Saturday, October 31, 2015

Cooties

(2014) ***1/2

Catfreeek totally nailed the plot in her review earlier this month, but to recap: Elijah Wood plays Clint, a writer who returns to his hometown to work on his first novel.  He accepts a gig as a substitute teacher at the local elementary school, but unfortunately his first day is marked by the spread of a chicken-nugget-borne virus that turns the children into bloodthirsty zombies.

Rotten tomatoes wrong, Catfreeek right.  Cooties is a fun blend of comedy and zombie action with a great cast. Another good pick if you like your horror a bit on the lighter side.

Behind the mask: the rise of Leslie Vernon

(2006) ***1/2

Aspiring serial killer Leslie Vernon allows a documentary film crew to capture his preparation for a planned killing spree in the quiet town of Glen Echo.  Leslie takes his slasher responsibilities very seriously and even has a mentor, neighbor and retired serial killer Eugene.  Leslie has chosen his prime target, Kelly, a teenaged waitress.

Landshark first mentioned this tongue-in-cheek deconstruction of slasher films many years ago, and so glad I finally got around to it.  "Behind the mask" is a black comedy with a great concept, an oddly congenial villain, and several clever cameos. A fun and refreshing late horrorthon option.

The House At The End Of Time

 (2013)****1/2

Near the end of October as our lists draw to a close I begin second guessing some of my finishing choices so I surf Netflix or one of my other go to sites trying to find that hidden treasure I might have missed. Last night Tony & I struck gold by way of this Spanish film. The film opens with a panicked woman who awakens on the floor by a broken mirror she grabs a shard of glass then goes down to the creepiest basement I've ever seen shouting,  "Leopoldo!" She finds a man (her husband) dead on the floor and her son Leopoldo is standing in a doorway but before she can get to him he is pulled through the doorway and the door slams shut. She is consequently arrested for the murder of her husband and son who is still missing and assumed dead. After 30 long years she is released and brought back to this frightening house that ruined her life. Almost immediately things start happening, she hears noises, banging on the walls and furniture is overturned. A priest comes to visit her and she is prompted to tell him the story of what really happened, at least as much as she knows. The story slowly unfolds like a rose in bloom.


Original, intelligent and truly frightening. This is an atmospheric, well acted tale that kept me engaged the entire time. When each layer of the story is revealed it delivers an aha moment that refreshingly takes things in an unexpected direction. It is such a pleasure to watch when a filmmaker gets it right. Most definitely biddy safe as well so if any of you are looking for a good one to close out with I recommend you give it a go.

Lake Noir


(2011)*

There is so bad it's good and then there is just so bad, this is the latter of the two. A large Mexican man is wrongfully killed as he is forced to watch the woman he loves being raped. He drowns in the lake and comes back as a vengeful zombie taking the lives of any who dare to spend the night in the area. A group of "teens", well I think they were supposed to be teens since one of the girls was asking her mom's permission to go and in the end had to sneak out but the actors were clearly in their late 30's or early 40's, go up to the lake for a party weekend and encounter the big guy. People die but not quick enough to save this movie.

I bet these can save this film.

Not even close grandma! Clearly the worst film to grace my list this year. It was described as a giant Mexican zombie which would have been way cool but it wasn't a giant, it was a fat blue guy and they didn't even show any gore to speak of. Lame in every way. 

Friday, October 30, 2015

See No Evil

(2006)

I picked this one up in the 2 dollar bin at Rasputin because pro-wrestler Kane plays the murderer and pro-wrestling is one of my guilty pleasures. See No Evil is a fairly straightforward slasher released at the height of the Saw craze, so it features the squalor color palette that was ubiquitous for several years. Kane plays Jacob Goodnight, a psychopathic axe-murderer with the lovely habit of ripping out eyeballs. Four years after being dismembered by Kane, a police officer escorts a group of inmates to clean an uncleanable abandoned hotel. Predictably this is the very same location where the Big Red Machine has made his home.

