Archive for halloween

SON of HALLOWEEN HORROR MOVIE CHALLENGE [7-12]

Posted in Movies with tags , , , , , , on 10/12/2013 by Chris

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EVIL DEAD [2013]

I had fairly high hopes for this one. Since Evil Dead II and its follow-up Army of Darkness largely indulged Sam Raimi’s love for slapstick comedy, it’s easy to forget that the original was a legitimate stab at making a hair-raising horror flick (the cheesy acting and budget-conscious effects weren’t exactly intentional). And so, I welcomed the idea of a fresh start, done with Raimi’s participation (along with original star Bruce Campbell, both serving as producers here). Thankfully, everything is played straight, though there are some sick laughs to be had. The violence is cranked to 11, the blood comes in buckets, and the score is fantastic and even a bit unsettling. So what’s the problem? Well, after a nice buildup (the movie at least tries to get you invested in the characters, even if they’re still just caricatures) things begin to quickly unravel for these people, but what follows isn’t very scary, and actually becomes monotonous after a while. People become possessed, commit all sorts of random violence to one another (and themselves, and in one instance, an animal), then repeat. There’s very little tension, and since the supernatural element is downplayed a little (perhaps to avoid making things too cheesy?) people basically just turn into zombies. The movie wisely avoids trying to replicate Bruce Campbell’s Ash character, instead settling for an equal group of people, with no clearcut “hero” among the bunch. The downside to this is that there’s no one to really root for, so you end up not really caring about any of them. It all boils to a finale that literally rains blood yet still seems pretty mundane, including a rather forced callback to Ash’s chainsaw-hand from Evil Dead II.  2.5/5

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SON of HALLOWEEN HORROR MOVIE CHALLENGE

Posted in Movies with tags , , , , , , on 10/06/2013 by Chris

The finale to last year’s challenge not being brought to you was brought to you by Hurricane Sandy. Nevertheless, welcome back for (what will hopefully be) 31 more horror flicks for October, and here’s hoping us Jersey folk can enjoy Halloween this year without losing power and/or having our houses torn apart. Cheers!

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BRIDE of HALLOWEEN HORROR MOVIE CHALLENGE

Posted in Movies with tags , , , , , , on 10/05/2012 by Chris

It’s Year 3 of the HHMC and if previous years are any indication, I’ll have 31 movies ranging from classics to absolute turds, with a simple drinking game to go along with each one (for some of these, you’re gonna need some booze). So let’s get crackin!

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RETURN OF HHMC, PART 2

Posted in Movies with tags , , , , , , on 10/19/2011 by Chris

House on Haunted Hill (1999)

In 1999, movie producers Joel Silver and Robert Zemeckis started up Dark Castle Entertainment, a production company (initially) intended to remake the ’50s and ’60s horror films of William Castle. Their first Castle remake was House on Haunted Hill. It didn’t fare too well at the box office, at least in comparison to Jan de Bont’s The Haunting, 1999’s other haunted house flick, which beat it to theaters and subsequently left a rancid taste in people’s mouths. House on Haunted Hill, however, is the superior movie. It’s trash, for sure, but entertaining trash. Geoffrey Rush hams it up, channeling Vincent Price by way of James Woods, and he practically makes the movie. The rest of the cast is filled out by a young Taye Diggs and a pre-X-Men Famke Janssen, with Peter Gallagher and Ali Larter in the mix as well. Perhaps most randomly, SNL‘s Chris Kattan shows up as the neurotic young owner who inherited the “house”, and perhaps most amazingly, he’s not entirely annoying. The most pleasant surprise about this movie is that it actually manages to be pretty creepy on occasion. The best parts (aside from practically any scene with Rush) involve the ghosts of the sanitarium’s lunatic doctor and his staff fucking up people’s party plans, and some of the eerie visual effects take a cue from Jacob’s Ladder. However like so many other horror titles that build up a considerable amount of the viewer’s good will, it all turns to shit in the end, collapsing in spectacular fashion as the “evil” manifests itself as a giant CGI shit-cloud that looks created by fucking MS Paint. It’s not quite enough to ruin the good time that came before it, but it’s close.  3/5

  • Take a drink every time Geoffrey Rush and Famke Janssen hurl sarcastic insults at each other.

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THE RETURN OF THE HALLOWEEN HORROR MOVIE CHALLENGE

Posted in Movies with tags , , , , , , on 10/10/2011 by Chris

Oh shit, it’s that time of year again! You know the drill – 31 horror movies in 31 days. As usual there’s no specific theme…just whatever I can drudge up from On Demand, plus a few choice rentals and hopefully a couple of trips to the theater. (Unfortunately due to the cock smugglers over at Netflix, their vast and weird selection of horror movies available for streaming will not be in the pool this year.)

