Page 6 of 7 FirstFirst ... 4567 LastLast
Results 101 to 120 of 126

Thread: Fright Fest 12: The Horrors of Learning Your ABCs

  1. #101

    Re: Fright Fest 12: The Horrors of Learning Your ABCs

    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf Beast View Post
    I didn't even realize I'd requested 13 Sins last year too
    I imagine if I were to go through all past Fright Fests, there would have been a fair share of multiple requested films in different years.

    Of the other films so far that I've seen, Brightburn was a decent idea, and another fairly easy watch, but it just felt as if the kid embraced the evil too easily without any kind of struggle with his conscience between good/evil. Wasn't very keen on The Dead Don't Die. There's good performances, and that was about all that kept me watching, but the story didn't really do anything for me.
    Eh, Brightburn was about an alien. His lack of empathy felt natural to me.

  2. #102

    Re: Fright Fest 12: The Horrors of Learning Your ABCs

    Day #21
    Title: Us
    Country: United States/China/Japan (REALLY?!)
    Year: 2019
    Director: Jordan Peele




    Following a traumatic event from her childhood, a woman fears what could be waiting as she returns to an idyllic oceanfront town.


    Following the monster, and surprising, success of debut feature film, Get Out, it’d be an understatement to say that Jordan Peele had some heavy pressure on him to deliver again when Get Out was considered an instant classic. Rather than ride the success of Get Out and either release a similar movie or even Get Out 2, Peele attempted to tell a very different horror story.

    Initially watching Us on the big screen, I came away feeling as if it was superior to the slightly overrated Get Out. While I had Us ranked as the second best horror film of 2019 (Behind One Cut of the Dead), Get Out just made the top ten at #8 behind such films as The Devil’s Candy, IT Chapter 1, Raw, and Better Watch Out in 2017. While I wouldn’t necessarily say that my opinion of Us has dropped, it is a different film from my recollection. For instance, I had remembered Us as being this violent and bloody movie, but in actuality, there’s a clear effort placed in minimizing the violence by cutting away from the kills. What hasn’t changed is a belief that while Get Out is mostly a straightforward tale that then has a ton of nods or hints at what’s going on, Us is a far more complicated story that leaves some things ambiguous and thrives on subsequent theories. Just as Adelaide was seen dragging her bad leg behind her as she was on the hunt resembled that of Jack Torrance, so does Us follow The Shining’s formula of finding comfort in not explaining everything.

    In fact, I’m struggling to determine how to review Us when my impulse is to strictly discuss various theories and dive into the twists of the movie. Before I do that though, let’s go over some basics that don’t revolve around theories or twists. The score is wonderful and nicely increases the eeriness of the film. The blending of hip hop and spookiness goes well together. In general, I found Us to be a lot scarier than Get Out where it concerns visuals. Most members of the Tethered maintain this creepy grin on their face. Although the Tethered aren’t nearly as dangerous as they’re perceived to be based on the death count, they felt incredibly threatening to me. Lupita Nyong'o as Adelaide/Red put on an amazing performance that is likely the only actress to even approach the perfection that was Toni Collette in Hereditary in recent horror history. Similarly to Get Out, Jordan Peele put an absurd amount of effort in including so many nods to various things. This includes both nods to different aspects of the movie (Such as Zora wearing a rabbit t-shirt) or to other horror movies (Like the filming of The Lost Boys at the carnival in the 1986 scene). A viewer could reasonably find additional nods with each subsequent watch of Us.

    So now let’s dive into the nitty gritty. The big twist in the third act is what garnered a lot of talk for Us after moviegoers went to see it. My recollection is that I suspected that Adelaide was born a member of the Tethered, but I didn’t begin to suspect it until late in the movie. When you re-watch the movie, there’s a ton of clues to this. I’m a fan of the twist though, not just for providing viewers with hints to look for in future viewings, but it added some interest in terms of the character such as giving Adelaide a lot more reason to be terrified of what was happening due to knowing who the Tethered actually are. The big debate though is whether or not Jason was actually a member of the Tethered or not. You can find many Youtube videos on the topic, each providing their examples of proof that Jason isn’t from our world. Some pieces of evidence include Jason’s building of sand tunnels on the beach, his difficulty in performing his magic trick, and how strange he tends to be especially in comparison to Zora. I will admit that it does stand out how often Adelaide is concerned about Jason being missing, insinuating that she knows what can happen when a child goes missing and helping create a bigger connection between mother and son. Personally, I don’t support the theory though. It’s an awkward theory when you realize that the belief is that Jason and Pluto were switched around a year earlier when you remember what difficulty Adelaide had in coming off as being “Normal” around her parents. What difficulty is Jason facing as a former member of the Tethered now living in the overworld? He struggles with a magic trick? He’s not the most popular? That seems pretty normal to me. If anything, Jason's oddness reflects someone who is a son of a member of the Tethered and has been raised his entire life by one parent who struggles to appear to be normal.

    For a movie that has such immense effort placed on nods, foreshadowing, and references, I do find it odd how little is actually explained or appears to be plot holes. The biggest being how every member of the Tethered is forced to replicate the actions of their counterparts in the overworld...except when they don’t. Considering what a gigantic effort it would have taken to plan the uprising, it seems impossible that Red could accomplish such a task when the Tethered didn’t have control of their own lives and daily living was so limited that they were forced to rely on eating rabbits to survive. For that matter, considering the whole existence of the Tethered was so secretive, it seems awfully convenient that a little girl could wander into the passageway between the under and overworld. I know that the super vague government experiment had been abandoned, but you’d think that there would have at least been a locked door somewhere. So little of this movie makes sense, but this criticism can be applied to The Shining as well.

    The fact that Us was so ambiguous is what I’d consider to be a major strength. It’s not a popcorn flick where you watch it once and you forget all about it. Along with Hereditary and It Chapter 1, I spent so much time discussing the movie with friends - hearing about different theories, spotting various Easter eggs, and just in general trying to wrap my mind around what all was happening. I love being able to find such films that generate so much discussion when a lot of horror can be so surface layer.

    Overall, in some ways, Us isn’t the same picture I saw at the cinema nearly two years ago. The violence I remembered seeing never actually existed, few events in the film are properly explained, and Adelaide’s family has such an easy time all surviving the movie because the Tethered seem disinterested in offing them when they have the opportunities to do so. At the same time, the movie allows for so much discussion and the trading of theories, has a wonderful score, is visually unnerving, and features a breakout performance by Lupita Nyong'o (Well for me since I apparently missed her in all of her appearances in other blockbusters like Black Panther or 12 Years a Slave). Us was a film where Jordan Peele could try to connect a million different real life events, theories, and reference points together. Does it sometimes feel as if he was more concerned about adding some absurd link between an aspect of the Tethered and a damn t-shirt from the 1980s rather than properly explaining all of the events in the movie? Sure, but I’m all for Peele expressing his creativity as he continues to strive to be more than just a horror director. I know I’m excited to see where he goes from here.

    Grade: B

    Fright in Motion:

    Spoiler:


    ---

    Coming up next, the letter is V. It’s obviously going to be vampire based. Duh.

  3. #103

    Re: Fright Fest 12: The Horrors of Learning Your ABCs

    Day #22
    Title: Vampires
    Country: United States/Japan
    Year: 1998
    Director: John Carpenter




    After Jack Crow’s vampire slaying crew is massacred by the most powerful vampire master, Valek, Crow must set out to stop Valek before the evil can discover a way to walk during the day.


