Friday, February 19, 2010

The Hole (2001)

This movie was quite the little sleeper. Never heard of it, can't remember how it got on my Netflix queue, but damn, I'm glad it did.


The Hole is the story of a group of prissy high school kids in England. It's spring break and they don't want to go on the typical and cliched vacations. Luckily for them, love-struck outsider Liz (Thora Birch) has a solution. She has a friend (Martyn) with a key to an underground bunker where the little socialites can spend their spring break, far from the clutches of paparazzi, and their parents.

She rounds up her bad-boy crush, Mike, and teen lovers Frankie and Geoff.  Martyn locks the crew in the underground bunker with a promise to come back and let them out in a few days.  They're really excited to spend a few days drinking and hooking up, but someone has other plans.

The days come and go with Liz trying to hook up with Mike, and him clearly not interested.  Frankie and Geoff are having a great time, but things begin to turn dark.  Days have passed and Martyn has not returned to open the door.  They're out of food, and Frankie is afflicted with some weird illness.  They battle to escape from the hole, but things aren't looking too good for the kids.

I won't go any further to avoid spoilers but the end to this movie is seriously shocking and twisted.  I literally gasped when all was revealed.  Definitely check it out.  You won't be disappointed. 

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Inside (2007)

Just when I thought nothing could freak me out, I discovered French horror movies. Although in recent years, Asian horror ruled in terms of shock value, French films are edging ahead. Asian horror pioneered the "extreme" films, however the storylines typically involved ghosts and the supernatural (very popular themes in Japan and Korea) France on the other hand, is taking the genre by storm with harrowing depictions of things that could actually happen. "Inside" is eerily reminiscent of recent cases in the U.S. where women who desperately wanted babies kidnapped expectant mothers and stole their unborn children.


Inside is the tragic story of Sarah, a pregnant woman whose life is turned upside down when her husband is killed in a car accident that she and her unborn child survive. On Christmas Eve, she's waiting in her home alone, preparing for the birth of her child the following day. I guess rightfully so, she feels pretty miserable about the world and her life in general. Although family and friends offer to spend the holiday with her, she only wants to be alone with her mourning and sadness.

Unfortunately, someone else has different plans. In a scene similar to When a Stranger Calls and The Strangers, Sarah receives an unexpected knock at her door.  Although she tells the chick to hit the bricks, she isn't going anywhere.  She finagles her way inside Sarah's house and the battle begins.  The intruder makes it clear that she is NOT leaving without Sarah's baby, end of story.  She doesn't really give a crap what happens to Sarah as long as she makes that baby her own by night's end.  There is a reason that this lady is interested in Sarah's baby and it really ties the movie together.  The last shot of the villian is particularly horrifying, so don't miss it.

This movie is really, really extreme in terms of the violence.  Definitely don't watch if you have a queasy stomach.  Neither of these women are giving up the fight easily and this turns into a seriously messy game of cat and mouse.  This is not only one of the best French horror movies, but one of the best horror movies of the year.  Keep 'em coming, France.

Movie News: I Spit On Your Grave remake....freakin' seriously?!

This makes me sad.  1978's I Spit on Your Grave/Day of the Woman is a much critcized and often misunderstood classic.  As a pretty hardcore feminist myself, I am in the camp that this movie is a pro-female movie and a feminist statement.  It's also a film that should really be left in it's original form.  We're not talking about Freddy messing up dreams or Jason hacking up teenagers in the woods.  This is an intense, graphic, and emotional movie that should not be remade with some 20-something actress just because someone managed to get the go-ahead.

This abomination is scheduled to arrive in theaters in September 2010.

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Movie News: Scout Taylor Compton wants nothing to do with Halloween 3

I knew the chick had some sense.  Even Rob Zombie knew better than to get involved with this craptastic mess and it looks like Scout will be staying far away as well.

According to Reelzchannel.com, Scout said:

They called me up and they said, 'So we're gonna do H3 in two months, we don't really know our director and we don't really have a script. Do you wanna do it?' I said 'No' because I felt like they were rushing it and feel like they were just gonna make it suck. I'm not gonna say that I want to do H3 because I honestly think it needs to stop."

So do we, Laurie, so do we. 

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Stepfather (2009)

I was so excited about watching this movie, but after seeing it, I'm so meh about it.  Much like other PG-13 remakes, this flick just kinda fell flat.

