Sunday, March 28, 2010

Cold Prey (2006)

It appears I've been hitting some serious home runs on my Netflix queue lately.  Cold Prey comes to us from Norway.  You don't see too many horror films from there, so that's awesome.  There's subtitles, so you have to bear with that.  But, awesomely enough, this is one of those movies that doesn't really even need words.  You could probably watch it on mute and get the idea.

A group of friends are skiing alone on a crazy mountain.  There's no one around for miles, and unluckily , one of their friends breaks his leg.  They spot a hotel in the distance and drag the whole group over there, including the poor bastard with a bone protruding from his skin.  As it turns out, the hotel is abandoned, but it's in decent shape so they decide to stay the night.  There's snacks and plenty of booze and the little group figures they've hit the jackpot.

Well, as well all know horror fans, that's rarely the case.  This particular hotel is being inhabited by a psychopath out for blood.  There's a backstory that they and we soon discover, which is actually pretty interesting.  There's a lot of cat and mouse with a raging lunatic and a bunch of attractive Norweigans running around the abandoned hotel.  The ending is pretty awesome, and I'm looking forward to more Norweigan films with some badass female heroines.  Good stuff. 

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The Graves (2010)

I love the After Dark Horrorfest movies.  Always a guaranteed good time.  The Graves is the story of Meg and Abby Graves.  Meg is about to move from Arizona to New York City and the girls are having one last adventure before they are separated.

On a search for the world's largest thermometer, they get a little detoured and end up in the hick town of Unity, Arizona.  Unity is a tiny little town with a defunct mine that you can visit and walk around in.  The fact that the waitress at the only eatery in town is pushing the mine visit should be a warning sign but these chicks love a challenge.

The girls head off to the mine where they quickly realize that all is not right here.  A demented blacksmith is chasing people around with a hammer-type thing and their deaths end in a crazy loud noise and an onslaught of flies.  Luckily for me, one of my fave horror actors, Bill Moseley, shows up for the party.  The Candyman is also up in this piece.  Good casting, y'all.

The ladies soon learn that this is no typical historical tour and that Bill Moseley and Co. are out for blood, yo.  Abby and Meg are not your typical whiney and sniveling horror girls.  These chicks are seriously badass and not afraid to kick some hick butt.  Unfortunately, the movie takes a religious/supernatural turn that is totally not necessary.  The movie actually would have fared better if they were killing just for the sake of it, a la Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

A quick search of IMDB tells me that I'm in the minority, but I liked this flick.  It kind of got off course near the end, but all in all, it was a pretty solid movie.  Plus, there's not many movies where you'll see Otis Firefly and the Candyman joining forces ;o) 



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Friday, March 26, 2010

Movie News: "My Soul to Take" Gets a Halloween 2010 Release Date

Apparently it's Wes Craven week here in horror world.  Coming off the news that Scream 4 is ready to roll, Wes Craven's other project, My Soul to Take gets a release date for October 29, 2010.

This may not seem like a big deal compared to Scream 4, but this is Craven's first directorial and writing project since 1994's A New Nightmare.  That's a long time!

The official synopsis is:

"In the sleepy town of Riverton, legend tells of a serial killer who swore he would return to murder the seven children born the night he died. Now, 16 years later, people are disappearing again. Has the psychopath been reincarnated as one of the seven teens, or did he survive the night he was left for dead? Only one of the kids knows the answer.

Adam "Bug" Heller (Max Thierot) was supposed to die on the bloody night his father went insane. Unaware of his dad’s terrifying crimes, he has been plagued by nightmares since he was a baby. But if Bug hopes to save his friends from the monster that’s returned, he must face an evil that won’t rest…until it finishes the job it began the day he was born."

The concept seems kinda meh, but it's Wes Craven, so I'll check it out and hope for the best.  The cast is mostly unknowns, so no fun cameos so far.  More to come.