I don’t have much to say about it other than that I enjoyed it far more than I probably should have. An abandoned hotel makes an excellent backdrop, Kane makes a fine brute, and prison inmates make great victims. Like the classic 80’s slashers it’s nearly impossible not to root for the bad guy. Octopunk mentioned a fiendishly clever death involving a fire hose in his seven year old review. I second that, and would like to mention another death involving the forced consumption of an object one uses every day. Take it or leave it.

The Lazarus Effect

(2015) **

Some plucky researchers representing a wonderful cross-section of universities (the stoner, the uptight guy, the black guy, the cute girl, the smart cute girl), are experimenting on a serum that can keep people alive when death is imminent.  They experiment mostly on animals, but when a lab accident kills one of their own, they decide to try it on their colleague.

This movie gets two stars for the very cool cast.  Unfortunately, their talents are wasted.  The rest is kind of a mess.  Part of the problem is that the movie can't really decide where to go.  Once their colleague gets reanimated, she becomes a mix of firestarter/zombie/limitless Lucy/Carrie.  You're never really sure what everyone should be afraid of or what to expect.  She can do anything.  She's  a zombie superhero.

This movie is really short though.  Once you take out the lengthy opening/closing credits, the actual run time is 73 minutes.  Despite that, it takes until 53 minutes into the movie for the lab assistant to be re-animated.  Considering the title and poster of the movie, it's not like her turning is really a surprise.  The first 53 minutes is wasted with the dog being creepy, some bureaucratic arguments over ethics, some subplot about a love triangle and which lab assistants think the other lab assistants are cute.  And, none of it really goes anywhere.

Free on netflix if you need to pad your numbers - The Lazarus Effect!

The Human Centipede 3: Final Sequence


(2015)** 1/2

Sociopath Bill Boss is a prison warden determined to keep his prisoners in line by bringing back medieval torture methods. His pudgy accountant Dwight is obsessed with the first two Human Centipede films and pushes the warden to recreate the titular centipede with all the prisoners as a deterrent for future crime. After much resistance and even a visit to the prison by Tim Six, the director of the Human Centipede films, the warden agrees to make the centipede.

I really struggled with my rating of this film. If I was going to rate it on a torture-porn, queasy, disturbing level it would receive a 4 or 5. However on an enjoyment level I couldn’t bring myself to give it more than a 2.5. The first Human Centipede film was loads of fun because of the outrageous concept and because of Dieter Laser’s scene stealing Dr. Heiter, an instantly iconic B-movie mad scientist. In Part 2 Laurence R Harvey’s delightfully disturbing “Martin” character is even more disturbing as a character who desperately wishes to emulate Dr. Heiter with methods that are far messier and more barbaric. In both installments the characters are fun to watch despite their psychopathic motivations and gross-out results. The Human Centipede 3 (Final Sequence) disappoints on a number of levels. Although it was fun to see Laser and Harvey assuming new roles, Laser not only chews the scenery he screams it, yelling every line to the point of incomprehensibility. Initially I found him funny but I quickly grew weary of his shrieking. We are not supposed to like this character but I couldn’t stand him. Harvey’s Dwight fares a little better as the nerdy assistant with a surprisingly high pitched voice although he is portrayed as a kind-ish man who inexplicably accepts the warden’s angry barbs while ignoring his sadistic violence. It is never clear why the warden’s siren secretary would want to remain in her job given the warden’s verbally and sexually abusive behavior. Don’t get me wrong gore aficionados, there is plenty of graphic, stomach-churning violence, but after three installments it kind of gets stale.



All that aside my chief complaint of this Human Centipede installment is that the ‘centipede’ barely makes an appearance! Most of the film involves Dwight trying to convince the warden to make the centipede and by time he finally agrees the film is almost over. Don’t expect to see more than an aerial shot of the centipede and certainly don’t expect to see it ever move. Finally, in the first two films we had some sympathy for the innocent characters who found themselves shanghaied and forced to suffer the terrible centipede. In the latest installment the prisoners are a loathsome bunch and I couldn’t care less that they were being abused. The Human Centipede 3 ends up being a nihilistic exercise without any fun.