The deal is that Michael comes home from military school to find that his mother is head over heels for her new live-in boyfriend (Dylan Walsh as David Harris)  David is constantly preaching the importance of family and even tells Michael that he'll convince his mom (Sela Ward as Susan) to back off the military school thing and let him go back to regular school.

However, after living with David for a hot minute, Michael begins to get suspicious.  He shares his concerns with his girlfriend (Amber Heard as Kelly) but she's not hearing it.  She just thinks that Michael is pissed that his mom found a new boyfriend and that he just needs to chill.

Obviously he's right (they give away David's bloodlust in the first five minutes of the movie) and the stepfather is whacking anyone that steps in his path.  He has a little basement storage room where he stashes all his evidence and Michael is determined to catch him in the act.

This movie's plot was just boring and predictable.  It was like Disturbia but not nearly as good.  The best part of this flick was a creepy and convincing Dylan Walsh, who delivered lines like "Who am I here?" with horrific perfection.  Too bad the plodding storyline and cookie-cutter teen actors just kinda sucked.
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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Hills Have Eyes (1977)

A lot of people don't realize that Wes Craven was really running shit before the days of Nightmare on Elm StreetThe Hills Have Eyes  and The Last House on the Left came way before then and are arguably comparable movies to NOES.

The Hills Have Eyes is about a family traveling to California in an RV.  They stop at a hick gas station and ask directions to an old silver mine.  The proprietor tells them to stay away (that would be your first clue) but they insist.  Predictably, they get lost and run out of gas, and are in the range of crazed desert cannibals.

They set up camp having no idea that they are now the hunted.  The middle-aged dad/grandpa takes off for the gas station which is probably not the best plan.  The rest set up camp and chill out.  In fact, they're so relaxed about this situation (gotta love the 70s) that one couple takes off for the station wagon to make whoopie.

Meanwhile, the cannibals have other plans.  They've zeroed in on the RV and are psyched to know that it not only contains several adults and food, but the most prized cannibal treat, a BABY.  They swarm in, while the younger members of the fam attempt to strike back.  Humans vs. Cannibals cage match ensues.

This is definitely a classic.  I'm sure horror fans are wondering how I felt about the remake.  I've never reviewed it, but I should give it another watch.  I saw it in the theaters when it first came out and I can say that I did like the special effects and backstory regarding the radiation.  That was badass.  But I do get turned off at the sight of the same generic screaming teenagers and their nonsense.  You can't replicate Dee Wallace or Michael Berryman.
  
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Cujo (1983)

As you can likely garner from this blog, I'm a huge Stephen King fan.  I'm a little skeptical of his more recent stuff, but I'm excited to see the miniseries they put together out of Under the Dome.  But that's a different post.

In terms of the book, Cujo is infamous for the fact that Stephen King barely remembers writing it.  He was so high and drunk the entire time that it was done before he knew it.  Interesting, considering it is one of his best works.  Make of that what you will.

Cujo, the movie, is also pretty awesome.  They have a great plot to start from, the effects are great for the early 80s, and there's actually some pretty solid acting here.  I didn't post the cover of this movie as the photo, because it honestly doesn't do justice to how goddamn real the dog looks in this thing.  For filming, they used five St. Bernards, a mechanical head, and a guy in a dog costume.  Seriously though, that shit looks real.

The story goes like this.  The (E.T. era super-foxy) Dee Wallace (Donna Trenton) is married to Vic Trenton.  But things aren't going well.  He's not keeping her satisfied in the bedroom and she's sought satisfaction in their furniture craftsman.  Vic finds out and shit goes down.  He leaves for a conference and Donna is left high and dry with a sort-of working car and a four-year old boy (Tad). 

Donna decides to bring the car up to Joe Camber's garage, which is sort of in the sticks and probably not the best place for her to go by herself.  But this is the 80s, remember?  Unfortunately, she has no idea of Joe Camber's plans.  His wife and kid have hopped on a bus to CT for the weekend and he's set on heading to Boston for some booze and strip clubs.

What have we forgotten in this mix?  Yeah, Cujo.  The formerly loveable St. Bernard has been acting a little weird lately.  You know, hiding from the sun, foaming at the mouth, not eating...nothing big, right?  Joe Camber dumps a bunch of food and water out and takes off.

