Monday, December 30, 2013

Hot Girl of Horror #27: Marisa Tomei

She really hasn't done much horror at all, but she did have an uncredited role as a "Health Club Girl" in The Toxic Avenger, and she also starred in the Keanu-Reeves-slasher The Watcher, which I kind of liked thanks in no small part to James Spader. I'm a little worried about rewatching that one though. It's crazy how many films she has been in (65 on IMDb) but yet only two horror movies and many might even try to say The Watcher is a "thriller" just like The Silence of the Lambs. I call bullshit. I always hated people labeling certain classier horror films "thrillers." If your movie has a cannibal eating people's faces or a serial killer preying on women, it's a horror film, and there's nothing wrong with that. Horror films can be good and they don't need to be labeled "thrillers" when they are. Sure I can see some films fitting the thriller category more than horror but not The Silence of the Lambs.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

New Godzilla (2014) Teaser Trailer

I'm absolutely dying to see this. The 1998 Roland Emmerich piece of shit was one of the worst movies I've ever seen, and of course, Zilla was nothing but an embarrassing insult to the true King of the Monsters. Yes, I love Godzilla especially the original 1954 film and the 1985/1984 classic. I haven't been a fan of Toho's latest output (note: big fan of Shin Godzilla but this was written before that). It has been full of craptacular CGI even Final Wars, which I could barely sit through despite Zilla getting a wonderful death (too bad the fights were so short). I think Legendary knows exactly what to do with this as evidenced by employing Frank Darabont to help with rewrites and their smart choice of director. If you didn't see Gareth Edwards' first film Monsters, you should, because it was quite good especially for a micro-budget debut so here's hoping he nails this. So far, the tone is perfect, and Bryan Cranston definitely raises it up a notch. Not to mention, David Strathairn. I do prefer the original proof-of-concept Comic Con teaser, which this includes enhanced bits of, but this isn't too bad either. I just want to see it... now.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Hot Girl of Horror #26: Diora Baird

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, Night of the Demons remake, and 30 Days of Night: Dark Days. Oh, I forgot about Stan Helsing. Wait, no, I didn't forget. No one remembers that, and no one ever will. Ok, that's too mean. Sorry. I wonder if the 30 Days of Night sequel is any good. I liked the first one even though it could've been better, but it wasn't awful by any means. It's sad she hasn't gotten a chance to be in any original horror since we're so plagued with sequels, prequels, and remakes these days. Diora Baird was also on the cover of Playboy, and she did the topless lipstick trick in the Night of the Demons remake so she deserves an Academy Award in my book or at least a Gruesome Ghoulie. If that's not an award, it should be. Please stop reading this. I suck at writing. You realized that right? Of course you did. Eye muscles. We're all here to exercise our eye muscles so with that in mind...

Friday, November 8, 2013

Possession (1981) is all kinds of crazy.

I had no idea what to expect when I watched this. The synopsis definitely doesn't prepare you for the madness that follows. Sam Neill is fantastic as always. I hadn't seen him in a role quite like this. Isabelle Adjani is extremely beautiful and mesmerizing. She has some truly insane and bizarre scenes too. The film has really stuck with me even though I'm not sure I like it (I think in a way though, you're not supposed to like it), but I would easily see it again. The story about the writer/director going through a divorce at the time explains a lot, because there's obviously an enormous amount of emotion behind it along with many mixed feelings that manifest themselves in the characters. It's almost utter chaos although the beginning is easy enough to understand, but then it pulls the rug out from under you and doesn't let up until the strange ending, which while it's weird, seems to make perfect sense on some level. It's very different, and if you haven't seen it, get ready to be shocked. The movie leaves a lot open to interpretation, which is what keeps it in your thoughts (that and the dark gruesome imagery). I love the practical effects, and I did not see them coming. I think it pretty much sums up divorce, and the hell or heaven (mostly hell here) of relationships.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Hot Girl of Horror #25: Alexandra Daddario

