Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Freaking Halloween!

My favorite holiday will be passing me by with quiet reflection this year. It hasn't really felt much like Halloween to me probably because I haven't properly celebrated this frightfully fun holiday in a few years. However, I can celebrate through all you bloggers and our connection through horror films!

Cuddle up with some apple cider, eat a caramel-wrapped apple treat, and enjoy a good film tonight. But remember to respect the traditions of this sacred holiday or you know what will happen... little Sam will come after you!


Friday, October 28, 2011

Project Terrible Coming Again in November!

The fourth round of Mondo Bizarro's always entertaining Project Terrible will be starting soon, this coming November. We watch bad movies, we write hilarious ranting reviews about how bad they are. So join us in our pain and when the next round comes up, sign on to experience some pain of your own - everyone needs to watch a really bad movie every now and then.

Here is the list of the upcoming reviews, so far... I think I might be missing some of them.

My movies:
Five Across the Eyes
Little Hercules
Manos: The Hands of Fate
7 Angels in Eden

Maynard Morrissey's Horror Movie Diary's movies:
R.O.T: Reunion of Terror
The Monster Man
Fall Down Dead
C Me Dance

Mondo Bizarro's movies:
Cataclysm aka The Nightmare Never Ends

Cinema Gonzo's movies:
They Saved Hitler's Brain
Vampire Boys

Gaming Creatively movies:
Harry Knuckles and the Pearl Necklace
Gamebox 1.0
One-Eyed Monster
Haunting of Winchester House

Monday, October 24, 2011

Movie Review: The Ward (2011)

Haunted mental asylum. What could be a better setting for a horror film? You've got crazy people, you've got nasty and mean orderlies and nurses, you've got electroshock, and then, hell, why not throw in a freaking ghost! Is it possible to get this formula wrong? In the case of The Ward... yes. Yes, it is.

It's 1966 in a small town in Oregon, and after burning down an old farmhouse, a young woman named Kristen is taken to North Bend Psychiatric Hospital involuntarily. But things are not as they seem on the ward as Kristen soon begins to encounter the ghost of a girl who might have died in the hospital and the other patients on the ward start disappearing one by one.

The Ward didn't get a big release and as far as I can tell, it didn't really get that much attention. This being John Carpenter's first feature length film since 2001's Ghost of Mars, that surprises me. But while watching this movie, I gotta say that I couldn't even tell that Carpenter directed it. On the whole, the film is pretty run-of-the-mill and mediocre, and the ending is enough to put off pretty much everyone who sees it. I'm not saying that the film wasn't watchable - the acting was quite good and there's always the fun suspense of finding out the mystery behind the haunting.

Newcomer Amber Heard plays the main role of Kristen. I quite like this little actress. She's beautiful and seems fearless in her acting. She also seems very natural which is greatly appreciated in a movie like this. Danielle Panabaker as Sarah was also a joy to watch, but I was most excited to see Mika Boorem as Alice. She is a true talent with a beautiful yet un-intimidating face and it's sad that I've only seen her in little bit parts like this.

The ghost lover in me was immensely disappointed here. The cliched scares were all wildly obvious and never got a jump out of me. The movie is perhaps not as haunted as I'd like it to be and Carpenter tries to give us some creepy visions of the ghost, but frankly, it was all stuff we've seen before. The only interesting part was the increasingly revealing vision of the little girl chained up in a basement.

And the ending. Like I said before, I'm sure this is the element that ruined the movie for most people, and I gotta say, I might be one of them. So with this movie we're promised some spooky ghost story and all, but that starts to come into question with some of the scenes involving the ghost. Sure, she looks all ghostly and dead and stuff, but the things she is able to do get weirder and weirder and definitely less ghost-like. She is able to physically touch people, murder them, and somehow Kristen is able to plunge an axe into her chest. Hmmm, something is amiss here.