Exhibit A


(2007)***1/2

This horrifically uncomfortable found footage film is difficult to watch almost from the get go. A teenage girl is given a video camera and begins documenting the unravelling of her father. She isn't sure what is wrong with him but his patience seems to have grown short and he is obsessed with building a family pool. She follows him around stealth style and discovers he has lost his job. Not knowing what revealing info is on the film, dad confiscates the camera and shows it to the whole family revealing his secret and causing a huge falling out with his wife. He goes a little further off the rails after that and decides to make his own film which includes going through each of his family members rooms and revealing their most intimate secrets including the giant dildo his wife had hidden which he then shows the film to the family. This behavior in no way helps his marriage causing him to completely derail to an inevitable and highly disturbing conclusion.

If found footage is your thing and you want to watch a good man turn into a monster then I recommend this wholeheartedly. As an observer you can easily see where his family, by reacting in fear instead of logic seem to goad his behavior forward. I was uncomfortable watching it but then again people with short fuses do frighten me.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Human Centipede 3: Final Sequence

 

(2015)

Let your imagination run wild with the possibilities in the third and final installment of this exceptionally depraved trilogy, because exactly what director Tom Six did. If you can conceive of something appallingly shocking then the chances are strong that it’s covered somewhere in the 102 minute running time. Have you ever see someone eat *SPOILER REMOVED* as a snack treat? Ever see someone get waterboarded with boiling water? Here is your chance!

The mad surgeon from the first movie (Dieter Laser) is joined by the crude slob from the sequel (Laurence R. Harvey) and together they wreak about as much havoc as is inhumanly possible in this final chapter. Laser plays Bill Boss, a maniacal and sadistic prison warden at the George H. W. Bush State Prison. He does everything in his power (and he has all the power) to make sure that everyone around him is thoroughly miserable. To prove this theory he promptly kills one fetishistic inmate who expresses enthusiasm to be a part of the human centipede experiment because there can be no happiness allowed!

Bill Boss is such a mean bastard that I found it impossible to believe that anyone on earth would willingly tolerate being in the same room with him for more than 5 seconds, specifically his buxom secretary, whom he regularly assaults sexually. Harvey plays his dopey accountant Dwight. Dwight is gentle and timid on the outside but you can tell he’s deeply unstable and may snap at any moment. It is a delight to see the two actors work together.

My biggest complaint is that the film is so completely over the top that the genuine scares (which were plentiful in the first two chapters) are all but absent here. Instead of fear and dread I felt more of a twisted curiosity to see exactly how depraved things will get. I had a similar reaction of disappointment when I first watched Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 but later on embraced its extremism/borderline campiness. I was also reminded of the movie Head which was created specifically to put a bullet in the head of the Monkees franchise. Human Centipede 3: The Final Sequence succeeds in exploring so many vile situations that there’s simply nowhere else this franchise can go. I will spare you the details but I recommend that if and when you do watch this you prepare for the worst of the worst…

Human Centipede 3: Final Sequence

(2015)
four.

We didn’t watch it for the sassy social commentary.

We didn't watch it for the killer's display of superior intellect.
We watched it for the execution of “medically accurate” ass-to-mouth surgery, to test our limits of watching human depravity at its best, to quench an insatiable thirst for sadistic sociopaths living out their fecal-filled fantasies, all at the location of one of America’s most well-attended facilities: a high-security prison, depicted here as the George H. W. Bush State Prison.

