Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy 2014, ya crazies!

I know things have seemed to be keeping us all busy lately, but I just want to say we really love all of you and think of this blog as a special place. Let's make 2014 H-thon the best evah!

Happy New Year, bitches!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Amityville Is Coming Back To Haunt Theaters In January 2015

From cinemablend, Back in 1975, the Lutz family temporarily moved into a house in Amityville, a Long Island suburb in New York, but quickly left due to "paranormal activity" within the residence. Almost 40 years later, we’ve been through 10 films, some more related than others, and even more books on the subject. The Amityville franchise will continue anew with the completely fictional and unrelated found footage film simply calledAmityville, which Dimension Films has given a January 2, 2015 release date. So just in case you were wondering what the first shitty movie of 2015 would be, now you know. 

Formerly going by the awkward title The Amityville Horror: The Lost Tapes, this new film is currently sitting alone on its release date, according to ComingSoon, in a month where films are usually sent to die quiet deaths. I’m certain the deaths taking place inAmityville will be of the much louder variety however. It will follow a ballsy news intern who wants to blow open the investigation involving the haunted house on Ocean Ave. To do so, she brings in a team of journalists, paranormal enthusiasts and religious leaders to explore the seemingly unexplainable events, but the investigation only unleashes another even more evil presence. Put your hand inside a garbage disposal if you thought something different was going to happen. 

My opinions may be particularly damning about this film, since it continues one of the worst franchises in horror history, but I have quite a bit of faith in co-writer/co-director Daniel Farrands. This will be his first feature, though he has directed a host of horror cinema documentaries, including the exhaustively excellent Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th and Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy. He also co-wrote the much better than average 2007 thriller Girl Next Door, adapted from the Jack Ketchum novel. His fellow Amityville writer and director Casey La Scala is best known for producer duties, as well as directing the skater comedyGrind

The last time Hollywood tried to resurrect this franchise was with 2005’s super-averageThe Amityville Horror with Ryan Reynolds and Melissa George. There have also been two direct to trash bin flicks called The Amityville Haunting and The Amityville Asylum, and the decent documentary My Amityville Horror, which told the original story from the point of view of Daniel Lutz, one of the children who moved into the Ocean Ave. house in 1975. 

There’s no denying people are still quite interested in this story, but that doesn’t mean anyone is clamoring for a found footage take on the subject. Wasn’t anyone inspired by the lush look of James Wan’s The Conjuring? That film incidentally involved the Amityville investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. It’s a small, haunted world. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Oy! Santa! I never got a Micronauts Mobile Exploration Lab

 Okay, here's my answer to JPX's post below.  I really, really wanted this thing and never got one.  As a matter of fact, I don't think I've ever even seen one in real life.  The Mobile Exploration lab is, as you can see, some sort of highly ill-advised combo of jet car and towering inhabitable robot.  It wasn't the vehicle you see here that enticed me so.

The trick to Micronauts were the ubiquitous pegs and holes that adorned every one of their toys, so that you could combine and switcheroo parts to your child's heart's content.  Observe the image above, which comes from a catalog pamphlet thingie that came with several Micronaut toys (I've searched for this image before and I'm delighted to have finally found it).  It features a smattering of possible (mostly stupid) homemade combinations, and one of them still sends my heart pitter-pattering with its coolness.

This guy.  It's the stripped-down base of the Mobile Exploration Lab with a clear dome inserted in the robot tower hole, and oh my god just look at the awesome.  I wanted to swoosh that thing around the house in the worst way, and it never happened.

I'm not sure I would even want a Mobile Exploration Lab today.  Micronauts were flimsily made; of all my toys, they were the worst at surviving the ravages of boy-ownership and time.  But I still like the look of that combo vehicle, so perhaps I'll boost the design for a Lego ship.  Progress!

Monday, December 23, 2013

2013 Saks Fifth Avenue Holiday 3D Light Show!

Did someone say wish?

During this time of the year many of us celebrate the birth of Santa.  JSP posed an interesting question to me last night; what Christmas/birthday present did you always want when you were a kid but never received?  In the era of Ebay and Amazon it is easy to acquire those missing treasures, however back in the day we all had our wishlists that occasionally went unfulfilled.   Mine is pictured above, what's yours?  Conversely, what is the best gift you ever received that you never thought you would get? Mine is pictured below.

Friday, December 20, 2013

JPX's Best Of Horrorthon 2013

I can’t believe that we are already in the middle of December!  I have never been this late posting my superlatives before.  I think we have all been unusually busy or just plain burnt out playing on Horrorthon (I’m speaking about you, JSP).  We will be doing a wrap up at some point so there is an “ending” to this year’s contest.  I need to update Scorrorthon and JSP will be completing the monster list.  I watched some terrific movies this year and had a great time doing so. 