Bereavement, The Attic, and Texas Chainsaw 3D. Maybe you're like me and haven't seen any of these. Sorry I'm a little tired of remakes, reboots, re-imaginings, whatever the hell you want to call them and taking the word "massacre" out of the title didn't help matters. I never even heard of The Attic, and the poster on IMDb sure isn't doing it any favors. I saw some of Bereavement on Netflix but not all of it yet (but it was pretty good). And there's no way I'm ever watching a Percy Jackson movie. They might be the greatest films ever made, but I'm not interested even for her and that's saying something. Hopefully, she gets cast in some better horror movies before long. Update: she is amazing in True Detective Season One so I highly, highly recommend that if you haven't seen it yet. Her career really took off and it's easy to see why: she is a very talented actress plus extremely beautiful. It's funny how so many actresses start in horror (usually not the best horror either) but then they become famous like Naomi Watts (Children of the Corn IV), Jennifer Aniston (Leprechaun), etc.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Evil Dead (2013) was ok but disappointing.

I remember before it came out, the director made a big deal about how there was no CGI in the film. Then he backtracked a little and said they used it to enhance a few things. So when the first scene had some obvious computer-generated fire (or computer "enhanced" to the point where it looks fake), I was pissed. There are some great practical FX in the movie, but they shouldn't have said there was no CGI especially when it's in the fuckin opening. I don't understand the appeal of remakes unless they really do something completely different. John Carpenter's The Thing shares very little in common with The Thing from Another World. The characters are totally unique, the themes, the approach to the monster, the visual style, the amazing score, the opening with the dog, etc. Same with David Cronenberg's The Fly and the 1958 film with Vincent Price. The beginning of Evil Dead is essentially what you saw before with one of the most memorable characters of all time missing of course. Does Mia stand up at all to Ash? Not even close. You can see they're trying to be unique, but they don't do nearly enough. That short little scene at the start doesn't really add anything aside from CG fire. It was obvious before the cabin had a history, and you can't trust someone who is possessed. They also undermine their efforts sometimes by too clearly foreshadowing with the images in the Necronomicon. Spoiler: I was disappointed when the book hinted Olivia would cut off her entire face, you see her working on that in the bathroom from behind (a cool shot), but then all she did was cut into her cheek. End spoiler. There are a lot of little great touches though. The staples in the flesh of the Book of the Dead, when Mia first whispers David's name after the tree rape scene, the way Mia glides at David in the basement (reminds me of the scary old woman in the original House on Haunted Hill), etc.

Nice fake out from the trailer. This scene isn't in the movie.

The ending disappointed me so much. Spoilers from here on. I loved the blood rain and the thing coming out of the ground (an image teased by the posters for Sam Raimi's classic), but then that monster is basically just another demon girl like we've already seen. Heck, they could've had it start as a girl then mutate into some truly hellish creature. And what the hell is up with Mia tearing off her own hand? That was so pointless and stupid. She screams when she rips it off, but then she acts like it doesn't even hurt. The pain would be unbearable, and she would bleed to death unless she took care of the wound quickly, but all she does is casually tuck her still-bleeding-and-should-be-horribly-painful-with-the-bone-sticking-out stump under her other arm. What the fuck? She isn't even going to wrap the wound? When the blonde girl earlier cut off her own arm, at least they covered it in duck tape and tried to deal with it realistically. At the end, they don't even give a fuck. Mia just stands there for the longest time, acting like it's a little scratch. You lost your fuckin hand because it got crushed under a jeep and you tore the rest off! I can't believe they had her act like it was nothing. Yes, I love Bruce's cameo although people made such a big deal about it tying everything together, I was expecting more, but it's always great to see him especially reprising Ash and saying his famous line.

By the way, what's up with the dog? I didn't even realize there was one until David found it dead. They really didn't set that up well at all.

