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Saturday, October 31, 2009

THE STEPFATHER REVIEW


I got taken by another teen thriller. Sometimes when I walk into a theatre and it fills up with teens, I worry that the movie is going to suck (example Prom Night). I worried, as teens filled the theatre for this one. I cannot say it sucked, but it was not great either. It definitely ended up being a teen thriller, as it had little violence and too much story.
For me, this movie kind of just went along and then it ended. I truly just watched a series of images that did nothing to make me think, there were no major twists, and the ending did not "wow" me. Speaking of ending, as with most movies, this one was leading up to hopefully a good finish. After seeing the previews, I had high hopes for the ending. The whole saw dangling over the girl's face had potential. The key word there was "had." The whole fight scene was weak. Just the usual back and forth fighting, and then it was over. They must have edited the dangling saw scene because they did nothing with it that they showed in the preview (that whole teen thriller thing again, can't be too violent). The whole scene seemed like it was too quick for something this movie was leading up to.
What happened while we were led to this not so great ending? Basically, it was just about the stepfather, played by David Harris, adapting to his new family. The one person he had to try the hardest to impress was the oldest son, played by Penn Badgley. The stepfather played it cool at the beginning, but as expected lost the trust of the oldest son as the movie went on. The son eventually found out who the stepfather really was leading us to the not so great show down at the end. I have to say I did like David Harris as a bad guy. I thought he did a good job of playing both the good and loving new stepfather, and the crazy and confused killer stepfather. Penn Badgley, on the other hand, seemed like he was still the same character he plays on Gossip Girl (yes, I have seen Gossip Girl and that is true horror).
Another thing I liked was the opening scene of the movie. This was probably the creepiest scene of the movie (skip this section if you do not want to know how the movie starts). You just see the stepfather as what appeared to be him just getting ready for another day. He shaved, dressed, and prepared something to eat. The house was silent except for his actions and some Christmas music. You think okay, he may be up early before everyone else. Nope, he was the only one up because he was the only one that could get up. After he made some coffee, he took a stroll around the house before leaving. As he walked around, you his dead family members on the floor. Not a total shock, but I thought this was one of the best scenes in the movie.
That was another thing I liked, how about another thing I did not like. There seemed to be a need to show the oldest son's girlfriend in her bikini by the pool through most of the movie. I know, that does not sound like something to complain about, but it was just time after time (still not making a good argument right guys).  They just made it too obvious that they were parading her around. It kind of goes back to what I mean about nothing much happening on the way to the end of the movie. Several times they showed the two by the pool just talking (and showing off her bikini). Some of the conversations were important, but it just seemed too repetitive (kind of like how I am making this point).
So I will move on and finish this up. This was not a terrible movie, but do not expect great things. It was just another movie for the teens to go see, not too much violence and a lot of story. This movie was all about leading up to a big finish that was not all that great in my opinion. The overall acting in the movie was good, especially if you appreciate the talents of walking around in a bikini for most of the movie. I have to give this movie 2 pools of blood because while I did not think it was great, it did not make me regret seeing it.

HorrO

Friday, October 30, 2009

SAW 6 REVIEW


So this franchise has made it to number 6. Some people think that is a good thing, but others think they should have stopped making these movies a long time ago. I am in the camp that says keep making these movies, even though I did not like part 5. After watching part 6, I say lets do it again.  

As I mentioned, I did not like part 5, but was very pleased with this latest installment. I felt this one stuck to the usual Saw formula, but they kept it simple this time. Basically, the formula is starting off with some people playing the game in order to start off with a kill, following Jigsaw’s replacement (Detective Hoffman) as the cops try to figure out who was carrying out Jigsaw’s game, and then there is the all important game that is being played. Of course, they had to throw in the usual twists. This time the twists were toned down, just a small twist here, and small twist there. They did not try to over think themselves.  

My favorite thing about Saw, besides the twists, is the game. Of course, that is because that is where all the blood and guts come in. It is really what makes Saw a true horror film. This time, the game focused on William, who was a top executive at an insurance firm. He becomes the focus of Jigsaw’s game because he denied health insurance to Jigsaw several years earlier. We get to see deaths by a body getting crushed, a hanging by a barbed wire, and a merry-go-round (of no fun) as people are shot by a shotgun. Again, back to the theme of keeping it simple. Not the most creative deaths, but effective enough. They were really focused on the decision that William had to make. The one traditional Saw device I think I might be getting tired of seeing is the iron mask that is attached to people’s head. Lets see if they can come up with something different. 