Horrorthon 2013!

All Around Favorite:  Macabre (Rumah Dara)

Hands down, Macabre is simply the best horror movie in years.  The “mother” character is instantly iconic and chilling.  This film never lets up for one second and the gore is shocking.  I fully expect all of you to watch this next year

Runners up:  Escape From Tomorrow, We Are What We Are

Worst Movie:  Keep My Grave Open

True I watched a poor quality version of this 70’s clunker but even a pristine print would not change my opinion of this boring, Psycho-rip-off, slasher.

So Bad its Good:  Amityville 4:  The Evil Escapes

A made-for-TV Amityville horror movie starring Patty Duke in the most ridiculous Amityville premise to date – how could this not be my top choice for this category?

Most Disturbing:  We Are What We Are

The less you know about this chilling Gothic film the better your cinematic experience will be.  It’s a slow burn with terrific acting.

 Goriest (tie):  Macabre and Thantomorphose

I forgot to review V/H/S 2 which has a stand-out installment in this anthology series directed by Kimo Stamboel and Timo Tjahjanto who also directed Macabre.  Given that I did not review it the honor goes to both Macabre and Thantomorphse.  Thantomorphose is 90 minutes of a pretty, young woman slowly decomposing as she realizes her life has been pointless.

Scariest:  Would You Rather

I didn’t watch anything this year that really scared me but the predicaments that the characters are placed in become increasingly disturbing – great, tense stuff!

Best Looking Monster:  Big Ass Spider!

This is the only “monster” movie I watched and it totally delivers on its title!

Best Death:  You’re Next

You will never look at a blender the same way again…

Most Avoidable Death:  Every single death that occurs in all the Amityville Horror films

Just leave the fucking house!

See you next October! 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Expendables 3 teaser

First Xbox-Exclusive Film is Documentary on Atari and ‘E.T.: The Video Game’

From slashfilm, A new company called Lightbox has announced a “series of films for Xbox Entertainment Studios about the start of the digital revolution,” and the first release in the series will be a documentary about the story of Atari’s reported burial of millions of copies of the critically-savaged and commercially ignored E.T. video game.

A press release announces:
The first film in the groundbreaking series investigates the events surrounding the great video game burial of 1983.  The Atari Corporation, faced with overwhelmingly negative response to “ET the Video Game,” buried millions of unsold game cartridges in the middle of the night, in the small town of Alamogordo, New Mexico. Drawing on their relationships with outstanding creative talent, each film will be helmed by a different director and will range from an hour to feature length.  Zak Penn (X-Men 2, Avengers, Incident At Loch Ness) has signed on to direct the first film.
The fact that Atari dumped unsold inventory in New Mexico was confirmed by the company in 1983, but the precise details of the dump are unknown, and the outrageous scope has been disputed in the decades since. Concrete was poured over the landfill area in the early ’80s, making casual exploration all but impossible.
This past summer, a Canadian company was given permission to excavate the site, and there’s a good chance that those efforts will be documented here, along with the story of the video game crash of 1983, for which the E.T. failure and Atari dumping are poster children.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Review Bomb!

With the overall lack of blog participation over the past few weeks I have been less than inspired to do my review bomb.  However, everyone is cancelling on me at work because we're getting some snow in a little while (wusses) and I am sick of shopping on Amazon.  So here it goes, jerks!

Ritual (Modus Anomali)

(2012) ***1/2 (if I understood the ending)
           * (if I don’t understand the ending)

I don’t know how to rate this given my confusion over the “twist” at the end of the film.  A man awakens buried alive in a forest.  Clawing his way out he finds a cabin with a television and video camera inside.  The camera has a note on it that says, “Press play”.  He watches in horror a video of a masked man murdering a pregnant woman.  Stumbling backwards in terror he trips over the dead woman seen in the video.  What follows is a Momento-like mystery that is highly engrossing as the man pieces together what happened.  The problem is that I didn’t understand the ending.  I have looked online and even the explanations make no sense to me.  Perhaps you guys will watch it next year and give me your take?


(2008) ***

Three people become stuck in an elevator during a blackout.  Slowly we learn their back stories and it eventually becomes apparent that one of them is a serial killer.  Fun, tense stuff. I love a good predicament!

The Task

(2011) **

A group of reality-show game contestants must spend a night in a “haunted” jail.  A completely unrealistic story as the game show contestants are placed in very dangerous scenarios.  Fun but stupid.

