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HORROR MANIA 2016

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Gonna be a light horror month for me as I'm more focused on catching up with 2016 stuff.  But I will be watching at least two or three to find something to submit for Fowler's Halloween Havoc (no titles, so as not to spoil the surprise - maybe I'll post quick reviews for the ones I don't end up submitting) and I'm definitely seeing Under The Shadow.

For horror in theatres this month, in wide release, there's A Madea Halloween and the new Ouija movie... the latter being co-written and directed by Mike Flanagan (Oculus, Hush) so it actually has a shot at being very good.  In limited release, there's The Greasy Strangler, Recovery, The Unspoken, and the aforementioned Under The Shadow.

Also here is a helpful list of stuff coming to major streaming services this month.  Some horror in there.

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After seeing The Bay last week me and my friends are supposed to get together and watch What We Do In The Shadows. Hopefully this keeps up because having a regular movie night is a good way to keep in touch since everyone's schedules suck. Speaking of which we have a fair run of films at the local Art Theater, but who knows what I'll get to watch due to my own schedule. This month should be awesome though

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I will post my GOOD SHIT I AM GOING TO WATCH ON SHUDDER~! list very soon.

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Got through most of Hellraiser last night. Figured I needed to give it a rewatch as I finally finished reading Cabal and the last Book of Blood. It's a truly audacious movie; the visual effects and some of the physical effects are a little dated but that's the only thing that feels off about it. Barker's vision is wild and lurid and I miss him having a hand in the film world. 

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Maybe the trick to Hallraiser is to pretend Andrew Robinson's character is secretly Garak in disguise.

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Watched Oculus the other night for the first time and was pleasantly surprised by how good it was. That said I spent the whole thing feeling like it would have been vastly superior as a comic.

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Had a unique double feature set up for myself, in HATCHET II/ SILENCE OF THE LAMBS.

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Three movies into my attempted 31 this month; all three so far have been made better by a male lead that absolutely steals every scene he's in:

Strother Martin in The Brotherhood of Satan (1971);

Robert England in Nightmare On Elm Street (1984); and

John Goodman in 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016).

Martin is the only decent thing in The Brotherhood of Satan, as it's a convoluted mess, while Goodman really does a fine job in 10 Cloverfield Lane. And of course Englund is SUPPOSED to steal the show in the original Nightmare, but the rest of the actors just flipping suck in it. Not one of Mr. Depp's better performances.

 

 

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16 hours ago, The Unholy Dragon said:

Watched Oculus the other night for the first time and was pleasantly surprised by how good it was. That said I spent the whole thing feeling like it would have been vastly superior as a comic.

It always seems overlong as a movie because I've seen the short dozens of times and it does in a few minutes what it takes the movie over an hour to do.

The Evil History Of The Mirror does sound a lot better coming from a manic Karen Gillian than it does from the grubby looking actor in the short film, though.

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SHUDDER is fucking amazing.  Here is the short list of stuff I plan to watch this month and every movie I mention is available on this delightful streaming service that seems to cater directly to the criminally insane..

1. Room 237 (2012) - Rodney Ascher's brilliant and CREEPY documentary about how Stanley Kubrick's The Shining is one of the most cryptically interpreted movies of our time.

2. Timecrimes (2007) - YOU SHUT YOUR MOUTH IT IS NOT SCI-FI IT IS HORROR.  Nacho Vigalondo's mind bender about stalking, being stalked, time travel, and weird shit.

3. Nosferatu (1922) - Yep, we're talking the original silent classic.  How awesome is that?

4. Pontypool (2008) - I haven't seen this movie since we reviewed it at Movie Feast.  Time for a revisit.

5. Antiviral (2012) - No pressure, Brandon Cronenberg, but your dad is one of the most recognized horror directors that ever lived.  This movie had better be good.

6. Let Sleeping Corpses Lie (1974) - Okay, so this is a Spanish zombie movie set in Great Britain.. I'm in.

7. The Stuff (1980) - Larry Cohen's cult classic about food content obsession and aliens may be more relevant today than in any other period of history.

8. The Beast Must Die! (1974) - A werewolf movie like no other.  It tries to be a murder mystery and that is when the hilarity begins.  Hopefully this movie still has the infamous 30 second "Werewolf Break" that gave audiences time to gather their thoughts about the werewolf's true identity before the big reveal!

9. The House on Sorority Row (1983) What would Halloween movie watching be without a slasher movie and this one is so archetypal that it is both awesome and absurd.  There isn't a slasher trope that isn't represented in this movie.  Like the original Friday the 13th, it even tries to be a murder mystery and fails spectacularly.

10 Frankenstein's Army (2013) - Just when I think I've had enough found footage, along comes this little gem.  It has the interesting premise of documenting a troop of Russian soldiers in the last days of WW2 raiding a German camp and discovering that a descendant of Frankenstein (yep that one) has been doing experiments there.  There is enough of a shoestring plot to justify people being attacked by monsters and that is what you really came to see.  It is also amazing the things that director Richard Raaphorst was able to put on film with such a miniscule budget.

