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 I guess that one was a lack of FX rather than bad FX.

 

Always preferred Lack of FX to Bad FX.  Bones (Snoop Dogg) had some of the worst looking fake blood in any horror joint I've ever seen.

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The world did not need another Cannibal Holocaust but I will go see this out of morbid curiosity.

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As mentioned before, saw it in September 2013.  There's a scene near the end that's a clear homage to Cannibal Ferox; I've never seen Cannibal Holocaust but you'd think there'd be some shouts to it in there as well.

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Starring Julian Glover.

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Man, I TRY to like Hammer horror flicks. I honestly do. There's even some I'm quite a fan of: Plague of the Zombies, for instance. But all too often I find their work to be terribly dull and inexplicably overrated. Such is definitely the case with Dracula Has Risen from the Grave. Honestly, why are these Christopher Lee flicks held in such high regard? HE hated them, by all accounts. This "horror movie" literally spends much more of its running time on people killing time in the local pub than it does on Dracula killing anyone. And not FUN, Shaun of the Dead-style "killing time in pubs", but mostly watching a bunch of obnoxious douchebags playing drinking games and singing incoherent songs and occasionally getting into petty arguments. It's like watching a Harmony Korine movie, except without the shock factor.

Honestly, I turned this off after thirty minutes had elapsed and nothing had happened except for Dracula getting sloooooowly resurrected in the most contrived circumstances imaginable. And once he's back, the movie doesn't DO anything with him! Christopher Lee just stands there, staring at whatever, with absolutely no expression on his face at all. That's not acting, that's not "presence", that's a disgruntled performer who's not even trying to put forth any effort into this material. And I can't blame him, considering that the movie gives him nothing worthwhile to accomplish; the Scary Loony-Tunes Music saws away in palpable desperation over shots of Lee doing nothing whatsoever, in some vain attempt to make it feel frightening. It's not. It's just fuckin' dead. Also not helping are our pathetic "heroes", a submissive shivering wreck of a local priest who instantly kowtows to any alpha male in the room; and a blustering, arrogant monsignor who is constantly sticking his nose into other people's business and then promptly ruining that business and making everything worse. Seriously, the whole movie never would've happened and everyone would've been completely safe from Dracula, if this self-righteous dumbass hadn't managed to revive and enrage the Count (right before said dumbass immediately proclaims his Mission Accomplished and rides out of town without even bothering to check and see if the other priest is alive or not).

In theory, I should admire what they're trying to do with these flicks. After all, I love most of the Universal monster mashes from the 30s, and the Hammer flicks are first and foremost a series of bald-faced thefts from the Universal playbook. Its new additions are things like (slightly) more violence, some fine atmospheric Gothic locations, and existing within a universe in which brassieres have never been invented and every single woman is (as it were) letting it all hang out. (In fact, I realize that last sentence largely described Werner Herzog's Nosferatu, which is possibly the greatest cinematic treatment of vampires ever and a shining masterpiece example of great execution triumphing over hackneyed material.) But there's no FUN here. It's presented with the dreadful solemnity of an ass-numbing Sunday sermon, moving at a snail's pace, and the only lively moments are when the local equivalent to rednecks are just being their unbearable selves. Even the blood is terrible, looking like pinkish-orangey silly putty. Putting out a product so incredibly hidebound and fossilized as DHRftG in the same year which saw the release of stuff like Targets, Rosemary's Baby, and Night of the Living Dead is pitifully obsolete to the point of decrepitude. Hell, even other thematically-similar British horror flicks like Witchfinder General were doing similar Ye Olde-Timey Horror~! yet doing it much better than Hammer could manage to achieve at this juncture. Fuck a buncha this.

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I love Hammer's Phantom of the Opera, but I love pretty much every version of it, even the time traveling one with Robert Englund. Herbert Lom is quite good in the Hammer one. I believe Cary Grant was attached to it at one point, which would have been neat.

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I love Hammer's Phantom of the Opera, but I love pretty much every version of it, even the time traveling one with Robert Englund. Herbert Lom is quite good in the Hammer one.