    When going through the filmography of John Carpenter, it’s not difficult to see what genres shaped his mind as a child. Carpenter might be one of the most well known horror directors, but it’s sci-fi and especially westerns that Carpenter found a love and appreciation for. With that in mind, you can see the influences that westerners have had throughout his career. Carpenter has never shied away from showing his fondness for Howard Hawk’s films including remaking Hawks’ The Thing from Another World and Rio Bravo. The latter was remade twice, first with the original Assault on Precinct 13 and again in 2001 with Ghost of Mars, which just happens to be a sci-fi film.

    It’s understanding Carpenter’s interest in this genre and its characteristics that makes a lot of his film choices more understandable. At the same time, this is where I feel Vampires is immediately hit with a hurdle that it’s unable to jump over. Carpenter loves his cliché macho hero longer character that kicks ass and has some wise cracking lines to further show off how cool he is. Why do you think Carpenter happened to cast Kurt Russell in multiple movies? Russell, especially as Snake Plissken oozed this cool character that got the job done and kicked a whole lot of ass in the process. Roddy Piper’s Nada even boldly stated, “I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass... and I'm all out of bubblegum.” in 1988’s They Live. This is the sort of character that Carpenter loves to depict and time after time, he shows just how good he is at finding the right actor to portray him.

    I’m willing to bet that the first time I ever saw James Woods in any sort of movie or TV show, it was in Carpenter’s Vampires. For years, I saw Woods as the sort of actor who was naturally a bad ass who could also talk the talk. If I were to wager a bet, it may have been a full twenty years since I last saw Vampires. This time around, I can’t help, but feel as if Woods is terribly miscast. At no point whatsoever do I buy the character he’s desperately trying to portray. Jack Crow feels as if it was written with someone like Russell in mind. Without Russell’s natural coolness, Crow comes across as an asshole when he’s trying to state his biggest lines and is awkward when attempting to come across as a tough guy. You can say a lot of things about Woods, but he is a good actor. It’s just that he excels at playing the unlikable smarmy asshole. I’m not saying Disney’s Hercules is a particularly strong animated movie, but even Disney knew what sort of role to cast Woods in. Jack Crow being believable, the movie suffers.

    Story wise, Vampires don't bring much to the table. You’ve got your big bad vampire on the hunt for a means of being outside during the day without being fried up. Enter our MacGuffin for the movie - a big old black cross. The story is padded out more with Crow’s buddy, Montoya (Played by the most forgettable Baldwin brother, Daniel) caring for and eventually falling for the soon to be vampire, Katrina. Since she has a Halloween 5-like mental link with Valek, Crow believes she’ll be of some good in trying to hunt down the ever dangerous Valek. Once the film ditched the vampire hunting after a large party turned massacre committed by Valek against all of Crow’s crew, the film’s pace slows down and becomes a bore. It’s clear that besides his love of westerns, Vampires sought inspiration from From Dusk Till Dawn as it blends westerns, vampirism, and Mexican culture all together. Considering how much superior From Dusk is to Vampires, you’re better off sticking with the Robert Rodriguez film instead.

    I haven’t been all that positive on Vampires, but if there is one area in which it doesn’t disappoint it’s the effects and gore. As I said, it had been many years since I had watched Vampires, so I was a little concerned that the film would use that new fangled CGI that was starting to pop up a lot in the late 90s. I have little doubt that had the film been shot ten years later, maybe even just a short five years, it would have been nearly entirely CGI. Instead, the effects are wonderfully crafted by the fine folks over at KNB EFX. The best effect comes early on in the film as Valek bursts into a motel room and slaughters Crow’s crew starting with one man who was ripped in half with a single hand. It’s a shame the film didn’t rely more on just watching the carnage that Valek is capable of unleashing because it greatly outdoes the tired story.

    Overall, I love John Carpenter. Halloween is literally the reason why I became a horror fan. However, you either pull a James Whale and leave the horror industry when you’re still on top or you last long enough that you find yourself a shell of your former self. The 90s was a decade where Carpenter’s drop in quality became apparent and Vampires stands out as his weakest of the decade. In fairness to Carpenter, I don’t know if he could have made James Woods work as Jack Crow even during his peak. The story is dull, the film tries too hard to attempt to be cool, and all that’s left is the practical effects to try and carry the production. I recommend only watching Vampires’ when you’re going through Carpenter’s filmography or you want a better understanding of what makes his superior films work. Sadly, Vampires exhibit the opposite of what Carpenter did to succeed in his prime.

    Grade: D

    Fright in Motion:

    Spoiler:


    ---

    Coming up next, last year we barely escaped traveling through the outback, now we must go back.

  4. #104
    Big Papa's Avatar

    Status
    Online
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    16,685
    Rep Power
    1217651

    Re: Fright Fest 12: The Horrors of Learning Your ABCs

    Interesting timing. I rewatched Vampires earlier this month. Loved it back in the day but been years since I've seen it. Completely agree on James Woods being horribly miscast. Honestly, he might have been better as the dickish sidekick character, with someone with more natural charisma as the lead. Or if they stick with Woods, then morph the Crow character into something other than the tough badass leader... But it definitely could have done with more likeability in the lead and sidekick roles.
    EVERY ENDING IS A NEW BEGINNING.
    YOUR LUCKY NUMBER IS NONE.
    YOUR LUCKY COLOUR IS DEAD.
    Motto:
    LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON.



  5. #105

    Re: Fright Fest 12: The Horrors of Learning Your ABCs

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Papa View Post
    Interesting timing. I rewatched Vampires earlier this month. Loved it back in the day but been years since I've seen it. Completely agree on James Woods being horribly miscast. Honestly, he might have been better as the dickish sidekick character, with someone with more natural charisma as the lead. Or if they stick with Woods, then morph the Crow character into something other than the tough badass leader... But it definitely could have done with more likeability in the lead and sidekick roles.
    I don't know if even altering the character of Crow over the course of the film would have helped. I was doubting the believability of the character from literally the first scene he was in.

  6. #106
    Big Papa's Avatar

    Status
    Online
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    16,685
    Rep Power
    1217651

    Re: Fright Fest 12: The Horrors of Learning Your ABCs

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim View Post
    I don't know if even altering the character of Crow over the course of the film would have helped. I was doubting the believability of the character from literally the first scene he was in.
    Sorry, I was meaning more in terms of the writing of the character. If you HAVE to cast James Wood, evolve the writing of the character in the script to fit him. The leather jacket-wearing, wise-cracking badass is a poor fit. I can imagine Woods pulling off a Constantine-type character - world weary and snarky, with the badassery more subtle.
    EVERY ENDING IS A NEW BEGINNING.
    YOUR LUCKY NUMBER IS NONE.
    YOUR LUCKY COLOUR IS DEAD.
    Motto:
    LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON.



  7. #107

    Re: Fright Fest 12: The Horrors of Learning Your ABCs

    Day #23
    Title: Wolf Creek 2
    Country: Australia
    Year: 2013
    Director: Greg McLean




    Mick Taylor is back to hunt down those poor souls that happen to be traveling across the Outback.


    Last year, I spoke heavily about my love and personal experiences with the original Wolf Creek. It’s a movie that I’m still able to greatly appreciate. A core reason for its success was its unpredictability including not even recognizing what the threat would be for nearly the entire first half of the film. When news broke that Wolf Creek would be getting a sequel and that both director, Greg McLean, and its star, John Jarratt would be returning, I was pretty thrilled. Could they recapture the match that was created in 2005?