There were a few specific scenes I particularly liked. The opening scene of the movie is usually good. It sets a good tone for the deaths that are to come. This time a woman and man are matched up to see who can give up the most flesh before time expires. They are opposites as the man was a fat guy, and the woman was skinny. It was funny to see her expression as Jigsaw said they would have to give up flesh, and she had to look at herself to find some flesh to cut off. Added to the fun was a device attached to their heads that was drilling a screw into their skulls. Another scene that was really good was when the six people are strapped to the merry-go-round awaiting their deaths. William got to chose two of the six to keep alive. What made this scene was the combination of terror and laughs. The terror obviously from the impending death of four of the people, but the laughs as the people lie about themselves and each other in order to convince William to save themselves. **(possible spoiler here-->>)** A third scene I liked was when William finally died. For a good portion of the movie there were two big containers filled with hydrofluoric acid. Both the characters and the audience wondered what they would eventually be used for. Well, sorry to say for William, but they were for him. A large device came down striking him in the back in order to inject him with the hydrofluoric acid. He began to melt away as his body was filled with more and more of the acid. Not to be mean, but I thought it was a very fitting end for William (take note insurance salesmen for the next time you deny someone coverage).

This Saw did something I was not expecting. We got a political message from Jigsaw himself. I know he preaches a lot about the game, and the importance of life, but he actually gave a political message about health care. It was funny because it got some cheers and laughs from the audience. I guess the way it is going, the health care debate qualifies as horror too. 

 A couple of random questions came to mind after watching the movie. Why can’t the police locate where Jigsaw is playing out his game? They know it has to be a large, dark, and abandoned place. This time it was in a zoo. No, not a good place to look for Jigsaw! Another thing I was wondering about was the time line of the whole franchise in general. I say this because of all the flash backs of Jigsaw they show. Sometimes, he appears to have a lot of hair, sometimes he does not. Sometimes he looks sick, and other times he looks healthy. Maybe it is just me not keeping up. One more random thought, just how many people have crossed paths with Jigsaw and happened to piss him off? He has had a great deal of people killed. While the focus was on William in this one, he also kills about 6 other people that worked with William.  I mean, if you screw up his dinner order one night, are you next? Does he plan your death right there? I guess I am saying if they do a part 7, what excuse are they going to come up with for Jigsaw wanting them to play the game?

Speaking of a part 7, there is usually a twist at the end that will lead on to the next movie. I did not think the twist at the end set a definite direction for a part 7 based on the end of this movie. I think they left it open and hopefully they can come up with something creative. They did not really leave anything to think about like the tape Jigsaw swallowed, or the contents of the box that we get to see in this movie. Maybe, I just missed it, as I missed the whole tape swallowing thing before. 

Staying with the theme of keeping it simple, let me wrap this review up. If you did not like part 5, I think you there is a chance you will like part 6. They kept it simple and did not try to confuse the audience with all kinds of crazy twists. The twists were on point and answered some questions from previous movies. The game was well constructed with plenty of blood and guts. Not the best movie of the Saw franchise, but it got the series back on track, so I give it a strong 3 pools of bloods.

HorrO

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY REVIEW (spoiler alert)


(spoiler alert: includes discussion of what happens at the end of the movie along with details of other events in the movie)