And why is this? SHE'S NOT A FREAKING GHOST. All the crap that has happened in the movie has happened inside Kristen's head. But - SHE'S NOT FREAKING KRISTEN. She is actually Alice Hudson, the woman who has supposedly been haunting the hospital for the whole movie, not wanting any of the other patients to leave and murders them instead. This is also not the case, as the other patients on the ward are the incarnations of Alice's multiple personalities. What?! What a crock of shit. This is exactly what was happening in Identity, a movie that is a terrible guilty pleasure of mine. I usually don't mind twist endings like this - in fact, I kind of love them - but it was just the fact that I'd seen something so similar in another movie that pissed me off.

The Ward is not a bad movie if you want to pass a few hours, but to me it was nothing special and not something I'm clamoring to see again any time soon.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Movie Review: 30 Days of Night (2007)

I avoided seeing 30 Days of Night for the longest time because, for some reason, I thought I would hate it. The concept always intrigued me but maybe it was the fact that Josh Hartnett was the star that turned me off initially. Don't judge a book by its cover or its starring actors, I guess, because 30 Days of Night was actually pretty darn good.

In this story taken from a graphic novel of the same name, the northernmost U.S. town of Barrow, Alaska undergoes a period of 30 days of total darkness in the winter. When this polar night begins, bloodthirsty vampires invade the town to feed on the populace. A small group of citizens, led by the town sheriff, try to survive the invasion by hiding out until the sun comes up again.

30 Days of Night is a slow burn with not as much action as you would expect. The tone of the movie is represented in the miserably cold atmosphere and the town's impending doom about being plunged into depressing darkness for a whole month (I thought polar night lasted longer than that in that area, but what do I know?). The strange man who arrives in town unexpectedly cuts off all ways of communication and the town essentially shuts down, so no one on the outside knows that anything is wrong and they can't call for help. I can't remember if it's explained why they can't just drive away, though. Is it because of the blizzard? And why would the airport freaking shut down for the month anyway just because it's dark? Planes fly at night all the time, morons, I don't see the problem. Anyway.

I don't know how big the town of Barrow really is, but it must be pretty good size for these people to be able to hide from the vampires for a month. The few people left alive hole up in some dude's attic for most of the time, where some of them understandably get a wild case of cabin fever insanity. There's also the underlying tension between Josh Hartnett's Eben and his wife Stella (Melissa George) who have unexplained problems that you know will be solved by the end of the movie. Ha! But even that cliche is turned on its head in the film's amazing conclusion, which I'll talk more about in a bit.

The vampires here are just how like them in anything outside of a Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode. They don't look too unnaturally monstrous, but only like pale people with sharp, sharp teeth. They speak in their own strange language and are basically your typical evil, rip-you-to-pieces bloodsuckers. Actually, a couple of them were kind of hot, but that's beside the point. The point is that these vampires are awesome and the only negative about them is that they are not given nearly enough screen time for my liking.

And although the action having to do with these awesome vampires is fairly minimal, the movie does manage to throw in some pretty good gags. First of all, there's the gnarly scene where the vamps attack and kill about half of the townspeople in about five minutes. There are some cool aerial shots of the carnage in this bit and I freaking loved it. Secondly, there's the as yet unmatched scene of Eben and Stella driving through town in their truck only to have the vampires freaking lift the thing up by the ass end and flip it over. That. Was. So. Cool.

There are only three mentionable gore gags, and I think you'll know which ones I'm thinking of if you've seen the movie. There's a vampire getting sliced in half with this vehicle that's got a chain saw thingy attached to it; there's the guy who gets his hand ripped off the trash chewer-upper; and there's the part where Eben kills the head vampire by punching him through - not in, through - the mouth and coming out the back of his head. The whole fight scene before this wasn't all that exciting so this bit comes out of nowhere and had me clapping with gleeful delight. There's also an earlier cool scene with a freak-ass vampire little girl covered in blood. Children = scary, we all know that.