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Movie News: Scream 4 - Wes Craven confirms that it's onnnnnn!

Apparently Wes Craven heard me reminiscing about 90s horror the other day and decided to make all my wildest dreams come true.  The man himself will be directing the fourth installment, which is coming more than a decade agfter Scream 3.  I can't believe it's been that long!  No worries though, I think Neve's still got it.

The scheduled release date is April 12, 2011.  More to come on this, obviously.

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Friday, March 19, 2010

Sorority Row (2009)

Sorority Row was cheesy and totally predictable but it was fun for what it was.  This was a remake of 1983's The House on Sorority Row.

The little group has every stereotype you can imagine covered.  There's sexy bookworm Ellie (Rumer Willis), token multicultural sister Claire (Jamie Chung) super-lush Chugs (Margo Harshman), ultra skinny plastic surgery addict Megan (Audrina Partridge), wholesome girl Cassidy (Briana Evigan) and Regina George incarnate Jessica (Leah Pipes).

The sorority sisters decide to play a trick on Megan's cheating boyfriend, Garrett.  They make him believe that he killed her, and they all take off for the woods with plans to hide her body.  Unfortunately this little prank goes horribly wrong, and all share a deadly secret a la I Know What You Did Last Summer.

Fast forward to graduation time.  Most of the sisters are still close, but Cassidy, is haunted by the secret and has broken away from the group to spend more time with her boyfriend and distance herself from the tragedy.  But it's the sorority's graduation event where parents attend and such and she sorta has to go.  So, she sucks it up and joins her sisters for the day.

Unfortunately, graduation day appears to be judgement day for the ladies of Theta Pi.  It begins with text messages from a dead person's phone and continues to escalate as they plan the evening's festivities.  There are some pretty awesome death scenes in this movie, which reminds me of the fun slasher flicks when everyone dies and the methods are both gruesome and creative.

This movie certainly didn't break any new ground and was definitely cliched, but it was cheesy and fun.  The killer is a bit of a surprise and the whole movie was a fun throwback to 90s slashers like I Know What You Did Last Summer and Urban Legend. 

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The House of the Devil (2009)

This movie is kind of a weird situation.  It's a movie made in 2009, but as if it was an 80s horror movie.  It definitely had a serious When a Stranger Calls vibe...in fact it made me go put that movie on my queue because I haven't seen it in years.

College student Samantha is broke and living with a slutty roommate who often locks her out of the room.  Desperate for a place of her own, she finally finds a landlord (awesome cameo by Dee Wallace!) who will give her a good deal.  But she still needs a few extra bucks to make the first month's rent.

She sees an ad for a babysitter on her campus and decides this is the ticket to some cold hard cash.  She calls the number from a pay phone and gets a creepy guy who says he will meet her in front of one of the classroom buildings to discuss.  However, she hangs out for a couple hours and dude never shows, and she gives up on the job.

However, it looks like Samantha's luck hasn't run out yet.  She returns to her dorm to discover that the guy called back and said that the first babysitter didn't work out and he still needs one.  She agrees to go to the house, accompanied by a friend. 

Samantha and her friend drives way out to the boons to this big expensive house.  She finds out the job is going to be a cinch and pay a fortune, but her friend can't stay.  Still desperate for dinero, she agrees and stays.  And the babysitter-alone-in-the-creepy-house drama begins.  But it's definitely NOT what you would expect...

This movie was pretty awesome because it was all about the anticipation.  From the minute she calls the number on the babysitter ad, shit is creeeeeeppy.  Everything from the chilly fall surroundings to the man's voice on the phone, to her arrival at the house.  I found myself jumping at things that were not even scary.  Great buildup and cool ending.  Really short too, so it moves along at a quick clip.

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Stand (1994) - The Stand

It's really hard to find a variety of pictures for this movie.  Weird considering it's so long. 