    I suppose it shouldn’t have surprised me that Wolf Creek 2 picked up where its predecessor left off in terms of not being what I expected. After re-watching Wolf Creek 2, I went back and read over my review for the original Wolf Creek again, trying to get back into that same mind space I was in with the movie so fresh on my mind. Something that stuck out to me in that review was a little throwaway line at the end - “Mick’s very Freddy Krueger-like…” While watching Wolf Creek 2, I couldn’t shake the impression that the tone reminded me of a slasher sequel four or five entries into the franchise. I specifically recall getting similar vibes as I would watching say A Nightmare on Elm Street 5 or something comparable.

    Typically, this tonal change occurs over the course of multiple films highlighted by the killer gaining a larger and larger role, the victims becoming more forgettable, and the killer’s few witty lines becomes a full blown comedy routine. Wolf Creek 2 jumps right ahead by putting all of the focus on its killer by opening the film up with Taylor not only being the lead, but placing him in a sympathetic role by being subjected to being pulled over and harassed by a couple of shady police officers. While Mick naturally takes things too far it’s easy to empathize with him being mistreated and Mick giving the police a chance to back away by confirming that they wish to proceed with giving him a ticket. For Mick, it’s not his “Fault” that this had to happen. He didn’t wish to use his shotgun to blow the brains out of the younger police officer and turn the older police officer into his trademark ‘Head on a stick’ before burning him alive. They practically forced him to do so!

    If that opening scene wasn’t enough to convince the viewers that it’s Mick who is now the lead of the franchise, the next story introduces a new pair of soon to be victims, neither of which end up surviving to see even the halfway point of the film. It’s a jarring experience though as Mick is far less sympathetic as his victims this time around aren’t the ones who started the problem nor are they the bad guys in the scenario. We’re introduced to a young German couple, Rutger and Katarina, backpacking through the Outback. It’s a long build-up as the couple is struggling to find rides as they slowly arrive at their destination of the famed Wolf Creek. The horror genre can be a little odd in that the killers can still be likable when they’re slicing and dicing, but the prospect of sexual assault is where some viewers may draw the line. I wasn’t fond of Mick’s creepy behavior towards Katarina. It gets to the point where it seems as if Mick is moments away from raping her before the already injured Rutger comes to her defense before succumbing for good at Mick’s hands.

    Rather than turn the film into a survival horror with this Katarina as the star, we’re introduced to yet another new arrival in the form of British traveler, Paul, who happens across Katarina and being the good Samaritan that he is, tries to help her reach safety. Instead, one poorly aimed shot by Mick causes her sudden death and the film finally settles on a story with Taylor turning all of his rage after losing his latest female plaything in wanting to take out his frustration out on Paul. This survival horror takes place across the Outback with Paul nearly killed multiple times before finally settling on a cave of sorts that Mick has transformed into his den for misdeeds against the women he’s picked up.

    The unexpected comedy or cheese factor doesn’t let up there though as Paul stumbles into discovering Mick’s weakness - jokes. Paul managed to prolong his own death by keeping Mick entertained, showing off a new side of Mick that perhaps all of these other victims stood a chance if they could just find a way to humor him. I suppose this is where the film can succeed because it’s really putting over what a crazed psychopath Mick is when he finds all of these murders and agonies of torture to be entertaining to him. The very fate of Paul highlights Mick’s peculiar attitude as Mick opts to keep Paul alive after all. Rather than this being positive news for Paul, surviving this only results in police suspecting him as being the one who did all of the killings forcing Paul to have a mental breakdown as a result. Perhaps by allowing Paul to live wasn’t a charitable move by Mick, but rather a carefully crafted choice to ensure his own protection.

    One point of contention for Wolf Creek was the claims of misogyny that ran wild on it. Personally, I didn’t feel it was misogynistic since the character of Liz was treated so well while sole survivor, Ben, was utterly hopeless. This time around, the lack of a strong female character became glaringly obvious. Minus the old lady that briefly took Paul in, every woman in this movie was just presented as either a soon to be sexual victim for Mick or a now deceased woman who had been a sexual victim for Taylor. At the same time, much like the previous film, Wolf Creek 2 doesn’t present men in the best of lights either. Besides Mick being Mick, you have the two crooked police officers, the German boyfriend who fails to save his girlfriend, and lastly Paul. Paul may not be as pathetic as Ben, but the only thing he manages to succeed at is making Mick laugh. Unlike Ben, who technically managed to get away on his own, admittedly because Mick never bothered checking in on him, Paul only managed to escape because Mick transported him to safety. I think it all comes down to the fact that Mick Taylor and the Wolf Creek property isn’t misogynistic, but rather it’s mean spirited. This strikes me as odd since the Wolf Creeks are centering around a wise cracking killer and how is that any different from any other horror franchise that features a similar killer? All I can come away with is that wise cracking killers tend to be supernatural of some sort. Freddy Krueger was a demon that had been killed and returned to haunt teenagers in their nightmares. Chucky was a doll that happened to have the soul of a serial killer. Now Mick Taylor? He’s a believable regular person. Unlike the Child’s Play/Chucky and A Nightmare on Elm Street franchises, the Wolf Creek films presents itself as being based on a true story. Again, another layer to Mick Taylor being realistic, which makes his actions come across as more mean spirited than similar lines and actions by Freddy Krueger.

    Overall, just as I did when I originally watched Wolf Creek 2, I come away a little disappointed with this latest watch. Much like any sequel in any horror franchise, you will know what’s the threat going into the movie unlike with the original movie. This is especially a shortcoming of Wolf Creek 2 because the surprises in Wolf Creek were one of the strongest aspects of the movie. You know exactly who and what Mick Taylor is capable of doing in this movie from the first moment he’s on the screen. That lacks some of the fun, but Taylor is still his wonderful wise cracking self. There’s a lot more comedy in this movie, which doesn’t help with the overall quality of the film. The victims here lack any depth and are clearly here just to be killed by Mick. If you’re like me and you love the original Wolf Creek, I suppose it’s worth watching this movie just to get more of Mick, but the tone is so different here that I wouldn’t say that McLean recaptured the magic that he fell into in 2005.

    Grade: C

    Fright in Motion:

    Spoiler:


    ---

    Coming up next, Fuji thinks it’s a certainty that the X movie will be Xtro? Well joke’s on him.

  8. #108

    Re: Fright Fest 12: The Horrors of Learning Your ABCs

    Day #24
    Title: X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes
    Country: United States
    Year: 1963
    Director: Roger Corman




    After a doctor discovers a way to give himself X-Ray vision, he quickly discovers that his new found power can be too much to control.


    Ah, Roger Corman. Throughout the 12 editions of Fright Fest, I don’t believe I’ve covered any of his movies. I believe the closest I’ve come to covering one of his movies was Silence of the Lambs where Corman was given a bit acting part. There was a time in horror where Corman was the busiest man in all of horror. Case in point, in 1957, Corman directed three horror movies in addition to the six other movies he was directing in that year alone. In a lot of ways, Corman became the inspiration for the folks over at Full Moon or Troma. It’s all about turnover and moving onto the next picture. In the case of X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes (Also released as simply ‘X’), it took three weeks to film everything. That seemed especially long for a Corman film, but watching the movie, it seems as if it’s only that long because it’s such an ambitious B movie.

