October 2016 Spooktacular Movie Marathon

It's that time of the year again! Haven't made a list like this since 2013, but since I got time this October, I plan to watch a horror flick every night.

This year it's mostly classics that I've missed. Either I haven't watched them, or it's been so long I don't even remember them. How many of these have you watched? Which ones have you always wondered about?

I've always wanted to watch Soavi's other movie (besides Cemetery Man, a solid favorite), The Church. Not sure why I never got around to it.

House I'm sure I've watched, back in the VHS days, but I barely remember it.

The Changeling I'm ashamed to say I've never watched despite all the good things I've been told about it. Same goes for Cronos.

Halloween 3 I've never seen and I honestly don't know why. It sounds fun as heck.

The rest are various bits and pieces I want to check out and some rewatches, like Tenebre and Shivers.

What are you up to this October?

Capsule Reviews: Among Friends, Dark Summer, Death Do Us Part

Sometimes I watch bad movies and then forget all about them because they don't even warrant a review. But they gnaw at me, these terrible things, and thus I review them months later, half-remembered and half-assed.

 

Among Friends

Utterly forgettable, not completely boring and unoriginal as hell. The premise is ludicrous. The plot as I remember it: A bunch of friends have 80s themed party but it turns out a maniac set it up to get their revenge of them. They proceed to reveal their darkest secrets (and oh boy are some of these people fucked up) while he murders/tortures them. It's a bit like like Happy Birthday to Me but without the charm or the quality.

2 out of 5 Dark Secrets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dark Summer

Some dude gets cursed or possessed or something and him, his friend and the girl he's crushing on try to save him. Oh yeah, I think he's on house arrest because he was stalking some girl. Peter Stormare chews scenery as his probation officer and I wonder what kind of student loans he has that made him work on this. College is free in Sweden, so this is a real life mystery.

It's like Disturbia, but not any fun at all. It's boring and the ending sucks.

1 out of 5 Cursed Creepers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Death Do Us Part

Do you like people yelling at each other in the woods? Do you enjoy watching a bunch of ''friends'' who are mysteriously horrible to one another and seem to hate each other's guts, yet they hang out constantly? Do you like telegraphed plot twists that make no sense? Boy do I have something for ya.

Some lady is getting married and she takes her friends and her SO's friends to a cabin in the woods to celebrate. Someone starts murdering people. Nothing of value is lost.

1 out of 5 Wedding Dresses (1 point deducted for that ludicrous ending)



Hellions Review

Ooph. Where to start. According to the marketing department, the director (Bruce McDonald), made a splash with his previous flick, Pontypool. I'm not sure that ''a big splash'' is the word I'd use for Pontypool, but I won't argue too much; I enjoyed it a lot.

Some of the same mad genius is in play here as well, but unfortunately, Hellions is an uneven affair. Probably more so than Pontypool was. And while Pontypool had a really original idea to prop it up (based on a book by Tony Burgess), there's nothing like this here to save it from mediocrity.

It looks good, and that probably accounts for most of the hype surrounding it (that, and the poster. Look at that fucking poster!)

And I have to say, I was a bit let down. I was looking forward to liking this. Hellions manages to be at once both muddy and obvious. When it's not beating you over the head with the motherhood/abortion angle, you're getting nonsensical flashes of a parallel world, weird, budget special effects and lots and lots of screaming. It looks pretty cool, but ultimately doesn't seem to serve any purpose.

The premise of the film is fairly simplistic, but somehow confusing. Just like the movie, I am now confusing the shit out of you. What I mean is that while the movie straight up tells you what is happening eventually, in the meantime you're watching a girl run around her house, or/and a parallel universe, always screaming and crying at the spooky little kids that want her baby. And you're always expecting something more to happen, some kind of twist that will tie this together, but it never comes. Or maybe it does:

The cop that shows up about halfway through is both out of left field and completely on the nose. This was the point when my opinion on the film turned from ''Okay, this isn't that bad'' to ''Why am I watching this.''

It has a slightly stronger third act, but I had checked out by then. Your mileage may vary however, and while that's a given for any movie, I feel like this one might have its fans.

2 out 5 Creepy Halloween Kids

Review: The Babadook

urlThe Babadook is one of those movies that you expect to be disappointed in. A creepy, atmospheric trailer seems to be a recipe for disaster, as proved by movies like The Conjuring, Sinister, Insidious 2, Mama and so on. Your mileage may vary on those flicks, but I was ultimately disappointed in all of them, even if I didn't outright dislike them.

I'm happy to say Babadook breaks the mold. It's not a perfect movie, but at least it delivers on what the trailer and the marketing promises. It can be a pretty scary flick at times, but it doesn't overplay its hand. Even at a crescendo you don't get a really good look at the boogeyman and it avoids the usual exorcism/easy solution trick that plagues the genre.