We're at the final episode.  Four guys from Boulder are heading into Vegas to face Flagg, while three people are still there undercover.  Tom Cullen is helping out at the military base, Dayna is banging Lloyd, and for some reason, Judge Farris is still making his way over there.  Dayna is such a badass.  I want snap-on knives that I can hide under lingerie.  And awesome outfit to go see Flagg...a see-through dress with some sort of cape.  Anyway, I digress.

Apparently, Nadine was a lot less caring about Harold than he hoped she would be.  So she's headed west solo on her little pink Vespa on a quest to get impregnated by Satan.  Sounds like a plan.  The marriage is consummated and Nadine looks quite worse for wear as they head back to Vegas.

Meanwhile Trashcan Man is running around the desert searching for bombs, and as we know, that is not the best idea to do without protective gear.  The results are not pretty.

Stu, Larry, Glen and Ralph are traveling on foot across the country and it's really just a sad and stressful time.  This is also where the movie starts to lean on the God/religion angle a little too heavily but I think that's the fault of several Stephen King works, in my opinion. 

As Mother Abigail predicted, only three make it to Vegas to face Flagg (but I won't spoil which ones) and the battle of good vs. evil is ON.  It goes down in a dramatic and overly religious fashion, but that's to be expected.  There is a duo who has a triumphant return to Boulder, but I won't let that secret out either ;o)

All in all, a solid movie.  King's best, in my opinion.

The Stand (1994) - The Betrayal

In the third installment, everyone is settling into Boulder and Vegas, respectively.  Vegas is getting cleaned up by the badasses and the people in Boulder are setting up town meetings.

Although they're able to get the power back on, there's a little situation with Mother Abigail that is throwing a little kink in everyone's plans.  Nadine is busy trying to decide whether to get busy with the devil or scrap that idea and sleep with Larry.  However, Flagg makes that decision for her and tells her to go hook up with nerdy Harold and set up the actual betrayal.

Meanwhile, the committee is planning on sending spies over to Vegas to see what's up.  They're sending a cute chick named Dayna, old black dude Judge Farris, and Tom Cullen, the mildly retarded guy that Nick picked up.  Tom ends up being the best idea of all strangely enough.

In Vegas, Flagg's cronies are fooling around at the Air Force base while Trashcan Man plays with bombs.   In Boulder, Nadine is giving Harold everything but the kitchen sink as they plot to get revenge on the Free Zone Committee.  They plan to take off for Vegas after the plan is completed, where Nadine will lose her virginity and Harold will presumably live happily ever after.   

After the revenge, Mother Abigail directs the four guys: Stu, Larry, Glen, and Ralph to go west to Vegas to conquer Flagg.  Looks like we're spending most of the next episode in the city of sin!

The Stand (1994) - The Dreams

The beginning of episode two is that everything has pretty much gone to hell.  The majority of people are dead and only those immune are left.  The shots of the deserted and empty landscapes are awe-inspiring and eerie.

Harold and Frannie are still alive and kicking in Maine.  Larry is wandering about New York City and is lucky enough to run into the lovely Nadine Cross (Laura San Giacomo)  Poor Lloyd (Miguel Ferrer) is locked up in jail since everyone bit it before they could let him out.  Andddd, we finally get to meet the Trashcan Man (Matt Frewer) who is traipsing about the midwest setting fire to oil tanks.

Larry and Nadine decide to set off for Nebraska, while Harold and Frannie are focused on finding people in Vermont.  Stu is trekking along and runs into Glen Bateman in Massachusetts.  And Nick Andros comes across Tom Cullen (Bill Fagerbakke from Coach) in Oklahoma.  And strangely enough, Frannie and Harold cruise right on past Stu and Glen sitting on the porch and they all get together to head to Nebraska, with a quick stop in Vermont as per Harold.  We even get an appearance in this episode by Shawnee Smith, good old Jigsaw's protege. 

