifically for his movement skills. 

8. The Howling (1981)

Based off of the book by the same title by Gary Brandner, everybody knows of  'The Howling', it's one of the widest recognizable werewolf films ever. I consider this to be the 2nd greatest werewolf film of all-time, it's absolutely brilliant! My favorite horror movie poster and cover art are from this movie. The woman screaming through clawed fabric is terrifying and tells you what you're getting into before you watch it. This film also has one of the best endings to a werewolf film ever.

I actually really like the design of the werewolves in this film, they're ferocious and induce primal fear. However, the bunny ears that they have going on, kills it for me. If they had normal ears this film would have ranked better in this countdown.

FUN FACT: Originally Rick Baker was doing the special effects for the film, but he left the production to do 'An American Werewolf in London'. Baker left the effects job for this film in the hands of assistant Rob Bottin. Both this film and 'An American Werewolf in London' were released the same year and both received praise for their makeup work.  

7. An American Werewolf in London (1981)

My #1 favorite werewolf film ever. This film has everything you need to have a great film about a gnarly beast. John Landis actually wrote the script in the 60's but, didn't get around to making it a movie close to two decades later. This is one of the werewolf films out there that doesn't try to glorify anything. Being a monster is a curse, not a blessing and this film exploits that with the most painful and well shot transformation scene of all-time.

As much as I adore the film, the wolf isn't the best it could have been. The roars and howls are the most terrifying ones in werewolf cinema. This is a vicious and savage beast. However, it looks too mangy for me to rank it higher. I'm not a fan of its posture, it's too low to the ground when walking on all fours for my taste.

DID YOU KNOW: Because of this film, makeup and industry technological contributors became recognized by the Academy Awards in 1981. Makeup artist Rick Baker was the first to receive an Oscar in the new category. William Tuttle was the first makeup effects artist to receive an Oscar (being an honorary one) for his work on '7 Faces of Dr. Lao'.

6. Bad Moon (1996)

Here is a movie with one of the scariest and most menacing werewolves of all-time. This thing is mean. When I first saw the film, the last 15 minutes of it had me paralyzed in my seat. I couldn't move but, even if I wanted to, I still wouldn't have. This film is scary as hell and part of it has to do with how authentic the wolf design is. It's a good film about a dogs love for its owners and what it'll do to protect them from harm...or a werewolf. The dogfight at the end of this film was brutal and nothing less than awesome.

I actually think the wolf design is almost impeccable! But they make the mistake of showing it roar and howl too much, revealing how obvious it is that the head is animatronic. The far away shots revealing the legs also lessen the look of this wolf because you can see how it's just a guy in a suit. In the picture above is how it looks best.

FUN FACT: In the scene in which Janet makes breakfast, her Brett is watching 'Werewolf of London' on the television, and he and his Uncle Ted argue about werewolf lore. Actually, the lore that Brett argues that "everyone knows about", such as details about silver bullets and wolfsbane, comes from 'The Wolf Man', which Curt Siodmak totally made up.

5. Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed (2004)

Being a fan of the first film, I have to admit that the wolf looked a bit silly. When this film hit, with a bigger budget, they were able to fix the flaws with the wolf. Other than that, I truly consider this film to be superior to the first, and in my top 5 favorite werewolf films. The wolf in this film is just vicious and terrifying to even look at. It has a permanent look of "I'm going to rip you to pieces" on it's face all the time. They also didn't overuse the wolf and show it too much, which is always a smart move.

The flaws of this wolf are that you can tell it's just a person in a suit, despite how fantastic the design is. The head looks a little stiff and doesn't give off a genuine appearance at certain angles shown throughout the film.

DID YOU KNOW: A lot of the film was shot on location (apart from Ghost's house and the vents), and was  the highest budget Ginger Snaps movie at 4.8 million Canadian Dollars (still a relatively small budget).

4. Underworld (2003)

When 'Underworld' hit theaters everyone was talking about the werewolves! I remember whenever a conversation came up about the film, someone always brought up the special effects. Probably the most believable vampire and werewolf story ever told, these lycanthropes are also extremely realistic. I'm not a super-fan of the transformations in the film, but the end result is pure genius. These things are big, and intelligent, and aren't to be taken lightly.