Amidst presidential hopefuls touting statistics that we incarcerate the most people, some of whom are minor drug offenders and some of whom would better fit in psychiatric hospitals, Warden Bill Boss (portrayed by Human Centipede antagonist Dieter Laser) and his trustworthy accountant Dwight Butler (Laurence R. Harvey, of Human Centipede 2 fame) successfully bring Tom Six’s vision of human poop-eating trains to a close in what I can only describe as cartoonish, disgusting and very, very awkward. I say it is cartoonish because both of these men -- one a lanky German method actor and one five-foot-two any way you measure him -- are acting their foreign hearts out to play American southern men with a thirst for torturing prison inmates. The archetype doesn’t seem too far from the truth, but the way they carry on their days as if they live at the prison couldn’t be further from it. Each day, Dwight tries to pitch his idea to make a human centipede to Bill, who’s not listening because he is thinking of creative ways to disembody the convicts.
Like its predecessors there are moments, things either said or done by one of these sadistic characters, that stays with you forever. Bill Boss’ preferred snack of choice (he says it gives him strength) is a running gag in the sense that it is ridiculous and it will make you gag just thinking of it.

Circle


(2015) ***

Fifty strangers wake up in a dark room standing on two concentric circles with no memory of how they got there. Stepping off of a circle causes immediate vaporization. The participants soon learn that one of them will be vaporized every 60 seconds and that they have control over who lives and who dies. Entitlement, prejudice, and politics play out as people plead with one another to spare their lives. Factions form quickly and Lord of the Flies mentality quickly takes hold. This is the ultimate Survivor game.

I didn’t have much confidence when I started this film but the Twilight Zone-like premise quickly sucked me in and I was pleased with the results. Predictably the “strangers” reflect society and include all the stereotypes including the black guy, the old lady, the kid, the white racist, the lesbian, the pregnant woman, etc. but the deaths are surprising and quick and race and prejudice will not spare or save you. I thought the ending was perfect. Why only 3 stars? It’s a fun movie but it’s the type of film you can only watch once. Perfect for the biddies.

Last Shift


(2014)****

Officer Jessica Loren is a rookie cop who is left with the simple task of manning the old police station on the last night before the move to the new station is fully in effect. Nearly everything has been moved already and the station is inoperable she just has to wait for the construction crew to arrive. She begins hearing noises and finds a homeless guy in the station, she kicks him out after he pees on the floor. She receives a phone call from a desperate girl stating that she has been kidnapped and they are going to kill her but the call is ended before she can get any real details. As the night goes on things get weirder, she begins seeing things as well as hearing them and it all seems to be connected to a Manson Family type case that her father had worked on many years ago. She finds herself trapped inside with a nightmare of crazy characters.


Wow what a surprise find this was! Truly creepy and intense. The strangeness starts from the very first scene and just keeps building throughout the film. I'd call it biddy friendly because there is very little actual gore but it does pack a good punch in the creep factor. The only bummer was that I figured out the ending but I can't fault the film in that, I fault myself for having watched thousands of horror flicks resulting in me finding very little that actually surprises me anymore.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Crimson Peak

(2015)****

Edith Cushing is a beautiful young girl who has little interest in men as she is too busy working hard to become a writer. She ignores the attentions of the handsome Dr. Alan McMichaels but is suddenly swept off her feet by a Mr. Thomas Sharpe who comes to town to do some dealings with her wealthy father. Mr. Sharpe is trying to receive funding for a mining machine he has invented. Edith's father dies due to an unfortunate accident which we know was no accident but she is not privy to such information. In her grief, she falls hard into the arms of Thomas Sharpe and marries him. He whisks her off to his very large, very rundown and creepy old family home where he and his stoic sister Lucille reside. Edith, no stranger to seeing ghosts since she had an encounter with her mother's spirit when she was a young girl, begins seeing a creepy red apparition taunting her. Between the ghosts and the feeling that Lucille doesn't like her very much Edith just want out of the place but she has nowhere to go. Meanwhile back home Dr. McMichaels is not entirely convinced that Edith's father's death was an accident so he starts digging into it. Edith is caught in the center of an elaborate scheme of secrets and lies and at this point we can only hope she will make it out alive.