At this point, people are either having dreams/visions about Mother Abigail (good) or Randall Flagg (evil).  The "good" people are going to Nebraska or Boulder and the "bad" ones are going to Vegas.
Mother Abigail's caravan of followers has grown pretty large and they all head into Nebraska with a larger cast of characters than we started with in episode one.  Next stop: Boulder, Colorado. 

As for Vegas...that remains to be seen.   So far, we only get a glimpse of Trashcan Man showing up, but it seems Lloyd and some others are there as well.   On to the next episode...

The Stand (1994) - The Plague

"This is the way the world ends.  Not with a bang, but with a whimper."

This quote basically sets up the next 6 hours of glorious film.  I am such a sucker for end of the world stories.  Zombies, plague, rage, I don't care (except spontaneous suicide because that's just stupid)

This episode/portion kind of covers the way the plague is effecting everyone all over the country, while at the same time introducing us to the characters appearing throughout the film.  

The first part of The Stand kicks off with an less than stellar employee manning the front gate of an army base.  He's informed that there's a contamination breach with some crazy virus and instead of closing the gate as instructed, he grabs his wife and kid and gets the hell out of there.

He gets as far as Arnette, Texas when he wipes out the pumps at a gas station and bites the bullet, along with his wife and kid who are already dead.  The government catches wind of this and shuts down the town of Arnette, shipping everyone involved in the crash off to a disease control center in Vermont.

The head of the Arnette crew is the ever-so-sexy Stu Redman (Gary Sinise)  He's chillin out in Vermont, not sick, while everyone croaks all around him.  Meanwhile, pop star Larry Underwood (Adam Storke) shows up at his mom's in Queens, hiding from his $40K debt in California.  Fran Goldsmith (the lovely and talented Molly Ringwald) is in Oqunquit, Maine with her dad, chasing off the advances of Harold (Corin Nemic)

Deafmute Nick Andros (Rob Lowe) is in Shoyo, Arkansas getting the shit kicked out of him by a bunch of thugs.   Lloyd Henreid is driving around Arizona with his partner Poke, kicking ass and taking names.  We even get introduced to the Dark Man himself, Randall Flagg (Jamey Sheridan)  Although I love the casting choice on this one, I do have a secret wish that they cast Rutger Hauer.  Was he busy or something? ;o)

If you've read the book or even seen the previews, you know that the world is pretty much screwed from this point on.  All the main characters have dealt with loss, heartache, pain, and confusion and are now moving onto the next step....could it be Hemingford Home, Nebraska?

The Stand (1994) - Intro/General Ramblings

Due to some lame circumstances beyond my control, I'm stuck on the couch all day when it's 70 degrees in NYC.  I thought this would be a great time to tackle a multiple-part review I've been looking forward to for some time: The Stand.

I watched the movie on a snowy day a couple of years ago and made an attempt at writing a review.  It kind of just hung out in my drafts for a while until I decided to start over and take a different approach by covering in four parts.  But I did a lot of thinking about the movie first and decided to write a little intro.

In my opinion, The Stand is the best of the movies based on Stephen King's books.  Honestly, SK movies get a really bad rap.  One of the major problems is that his books are really long and movies are not.  So, understandably, a lot of stuff gets cut.  Also, King movies rarely get James Cameron-level funding and usually have to work with meager budgets for the final product.  Finally, King does not always back these movies for one reason or another.

The Stand is different.  Stephen King was behind this project 100 percent.  For years, the plan was to make this a feature-length film directed by George Romero.  But after several tries, King was unable to get the script short enough.  Just as they were about to hire a different person for the final re-write, he was offered the chance to have it made into a mini-series.

The Stand in 1994 over 8 hours in prime time on ABC.  It was filmed in 6 different states over 100 days and had a whopping 125 speaking parts and 4.5 hours of music.  I believe that the casting for this movie is spot-on.  I've read the book countless times, and I can't imagine better actors playing the parts.

