Saturday, June 29, 2013

White Zombie

Running time : 1 hour and 6 mins

Well Hello! Remember the guys who blogged about horror movies and reviewed them and posted about it and then disappeared for a long time? WELL They still haven't surfaced, but in the meantime here's what I thought about the 1932 classic "White Zombie". Starring none other then the malevolent Bela Lugosi. Considering this movie is so old and has probably been reviewed more then 100 times, this is going to more of a revisiting of this movie. Mind you, it's getting a fresh look, because until yesterday, I hadn't seen it before. 

So for those of you who either don't remember this movie, or who haven't seen it before, let me bring you up to speed. "Madeleine" and "Neil" a young and naive couple who are madly in love with each other, travel down to Haiti to get married. An acquaintance of theirs "Monsieur Beaumont" has invited them to come and stay at his plantation during the festivities, although within a few minutes into this movie, we realize that he has other plans in store. "Monsieur Beaumont" also fancies the lovely "Madeleine" and wishes to whisk her away from her fiance and to marry him instead. Although because she is madly in love with her fiance, the jealous "Beaumont" turns to an evil witch doctor (Lugosi) who goes by the name of "Murder Legendre" to use his dark magics to zombify "Madeleine" so that she may comply to whatever "Beaumont" desires........ You know what? I think this same premise was on an episode of "Passions" once before...... Anyways moving on!

My take on "Classic horror"
Old classic horror movies are an art form through and through. I personally love these movies, because they are not the kind of horror movies we have come to know today. They are more mysterious and weird. The thing I like about these movies, is that they really draw on the creative imagination, to take leaps and bounds wherever they want and they can get away with it, because it's done in such a way that you just believe it. I mean of course it's fiction, but they leave lasting impressions that no other horror movie today can. I can go see a movie like "Paranormal Activity" or "Scream" and you know what it's about and you can give a general description to someone, if you're trying to tell them to see it, but describing certain scenes and atmosphere's in these movies I find are often quickly forgotten and you have to watch them again to re immerse yourself in it, so that you may go back and see those scenes. With classic horror movies such as "Dracula", "Frankenstein", "Creature from the Black Lagoon" etc. They are so iconic that you think about them and "Poof" you can see the scene where the unsuspecting "Renfield" is walking through the "Counts" castle for the first time and you see the giant spider crawling up the wall as "Renfield" shrieks! You remember the angry mob of villagers hunt down "Frankenstein", after the misunderstood monster accidentally kills the little girl, by tossing her in the river. 

Part of what makes these movies so great, is not only the film makers, but the iconic actors playing the roles and how after so many times playing them, they become known for it. What we refer to as "type casting". Now type casting can sometimes get a bad reputation because it almost seems insulting to actors, because directors and film makers make it out to believe that they can only perform these roles and anything else just seems laughable. While this statement is true to some degree, the part about type casting I like is the fact that, these actors perform these parts so well that,  yeah of course the film makers are going to call upon them again and again, because they don't trust anyone else to do a better job. On the Blu ray version of this movie, there is a 6 minute interview with Bela Lugosi ( Cool right?) and he actually does touch on this subject. I'll see if I can find it on youtube and post it later on here.

Sorry that went on a little longer then I was anticipating! Anyways back to White Zombie

What did you like about this movie?
One of the things right off the bat I liked about this movie is that it goes into the main story pretty much within the first 3 minutes. The 2 newly weds to be, are traveling by stage coach to the plantation and as they make their way down the road, there is a ceremony taking place in the middle of the street. The coach driver talks about how there's been a number of grave robbings that have been happening recently and how it is becoming quite an issue. From this moment, you get an idea of the disturbing ominous presence that this movie draws to.

Another thing I like about this movie and something I find that separates these classic horror movies from newer ones, is the lack of mechanical audio. What I mean by this is that there are some scenes, where a character will be investigating a strange noise, or stumbles upon some weird clue and as he's searching, the movie is pretty much dead silent, except for the natural sounds. There's no atmosphere or theme building music. You know like when in "Jaws" when the shark approaches, there's the traditional theme playing. With this there is not really much of that. There's a scene where "Neil" is searching a room for clues and all you hear is the creaking of the door, or the shuffling of papers. No ominous track, building in the background as he gets closer to the evil discovery. This same white noise atmosphere is also used in the scenes in which "Murder Legendre" uses his dark penetrating gaze to cast his spell on his victims. The camera zooms in a la "Dracula" style on his eyes, but the rest is silence. This of course being said when themed music is used, it is placed very well and adds the right amount of tension when it needs to.

Look into my eyes

That's right bitch, keep looking.

