It has been another fun-filled week in the land of horror. Here is your weekly horror update to beat the Monday blues.
1. Sequel and spinoff movies for The Conjuring!
That’s right, various sources reported this week that The Conjuring will receive the spinoff treatment. And my how it spins. Bloody Disgusting reported that as many as 3 micro budget side projects may be on the way, at least one of them based on the film’s creepy doll, Annabelle. Along with this a sequel is on the way!
2. Chucky and Freddie share milestones.
Many don’t know this, but on the 9th of November 2013, the beloved doll / serial killer Chucky, turned 25. This is the same day that A Nightmare on Elm Street had its first limited release in 1984, and, if you’re also an astro-geek, Carl Sagan’s birthday.
3. Fans of gross-out horror will be delighted to know that The Human Centipede 3 is on its way.
It will be called The Final Sequence and will feature Eric Roberts, Robert LaSardo, Tommy ‘Tiny’… Continue reading
V/H/S is a compilation of VHS quality found footage horror shorts. A frame narrative about petty criminals breaking into a house to steal a VHS tape serves to bind all the short stories together. The merry band of thugs videotapes all their crimes, including tapes of their sexual assault on random women, which they sell to reality porn companies. Shortly after breaking into the house they find the owner dead in front of a wall of TV monitors in a house littered with VHS tapes. They start looking for the tapes, allowing us to see the footage.
The stories are all from different horror sub genres, ensuring that everybody will find something to like. In the first story a group of friends encounter a creature disguised as a regular woman. This is followed up by a married couple on their second honeymoon, a bunch of friends that visit a remote lake camping location, a story involving alien implants, and finally a haunted house slash possession-ey tale. All of them are entertaining, some are very well done,… Continue reading
Horror fans are a bit like M&M’s: a hard outer shell with dark center where all the sweet bits go. Years of watching other peoples’ nightmares come to life make us jaded and desensitized, making every horror movie feel like just another horror movie. Enter The Conjuring, without a doubt one of the finest supernatural horrors filmed in the last 20 years, and one of the few movies in recent times that might still penetrate the candy coat of your heart.
It’s not that The Conjuring is a creative movie. You’ve seen this story more than your car door. A happy family move into some kind of remote country home. Soon after the move things start going bump in the night, and before you know it they’re trying to piece together why little Jimmy is speaking 7 different dialects of ancient Latin while puking pea soup from the sprinkler system that is now his open mouth. An energetic battle for the souls and / or lives of those involved ensues, and, if it’s a modern horror movie, everyone dies… Continue reading
Sam Raimi’s 1981 cult classic The Evil Dead has become a staple of horror movie lovers everywhere; combining jump scares, gallons of blood, and a twisted sense of humor to deliver the horror goods all over your face. Because of its special place in horror lore, and because I generally loathe remakes, it was with much trepidation that I watched the 2013 remake – also by Raimi – simply titled Evil Dead.
The story differs slightly from the original. The lead character, a girl named Mia – Jane Levy (originally a guy named Ash played by the irreplaceable Bruce Campbell), goes to a cabin in the woods with a group of friends to fix her drug addiction (originally his horny-itis) and very bad things happen. In both cases evil is unleashed, demonic possession ensues, and disgusting iconic deeds scar themselves into your brain.
Mr. Raimi is, of course, no stranger to the genre. Besides bringing us The Evil Dead he is also responsible for 2009’s Drag Me to Hell and all of the Evil Dead sequels (which as… Continue reading
Generically named Joey receives a text from his girlfriend, Jennifer, that seems to indicate she is cheating on him. Flabbergasted by the unexpected shit being taken on his heart he decides to take a road trip to see her, making a movie along the way to prove how much he mega-loves her. He also hopes to catch her in the heinous act so he can slut shame. If the two goals are incompatible it never dawns on Joey, who is accompanied on his incredible adventure by cousin Steven, and friend Martin who is kind enough to chauffeur them around.
As you can probably tell, To Jennifer is a found footage film. It comes from the pen and directing chair of James Cullen Bressack who also directed 13/13/13 and Hate Crime, another found footage film gaining word of mouth for its considered-brutal-by-some depiction of a Nazi home invasion. Like Hate Crime this entry seems only loosely scripted, with the actors trying to engage in natural conversation rather than memorizing pages of dialogue. The main thing that sets To Jennifer apart… Continue reading
One night a year, in the not too distant future, American citizens are allowed to engage in acts of health-compromisingly-violent behavior without consequence (besides destruction of property and the possibility of dying the death of a 16th century witch; you know, them minor niggles). This 12 hour period is imaginatively christened The Purge and during this time all government services are shut down. So I guess it isn’t too different from 2013 America, really. “Oh hey, you have a battle-axe stuck in your pre-frontal cortex? Please call again tomorrow. We’ll help you then! Don’t bleed on the welcome mat on your way out.”
So the Aristotelian philosophy powering this masterpiece is that people are inherently violent. And by “releasing” these violent urges one night a year, they will be happy as clams and abide by the rules the rest of the time. Getting it out of their system will completely solve the problem. It’s like masturbating for your inner evil villainous thug. Thanks to the magic of this counter-intuitive system, the US murder rate… Continue reading
Skip Shea impressed us with his short film Microcinema, which also became a cult hit. This year he’s back with the followup to Microcinema called Ave Maria, and like its predecessor this short film is at once thought provoking and hard to look at. One things for certain, Skip knows how to craft a semiotically rich short film. Not knowing the history behind the recording of the song that the film takes its name from made it hit all the harder for me.
There is no dialogue in the short, but the visuals will have most men feeling a bit nervous. An older male is put on a chair with a hole in the center. He is surrounded by women. Ave Maria plays in the background, and is initially pleasant until you understand what it is you’re listening to and then it’s just disturbing. Beautifully shot, audio and visuals masterfully contrasted, and with every frame begging for interpretation, Ave Maria deserves your attention.
I give Ave Maria 8 out of 10… because the other two are missing.
You can… Continue reading
A group of Neo-Nazis invade the home of a recently moved-in Jewish family on their youngest son’s birthday and start terrorizing them. They rape, torture, kill, and maim their way through a fun filled evening all the while dragging a camera around so that we can find the footage later. This is the plot to director James Cullen Bressack’s home invasion found footage horror Hate Crime. This is not Bressack’s first found footage film, and to be honest I thought he’s done better. To Jennifer was superior in almost every way, while still not being a great movie.
Let me be clear: I wanted to love Hate Crime, I had high hopes after seeing 13/13/13, but instead I feel like it would be a crime to love it instead. There is no real plot, no real exploitation, no real moral message, and no real shock value. This is no Last House on the Left, The Strangers, or Funny Games. There seems to be only two messages to the film: Neo-Nazis… Continue reading