    For such a small budget movie, I have to give Corman credit for attempting to go all out for this movie. X has both a big car chase at the end of the film and a ton of special effects sprinkled throughout the film. Given that this is from the 1960s and a small budget film, the special effects do come across as a bit poor though. The very last moment of the film is supposed to be this huge horror moment as Dr. Xavier is so distraught over the anguish in dealing with his X-Ray eyes that he plucks his now blackened eyes out of its sockets only for the sockets to have basically small bits of red paper over his eyes to represent blood. Rather than being grossed out, like I imagine the movie was going for, I burst out in laughter. It looked utterly ridiculous, but gosh darn it, I loved it. The rest of the special effects was geared towards the trippy X-Ray vision. I imagine these moments could be a real hoot if you watch it while under the influence.

    The story, itself, is bizarre in that it comes across as an adaption of perhaps a comic series, but rather than tell the story over the course of a few movies, it’s all compressed into one feature length movie. There’s so much happening in X, but the plot never remains on one story for too long. The first third introduces the viewers to Dr. James Xavier as he creates the eye drops that allows the user to see through objects. Initially, it’s all fun and games as Xavier has some fun taking the eye drops before going to a party to see through all of the clothes of the women. Later, he discovers that he’s able to spot the problem with a sick girl, recognizing that her doctor has it all wrong and if the planned surgery ends up happening, she’ll be killed. This is essentially all of the drama that the eye drops creates early on. A battle of two doctors who both believe they know what’s truly wrong with the sick girl with Xavier ultimately winning out by cutting the surgeon at the start of the surgery so that he’s forced to take over and proceed with what he believes is the right surgery. Then in the biggest surprise of the movie, when he’s confronted by a friend about his over reliance of the eye drops, Xavier snaps, pushes his friend, resulting in the friend crashing through a window and falling to his death.

    With Xavier now on the run following the murder, the film jumps an unspecificed amount of time into the future. It’s at least a month, but likely longer. Now, not only is Xavier no longer a practicing doctor, but he’s now a sideshow act at a carnival, using his X-Ray vision to be a mind reader. This is such an abrupt change of pace that I’m struggling to see how he landed in such a position. When a man named Crane (Played by Don Rickles) recognizes that Xavier is legit and there’s no tricks to his powers, Crane realizes that there’s better ways to exploit Xaiver’s gifts. That’s when the movie moves into a new story with Xavier working as a healer because he can now see inside of the body to see if say a heart is in bad shape or not. All of this attention eventually got back to his love interest, Dr. Diane Fairfax, who hadn’t seen Xavier in months ever since the murder of his friend. With the pair reunited, it’s decided that they’re going to leave Crane behind and live in hiding in Canada, but first they need money. The solution? Vegas, baby! Xavier uses his X-Ray eyes to cheat his way into winning a fortune, but in doing so gains some enemies in the casino which leads to a chase scene with a helicopter all while Xavier’s eyesight is so trippy and messed up that it’s a miracle that he doesn’t immediately crash his car. Eventually, the crash does happen and Xavier stumbles into a sketchy church sermon under a tent where the priest is the one to instruct Xavier to pluck out his eyes once Xaiver admits to seeing such evil things with them. You know, the whole “If thine eye offends thee...pluck it out” line from the bible. Do you see how all over the place the movie is? Everything felt rushed rather than being a traditional traveling based movie.

    Ideally, I would have liked to see more horror injected into X. The first half of the movie is your standard mad scientist film, but unlike something like the original The Invisible Man, Xavier isn’t given enough time to go completely bonkers. He crossed some lines in cutting the surgeon during the operation scene, but it’s a little nick on the doctor’s hand and it was ultimately to save the little girl’s life. Likewise, the murder of his friend was pretty extreme, but the scene was so over the top in that Xavier just meant to shove his friend away. It’s not his fault that his friend fell through a window. As things became more and more trippy with Xavier’s eyesight becoming otherworldly, it would have been beneficial had he struggled to identify what’s really in front of him and what isn’t, resulting in some deaths. Ray Milland, who played Dr. Xavier, was fairly likeable though. It’s a bit of a change of pace from seeing Milland as the bad guy in Dial M for Murder.

    Overall, for a movie I chose to watch solely because it’s one of the very few horror movies that began with the letter X, it was...fine. More than anything, I’m left with the impression that it’s a real shame that we’ve yet to see a remake with modern effects. Considering what an important role the effects had in the movie, it feels a little too ahead of its time with the limitations of the early 60s. The other downfall is that the movie tried packing way too much into the story rather than fully flesh out the ideas they already had.

    Grade: C

    Fright in Motion:

    Spoiler:


    ---

    Coming up next, thanks to COVID, you didn’t need to head to the movie theater to watch this 2020 horror.

  9. #109
    Indy Talent

    Status
    Offline
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Location
    Brooklyn, NY
    Posts
    395
    Rep Power
    171732
      Country                    United States

    Re: Fright Fest 12: The Horrors of Learning Your ABCs

    I really don't like the name Mick Taylor for the villain in Wolf Creek. Such a generic and uninspiring name...

  10. #110

    Re: Fright Fest 12: The Horrors of Learning Your ABCs

    Quote Originally Posted by Bro View Post
    I really don't like the name Mick Taylor for the villain in Wolf Creek. Such a generic and uninspiring name...
    I'd say that can be looked upon as a positive. If Mick Taylor is this unmemorable name, it fits Mick's character well. He's not someone who is supposed to stand out. After all, he's a character that law enforcement aren't even sure if he exists or not.

  11. #111
    Indy Talent

    Status
    Offline
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Location
    Brooklyn, NY
    Posts
    395
    Rep Power
    171732
      Country                    United States

    Re: Fright Fest 12: The Horrors of Learning Your ABCs

    True, in the context of the movie it might be the right choice if the creators were looking for this effect. I am just looking from marketing standpoint. I learned from my old screenwriting classes professor (RIP) that one of the most important things in your script is to give memorable name of your protagonist. It should be catchy and easy to remember.

    I completely forgot the name of the killer in Wolf Creek. I was calling him "The Wolf Creek Killer", before I read your review lol.

  12. #112

    Re: Fright Fest 12: The Horrors of Learning Your ABCs

    Day #25
    Title: You Should Have Left
    Country: United States/United Kingdom
    Year: 2020
    Director: David Koepp




    As a troubled man takes his family on vacation to Wales, he learns that he can’t escape his demons.


    Insecurity. It’s one of the most powerful emotions one can feel and one that everyone has felt at some point in their lives. For Theo (Played by Six Degrees of Bacon, himself, Kevin Bacon), insecurity is what every aspect of his life is now based around. Being married to a younger woman, Susanna (Played by Amanda Seyfried), he’s insecure over the age difference. He’s insecure over the fact that Susanna is an actress, meaning there’s going to be times in which she has to act out intimate moments with other men. Not just other men, but younger men. Theo is even insecure about just showing his face around others due to the very public death of his first death and the suspicions that he may have had a hand in it. It’s due to this tragic backstory that Theo struggles to find security in his own family, which includes a young daughter, because of some clear distance between himself and his wife and daughter. Whether that distance is natural or self-inflicted isn’t entirely known, but it’s evident that Theo doesn’t have a place of comfort in his current day’s life.