I have you now!

This isn't the kind of zombie movie you think it is, which is another reason why I like it. Sure there are zombies but the whole movie isn't about how a whole bunch of them are on a rampage and about some stupid T virus or some stupid bullshit. "Murder Legendre" has the ability to cast a dark cloud over these people's minds and therefore they become zombies, because their mind is trapped under his spell. Yes it does sound a little hokey, but it's the 1930's, they can do whatever the fuck they want. The acting in this movie is pretty meh aside from Bela's performance obviously, though there is something that I will criticize about that in just a sec.

Your just a sec is up, so what isn't so good?
Bela Lugosi is in my mind, the best iconic horror actor ever. That being said, I think he played "Dracula" so many times, that any other character he plays...... turns out pretty much like "Dracula". From the zooming close up of his eyes, to the mannerisms he displays. Not to mention, for a large part of the movie, he's wearing a cape......I'm pretty sure it actually is his vampire cape too. Who says you can't share clothing and props in different movies? I have seen some of his other movies too and can pretty much stand by that this is true for the most part. Even if you watch the movie "Ed Wood", Martin Landau who really does Lugosi justice in that movie, yet shows that his persona in general is pretty much "Dracula" all the time.

One of the other things about this movie that really did have me challenge my attention span, was about 25 mins in or so, after "Madeleine" has been taken under her dark spell. "Neil" is confronting another character in this movie who I swear is "Van Helsing" but isn't. This part of the movie, they are arguing about what has happened and trying to figure a plan to stop it. This goes on for about 10 or 15 mins and it's PAINFULLY slow. I knew the movie would pick up eventually, because this is a common occurrence in old horror movies, but while it's taking place, you can't help but want to go for a walk or something and then come back once it is back on track.

This is a link to the slow scene I'm talking about, to save your sanity, it's only a 2 min version.

Aside from that, the only other thing that is technically bad about this movie, is the editing between scenes is done kind of poorly at times, so you can see where they actually would have cut at the end of one scene and then picked up the continuation in another. This doesn't happen all the time and when it does it's not so bad that it ruins the movie, in fact some people may not even notice it at all. Honestly it's an old movie and they probably had a pretty tiny budget, so I wouldn't really insult it too much. 

Final Thoughts on this movie?
I do definitely recommend seeing this movie, especially if you like classic horror and or are a Lugosi fan. I recommend getting the remastered blu ray version of this film. It's only $22 on amazon and it comes with the original raw version of the film as well, in case you want to really see the original. Also this version has a 6 minute intimate interview with Bela Lugosi which is really worth checking out. If you find yourself wanting to see it, but don't want to pay to see it, the full film is on youtube and you can also find the interview there as well. I'm a collector though, so I have to have the actual hard copy. To each his or her own. I'd definitely call this a cult film, so not everyone will like it, but again if you like old horror movies and especially Lugosi then CHECK EM OUT YA PUKES! *erm* sorry my inner Don Cherry was kicking in there.


Here is the trailer

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Cabin in the Woods

So after a long unplanned break we are back here at the scroll to bring you Drew Goddard's "The Cabin in the Woods". Drew is the writer of "Cloverfield" but that is not what he's known for. His best known work would be in collaboration with the other writer of this movie, writer and tv legend Joss Whedon. ( "Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, Dollhouse, The Avengers").  Together for the last ten years, these two have collaborated in story telling and bringing to life real good classic horror through "Buffy" and "Angel". Do they manage to pull it off in this movie as well? Lets find out.

What's the plot?
The plot for this movie is unique and at the same time not. It starts off with 5 college students who venture out to a cabin in the woods for a weekend getaway of fun and tomfoolery but, then are set upon by creatures of the supernatural after speaking Latin words from a demonic book. Sound familiar? Well what if I told you that this plot is being orchestrated by another? The horror that these 5 friends come across is being instigated by what I can only describe as an evil corporate film company, who's intentions are to create horror as a way to appease an even greater evil from destroying the world.

From left to right: "The fool", "the scholar"," the virgin", "the athlete" and "the slut"

"The typical villain"

"The actual villains"

What did you like?
I'll start by saying, that I'm a huge Joss and Drew fan, so let me be as impartial as I can. What I think I really liked right off the bat, is the fact that this is and isn't your typical "cabin in the woods" movie at the same time. The idea for the story is not something you'd probably think of right away and as for horror movies it's pretty original and yet mixed in with some familiarity at the same time. Joss tends to reuse a lot of his actors and this is something that if you're familiar with his works, you'll notice quite prominently. For myself being a fan of his, I look for those certain actors and try to compare their performance to their prior projects to see if they are showing their A game or not, for the most part they do, whether in small, or in large. For this movie you got to witness actress Amy Acker (Angel, Dollhouse), Tom Lenk( Buffy, Angel) and Fran Kranz(Dollhouse). Fran was the only one who had a major character role in this movie, playing the "stoner". However his character seems to be the smartest of them all and is the only who ends up discovering the hidden agenda in this movie.

