Tuesday, 9 October 2012

The IMDB October Challenge: Day 6

Another successful night.  Once again I watched a masterpiece and my second viewing wasn't too bad either.

Grave Encounters (2007)

I don't really watch a lot of found footage/documentary style horror movies.  It's not because I dislike them (I've enjoyed most of them) but I always find myself just not in the mood to watch them on a regular basis.  I guess it's because I don't get scared ever, so the realism they try and portray does nothing for me except entertain me for 90 mins.  The one documentary style movie I love is The Last Exorcism but it's because of the incredible ending.  After reading so many good reviews about this one I thought maybe I was going to find my next found footage love.  I didn't.  Now, don't get me wrong, it was good but the slow burn could have been just a tad faster and when it exploded, it should have kept upping the ante.  With ghost stories, I want something that gets well and truly demented.  Insidious & The Innkeepers were slow burn masterpieces with some really messed adrenaline fulled finales, but not this.  Sure, it had it's moments but they just felt quite tame.  The ideas I have in my head as to how this would have been better would have made this a masterpiece.  When stuff happened it was good, but they should have kept throwing it at us and showed us a little bit more.  I mean, the villain was a surgeon.  Why not have him put a drill through someones head?  Or have a ghost chopping someone to pieces on a surgical table?  I just watched this wanting stuff that wasn't going to happen to happen.  I want more fucked up moments from movies like this in general.  Overall, it was a good movie.  It's been done before, but it's well executed and does everything right.  This would scare people who weren't sick, demented freaks like me.  7/10

Book of Blood (2009)

Pfft.  Typical.  Just another masterpiece adaptation of a Clive Barker story.  When will they stop with these incredible pieces of cinema?  Never I hope and if any good filmmaker is reading this I have a request - PLEASE MAKE EVERY CLIVE BARKER STORY INTO A STUNNING MOVIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Just like Hellraiser, Lord of Illusions, Nightbreed and Midnight Meat Train, I've fell in love with yet another Clive Barker story (Dread is my next watch).  May I also add that I really enjoy the terrible Underworld flick from the 80's that is of far inferior quality to any other Barker movie.  Anyway, on to Book of Blood.  I was hooked on this from the start until the finish.  From the very first scene I was gripped.  This was so original and just had the right amount of everything when needed (gore, sex, mystery, ghosts..).  I understand this is quite a criticised movie; some reviews have called it generic, etc but I say ignore them.  This movie has moments that will stick with you for the rest of your life.  It's a great story full of imagination brought to screen in a visually stunning way with scenes that you watch with shivers up your spine and joy in your eyes. 9/10

The IMDB October Challenge: Day 5

This was a great day as I discovered an outstanding independent movie and a director whose body of work I bought as a result.  I also watched a fun kill-teens-look-at-boobs movie.  So overall, a fun day.

Lo (2009)

Lo isn't a horror movie in the conventional sense.  Actually, I dare you to watch it and then try and compare it to anything you've ever seen before.  I sure can't and I've watched a lot of horror, comedy, mumblecore and *cough* romantic drama.  Lo is a combination of all of these genres, with a little musical thrown in.

The entire film revolves around a conversation between Justin and the demon, Lo.  Justin has summoned Lo for one reason and one reason only - to bring back the woman he loves from the pits of Hell.  Not once in the entire movie do they leave Justin's living room (not even when there's flashbacks as the stories are projected on the wall of the living room).  We meet one or two other characters along the way (demons of course) and as the story progresses, it takes some surprising turns for Justin.  The movie is also set out like a stage play, which I found worked in its favor as, not only is it very low budget, but it also gives the film more uniqueness and originality.  I haven't seen any of Travis Betz other movies, but I have ordered the full set as every single one of them appeals to me.  I suggest you do the same because he seems like a unique talent and from what I've read about his other movies, he's impossible to pigeonholed.  In a genre where people often complain about lack of originality existing anymore... Travis Betz.  That's originality.  I also recommend his interviews as he's pretty damn funny, but also really insightful.  Lo is a funny, original, bizarre, romantic and ultimately tragic love story that's wrapped in a horror blanket. 9/10.

 Buried Alive (2007)

This is just another run-of-the-mill supernatural slasher that pleasantly passes some time but doesn't leave a lasting impression.  There's some boobs though.  I really did have a good time watching it, but it had the potential to be so much better.  To start with, the killer wasn't really explained at all.  A little more insight into the legend could have made this so much better.  In addition, the characters were quite stupid.  I mean, there's always stupid characters in slashers.  Other than a little incest and some nice boobs, there's nothing to make them memorable past my next drunken weekend.  Anyway, some better deaths would have improved this leaps and bounds.  There was one death that's outstanding though involving a guys face and the ending was pretty spectacular so all in all I give it 7/10.  Watch it to pass the time without thinking.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

The IMDB October Challenge: Day 4

This has been an extremely unproductive day, but an extremely enjoyable one as I've discovered some great horror, and one movie in particular which just happens to be one of the best movies I've seen in a long time.