Yeah, I liked the Lom one; and tolerated the Englund one. Chaney is obviously the all-time king, but there have been various tolerable Phantom flicks over the years. Although, does anyone else think it's not a coincidence that the two worst Phantom movies were the ones where he wasn't really ugly? The Chris Columbus-handled misfire of the Webber musical version had tons of flaws and accentuated all the weaknesses of that material while downplaying its strengths; but probably the worst mistake they made was casting fuckin' King Leonidas Of Sparta as the Phantom... and reducing his entire "deformity" makeup to something which looked like he basically had an irritating case of psoriasis on is face. But even that pales in comparison to the absolutely-bugfuck-crazy Dario Argento version, in which nothing makes sense and everything feels sleazy-in-a-bad-way and Julian Sands as the Phantom HAS NO DEFORMITY AND WEARS NO MASK. Seriously, he's this handsome Byronic-looking long-haired hottie, and we're somehow supposed to buy this story taking place in the same universe as Gaston Leroux's original novel.
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The non-deformity part of the Argento Phantom was my biggest issue with it until it's revealed that he was not only raised by rats in a Penguin/Batman Returns scenario, but he also has some sort of sexual relationship with them. Oof.

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On one hand, remaking Suspiria sounds like an awful idea.

 

On the other, I'll probably still check it out since it sounds better than 90% of horror movie premises and maybe they can get in a good visual director or something.. 

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Supposedly, David Gordon Green is producing/writing it, with an unnamed Italian director being his camera-for-hire. So it's already got a better shot at being interesting than most horror flicks nowadays.

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Two movies checked off of my Horror Film Pile of Shame:

 

Annabelle

 

There are some admirable attempts at slow burn tension but overall, this movie is BORING.  The scary bits aren't very scary and the ultimate payoff is totally telegraphed.  The "real" story of Annabelle is far more frightening than this cash grab.

 

I did enjoy the Easter Egg.

 

The "real" Annabelle is a cursed Raggedy Ann doll.

 

A%2Bverdadeira%2Bhist%C3%B3ria%2Bda%2Bbo

 

Wan used his creepy version of the doll so that he could trademark the likeness.  The epilogue telling you that the doll is kept at the Warren's house in a vault and that it is blessed by a priest twice a week actually happens in real life.

 

In the last scene of the movie where a prospective new buyer purchases the cursed doll from a thrift store, you can see a Raggedy Ann doll sitting on a top of a shelf in the store.

 

AS ABOVE, SO BELOW

 

I did not expect this to be the found footage version of Raiders of the Lost Blair Witch Project or National Event Horizon Treasure. 

 

The horror mockumentary style actually works here since most of the action takes place in the claustrophobic catacombs of Paris where you would not expect to see panorama or wide angle vistas.  The handheld format keeps things nice and tight.

 

There is a lot of backstory and European mysticism concepts which may fly over your head but the movie has the good taste to stick to the mythology it tries to establish.  I liked this more than I probably should have, but I was definitely relieved when the credits ran.  Even at a 93 minute runtime, this movie takes a bit too long to get to the scary part.

 

Both of these movies are on the rotation on Cinemax so I didn't feel cheated since I watched them for free.

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Jingus, you raise such a good argument that while I dig the film, I still have to agree with you. Bringing up Targets and Witchfinder General put the nail in the coffin (so to speak) for me. Hammer just nails it for me in aesthetic sense that I can ignore all lack of logic, I suppose. 

 

EDIT: Re: the Suspiria remake, if said unnamed Italian director isn't Michele Soavi I think every copy of this inevitable abortion should be torched

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This is the only place where this comment I've been sitting on for years might be noteworthy. During the later seasons of Smallville they did a lot of filler episodes that were not-subtle-at-all knockoffs of major movies (Saw, Dawn of the Dead, etc.) One that really blew my mind involved a stalker trying to kill Lana who would call her and leave threatening messages in a Donald Duck sort of voice. It took me a minute to place it, but I realized it was the killer's voice from Fulci's New York Ripper. Such a weird pull.