Amelia, a widowed orderly, has raised her son Samuel alone following her husband's tragic death. Sam begins displaying erratic behavior: he rarely sleeps through the night, and is constantly preoccupied with an imaginary monster, which he has built weapons to fight. One night, Sam asks his mother to read from a mysterious pop-up storybook he found on his shelf. The story, titled "Mister Babadook", is about a supernatural creature that, once someone is made aware of its existence, torments that person indefinitely.

It's a pretty great setup. Even the book is pretty scary on it's own.

While the son is pretty irritating and irritating kids are one of my top pet peeves in horror flicks, I have to say he comes around before the halfway point and is generally very believable in his role. The mother's slow descent into madness and violence seems a bit improbable, but I'm willing to chalk it up to actual mental illness and/or the Babadook's influence.

The movie is essentially the tale of how mother and son become increasingly cut off from the world as they fall victims to the attention of the Babadook. She loses her job, he gets kicked out of school, her (terrible) sister doesn't want to see her and so on and so forth. Inside the house, the mother is becoming increasingly erratic and paranoid, at times attacking her own son and at times protecting her from the monster.

The few times we get to see it, it's fairly terrifying and the sound design is particularly creepy. Bonus points for the movie being light on jump scares. Read on after the jump for my take on the ending.

4 out of 5 ba BA ba DOOK DOOKs

The Babadook

Spoilers abound!

I am a lazy man. My take on the movie as a whole and on the ending in particular is fairly simple: It's a metaphor for mental illness. That's not to say everything that happens in the movie is explained this way, I'm sure you can nitpick a few scenes that ''prove'' that Babadook is real, but that's not the point. Both mother and son are unreliable narrators and anyway, everything that happens is a metaphor as well. Amelia ignores the signs of her depression and whatever mental illness seems to be circling her and sinks deeper into it. She cuts herself off from everyone that can see what's happening either by her actions or on purpose (pulling her kid from school). I don't want to get too into it, but you could also argue that Sam just goes along for the ride, as kids usually do. Their parents are their compass. If mom says there's a monster trying to kill them, who is he to argue? Especially since he has been insisting the same thing since before Amelia believed in it.

As for the ending, I take it as a (a bit on the nose) metaphor for acknowledging your problems and choosing to manage them, instead of ignoring them and letting them control you, as symbolized by her ''feeding'' the Babadook, the monster (sickness) you can never get rid of.

 

Bad Movies Double Feature: Buck Wild and In Fear

Look at this shit.

Buck Wild

What happens when you make a horror comedy with actors that possess no comedic talent. Extremely awkward, rarely funny and too long by half.

''When their originally planned outing is cancelled, four friends go on a hunting trip in Texas. They include Craig, a straitlaced man; Jerry, a mysterious relative of Craig's from New York; Tom, a nerd; and Lance, a hedonist. When they arrive, they discover that a chupacabra has bitten their guide Clyde, and, unknown to all, he has begun to slowly turn into a zombie.''

 

The synopsis doesn't inform you how ~*wacky*~ the movie is. There's a flaming gay redneck mafia dude that shows up at the beginning. At some point there's conflict between the protagonists and him and one of them get paddled by the mafia boss's cronies. This is the height of comedy this movie is trying to attain.

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Between painful jokes about Craig's unfaithful girlfriend, shitty sex scenes with the ''dumb slut'' stereotype neighbor and the meandering plot, there's very little of value here. You might enjoy it more if you're into gore and zombie stuff, but I was just waiting for the whole thing to end.

1 out of 5 redneck zombies.

 

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infearjpeg-e9500dIn Fear

This is a movie so boring, so bland, so incredibly shitty, that I feel as if I've already reviewed it in the past and I'm stuck in a kind of purgatory where I have to talk about this piece of shit forever. Harsh words, you might think, but I'm 100% serious, this is an offensively stupid movie, made even more agonizing by the fact that the director think he's some kind of auteur making cinema. It seems to have worked as the movie has a 86% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is idiotic at best. Fuck you.

 

''Tom and Lucy have decided to go on their first trip as a couple, to a music festival and a secluded hotel. However they soon find themselves unable to actually locate the hotel and spend much of their time getting lost in a labyrinthine series of forest roads. As they continue to drive, their tensions rise as they realize that something or someone is deliberately toying with them and enjoying their torment. They pick up Max, a strange hitchhiker that may be connected to everything that is going on.''

Get used to this image, you're gonna see a lot of it in the movie.

Probably the couple with the least chemistry in the world, you'll spend the first half hour trying to figure out if these two idiots have just hooked up for a weekend getaway or if they have actually met before. After a series of increasingly improbably events and choices, they get lost in some sort of maze made out of hedges. Why at no point does anyone say ''fuck it, I'm off-roading this bitch'' is a question that will torment you as the minutes tick on by.

Realizing at some point there's only so long you can go without having anything remotely interesting happen and also that your actors are just not good enough to prop the whole thing up, a weird guy they find on the road is added and that's really where the terribleness of the movie ramps up into nonsense.