So, out of no where comes this low budget movie that no one knows about. Then little by little, there was more conversation about this movie. It was marketed not only on TV, but by having to vote to get the movie shown in your city. It kept spreading like a virus and now it has become more like an event than a movie. Everyone has to see it to basically test their manhood (or woman hood). So the question is: is the movie as scary as it is portrayed to be?
I think part of the answer to this is if you believe in ghosts and that these kinds of things can happen. If you believe there are ghosts out there that can do what was done in the movie, then yea, you are probably going to be scared. Another reason so many people seem to be scared by this movie is that a lot of young people are seeing it (particular girls). These are the exact people the movie makers want seeing this movie. They know that young girls are likely to be scared by this movie. And young boys, yes you! Do not think I forgot about you! You are scared too, but you just refuse to show it. 
So how did they try to scare you? Lets take a look at the movie. It was very simple, which I like. Sometimes simple ideas make for good movies too. Basically, Katie and her boyfriend Micah have recently moved in with each, and have been hearing weird things in the house. Micah decides to buy a video camera to film what was going on at night while they were sleeping (the camera was the point of view you saw the whole movie from). Katie was not exactly happy about this and repeated her dislike for the camera through out the movie. The movie covers a little more then a month's time as the dates and time are shown at the bottom of the screen each night when they go to sleep.
The first night of scares started off simple. Just some noise downstairs, but the weird thing for them was that her keys were in the middle of the floor. After that, Katie decided to have a psychic come to the house. The psychic said there was definitely something in the house. Micah does not believe him, and was very skeptical of the ghost the entire movie, even after the evidence of a ghost got more obvious. Katie told the psychic that she thought something had been following her since she was 8 years old. This was the explanation for why the ghost was there, and why they just did not move (you know you were thinking why  don't they just move to a new house). The psychic scared Katie (and audience) more by saying that it was not just a ghost, but a demon. 
The scares continued as they showed nights of them sleeping and the camera would record the sound of footsteps in the hallway and stairs, and thuds downstairs. They would wake up and Micah would take the camera with him to investigate. As mentioned, he did not really believe in the ghost, so he taunted the ghost. He asked the ghost what it wanted, why was it there, and at one point even what was its favorite color (yes they managed to squeeze a little comedy in here too). One of the things that I thought was a little freaky was that there were a couple of times when Katie would wake up, get out of bed, and stand still next to the bed staring at Micah. The time lapse would speed up showing that she would be just be standing there for 2-3 hours. 
So if a ghost was in your house, what is the one thing you might be tempted to do, but probably would not do (besides moving away)? Someone get me a Ouija Board! I could tell some people in the theatre were like "Hell no, bad idea!" Katie thought so too. Micah wanted to get one to talk to the ghost, but Katie made him promise not to get one (consider this promise broken). He set one up at a table in the living room, which pissed Katie off. They were suppose to go out that night, so she made him leave it there as they left the house. He left the camera on so shortly after leaving you see some weird things happen (not going tell you everything in detail just assume what happened). 
The tension grew as Micah continued on his quest to prove to himself that he could expose the ghost and get rid of it (bad idea right). He decides to spread some baby powder out in the hall, so that he could see if there was anything really walking around the halls. So of course, you see foot prints start to appear and walk right up to the bed. They follow the steps to a hallway closet, where they see that a hatch in the ceiling had been opened. Again, Mr. Brave decided he had to go up there, and investigate. He comes down with a picture of Katie from her old house that burned down. She was shocked, and did not know how it was possible that picture existed. To me, this was where the movie started to turn from what felt like real events happening to a real Hollywood movie. I can take the noises, foot prints, and even the Ouija Board, but now they were trying to put a real story behind this movie. Of course, it is a movie so there needs to be a story going on, but as the story behind everything grew, the scariness of the movie shrank for me. I remembering thinking, "so how are they going to end this movie?" *(this may be a good point to stop reading if you don't want to know how the movie ends)*
My answer got clearer after they heard a sound upstairs, went to check it out, and found that the glass on a picture of them in the hallway had shattered. The picture also showed what appeared to be a scratch down Micah's face. Oh yea, ending becoming obvious now. Time to leave your girlfriend pal. No, you love her and want to stay to piss the ghost off some more, okay. Katie was more scared now than ever and calls the psychic back. This time, the psychic will not even go further in the house than the front door, and said the ghost does not want him there (so he leaves, hint Micah). 