Now, Eben was able to do this because beforehand he had injected himself with the blood of a vampire-infected person. So even though we know he is going to win the day and save his beloved, he's going to have to die because now he's a vampire. The movie ends with Stella and him sitting on their favorite spot watching the sun finally come up and Stella holding Eben while he turns to ashes. My goodness, what an utterly depressing ending. But you know, I liked it, and I thought the effects work in this scene was gorgeous. The way it was shot and the music just made it so disgustingly beautiful. Stella's in agony but trying to stay strong and then gets this look on her face like she's going to go out and fuck up every vampire she can find. I love you, Melissa George, I really do. 

I'm not calling this one of the greatest vampire movies out there, but 30 Days of Night sets itself apart from the others with its chilling (no pun intended) tone and trading out CGI-boosted action sequences for a couple of good emotionally draining thrill moments. I'm not sure how I'll feel about the sequel though... anybody got thoughts on that one?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Movie Review: Red White and Blue (2010)

Although not technically a horror movie, Red White and Blue is no doubt a horrific look at the dangers of promiscuity and the lengths that desperate people will go when pushed too far.

Erica is a lonely girl who sleeps with a different guy almost every night. Nate is a veteran of Iraq with a disturbing past and a mysterious present. The two begin an unlikely friendship with the potential for more. But their happy start at life is soon turned upside down when one of Erica's ex-bed mates reenters the picture with a startling discovery.

For the first third of the movie, I admit that I was a little annoyed by it but still interested in the story. The annoying thing comes from the ADD editing, when there is a two second shot of one scene, then four second shot of another scene, then maybe another three seconds of a different scene. It seemed a bit disjointed and for the longest time the audience is unaware of just where the story is going.

But the movie is more of a character study about these three people rather than a straight up narrative. Erica seems unfeeling and cold, not wanting friends and not wanting anybody to get too close to her. There's more to her than just being promiscuous and kind of bitchy, as we find out later. Frankie at first seems like a bit of a poser/loser - he's in a band with some friends (and they all have sex with Erica one night) and wears the most ridiculous earrings I've ever seen that look like big feathers. But then he turns out to be not such a bad guy maybe because he supports his mom while she's battling cancer, even donating his own blood to her on a regular basis. His actions against Erica after finding out she gave him HIV are no doubt abhorrent and brutal, but they are still slightly understandable, as it is just one more thing in his life that is suddenly spiraling out of control.

Nate, however, is the biggest mystery, and in fact remains quite a mystery until the end. During one of his first real conversations with Erica, he reveals out of the blue that he used to torture animals as a child. He's also recently been honorably discharged from the army, and - get this - been offered a job with the CIA. Although his actions in the last third of the movie support this, it's hard to believe at first based on his appearance and mannerisms.

The filmmaking style is definitely indicative of someone with an independent eye, and though the camera gets shaky and the lighting is a little off, it still looks good and matches the mood of the film. It's haphazard and desperate, just like our characters, especially Frankie. The colors are muted and dull, which is usually the case in dramas such as this when filmmakers want to convey a standard "non-happy" atmosphere.

Usually, I'd make a big deal about the violence toward the film's conclusion - when the real story is revealed - but it's not what affected me most about the movie or what is the most memorable. Although what happens is horrifyingly brutal and bloody, the motive and feeling behind the acts is what will get to you emotionally. I gotta say, however, that last bit of revenge really floored me in its nastiness - very intense!

Much can be interpreted about the supposed meaning of the film's title, Red White and Blue, but I'll be damned if I can think of something that fits into how I see the movie. Does it have something to do with a comment on America itself? Its predilection for violence and revenge? Or is it the symbolism of the colors themselves? The white for Erica's ruined innocence, the red for the violence and blood spilled, and the blue for the melancholy lives of our characters? Like I said, I'm not sure, but people seem to have different thoughts on the movie itself and the meaning of title, I guess they're all correct.