Anyway, the movie wasn't awful. At least, they didn't make it PG-13 with CG blood or something atrocious like that, but it still could've been a lot better. And please quit trying to do CG fire.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Hot Girl of Horror #24: Anna Paquin

I've heard great things about True Blood, but I haven't watched any of it yet. I'm a huge fan of Trick 'r Treat, and I liked Scream 4 although I wish they would've taken more risks, but Anna Paquin's scene was a lot of fun. Of course, I thought she was excellent in X-Men, which is definitely not a horror movie. I did see Darkness (was I the only one?), but I don't remember anything about it except it was mediocre at best, and I swore I wouldn't watch it again (I might though since I'm curious why I really have no memory of it). It looks like that is all she has done in this genre. I definitely need to watch True Blood. I've just been a little sick of vampires lately, but hey, we got Let the Right One In so I shouldn't complain. Who am I kidding... I always complain. Yes, this is the point where I ramble about such and such like red shirts and red bras. Red panties. No correlation to the images below of course. None whatsoever. You believe me, right? I know... no one believes me. That's smart. I'm mumbling in the corner. Just don't drop the camera. Get it? Yep, I'm lame.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The End of Dexter

No spoilers here. I can't believe it's over... the final episode. I loved the show. Sure, some seasons were better than others (how do you top the Trinity Killer?), but I never thought any season was flat-out awful. Michael C. Hall was always phenomenal and kept Dexter interesting even through some of its weaker moments. All the actors and characters were pretty amazing. I really liked Doakes. "Stop grinning like a fuckin psycho and get back to work." Their scenes together in the first season were some of my favorites. He never fell for the phony smile or the box of donuts. Of course, I liked Deb too despite how crazy they made her in the last couple seasons, but everybody was great: Batista, LaGuerta, Masuka, even Quinn, and James Remar was perfect as Harry. It's so nuts how they got you to root for a serial killer and made him someone you can relate to... obviously, the fact he only killed bad guys (at least, that was his code) went a long way. Seeing him take out complete and utter scum was definitely a highlight. His uncertainty at how to handle fatherhood, his difficulty with human interaction and human emotions, the playfully ironic (and sometimes quite funny) voice-overs, watching him always talk to his dad for advice and care about his sister, etc. all helped show different sides of him so he wasn't just a one-dimensional monster. Then of course, placing him next to the worst psychotic killers out there who murdered and raped innocent people made Dexter seem almost like a saint in comparison. I don't think any adversary came close to John Lithgow's character Arthur Mitchell. He was so fuckin good, and the parallels to Dexter's own life gave it another level. That season was incredible. I want to re-watch it.

Ok, spoiler time. I kinda like the ending and I kinda don't. I didn't see it coming at all. I was actually hoping Dexter would get away with Hannah and Harrison. I hated Deb dying. I know Dexter is a serial killer obviously, and he did get good innocent people murdered like LaGuerta, but they did so well with the character that by the end, you're really on his side except yes, there's still the LaGuerta thing (and Doakes and Prado's brother and quite a few others you forget about, which is definitely bad). But seeing Dexter finally feel so many emotions and care about people, not wanting to kill but to just be with Hannah and his son, I really wanted them to be happy together. Harrison needs a father even if Dexter is screwed up (no father is perfect, and if Dexter stops killing, they shouldn't be in danger especially in a foreign country far away where no one knows them). But I understand why they ended it that way, and killing LaGuerta really was wrong so they shouldn't just get away with that. Plus, from Dexter's point of view, he hurt Deb really badly when she found out the truth about him yet even when he decided to not kill Saxon, Deb still ended up dead so to him, it must seem like no matter what he does, he hurts the people he loves, but Deb told him not to blame himself. It was kinda comically funny how easy it was for Dexter to steal Deb's body to put on his boat, but I guess everyone was focused on the hurricane, he did wheel her out on the bed, etc. I did love him killing Saxon with that pen. I read about the other proposed ending where Dexter wakes up at the end to a lethal injection as he sees all the people he murdered watching from the other side so the whole show was his life flashing before his eyes as he died, but I don't really like that either. Isn't death too easy of a way out? And you expect him to be dead or in jail. I just don't think Dexter would abandon his son since Harrison really does need him, but again, I kinda do like Dexter all by himself, completely alone and avoiding any human contact. I don't know how I feel about a spin-off or a new series. I wish the end was the end, but of course, if something makes a lot of money, they got to milk it for all they can. I would watch more, but Michael C. Hall would have to come back, and I hope the motivation wouldn't be purely financial.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Hot Girl of Horror #23: Odette Yustman