The movie was about how to scare you, so lets go back to that. Again, while they are sleeping, you hear footsteps that walk up to the bed. Threes a crowd, especially in bed! The ghost appeared to get under the covers next to Katie. Oh yea, you are freaked out now! I give them credit for that move. The visual of that happening to me definitely is freaky. But then they go and ruin it by getting back into the explanation of why this was all happening. Micah did some research on the computer and found a woman in the 60's that went through the same things Katie was going through. BINGO, there was talk about how they did an exorcism on her. It was clear to me how this was ending now. This was very disappointing to me because I really thought they should have just stuck to the scaring. I am sure they could have found a way to do this movie without taking this route. 
Speaking of sticking to the scaring, the beginning of the end started that night when Katie was pulled out bed and dragged down the hall. Micah jumped out of bed and chased after them (yes them). After some commotion, which you could not see because the camera was still on the tripod in the room, they make it back to the bedroom. The next day, Katie appeared to have been bitten by something (the ghost bites?). Later, Micah was looking for her only to find her on the floor bleeding and holding a cross. You wanted them to just leave the house right? Well, it seemed like they were finally going to do this, but then Katie changed her mind and wanted to stay. Again, going Hollywood as Micah happened to leave the camera shooting her as he walked away, and she gave an evil smile at the camera. While this may have been scaring some people, this was just annoying me. What started off so good, was now being ruined. 
Finally the end has come. Their last night asleep together. In the middle of the night, she woke up and again just stood by the bed. Then the bed sheets slowly slide off of Micah, but he was still asleep. After about 2 hours go by, she walks downstairs in a trance, and then screams. He jumped out of bed, and ran downstairs without the camera. He apparently could not find her at first, and then you hear him say, "what the fuck?" The house then went to silence for a few seconds, and then you hear footsteps coming up the stairs. All the sudden, Micah came flying at the camera, and then fell dead on the floor. Katie walked slowly into the room with blood covering her, and went over to the body. She then got into a weird crawling position to check out the body before she smiled, and then snarled at the camera as the movie ends. Like I said, Hollywood ending. It was just to fake to me. I am sure it scared some people, but it just annoyed me. Did she really have to snarl at the camera? 
So back to the question at hand, did the movie scare you? There were plenty of things that they tried to scare you with that I liked. The powder in the hall, the bed sheets moving to appear the ghost got in bed, and her getting pulled out of the bed and down the hall. What was really working for the movie was how Micah was filming it the entire time. That point of view made those scary scenes even more scary as you could visualize that happening to you. Then they had to go all Hollywood and come up with an exorcism to kill him and end the movie. Couldn't the movie just keep scaring us, and then maybe just have the ghost kill them or something. That really took away from reality of the situation for me.
Like many people, I compared this movie to "The Blair Witch Project". Both movies were low budget, and made money by getting people to come see what was so scary about the movie. Both movies were shoot as if they were in real time with a camera, but one movie was about a ghost and the other a witch, and in different settings. While some people just got motion sickness from all of the camera movement in "The Blair Witch Project", I have to say Blair Witch scared me more. Again, it basically comes down to the end of both movies. The sudden end to Blair Witch really got to me. The tension was high, crazy things were happening, and then bang, it was all over. With Paranormal Activity, it was just too set up for me. Yes, there was some tension, but I saw it coming, so it was not that shocking. It was too obvious that Micah was going to get killed, especially after they revealed that Katie was possessed. Maybe, if they withheld the fact that she was possessed, and then all of the sudden killed him, then it may have shocked me more. The ending was just too staged for a movie that portrayed itself as if it were shot in real time.
So, should you go out with the rest of your friends and test your manhood (womanhood) by seeing this movie? I say, why not! There are plenty of things in this movie that may scare you. If you do not think this movie will scare you, just visualize these things happening to you while you sleep, and that should help freak you out. It may sound as if I did not like the movie, but I did. I just could have done without the Hollywood ending.  After seeing it, break out a copy of "The Blair Witch Project", if you have not seen it, and see which movie really scares you more. The idea was simple, the marketing for the movie was great, and it did have lots of scares so I give this movie 2.5 pools of blood. 