The thing that lessens them for me is that they have faces resembling felines. Their faces almost resemble Archer from the kids movie 'Small Soldiers', if you've seen that film than you'll know what I mean. Other than that small nitpick, these creatures are solid. Posture and all.

FUN FACT: Although Lucien is the lead Lycan, he only ever shifts once into his full werewolf form, and that's in a flashback scene.

3. Underworld: Evolution (2006)

Yeah that's right. Another werewolf from the Underworld films makes the list due to superb special effects and complete realism. William from the second installment in the series, is the first werewolf ever in they mythology these movies create. He's the very first, so he's burdened by not being able to transform back into human form. He's stuck in beast form for eternity. I liked his story and reason for existing as much as I liked the design.

The design is damn close to flawless and there's not many negatives I can say about this guy or, the remaining two on this countdown. These are the best of the best in realism, design and, scariness. What stands out about William is that since he's the first werewolf, he's completely covered in hair. This is unlike the regular Lycans from the series. Although he's covered in hair, he still comes off like a wolf man and not just an animal.

DID YOU KNOW: 'Underworld: Evolution' had a 71-day shooting schedule.

2. Dog Soldiers (2002)

The werewolves in this movie are so badass! Anyone who knows anything about horror films, not only likes this movie, but go crazy over the amazing werewolf designs. These things have the heads of wolfs and it's absolutely stunning! The head, groin and legs all consist of fur while the rest of the body is hairless. While humanly proportioned, they have the bodies of shaved wolves.. Look at the ribs and abdominal area, it's done to such precise perfection that it's unsettling.

Just the looks of these things are enough to send you running away. Nothing could give you a reason to stick around if you saw these savage beasts. And they're very, very, intelligent, knowing who to attack and attacking in packs when their victims least expect it. There is only one other werewolf design that holds 'Dog Soldiers' from wearing the crown.

FUN FACT: There is very little CGI used in the movie because the people involved in the film making believed that CGI was being over-used at the time and that it would take viewers out of the movie because they would be focused on how the special effects looked rather than the story, thus the werewolves are animatronics and body suits with stilts.

1. The Cabin in the Woods (2011)

In a world where everybody wants to used CGI, some people are still getting it right. This werewolf is the best looking design ever to cross the silver screen. This is the perfect definition of what a wolf man is! It looks like a wolf, mean, gnarly, fierce, ferocious and terrifying. This really looks like an animal, but due to proportions you can see the man's in there as well. It isn't too much of one, and not the other. This design is flawless.

With 'The Cabin in the Woods' being a relatively newer film, this gives us hope that there are some film makers and makeup effects teams out there that aren't looking to take the short cut and will create the beast properly. The only fault I have isn't with the wolf, it's with the movie because I wish they would have shown this monster more. It was awesome looking at it for the first time! I found myself waiting and hoping they showed it again.

DID YOU KNOW: This film won 5 Fright Meter Awards, including Best Horror Movie, Best Director and Best Screenplay.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Hannibal: episode 9 "Trou Normand"


We're inching closer and closer to the season finale and tension is rising. We still have 4 episodes to go, and with the way this weeks episode ended, you can bet things are going to get really serious soon.

I wasn't overly impressed with this weeks episode, last weeks was a lot better. This week lacked the action that last week brought, but it makes up for it in the storytelling. This episode had a lot of character development and we got to go deeper into the characters minds. I'm really loving the direction that Will and Lecter's relationship is going. It's going to be a shame when they become rivals.

This episode opened with a rather disturbing image of a totem pole made of bodies on the beach. It really looked like something from the action film "300", with the way there were limbs sticking out here and there. I really liked Will's interpretation of the making of the totem pole. It was a really enjoyable scene. I always find those scenes enjoyable.

Will opens up to Hannibal and tells him that he's sleepwalking and hallucinating. Hannibal gives him good advice as usual, but Will looks to be in awful shape. You've got to wonder how much more he can take.