New to the challenge this year will be a mini drinking game to go along with each movie, because horror movies and drinking go together like Children of the Corn sequels and bargain bins.

Let the games begin!

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HHMC, PART V

Posted in Movies with tags , , , , , , on 11/01/2010 by Chris

25. Halloween: The Inside Story There’s no shortage of feature-length documentaries on John Carpenter’s Halloween. Along with Anchor Bay’s 25th Anniversary Edition DVD of the movie came Halloween: A Cut Above The Rest, a 90-minute account of what it took to get it made. Then came Halloween: 25 Years of Terror, a look back on the series in general as well as the “Return To Haddonfield” convention. Now 2010 brings us this one, which once again focuses almost solely on the original. As expected it’s mostly a rehash of A Cut Above The Rest, albeit with newer interviews. After all, how many ways can you tell the same story? Thankfully, this one manages to dig a bit deeper in places. While the interviewees are mostly the usual suspects (Carpenter, Curtis, P.J. Soles, Dean Cundey, Irwin Yablans, Tommy Lee Wallace, etc), this one goes out of the way to include some actors who played smaller roles, like Tommy Doyle and Lindsey Wallace, as well as the kid who played Michael at age 6. Even the guy who was brought in to play him for a few seconds when his mask came off shows up. This thing misses a few tidbits from the first documentary, but adds a few of its own. The last few minutes are used to breeze through the sequels, and Jamie Lee Curtis’ comments on Halloween: Resurrection are priceless. And since it was produced this year, it’s inevitably a bit more conclusive, as it recognizes Rob Zombie’s two movies (along with a juicy little tidbit about a phone conversation he had with Carpenter). All in all it’s a fairly good documentary, but if you’re a die-hard fan I recommend watching it in conjunction with A Cut Above The Rest, as the two sorta complement each other in a way. In wake of the excellent four-hour Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy, I hope something equally thorough is done for the entire Halloween series, because the 84-minute 25 Years of Terror doesn’t cut it.  3.5/5

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HHMC, PART III

Posted in Movies with tags , , , , on 10/18/2010 by Chris

13. I Spit On Your Grave When Roger Ebert gave this movie zero stars and declared it a “vile bag of garbage“, I wonder if he realized how much he was inadvertently promoting it. Easily the most offensive of the “rape-revenge” subgenre of horror movies (yes, that is an actual subgenre and yes, that is saying something), I Spit On Your Grave is about a young woman from the city, who drives out to a lake house in the countryside to write her first novel. She soon attracts the attention of four local scumbags, who stalk, terrorize and eventually rape her – not once, not twice, but three times (a ladyyy…). And just in case that’s not offensive enough, one of these guys is mentally retarded. Seriously. The final act of this wholesome film finds the woman exacting her revenge. Lucky for her, these guys are as stupid as they are savage, so when she lures each of them by method of seduction, they somehow believe that this woman they recently beat and raped wants them for real this time. Two of the kills are pretty standard fare (a hanging and an axe to the back) while the other two are a bit more inventive (a guy gets chopped up with a boat motor and the other – more infamously – is castrated in a bathtub). Pass the popcorn! On a side note, I found it hilarious that I had to sit through two lengthy Dolby Digital and THX logos before this piece of crap started. It warmed my heart to know that the series of gang rapes and murders I was about to watch were “digitally mastered for optimal audio and video performance”.  1.5/5

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THE HALLOWEEN HORROR MOVIE CHALLENGE

Posted in Movies with tags , , , , on 10/05/2010 by Chris

The Halloween Horror Movie Challenge is simple: watch 31 horror movies over the month of October (averaging out to one per day, but of course it could be divvied up however you please). The only prerequisite for this challenge is that you don’t have a life.

I was able to hit the 31 mark in October of 2008, but I don’t recall even trying last year. This time I’m going for it again. Though there are some specific movies I plan on watching, there is no set list, so for the most part I’m making this up as I go (I don’t want to draw too heavily from my own DVDs, so a lot of it will depend on what’s available on demand or from Netflix).

Regardless of whether or not I’ve seen the movie before, I’ll be posting a mini review for each one I watch – probably a few at a clip like you’ll see after the jump. I can’t be bothered with taking the time to craft reviews that are free of spoilers, so if it’s something you haven’t seen before but plan on watching, you can either a) read at your own risk, or b) fuck off. Now, let’s get on with it!  Continue reading

END OF SUMMER SMACKDOWN: THE FINAL DESTINATION vs HALLOWEEN II

Posted in Movies with tags , , on 08/23/2009 by Chris

It’s a rarity nowadays when two relatively big movies open on the same weekend, and that’s mainly due to the fact that the movie studios are run by pussies. Actually they’re just trying to be smart and make as much money as possible by avoiding competition, but “pussy” is a much better word.