HorrO 
 

HALLOWEEN HORROR NIGHTS REVIEW (ORLANDO)



Eight haunted houses, six scare zones and a couple of shows equal one thing, Halloween Horror Nights (HHN). This event helps answer one question: are people more scared drunk or sober? If you are looking to get drunk and be scared, this is the place. Okay, I’m not being fair, you do not have to be drunk to enjoy this event (really). I have been to many of the HHN events in which some were good, and others were bad. I have to say this was a good year.


Basically, for this review I am going to list the haunted house or scare zone, give you the description given by the event guide (e.g.), and then give my opinion of it. After that I will talk about the HHN must see show “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure,” and then “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” I will then give my number one tip on how to make the most of your HHN experience.
Haunted Houses:
-The Wolfman: “Forget everything you thought you knew, and prepare yourself for the sights and sounds of the newest addition to Universal’s legacy of horror, straight from the upcoming feature film” (e.g.). Well, hopefully the movie will be better than this house. It started off good, as you had to walk through a forest going into the house. It was dark and had enough depth that you could not see when the wolfman came out at you. After that, the house was not that scary. Other wolfmen tried to scare you, but it just did not work. They had people who were in the middle of transforming into the wolfman. The house was more about telling the story than actually scaring you. The house just seemed too short to me.
-Dracula: Legacy in Blood: “Vlad Dracul has chosen you-now you must decide whether to join the Dark Prince in everlasting life or reject his offer and suffer for all eternity” (e.g.).  Like many of the houses, the entrance was well done. They had impaled bodies all around as you walked in. The thing that made this house scary was not actually Dracula, but it was his bride. They had a lot of flashing lights as you walked around the corners, and the bride would pop out at you. Shameless to say, the bride scared me good one time.
-Frankenstein: Creation of the Damned: “Dr. Frankenstein’s Creature has returned to make the Doctor pay-and he’ll destroy everything in his path to gain redemption. Guess who’s caught in the middle?” (e.g.) This one was all about the electricity. The lightening that brought Frankenstein alive was out to fry you next. There was a lot of misdirection, where they had you looking at things while Frankenstein popped out at you. Also, this was not a nice Frankenstein; it was a very mean looking one.
-Leave it to Cleaver: “With a steady livestock of transients and town lawbreakers to choose from, there is truly no end in sight for Sam Meetz’ butcher business” (e.g.). This was one of my favorite houses. Many of the transients and lawbreakers, as they are called, had masks on that were similar to the girls’ mask in The Strangers. They were pretty freaky popping out all over the place. The house seemed like it was one of the longer ones. It had a big finish as you had to pass through the butcher shop and exit out the front of it. Outside waiting for you was Sam Meetz himself accompanied by his loud chainsaw. It you hate chainsaws, stay away from Sam.
-Saw: “See if you can escape the latest demented game of the serial killer Jigsaw. But what happens if you aren’t just the victim, but the trap itself?” (e.g.) This was another one of the better houses. It started off as if you were in Jigsaw’s hideout from the first couple of Saws and took you all the way to his death. They had him on his deathbed just like in the movie. They had TV’s that Jigsaw usually views showing scenes from the movies. The doll was on his tricycle coming out at you, but it was too dark and there was not much sound signifying that he was there. I was disappointed with that. I thought that we would see him a little more. While Leave it to Cleaver had a good ending, Saw had the best. You walked into a dark room with a lightly flashing light. As you had to walk across the room, Jigsaw with the pig mask stepped out of the corner. Does not sound that scary, well it was not one Jigsaw. There was probably 6-8 of them all surrounding you. It definitely felt like you were going to be the star of the next game.
-The Spawning: “Something ‘different’ has moved in among the sewers, and it’s your job to venture into these pipes and restore the water flow. Beware what lies beneath…”(e.g.). To me, this was probably the worst house. It just had a bunch of lizard looking people popping out at you. They were not scary looking to me, and never got close to scaring me.
-Chucky: Friends till the End: “Ever wonder what happens when good toys go bad? Nothing is what it seems as you step inside and experience what it’s like to live in Chucky’s world” (e.g.). Another cool entrance as you walked into the toy factory. A larger Chucky sign was displayed at the front, which was great to take a quick picture with. This house was a tour of a toy factory as Chucky and some of toys tried to scare you. There was a pile of what seemed to be stuffed animals, but it was an actor that tried to scare you. I thought that was a good idea because it was hard to tell if it was going to move or not.  My only problem with this one was actual Chucky himself. All the Chucky masks were too big. It made Chucky look weirder to me than scary.
-Silver Screams: “Enter the Universal Palace Theatre, a realm where the horror on the screen is ripped away to reveal a world that is truly terrifying” (e.g.). This house had a combination of several movies, including The Phantom of the Opera, My Bloody Valentine, and The Strangers. As you walked through scenes of these movies, the Usher popped out trying to scare you. Either that or he really wanted to take you to your seats. Instead of having the usual flashlight, he had an air hose that blew air at you. Since they cannot touch you, I think this was a good way to scare you. They had the guy from The Strangers in the house trying to scare you. I loved the movie so I loved seeing him in a house.