This is devoid of value.

0 out of 5 idiots in a car

Mr. Jones Review

Mr-JonesMr. Jones

Hey look, it's a horror movie I didn't hate. I mean I didn't like it especially much, but that's rare enough on it's own when your movie watching is the equivalent of a garbage disposal system.

The IMDB synopsis is pretty unhelpful, so I'll get you up to speed myself. Probably massive spoilers follow because I have no filter.

A couple decides to move to the middle of nowhere because they have artistic aspirations. This eventually becomes an issue when they start arguing about how they left perfectly good jobs so the guy can make a stupid documentary or whatever. At the same time they find weird sculptures around their property and adjacent areas, eventually realizing they are the work for an artist that's a bit of a underground sensation. Unfortunately he's well known for the fact that everyone who buys his sculptures has terrible shit happen to them.

The movie is basically about solving the mystery of this artist and his creations, via the medium of found footage.

1-mr-jones

Mostly but the numbers for the first half, it turns into some serious what-the-fuck territory in the latter half. Don't watch this while high or tired, it's pretty nightmarish. The movie as adequate at most things, managing some creepy moments here and there by actually utilizing the whole handheld camera aesthetic. The couple is kinda irritating, but what horror movie couple isn't. I wasn't gnashing my teeth while watching it so it must not have been too bad.

The ending...well... I don't know what to say about the ending. It wasn't disappointing exactly, but it was so convoluted and messy that I'm not sure what the hell supposedly happened. It kinda tries to throw a twist at you but it's all very confusing and open to interpretation. Feels like they tacked on some wtf-ness to make it more interesting, but I don't think they landed it.

2 out of 5 creepy-ass branch sculptures (I'd say 2 and a half, but I don't like decimals)

7 Awesome Made-for-TV Horror Movies

I unironically love trash TV movies. We got a lot of those growing up where I'm from and sometimes it was all you can get outside of video rentals that were few and far between. Some of these I only saw as an adult and thus I didn't enjoy as much. Sometimes the medium is the message, and staying up late on a school night and watching a scary movie on TV is probably the best medium there is for less-than-stellar acting and cinematography. Salem's Lot ''Vampires are invading a small New England town. It's up to a novelist and a young horror fan to save it.''

Based on the fantastic Stephen King novel of the same name, it's probably my favorite made for TV horror flick. Of course it takes the #1 spot. The scene with the kid floating outside his friend's window is iconic for a reason (and still terrifying today).

Dark Night of the Scarecrow ''In a small town, a wrongfully killed man exacts revenge on those who murdered him beyond the grave.''

It's been a while since I've seen this, but it's a pretty solid revenge/horror flick.

Dont be Afraid of the Dark ''A young couple inherits an old mansion inhabited by small demon-like creatures who are determined to make the wife one of their own.''

Has aged remarkably well, in all honesty. The remake was terrible, so I'd rather watch this instead.

It ''In 1960, seven outcast kids known as "The Loser Club" fight an evil demon who poses as a child-killing clown. 30 years later, they are called back to fight the same clown again.''

Hey, another King adaptation. Arguably the TV movie that has scared more kids than any other. I like the book a lot and while I don't love the movie, Tim Curry is pretty cool and it features some creepy ass scenes.

Duel ''A business commuter is pursued and terrorized by a malevolent driver of a massive tractor-trailer.''

Langoliers ''Most of the passengers on an airplane disappear, and the remainder land the plane in a mysteriously barren airport.'' I'm gonna get flack for this one, but I enjoyed it as a kid, back when I worshiped King. It's goofy as hell, but hey, this was Lost before Lost.

Body Bags ''Three short stories in the horror genre. The first about a serial killer. The second about a hair transplant gone wrong. The third about a baseball player.''

After (2012)

After-2012-Movie-Poster-e1342638056815Oh boy. I don't even know. A cut rate Silent Hill clone that somehow manages to be completely boring and predictable. Hell, it even gives away its own twist in the first 20 minutes. Plot synopsis says ''When two bus crash survivors (Steven Strait, Karolina Wydra) awake to discover that they are the only people left in their small town, they must form an unlikely alliance in a race to unravel the truth behind their isolation. As strange events begin to unfold, they start to question whether the town they know so well is really what it seems.'' These two end up in their hometown who is suspiciously devoid of people, except for when they seem to travel back in time and there's a bunch of people they can't interact with. It takes them about half an hour to figure out what's going on, because at no point do they think about reaching out and touching one of these phantom people. Imagine the frustration as they go ''Hello? Hello?'' for the duration of each scene while everyone around them ignores then. Everything looking like a totally radical 70s sitcom doesn't give it away either. Mystifying.

A situation that could have been creepy as hell becomes completely toothless at the hands of this director and actors. Ugh, I can't even go on.

Just watch the trailer, it's enough to give you a migraine.

0 out of 5 Silent Hills.