Apartment 143

(2012) *

This is a lazy, low-budget version of the Paranormal Activity films that takes place in a small apartment with an unlikable cast and very few scares.
Dark Skies

(2013) **

With echoes of Poltergeist and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, you have seen this plot a thousand times before.  A family moves into a large home in a remote area and strange things begin to happen.  This is certainly watchable but it offers nothing new or very interesting.

Tourist Trap

(1979) ***

Creepy Mr. Slausen owns a defunct roadside souvenir shop/wax museum filled with some of the creepiest mannequins you will ever see.  When a group of teenagers seek help after their car runs out of gas (who runs out of gas?) Mr. Slausen is all too happy to offer them shelter in his off-putting establishment.  This was a fun 70s find that is a (slight) step above the usual slasher stuff from that era!

House of Frankenstein

(1944) **

JSP and I simultaneously watched this while on our cell phones.  We were going to do a joint review but he's too burnt out to write more reviews and he is unable to get online at work given that he was recently promoted to a new position.

When the popularity of the classic Universal Monsters started to wane, Universal started to combine the monster franchises (see also:  Freddy vs. Jason, Alien vs. Predator, etc).  What should have been a “can’t miss” opportunity (Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, the Wolf Man all in the same movie!), this flaccid, disjointed story goes nowhere.  The first 20 minutes of the film features a resurrected, homely, Dracula who dies once again before ever meeting his monster peers.  The rest of the story is a jumbled mess and Karloff doesn't even play any of the monsters!  Fail.


(2006) **

Fingerprints is based on a Texas urban legend involving a school bus full of children who all perished when their bus became stuck on some train tracks.  As the legend goes if you drive onto the train tracks and put your car in neutral the ghosts of the children will push you to safety.  Some townsfolk even claim to have seen fingerprints on the back of their vehicles.  Melanie, who just completed a stint in rehab, moves into her parents’ new home in the small Texas town.  Soon the children’s ghosts begin to haunt her in an effort to help her solve a decades old mystery.  Meh.  Generic and not scary for even one second.  I should know to avoid any movie starring Lou Diamond Phillips.

Overall I watched a lot of terrific movies this year.  If people comment on this post I will write up my superlatives!  If I don't receive comments I guess there is always more I can purchase on Amazon now that I just joined Prime, woo-hoo!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Brian lives!

Three weeks ago, Family Guy shocked fans by killing off one of the show’s most-beloved figures: Brian Griffin, the erudite dog/liberal caricature who’s one of several characters voiced by series creator Seth MacFarlane. As it turns out, however, all that outrage was misplaced — because as of last night, Brian’s back. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good psych!
Here’s how it went down. During a routine holiday shopping trip, brilliant baby Stewie spotted something incredible in a toy store — his past self. This version of Stewie had traveled into the future before his time machine broke… and he also happened to have a time machine return pad in his backpack. (What’s a time machine return pad? Just go with it.)
Using the gadget, present-day Stewie went back in time — arriving seconds before Brian got fatally hit by a car. This time, though, the baby managed to push his pal out of the way just in the nick of time. And with that, current Stewie’s timeline was erased — leaving Brian alive, well, and in the perfect position for new present-day Stewie to hit him in the crotch with a hockey stick. (We are, after all, still talking about Family Guy here.)
It’s a turn of events that may have been totally predictable, but was also totally welcome for the show’s fans. These post-episode tweets from MacFarlane really say it best:
"And thus endeth our warm, fuzzy holiday lesson: Never take those you love for granted, for they can be gone in a flash."
"I mean, you didn't really think we'd kill off Brian, did you? Jesus, we'd have to be fucking high."
Watch the dramatic save below, then tell us: Has your faith in Family Guy been restored? Or did this obvious stunt hit a nerve — and not a good one? And who’s going to miss Vinny the replacement dog? Anyone? … Anyone?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

WORLD WAR Z 2 is a go

From aintitcoolnews, Before WORLD WAR Z came out, most analysts were expecting it to be a collasal failure after massive reshoots had ballooned the budget and dampered the buzz on the film. Then it was actually released and was received well critically (67% on Rotten Tomatoes) but more importantly made almost $550 million worldwide. Here we are, just six months after it was released and Paramount is ready to move forward with a sequel and has reportedly hired a director.
We all knew after the behind the scenes issues with the first one meant that the original director, Marc Forster would probably be replaced. THR is reporting that his replacement will be Juan Antonio Bayona, as he has reached a deal to helm the sequel after meeting with producers (including Brad Pitt).
Bayona previously directed the excellent horror film, THE ORPHANAGE and last year’s divisive disaster film, THE IMPOSSIBLE. He has showed with his previous films that he can direct big set pieces and great suspenseful horror so this seems like a really good fit. We don’t yet know who is going to script the sequel but Brad Pitt is returning to produce and probably star in the film.
I was kind of indifferent on WORLD WAR Z but could get interested in a sequel and this is a nice step towards that, but what do you guys think of this news? Do you want to see a sequel to WORLD WAR Z?