Smiley (2012)

Smiley doesn't exactly break any new ground but it does try to stand out from the pact and offer a fresh concept to the slasher genre.  This could be the Candyman for the Skype generation, so parents, please let your children see this so they become terrified of chat rooms, video calls and all other forms of social networking with strangers on the internet.  For us adults, it's not scary, but it is a fun movie with a lot of ambition and effort oozing from it.  Michael J. Gallagher is definitely a filmmaker to look out for in the future. 6/10

Dark Night of the Scarecrow (1981)

Why isn't there more movies about scarecrows?  Sure, there's a good few of them, but really they should be the new werewolf or vampire.  They should be making romantic movies for tweens with scarecrows instead of vampires and werewolves.  Scarecrows are incredibly cool and super freaky.  Now, I watched this expecting the holy grail of scarecrow movies, but what I got was something completely different.  This was more of a mystery as opposed to the scarecrow hack 'n' slash I was kinda wanting.  However, I still really enjoyed it.  It has a really great atmosphere, a great story and some great performances.  The gore and kills aren't great, but it was 1981 after all.  I also love the fact that the true villains are the humans. 6/10

Slashers (2001)

As you'll soon find out, Maurice Devereaux who wrote and directed this is my new favorite person... but more on that later.  Slashers is a movie I've been meaning to check out for years, but I've just always ended up watching something else instead.  Well, tonight I bit the bullet and the gunpowder tasted great.  This is a fantastic satire on the society in which we live; a society where people are prepared to do almost anything for fame and money while the public watches them humiliate and degrade themselves from the comfort of their living room sofa.  Out of all the movies that have used reality TV as a plot for carnage, this one is the most overlooked.  I really hope they make many sequels to this, but unfortunately the already penned sequel is owned by a now bankrupt company.  Anyway, this is a really fun movie. 7/10

End of the Line (2007)

I just had to save the best one for last.  This movie is the reason why Maurice Devereaux is my new favorite person.  He funded this with his own money and hasn't made anything since because he can't get any studio backing, but this is an independent masterpiece.

Set in a subway, a train full of passengers comes to a halt.  On board, is a group of religious fanatics who await being paged to do ''God's work'' on Judgement day.  Well, they get paged and go on a killing spree believing they are saving the souls of their victims on the night of the Apocalypse.  The pursued victims however, not only have crazed cult fanatics after them, but they fear for their very own sanity.  This is raw, unrestricted, ambitious horror that reminded me of everything I love about the genre in the first place. I really can't praise this enough.  If you like Clive Barker you'll love it.  9/10

Great day overall and I aim to top it as the Challenge progresses.  Please watch End of the Line peeps. I beg you.  It's too good.

The IMDB October Challenge: Day 3

Day 3 was a good one, only with one letdown.  Not every film is going to hit the spot when you're watching them for the first time, but overall 2/3 of the first time watches were lots of fun and revisiting a trustworthy gem made the day a YAY.

The Ambulance (1990)

Another Larry Cohen movie high on fun factor.  Just like another penned Cohen movie, Maniac Cop, the villain in this one is a figure society is supposed to trust (an ambulance, whereas Maniac Cop was a police officer).  Cohen is a genius when it comes to writing stories, and the concept here is truly horrific.  However, the execution isn't utilised to its full potential.  What could have been a truly terrifying movie turns out to be more of a fast paced, fun, action packed romp with great performances from Eric Roberts and James Earl Jones.  The movie gets going quickly and never stops for a breath for the entire duration.  This is mindless popcorn entertainment and like many Cohen movies, extremely overlooked.  7/10/

Asylum Blackout (2011)

Torture porn is pretty hit or miss for me, but like all horror sub genres, it has its good and bad.  Asylum Blackout is an example of when it's good.  The movie is about chefs who work in a mental asylum for the criminally insane who get trapped with the inmates during a storm.  It takes awhile to get into the nasty stuff, which allows us to get to know and care for our characters (well I kinda wanted to see them getting cut to little pieces but a normal human being would feel bad for them).  This had an incredible atmosphere (isolated asylum, lightning storm) and some really nasty scenes.  The gore hound will be one satisfied pooch with this one.  The ending to this is sure to polarise the audience.  I know some people who hated it.  Personally, I enjoyed it for being so unexpected.  7/10 

Werewolf: The Beast Among Us (2012)

I had high hopes for this.  I really wanted this to be good.