Crimson Peak is a slow burner with a thick and elaborate plot. I so love a ghost story in a gothic setting, it seems the perfect period for such things what with all those big creepy mansions and proper English accents and all. The ghosts are not overpowering, we aren't talking about a million pop ups and cgi scares here, they appear subtly and only add to the already tense situation that our heroine is facing. This is not the kind of film you go into expecting non stop action, slamming shutters and ghosts stealing every scene. The acting is well done, the characters complex and the setting is every bit a star in it's own rite. Once Edith moves to Thomas' home the film takes on a dark and desolate feeling much like the Woman in Black. It is great to see this style of film coming back, imagine that, films that rely on good acting and intricate plots rather than special effects. There may be hope for us yet.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

We Are Still Here



(2015)

A grief-stricken married couple move to a hopelessly depressing New England town in the dead of winter, with the hopes of moving on with their lives after the death of their teenage son. Because when coping with grief, the best thing to do is move to a bitter cold environment so that you can forget your tragic woes and refocus your sadness on how painful it is to walk to the mailbox.

Almost immediately Anne (Barbara Crampton from Re-Animator) feels the haunting presence of her dead son in the house. To make matters worse everyone in the town is a complete and utter sketch bag led by the guy who played Blanche’s gay brother Clayton on the Golden Girls. The townsfolk are clearly privy to some dark secret regarding their new home.

As someone who is sick to bloody death of haunted house movies I can wholeheartedly get behind this one. Like House of the Devil this is a period piece that takes place in in the late 70’s. First time director Ted Geoghegan does a fine job of capturing the tone of horror films released during that time. The ghost of their dead son (if that is indeed the menace in the basement) is a wonderfully rendered spirit seemingly made of tar. The film is also well paced, seamlessly going from needling tension into full blown scares in the final act. But don’t take my word for it – read JPX’s review!

Cub (Welp)



(2014) ****

It is the first day of Cub Scout summer camp and 12-year-old Sam is late. This does not bode well with his three camp counselors who are ready to travel to a remote camp site in the Ardennes region. Upon arriving Sam is hazed for his tardiness. The counselors include the nice one, the bully with requisite jerk-dog, and a neutral female. The kids are all snot-bags who delight in tormenting Sam. On route to the camp site the counselors enhance the experience by telling tall tales about a werewolf that lives in the forest who eats children. Gullible Sam takes these stories to heart. Arriving at their destination they run into some local assholes that lay claim to the Cub Scout camp site. As a result the Cub Scouts are forced to go deeper into the forest to find a new spot. The sheriff warns them that travelling deeper into forest is dangerous however like every crazy old man in every Friday the 13th movie he is summarily dismissed.

Fascinated with the werewolf stories Sam wanders off to find the lycanthrope but instead stumbles across a feral child wearing a creepy wooden mask who has sprinkled the forest with Rube Goldbergian traps designed to kill anyone who enters. No one believes Sam, of course, and his stories of the feral child are met with derision and more hazing. Believing everyone to be in danger Sam takes it upon himself to rescue everyone from certain death. 


This terrific Belgium film could have been another generic slasher but instead it is a strange and captivating tale that is completely unpredictable. It is a brutal story that ignores horror movie tropes and has no problem killing off children and animals. The booby-traps are clever, including a bee-hive death that must be seen to be believed. The film has a 80s-vibe synth score that perfectly sets the tone of this dark tale. Well worth your time.