We see that Abigail Hobbs is in group therapy,working on mental issues and coping with what her father's done. As well her own murder she committed. She talks with Freddy Lounds and agrees to tell her story. Shortly after, Jack Crawford has Rick Boyle's body flown down to headquarters so he can make Abigail face it and hopes for a confession. Although Abigail is sort of obvious by the way she can't look at the body, she sneaks under the radar and avoids being detected as guilty. The whole time this is going on I couldn't help but think that she was going to talk and Hannibal was going to be on the run.

Jack and Will trace the totem pole back to Lawrence Wells, played by Lance Henriksen. He confesses that the totem was his retirement plan. I'm a huge fan of Lance Henriksen! I always enjoy him on screen in whatever he's in. Usually. It's a shame he didn't have a bigger part if you ask me, but he is starting to show his age. I found it really twisted that Lawrence killed his biological son and had him as the freshest body on the totem.

Hannibal confesses to Will that he helped Abigail cover up the murder of Rick Boyle, after Will pieces it together himself. Hannibal is calm, cool and collected and sells his story and Will buys it, agreeing not to tell Jack. I found this to be very impactful because Will is a very straight laced guy and for him to corrupt his personal morals for Hannibal really show his bond with Lecter and exactly how close they're getting. It's showing now that Hannibal has Will in the palm of his hand, and Will is none the wiser.

The episode ends as we find Abigail confessing to Hannibal that she did indeed help her father. She would round up the victims for him. Of course, Hannibal already knew, he was just waiting for her to admit it. We get a black and white flashback of Abigail on a train with her dad, and we see her lore in a girl her father picked out.


Saturday, May 25, 2013

The ABCs of Death (2012)

I've always been a fan of horror anthology films so it'd be fair to say, I had a lot of excitement going into this. Anthology films are great because they're so much fun packed into one movie. I remember growing up watching 'Tales from the Darkside' and 'Creepshow'  and, they still remain favorites to this day. The idea of anthology films didn't surface until early 1930's with two of it's earliest films being Edmund Goulding's 'Grand Hotel' and Paramount's 'If I Had a Million', both released in 1932. The anthology method wasn't used in horror until the 1940's. And in 1945, it's biggest one to date, was released titled 'Dead of Night' which was followed by a swarm of British horror anthologies in the 60's and early 70's.

Some of the better and more mentionable anthologies include,'Screamtime' (1986), 'Creepshow 2' (1987), 'Tales from the Crypt' (1972), 'Vault of Horror' (1973) and the superb, 'V/H/S' (2012). The latter finding itself in my elite favorites in the anthology chapter of the horror genre.

'The ABCs of Death' offers a fresh take on the anthology spectrum and takes it to bold levels. I'm not a hundred percent sure on the matter, but this is probably the most stories ever put into one anthology movie. 

The UK's very own Lee Hardcastle won his spot as director for T with his claymation short after entering a contest for the 26th director. His story in the film is one of the most enjoyable ones and is full of dark humor.

I ended up not liking the film as much as I wanted. It didn't meet the high hopes I had for it. I found there to be too many stories full of humor and that made it less enjoyable for me. The serious stories ended up being the best ones and, it isn't because I don't like horror comedy; I like all types of horror. The humor in this film was too much for me to take it seriously though. To give you an example, Noboru Iguchi's "F is for Fart" wasn't enjoyable to me. I slightly smiled but I never laughed, and I was eagerly awaiting the next story to come on.

I'd have to say that my favorites of the lot were Xavier Gens' 'X is for XXL', which is a gory and witty short, only to be surpassed by Ti West's 'M is for Miscarriage'. They are the only ones that I genuinely like. Other than those, some of the concepts were just so ridiculous,  I couldn't find myself being entertained. And, I found myself checking the clock on the DVD player to see how much longer of the movie was left. I did enjoy Macel Sarmiento's 'D is for Dogfight'. That was a good one!

One thing that I do need to give credit to this film for is how wide it's scope is. Even though I didn't like all of the stories I still have to admit that this movie went everywhere. Then again, it did have 26 stories, so you'd have to expect nothing less.

