Tag Archives: horror

Carpe Scream Day 21

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Happy Future Day, Hill Vallians! We didn’t get hover-boards, but I think being able to stream movies via internet is a pretty awesome feature. So today on Netflix, I watched The Others, and now I will use future technology to tell more than my kids about it!

The Others, 2001, Warner Brothers

I had never seen this movie before, but sadly I’d had the ending spoiled for me about 10 years ago. And the scariest seen was already given away in the freaking trailer.

*siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh*

That being said, it was really entertaining to watch with the twist in mind. I could actually follow the second story very well and I liked the characters a lot. It made it definitely less-scary, but no less interesting. I’m not a huge Nichole Kidman fan either, and I found her captivating in this.

Nitpicking:I did flinch a few times at inaccuracies. The weird not-at-all-doctrinal views of supposedly Catholic teachings made a few scenes really groan-worthy. And memorial photos to “preserve souls?” Please. Memorial photos were mementos and nothing more, usually taken because family photos cost a tidy sum and there were very few occasions other than a birth or a wedding that people would gladly plonk down money for them.  Also, I like Christopher Eccleston, but I really don’t know why his character was even in it. His brief appearance didn’t give us any new information and it was sort of pointless and confusing

It would take a lot for me to say “no thanks” to this.

But the cinematography and great story-telling made this a great movie. I’ll add it to my yearly roster from now on.

Carpe Scream Day 16

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Okay I tried to watch this movie a few days ago and couldn’t even get through it. Today I finished it and I got to say, I don’t have a lot of love to spend on Oculus.

Oculus, 2014, WWE Studios

I mean, I think the trailer and the posters are actually 10 times scarier than the actual movie. The keyword for this movie is DISCOMFORT. The characters are uncomfortable, the pacing is uncomfortable, the soundtrack/ambient noise sounds like the score to a panic attack, and I get the feeling that even the actors are uncomfortable that they have this snoozer of a script to follow. Either they’re saying really dumb contradictory crap, or they’re Sam the Explaining the hell out of everything to the point where I stop caring. It’s almost all Karen Gillan and she’s always making THIS FACE while talking too fast.

“It’s plot exposition! It has to go somewhere!”

I was hoping for over-the-top demon-fighting with a mirror that eats people and dogs. What I get is people tearing off fingernails and eating lightbulbs. That’s not scary. It’s just gross. This psychological thriller would have done better if there was actually more thriller and less psychology (which mostly sounds like it was ripped off wikipedia and shoehorned in to over-explain things). But hey, from the minds behind the “paranormal activity” franchise, I probably shouldn’t expect too much. The worse sin being, that because we keep spastically jumping from past to present and crossing our pasts and maybe-pasts and perceived present, we don’t have an anchor, it’s really confusing, and it turns real peril into just a mishmash of “stuff happening.”

Apparently I’m not alone in my hatred of this movie because this guy,cinemasins nailed down about everything I hated about this movie.

WARNING SPOILERS, FOUL LANGUAGE AND GRAPHIC IMAGES!

Carpe Scream Day 14

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Wednesdays are family movie nights, so this Wednesday, I bring you another family-friendly monster movie: “Wallace & Gromit, The Curse of the Were-Rabbit”

Wallace & Gromit The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, 2005 Dreamworks

This is a fabulous send-up of your usual monster movie. Man wants to benefit mankind through science, something goes horribly wrong, man is now cursed to transform into being that stalks and destroys the people he was trying to save. Though in this case it’s vegetables. The movie is set in a sleepy Yorkshire village where everyone is trying to win the prize vegetable competition.

The send-ups and parallels of other famous monster movies like The Wolf Man, King Kong, and Dr. Jekyl & Mr. Hyde are brilliant and well worked in. Gripping dramatic camera shots, haunting music and brilliant animated expression add horror and gravitas to a very silly story.

My favorite is when Gromit comes across a mass of half-eaten vegetables and the camera gives you a graphic shot of pulp and seed and juices, while the orchestra goes nuts, and Gromit reels against the door, overcome by the senseless destruction. You can almost just imagine that a half-eaten squash is as horrifying to him as a bloodied broken corpse. It’s really well done and a great movie to share with the family.