    When a chance opportunity presents itself for Theo’s family to go off on a vacation in the countryside of Wales before Susanna is set to start up a new project, it seems as if it could be exactly what Theo needs to regain some stability in his life. Instead, the beautiful house in which they’re renting creates even more stress for Theo as it just seems…wrong. The large house is a labyrinth of hallways and additional rooms. In their first night in the house, Theo attempted to turn off the lights downstairs, but each time he turned off one light, a new source of light would be revealed down a hallway or a nearly closed door proving that the house is far more immense than it appears to be outside. It’s perhaps this weirdness of the house that causes Theo to begin having more expressive nightmares and for his own securities revolving around his wife to further grow.

    You Should Have Left reunites David Koepp and Kevin Bacon, the director and star of 1999’s Stir of Echoes. This film felt as if it could have easily been released during that period of the late 90s/early 2000s where drama based horrors such as Stir of Echoes, What Lies Beneath, The Mothman Prophecies, ect were so prevalent in an age of horror that needed a bit of variety from the overabundance of meta slashers. In these such movies, the in your face horror takes a backseat to the horrors of personal relationships and not knowing who you can trust. The further along I got in You Should Have Left, the more I began to question whether or not all of the weirdness of the film may just be inside of the sick mind of Theo. This is punctuated by the fact that Theo is haunted by a man named Stetler who torments his daughter in Theo’s dreams. Stetler is actually played by Kevin Bacon, wearing some makeup and pulling off his best creepy man impression. Is Stetler a representation of a haunted house or is he the dark side of Theo?

    Watching the relationship between Theo and Susanna can be pretty awkward. If you’re someone who isn’t a fan of watching a damaged relationship, you’re likely not going to find much fun when they’re on the screen together. For Theo’s part, everything seems to get under his skin and he’s unable to resist throwing out some snide remark whenever Susanna mentions something relating to one of his insecurities (Such as one of her male coworkers). As Theo is insecure about literally everything, this happens a lot. Meanwhile, Susanna has little ways to say things that don't help the situation either. Whether it’s reminding her husband that he’s old or maybe that he can’t keep up with her own sexual desires. None of those offhanded comments come across as callous, but you can feel the sting to them.

    The biggest hang-up I can see viewers having over You Should Have Left is that it is a drama horror. No one dies, no one seems terribly in danger of being killed, and minus the scenes of Stetler creeping on the daughter in Theo’s nightmares, it’s not a scary movie. The movie could be a bit of a mindbender, but in order to be as effective as possible, it would have been beneficial had the house layout been easier to follow. When Theo’s mental layout of the house becomes distorted, it’s not all that effective when I struggle to remember what the house was supposed to look like. The ending is likely going to bug some people as well due to being a tame ending. I didn’t mind the ending though as it fit the story nicely. It opens the door for a potential sequel that seems incredibly unlikely to happen.

    Overall, while Kevin Bacon has returned to the horror genre in recent years with The Darkness and now You Should Have Left. I wish I could say that these movies continued Bacon’s trend of solid horrors from his past including Hollow Man, Tremors, and of course Friday the 13th. While You Should Have Left isn’t as bad as The Darkness, it’s fairly forgettable. While COVID likely ensured that it wouldn’t bring Blumhouse much money, I can’t fathom it being a big box office hit. Luckily, with a budget of just four million dollars, it may still be able to make back its money. I found it interesting in terms of a man who is practically decaying in front of his family due to all of his insecurities and what it ultimately represented in regards to the house. It’s not a movie worth the original $20 VOD charge, but I wouldn’t recommend resisting giving it a watch whenever it pops up on Netflix.

    Grade: C

    Fright in Motion:

    Spoiler:


    ---

    Coming up next, the horrors of learning your ABCs comes to a close as we learn the rules to survive...

  13. #113

    Re: Fright Fest 12: The Horrors of Learning Your ABCs

    Day #26
    Title: Zombieland
    Country: United States
    Year: 2009
    Director: Ruben Fleischer




    In a zombie apocalypse, a small group of survivors will come together as they try to find some normalcy in this new world.


    Following the phenomenal of Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead, a film which prided itself on being the first ever romantic zombie comedy, or rom-zom-com, it seemed as if everyone was rushing to be labeled “The next Shaun of the Dead” or “America’s Answer to Shaun of the Dead”. I first noticed this trend about a year following Shaun of the Dead’s American premiere as I picked up a DVD copy of a new zombie flick I had read about in Fangoria Magazine. Dead & Breakfast, which should be noted had debuted on the festival circuit before Shaun of the Dead had even premiered in the UK, boasted a blurb on its DVD cover containing “...The US answer to Shaun of the Dead.” from Ain’t It Cool News. Here’s the thing about Dead & Breakfast and all of these other zombie films that tried to gain that title - they were about as successful as all of these shark movies that hypes the fact that they’re “The scariest shark movie since Jaws”. You hear such a bold claim so much that it loses all its meaning. It took the US a few extra years, but they did eventually release a movie that remains a peer amongst Shaun of the Dead. Welcome to Zombieland.

    The irony of describing Zombieland as “America’s answer to Shaun of the Dead” is that despite the fact that they’re the two zombie comedies that everyone thinks of first, that’s about where the similarities end. We couldn’t have known it at the time, but when you take the zombie aspect out of the equation, I see a lot more similarities between Zombieland and another one of Edgar Wright’s movies - Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. They’re both these comedies which focus on a geek striving to win the heart of a girl far out of his league while everything keeps trying to keep them apart. Meanwhile, stylistically, they resemble comic books or video games brought to life. They’re films where style absolutely beats out substance, but the style is so much fun that you don’t mind if the stories aren’t as in depth as they were in Shaun of the Dead.

    At its core, Shaun of the Dead was a movie that had so much heart. It’s about a slacker who desperately wants to change his ways to keep the love of his life while not messing up the love and relationship he has for his best friend. He dearly loves his mother, but struggles to sort out his own feelings for her husband. These are all realistic emotions to feel and natural to go through at some point in your life. Conversely, most of the heart that stems from Zombieland is built around the utopian life that its lead, Columbus (Played by Jesse Eisenberg) had stumbled into. He’s a guy that had been a loner all of his life, not even forming a tight knit relationship with his parents. When the zombie apocalypse occurs, he somehow finds himself in a world where even his imagination couldn’t have thought up such pleasures. He has a close relationship with an older brother figure of sorts in Tallahassee (Played wonderfully by Woody Harrelson) where even though Tallahassee is rough around the edges, he clearly cares about Columbus. Being that there’s literally only five people left on earth, that we saw over the course of the film, Columbus lucks out and nabs a beautiful love interest that he wouldn’t have ever had a chance at pre-Zombieland in Wichita (Played by Emma Stone). On top of that, he even gets along with Wichita’s little sister, Little Rock. Regardless of how many times things look to go south for Columbus, everything always corrects itself and by the end of the film, everyone in this new family that he cares about is still alive, he was able to be a hero, and he’s on top of the world. Now, compare that to how Shaun’s dealings with zombies turned out for him. His “Happy” ending saw his mother die, connecting with his stepdad just before his death, his best friend becoming a zombie but they can still hang out as long as Zombie Ed is chained up, and he’s living with his girl.