If anything else, we got to see some of horrors up-and-comers shine and, leave us in hope for what the future of horror holds and will bestow on us. Other directors showed that either we're in for some bad films in the future, or that they just didn't properly use their skill for their short in this film. We can hope it's the latter.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Bates Motel: episode 10 "Midnight"


I know I'm late on this one, my apologies. I've been extremely busy lately with other film related things. I've also decided that I'm not going to review shows in the same manor as I have been. I'm not really enjoying telling the entire episode, I feel that it lacks my personality and if you want to read a full synopsis you could always go to Wikipedia. I'm going to be making my reviews shorter and sweeter, still giving away what happens, just not every second of the show. I'd like to be able to elaborate on certain things.

The finale on Monday was kind of a let down for me, I expected more to truthful. I had already predicted weeks ago that Norman was going to kill someone and I know that I wasn't the only one. It would have been nice if they hadn't made it so obvious and did something left field that we didn't see coming, like having Norma kill someone. I feel that right now this show is afraid of killing off a main character and that hurts it and lessens it to me. If you know that they're always going to get out of their situations than there's no suspense, everyone is safe. What this episode needed was to go out with a bang and it didn't. 

Dylan buys Norma a gun and teaches her how to shoot it, so she can protect herself against Jake. There's some bonding between them that I enjoyed watching. He even calls Norma mom for the first time. I like this character development because I can relate to Dylan, how he always has a hard exterior because the past has dragged him around. And it's always good to see when those chains can be broken and happiness can be found. 

After Norma informs Sheriff Romero about the threat bestowed upon her, he later finds the money and informs Norma that he'd take care of it. Later, instead of Norma meeting Jake, Romero does and kills him. This was extremely aggravating and I highly consider this a cop-out. All of this suspense built up with Jake and this fear we've all been driven to by him is all for nothing because in the end, Norma doesn't even have to fight her own battles. The whole Jake storyline wasn't concluded properly and it makes you realize how minimal the threat was to begin with. Lackluster to say the least. 

Norman finally sees that Dylan and Bradley are bonding and although he puts on a cool facade, you see how enraged he is. He's destroyed emotionally and fueled with anger and despair. He takes Emma to the dance and she looks really beautiful, even if I say so myself. Emma leaves him with tears in her eyes when she notices all he's focusing on is Bradley, and he makes it obvious. At this point I'm really done with caring for Norman's feelings and he's a complete idiot for letting Emma go and for even looking at Bradley. He and she had one night together and he's become ridiculously obsessed. 
He needs to get over it, it's becoming quite annoying. I can only image how Bradley feels. 

After being punched in the face by Bradley's boyfriend, Norman walks home in the rain. He's soon intercepted by Ms. Watson, who takes him back to her house and tries to seduce him. He then has a psychotic break down and runs home where he and Norma are happy and all is well...NOT. The final shot of the episode shows Ms. Watson dead in her bedroom with her throat slashed.

All in all this wasn't a bad episode due to some character development that I liked. It was extremely uneventful though, and not the way a season should go out. I'll still be tuning in to the next season or course, but if it falls short like this I can't say I'll stick around any longer.



Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Nothing can save you from Mister White

"When a group of popular college students chose bizarre Tyler Rooney as the new target for their juvenile pranks, Tyler seeks out a mambo (voodoo priestess) and performs an ancient hoodoo ritual to unleash bloodthirsty "Mister White" to exact a brutal revenge and punish them all for their sins"

This is another film that I've had the pleasure and opportunity to watch in advance, and this one's a memorable one to say the least. This film tells the story of bullying and the effect it has on people. The lengths people are willing to go to amuse themselves at someone else's expense and humiliation, and the lengths people are willing to go to not be made a victim anymore are spoken loud and clear. This story is absolutely relevant in today's society and that's the beauty of it and what makes it so tragic. We have people killing themselves on a daily basis due to being made to feel like they're garbage by people who are stronger and better looking. It's an epidemic. 

What if you didn't have to kill yourself or drop out of school to avoid being belittled? What if you could raise an evil to avenge all the wrong that's been done to you, would you do it? This movie tells that story, and it's heartachingly told in brilliant and demented way.

