Monday, October 25, 2010


"Yes it is, Sidney. It's all one big movie. Only you can't pick your genre" Billy Scream

With my horror movie craze, and the fact that the trailer for Scream 4 was just released, I decided to watch horror master Wes Craven's 1996 film Scream starring Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, Jaimie Kennedy and David Arquette. This film is one of the best in the genre, and it achieves this status because its not like anything else out there (except the other Scream films).

The film is about a teenage girl, Sydney (played by Neve Campbell) who is being stalked by a killer wearing a ghostface mask. First he calls on the phone and plays a "game" with you. The game involves asking horror film trivia questions and if you get them wrong...well you just don't wanna answer a question wrong.

Sydney's mother had been brutally murdered a few years before and she, up till this point, had been working on moving past it. Her boyfriend is kinda creepy but seems to be understanding while he slowly tries to take their relationship to the next step. Setting up him as a possible suspect.

The film seems like its all a cliche` but that's where Wes Craven (A Nightmare on Elm Street (original) The People Under the Stairs, The Hills Have Eyes (original)) works his magic. The whole film is making fun of the horror film slasher genre and all its cliche`s. Most of this happens coming from movie geek Randy, played brilliantly by Jaimie Kennedy as he gives "the rules of horror films and how to survive".

One of the best scenes has him sitting there watching "Halloween" and as Jaimie Lee Curtis is stalked from behind, so is he. And he keeps yelling out "Turn around Jaimie" that is pretty clever.

The film also references the actors and the directors past work. At one point a girl says "The First Nightmare on Elm Street was good, the rest sucked!" referencing the fact that the studio fired Wes Craven after the first "Nightmare on Elm Street" and they all indeed suck after that. Wes Craven also appears in a quick glimpse as a janitor wearing a Freddy Kruger sweater and hat.

All in all its a fun slasher film that doesn't take itself too seriously, which ends up being its best quality. It can be intense and goofy at the same time and it feels natural and not at all forced. Film geeks should love it just for the references, horror fans should love it for....well every reason. Recommended for anyone who is a fan of slasher/horror films. 3/5 Stars.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Critters! and Horror Film Catch Up

Alright, so I have failed miserably at keeping up with the blogging about all the horror films I have been watching! And I have been watching a lot. I will just give a star rating out of five to a few of them just so I can feel slightly like I have "reviewed" them. So here we go with the ones viewed so far:

"The Legend of Hell House" (1973) Low budget British film adaptation of Richard Matheson's "Hell House" 2.5/5

"A Nightmare on Elm Street" The original Wes Craven film where we are first introduced to Freddy Kruger. Fun, spooky and slightly campy 3/5

"Hellraiser" Clive Barkers 1987 adaptation of his novel "The Hellbound Heart" Slightly gory film that introduced audiences to Pin Head 2.5/5

"Psycho" Original version starring Janet Leigh and directed by Alfred Hitchcock 4/5

"Night of the Living Dead" 1969 Low budget zombie flick directed by George A. Romero 5/5

"The Evil Dead" Sam Raimi's low budget 80's film about a group of young adults going to stay at a cabin, and then getting possessed by wise cracking ghouls. Complete with the gore effects done with claymation 4/5 stars

And that's it for the catching up right now, I have to at least talk a little about a little 80's gem by the name of "Critters". Not to dissimilar from "Gremlins" its about a bunch of furry little aliens that eat anything and everything....including humans.

They escape from a maximum security prison and space and take a direct route to earth, landing at a farm where they try and eat the family there. Luckily the family isn't alone in the fight, two bounty hunters from space have come to stop the critters, whilst disguised as a rock star and the towns local drunk.

Yeah its got classic written all over it just from that synopsis. Add to the fact that it includes subtitles for what the little Critters are saying, (including numerous profanities) a killer 80's soundtrack and a few classic lines well you've got yourself a real gem! Its not terribly bloody, after all it is only PG 13. It stars frequent Horror film actress Dee Wallace (E.T. Cujo) and "Band of Brothers'" Scott Grimes as the kid/hero of the film. And personally I think its much more enjoyable than "Gremlins", not to diminish the latter film in any way though, its also a classic!