Carpe Sceam Day 12

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Tonight I took a look at The Blair Witch Project.

The Blair Witch Project, 1999 Artisan Entertainment

I remember this coming out when I was in High School. The hype behind it was as subtle as this:

Movie studios don’t lie, do they?

The movie studios plugged this as hard as they could as a genuine documentary filmed by three dead people. They even went as far as to pay IMDB to list their credits as (missing: presumed dead).

And I think almost every high school student in the United States fell for it. I mean, with camera footage this crappy, with really bad sound and editing and obviously no real dialogue, what else could it be? A REAL studio wouldn’t release this motion-sickness inducing home video, right??  And really that’s why it was deemed to be one of the scariest horror movie of all time.

But the minute you realize that this was all a “plausible” hoax filmed in a public park with 2 handheld cameras (they had to stop filming every time families on their bikes road by), it really takes the wind out of the Blair Witch’s sail. Every vomit-inducing quick pan. Every sound blip, every time they TALK ABOUT THE F*** MAP…

(NSFW Language)

it just makes me really kind of angry at the studio for being the unholy mother chosen by Satan to give birth to all the found footage movies that are saturating the horror-movie genre right now: rollercoaster rides full of clunky dialogue and NOTHING HAPPENING.

Paranormal Activity 6: The Ghost Dimensions? Yeah. THANKS Blair Witch.

Go stand in the corner!!

Carpe Scream Day 11

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Today, I watched a classic Monster B-Movie, that wins the best movie song award: The Blob (1958)

Super Groovy.

This one features Steeve McQueen as a “young teen” that rallies a town to defend itself from an interstellar parasite that devours and absorbs flesh.

17 going on 28.

As far as movies go, this one certainly has a more sophisticated, compellingly written and well shot production quality, and is just plain entertaining. I love the cast, the varied characters, the real struggle of the teens fighting for their town and the people who eventually help champion them. My only complaint is that the pacing can get a bit slow in places.

It’s also not afraid to laugh at itself, which any horror movie should be if it can help it.

I think there’s some requirement that all 50’s SciFi movies contain a character named “Steve.”

I remember seeing this one when I was younger, and finding the blob pretty terrifying. I mean, it “dissolves” you. How horrible is that?

It also makes a great marinade.

As a parting gift I leave you with The Blob drinking game:

Every time someone says “Steve,” take a drink. Don’t die.

Carpe Scream Day 8

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Day 8 is here, and I’m dipping back into the retro vault for some old-fashioned B-movies like…

House on Haunted Hill, 1959 Castle Films

This movie centers around a party at a haunted house where the guests must stay the night to win a big cash prize. It features the crown prince of terror, Vincent Price, and some ladies who are very good at screaming. It lives up to the Castle tradition of containing about 14 minutes of plot in it’s 75 minute run-time. But despite the cheesy special effects and some really LOOONG pauses, it’s great fun to watch, especially if you watch one of the many available commentary tracks for this. My favorite is via RiffTrax. And if you think old films are too sacred to poke fun at, I submit this side-splittingly terrible moment.

“Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!” I love my new roller skates!

And there are actually some very good thrilling scenes in it, like with the phantom rope. Eating fine brie every day is a bore. Some days I just want the guilty pleasure of some creamy salty American Kraft singles in my movies.

Carpe Scream Day 7

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Today I watched Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride.

Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride, 2005 Warner Bros. Pictures

I remember the excitement over this movie coming out in 2005. I think we were all waiting for another enchanting Nightmare Before Christmas with a Victorian grimdark flair. Unfortunately when you set the bar at the top, anything less is just…well lesser.

The movie starts out promisingly, with a strong cast, interesting premise that’s rife with old world mystery and charm and Burton’s famous stark colour palettes of greys and blues. And then somewhere around the middle the story just starts to slow down. Our zany underworld characters are more twee than charming and seem a bit forced in for comic relief, like Cinderella’s mice.

Peter Lorre is SO big with the kids these days.

The Peter Lorre impersonating maggot is to blame for most of it. The kids didn’t get the reference and he didn’t earn more from the adults than a tired eye-roll. The songs start out strong, but sort of peter out as Elfman rather phones in the later numbers.