How far are you willing to go to not be victimized anymore? We find out how far Tyler's willing to go and what his breaking point is. Thing is, regardless of how far he takes his vengeance, the viewer still sides with him, hoping that every last one of the bullies get their just desserts. Watching the film tears your heart out but then puts an evil grin on your face. Watching Tyler getting abused and bullied is gut wrenching and sickening, and was shot very well and truly makes you sympathize with him. The conclusion is extreme, but after watching him get pissed on and beat to hell and back on several occasions, a big nasty payoff is the only thing that could set his situation straight.

Tyler is one of those guys that just wants to be alone and do his own thing, but is literally followed and hounded by a group that has nothing to do with their time but push someone to the very edge of extreme depression. I never stood for bullying growing up, so when I saw these scenes I couldn't help but think of how I would have had the guts to help him out, had I been there. He is literally abused and embarrassed in every possible way you can imagine, and it isn't overdone or exploited. It just shows you how much someone can take that type of humiliation before they have nothing left to lose and decide to push back hard.

When Mister White is brought back to wreak havoc you can't help but have the jitters, waiting to see what he'll do and where he'll come from. Then you're anxiously awaiting how the gang of  bullies are going to get picked off one at a time, and hoping they suffer. The thing is, they don't deserve to die, killing them isn't vengeance. Vengeance would be doing to them what was done to Tyler. Raising Mister White takes things to a hardcore level that's sinister, but Tyler is completely broken and all he lives for at this point is to see them die. The focus is on what people are willing to do to feel empowered and have the upper hand. 

Mister White is a horror film villain you'll remember for years to come. He's eerie as hell looking and keeps you on the edge of your seat. His backstory is very enjoyable and well told. He and Tyler make a Malevolent duo to say the least. It's crushing to see Tyler resort to sinking so low, but it's also what he feels he has to do. It's not like Mister White was his first option, he was forced into doing it by the sadism of the "cool crowd"

The gore in this movie isn't abundant, but this isn't a gore movie. It's a beautifully told revenge story and Andy J. Salgado does a great job as the lead character and really brings charisma to the role of Tyler. The supporting cast does a great job as well. It's a bunch of good looking, young actors and actresses acting their hearts out and it's all around a job well done.

Erica Summers wrote this film as well as produce and direct it and she does a fine job. What stands out to me the most is that you can tell this was written by a female, it has that certain touch to it that allows you to see deeper into the characters than most male directors would have showed. Erica focuses on the emotional tone of this movie, not just the revenge part and my hat goes off to her. We need more female directors in horror if you ask me. They have a different standpoint than most directors today do, and we need some new fresh blood in horror. 

"Mister White" is a film that falls into the same category as "Pumpkinhead" and "I Spit on you Grave". If you dig revenge horror films then you need to watch this. Even better, if you like seeing bullies get what's coming to them than you'll fall in love. This film appeals to the teenage angst we all have or had in the past and the need to do something of big proportions to vent it. It isn't a perfect film, but it's damn good.



Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Twisted Tales of Madness and Murder (comic book)

"Detective Spurlock is a tormented cop with a heavy cocaine addiction and a penchant for prostitutes. Done something wrong? He is more than willing to look the other way-for a price. Under his rough exterior, Spurlock is a man who is haunted by his own demons. Demons that threaten to take him down and destroy his very existence. As he weaves his way through one horrifying crime scene after another, he leaves his own trail of destruction in his wake creating one twisted experience."

I've been away for a few days because I took a road trip to Ohio for Rock on the Range, the largest rock festival in the nation. Rest assured that I'm back and ready to go.

Today I'd like to turn you all on to a comic book that was presented to me. As you all know, I'm a sucker for comic books and horror. So...when you combine them I'm going to be all over it like flies on crap. When asked to read and review this comic I jumped on it.

The original idea of this series caught my attention, and after reading the first issue it had my full focus. This isn't a comic book for children, it's very mature and adult in it's contents. So don't go trying to get your kids a copy. There's nudity, drug use and foul language used. It's perfect for the adult horror and comic fan!