Unfortunately for Donna and Tad, they're trapped.  The broken car decides to finally give up once they get to the Camber's and they're trapped by Cujo.  The next couple of days (in movie time) is intense and horrifying.  I love movies that don't need torture and blood and gore to give you the shivers.  A mother and her young child are literally trapped in a car in the middle of nowhere with no hope for rescue.

Any SK fans will pick up on the fact that the book ending is different than the movie ending.  I wish they had kept it, but you know movies...always going for the ending that's "easier" on the audience.  Definitely one of the best Stephen King flicks out there.

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Zombieland (2009)

I was a little skeptical about this movie because of all of the hype.  I did love Shaun of the Dead though and this movie kept being compared to that, so I had to check it out.  Plus, I love some Woody Harrelson.  One of my many (not so) secret bizarre crushes.

Zombieland was a really good movie.  I would only compare it to SOTD in the comedy/satire sense as the two movies are not like each other at all.  Basic premise is that the world has been taken over by zombies. 

Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) is a nervous college student just trying to survive.  One day, he comes across Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) who is his polar opposite.  Tallahassee drives an Escalade with a Dale Earnhardt "3" painted on the side.  He is kicking ass and taking names while on a tireless quest for Twinkies.

They opt to travel together and come across Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) and Wichita (the gorgeous and super-talented Emma Stone) on one of their numerous Twinkie crusades.  However, the ladies are tricksters and lead the boys right into a trap.  However, they meet again, reconvene, and set off for Pacific Playland in California, rumored to be free of zombies.

This flick was gory, fast-moving, and super-fun.  Definitely on par with horror comedies such as Shaun of the Dead.  I loved it and am definitely going to pick it on BluRay.  A great watch.

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Blackout (2007)


Amber Tamblyn trapped in an elevator with a serial killer?  Okay, I can go for that.  I'm really afraid of being trapped in an elevator, especially because lots of buildings in NYC are super-old and have creepy creaky elevators.  So this movie will probably set off my claustrophobia.  Sweet.

So we've got a bereaved hottie (Amber Tamblyn as Claudia), middle-aged doctor (Aidan Gillen as Karl) and badass biker guy (Armie Hammer as Tommy)  I'm  guessing right from the start that the biker dude is a red herring and the doctor is the actual serial killer.  I really hope they didn't intentionally make it that easy on me.

These three folks are all getting into the elevator for different reasons, but unfortunately they all suffer the same fate.   The elevator peaces out in between floors and leaves these peeps stranded.  But, oh, isn't there emergency buttons in the elevator for these particular situations?  Unfortunately this button does not work.  But wait, won't someone notice that the elevator is not coming and call for help?  Nope, there's only four units occupied in this building and the fourth unit was just spotted leaving for a long weekend.  This makes me never want to get in an elevator again.

This movie is kind of Lost-style, in that it splices in backgrounds/events in characters lives amidst the rest of the plot so we can figure out what the heck is going on.  As it turns out, they all have kind of wack reasons for being in this elevator.  Claudia's grandma got hit by a car and she's trying to get back and retrieve some sort of picture so she can die with it.  Tommy is running away with his girlfriend, and is heading back to his apartment to pack.  And, wait for it, Karl has to get back upstairs and clean up the dead club chick he did in the previous night.

As expected, they try a bunch of ways to get out of the elevator without much success.  There's some name-calling, bitch-slapping, broken bones, and tons of screaming for help.  Not to mention a healthy dose of Karl acting like a total douchebag in every way imaginable.

This movie was actually better than expected.  The plot moved pretty fast and the background info was actually useful and not distracting.  Amber Tamblyn has moved beyond Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and I would not mind seeing her in another horror movie.  The only downside of this movie is that I keep having minor flashbacks to it when I step into an elevator.  And there's lots of elevators in New York.  Let's hope they all have (working) emergency buttons.

Side note: I did get stuck in elevator once by myself and it was horrifying.  I started tearing up when I was talking with the lady from Otis.  Fail.


Strangeland (1998)

Fun fact about Strangeland...it's actually the literally the first movie of the torture genre, being the initial film to receive "scenes of torture" as part of it's rating.

There's lots of back-and-forth on whether this is a good movie or not.  If you're a fan of gritty, hardcore movies a la Rob Zombie, then Strangeland is a good pick for you.  Personally, I love it and I'm beyond excited for the sequel that begins filming in the spring.