Red White and Blue may not be a film for everyone, but I think it you give it a chance, you'll find something really special here. And as for that big twist ending that's promised in the synopsis? There isn't one. It's just a revelation of unseen events, but it does make the ending even more heartbreaking. I realize I didn't say much here on what the movie is about, but with this one I think it's best to learn the characters and the story the way the movie reveals it to you.

Sidenote: Is it possible to work a Buffy the Vampire Slayer reference into this movie? Yes, it is! The main character Erica is played by Amanda Fuller, and it took me a little while to remember where I recognized her from, but I finally got it! She played Potential Slayer Eve in a season seven episode, where she was delightfully creepy. Just an FYI.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Buffy Week: Classic Monsters Buffy Style

Sunnydale, California is home to a cornucopia of demons and other-worldly things that go bump in the night. Given the title of the show and our heroine's job title, there is most noticeably an unending horde of one of the most classic monsters in horror history - the vampire. But we soon learn that the Hellmouth attracts many different kinds of beasts, those both made up by the show's writers and those which have been made famous by Hollywood. So here I give a list of these classic monsters, represented in true Buffy style.

Classic Monster: Dracula

Buffy Style Dracula

The King of Vampires gets a bad ass update in the first episode of season five, titled "Buffy vs. Dracula." However, the show stays steadfast to Dracula's classic story, including all the elements of the original film. Dracula arrives to his mansion in Sunnydale in a coffin of dirt; he has his vampiric female concubines (or as Riley refers to them, "Dracu-babes"); he makes Xander his "spider-eating man bitch"; he can turn into a bat ("showy Gypsy stuff"); and he majestically enters Buffy's room one night to bite her and she lets him. The Buffy Dracula has all the mystique and charm that you would expect him to have, made all the more entertaining when you add in the classic Buffy wit.

Classic Monster: The Mummy

Buffy Style Mummy

For most of this season 2 episode, "Inca Mummy Girl," the mummy known as Ampata actually looks human and is not a corpse wrapped in bandages. The story is that she can keep her human form for a while until she starts to revert back to a mummy so she has to suck out other people's life force or soul or whatever. She almost kills one of the show's best characters, Jonathan (this is his first appearance on the show), but thankfully is interrupted and he lives on.

Classic Monster: Frankenstein/
Bride of Frankenstein

Buffy Style Frankenstein

"Some Assembly Required" (season 2) gives a modern spin on the tale of Frankenstein's monster and also the Bride of Frankenstein. Two teenage boys at Sunnydale High use the body parts of recently dead girls in order to create a mate for one boy's dead brother (the Frankenstein monster) who is very lonely being all dead and stuff. They plan to use Cordelia's head to complete the Bride, whom we sadly never get to see, but everybody comes in to save the day at the end, and the Frankenstein and his Bride go up in a fiery blaze.  

Classic Monster: Creature from the Black Lagoon

Buffy Style Creature from the Black Lagoon

We're back in season 2 again with the episode "Go Fish," where members of the high school swim team start turning into horrific sea monsters after being given drugs by the coach to make them better swimmers. The creature that was created for the show bears a very strong resemblance to the original Creature from the Black Lagoon, so it's more than obvious that that was the inspiration for the episode.

Classic Monster: The Invisible Man

Buffy Syle Invisible (Wo)Man

I've always loved the concept for this episode. In season one's "Out of Mind, Out of Sight," teenager Marci Ross (played by Clea Duvall, whom I LOVE) is a loner who after probably years of not being noticed by others actually becomes completely invisible. Letting the power of her new condition warp her mind, she starts to attack the people at Sunnydale High who were mean to her; namely, Cordelia and her friends. The ending to this episode is great, as well.