It was darker and more raw and gritty than I was expecting, which pleasantly surprised me. A lot of horror comics try to dull down the seriousness, but I've always been a sucker for the ones with balls. The ones that aren't afraid to tell a deep, twisted story. This comic delivers on the latter. I've only read the first issue but by the writing I can tell that this is one that is going to have layers and layers of story and character development.

The illustrations were fantastic as well. I like the black and white approach, always have. I feel it works best for serious comics because it gives them the bleak, emotionless feeling they need to sink in the sinister storytelling. Black and white was used for James O'Barr's The Crow, and look how fantastic that turned out. The lines are drawn clearly and you can tell this was a comic made of passion. I sincerely wouldn't be surprised if you see this become a movie over the next couple of years. 

I love the fact that there's so much gore in it as well. Even though it comes off as a detective story, at it's core it's a horror story with gross and grotesque images that'll keep you reading without blinking. I've been asked to read some comics before for people and never felt the need to give them coverage. This one deserves it though, because I truly believe it's something magical and a breath of fresh air from the common type of horror comics you come across now. It has a lot of dark humor in it that you'll find disturbingly funny as well.

If you want to get your hands on this comic because you like good, rich storytelling and you like horror comics, then click any and all of the links below. I don't know how you could regret it.




Friday, May 17, 2013

Hannibal: episode 8 "Fromage"


Last night's Hannibal really turned up the heat and for the first time, we got some action! 

We see Will becoming more unstable, dreaming of being in places and waking up in others. His mental decline is steadily increasing.

We see a new foe introduced, a musician by the name of Tobias. He makes his strings not out of cat guts, but out of human guts. The scene they show of him making the strings lead me to believe he was making spaghetti at first. Tobias claims a victim and flays open their throat revealing the vocal chords, and stuffs the neck of a cello down into the throat. Making a human instrument.

Hannibal's patient, Franklin suspects that Tobias is the one behind the murder and tells Dr. Lecter in a therapy session. This arises a suspicion of curiosity with Hannibal. 

After consulting with Lecter, Will Graham decides that this killer is serenading another.

When Will starts having audible hallucinations about animals in pain and his feelings for Alana Bloom are rejected, we see his mental state deteriorate even further. 

After Franklin confesses that Tobias wanted him to cut open someone's throat and play them like a violin, Lecter feels the need to confront Tobias. Finally coming face to face with him, Lecter finds out that not only is Tobias a murderer, he also knows of Lecters "extra curricular activity", and feels that they have a bond. Hannibal was the one being serenaded. Over dinner, Tobias admits that he was going to kill Lecter and Lecter confesses that he had plans to kill Tobias as well. But before things can get too heated, Will invites himself into Hannibal's house, chasing Tobias off.

Hannibal gives Will some clues that lead him to Tobias and when he and Tobias meet, the two officers that accompanied Will are murdered. Tobias escapes and head's to Hannibal's office.

At Hannibal's office, Lecter tells Franklin that he's giving him a recommendation to another shrink due to Franklin making their relationship too personal. Tobias shows up and comes at Franklin, but Hannibal breaks Franklin's neck in hopes to end the anger in Tobias. Instead, Hannibal finds himself in the fight of his life against Tobias. After taking a beating, Lecter gets the upper hand and kills Tobias.

Once the FBI show up at Hannibal's office to discover the dead bodies of Franklin and Tobias, Lecter tells a story of how Tobias came in and killed Franklin and then tried to kill him. The funny thing is, Will and Crawford don't buy the story so easily, even though Hannibal was confident in his lie.

Later, Hannibal tells his psychiatrist Dr. Bedelia  Du Maurier, that he thinks he found a true friend in Will.

This episode was very thrilling and shows us some more of what we can expect from the future of this show and where it's heading with the story and characters. I thoroughly enjoyed the fight scene with Hannibal. It's the first time we really got to see him in action and although you knew Hannibal would overcome and win, it was thrilling to see what would happen.

Will is becoming a more enjoyable character, it's becoming scary to see where his character's mind is going. You feel sorry for the guy, but can't help but find his situation entertaining.