Scare Zones:
Containment: This zone was at the front of the park where most people started off walking through. There was a large truck at the entrance with a guy at the top warning you before you walked under an inflatable arch. He was pretty funny has he said things like “to move quickly” and “not be in the middle of groups of three or you will die” (I have video which I hope to post). After walking under the arch, there were contaminated people coming out of the shadows at you. What really worked was that it dark and they had smoke blowing there. It was hard to see anything and if you were not paying attention, out popped one of the contaminated people.
Lights Camera Hacktion: Usually the areas where the guys with chainsaws are found are the best, but I did not think so this time. This zone was weak to me. It was too lit up and not enough chainsaw guys. The chainsaw guys had taken over the set of a movie.  I did not see enough people getting scared by the sound of the chainsaw, which is always fun to watch.
Horrorwood drive in: Best scare zone this year. It was set in a drive in movie. There was a large screen showing old movies and several cars parked as if people were watching the movies. They had characters from different movies wondering around scaring people. Again, they had the three characters from The Strangers so this made me happy. A lot of people were getting scared here.
War of The Living Dead: This was the zone for anyone that likes zombie soldiers. You basically had to walk though a war zone with zombie soldiers firing their weapons, and chasing you around. It was loud and dark, but not as scary because for some reason a lot of people liked taking pictures with the soldiers.
Apocalypse City of Cannibals: The best thing about this zone was that every few minutes an explosion of fire would go off. It was crazy because it was an open area and the cannibals had a lot of room to run around. They were very freaky looking. There was a school bus that had apparently crashed there, and made a good place for the cannibals to hide by when they were not scaring you.
Cirque Du Freak: This was more of a show like theme than an area where people scared you. There was a creepy looking guy walking around on stilts. Hate snakes, well there was a guy walking around with one around his neck. They also had the traditional rat lady. For those who do not know, this lady lays in a glass box with a bunch of rats running around all over her. She even pets them. Everyone tries to get a picture of this.
So that was the houses and the scare zones. Now, if you ever go to HHN you have to go the “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure” show. The Bill and Ted’s what? Yes, the “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure” show. Basically it is a spoof on the movies, actors, actresses, singers, and anyone else that has made major news over the last year. Trust me, it is hilarious. The plot is pretty simple. Basically some bad guy tries to take over Bill and Ted’s phone booth to use it for evil purposes, and Bill and Ted try to get it back. Characters, good and bad, choose their sides, put down each other, curse, eventually fight, and the show ends with the characters singing and dancing. This year Phil from fan boy was the lead bad guy. Some of the other characters this year were the new Star Trek, William Shatner, Cobra Commander, Michael Myers, Christian Bale, the Watchmen (refer to as the Unwatchables), Wolverine, Meg Fox, Lady Gaga, and Bruno.
The only other show they have is the tribute to the “Rocky Horror Picture Show”. Basically, they reenact small parts of the movie on stage. There is a screen that shows parts of the movie as the reenactment goes on. It is not a bad show if you are a fan of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. If you are not a fan, or do not even know what it is, you probably are not going to like it, and should spend your time at the Bill and Ted’s show instead.
My number one tip for getting the most out of your HHN experience is to go on a RIP tour. Yes, it is more expensive, but it is the only way to ensure that you get to go into all of the houses and scare zones, and see the Bill and Ted’s show. Trust me when I say that lines for the houses are long. If you want to spend a majority of the night in lines that is fine, but just think about. Spending over an hour in line to go through a house for about 5 minutes is not the best use of your time. I think it is really hard to get to see all the houses and enjoy everything else as well. There is an express pass that you can buy, which basically puts you in a shorter line but you still have to wait. If not the tour, then get an express pass. Again, I really think it is hard to enjoy HHN if you spend most of your time in lines. Back to the tour, you are groups of about 12 people, and you have a guide led you through the park. The guide leads you around the lines and right to the front of the houses so you do not have to wait to get in. They give you a brief explanation of the house. You get several breaks to go to the bathroom or get those all-important drinks. The tour gets you prime seating for the Bill and Ted’s show. Sometimes, they will even get you on a ride at the park if there is time, and again without waiting in line.
So I have to say I was extremely happy with this year’s HHN. It was better than last year’s HHN. I liked 6 out of the 8 houses, which is good because, trust me; you will not like all of them (especially if you wait in long lines for them). The scare zones were definitely better this year than last year’s. It was a good year to go because it was not as crowded as usual (economy stinks). Remember the two things I strongly suggest, going on the RIP tour and seeing the Bill and Ted’s show (which is included on the tour). So I will give this year’s HHN 4 pools of blood, very good but not the best one out of the years I have gone. Hope to see you there next year!
 HorrO