So that somewhat catches you up on the horror films I have been watching. I also saw "The Social Network" and I won't review it except to say get to the movie theater and see that film! Check back soon for a review of John Carpenter's "Prince of Darkness".

Monday, October 4, 2010

Tenebre: Blood, Guts and Techno Music

Today's horror film was Dario Argento's "Tenebre" An Italian horror film released in Italy in 1982. Now the version I watched isn't the complete version, I don't believe its possible to rent the complete version in the U.S. Mostly because its heavily censored here for gore.

To really understand this film and all that it is you have to know a bit about Dario Argento. Argento is often (or was in his prime) referred to as the Italian Alfred Hitchcock. His movies had a certain suspense and tension that felt very Hitchcockian. The difference is the gore Argento uses in his films. I believe, at least in the 1980s Argento was the most heavily censored director here in America. But that's somewhat what made them Argento films....that and the music he used.

He used a band called Goblin for most of his soundtracks in the 1980's and they are all stellar and almost become a character in the film. In "Tenebre" it is almost the best part.

The story of "Tenebre" which I think is Latin for Darkness, is pretty generic. An American writer moves to Rome to write his next book. Once there brutal murders start happening that mirror, or are inspired by the deaths in his latest book, "Tenebre" He becomes convinced that he can solve who the murderer is, and soon finds himself a target.

Its fairly predictable, especially as all the suspects one by one are killed off to the point that it is almost spelling it out for you. This was pretty disappointing especially since "Suspiria" (one of Argento's previous films before this one) was so good. But the death scenes are pretty good, especially the killer music by Goblin that kicks in whenever someone is about to be let go.

The soundtrack is complete dance techno, that really makes you almost want to dance yet its got a real creepy vibe thumping through it at the same time. It really is the best part of the film in my opinion. I dare say the score may be better than "Suspiria" and that is saying a lot. I'd say its almost worth watching for the soundtrack...but then again you can go do a search for "Tenebre Goblin" and most likely hear it that way.

All in all it had some good tension and some nifty unique death scenes, but it really never lived up to my expectations. Its decent but certainly not on par with some of the other Horror efforts of the 1980's. I'd say it is worth checking out on television if its ever on, although I doubt very much it every will be.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

"Christine" The month of Horror begins!

For the next month I'm going to be posting mostly about Horror films, in honor of it being October and everything. I am going to be watching, hopefully, a horror film a day then posting my review on here. Now I have already seen most of the films I'm going to be watching, but I am rewatching them so that I can write reviews on them.

The films I have got lined up are some of the best, while maybe not most terrifying films (although some of them are) of all time. They are all on my list to watch for different reasons, but they all are classics in my opinion, and are films that should be seen by any Horror fan, or anyone who enjoys a good scare.

To start off with, we have the 1983 filmr "John Carpenter's
Christine". Now if you have read previous posts, you will know that Carpenter is indeed the Master of Horror, so its already got that on its side. Now you add in Stephen King, and a demonic car named Christine. Now if that doesn't all tell you its a classic
horror film, well then there is absolutely no helping you!

Keith Gordon stars as Arnie Cunningham, a geeky highschool kid that doesn't happen to have many friends except for his best friend Dennis, played by Dean Stockwell. Dennis is popular and the star of the football team, but is still best friends with the geeky Arnie.

Arnie finds an old beat up car and buys it, unbeknownst to him, its haunted. As Arnie starts fixing the vehicle, which is named "Christine" his friend Dennis starts noticing a big difference in Arnie, and so does Arnie's family. He no longer has that extreme geeky vibe, he has a dark edge and a quick temper.

Soon he is completely obsessed with the vehicle, doing anything for it. Including taking out all the boys who used to bully him back in the day. Its soon up to Dennis, a detective played by Harry Dean Stanton and Arnie's old girlfriend Lee to stop Arnie and "Christine".