Classic Monster: Werewolf

Buffy Style Werewolf

The werewolf shows up several times throughout the seasons on Buffy, seeing as how one of the main characters, Oz, is a werewolf. The first appearance is in season 2 (noticing a pattern here?) in "Phases" when Oz's transformation takes place. The werewolf lore in the Buffyverse is pretty much the same standard fare we all know, so nothing new here. There's also a great episode in season 5 of Angel, when newly turned werewolf Nina almost becomes a meal for people who like to dine on werewolf meat. 

Classic Monster: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Buffy Style Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Okay, we're out of season 2 now. This Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde spinoff is featured in the season 3 episode "Beauty and the Beasts." A high school boy takes a potion to make him more manly for his girlfriend. But soon the potion turns him into the animal seen above, and he's unable to control his rage. There's some nice makeup and effects work in this episode. 

Classic Monster: Witches

Buffy Style Witch

In season 2 Willow starts to dabble in witchcraft and the rest is history. She uses her powers throughout the show on the side of the good guys (well, except when she goes evil and kills people) but witches weren't always that way on Buffy. The season 1 episode "The Witch" introduces us to Amy, whom Buffy and the others suspect of using witchcraft to attack the girls on the cheerleading squad. It is later learned that Amy's mother is the real witch, who switched her body with Amy's in order to relive her glory days as a high school student.

Classic Monster: Zombies

Buffy Style Zombies

During Buffy's not-so-welcome welcome home party in the season 3 episode "Dead Man's Party," a Nigerian mask that Joyce brings home from her art gallery causes the dead to rise from their graves. They crash the party at Buffy's home and chaos ensues. Very funny episode and quite emotional, as well. Another form of the zombie monster also appears in the season 3 episode "The Zeppo."

There's always a way to put a new spin on a classic story and I think Buffy, the Vampire Slayer succeeded in that task with these and many other episodes during the show's seven-year run.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Buffy Week: Halloween Episodes

Living on the Hellmouth with hordes of the undead and other monsters and demons, every day can seem like Halloween in the Buffyverse. But in seven seasons of the show, there have only been three episodes that specifically take place on Halloween. Two of them are pretty good, one... maybe not so much.

Season 2, Episode 6

The first season of Buffy was a mid-season replacement for another show, so no room for a special Halloween episode there. But that was quickly rectified the next season in the episode "Halloween," which is sadly overlooked as a standout show.

Buffy, Willow and Xander all go to a new costume shop to purchase their various Halloween attire, ready for a fun night taking kids trick-or-treating because Halloween is supposed to be a quiet night for the undead. However, the owner of the costume shop, Ethan Rayne, has a love for chaos and casts a spell that causes everyone who bought his costumes to actually turn into whatever they are dressed up as. Willow becomes a ghost (and a sexy one at that), Xander becomes a soldier, and Buffy becomes a flighty 18th century girl; all of them losing the memories of who they really are.

This is a fantastic idea for a Halloween story: what if you could actually become your Halloween costume, when you get to dress up as anything you want? Now, this episode only shows the little devils and demons that the kids turn into but what about the girls who dressed up as princesses or the boys who donned Superman's outfit? Would the kid really have become Superman?! It's not really relevant to this story, but it's what always goes through my mind when I watch the episode.

"Halloween" is not only a genius concept episode, it's pretty freaking funny too (like almost all the episodes on the show). I really love Alyson Hannigan and Charisma Carpenter's performances in this, as Willow and Cordelia respectively. Willow is funny because she has to spend the whole time very much out of her comfort zone in a sexy outfit, and Cordelia's hilarity comes from her inability to believe that Angel is actually a vampire.

All in all, "Halloween" is a pretty solid episode in the world of Buffy, and it also gets props for the introduction of Ethan Rayne, an old "friend" of Giles who comes back to cause problems in two subsequent episodes.

"Fear, Itself"
Season 4, Episode 4

Most of the fourth season of Buffy sucks. That's harsh, I know, but it's a commonly held belief amongst Buffy fans that season 4 as a whole is just not up to par with the rest of the show. The season does boast some pretty good stand alone episodes, with "Fear, Itself" being a fun little throwback to the lighter episodes of seasons past.