Update: to see the videos from HHN please visit www.youtube.com/user/horrosgoryreviews

Thursday, October 22, 2009

SPOOKY EMPIRE 2009 REVIEW (HORROR CONVENTION)




When I pulled up to the hotel and saw a line of hearses parked in the lot I knew we were in the right place. Let me start off with a brief overview of the events that took place over the 3 days, and then I will get into more specific details about the events I went to. There were several workshops/discussions about things such as, writing, horror makeup, and even the Florida Skunk Ape. Movies were shown all weekend including titles such as, “Creepshow,” “The Blob,” and “Halloween 2.” There were Q&A sessions with celebrities like Linda Blair of “The Exorcist,” Shannon Doherty, and Tippi Hedren of “The Birds.”
Overall, it was a fun atmosphere with tons of horror fans scurrying around from early in the morning until 3 in the night. The convention started off Friday with a performance of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and a zombie walk (sorry to say I missed it). Plenty of characters roaming the halls to take a picture with, if you dared.



One girl, dressed as the girl from “The Ring,” crawled through a make shift TV, and chased after a little girl in typical Ring fashion (just missed getting this on camera). At night, a band played by the pool, and there was a special auction for charity. A signed Jason machete, a signed box with Chucky in it, and even a coffin were just a few of the great horror items auctioned off. At one point, a Michael Myers character crossed paths with a Darth Vader character. Awkward as Vader turn on his light saber and Myers flashed his knife. I finished off the night with a midnight showing of “Trick or Treat.” I will not be doing a review now because I was too tired while watching, but I will say I liked the movie and hope to see it again.

Saturday started early in the morning with a quick bite to eat and then off to a writing workshop. Where else besides a horror convention will you see a guy covered in blood having his bagel and coffee with a chainsaw on the table? Back to the point, the writing workshops (Writing Horror 101, the Pillars of Writing part 1&2, and Getting Published 101). I know, not exciting, but if you are an inspiring writer you would find these very helpful. All of the speakers had good information to share, and were willing to answer your questions even after the workshop. I would say some of them talked a little too much, which left less time for questions from the audience.
Okay, on to more fun stuff like the dealer room. It was full of so many awesome items that I do not know how I had any money left over. I got a few funny horror themed t-shirts and some autographed pictures. Other booths had art, people promoting their films or stories, or movie posters and action figures. The prices were not too bad (hint wait to the last day if you can as some vendors cut prices to get rid of stuff).
Next, I went a Q&A session with Derek Mears (most recent Jason) hosted by Jason Mewes (Clerks). I did not know how funny a guy playing Jason could be. Both of them basically put on a comedy act while answering questions. I met Derek later on in the autograph room, and got a picture and autograph.
He was a super cool, nice guy. I hope he gets a role where you can see his personality. I also attended a Q&A with Steve Gonsalves and Dave Tango of the Ghosthunters. They took a lot of questions from the audience. We got to learn about how they got into this line of work, the places they visited, and a new show they have coming up.
Looking for horror celebrities to get an autograph from? Well, there was plenty to choose from. Bill Moseley, Linda Blair, Dick Warlock, and Shannon Doherty to name a few. The person I think I was most shocked to see was Danielle Harris. Not for any special reason other then I was shocked to see her grown up. For those who do not know, she was the little girl from Halloween 3 that Myers spent most of his time chasing around. Also, we saw her at a showing of a new movie she was in (more on that later).
In the evening, we went to the Spooktacular Stuntshow. This show basically was about Satan and some book he needed to protect, which was an excuse for some bad guys to fight some good guys. The fighting was not bad considering they were on a small stage, and in costumes. It was not all fighting, plenty of jokes and cursing too. It was similar to the Bill and Ted show at Halloween Horror Nights for those that have seen it.
One thing that I thought was really cool, and something I have never experienced was seeing and being near the celebrities while doing regular things. For example, at dinner, Kane Hodder was having drinks at a table across from us. It was even funnier because our server apologized for not bring us our drinks because he was busy taking a picture with Jason (Kane). Breakfast the next morning was the same. Lots of celebrities were there at the same time eating. It was just weird, but also cool to be around that.
At midnight, we saw the before mentioned movie with Danielle Harris in it. The movie was part of the Freakshow Festival that went on all weekend long. The festival basically showed lower budgeted movies, and gave out awards for best movie and actors at the end of weekend. The only complete movie I saw was this one, which was titled “The Black Waters of Echo’s Pond.” Not a bad movie, acting was as expected from that type of movie, but it had a good twist at the end. I saw pieces of some of the other films, and have to say it was good to see what ideas people come up with. Of course, they would have been better if the acting was better.
Sunday was not as big of a day from my standpoint, but there was still plenty to do. After one of my writing workshops, I attended a Q&A with actors from Halloween 2 particularly Dick Warlock. I was interested in finding out what they thought of the new Halloween movies, but none of them had a strong opinion of them, or they had not seen it. Other than that, they answered some questions, and had some funny stories about themselves on the sets of their different movies.
Yes, I then attended another writing workshop. After that, while other events took place, I spent more time in the dealer and autograph rooms. I saw Kane Hodder with a Jason mask (a cheap one but still cool), and had to have an autograph. So after getting the mask autographed, I took a picture with him and one of his victims in the movie. To make the picture cooler, they pretended to choke me. Word of advice, they do not pretend. They were choking me for real. Take the picture quickly! I thought I was going to be Jason’s latest victim.
Overall, I had a great weekend. It was a new experience for me, which I hope to get to do again next year. I definitely recommend staying in the hotel so you see all the celebrities hanging out. I hope this overview of the events I attended, and what happened shed some light on what happens at one of these conventions if you have never been. I also hope you enjoyed some of stories. More pictures and video will hopefully be up soon. I hope you enjoy them as well! And by the way, the event gets 5 pools of blood!
HorrO