Hellions


(2015)***1/2

On Halloween a young girl discovers she is stuck with an unwanted pregnancy. Rather then go to a party she opts to sit home sulking while her mom takes little brother out trick or treating. After some encouraging words from mom she decides to go to the party anyway so she dresses up and waits for her boyfriend. The doorbell rings, it's a knockoff from Trick 'r Treats' Sam but she tells him she has no candy left. Shortly there is another relentless knock/ring and it's the same kid but he now has friends. She sees they have smashed all of her pumpkins and the creepy kid calls her mama and puts a bloody hand on her belly so she slams the door. The house then gets pelted with eggs but that is far from the end of the scourge.  As the crowd of creepy kids grows and becomes more aggressive she begins having abdominal pain and calls for help. Help comes but the danger and weirdness of the evening is far from over.


Much of this film is shot through a surrealistic rose filter adding to the dreamy weirdness vibe. The kid that touched her belly obviously activated something and the baby is growing at warp speed. I am giving this a good rating mostly because it captured my full attention throughout and the title is 100% accurate, they certainly are hellions. There is a consistent creepy vibe and the threat is very real but where the film fails is in the somewhat disjointed storyline. Some questions are never answered and again we are left with an open ending that should have pissed me off but at that point I was too confused to be pissed. Still it is Halloween themed and the little bastards are quite fun to watch. Take it or leave it.

The Visitor



1979  **

I gave it the same rating as Catfreeek and Abby!  I should have listened!

Okay, watch this crazy trailer.


John Huston has a vision of the world inside a lava lamp turning into the world inside a snow globe.  Most of the cooler footage you just watched in that trailer comes from that scene.  Nearby, Space Jesus tells a room full of bald kids about how long ago the crew of a spaceship traveling near Earth allowed a horrible evil person? force? named Sateen to escape.  The spaceship's Captain Yahweh used his flock of trained space birds to take Sateen down, but only after he mated with a bunch of Earth women to infect the human race with evil.  Sounds a lot like Scientology, I know.  Then John Huston enters the room and tells us all about Katy.

From there on it's pretty much an Omen clone with a dash of Close Encounters to keep the space thing going.  That usually means John Huston hanging out on a roof downtown with a bunch of bald guys in track suits.  Sometimes he stands beneath some glowing lights and makes facial expressions.

If the good guys sound inept, their nemesis group doesn't come off any better.  Lance Henriksen keeps getting summoned to a table full of guys who get on his case about how he hasn't knocked up Katy's mom, as she's currently the only woman on Earth with a womb that brings forth superpowered kids.  Eventually they give up on Lance and capture her, drug her, and artificially inseminate her, but they don't keep an eye on her or anything and she goes out and gets an abortion.

Yes, spoilers!  But honestly you don't care and I'll tell you why.  Padding!  PAH.  DING.  So much padding.  The first scene we see on Earth is a pro basketball game that Katy influences with her Omen powers.  Sorry, her telekinesis.  When we come in the game is 86-90, then the local boys surge ahead and bring it up to 100-99, and I swear to Space God we see every single basket along the way.  During the scene in which Katy goes ninja on some ice skaters, the movie keeps cutting to John Huston descending a flight of stairs again and again, and what the hell he's meant to be doing or where the hell he's meant to be going right then is never resolved.

You might have a good time with this movie in the right company, but to some extent it will be an endurance event, I promise.

Monday, October 26, 2015

It Follows


[2015] ****1/2

 I believe almost everyone has seen this so I won't get into plot details. Excellent movie! The sense of dread is palpable. I loved the chemistry of the characters as well as the actors. Amazingly solid on every level.

 If I'm only getting one in this year at least it was a good one!

Big Tits Zombie



(2010)  
I can feel you rolling your eyes as you read the title and I don't like it, but hear me out, this is a uniquely absurd and fun film based on a manga comic. Make no mistake, the original Japanese version is an awful movie with juvenile humor and terrible special effects. In other words, it's everything you would expect from a movie entitled Big Tits Zombie. However, in the English dubbed version the voice actors ad lib their own dialog and frequently poke fun at the modestly budgeted film. So the way to enjoy this is by watching the dubbed version with English subtitles. At times it can be a challenge to follow the real story while simultaneously taking in the hilarity that is coming out of the voice actors' mouths.