So in this episode, Buffy's feeling down after being ditched by Jerky Parker; Xander and Anya's relationship is slowly budding; Willow and Buffy are pulling away from each other; and Oz is still having problems dealing with his status as a werewolf. They all go to a frat party on Halloween night where, as luck would have it, the frat boys have inadvertently summoned a fear demon that keeps them all trapped inside the house.

This episode is nothing special, but it's not all that bad either. It helps advance the story arc of the main characters (a little) and is presented as a kind of haunted house tale with a different edge. The fear demon, Gachnar, separates the friends from each other in the house and taunts and torments them in different ways, manifesting their deepest fears about themselves.

There are some nice gags in this episode that would be more than welcome in any haunted house movie, just for the creep factor: the missing doorway and stairs; the Halloween decorations that come to life and then suddenly turn back again; and the disoriented feeling from not being able to find a way out.

Probably the best part about this episode - other than the appearance and destruction of wee little Gachnar and Giles's final line - is that it starts a hilarious in-joke about how Anya, a former wrathful vengeance demon, is terrified of bunnies. Also, Giles with a chain saw is kinda sexy.

"All the Way"
Season 6, Episode 6

This episode is not so much my favorite because although it takes place on Halloween, the point of the episode is not focused on Halloween itself. I only started to like Dawn as a character in season 7, when she became way less whiny and far more useful, and "All the Way" is most definitely a "Dawn episode."

So it's Halloween, obviously, and while the rest of the gang has an impromptu party to celebrate Xander and Anya's engagement, Dawn sneaks off with a friend - the as yet unseen girl known as Janice - to go galavanting about town like kids do on Halloween. They meet up with two dudes who turn out to be vampires who then want to turn the girls into vampires.

This episode also sets up a fun little side story of the kids getting involved with the crazy old man down the street but that's almost immediately disposed of when the boy vamps are revealed to be the real threat.  And they are so lame.

I mean, I guess I just don't really get the point of this episode and what it is supposed to say about Dawn's character. I'm thinking it's about how she finally finds a guy that she likes and who likes her back and that makes her feel special in a world where she is fairly useless compared to the people around her. However, "All the Way" mostly helps progress the stories of Willow and Tara and Willow's overuse of magic, and also Xander's fear of his impending marriage to Anya, more than any story about Dawn. It also gives more hints to the sexual tension between Buffy and Spike.

Highlights of the episode, though, include the cute little girl dressed as a witch in the Magic Box (credited as "Witchy Poo"), Giles finally getting to show some bad ass vampire slayage, and the performance of the old guy at the beginning. Maybe if he had been the real villain of the episode, things would have been a lot more interesting. But this one is kind of a dud for me.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

My Love Letter to Eight Legged Freaks (2002)

Whuzzup, Eight Legged Freaks!

YES! I LOVE YOU, EIGHT LEGGED FREAKS! I love you so freaking much! I get so ecstatically happy when I think about you and your silly good fun. Giant spiders! Giant. Freaking. Spiders. And David Arquette. And self-aware humor that is actually funny. And giant spiders. I couldn't ask for anything more.

Your movie is a love letter in and of itself to the classic giant bug B-movies from the '50s - not as if you are making fun of them, of course, but you're honestly paying tribute and still having a great time in the process. I think your title more than anything proves this and your knowledge of just how silly you are and not giving a shit. Look at your poster, at the pose that Kari Wuhrer is giving - it's exaggerated and funny, but all in a good way, just like the rest of the movie.

Oh my gosh, okay, I'm so stoked to be talking to you and about you and your awesomeness. Like many people in the world, I don't consider spiders my particular favorite animal if you know what I mean, so I thought it would freak me out to see spiders bigger than people in this movie. But the way you presented the situation made it less scary (but still gross and freaky) and way more fun. I think even the biggest arachnophobe could watch you and still laugh their asses off.