I liked his character because he showed some dynamics and from the beginning to the end of the movie, his character is probably the only one who has some evolution. Amy and Tom have relatively smaller roles, however when they are on screen, they make it count.

The violence in this movie is quite aplenty. Especially towards the second half of it, its an all out monster attack, which is really cool. I'd definitely say I like the second half a lot more, between the story development and the violence, it definitely shines. The movie is also quite horrific, not necessarily scary, but you see a lot of twisted demonic horror throughout.

What did you not like?
First and foremost, for the type of movie it was I definitely think it could have used more gore. It's violent yes, but it's not disgusting. There is one scene when they are in the lobby and there is an all out bloodbath that takes place, however it's not very long and is the only real good demonstration of gore. I know part of that has to do with the fact that Joss isn't really into gore and going over the top. Although I think for this movie it would have benefited. I also wasn't the biggest fan of the ending. For all that was happening in the second half of the movie and how it seemed to just flow really well. The ending seems to fall a little flat in my mind and I think it could have done a lot better.

Who would you recommend this for?
If you're a fan of either Buffy,Angel, Firefly or Dollhouse then you'll definitely like this movie. This movie takes the best parts of all 4 and implements them in this movie. I think you added all those shows together, you'd just about end up with this. Also if you like "cabin in the woods" like horror movies such as "Evil Dead and Army of Darkness" You will most likely like this movie as well. Especially considering that's what its really poking fun of. Also I definitely recommend if you like this movie, you should check out those 4 shows I mentioned above and those 2 movies there, as they are all equally fucking awesome.

Final thoughts?
Whether it had been in theatres or on video, this movie is definitely worth checking out. Again it's like your stereotypical horror movie, but then again it's not, so you will definitely get a surprise out of it. If you can see this movie for its twisted story more so then its gore then you'll definitely like this movie. If you do end up liking this movie then as I said before I do highly recommend you check out their other projects, as you'll really get some good quality horror.

In the spirit of this theme "The Cabin in the Woods" gets 3.5/5 cabins in the woods.

Here is a scene from the movie:

Monday, February 25, 2013

Dark Skies

Fresh off the grills, we have Scott Stewart's "Dark Skies". This film stars Keri Russell(Felicity,The Americans) and Josh Hamilton (Some bit parts in movies). It was released February 22nd 2013 and is going to be battling for horror movie of the year. Does it make a good splash? Well we'll see.

What is the plot?
The plot centres around the Barrett family. Their suburban lifestyle gets turned topsy turvey as they are visited by otherworldly beings who's intentions are unknown but, escalate to a disturbing and terrifying end. Or so it's suppose to be.

Suppose to be?
It's basically Paranormal Activity meets Signs. Honestly if you watched those 2 movies together, you'd get this movie.

Hmm... So what's to like here?
Well I have never really seen Keri Russell act before but I have to say she does a really good job. The acting in general for this movie was really good even the small part for J.K. Simmons was top notch. I also really liked the cinematography in this film. They did a really good job with the editing and the scene transitions. It really helped with the atmosphere, especially when it would go from being really light and calm, to when the mood would get dark and suspenseful. It was a very good blend and served its purpose well.

Like with Paranormal Activity this movie also does a good job of keeping you in suspense. I guess the formula is pretty much tried, tested and true.

The scene with the birds flying into the home in particular I thought was really done well. I can't get a clip but here's a good picture of what's going on.

So what is not to like?
The biggest problem I had with this movie is that it did not introduce anything new to the genre. This movie borrows way too many elements from Signs and Paranormal Activity and I thought for most of the movie it was Paranormal Activity 5 UNTIL THE ALIENS! Fuck that was so bad. The aliens look like "Slenderman" it's fucking stupid. I think part of it has to do with the fact that I don't think aliens would actually look like the stereotypical big head, small body type figure, but I thought it was dumb and that was the turning point to where I thought, this movie can fuck right off because all it needs now is Mel Gibson and it's Signs.

A little tough to see, but there is a resemblance.

What would you have done differently?
Pfff I don't know? Maybe come up with an original story? Something that isn't borrowed. Also I would have taken the whole alien thing out, cause that's retarded as shit. If you absolutely have to have them in there, I would make them look like the aliens from "Alien" at least then it would be more horrific and not fucking stupid, well it might still be stupid but at least it would have been more violent.