After hearing that there was going to be a sequel/reboot to The Wolfman, I was excited.  I loved The Wolfman remake.  It had a great old school vibe but with modern viciousness.  Sure, I wasn't expecting this to be as good but I thought it'd still be a god movie.  Now, don't get me wrong, this had its moments.  The gore was good and the creatures were quite cool, but other than that it was like a man on a mission Syfy movie.  I beg of you not to spend your money on this until it's in a bargain bin.  Is it worth a watch? Yes, but only when there's nothing else on and you don't want to think.  Is it good?  No.  This does have its moments, but overall it's just bland.  Half an hour in I felt like I'd been watching it for an hour.  5/10.

Fright Night (1985)

I revisited this one because my girlfriend rudely interrupted my October Challenge by wanting to spend time with me.  She didn't want to watch any of the movies I wanted to watch, but after telling me she seen the remake (a good one if you ask me) and thought it was excellent, I just had to make her watch the original. She enjoyed it.

Anyway, what can you say about Fright Night?  It's a blast.  I don't regard it as a classic like a lot of horror fans do, and I also prefer the sequel, but I still think it's a hugely enjoyable, funny movie with amazing special effects, great performances and a kick ass soundtrack.  Definitely a movie for this time of year.  7.5/10

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

The IMDB October Challenge: Day 2

Day 2 was a slow one for me but I did choose something a little special.  This movie is on Youtube and I shall link you too it.  Extremely bonkers stuff indeed.

The Boxer's Omen (1983)

One of my new missions in life is to watch every Shaw Brothers movie.  It has been ever since I heard them being mentioned in a Wu Tang Clan song, who are one of my favorite musical groups.  I only own one Shaw Brothers movie, and it's a horror/kung fu hybrid called Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires and it's a collaboration with Hammer.  It's fantastic, but leans more towards kung fu than horror.  I expected more kung fu from this, but they've favored the downright weird, disgusting, bizarre train wreck of a movie (I mean that in a good way).  The plot is thin and layered over with lots of great action, cheesy special effects, Buddhist and occult practices and lots of really bizarre, disgusting scenes (including an eel coming out of a guys mouth).  This is on Youtube, so I recommend checking it out.  It's disgusting, funny, weird and insane.

Monday, 1 October 2012

The IMDB October Challenge: Day 1

The IMDB October Challenge is a special time of year for many a horror fan and sparks huge excitement every year.  It allows us to discover new movies, revisit classics and share recommendations with each other.  What it really does though is just give us another excuse to watch horror movies.  October is a special time for many horror fan though, this one included.  I marked day 1 of the October Challenge by watching 3 movies, all of which were first time views.  So without further adieu, I present to you my thoughts.

The Woman In Black (2012)

It was torture trying to pick which movie I wanted to watch first.  After I weighed up my options I managed to narrow it down to ghost movies.  I also had to watch one my girlfriend could enjoy since she was present at the time, so I chose the remake of a movie I really enjoy - The Woman In Black.

It gets off to a great start and has all the elements you need to create a creepy vibe; there's porcelain dolls, creepy little girls and a haunting score.  It's made all the more better when the little girls jump from a window to their deaths.  For the next hour, the movie is almost identical to the original, but afterwards it throws in some extra part of its own and becomes slightly superior to the original, albeit not by much.  I really enjoyed this and I give it a 7/10.  *Insert generic Harry Potter joke.*

The Entity (1982)

Another first time watch.  I know what you're thinking, how can I be a horror fan and only just seen The Entity?  I honestly couldn't tell you.  It's so uncool of me.  Even my mother has seen it.  Anyway, this was a fascinating movie as it was based on supposed actual events.  Despite a sloppy script, this was a thoroughly enjoyable feature that ventured between slightly disturbing and hilarious.  Although I don't condone rape, I think an invisible spirit with the horn is grounds for a kick ass horror movie.

Some of this was hilarious; the psychiatrist seemed to have an obsessive perverted fascination with all things sex.  Any time he talks about sex or asks about it just look at his expression and the look in his eyes and try and keep a straight face.  Anyway, great movie. 8/10.

The Wicker Man (1973)

I'm counting this as a first time viewing because every time I've tried to watch it in the past I've ended up missing it, either by staying up too late to watch it and falling asleep, failing to be home to watch it on television or some other unfortunate circumstances.  I've seen parts but not all of it.  Before I get started I should also mention I love Nic Cage's remake and he's my favorite actor.  The 1973 original however, has become an instant classic to me.

This is just so unique, funny, bizarre and original, all the while being a truly horrifying concept that's sugar coated with gleeful characters, wonderful music, the beauty of mother nature and celebratory nudity.  It's a low budget masterpiece.  Everything about it is just perfect.  10/10.

Overall, a very enjoyable first day to the Challenge.  I'm going to try and beat 31 movies this year due to my neglect of horror the past few weeks.  There's so much movies I intend to discover for the first time, as well as some classics and gems that need a revisit.  I'll keep you all posted here.