Your story is a classic in itself. A multitude of spiders at Taft's Exotic Spider Farm in Prosperity, Arizona are exposed to toxic chemicals and soon grow to enormous size. A female sheriff, a smart kid, and a prodigal son become the ones who rally the townspeople into fighting the beasts, for their lives and for their town.

Okay, so the spiders are your biggest star, Eight Legged Freaks, and what I love most about them is all the different kinds that get represented. You got huge tarantulas, trapdoor spiders, jumpers, spitters, and Consuela, the biggest and baddest bitch of the bunch. What's also great about these spiders is the fact that they freaking talk throughout the movie! I've never heard a spider make any kind of noise before, but you've got them screaming and screeching and growling. It's hilarious.

One thing I like about you as well, is that a good deal of your story is about the people of Prosperity. The main focus for the first 40 minutes is on setting up all the characters of the people, the town's financial problems, and the budding love story between Sam the sheriff and Chris. It makes you more than just a giant bug movie - we love these people's personalities and they are not just fodder for the spiders, we want them to succeed. And though you could definitely be classified as horror, I think people love you more for just watching all the crazy antics of the giant spiders and not so much for the kills, which are actually quite tame. Probably why you got a PG-13 rating. All you PG-13 haters, remember Eight Legged Freaks! Sometimes the rating isn't such a downer after all.

I seriously don't have enough time here to talk about all of the wonderful individual scenes and gags that you have during the spider attacks. The murder of Zeke the cat, the cocooning of the guy in the barbershop, the tarantula attacking Harlan's trailer, all the little in-jokes and funny lines... These are all fantastic and ingenious ways to give not only the horror fans what they want out of a movie like you, but also give the comedy fans something to get a kick out of as well.

I love your music! At times slightly serious but mostly just campy and upbeat, your music no doubt helps keep the tone of the movie light-hearted and comedic. And, oh my goodness, I love that "Itsy Bitsy Spider" song that plays over the end credits so much that I have to play it all the way through every time I watch you.

Seeing as how giant spiders don't really exist (well, at least not as big as you present them), I'm totally down with all the CGI work done. It's not exactly seamless at some points, and the spiders do a lot of unnatural things - biting the moose head and then spitting it out, for one (HAHA) - but all that was completely welcome and a real joy to watch. I don't care if nothing you say or do here is scientifically accurate, that's not why I or anyone else watch you over and over again.

Really, Eight Legged Freaks, I have so much more to say about you and it could take all day. To me you are an instant B-movie classic and I don't think I'll ever get tired of you. Director Ellory Elkayem created something really special with you (BTW, the short film he made that inspired you, "Larger Than Life," is pretty awesome too. Fans should check that out) and he should be proud! You are a crazy good time, absolutely hilarious, and one of my personal favorites of all time. Stay cool, bro.

Your bestest best bud,

P.S. "Lose the face fuzz before you go. It makes your mouth look like a stripper's crotch." BEST. LINE. EVER.

Monday, October 3, 2011

My Love Letter to Wrong Turn (2003)

Dearest, dearest Wrong Turn,

This letter is long overdue, Wrong Turn. I've held such a torch for you ever since I saw you all those long years ago... Okay, it's only been eight years since you released your awesomeness on the world, but that's still a long time. And after all these years, after all the times I've watched you, I still love everything about you and what you have brought to the horror genre.

See, here's the thing about you that I don't think the haters get. You are exactly what a true horror movie should be and you smartly stay away from those things that usually detract from the main point of the film, which is HORROR. You are just straight-up gore and violence the whole way through. You have fantastic actors, no sex, and no attempts at lame comedy at any point in your movie and those are just a few of the reasons I love you so much.