Final thoughts?
I wanted to like this movie a lot more, from the trailers I saw, it had lots of promise, even if they just copied Paranormal Activity I'd still probably like it more then the direction they took it. If you have nothing better to do then you could see this, mind you it's definitely a netflix selection or an online streamer, you don't want to pay to see this in theatres or on video.

2/5  fucked up kitchens


Alternate review by You'll Never See...

Dark Skies does a lot of things right. It's not the scariest movie I have ever seen, but it leaves me with hope for the genre as a whole and it also showed me that this oft used formula (The paranormal activity formula) can still work.

What did I like?

One thing I found this movie did really well was build tension. As I have said in previous reviews, one of the true keys to horror is Don't show the creature. By not seeing what is menacing the family, they allow our imaginations to run wild. They also use atmospheric effects (Birds crashing into the house, lights going out, fuzzy cameras) to convey what might be going on. Yes, you have seen this before, but the reason you keep seeing it is that it works.

I also liked the story in general. Alien's are more in this reviewers taste, so the idea of an invasion and of a plot by the grays wanting to abduct and study really goes a long way for me. They didn't check all their facts and left out some info, but if it was for the sake of running time then this movie does not suffer for it.

Lastly I liked the casting choice of Keri Russell. I haven't seen her do anything post Felicity, but she was good her and I enjoyed watching her on the screen.

What didn't I like?

One thing I didn't like is how quickly Keri Russell's character was willing to accept her new found reality. The way she comes to the realization of what is happening seems to be out of scope with her already established character. She then spends too much time trying to convince her skeptical husband. What finally makes him believe is a little frustrating however as if what had already gone down wasn't enough to make him believe anything. I guess what I am trying to say is based on the way this movie presented itself, the culprits here could have been ghosts just as easily as Aliens.

I also didn't like the ending. It was too abrupt. I also feel like it was trying to leave itself open for a sequel (as all these films do now) that it may not get based on initial box office.

Final Thoughts?

Nobody has definitive proof of what aliens look like. There are plenty of books and theories out there, but until something finally comes down here and reveals itself, any interpretation is fine in my book. The fact that they went with one of the most accepted versions of an alien out there is totally fine in my book.

With good acting, an appearance by J.K Simmons and a good overall sense of tension being built by an unknown off screen presence, this movie has enough in it for me to recommend. You know you're going to see this formula again and likely around this Halloween, so it's nice to see them go in a different direction with it early in the year.

Dark Skies get 3.75 Felicity box sets out of 5

Here is the trailer:

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Proxy: A Slender Man Story

Proxy: A Slender Man Story is a 9 minute mini movie about the "Slenderman" mythos. It was just released back on Halloween and is available on youtube. For being a short movie, it definitely makes horrific waves. It doesn't star anyone you'd recognize, but at an estimated budget cost of $10,000, the money is put to good use.

The plot centres around the main character Vince, who is haunted by visions of the Slenderman, everywhere he goes, his reality alters and before you know it, this terrifying figure is coming after Vince.
Will you stop freaking out?! I'm just trying to sell some bath beads!

What did you like?
I liked a lot about this film. It's only got 9 minutes to get it's point across and it most certainly does. You need a story that is going to be something you can understand, but at the same time, doesn't need much development so that it can through the general arch(intro,plot, conflict, etc) This story does that, it's easy to understand and its not too complicated so that it needs more then the time it has. I also thought this film was terrifying. Now given this won't be scary to everyone, some people may not be bothered by this at all. Also this is only on youtube, so for it to scare you, you'll probably want it on full screen, volume up at full and in a dark room. Sounds corny right? Would it be any different if you saw it in a movie theatre? 

The effects used in this film I thought were also well done, like the picture above, it makes it look as if the Slenderman has tentacles, but when seeing him stand in the doorway he doesn't. It's kind of like one those "You see what you want to see" type of images. Once again these guys had $10,000 to use on this film and with the editing and the effects and the general filmography, it's done very well.

Was there anything you didn't like?
The only thing that I thought was a little less effective and it's not so much that I didn't like it, but I think it hinders the scariness a bit, is how clear the "Slenderman" appears. In both the "Slenderman" film and also in "Marble Hornets" When you see the figure, he's for the most part distorted and not so clearly seen. I find this makes the scary effect more emphasized, because you can't clearly make out what you're afraid of. You can tell pretty decently but its still not clear. In this film you see the "Slenderman" perfectly, his features and more importantly his blank face. He's still pretty fucking creepy but, because you can see him a lot clearer, it loses some of the effect that your imagination does to fill in the rest.