I've only seen one film of hers: Cloverfield, and I liked it a lot even though I'm sick of the found footage gimmick, but I thought that movie used it well without being annoying. Actually, I guess she had a tiny role in Transformers as a "socialite." Poor girl. I was curious about The Unborn, but I ended up skipping it despite the attractive poster (they really used her to sell it, didn't they?). Looks like the only other semi-horror flick of hers would be And Soon the Darkness. The reviews for it are pretty awful, but damn, can I live on that island? Amber Heard and her in bikinis? Good casting. Ok, I just found out something disturbing. She was in Kindergarten Cop. I have no idea which kid she played in that, and I don't want to know. Thanks IMDb. Update: she is awesome in the show Banshee, and if you haven't seen that show, you should correct that ASAP. Nudity aplenty... err, I mean an amazing story and characters but actually yes, it has both. She is a real badass in it too.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Are practical FX making a comeback?

I certainly hope so. Don't get me wrong. I think CGI can be an excellent tool and accomplish amazing things when it's not overused or abused, which is quite rare, but I grew up on Aliens, John Carpenter's The Thing, Predator, The Terminator, etc. so for me, nothing comes close to practical FX. I watched Movie Magic all the time as a kid. I loved it to death, and the fact these people could make real, moving monsters was just unbelievably incredible to me. Try to think of a CG werewolf that compares at all to An American Werewolf in London. I can't think of any computer-generated monsters that can stand up to Rob Bottin's phenomenal work on The Thing. I know some types of movies like superhero films probably couldn't be done without CGI, but even in that category, part of the reason why The Dark Knight was so exceptional is Nolan kept the computer effects to a minimum. Look at how little the shark appears in Jaws or how Ridley Scott creatively kept the titular creature hidden so much in Alien. One of the problems with CGI is people don't think there are any limits to it yet time and money are always obstacles so if you don't have the room in your budget to correct a computer effect or enough time to make it as photo-realistic as possible (or you have 500 shots to do when you can only manage 200), you're going to end up with sub-par results. There's just something so much more engrossing and exciting about real stunts and real creatures that physically exist in our world. Actors can give better performances, and filmmakers are forced to deal with real-world limitations, which so often end up improving the final product.

The Harbinger Down Kickstarter was insanely fascinating to me since Alec Gillis actually explained why studios opt for CGI when practical is usually cheaper (and better), and the reasoning blew my mind. They only care about the tax incentives from farming computer effects out to labor in other countries. You can see how the business side of filmmaking has completely overrun Hollywood. Everything has to be a franchise now with a brand name, endless sequels, merchandising tie-ins, and of course, the latest crappy computer effects to wow kids who've never seen practical FX. It's really a shame, but projects like Harbinger Down give me hope. I thought the days of practical-FX creature features were behind us so I'm extremely pleased to see someone pick up the torch. Fire City is another one I'm greatly anticipating, and as long as we've got some filmmakers like Adam Green who insist on using practical (so glad he used real wolves in Frozen and decided not to rely on shitty CG blood in the Hatchet films), there's still a chance the pendulum could swing back in the opposite direction. Ok, that'll never happen, but I can dream, and I'm going to do what little I can to help. I know tons of people like me want to see more practical FX, and thankfully, as already noted, some talented people in the industry like Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff, Jr. are pushing for this as well. Plus, you'd think with the popularity of shows like Face Off, more studio executives would get the hint, but obviously, they're blinded by box office numbers. If more and more practical-FX movies come out and do well though, who knows. I just want to see real monsters again. I know they're only one piece in a much larger puzzle. You need a great story and fantastic characters too, but for horror films especially, the FX matter. If Aliens or John Carpenter's The Thing were redone with crappy CGI (wait... The Thing was... yeah, I'm trying to forget the awful prequel), they would definitely lose something. So much of their incredible magic would be gone, and we can't let that happen. At least, not without a fight. If we want to see more practical FX, we've got to support those films. Of course, they need to be quality movies too, but heck, I'd still rather see a flawed practical-FX monster flick than some stupid CG SyFy piece of shit.