    Zombieland isn’t completely barren of true heart though. It’s just that it’s hidden under multiple layers of gags and goofs. In this case, it’s directed towards Tallahassee. Throughout the entire film, Tallahassee is a total caricature of a wisecracking bad ass in a zombie apocalypse. Yet, he’s also the only one that displays true heart. At multiple points in the film, Tallahassee admits to badly missing his pup, Buck. It took Columbus half the film to realize that in all of these stories of talking about Buck, Tallahassee isn’t actually talking about an adorable puppy, but rather his young son. Tallahassee is just not able to be vulnerable enough to openly talk about a son, so he uses the mention of a puppy as a surrogate. This is the set-up to what truly matters when it comes to the heart of the movie. Tallahassee’s main gag is that he’s desperate to get some Twinkies, fearful that even Twinkies long shelf life will eventually see its expiration be reached. Once again, Tallahassee is using a surrogate to cover up what really matters to him. Unlike with the case of Buck, this time it’s never actually stated, but I know that I’m not the only one who believes that Tallahassee is desperate to find some Twinkies not because it’s his favorite food, because really, what grown adult has Twinkies as their favorite food, but because it was Buck’s favorite food. It’s one last way for Tallahassee to feel connected to his son. With that knowledge, it makes his obsessive hunt and seemingly over the top ballistic displays of frustration anger when he fails to find some all the more understandable when you understand that each time Tallahassee believes he may have found a Twinkie only to be disappointed, he’s he’s losing out on a moment of cherishing his son. I do really love that idea, but how is Zombieland America’s answer to Shaun of the Dead when it’s deepest emotional plight is buried so deep?

    Fun wise, Zombieland is loaded with nonstop fun. Who am I to besmirch the good name of Bill f’n Murray, but I credit Zombieland for making Murray popular again. All you need to become a cult hero on the internet in this age of memes is something small that catches on and Zombieland presenting Murray as a god-like figure who is a total goofball did the trick. As mentioned, it’s a stylish film with all of Columbus’ rules to survive Zombieland not only stated in a voice over, but literally shown on screen in text while we’re shown an example. Occasionally, the movie will cut away from the action of the movie to give us the ‘Zombie Kill of the Week’. There’s great chemistry displayed amongst the cast, but it’s Woody Harrelson who shines the brightest due to Tallahassee being ‘On’ all the time. Even when he’s given a tearful recollection of some of the fun moments he had with his “Puppy”, he blots away some tears with a large wad of cash that became the source of a popular meme gif.

    The more times I watch Zombieland, the more I have issues on its final act. For as smart of characters as Wichita and Little Rock are presented as being, after all, they do outsmart the boys multiple times, how could they be as stupid as to head to an amusement park, turn on all of the lights and rides, and not realize how incredibly reckless they were being? A part of me ends up actively disliking them for pulling such a dangerous stunt prompting Columbus and Tallahassee to save them after already being screwed over by the girls multiple times already. Look, I get that she’s a total babe, but she’s proving to be too much trouble for you, Columbus. That being said, the final battle at the amusement park featured the best action of the movie as Wichita and Little Rock hopelessly tried shooting away any zombie that came too near while on a ride, Tallahassee rides a rollercoaster and barricades himself inside of game station to shoot at every zombie, and Columbus is left altering one of his critical rules as he decides to be a hero. It’s a fun way to wrap up the movie, but maybe the girls deserved to die for being so moronic.

    Overall, it’s not accurate to cite Zombieland as being the American version of Shaun of the Dead. It is, however; worthy of being a contemporary of Shaun. There’s so much fun in the movie as it highlighted the rules of zombie movies and plenty of wackiness. As it’s not as over the top stylistically as Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, I do believe its shortcomings are clearer to see. Since it does get mentioned with Shaun of the Dead so much, it lacks a lot, namely the heart, that makes Shaun such a classic. Still, Zombieland remains a blast with its recent sequel, Zombieland: Double Tap, being a fun romp too.

    Grade: B

    Fright in Motion:

    Spoiler:


    ---

    Coming up next, we will return to our regular scheduled Fright Fest programming as long as a giant fucking monster doesn’t take over the city…

  14. #114

    Re: Fright Fest 12: The Horrors of Learning Your ABCs

    Day #27
    Title: Cloverfield
    Country: United States
    Year: 2008
    Director: Matt Reeves




    On the night of a going away party, a group of friends are thrust into the position of running for their lives against an unseen gargantuan threat.


    Boom periods for sub-genres in horror can be quite a positive boost for the entire state of horror. It means more money, a willingness by studios to make more horror, and more eyes on the entire product. Perhaps it may not be too much fun if you’re not a particular fan of the sub-genre that is in the spotlight, but as we saw in select years in the 90s, it’s still better than the alternative of the horror genre being seen as ‘Dead’. The downside to horror booms is that eventually every fad will die out and unless a new one is ready to take over, an individual year can look pretty dreadful in retrospect. Ignoring what COVID has affected the state of horror in 2020, the typical horror fan has been quite spoiled in recent years with the sheer amount of horror released on the big screen, plenty of such movies being great as well. Back in 2008, this was not the case. This sad year was still trying to benefit from a torture porn sub-genre that had recently started to feel as if it had overstayed its welcome. Elsewhere, the previous booms of Asian horror remakes and remakes of popular 70s/80s horror classics were still trying to survive, but it was clear that those peak periods had long since passed. Looking at the entire year of theatrical horror, by my count there were a mere nine major theatrical horror movies. These include Asian remakes (Mirrors, One Missed Call, Shutter), non-Asian remakes (Prom Night, Quarantine), your traditional October release of a Saw sequel (In this case Saw 5), and a few other bits and bobs (The Ruins, The Haunting of Molly Hartley, Cloverfield). That’s it. That was your major theatrical offering for the entire year of 2008. For comparison, by my count, one decade later and 2018 featured fourteen major theatrical release films including such hits as Halloween, A Quiet Place, and Hereditary. Although The Ruins has been earning some well deserved praise in recent years, how many of those 2008 movies get brought up anymore and how many would one consider to be a highlight? Perhaps this is nothing more than going off on a wild tangent to start this review, but this is one of the joys of Fright Fest. To put myself back into the headspace of what the horror genre was like in a particular year and how it compares to being a horror movie fan today. If nothing else, it’s a good reminder that regardless of how much one may be disappointed with recent offerings like Black Christmas or Slender Man, at least you’re getting gems rather than having to suffer through so much mediocrity.

    When it comes to the biggest horror film of 2008, the safe money is that the title is most certainly Cloverfield. The only real argument I could see for Cloverfield not being the biggest is that if you wish to not categorize it as being horror. Yet, despite being such a big hit that briefly became one of the most talked about movies of any genre, it’s not one that I think about often. In fact, I tend to completely forget about the fact that it was one of the earliest found footage films. I suppose this can be attributed to the fact that The Blair Witch Project is the film credited for bringing awareness of found footage to the masses while the low budget Paranormal Activity proved just how profitable such a found footage movie could be. Meanwhile, Cloverfield is this awkward entry in the found footage sub-genre that was sort of the anti-found footage release. With a budget of 25 million, it’s by far the most expensive found footage movie ever. That’s not just by a narrow margin either. Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension, the most expensive pure horror found footage film only saw a budget of 10 million! Besides not being influenced by the success of the original Paranormal Activity’s miniscule budget, I suspect a key reason for why Cloverfield boasted such a hefty price tag is due to its release prior to the 2008 recession. The recession is typically credited for killing the mid budget movies, which only further helped the tiny budgeted found footage films to find footing to become all of the rage for movie studios.