Godzilla teaser trailer looks promising!

Monday, December 09, 2013

Gretchen and JSP appear on Ebay!

Disney is planning more "Indiana Jones" (hopefully with less LaBeouf)

From darkhorizons, When Disney bought Lucasfilm over a year ago, the only real purpose was for the Mouse House to get its hands on the "Star Wars" franchise.
Lucasfilm did control one other highly valuable property though - the "Indiana Jones" franchise. However, Paramount had a controlling interest in that film series. Not anymore it would seem.
Disney and Paramount have reached an official agreement that gives Disney control over all future films in the franchise. Paramount retains rights to the first four films, and will receive a "financial participation" on any future films that are produced and released.
This clears the way for a new fifth installment, be it another sequel or even a possible reboot. However, there's no fifth film said to be in the works at this time. All those involved - Ford, Spielberg, Lucas - have all previously expressed interest in returning though.

New dog, old tricks in revamped 'Family Guy' intro

‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ to Be Directed By Bryan Singer, Will Focus on ‘First Class’ Characters

From slashfilm, Bryan Singer isn’t just the guy that got to break the news about X-Men: Apocalypse— he’ll be the one to direct it, too. Though the filmmaker revealed last week via Twitter that the new X-Men sequel would be coming in 2016, he declined to say much else at the time. However, a new report indicates that Singer will indeed be back to helm, and that the movie will focus on the younger First Class cast, as opposed to the original trilogy set. Hit the jump to get all the details.
Vulture has confirmed that Singer will indeed be back for X-Men: Apocalypse, which is currently scheduled to open May 27, 2016. Not surprisingly, the plan for Fox is to use the ending of X-Men: Days of Future Past to set up the events to come in X-Men: Apocalypse.
But while X-Men: Days of Future Past combines the classic X-Men cast (e.g., Patrick StewartIan McKellen) and the newer X-Men stars (e.g., James McAvoyMichael FassbenderJennifer Lawrence) into one star-studded extravaganza, X-Men: Apocalypse will just follow the First Class team. Although First Class is one of the franchise’s lowest grossers, the studio is banking on Days of Future Past to give the younger stars the momentum they need to make X-Men: Apocalypse a hit.
X-Men: Age of Apocalypse will mark the sixth X-Men movie overall (or eighth, if you count the two Wolverine flicks), the fourth X-Men movie that Singer has directed, following X-MenX2, and X-Men: Days of Future Past, and his first focusing solely on the First Classcast. As for when exactly production will get going, or what precisely the plot will entail, that remains to be seen.
In the meantime, X-Men: Days of Future Past opens May 23, 2014. Since Singer clearly isn’t going anywhere, let’s just hope it’s good.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Octopunk's Best Of Horrorthon 2013

Yo yo yo it's Best Ofs time!

All-Around Favorite Movie: It's a tie!  I couldn't decide between Attack the Block and Sinister

Best Hidden Gem Movie:  Burning Bright, for making a good flick out of a nutty idea.  I mean, apply Snakes on a Plane simplicity and it's called Tiger in the House.  What's next?  The Floor's Hot Lava?

Worst Movie: I saw a couple turkeys but The Exorcism of Emily Rose is the movie that honked me off the most. I can't stand it when stories that purport to take on religion wuss out with this tone that says "After all, who are we to question?"  I'm looking at you, Dan Brown.

Best So Bad It's Good Movie: Do you even have to ask?

Most Disturbing Movie: Sinister

Goriest Movie:  World War Z, hands down.

Ha ha, just kidding.  This goes to Mirrors, courtesy of Amy Smart's jaw removal.  It won't make Most Memorable Death like I thought it might, but I didn't screen a lot of gore this year.

Scariest Movie:  Sinister

Best Looking Monster: I was thinking maybe the zombies from World War Z but then I remembered the Alien Wolf Gorilla Motherfuckers from Attack the Block.

Hottest Hottie: Actress Letícia Román in The Girl Who Knew Too Much.

Most Memorable Death: I was thinking of this fool from Tasmanian Devils  but then I remembered a better one from Sinister.  I can't go into details lest I spoil things but for those who have seen it, it's on the last of the five home movies Ethan Hawke watches.