What sets this film apart from Marble Hornets and the Slenderman movie?
All 3 of them are very similar and portray the "Slenderman" pretty much the same way. The differences that set them apart however I find are important. In "Marble Hornets" the figure is referred to as the "Operator" and he doesn't kidnap and devour children. He is a figure that randomly shows up and usually stops the main character in his path from being able to uncover the mysteries that surround. As if he were a guard, guarding the door to the answers they seek. He is used more as an instrument if you will. 

In the "Slenderman" film, he is exactly as what the mythos portrays him as. A mysterious figure who devours children. The main idea of that movie, is to play out what the internet meme makes of him.

In "Proxy" He is the same character as in the film above, except the story has a slightly different take on him, one which I find almost kind of blends both "Marble Hornets" and "Slenderman" together, but at the same time is different. With different movie creators, you get different ideas and that is the most important thing, that sets them apart. I'd say in this one, there is much influence used, but still as a fresh look.

Final thoughts?
This film is definitely worth checking out. It's only 9 minutes so what have you got to lose? Could they have made it any longer then 9 minutes? I'm sure they could have, but they may have needed a larger budget for what they were doing. Also given what the story was, it would have needed to be more developed. So when you take that into account, sure it could have been longer, but would it have been as good? Maybe yes, maybe no. If you're truly a horror fan, you should see this.


No trailer, but here is the 9 minute feature.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Slender Man

78 Minutes

The internet is a powerful tool. One use I like in particular is it's ability to spread urban legends faster and more creatively than ever before.

I find the Slender Man to be one of the best. More after the jump.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Encarnação do Demônio

Embodiment of Evil
94 minutes

The evil one is back. After 40 years locked in a prison, Coffin Joe returns to continue his quest. Will he be successful? More after the jump.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Final Destination 2

Well it's been about a week with no reviews and I was bored one night so I decided to watch this movie. I'm sure most people have seen "Final Destination 2" or at least one of the 5 installments. To me this movie has two types of people that know about it. The first are those who have seen it and probably regret watching it and the second are those who know about it, haven't seen it, but maybe should see it, so they know they didn't need to see it. Does that make sense? This movie goes back to 2003 so its not anything new, there have been some ones that came after but, if you've seen one "Final Destination" you've probably seen them all.

So what's the plot?
So for those of you who missed the 2000's, lived under a box, or maybe were too young for these types of movies, the plot is essentially this. A Young girl has a premonition about her death in a major freak car accident on a highway involving several others as well. She ends up saving their lives by preventing the accident only to find that if it's your time to go, then it's your time to go. Death will find you..... Spooky eh? Well not really.

That sounds retarted, who would watch this shit?

I know right? We're always talking about people with too much time on their hands and how that goes hand in hand with bad movies. In this situation I fell victim to that. If you like any of the "Final Destination" movies then you won't have a problem with this, also if you like movies that tend to leave you laughing at how fucking stupid they are, then once again, this one gets a nod.

So is there anything to like here?
Well some of the death scenes, though stupid can be at times pretty funny, especially the few moments just before leading up to them. A.J. Cook is also really hot. There is some entertainment to be had in the movie. This film is also made here in Vancouver and it does a good job of showing off how beautiful the landscapes of BC are. So I have to give it a thumbs up for it making here look good.

So honestly how bad is this movie?
Oh it's total garbage, the acting is terrible, its not suspenseful at all, because everything that is about to happen you can see it coming. There's no sex scenes, there's nothing scary here. Actually wait that's not true, what is scary is how accurate they depict people who drive here, as shown in the big giant car crash in the beginning. That is a bit scary. Everything about the movie was just so predictable that it just doesn't have any effect. Plus I mean the main premise is because they cheat death, now death is coming after them one by one? How stupid is that. I can just picture death from "Family Guy" coming after these guys and going "Well you see guys, you were suppose to die in this big ass car crash but, because you didn't, well you've upset the balance of life and death and well I don't get paid very much for this gig so I have to collect whenever I can." Just garbage.

Please don't kill me with the new colgate total.
Look out Mr. Bill!

Phew! That was close!

Fucking airbag!

Uh huh.... So this is pretty bad. Anything you could do to make it better?
Why yes there is in fact!Don't make it so fucking predictable! Also if you're going to make a series of 5 movies of this, at least put some more effort into the acting and not make it seem like such a big steamy dump.

So what do you give this piece of shit?

1.5/ 5  Grim reapers

Here's the trailer