Is this movie perfect?  No.  It was made over 15 years ago, lots of the original filming plans were scrapped due to budget, and it was airing on network television so it had to be on a PG-13 scale.  One of the biggest criticisms of this movie is that it doesn't follow the book exactly.  I love Stephen King books.  I love The Stand.  My favorite version of the novel is the unabridged version with almost 1200 pages.

But the point is, a book is not a movie.  Things that come across in a book might not translate onto film.  And The Stand is such an epic and rambling story that the average viewer could not follow it if King included all of the aspects of the book in the movie.  I put my faith in King that he knew what was right when writing the teleplay. /end cheesiness

So if you're ever stuck on the couch for over 6 hours like myself, or just really want to watch a movie for the entire day (which I often do!) definitely check out The Stand.  Although it's not Avatar, it's a great film representation of one my favorite books in the world.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Deadgirl (2008)

What a bizarre movie this was.  Not sure why this is characterized as horror...maybe because the main (?) character is kind of dead? 
This movie is about two teenaged boys who go exploring an abandoned mental hospital.  While running around in there, they find a dead girl laid out on a table.  The duller one of the pair (JT) suggests that they start having sex with her.  Rickie peaces out but JT goes through with it. 

He's visiting there and sort of living there and having sex with this supposed corpse every day.  He gets a little lonely and invites some friends in on the action.  Then they all discover that maybe she's not as dead as they presumed.  It doesn't matter to these deviants, as they keep up their little rape game anyway.

There's a bunch of gross stuff and then of course the predictable battle between JT and Rickie over what's wrong and right.  Let me make it easy for you.  Rape is wrong, whether you think the person is dead, or whether they are some sort of zombie or something.

Honestly, I felt like this movie was sick just for the sake of being sick.  And I have a stomach for most of this stuff, but unfortunately this flick didn't even have a point.  It was just a couple of hours of teenage horniness and necrophilia.  I don't recommend.


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The Hills Run Red (2009)

This movie was a real surprise.  I put it on my queue figuring it would be crappy and fun, but this flick had some serious chops.  The acting was kind of crappy, but it was relatively original and fast-paced.

Tyler is a film buff who is obsessed with this movie, The Hills Run Red, created by fictional horror legend Concannon.  Apparently this movie was made in the 80s, but never released for mysterious reasons.  There's some random clips on the internets, a bunch of rumors, and some weird stills.  While searching through the stills, he finds a photo of Concannon's daughter, Alexa.  He then makes it his mission to find her, hoping to find a copy of the movie, and complete his documentary project.

He finds her, much to the viewer's delight to be taking her clothes off at a strip club.  Not only that, but she's being portrayed by the gorgeous model, Sophia Monk.  Unfortch, poor Alexa Concannon is addicted to the needle and has no desire to go traipsing off through the woods to look for her dad's old movie. 

Apparently she has no idea how dedicated dude really is to this project.  He straps her down to the bed, forces her to detox, and suddenly she thinks looking for this movie is an awesome idea.  Tyler gathers up his not-so-faithful girlfriend, Serena, and their roomate Lalo.  They take off for daddy's house in the woods.

I don't want to go into too much more detail because it will give away the pretty cool twists and turns of this movie.  Obviously they run into trouble (note freaky person in picture above) and they find out some pretty interesting information about the movie.  Also, I did like how they played off of horror cliches by having cell phones that worked in the woods, a gun for protection, and the good sense to get out of some difficult situations. 

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Saturday, March 6, 2010

Baby Blues (2008)

It has been a really awesome weekend of horror in the Scream Queen household.  It's not very often that we get two movies in a weekend that rock hardcore.

Let's start with Baby Blues.  This movie was seriously badass.  I could not even really find any Google Images that represented the horror contained in this flick.  It was original, had great acting, and was truly scary.