So are practical FX making a comeback? Probably not, but dammit, I hope so. I really, really hope so.

P.S. Can someone tell them to stop using CG blood? It sucks.
P.S.S. Why isn't Movie Magic out on DVD?

Monday, August 26, 2013

Hot Girl of Horror #22: Minka Kelly

The Pumpkin Karver... yep, that is a movie with a 3.2 rating on IMDb. Sounds like one of the best things about it is Minka Kelly. She was also in a horror flick called Devil's Highway (yet another 3.x rating). Apparently, her best foray into horror is 2011's The Roommate. I never saw any of these. Never even heard of them, and if you read the reviews out there, they all sound pretty bad. That seems to be the way it is for most actresses. Start out in some crappy horror movies, and then hopefully get some better jobs later on. Even Naomi Watts was in Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering (that's actually the subtitle so if you didn't know better, there'd be your first clue you're in for a wretched waste of celluloid... sadly, for poor Minka, it has a higher rating than both The Pumpkin Karver and Devil's Highway, but you got to start somewhere). And hey, you never know, those movies could be good. Maybe. Yeah. Probably not.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Frankenstein's Army has some amazing FX but too much shaky cam and weak characters.

After the incredible trailers for Worst Case Scenario, I couldn't wait to see this, and as far as the practical FX monsters go, the film doesn't disappoint, but unfortunately, they decided to use a found-footage-style, first-person perspective. That wouldn't have been bad if they avoided a ton of shaky cam. Sadly, they did not, and particularly at the beginning, it gets old fast. It also takes 20 minutes to get to the first real creature, which would've been fine if they developed the characters beforehand and made you care about them, but they don't. You just get cliched outlines: asshole, old guy in charge, the good guy, the newbie, etc.

I love this guy, but I don't even remember him in the movie. I'm sure he shows up somewhere, but he doesn't really do anything.

Another great design that is largely wasted. I know you can't do something with every creature, but he should've killed someone.

I would still recommend it for the awesome monsters, but I wish it didn't have so much damn shaky cam. I really hate that. A couple people have also pointed out that the Russians didn't have film cameras with built-in microphones back then. They probably should've just ditched the whole found-footage thing and shot it like a normal movie with some occasional POV shots. At its best though, the movie feels like a ride through a kickass haunted house with a wicked set of nasty bio-mechanical creations. If only they gave us some real characters to care about or some more time with the mad scientist (he actually isn't in it very much). Regardless, I'm sure I'll watch it again just for the crazy creatures. There's plenty of gore too. I just wish they did more with the story and the characters.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Raid Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations to Devin Sabas! The Blu-ray is on the way. Thanks to everyone for entering! I'll be doing another giveaway soon!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Hot Girl of Horror #21: Kate Beckinsale

I'm not really a fan of the Underworld movies (I can't believe there are four now), and I hated Van Helsing (worst Dracula ever and talk about some awful, awful CGI), but I still like Kate Beckinsale. She's a good actress, and of course, she's drop-dead gorgeous. From what everyone says, she's also the best thing about the completely unnecessary and bland Total Recall remake. Hopefully, she'll be in some better horror movies in the future. Maybe Vacancy was good, but I didn't see it. Van Helsing should've been good... Hugh Jackman, Dracula, Frankenstein's Monster, the Wolf Man. It takes some real talent to screw that up. Yeah, I'm still pissed about that movie. Frankenstein's Monster swinging on a cable? WTF? Even Beckinsale in a corset couldn't save that. Ok, I'll stop complaining. I just hope she can be in some better horror movies and please remake Van Helsing but do it right this time. That was such an awful film.