    An appeal of Cloverfield back in 2008 was how little they showed of its gigantic monster. From the early going, it’s unknown what is causing the havoc with the monster slowly being revealed as the movie went along. It’s not until the end of the movie that the viewer is given unobstructed full views to show the immense size of the creature. Watching it in 2020 though, I actually feel as if perhaps they showed too much of the monster. Maybe it’s because the monster is a CGI creation, but I’m not particularly impressed with its look. Meanwhile, the shots where the viewer only sees a brief glimpse of part of the monster is far more effective in adding interest in the monster. In some ways, this attitude is also reflected in its sequel, 10 Cloverfield Lane, where the film actually loses some of its power once the creature rear its head. The abstract threat of the monsters is far scarier than showing the actual carnage that the creature is capable of creating.

    TJ f’n Miller. For a solid decade, Miller had been one of the more popular comedian actors in Hollywood. I know I was thrilled to see him whenever he popped up in such movies as Deadpool. These days, Miller isn’t the most popular actor around due to multiple allegations and a career that we’ll have to play the waiting game to see whether or not it's now dead. If you’re a hater of Miller, you can blame Cloverfield for introducing the actor to the world. With Cloverfield being his first acting job of any sort, it seemed as if Miller succeeded enough in his role as cameraman, Hud, to use it to spring into what was a really successful career. Although I don’t recall disliking the character when I originally watched Cloverfield in 2008, this time around I loathed Hud. Now, I would say that my dislike of Hud wasn’t on account of who was portraying him, but rather the script that made Hud into such an annoying character. However, there wasn’t a script. Or at least every actor was given free rein to improvise as much as they wished. So by disliking Hud’s character, I’m openly disliking how Miller portrayed him. The core problem with the Hud character is that he never shuts up despite rarely having anything of value to say. He repeats the same questions over and over, awkwardly shoves a camera into the face of a fellow character when it’s supposed to be an emotional moment that feels unnatural, and won’t stop trying to come up with stupid little jokes. Hud reminds me of that friend who won’t shut up during a movie and you just know that your enjoyment of the film would be far better if they wouldn’t speak. The sole positive aspect of including Hud’s character in the film is that it’s incredibly fulfilling when he’s finally killed, resulting in the most violent death of the movie as the giant creature bites him in half.

    The rest of the characters are pretty forgettable as well. The cast is practically a who’s who of recognizable stars from the time period that you didn’t know the name of and they ended up not having a career anywhere the size that of their co-star, Miller. You’ve got the blond guy from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake, Janis from Mean Girls, the girl from that movie that tried to pretend to be an Asian remake without actually being a remake - Unborn, the crazy girl who cut off half of her face in the Evil Dead remake, and even briefly has the horny guy from the opening of the Friday the 13th remake! So much recognizable, yet unknown actors all in one movie! Amusingly, the only actor who I don’t recognize is the one who played the star of the movie - Rob. We don’t learn much about any of the characters beyond surface layer stuff like long time friends, Rob and Beth recently hooking up to complicate their friendship prior to the monster attacking the city. Although I typically like the actress who played Lily (Jessica Lucas), the direction of the character is poor enough that it’s distracting. For instance, early on Jason, the brother of Rob and Lily’s boyfriend, is the first of the main group to be killed by the creature. Although it’s hinted that Jason and Lily are pretty serious and presumed that it’s only a matter of time before they marry, she practically doesn’t react at all to his death, even being the one to comfort Rob when he’s trying to cope with the loss of his brother. As the monster invaded NYC at the time of Rob’s going away party, Lily is all dressed up including wearing high heels. It started to really bug me that she kept wearing the high heels despite being forced to run around all over the city. I know that at least once, when climbing up the hallway of a partially fallen over apartment building, she had removed the high heels, but I’m almost positive that she was wearing the high heels during the crazy stunt of crossing from the upright building over to the roof of the nearly collapsed apartment building. Meanwhile, there had been a scene where the gang had ended up inside of a department store. Why wouldn’t she have tried looking for a pair of sensible shoes there or even in Beth’s apartment? Sure, they were interrupted in the department store, but how about a mention of wanting to look for the shoe department prior to the interruption by the military? She feels about as authentic of a person as Hud.

    Now that we’re a dozen years removed from Cloverfield’s release, I’m not sure how evident the close ties it holds towards 9/11, especially with audiences below twenty. I can remember when 28 Days Later came out, one of the things that stood out the most about the film was the early scenes where Jim was wandering the empty streets of London and how eerie it all felt. That had some 9/11 vibes to it, namely all of the posters of missing people taped around town, but Cloverfield took the viewer back to 9/11 experience the pure chaos that the real residents of New York felt when their world came undone. These scenes of buildings falling apart, people covered in heavy layers of dust, and everyone running in trying to find safety can give the viewer a great deal of anxiety. As I don’t find Cloverfield to be particularly scary, the intended anxiety does work though. This huge scale of so much destruction is also something that tends not to be present in horror found footage movies, likely because of the budget it’d take to pull it off.

    Watching Cloverfield this time around, I couldn’t get past the fact that it felt like the found footage love child of Godzilla and Aliens. Any scene with the giant monster causing destruction in New York City? That’s Godzilla, baby! The scenes with the smaller monsters that are way scarier than their “Momma”? Aliens. The giant monster may be getting all of the monster, but I was far more invested into the story whenever the smaller creatures were racing around. Not only was there more of a direct threat as the smaller creatures actually chased potential victims, but they don’t even have to kill you to….kill you. If you sustain a bite from one of these smaller creatures, you become infected, and it’s only a matter of time before your eyes begin to bleed and you...explode? This is the one thing I wasn’t a fan of for these gnarly small creatures as the infected Marlena is taken behind a curtain where she does her exploding. After that, the small creatures mostly disappear to leave us alone with the big, dull monster.

    Looking back, I’m surprised that there hasn’t been a direct sequel to it yet. Sure, there’s 10 Cloverfield Lane and The Cloverfield Paradox, but both of those films followed the lead of many of the Hellraiser films by taking unrelated scripts and injecting some Cloverfield creatures into the story to connect them. As I said, Cloverfield was a huge release that received a lot of talk and there is some ambiguity at the very end. Did Lily manage to escape and survive or is she dead? It seems to be incredibly unlikely that Rob and Beth survived, but we didn’t actually see them die. Hell, we never even got to see the body of Jason. So in theory, a sequel could have seen the majority of the group of friends returning.

    Overall, Cloverfield stands out in an otherwise quiet year for horror. Back then, many people complained about the shaky camera work making them nauseous, but I thought it was reasonable. Granted, that’s with the found footage boom occurring shortly afterward, so there’d be a million other future found footage movies to compare Cloverfield with. So at the time, I can see why some would complain about feeling sick watching it. The characters are dull and/or unbelievable, but the monsters were the highlights of the entire movie. I wish we had seen more with the smaller creatures, but the scenes that we did get were fun. I do, however; remember enjoying Cloverfield more the initial time I watched it. Cloverfield’s greatest accomplishment is that it opened the door for the script to ‘The Cellar’ to finally be put into production as it was retooled as 10 Cloverfield Lane.