The mom (Colleen Porch) has serious post-partum depression.  Her husband is a truck-driver and often leaves her alone for days at a time with her four kids.  There's a baby (Nathan), younger son (Jake), daughter (Cathy), and older son (Jimmy Jr.)  The task of taking care of the children, coupled with her loneliness and low self esteem, is really affecting her.

One day, she goes to mend her husband's pants and finds a matchbook for a strip club in the pocket.  This is truly her breaking point.  Later that night, when the kids are arguing at dinner, she seriously freakin' loses it.  Something really snaps in the mom's head and she starts hunting down the kids one by one.

This movie is really short (just over an hour) and incredibly suspenseful.  It was quite disturbing in terms of death of children, but not overtly so in my opinion.  Honestly, although people are comparing this to Inside, this movie reminded me a lot of Frailty.  Definitely one to check out.  The mom was seriously creepy and they did an awesome job of making her look scarier and scarier throughout the film.  Awesome acting all around and really fast-moving storyline. 



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Friday, March 5, 2010

Ed Gein: The Butcher of Plainfield (2007)

Is it totally wrong that I think Kane Hodder is sexxx-ayyyy?  This is what was behind the Jason mask all those years?  Hmmmm, I was missing out.

Anyway, I know this movie has gotten a lot of shit.  I can tell you right now that the main problem with this movie was naming it "Ed Gein."  This movie was actually watchable, but it just wasn't really very representative of the story of Ed Gein.

As most horror fans know, Ed Gein was a scrawny weird loner who was obsessed with his mother.  He dug up bodies from the cemetary and played around with them and even killed a few people.  His story was the inspiration for characters in Psycho, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Silence of the Lambs.

Kane Hodder ≠ Ed Gein.  He is big, muscular, scary, and the aforementioned dead sexy.  The innaccuracies of the story were glaring.  So I'm going to stop comparing it to actual Ed Gein because there's no reason to.  The movie follows a loner living on the edge of town (they say this about 27 times) who is sad about the sickness/death of his mom.  He also has a little hobby of digging up corpses with his friend Michael Berryman. 

Women seem to seriously tick him off, and he feels the need to kill them.  He also kills anyone who gets in the way of his little errands.  In addition to the grave robbing and farming, it seems like Ed Gein has a really full schedule.  He is also doing some arts and crafts on the side by making a full woman-suit.  On the other side of things, we have some bumbling cops including an idiot detective that takes his airhead girlfriend on police business with him.  There's no wonder it took these morons so long to figure out why women and corpses were going missing left and right.

There's was lots of kind of soap opera stuff going on this movie with lots of background on the supporting characters and pretty much zero on the main one.  That said, this movie wasn't totally unwatchable but they should have just dropped the comparison to Gein and just made it another ripoff.

Monday, March 1, 2010

My Name is Bruce (2007)

This movie was pretty freakin' funny.  While not on par with such spoofs as Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland, it was still fast-moving and good for a laugh.

Bruce Campbell plays himself is this flick.  His career is going downhill fast and he's acting in stupid B horror movies all whilst acting like a total douchebag.  He goes to strip clubs, he insults fans, and he lives in a trailer where he guzzles cheap whiskey and peruses porn magazines.  

Meanwhile, the town of Gold Lick, Oregon has a problem.  They're being terrorized by a Chinese demon, Guan-Di, who was mistakenly released from the town's deadly mines.  Bruce Campbell superfan Jeff, convinces the town that they can be saved if they get Bruce Campbell to fight the demon.

They kidnap Bruce and bring him to Gold Lick to fight Guan-Di.  Bruce, however, thinks that the whole things is a practical joke by his agent for his birthday.  Therefore, he spends his time in Gold Lick trying to get Jeff's mom into bed while making a half-assed attempt at fighting said demon.

Bruce Campbell was perfect as the extra-douchey caricture of himself.  He was genuinely hilarious and believeable.  Yes, the special effects in this movie were horrendous, but I believe that was the point.  Definitely check this out for a solid chuckle.

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