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Room 237 is a joke. I started laughing at the analysis of the skiing poster. Kubrick's aide discredited all of the theories. Even with saying all of that, the one about Aboriginals holds some ground and is a fine interpretation. The others range from stretching it to absurd.

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27 minutes ago, Oyaji said:

Room 237 is a joke. I started laughing at the analysis of the skiing poster. Kubrick's aide discredited all of the theories. Even with saying all of that, the one about Aboriginals holds some ground and is a fine interpretation. The others range from stretching it to absurd.

I don't think that Room 237 is a joke, because the whole point of Room 237 is to point out just how absurd some of those theories actually are.

The movie really isn't about The Shining so much as it is a scathing examination of unfettered movie obsession.  That is the quality of Room 237 that should frighten you.

Where in the hell did people come up with these interpretations?  Did they watch the same movie as I did?  Did they watch it so many times that they really cannot see what is on the screen? 

You could draw completely illogical conclusions to unrelated stuff from just about any movie.  What is it about The Shining that draws in the batshit crazy people that look for deeper meaning than there should be?  Why are they linking that meaning to the movie instead of the novel?

 

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Room 237 is unnerving because those talking heads walk among us.

It's also a testament to what an amazing technical work The Shining is that it evokes so much interpretation and discussion based on its atmosphere and design when Kubrick read it as a straightforward ghost story.

 

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One thing about that is that it points up the difference between finding a general theme or subtext in something and trying to focus that theme to an undefensible specificity. 

For instance, I am totally on board with the idea that the whole story suggests a theme of suppressed atrocities coming back to haunt, whether personal or institutional. 

But a broad theme like that then can be focused in all sorts of rational and irrational ways based on one's own personal obsessions and then losing the text in favor of that one favored subtext.  There is a difference between a subtext and a code.  Works that are just codes do not hold our attention beyond solving the code. 

The Shining is not a secret code to unlock a single secret message, but it is a work rich with a lot of broad subtext.

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3 hours ago, J.T. said:

SHUDDER is fucking amazing.  Here is the short list of stuff I plan to watch this month and every movie I mention is available on this delightful streaming service that seems to cater directly to the criminally insane..

1. Room 237 (2012) - Rodney Ascher's brilliant and CREEPY documentary about how Stanley Kubrick's The Shining is one of the most cryptically interpreted movies of our time.

2. Timecrimes (2007) - YOU SHUT YOUR MOUTH IT IS NOT SCI-FI IT IS HORROR.  Nacho Vigalondo's mind bender about stalking, being stalked, time travel, and weird shit.

3. Nosferatu (1922) - Yep, we're talking the original silent classic.  How awesome is that?

4. Pontypool (2008) - I haven't seen this movie since we reviewed it at Movie Feast.  Time for a revisit.

5. Antiviral (2012) - No pressure, Brandon Cronenberg, but your dad is one of the most recognized horror directors that ever lived.  This movie had better be good.

6. Let Sleeping Corpses Lie (1974) - Okay, so this is a Spanish zombie movie set in Great Britain.. I'm in.

7. The Stuff (1980) - Larry Cohen's cult classic about food content obsession and aliens may be more relevant today than in any other period of history.

8. The Beast Must Die! (1974) - A werewolf movie like no other.  It tries to be a murder mystery and that is when the hilarity begins.  Hopefully this movie still has the infamous 30 second "Werewolf Break" that gave audiences time to gather their thoughts about the werewolf's true identity before the big reveal!

9. The House on Sorority Row (1983) What would Halloween movie watching be without a slasher movie and this one is so archetypal that it is both awesome and absurd.  There isn't a slasher trope that isn't represented in this movie.  Like the original Friday the 13th, it even tries to be a murder mystery and fails spectacularly.

10 Frankenstein's Army (2013) - Just when I think I've had enough found footage, along comes this little gem.  It has the interesting premise of documenting a troop of Russian soldiers in the last days of WW2 raiding a German camp and discovering that a descendant of Frankenstein (yep that one) has been doing experiments there.  There is enough of a shoestring plot to justify people being attacked by monsters and that is what you really came to see.  It is also amazing the things that director Richard Raaphorst was able to put on film with such a miniscule budget.

You are gonna flip over Pontypool again. That's one I'd love to revisit this year too. Antiviral is supposed to be extremely fucked up but has a detestable lead so some are dissing it while others, like the reviewer on Roger Ebert, gave it the full four snowflakes. Let Sleeping Corpses Lie AKA The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue is AWESOME. Jorge Grau is one of the great European horror directors who did nothing after this movie sadly. I haven't seen his other three titles but this alone puts him uip there with Amando de Ossorio, Jean Rollin and Paul Naschy. Nosferatu still has the power to freak you out. The Stuff is of course awesome, I've sadly never seen House or Beast, and Frankenstein's Army is supposed to blow I thought. 

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Frankenstein's Army is going to be the so dumb it is watchable pick from my list or at least I hope it will be.