I also like that they're introducing some villains that are serious threats now, even to Hannibal. This beefs up the story a lot when you have twisted bad guys who pose a real threat and I hope there's more to come!


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Maniac proves to be one of the best horror remakes ever


Synopsis taken from IMDb
The owner of a mannequin shop develops a dangerous obsession with a young artist.

You all know that just about everybody is a fan of the original William Lustig 1980 film, it's one of those horror films that always gets brought up. It's a gore filled movie that's as disturbing as it is thrilling and violent, so when word hit about the remake, a lot of people weren't happy and weren't willing to give this movie a chance. I'm here to tell you that you shouldn't go in expecting it to fail because it's actually a great horror movie. There's some horror films that come out from time to time that really actually strike the chord that we're all hoping someone would play and this is one of them. This remake ended up being one of my favorite  horror films of the last ten years, along with "The Descent" and "The Hills Have Eyes" remake. Elijah Wood gives the performance of his career, he really nails it. 

Wood doesn't usually do films like this, so it's a good change of pace to see him in  role that really shows off a new side of his acting and skills. Watching his performance is like watching Bryan Cranston on Breaking Bad for the first time. You just don't expect this type of performance from someone that you're used to seeing in other less serious roles. Elijah had to really get into character for this role and it shows. The camera is on him the whole movie! He doesn't get a break of camera time because the whole movie you're in his head. 
He carries the whole film on his shoulders and doesn't let it slip. I was genuinely impressed with him and gained a new respect for him as an actor. 

The entire film is shot in Frank's (Wood's) point of view, only showing you his face when there's a mirror or something to give off a reflection. You view the entire film through his eyes.Wood said in an interview that being on set felt more technical than emotional, and that he's never played someone so dark before. And that due to the strenuous 4 week shoot that he became desensitize to the disturbing material. Watching how he acts and how awkward he is around people, how he views people and how he views people viewing him. You see his insecurities and his phobia's come to life and you suffer with him. 

It was a perfect touch to do this type of film making because it allows you to have sympathy for the character, and understand his madness. It also makes you understand on a whole new level how damaged and demented he is compared to the original movie where there wasn't as much character development. Director Franck Khalfoun, stated "POV has been in movies since "Peeping Tom", but no horror film had ever been entirely shot that way...I wanted the audience to feel trapped in his body"

The film opens with a gritty, unsettling scene that let's you know within 5 minutes of the film that this is not a remake for the faint of heart. This is a horror film for the real horror fans, not the popular crowds who go after school on a Friday night to annoy everyone in the theater. You'll mostly find hardcore genre fans bragging about this movie because we're the only ones who can appreciate it over the average viewer. This is a movie for the true fans of the brand, it doesn't pull punches and it has a big brass set of balls. The gore is stellar and not over done but, there's enough blood and brutality to go around. Franck Khalfoun really had an artistic, original view for this film and takes it to a new level. 

Most importantly the gore and brutality is used as a tool to tell the twisted story of Frank, and how his relationship with his mother when he was younger has permanently scarred him. This movie doesn't use gore as a means to try and make the movie good, the gore relies on the story, not vice versa. I knew once I saw Alex Aja was involved in the making of this film, that this was going to be something special. He's one of the most talented writers and directors in horror today and, has a graphic vision of grounding horror and making his films uncomfortably intense.

The music in this film was one of the key elements that helped with it's success. It's like plucking a chord to your nerves when you hear it. The French composer known simply as Rob made the music have an 80's horror undertone, but it feels modern. Paying true homage to the original film while also giving us a fresh and unnerving score.

Dare I say that this film surpasses the original in my eyes, though it is missing the notorious and iconic shotgun scene the original had. My favorite scene of the movie is probably when the cover art of the primordial film (Frank from the waist down holding a knife in one had and severed head in the other) is acted out and shown. It has a better story and acting than the 1980 film and is scarier. This is one of those remakes that surpasses it's predecessor. Thank God they got the right people involved with this film because it could have been a disaster. Luckily, it hits a home run that all horror fans can enjoy. Even if you don't agree that it's superior to the original classic starring the late Joe Spinell.


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