    Grade: B

    Fright in Motion:

    Spoiler:


    ---

    Coming up next, ♫Assassin...murderer...monster...♫

  15. #115
    [Run]
    Postman Dave's Avatar

    Status
    Offline
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    9,999
    Rep Power
    1703954
      Country                    England

    Re: Fright Fest 12: The Horrors of Learning Your ABCs

    God damn Jim, two films in a row I've actually seen. You're getting soft

    Sent from my E5823 using Tapatalk

  16. #116

    Re: Fright Fest 12: The Horrors of Learning Your ABCs

    Quote Originally Posted by Postman Dave View Post
    God damn Jim, two films in a row I've actually seen. You're getting soft
    Well, since you've seen them, what did you think of the movies?

  17. #117
    [Run]
    Postman Dave's Avatar

    Status
    Offline
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    9,999
    Rep Power
    1703954
      Country                    England

    Re: Fright Fest 12: The Horrors of Learning Your ABCs

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim View Post
    Well, since you've seen them, what did you think of the movies?
    Zombieland was in my Fave Five for it's year here, so I rate it pretty high. Just a whole load of fun.

    Think Cloverfield was too, but would agree it loses impact watching it back. If I redid that year there's a chance it'd fall off.

    Sent from my E5823 using Tapatalk

  18. #118
    WC Hall Of Famer

    Status
    Offline
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    20,066
    Rep Power
    385166

    Re: Fright Fest 12: The Horrors of Learning Your ABCs

    I remember mostly enjoying Cloverfield when it came out, and at this point my recollection of it might be so bad, that it wouldn't hurt to rewatch it.

  19. #119

    Re: Fright Fest 12: The Horrors of Learning Your ABCs

    Quote Originally Posted by Suntan Superman View Post
    I remember mostly enjoying Cloverfield when it came out, and at this point my recollection of it might be so bad, that it wouldn't hurt to rewatch it.
    Cloverfield does seem like a movie comparable to Avatar where everyone saw it around when it came out, but then no one bothered with it since.

  20. #120

    Re: Fright Fest 12: The Horrors of Learning Your ABCs

    Day #28
    Title: Repo! The Genetic Opera
    Country: United States
    Year: 2008
    Director: Darren Lynn Bousman




    In a world where organs are failing and the rich desires to ever change their bodies, a vicious organ transplant company rules over all.


    Being that I’ve never been much of a fan of musicals, I’ve never bothered checking out Saw II-Saw V’s Darren Lynn Bousman’s (Not the biggest fan of his work either) unique horror rock opera, Repo! The Genetic Opera. After avoiding it for over a decade, I feel as if I’ve been missing out all of these years. Repo! ended up being such an experience that stands out from the rest of horror’s offerings of that time period. Even now, it’s a spectacle that drew me into its bizarre world.

    I don’t know what it was about the late 2000s, but horror musicals were starting to pop up here and there after largely being absent ever since 1974’s Phantom of the Paradise unless one wishes to count the Little Shop of Horrors remake. The year before we had Johnny Depp’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Troma’s Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead around the same time, and the direct-to-video Don’t Go in the Woods. It was apparently a lowkey rocking time that once again started to pop up again recently with The Lure, Anna and the Apocalypse, and Climax.

    The best way I can describe Repo! (Yeah, this is the last time I’m bothering to put Repo! instead of Repo because Google Doc insists on always capitalizing the next netter and I’m tired of fixing it. ) is that it’s a living horror comic visually. Throughout the entire film, new chapter marks are prompted with neat illustrated pages as the film dives into providing some backstory. Outside of the illustrated scenes, the world in which Repo is set is so beautifully over the top with its lush gothic look. Eventually, I began to look at the world of Repo and its citizens as being comparable to the residents of District 1 in The Hunger Games series. Life is apparently so good that everyone is consumed with unnecessary cosmetic changes to create freaky looking versions of themselves that they all deem to be beautiful. Meanwhile, there’s class struggle on display with the poor residents comparable to the lesser Districts where they’re just struggling to survive. For these people, the organ replacement surgeries provided by GeneCo, for a small price of course, are a necessity. Meanwhile, the stand in for The Hunger Game’s President Snow, is Rotti Largo, the head of GeneCo who relies on taking advantage of the poor souls who are forced to come to GeneCo for help, fully knowing that most of these patients will be unable to keep up with payments for their new organs. Once a payment is defaulted on, Largo sends in The Repossessor to recover the GeneCo organ, naturally killing the poor soul in the process. At the center of both stories are a teenage girl who stands to hold the power to possibly destroy it all if she wishes to not become a follower of the powerful leaders.

    Besides reminding me of The Hunger Games, Repo also reminded me of the iconic Buffy The Vampire Slayer episode, ‘Once More, with Feeling’. The connection seems impossible not to make when both Repo and Buffy starred Anthony Head as the father figure of the teenage girl. Without even realizing beforehand that Head was in Repo, all it took was his first song, ‘Legal Assassin’ before I recognized the voice. This time around, the music in Repo is less varied than in ‘Once More, with Feeling’, but the songs are just as catchy. In fact, as I type up this review, I’m listening to the soundtrack on Apple Music. At this point, my favorite songs are mostly anything involving Head including ‘Let the Monster Rise’, ‘I Didn’t Know I’d Love You So’, and ‘Legal Assassin’. Other notable tracks include ‘Zydrate Academy’ and ‘Mark it Up’. Basically, if it’s not a Paul Sorvino track, it tends to be a bopper. A bit of a shame too because although Sorvino has been an opera singer, his talk based singing tends not to do much for me.

    Back when House of Wax came out in 2005, there was a good deal of pushback to Paris Hilton being cast in the film. This was at the peak of her popularity and many people were understandably tired of her. That being said, I thought she had been a great addition to the film and allowed for easy marketing as there was heavy promotion of House of Wax allowing its viewers to “See Paris Die!” With Repo being Paris’ third and final horror movie, first being 2002’s straight-to-video Nine Lives, it’s easily her best film. Hilton was perfectly cast especially if you weren’t a fan of hers. As Amber Sweet, Largo’s only daughter, Hilton plays a spoiled brat who has a ton of money because of her family, has an addiction to the drug Zydrate, and to modify her appearance with numerous surgeries. She’s practically playing herself, or at least the public's opinion of who she was. It works and I have to applaud Bousman’s casting of her because no other actress would have been as perfect of a choice as her. The other two children of Largo - the hot tempered Luigi (Played by horror god, Bill Moseley) and the Leatherface-like face wearing Pavi are greatly entertaining characters as well. Frankly, I could have been into seeing more scenes focus on Largo’s children, their eccentric ways, and struggles over trying to be the one to inherit GeneCo once their father passes. Pavi, especially stands out due to the way he wears people’s faces, is somehow considered sex object in the eyes of the women he beds, and how completely batshit crazy he acts. Give me a sequel spotlighting Pavi and you’ll have my money.

    Overall, Repo! The Genetic Opera was such a blast to experience. As this is my first time witnessing it, I don’t know how I’ll feel about it in subsequent viewings, but currently I love it. It dives into being a rocking musical far more than other horror musicals I’ve seen in the last few years. It’s a total trip as you’re absorbed into this bizarre world with even more bizarre inhabitants. I can see myself treating Repo similarly as I do with the musical episode of Buffy where I’ll be consumed to listen to the soundtrack multiple times over the next few weeks. Let this be a lesson that sometimes the movies in which you put off because you fear it’s not the type of sub-genre you’re drawn to can be the one that will delight you so.

    Grade: A

    Fright in Motion:

    Spoiler:


    ---

    Coming up next, it’s time to rock out to the Ramones with this recent vilified remake.

Page 6 of 7 FirstFirst ... 4567 LastLast

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •