Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Hot Girl of Horror #6: Kaley Cuoco

Did you know Penny did a horror movie? She did a couple actually: Killer Movie, The Hollow, and even a TV flick called Mr. Murder. So you know what that means: picture time. Hopefully, she'll star in some more horror films in the future. I definitely wouldn't consider that a bad thing. Seems like the ones she has been in so far are pretty forgettable. What a shame. She deserves better, but I guess good horror movies aren't as easy to come by as bad ones. Kinda crazy how she could be virtually unknown until she got super crazy famous on The Big Bang Theory. She actually has a lot of credits before that, but that's usually the case. Most actors and actresses have to do a lot of work before they get noticed. Some unfortunately never get so lucky, which is a shame. I thought horror tends to help people get noticed but I guess not true if the horror films themselves are not good although sometimes even the lackluster ones can be remembered fondly especially if a few decades have passed. Alright, that's enough ridiculous rambling from me. Enjoy.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Review: Slashers (2001)

The concept of this movie is perfect. A Japanese reality show is holding its first all-American special with three psychotic killers hacking up six lucky contestants! Why would anyone participate in such a sick game of life and death? They have the chance to win millions of dollars of course! It's really a brilliant idea with endless potential, and it's obvious the writer/director not only loves horror (he even writes the lead girl as a fan, says she saw every movie, etc.) but also bloody Japanese cinema like Battle Royale (the contestants wear strikingly similar collars... this may just be a coincidence since that Japanese masterpiece of carnage had only been out for a year when Maurice Devereaux released this). The only thing that bothered me about this indie is the acting, and I hate to say that, but it's true. I didn't buy the performances of the contestants. They weren't "wooden" like I see so many people claiming, but they didn't feel real. They just seemed like actors reciting lines instead of genuine people. Still, I have to admit I really like the film. I wish we could see an all-Japanese version of it or even a sequel, remake, etc.

The slashers themselves are fantastic. Doctor Ripper reminds me so much of Dr. Satan, but House of 1000 Corpses wasn't released until 2003 (it was filmed in 2000... yet it seems unlikely Devereaux patented his character after him so early). Regardless, the visual similarity is pretty astounding. Chainsaw Charlie is clearly Leatherface but memorable enough in his own right especially with the twist scene that fleshes him out. Preacher Man is a lot of fun too, playing the evil "holy" man that so often pops up in horror. I just wish Doctor Ripper kept his mask longer but even that insight into the identities of the slashers is interesting.

Some of the special effects leave a little to be desired especially when they show them too much. Fake heads rarely look good, and they linger on a close-up. When the clown stabs a Japanese girl's stomach in the first shot of the movie, be sure not to look down at the knife or else you'll see the clown obviously crushing a blood bag against her skin, which kinda ruins the moment. Later you can plainly see foil on Doctor Ripper's scalpel. Things like these really detract from the movie, but I still like it a lot, and I'd gladly recommend it.

The Steadicam work is extremely impressive. The conceit about trying to make it seem like it's all one shot is kinda neat too, but it's rather obvious that they cheat a lot. You get some random flickering to black, which they could have built into the story a little better by setting up that every so often the lights would go out to add more tension. More cuts might have actually helped in some places. The long shots do add to a couple jump scares though, and they deserve a lot of credit for what they managed to pull off.

I love the Japanese theme song. DJ Slash's line "super fun" is awesome. It makes me laugh and smile every time. Just in that intro, you see how much more they could do with the idea given the chance. I really hope this isn't the end of Slashers especially after seeing Devereaux's follow-up film End of the Line, because I thought that was an excellent movie all-around, and I really liked the performances in it. If he did do another Slashers episode, perhaps with some more time for filming and a bigger budget (maybe an all-Japanese cast), I bet he could really make a classic.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Hot Girl of Horror #5: Olivia Munn

So she's only been in one perfectly-titled horror movie: Scarecrow Gone Wild. Yes, I'll have you know there is a Scarecrow franchise, and that fact is more horrifying than anything. So that counts. Plus, she played Girl #1! Hey, imagine how Girl #3 felt. "Have you acted in anything?" "Uh... yeah. The third Scarecrow movie." "What role did you play?" "Girl #3." Ouch. There's also Insanitarium? I guess somebody liked the word "aquarium" a little too much and tried to get creative. Sorry, it's probably awesome. Haven't seen it. Never heard of it until I did my "research." Oh well, who cares. Everybody knows Ms. Munn from G4's Attack of the Show. Update: she was one of the best things about The Predator, which sadly was quite disappointing but she is clearly a good actress so I hope some better horror is in her future. I'm still shocked that film was such a mess. We really don't need a super large CG predator. Now without further ado, time to exercise those eyeballs.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Review: Shutter (2004)

My only recollection of this movie was it being yet another victim in a long line of Asian remakes pumped out by Hollywood in an attempt to cash in on the success of The Ring so I missed the fact the original film is actually Thai. Interestingly, the remake was done by a Japanese director, but by most accounts, it sucks. Thus, I never saw it, but I decided to give the original a try since I hadn't seen a horror movie from Thailand.

The setup is basically I Know What You Did Last Summer except with a ghost instead of Mr. Hook. Wait, don't leave! Yes, I know that sounds pretty craptacular. I didn't care at all for that '90s slasher so I struggled a little with the beginning but the different culture kept me watching, and it starts getting really, really good. As the real story unfolds, you find out there's actually a lot more to everything than you thought even the opening hit and run. Plus, you get some very creepy, scary scenes right up there with Ringu and Ju-on.

I was really surprised and shocked by the end. It has some excellent special effects sequences too (no CGI either, just good ole practical effects with some great makeup), which I wasn't expecting, but the way the story is so well thought out with the characters and the twists is what got me (and the twists make sense). That and they know how to get under your skin. Sadly, I don't think many people have seen this, probably because they were turned off by all the remakes or the quick plot synopsis doesn't sound real great, but it definitely delivers. And the revelation about the main character is pretty insane. I didn't see it coming at all, and it completely changes everything. It's on Netflix Instant right now so if you like good ghost stories or want to see something different, give it a shot.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Giveaway Winners!

Hope everyone had a good Halloween! I decided two winners would be better than one! So congratulations to Daphne White and Tim Van Thuyne! Your names were randomly selected, and your DVDs are on the way!

And if you didn't win, don't worry. There will be more giveaways in the future so stay frosty! And alert. We can't afford to let one of those bastards in here... HUDSON!!!!!! Sorry, what was I saying?