Not that the story is extremely elaborate, mind you. Basically a group of strippers find an occult book and bring the dead back to life by chanting a spell (the dubbed version includes lyrics from Joe Cocker's Love Lift Us Up Where We Belong). It's harmless titillation and I'm not ashamed to admit I chuckled pretty much throughout its entirety. My favorite running joke was the competition between the strippers to out-pun one another. I've seen a lot of bad movies in my day and this one ranks somewhere in the middle.

Goodnight, Mommy


(2015) ****

Identical twins Lukas and Elias spend their idyllic summer days chasing each other through cornfields, exploring dark caves, and floating on serene ponds in the beautiful Austrian countryside.  Their tranquil days are disrupted one day when their mother returns home covered in bandages from some unexplained plastic surgery.  Almost immediately the boys are wary of her.  She is not only unsettling to look at; she somehow seems “different”.  She lacks warmth and her personality has undergone a complete sea change.  Furthermore she imposes a number of peculiar rules to the boys noting that they must allow her to sleep for generous amounts of time and they are not to make any noise in the house.  As the days roll by the boys begin to suspect that she is not their mother at all and they become resolute in getting to the bottom of the mystery.




‘Goodnight, Mommy’ packs a wallop of slow build uneasiness.  The fear comes from knowing that “something isn’t right” although there is little evidence that something is actually wrong.  Long seemingly-innocuous shots suggest danger though the danger is unidentified.  Has the mother really changed or are the twins overly sensitive to her new “rules” as she recovers from her recent surgery?  The film challenges the notion of the unbreakable bond between a mother and her children and the unease comes from seeing that bond disintegrate.   If I had one complaint about the film it is that early on I ignored red herrings and predicted the overall gestalt of the story which sapped some of the fun of the disturbing third reel.  Still “Goodnight, Mommy” is terrific film-making and should not to be missed!

Starry Eyes



(2014)****

Sarah just wants to be an actress but she just can't seem to catch a break. Her friends feel bad for her as they land roles but she is sick of their pity. She gets a callback from a weird audition and is offered the role but skips out when it appears she will have to give up her morals to get it. She confesses her experience to her roommate who of course tells the rest of the gang, feeling bad for her one of her friends offers her the lead in his indie film. This just makes Sarah angry enough to call the weird guy back and accept the role. She dresses up and goes to his mansion expecting to have sex but what she gets is a whole lot more involved. Sarah has uncovered an ancient secret and now she's in it for better or worse.

JSP will be happy to see old people performing rituals. 
Yes, there are worshippers in robes too. 

I avoided this film on Netflix simply because of the stupid name and lame cover photo. It wasn't until I read a recommendation on a horror site that I decided to give it a go, I was not disappointed in the least. It's a slow build at the beginning which led me to believe this was going to be a self-mutilation film for some reason but I was ever so wrong. Instead, Sarah undergoes a very unsettling transformation (not for biddies) and the film turns shockingly violent. I'd call this my surprise find of the season and recommend it any of you that enjoy some good hardcore horror.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Village of the Damned

1960 (****)

The small English town of Midwitch is affected by a highly mysterious occurrence: all living creatures are rendered unconscious for several hours at once on the same day. There seem to be no ill effects initially, but a couple of months later it becomes clear that all the women of childbearing age, married and unmarried, are pregnant.  There is a lot of fear and uncertainty in the village about the pregnancies, but when the children are born, they appear perfect in every way, with just a few anomalies. However, as time goes by, it becomes clear that these children are very different from their peers, and a potential menace to the entire town.

I was pleasantly surprised by this one!  Based on the date and the trailer, I expected something more campy or B-movie, but instead Village of the Damned is a solid, unsentimental take on its premise.  The mysterious kids are thoroughly creepy and the villagers (for the most part) respond in relatively realistic ways to each stage of the action.


Check-in! One week to go!