Update: To see my photos of the event, visit my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/horrosreviews and to view videos from the event visit my you tube channel at www.youtube.com/user/horrosgoryreviews

Friday, October 9, 2009

PANDORUM REVIEW (spoiler alert)

***Spoiler alert: review discusses what was happening on the ship, but does not give away ending***

So looking at the previews, I wondered if this was going to be a movie more like Aliens, or was this something that ends up all in their minds? The movie looked a little crazy with the guy trapped in what turns out to be a hyper sleep chamber. It was all dark and you wonder what was going to happen to him. 
To me, I would say this was one of those movies that starts off well, but slowly does not turn into anything special. So what I liked at the beginning was the mystery, and this was what really made me want to see the movie. After a quick briefing about what has gone on in the future, we were lead to when Cpl. Bower awakens in the hyper sleep chamber. He got out and was not sure what was going on. He figures out a few things piece by piece. I liked this because it made me think about what was going on too. It was like the both of us were trying to figure it out, but of course he's got a leg up on me. After being alone for awhile, Lt. Payton woke up in his chamber equally confused. The pair team together to try to get out of the section of the ship they were locked in. Bower eventually climbed out through an opening in the ceiling, and made it out to another section of the ship while Payton kept radio contact. To this point, the movie was still interesting. It was dark, the ship was malfunctioning, and there was tension caused by not knowing what was truly going on.
Then things went from interesting to weird. He had a run in with creatures that you are unsure if they are part human or not. This was a point you could debate and was left open a little. The creatures feed on the humans and to a surprise even themselves. Yes, cannibals on board the ship. They had what I would call some tribe like characteristics. They were actually hunting the humans by setting traps which I found interesting. So at this point, the movie started to turn more into an Alien type movie, which did disappoint me because I was hoping for more of a psychological movie. From this point on, it was just keep away from the creatures.
Bower met other characters on board the ship. Each of them was weird, and I was not sure if I was more confused about the characters, or if the characters were more confused about what was going on. One guy, Manh, did not speak English, and was like a karate master. He was matched by a woman, Nadia, also a karate master, but apparently also a smart scientist, or lab technician. After there was some tension between the three of them, they teamed up to try to make it to the ship's reactor before it fails battling the creatures. These characters and a few more just did not seem to fit. I kept wondering how these characters could have been on the ship in the first place. I guess they tried to show how they got the people to get on board, but it just did not feel right to me. To me, Manh and Nadia seemed like nothing else then people who were better equip to fight the creatures than Bower and that was it.
While Bower tried to get to the reactor with his new buddies, Payton continuously lost and regained contact with Bower. You wondered what his purpose was because he was trying to help, but really does not. It got old and I wished he would have lost contact early on for good. Instead, he rescued Gallo, another crew member, he heard stuck in the shaft that Bower climbed through earlier. Like the others, he was also not sure what was going on. At this point, this I found someone else, but they did not know what was going on was getting old. As time passed, the two got into a conversation, in which you get some clue about what happened before everyone ended up in the sleep chambers. Finally, some sense on what was going on even though they still leave things open for you to figure out. You do find out what pandorum was, and what that had to do with everything. This tipped me off that there was going to be a twist coming, so it got me back into the movie a little (and I do mean a little). The movie was about as interesting as this review is at this point. Back to the point, Gallo and Payton continued there back and forth argument about the ship, not trusting what the other was saying. The movie tries to build up some tension here, but I never got into it. 
Skipping forward, events happened and the movie ends (not giving away the ending). Given what happens in the movie, I was disappointed with how it ended. I will say I did not expect it to end the way it did, and I wonder if anyone else saw that coming. So I will give the movie some credit for the different kind of ending even though I did not like it.
So to answer if this movie was more like Aliens or a basically a mind trick, I have to say it was more like a very weak Aliens. The movie started off interesting, and definitely had my attention. Unfortunately, it lost a great deal of my interest as the movie went on. It started out well, but just became weird. I never really bought into the alien cannibals on board. The movie did have an ending I did not see coming, but was not all that special to me. So this movie gets 1 pool of blood.

HorrO

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