Let's talk about that lack of sex, which I really admire. You don't have any boobs in the movie, which as a woman makes me very happy because I have my own boobs to look at and therefore it doesn't really do anything for me to see them in movies. Consequently, you also don't have any sex scenes which puts you in a class above all the other hot-young-people-go-into-the-woods-and-get-killed movies. Sure there is an implied oral copulation scene between Evan and Francine but you cut that off before anything is shown, so thank you for that. Let's focus on the horror, not the tits - that's always been my motto.

You take yourself seriously in a way that your sequels did not, even though mutant cannibal hillbillies is a subject that is easy to make light of. Despite a funny reference to Deliverance in one scene, you stray from cheesy one-liners and keep the situation serious and terrifying, like it should be.

And though this is mostly a trivial reason for adoring you, Wrong Turn, I can't ignore the fact that you star two amazingly hot people in your lead roles. I'm talking of course about the sexy bad boy-looking dude known as Mr. Desmond Harrington, and the girl to whom I freely admit to having a mad girl-crush on, Ms. Eliza Dushku. I fell in love with Eliza on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and it was you who introduced me to Desmond the first time. Sadly, I've not seen his handsome ass in many other films since then, so I thank you for immortalizing those wicked good looks in at least one fantastic movie.

And your gore... oh, your gore. First of all, the Stan Winston effects on the mutants are amazing and they look so real for being so fake, you know? It's explained to the audience at the beginning of the film, through pictures and newspapers, that these guys are the result of inbreeding with all that genetic mutation shit. So then we get guys with bulbous flesh, hunchbacks, really bad teeth, and just all kinds of nasty shit going on. I love it.

Secondly, you've got some great kills, you know you do! The blood and guts are fantastic and though there is nothing really inventive about the style or way people are killed, it is still done in an amazingly beautiful and effective way. Let's see... you've got some barbed-wire-chain mouth-gashing,  an arrow straight through the eye, some arrows through the chest, and various hack-n-slashing. Probably the best one is when beautiful Emmanuelle Chriqui is running from the mutants high up in a tree and gets an axe to the mouth, severing the top of her head from her body - which then falls gracefully to the ground in a very cool overhead camera shot. Oh, it gives me shudders just thinking about it.

I have a small nitpick, Wrong Turn... something that never fails to make me laugh-slash-get-slightly-annoyed. Chris Flynn (Harrington) seems to cause a lot of the problems in the movie, the main being wrecking his car and Eliza's friend's car. He looks away from the road for a second and WHAMMO! But what gets me about this scene is that he looks away from the road to get a better look at a dead deer on the side of the road. I mean, who does that? You see a dead animal and you go, "Ew. Dead possum," and you move on. You don't adjust the rearview mirror and freaking crash your car and somebody else's because of a dead deer. Just sayin'.

Wrong Turn, your sequels and imitators (even though you are kind of an imitator yourself - don't deny it) just do not do you justice. I truly believe that you are one of the best horror films of the past decade and I love you so much. You are a bloody good time from start to finish, and that is why you are one of my favorites.


P.S. I seriously want to %#&* Eliza Dushku. Like, not even kidding.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Happy October! Also, A Cry for Help!

It's here, people. October has begun and I'm sure there's going to be tons of excellent blog entries from my friends out here in the blogosphere.

So here's the problem... I could not think of ANYTHING special I wanted to do for my blog for this fine Halloween month. I don't have the time or the discipline to do 31 movies, one for every day of the month, so that's out. So then I thought maybe I'd just dedicate each week to something specific, like a certain director or a certain type of horror film, but my mind is just completely blank on that. I know I want to do a week dedicated to stuff about the Buffy, the Vampire Slayer TV show so that's one week down, but the others... I got nuthin.

Can any of you blog buddies give me some ideas of what I could do? Or anything that you'd like to see me review or talk about? I didn't do anything special for Halloween last year and I know I should have started, like, 3 months ago for my October posts but... well, I don't have an excuse. I'm just a slacker.

So what say you? Anybody got anything?