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To touch on the Lon Chaney talk--I would recommend the Kenneth Branagh-narrated documentary on Chaney's career and makeup techniques.  Really fascinating stuff.  YouTube has it in segments, not sure if Netflix carries the DVD anymore.

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Recently caught something I don't watch often: a fan film. Because, well, anyone who's seen a few fan films probably knows how difficult they can be to watch. Low budgets that practically serve as a Double Dare obstacle course for the production, cultish writing which is terrified to ever do something different that this franchise hasn't already done to death, and most of all lots and lots of REALLY BAD ACTING.

Well, sadly, Predator: Dark Ages is no exception to the rule. This half-hour short film is exactly what the title says: a bunch of medieval knights are hunting a Predator (which, of course, is hunting them right back). Can you imagine EXACTLY how an unoriginal plot would go here? Yep: some famous Templar from the Crusades leads his own rag-tag bunch of nonconformist misfits: The Big Dumb Brute Who Startles Easily, The Old Coot Who's Seen Everything (Until Now), The Badass Woman Who's Just As Tough As Any Man, The Other Guy With No Distinguishing Characteristics But We Need Him Because Teams Always Have Five Guys, and of course Their Fearless Leader (who wants to make their inevitable deaths Mean Something). And of course, even in a generic-brand Predator flick, we need The Mystical Outsider (With Dark Skin) Who Knows What's Really Going On, But The Macho Heroes Don't Listen To Them Until It's Too Late.

Gee, you think the old coot might be near-fatally wounded, only to come back with a triumphant snarl of "Forgot about me?!" (right before getting killed for real). Think that the leader and the outsider might be the only survivors? Think that the leader might snarl "What the hell are you?!" at one point, perhaps shortly after another character notes that the Predator does indeed bleed? Oh yeah, this movie does every single thing that any slavishly faithful reenactment of a real Predator movie might do. Well, except for the action scenes, which are poorly choreographed and rely so much on shaky cameras, flash-cutting, and shutter-speed tricks that I felt like I was watching fuckin' Gladiator again (and no, that ain't a complement). And the movie makes the groan-inducing decision to try and tackle the topics of racism, sexism, superstition, and religious tolerance as if it were an after school special in 1985, as opposed to a pressed-for-time thriller set in 1185.

The movie's one good point are the production values: the medieval costumes are all good enough (the leader's armor genuinely looks like it's been through a war), the Predator costume is perfectly done, and all the standard effects (camouflage, infrared vision) look exactly like they're supposed to. The video quality is high enough that it pretty much looks like a real movie. So, damn shame about it basically coming off like the world's most expensive cosplay vignette. Countless amateur filmmakers on Youtube do better movies than this without even one-tenth the amount of money they must've spent on this.

And oh yeah, I don't give a shit about the artistic credibility of this amateur-hour short, I'm SPOILING the ending because it DESERVES to be spoiled: The Predator walks the fuck away. That's it. THAT'S the finish, the heel just says "fuck this fight" and gets himself counted out. And not even for any discernible reason; he's killed almost everyone, he's got the Leader knight at his mercy and is about to strike the killing blow, and then... the outsider dude (a Middle Eastern college student, or some Saracen equivalent thereof) basically says "No, don't do that, killing is bad!" and then the Predator is like "LOL, you're right!" and he just walks away to his spaceship poorly-composited CGI glowing ball. THE END. I've said it before, but now I shall say it again: fuck a buncha this.

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Aw man, I had this paragraphs-long writeup about a new movie that made me all grumpy, but then the internet ate it. Thus, of course, making me even grumpier. Let's just say that the self-consciously campy Psycho Beach Party has a few cute moments, but overall it's a huge misfire. Tacky jokes, bad plot swerves, a Chekov's Abandoned Minefield of brought-up-and-then-totally-forgotten subplots, appallingly bad acting that literally looks like taped rehearsals rather than a finished movie, the most toothless violence I've ever seen in any R-rated "slasher" movie... this one is just an inspiration for one facepalm after another.