Strangeland begins with two mid-90s chicks trying to find a dude to party with in a teen chatroom.  Remember the days of dial-up and chatrooms?!  That was fun.  The ladies come across a guy named CaptHowdy (anyone who has seen The Exorcist should have been scared away from this guy) and start chatting.  He's such an awesome guy who loves snowboarding and goes to a cool high school.  Obviously the girls drop everything to go party with him. 

Bad plan.  Captain Howdy is Dee Snider, looking extremely creepy and messed up all covered in tattoos and crazy piercings.  He has a little torture den in his basement where he keeps his "body modification" experiments (i.e. people he has kidnapped)  Howdy is obsessed with both pain and death and has an consuming desire to die.

Eventually he gets caught (he makes it kind of easy for the cops) and is found not guilty by reason of insanity.  He goes to a mental hospital for a few years and is released as totally rehabilitated.  He looks totally different -- he removed all of his piercings, covers up his tattoos with heavy makeup, and goes by his real name, Carleton Hendricks.

Unfortunately, Carleton comes home to a less than welcoming crowd.  The townspeople are beyond excited to capture him vigilante-style and kill him in "secret" a la Freddy Krueger.  But is he all the way dead, or back for revenge on his tormentors...?

When this movie first came out, the torture scenes were believed to be beyond extreme.  But since Saw and Hostel, they don't really seem that crazy anymore.  But honestly, they are a lot more believeable than people who would pay thousands of dollars to cut up someone's face with a buzzsaw.  Just my opinion.

This movie is awesome and brings me back to a time when there were movies with actual plots and "scenes of torture" instead of just 90 minutes straight of gag-inducing torture porn. 


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Feed (2005)

This was a super-creepy and disturbing movie with a brand-new concept (shocking in the horror world!)

So you've heard of these people called "feeders," right?  There's been some articles in magazines over the last few years.  Basically these people get off on feeding their partner/forcing them to eat and watching them get bigger and bigger.

The main character in this movie, Michael, is a serious feeder.  In fact, he has a website with videos, pictures, etc. that feature the women in his harem of lard.  He's in fantastic physical shape but gets sexually excited over the sight of these women, especially when they say "feeeeeed meeee." (seriously, no kidding)

Meanwhile, across the globe, we have a cyber investigator in Australia (Phillip) who comes across the site and is extremely disturbed and concerned about the women's well-being.  He takes off for America to catch the crazed feeder and bring him to justice.

I guess feeding people like this isn't in and of itself a crime, since the women are consenting adults.  But Phillip soon finds out that Michael has ulterior motives with the feeding and the website. His behavior is not only for his own pleasure, but hinges on him feeding them to death in order to procure bets via the website.

This movie is original and the only thing it is vaguely reminiscint of is the force-feeing scene in Seven.  It has a serious creepiness to it and I found myself cringing at several points.  The plot moves quickly, although there are a few holes in the story.  The whole flick is pretty extreme, but the last scene has really stuck with me since I watched it.  Really haunting shot. 

Definitely check it out, but I would skip the snacks.  This one is a little stomach-turning.

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Sunday, February 7, 2010

We All Scream for Ice Cream (2005)

These Masters of Horror things are really hit or miss.  This one is pretty much a miss in my book.  Slow moving, and dull, dull, dull.  Blah.

These small-town kids play a prank on a mentally-challenged ice cream truck driver (Buster), resulting in his death.  Years later, Buster returns to see his revenge on the kids, who are now grown adults with families of their own.

Instead of going directly to the parents, Buster gives their children "special" ice cream, which functions in about the same way as a voodoo doll.  The group starts dropping dead left and right, the cause of their demise being a rapid melt into ice cream.  The death scenes are quick and boring, except for one hot tub death that they apparently blew the entire special effects budget on.

William Forsythe made a creepy clown, but it really couldn't save this episode.  The acting was crappy, the movie was dull, and damn that stupid jingle got really annoying after the third or fourth time.   Lame ending too.

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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Sleepaway Camp (1983)

Although I'm dying to display the iconic shot from this movie as the review photo, it sort of gives away the ending to this movie.  But the box cover is pretty lame, so I'm going to split the difference and go with a random picture from the movie.