That being said, it’s still a fun movie. I love watching it with my kids and thrilling to the creepy Emily, laughing at the goofy ghosts. They even get all swoony over Victor and Victoria, which is remarkable in a kids’ film and they got so excited when Christopher Lee (God rest him) showed up.

Now it’s a party, bitches.

When all’s said and done the worst thing that could be said about Corpse Bride is that it’s not Nightmare Before Christmas, and that ain’t bad.

Carpe Scream Day 6

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So, today I saw the 3rd installment of the Omen franchise, The Omen III, (The Final Conflict)

The Omen III The Final Conflict, 20th Century Fox

This movie was a rather dissappointing finale to the storyline. There’s just a whole lot of nothing happening in it and it’s chock full of thrilling poorly-lit action sequences.

the omen 3

Pictured: Actual action-packed action (probably).

Seriously, when you compare this to the almost cartoony deaths of Omen II, these deaths are almost like in Disney movies when we have the bad guy fall off a cliff into shadow.

When things do start to happen (at around the Half-hour mark) it gets good. Sam Neil has some great performances and things start moving, we’re introduced to the second Christ, and then…. a baby-killing sequence. Fun. Stuff. I get that it’s supposed to set the tone and be a parallel to the infant genocide of King Herod, but it’s a gruesome sequence and uncomfortably long.

It’s also the 3rd movie where we’ve seen absolutely no conflict of powers between God and Satan. Whenever Satan attacks something holy, it’s a one-sided struggle (and I use the word struggle lightly). It’s the 3rd movie, and we’ve still seen no real conflict, not even an internal one, which they hinted at in the second movie.

When Damien is a little boy, he’s weaker, vulnerable, and there’s a sense of danger and uncertainty. Now that Damein is a big strapping grown-up, it’s pretty boring.

Please, Lord, help to ease Monica’s pain and let her not have to watch this movie again, Thy will be done.

I was hoping for an ultimate showdown at the end, but end came as a quick “bam”, some cheesy lights, and the Mormon Tabernacle choir. UGGH. There was so much more they could have done with this if they’d led with characters and not with events.

Final note on the Franchise: Watch movies one and two, and then read Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. 

Carpe Scream Day 5

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Today, I watched one of my Halloween Favorites: Sleepy Hollow

Sleepy Hollow, 1999 Paramount Pictures

Let me just start out by saying, that this movie is pretty much what I wanted Sweeny Todd to be. It’s just so much over-the-top, gory, grimdark fun! It’s got its weak points like the zero-chemistry between Depp and Ricci, the terrible writing for Katrina’s character, and oodles of anachronisms (yes, I know, it’s just silly fun!). But the stark palette of black, white, and red is visually gripping. Elfman’s terrifying score gives me fever chills every time I listen to it. It also features a large talented cast of “Hey,I know that guy!” fame.

Pictured: Alfred, Principal Rooney, Chancellor Palpatine, Uncle Vernon, and Dumbledore

All and all, the wonderful cast and story, are all whimsically dark and entertaining. I harbor a secret wish that Burton returns to some of this witty, nutsy, style of movie soon. Hell, he can even stick Depp and Bonham-Carter in it. What the hell.

Fun Fact: Johnny Depp himself stated that Ichabod Crane was an easy character to get a hold of, once he imagined himself playing a 16-year-old girl.

Escort Miss Depp to the fainting couch.

DOUBLE FEATURE

These days, I ALWAYS follow up this movie with the Disney Short of the same story.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, 1949 Walt Disney Pictures

This one is much more faithful to the original story, in fact the narration is taken almost entirely from it. And it’s narrated by the king of the velvet voice, Bing Crosby. Disney perfectly captivated this wonderfully humorous story of two ruthless gold-diggers out to nab the richest, hottest peach in town.

She’s got huuuuuuuuge tracts of land!

My favorite part is the Halloween Dance and the musical number Bing performs. This cartoon used to scare the hell out of me as a kid, but damn if I didn’t love every bit of it.

This is definitely one of my favorite stories and an American Treasure.