Most Avoidable Death: The first one that springs to mind is that one guy the Godmonster took down, but instead I'm giving this to William "Greates American Hero" Katt's evil reflection going after his eye socket with a pizza cutter in Mirrors 2.  I can't tell you how that dire situation would have gone because the death is actually avoided.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Landshark's Review Bomblet

 I watched this early in Horrorthon when it looked like I was off to a nice start. Then the rents came for a visit, work got crazy, and somehow I lost all momentum and never regained it. Ugh.

The Thing (1982) *****

This was a fun Saturday morning surprise. The wife and I happened to surf past it just as it was about to start, and the kids were doing something out of earshot, so we got sucked in. I'm pretty sure I saw some of this back in the 80s, but I'm not sure I ever saw the full thing. I think the setting and bleakness of the whole thing probably wasn't what I had time for as a 14 year old.

This time, I was immediately hooked in the opening scene. A helicopter is flying over a frozen wasteland, and a Siberian huskie is running below it. The dog seems to be running to meet its master back at home base. Then the guy in the helicopter starts shooting his hunting rifle at the dog, and you're like, "That fucking bastard." Who shoots at a dogs?

The dog takes shelter with some American scientists working at an isolated Antarctic outpost, and they end up killing the Swedish dog-hater. For a supposedly smart scientist himself, the Swede has a problem communicating with the American guys when he arrives at their camp. So they shoot him and put the dog in with their own pack. Oops.

Anyway, this was a blast. Definitely one to check off your list if you've somehow missed it as I had. The bad news is that this also was the way early end to my thon this year. I must have watched this around the 15th or so...I thought I was doing so well, and then totally hit a mofo wall with work and other responsibilities. Ok, it was also the Sawx!!!!!  Tough to pull off a good thon when the Sox are in the midst of a World Series run.

The Returned (2012) ?????

This isn't technically a Horrorthon review, as A) it's a TV show or really even "horror," and B) I just watched my first episode last night. But I wanted to turn you guys onto it, as it started off really promisingly. It's billed as a French zombie tv show based on a movie from a couple years ago. The hook is (and it's one not designed to please JSP) that these zombies just show back up at their families' homes as if nothing had happened. So maybe "zombies" is the wrong word--lost in translation or something. It's more like millions of people are mysteriously "resurrected" with no clear memory of what happened. They're all a bit out of it, but not hungry for brains or anything. Anyway, pretty gripping from the start. The wife and I were hooked immediately. Not exactly horror, but horrorish, especially in a psychological way as the various living folks deal with the dead coming back.

Octopunk's Review Bomb

Kill, Baby... Kill!

1966  ****

I had great luck with Bava this year.  Kill, Baby... Kill! not only has an exclamation point but also combines all the best features of the Bava supernatural folk tale vibe I've sampled a lot of in recent years.  And there's a decent creepy little girl in it, too.  Drawbacks would be the somewhat cookie-cutter good looking hero couple and the repeated little girl laugh that's supposed to sound scary but comes out forced.

Blood Tea and Red String

2006  **

Gong!  Kudos to Cat for finding a stop-motion horror movie but what the hell with this crap?  Knowing as I do how much time it takes to make stop motion animation, watching stop motion animation that mercilessly drags ON and ON makes absolutely no sense to me because it represents weeks of work during which the person should have had ample time to come to their senses.  Mice playing cards!

Yongary, Monster from the Deep

1967  ***

Drab yet endearing Korean kaiju knockoff, featuring a cast, monster and miniature sets all a little bit blander than their Japanese counterparts.  Despite less convincing tiny world, Yongary displays an appropriate thuggishness about wrecking as much of it as possible.  All badassery is compromised when he's poisoned like a rat and we pull back from a closeup on the river as he shits himself upon death.

Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster

1966  ***1/2

This is more like it!  This features a villain with an eyepatch, a dance marathon, and several Polynesian-style big dance numbers dedicated to a giant moth.

Landshark kindly said I'd never mail in a review of a kaiju flick, and I'm disappointed I left two behind this year.  I'll get back to them.


2012  *****

Man, this movie blew me away and I wasn't expecting it.  Another one I'll have to revisit because I wanna go on and on about why I think it's great.  

And that's it!  I feel like we all had a tough time finding time this year.  I know I did, plus I kept falling asleep.  Both the Bava flick and Yongary took me three nights to finish, and they're good!  I just kept dozing.

No matter!  I've got some great ideas for next year and this was a particularly busy time.  See you folks for some Best Ofs?  I'll get mine going tomorrow.  Then I gotta catch us up on Spider-Man.