The movie is fun, exciting and intense. Its not really that scary, and there is a huge lack of gore (due to the fact that Carpenter's previous effort "The Thing" failed miserably even though its amazing) But that doesn't stop it from being a classic. The excellent score written by Carpenter fuels the fire, the great cinematography brings "Christine" to life, and the acting is all very solid.

Its a good, fun horror film that isn't out to scare you to death, just out to give you a good time. If your looking for a good horror film, but don't want to be terrified I highly recommend "Christine"

Friday, October 1, 2010

True Grit: Trailer One

I've mentioned numerous times throughout this blog about how stoked I am for the Coen Bros. version of "True Grit" starring Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon and Josh Brolin. I've mentioned that it could win awards, I've mentioned that Jeff Bridges would make the perfect Rooster Cogburn, and I've also mentioned it would be better than the John Wayne version (stop gasping, it is possible to do better than John Wayne in some films!)

Finally I have a trailer to back up my claims. And what a trailer it is! Gritty and beautifully shot, the simple music taking you from scene to scene, it could only be a Coen Bros. film. These guys are brilliant, they have never done a bad film, maybe a couple mediocre ones back in the day, but after films like "The Big Lebowski", "O Brother Where Art Though, "Fargo", "Blood Simple" and lets never forget "No Country For Old Men" I will see, and be unbelievably excited for anything they do, even if it was a film about grass growing.

And don't get me started on Jeff Bridges.....the Dude (Big Lebowski reference for those who are unfamiliar)....he is freaking brilliant. The whole film just looks incredible its set to come out in December (gonna be "The Fighter"'s big competition) , so here check out the trailer and let me know what you think of it!

Late review of The Town

I saw this about two weeks ago, but having two jobs really limits the time one has to write about movies....or anything for that matter, in fact its a miracle I even had time to make it to this movie! But lucky for us I did, and now here is my official review.

The Town has everything going for it, and I mean everything. A talented cast, a brilliant script, the perfect setting, and a director who is confident in his filmmaking abilities. That director, which may be surprising to some, although not to those of us who saw "Gone Baby Gone", is Ben Affleck.

Affleck fell into a rut with his acting (which was not his fault, but the fault of poor scripts, bad directors and even worse movie choices) But he always had shining moments. Even though he had the backseat to best friend Matt Damon in "Good Will Hunting" he still had moving emotional scenes, for further proof see his tragic role in "Hollywoodland" where he played George Reeves, televisions first Superman who killed himself.

So his acting is good with the right script, but his directing is even better. He directed the heck out of the film "Gone Baby Gone" which got his brother Casey awards nominations. And he directs and acts in The Town with a vicious and sharp punch.

He also gets to direct last years academy award nominee for best actor from "The Hurt Locker" Jeremy Renner, who plays his role as Afflecks volatile best friend who seems to be on the verge of snapping the entire film.

The film is about bank-robbers from a neighborhood in Boston called Charlestown, which apparently produces the most bank-robbers than anywhere in the world. Affleck plays Doug, a man who robs-banks, but wants out. And he ends up falling for the bank manager whom they took hostage during their most recent job, and she is played by the wonderfully talented Rebekah Hall (The Prestige)

This poses a problem for Jem (Renner) who is Doug's best friend and partner, because he knows if she finds out who they are, she can turn them over to the feds who are wonderfully represented by Mad Men's Jon Hamm.

The story sets up some epic robbery scenes, one that takes place at "the cathedral of Boston" Fenway Park...that right there means I have to love this film as a Red Sox fan. But the intense chase scenes aren't what makes this film so good, its the characters and actors playing them.

Every character has a layer of depth and emotion, even the quick to violence Jem. Affleck's character is both heartbreaking and tragic, and while he is doing bad things, you still want him to come out on top, because you know he hates what he is doing. Its the first time I stopped seeing Ben Affleck and completely saw the character he was portraying. And everyone gets the film stolen from them by a short, brilliant scene with the unbelievably talented Chris Cooper (October Sky, American Beauty) playing Affleck's jailed bank robber dad, and the scene only lasts about three minutes!

Its an excellent movie, probably the best so far this year, second only to "Inception". Its intense, thrilling and moving all at the same time. If your into this kind of film, I highly recommend it.