Sleepaway Camp has one of the best twists of any horror movie made in the 80s.  It's literally right at the end of the movie and you do not see that coming at ALL.  However, one of the best parts of the ending is that it doesn't ruin future viewings...it just makes them all the more hilarious ;o)

Sleepaway Camp is the story of Angela and her cousin Ricky.  Angela was enjoying life as a kid with her father and his gay partner (this is actually a relevant fact to the movie) when there is a tragic accident, leaving Angela orphaned.  She is sent to live with her Aunt Martha and cousin Ricky.  Now they're off to summer camp, which Angela is none too thrilled about.  She is shy, awkward, and relucant to participate in activities at camp.

Ricky tries hard to protect Angela, but the other girls tease her relentlessly and she is unable to make friends.  However, she finds a love interest, Ricky, who likes her but is frustrated with her unwillingness to go further than kissing.  Meanwhile, campers and staff are dropping dead left and right.  The seedy owner, Mel, is determined to keep police out of the situation and parents calm.  But the killings continue, with no suspect in sight. 

The shock ending is both surprising and unnerving, and I haven't seen too much like it in subsequent horror flicks.  You won't be kept up with nightmares about this movie, but it's an awesomely bad classic.

Also, random shoutout, this movie was filmed in the Fort Edward/Lake Luzerne area, about an hour from where I grew up!  This is the second horror movie I've written up on this blog that was filmed in that area. 

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The Hitcher (1986)

Ahhhh, I forgot how much I love this movie!  Rutger Hauer is seriously one of the all-time greatest creepers.  And sadly, C. Thomas Howell's performance got a little overshadowed by the controversy/joke that was 1986's "Soul Man."

The premise here is simple.  Jim Halsey is driving cross country in a car that he needs to return to someone in California.  He's getting super-tired and decides to pick up a hitchhiker.  Bad idea, of course, but if it wasn't for stupid decisions, we wouldn't have this movie.  The hitcher, John Ryder, immediately goes psycho-killer on Jim and attempts some eyeball-fu.  But he is unsuccessful, as Jim boots him out of the car. 

Unfortunately for Jim, this little charade is just beginning.  Ryder follows Jim cross-country and enjoys toying with him at various stops along the way.  Jim meets Nash (Jennifer Jason Leigh) while trying to contact police, and the two band together against Ryder. 

This movie is great for the exact reason why so many movies today are so contrived and lame.  There's very little blood and gore in this movie.  There's no topless co-eds or idiots running through the woods tripping over branches with the killer in hot pursuit.  The Hitcher is just deeply and truly creepy.  John Ryder really gets under your skin and the plot is able to invoke that choking feeling of being trapped in a wide open space.

Sure, the picture and sound are a little crappy (I don't think this is next in line for Blu Ray conversion) but there's a scary vibe, some great police chases, and some pretty decent acting.  It's also interesting to see how times have changed, because when this movie was first released, it was slated to have a "X" rating.  It's sure a hell of a lot scarier than another incarnation of that stupid Saw puppet.  Check it out.

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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Movie News: Strangeland Sequel to Begin Filming in May

Just when I was beginning to give up hope in the realm of seriously twisted horror movies, I receive this glorious news.  After over a decade of court battles, rewrites, and failed starts, Dee Snider got the go-ahead to start filming the sequel to Strangeland.

Robert Englund and Dee Snider will both be reprising their roles in the movie, which will be called Strangeland II: Disciple.  I feel that this name could use a little work, but I disgress.  Here's the synopsis (from screentest.biz):

"One year after Carleton Hendricks aka Captain Howdy's (Dee Snider) sadistic rampage, much more than the physical scars the schizophrenic, sexual sadist gave his victims are left behind. Their lives, destroyed by emotional torment and the media frenzy surrounding the crimes, Detective Mike Gage, his daughter Geneveve and vigilante Jackson Roth (Robert Englund) each have their crosses to bear. But when the badly burned and mentally broken Carlton Hendricks is taken from a state run mental hospital and off his medication by billionaire, media mogul, Morgan LaForce, leader of the body modification/fetish haven called "The Torture Garden", the door swings wide open for each of Captain Howdy's victims to find closure... and retribution."

Now I understand that I am a seriously sick puppy for loving this movie, but I will definitely admit to it.  With Rob Zombie making The Blob (minus the actual blob, mind you) and Eli Roth maybe working on Thanksgiving sometime in the next decade, the horror world seriously needs a good jolt of electricity.  I'll be stalking this one for the next several months, so stay tuned.

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