Greetings, homies!  I've been out of it for a couple of days but it was for a good cause.  Literally!  I was making two art pieces for charity.


And of course I didn't get started early enough so I was crazy every night for most of last week, or catching up on sleep.  Here's the other piece before final assembly.  It's called Not My Apocalypse.



Here's the piece in final form,


And here's the side.  Rivets!


The sliced green head thing atop this post is a bust of The Nerd, one of Robot Chicken's few original characters.  About a dozen were made and doled out to those who signed up in time.  The results were amazing.


And here's my favorite:


Speaking of arts and crafts I have cast the core of the second Horrorthon trophy and here it is:


By the way I have a couple of ideas to discuss.

1.  This movie



2.  Since Halloween is on a Saturday this year I vote we say October goes as long as you can stay up that night.  Although we're all old we'll probably fall asleep anyway.

3.  A Christmas Horror Story reminded me of an idea I had, in which we pic a genre a month and all review ONE movie in that genre and drop the reviews during the last week of the month.  Thoughts?

4. If anyone cares I caught up on comments going down to Catfreeek's Cooties review, and in my comment on Abduscias's review of The Visitor I mention how I just discovered the movie was on YouTube and promised to watch it immediately upon finishing this post, and then post my review tomorrow.  So off I go!  Horrorthon, amiright?

(Hopefully I won't fall asleep)

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Late Phases


(2014)***1/2

A elderly blind war veteran moves into a retirement community but on his very first night his dog and neighbor are killed by a werewolf. He is told by the police that with the woods nearby animal attacks are frequent in the area but this is no ordinary old guy. He discovers the attacks seem to only happen when there is a full moon so he begins preparing for the next one. Werewolf movies are always teetering on a fine line between badass and ridiculous, much of that is gauged on the appearance of the wolf itself. A silly looking wolf (Moon of the Wolf) will destroy and chance of the film succeeding. While I don't expect the badassery of the wolves from Dog Soldiers to appear in every werewolf film, I do expect the wolf to at least be formidable, Late Phases brings the goods. Now onto our protagonist, yes I said he was blind so you may be wondering how this dude is going to match up against a werewolf? Heightened senses baby! He smells him out. He spends most of the film preparing and getting his place ready to trap the wolf but in the eleventh hour the wolf throws a wrench in his plans recruiting a few fellow retirees as helpers. The build up throughout the film is paid off with a classic final battle. In summation I would say this film is a surprisingly entertaining take on a classic movie monster. As for the biddies, there is some gore involved which is a definite necessity for a werewolf film but nothing a seasoned biddy couldn't handle.

Friday, October 23, 2015

The Sacrament

(2013) **1/2

2.5 stars because this movie has already been done. It was called Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones. Which is the reason why I never liked Powers Boothe, who played Jim Jones.
I have no idea why there is a rapper named after him

VICE NEWS worker Patrick receives a letter from his sister Caroline, inviting him to come visit Eden Parish where everyone is in happyland.
Patrick travels with his co-workers Sam and Jake, who decide to document this trip. When they arrive by helicopter to the parish, they are greeted by angry men yelling at them with guns. They are told to turn the camera off, but the camera guy Jake tries to secretly film the interaction. Caroline meets them at the gate reassuring them that everything is alright and that there was a misunderstanding with the armed men. She is a happy hippy taking them on a tour, showing them their happy life and explaining that it wouldn't have been that way without "the Father".
"The Father"
reminded me of
Interviewer Sam asks to talk to the Father, which Caroline replied that she would ask for his permission. Everything seems happy-go-lucky until they come across an unhappy mother and daughter who turn them away.
 Their interview is granted, but cut short due to a celebration that is also happening that night. There are constant red flags that make them realize this definitely isn't Eden! I was intrigued because it was done by Eli Roth and Ti West, but kept seeing too many similarities to Jonestown. It was a little saddening because that was based on a true story. See Jonestown Massacre-