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1 hour ago, piranesi said:

One thing about that is that it points up the difference between finding a general theme or subtext in something and trying to focus that theme to an undefensible specificity. 

For instance, I am totally on board with the idea that the whole story suggests a theme of suppressed atrocities coming back to haunt, whether personal or institutional. 

But a broad theme like that then can be focused in all sorts of rational and irrational ways based on one's own personal obsessions and then losing the text in favor of that one favored subtext.  There is a difference between a subtext and a code.  Works that are just codes do not hold our attention beyond solving the code. 

The Shining is not a secret code to unlock a single secret message, but it is a work rich with a lot of broad subtext.

King has recently used Room 237 to fuel his ongoing campaign to show how much he still hates The Shining.

To paraphrase, he believes that here would be a lot less confusion about any secret meanings (ie. Room 237 theories) concerning the images concerning the dead children and the blood if Kubrick would've done a better job explaining:

Spoiler

That "Tony" is Danny communicating with his child self in the past and the visions are Danny in the future scaring his child self to warn him about the evil in the hotel. or more specifically, that the hotel itself is a living malevolent being.

Danny's psychic gifts aren't shown with any sort of context..  Whenever he slips into dream state and talks to "Tony", it just looks like he's just fucking addled..

The differing interpretations (according to King) show just how badly Kubrick got it.  Naturally King doesn't really address the fact that these differing interpretations are also a testament to the longevity of the movie.

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OH SNAP! Phantasm: Ravager is going to VOD on the 7th! I hope among all hopes that that means it'll be on Netflix. 

EDIT: The Neon Demon is also coming out on Blu Ray

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Neon Demon Is on Direct TV On Demand.  Not sure if it is on FiOS yet.

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8 hours ago, J.T. said:

It always seems overlong as a movie because I've seen the short dozens of times and it does in a few minutes what it takes the movie over an hour to do.

The Evil History Of The Mirror does sound a lot better coming from a manic Karen Gillian than it does from the grubby looking actor in the short film, though.

I haven't watched the short so that wasn't an issue for me. And honestly, the length was never an issue for me. It gave things room to breathe and helped me get to know the characters and sold the history and trauma they went through while also slow building the mirror's powers so it doesn't go zero to a hundred like a lot of other horror flicks. It does benefit somewhat from the climate, as it hit at a time where quick tension to boo jumpscares rules, but instead took time to build investment in the characters and scene then built a sense of dread and unease. I don't think there was a single cheap jumpscare in the whole thing. Also I genuinely wouldn't have liked it as much without the family element driving Gillan's obsession, so that's a thing.

 

I need to see Pontypool. All I can think of is how weird it is because a buddy of mine grew up there (and still visits).

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I've really started the month out on a bang with some choice titles that are first time watches:

Shock - Mario Bava's last film but it was quite fun and very atmospheric.  Not a whole lot to write about but it was enjoyable if you love 70s Italian horror.

The Neon Demon - Well, it looked good, didn't it?

Pan's Labyrinth - I know it's more dark fantasy but I had it in my collection for years and never got to it until Sunday.  Fantastic film!

Black Roses - This is my favorite so far.  Sooooo much fun!  Now, it's not a masterpiece (who am I kidding? of course it is) but it's as good of a party movie with friends that you could have.  It has great, ridiculous monsters, an equally ridiculous yet awesome soundtrack.  It all centers around a mysterious heavy metal band comes to a small Canadian town to begin their tour but something is amiss.  Are they subtly influence the town's high schoolers to become rebels in the name of Satan?  There is also some magnificently high blown hair and even higher ranges in the vocals by the incomparable Sal Viviano.  Even Carmine Appice makes an appearance as the evil band's drummer.  This is a must see!

House on the Edge of the Park - This is really ranks up there with some of the sleaziest films of the late 70s and early 80s.  David Hess is really channeling Krug from Last House on the Left here.  Ruggero "Cannibal Holocaust" Deodato directs this well directed and acted sleazefest.  There really isn't a bad performance in here and every single character is on various parts of the despicable meter.

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God yes is House... sleazy. Our boy Giovanni Lombardo Radici/John Morghen is the co-villain and he rules too. Shock has a great ending.

Not sure how much it counts but was that Cronenberg flick about Hollywood worth the rental? I'm guessing signs point to 'yes' of course

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32 minutes ago, Curt McGirt said:

Not sure how much it counts but was that Cronenberg flick about Hollywood worth the rental? I'm guessing signs point to 'yes' of course

Not a horror film at all, but it's a decent watch.

I'm not much of a horror buff, and when I browse the horror section on Netflix, there are tons of shitty looking stuff, so help me separate the wheat from the chaff. Any recommendations for films from the last 5-10 years? Recent stuff I've liked - It Follows (loved), The Witch, Oculus, The Haunting, Afflicted. Big fan of tension and suspense rather than gore.

I've heard the Evil Dead remake was surprisingly good. Is there truth in that? (I barely remember the original, so have no special love I need to overcome)

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