Worst of all is the general incompetence behind the camera. The sound mix is bad enough, a poorly-mixed hodgepodge where you can always tell if the dialogue you're hearing right now was recorded on the set or looped in post. But even worse is some of the most jaw-droppingly terrible cinematography I've seen in a long long time. Do you like staring at the back of people's heads while they're supposed to be acting with their faces? Then you'll LOVE Psycho Beach Party, which features such terrible camerawork and framing that every single scene is shot as if the actors are actively trying to avoid facing the lens. The choreography and staging is just as awful; this is one of those amateur-hour movies where characters will all stand in a straight line and all face forward as if they were in gym class, awkwardly turning back and forth when they're trying to exchange dialogue with each other. I would actually recommend this for any aspiring filmmakers or film school students to watch, because this is truly a master class in How Not To Do It.

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To touch on the Lon Chaney talk--I would recommend the Kenneth Branagh-narrated documentary on Chaney's career and makeup techniques.  Really fascinating stuff.  YouTube has it in segments, not sure if Netflix carries the DVD anymore.

 

Thanks for the tip, that was a super enjoyable watch.  It was also interesting to note that Hugh Hefner had a hand in making the documentary.

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To touch on the Lon Chaney talk--I would recommend the Kenneth Branagh-narrated documentary on Chaney's career and makeup techniques.  Really fascinating stuff.  YouTube has it in segments, not sure if Netflix carries the DVD anymore.

 

I have seen this and it is pretty great.

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AS ABOVE, SO BELOW

 

I did not expect this to be the found footage version of Raiders of the Lost Blair Witch Project or National Event Horizon Treasure. 

 

The horror mockumentary style actually works here since most of the action takes place in the claustrophobic catacombs of Paris where you would not expect to see panorama or wide angle vistas.  The handheld format keeps things nice and tight.

 

There is a lot of backstory and European mysticism concepts which may fly over your head but the movie has the good taste to stick to the mythology it tries to establish.  I liked this more than I probably should have, but I was definitely relieved when the credits ran.  Even at a 93 minute runtime, this movie takes a bit too long to get to the scary part.

 

Both of these movies are on the rotation on Cinemax so I didn't feel cheated since I watched them for free.

 

It got a bit silly near the end but I liked that it was different from the usual found footage stuff. Yeah, it was basically The DaVinci Code meets Paranormal Activity. 

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Demons has to be one of the most ridiculously fun and goofy movies I've ever seen. I got lucky recently and purchased it from a local video store that is sadly going out of business (one of the few left in America that isn't Family Video) and after not having seen it for many years, I was bowled over. Incredibly '80s and absurdly Italian in all ways, with a soundtrack that has Rick Springfield, Motley Crue, "White Wedding" and right in my wheelhouse not only Saxon, not only Pretty Maids, but "Fast as a Shark" by Accept during a fucking motorbike slaughter in a movie theater by a guy wielding a katana. AND it has a Dolemite-style black pimp who takes control of shit in proper fashion and 

 

when he turns into a demon CHOKE SLAMS a motherfucker

 

Yeah. It's that kind of movie. Evil Dead written by Dario Argento, basically, so there you go. Look it up if you haven't seen it. 

 

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Tis fantastic indeed.

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So I'm watching Lemora: A Child's Tale of the Supernatural. This, so far, is not an accurately descriptive title. So far, An Endless Series Of Grown Men All Sexually Proposition A Prepubescent Girl would be more on the nose. The playing the lead "child" looks every minute of her twenty years of age, but the character is supposed to be thirteen, and the writing/performance/direction of the character makes it seem more like she's supposed to be in kindergarten. And then a bunch of leering filthy sweaty men all threaten to rape her, in the brief breaks they take between raping and/or beating other women. Seriously, 1970s, what the fuck was WRONG with you?!

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Damn, I watched that one night all wasted and remember nothing of it except that I liked it. Guess I'm glad I don't remember.

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Later on, it turns into a combination of Lovecraft's "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" and every lesbian vampire movie ever. It does have a few interesting moments here and there, but mostly we're just stuck watching the most passive "protagonist" ever while she stares blankly at Weird Shit Happening. A lot of really bad acting and even worse dubbing don't help, either.

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