It’s even more rare to see two horror movies opening head-to-head;  surely when it first became known that Halloween II and The Final Destination would be opening against each other, some figured one of them would flinch and change their release date. But it didn’t happen! And so despite the fact that neither movie will be getting my business the weekend of August 28th (I’ll be assaulting Mickey and cutting lines in Disneyworld), I’m legitimately curious to see which one will win the weekend.

So let’s look at our contestants, shall we?

THE FINAL DESTINATION

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Estimated pros:

  • It’s in 3-D (in select theatres). This means we’ll get the usual ridiculously gory and outlandish deaths that the Final Destination series is known for, only we’ll have shit flying in our face…supposedly.
  • David R. Ellis is directing it. He directed Final Destination 2 – the Godfather Part II of horror movies (okay that’s a stretch but STAY WITH ME PEOPLE). He also directed Snakes On A Plane - clearly this man can do no wrong. FD2 towers over the first and third movies (who were directed by some other guy) in sheer ridiculousness and hilarity.
  • More inventive deaths…hopefully. We don’t watch these movies for the magnificent acting.
  • Maybe Tony Todd will be in it again, somehow. He appeared in parts 1 and 2, and it was also his voice you heard in part 3 during the roller coaster and subway scenes.  It’d be great if he was in it, as it would give the sonuvabitch a break from the direct-to-video racks and bargain bins of your local video store Blockbuster.

Estimated cons:

  • It’s in 3-D (in select theatres). This means that a good portion of this movie was probably structured with the 3-D effects in mind, leaving a movie that will probably be too gimicky. This also means that the non-3-D version will still have things flying at the camera on a regular basis, which just looks…what’s the word I’m looking for…oh yeah, fucking dumb. See Friday the 13th Part 3 or My Bloody Valentine for details.
  • The trailer looks pretty shitty. In all fairness, trailers for these kind of movies aren’t exactly good outlets for blood & guts. Still, the trailer looks pretty shitty.
  • The stupid title. Where do they get their balls big enough to call this THE Final Destination anyway? Of course there’s gonna be a fifth one, even if it’s a Sci-Fi – whoops I mean, Sy-Fy Channel Original Movie, starring Stephen Baldwin.

HALLOWEEN II

halloween-2-poster-art

Estimated pros (this required some thought):

  • It might be better than Rob Zombie’s first Halloween. At least he had the freedom to make his own movie this time, without being obligated to remake key scenes from Carpenter’s original.
  • The Devil’s Rejects was much better than House of 1000 Corpses. Judging from that platform, this one might not suck.
  • More Brad Dourif (supposedly). Brad Dourif is the cat’s pajamas. Brad Dourif is the fucking man. Poor guy was in the first one for maybe five minutes total. Here, he seems to have a much bigger role.
  • Less Malcolm McDowell (supposedly). The guy may be a good actor, but he (and Zombie) somehow made Loomis seem like a dick and worse, unimportant to the story.
  • Violence and gore.  Of course that goes against everything Carpenter stood for when he made the original, but Rob Zombie already demonstrated that he handles suspense and atmosphere about as well as Michael J. Fox handles a game of Operation. He’s a maestro when it comes to unsettling violence, however, so we’ll take what we can get.

Estimated cons:

  • Saying this might be better than Rob Zombie’s first Halloween is like saying a case of the Clap is better than AIDS.
  • Rob Zombie always seems to know what he’s talking about, but doesn’t. The man had me going when he first took on Halloween, and pledged that he’ll make Michael Myers scary again, and he wouldn’t be doing it unless he had something fresh and original to add to it, and that Carpenter’s original has always been one of his favorite movies, and blah blah blah. Apparently his way of making Myers “scary” was to cast a hulking former wrestler to play him (shivers!), and his “fresh and original” idea meant that Michael Myers would now be the product of a dysfunctional redneck family (hot dang!). For all his horror movie knowledge, the guy doesn’t seem to grasp one of the most important things: the less we see and know about the killer/monster/whatever, the scarier it tends to be.
  • Rob Zombie wrote this, like he did the last one, and who are we kidding – giving the guy even more creative freedom to make a movie is like giving Limp Bizkit freedom to make another album.

So there you have it folks. It looks to be a close one, but if  I had to guess the winner, I’d probably go with Halloween II – it’s a bigger franchise and a more familiar name, and Halloween fans are a loony bunch who will still show up in droves…even if it’s to see Rob Zombie run their beloved series even further into the ground. I speak from experience.

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