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Friday, August 27, 2010

SLAVIS BOOK REVIEW


When I was given the opportunity to preview Slavis, by Garry Charles, the first thing I thought was what in the world does Slavis mean? I had no clue, which left me with no preconceived notions about this story. The book wasted no time peaking my interest in what Slavis meant, as you got your first small clue into what Slavis could all be about in the prologue. After learning what Slavis was, it was extremely hard not wanting to know more. Trust me when I say: “you won’t be disappointed when you find out what Slavis exactly was.”
  The first couple of chapters introduced you to some of the book’s important characters before their lives became intertwined. It had characters to root for, and feel sorry for, such as, detective Kyle Harrison. While investigating a crime that would soon become more important to him than his regular cases, he received a phone call that is every parent’s worst nightmare. Harrison found out that his children were murdered, and set off on a mission like no other to find their killer. Based on clues from his children’s death, he knew he wouldn’t be able to solve this crime alone, so he called upon Megan Grant. She was a very strong willed person, whose life was destined for this journey. Along with her came Peter Booth, who was in love with Megan, but cursed with the friend label. He followed along on this adventure wanting to protect her, but also out of jealousy. That jealousy provided a bit of comic relief, as Peter poked at Harrison to ensure that Harrison had no thoughts of being with Megan. As the three of them prepared to take a helicopter ride to the scene of the children’s death, Harrison unexpectedly reunited with Kaci Keyser. She was not only the pilot, but also someone who had a history with him. The last passenger on this trip was Adam Green, whom had the task of making sure Harrison played this by the book, and not let the case get too personal.
  As we saw those characters come together for an unimaginable journey, even more unspeakable acts were taking place. Those events were made possible because of Dr. Adrian Chappell. He was the villain, and made hating him very easy to do as the story went on. He went to great lengths to protect what seemed like his life’s work, and in the process, turned people’s lives up side down. Chappell was one of the few people that knew what Slavis was, and that was not a good thing, to say the least. Through a series of twists and turns, Harrison and his fellow travelers would unfortunately find out the true meaning of Slavis.
  This tale was written in a way that was very easy to read. The chapters were short, and got straight to the point. There were no wasted details, so I wouldn’t overlook anything that was mentioned. The suspense was high throughout the story, as clues drew you closer to finding out who killed Harrison’s children. This wasn’t a normal murder mystery though. There was something truly horrifying going on, and you felt every moment of it with the terrific descriptions that were used like this one, “his eyes open yet sightless, his mouth frozen open in a scream that had never made it out.” And that was only a small taste of the terror. There was an abundance of blood being spilled, and bones being crushed. Also, there were plenty of witty lines. One of my favorites was when Megan answered a phone call and said, “Hello, City Morgue… you stab ‘em and we bag em.” Most importantly, you will find yourself entrenched with the story as you discover what Slavis was.
  Once you start reading this book, I don’t think you will be able to stop. As each chapter ended, it tempted you to keep reading on. The story was well constructed, as it pieced together all these characters lives leading up to an unexpected finish. The great description made you feel like you were along for the ride. I don’t regret finding out what Slavis was, but the characters surely did.
  Slavis, by author and screenwriter Garry Charles, will be available for free download on Sept. 10 at www.garrycharles.co.uk. Garry currently has 3 published novels, and several other stories available for free download such as, Death Tide, and Ghost Writer. I encourage you to check them out, as I will be reading Death Tide next.

  HorrO

Saturday, August 21, 2010

THE LAST EXORCISM REVIEW


  There were two movies that I was really excited to see this summer. One was Piranha 3-D, and the other was obviously The Last Exorcism. Well, I luckily got to see an advanced screening of The Last Exorcism, and now I want to give you a spoiler free review of it. I think you will find that this movie was a little different from other exorcism movies. The question is: did that make it any better than the others?
  The Last Exorcism was actually a documentary that followed Rev. Cotton Marcus. We learned a little bit about who he was, and his religious beliefs. As part of the documentary, Cotton decided to let a small film crew follow him to a home, and perform an exorcism.  He picked a random letter from someone requesting his help, and off they went. They arrived at the Sweetzer farm, where Cotton tried to save a young girl named Nell.
  First, I wasn’t really expecting the whole movie to be shot from the cameraman’s point of view. You could kind of tell from the previews that it may be like that, but I wasn’t sure about it. For those of you who didn’t like movies such as, The Blair Witch Project, and Quarantine because of all the camera movement, then consider yourself warned. However, there wasn’t as much movement with the camera as there was with those two movies. You should be all right until much later in the movie, unless you really can’t handle the movement.
  Exorcism movies usually have a priest that is very serious, almost dramatic, and usually struggle to overcome their own personal demons while fighting the actual demon. Cotton did have his struggles, but I wouldn’t describe him as dramatic. As I mentioned, we learned a lot about Cotton, particularly before they got to the farm. The more we learned about him, the more I liked him. He had a good personality, and was very funny. Now that I think about it, what really made his character complete was that he gave you enough reasons to either hate, or like him. You hated him because he was a reverend, but had a lack of faith. That lack of faith led to him doing things that a reverend shouldn’t be doing. Basically, Cotton had arrived at a point in his life where preaching was just a job. It had gotten so easy for him that it really didn’t matter if he believed in God or not. You liked him not only because he was funny, but also you felt sorry for him because his son was born premature, and with a disability. That caused a struggle for him emotionally and financially, and gave you a reason to support him.
  Speaking of reasons to hate him, Cotton did something I didn’t expect to see going into the movie, but after learning about him, was completely within his character. Cotton believed that most people that thought they were possessed were faking it. It was all in their mind, and all you had to do was remove that thought from their mind instead of removing a nonexistent demon. He really didn’t believe that Nell was possessed, and went to the Sweetzer farm to prove that he could fool Nell and her father out of believing that Nell was possessed. In order to do that, he showed the documentary crew some of the tricks he had come up with to con the family. After pulling his stunt, we see him take some money from the father. I have seen priest not believe they could successfully perform an exorcism, but I don’t remember seeing one blatantly fake one and take money in exchange.
  One of my expectations for this movie was that it would be scary. That was evident from the commercials, movie posters, and the fact that this was a movie about an exorcism. Well, I am sorry to say that this movie was actually funnier than it was scary. I guess I should have been tipped off by the PG-13 rating. Of course, most of the comical stuff came from Cotton’s actions, and some of the things he said. You could actually make a case that the movie took too long before even getting to any of the exorcism stuff. However, even though the movie lacked the scariness that other exorcism movies had, there was one scene that actually got me to jump (shame).  I guess they succeeded in getting my guard down.
 The biggest difference between this movie and other exorcism movies, besides that it wasn’t that scary, was the very end of the movie. I can already hear the complaints. Actually, I could tell by the audience’s reaction in the theater, people didn’t like the ending. The problem was that we have already seen that ending happen in other movies, so it wasn’t as shocking as they wanted it to be. Really, you almost expected the movie to end like that. What I did like were some of the events that happened right before the very end of the movie because there was a bit of a twist. Just as I thought I had figured things out, something totally different happened. That will always score some points in my book. The movie left me confused, and I am still debating about what actually happened. I think I may have to see it again to look for some clues. After everyone sees the movie, I would be very interested in hearing what you thought actually happened in the movie.
  I hope I haven’t discouraged you from seeing this movie. It was a little different from other exorcism movies and certainly wasn’t better than a lot of other exorcism movies, but that is why I think it is still worth seeing. I would just have to say that if you expect this to be as scary as say, The Exorcist, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, or any exorcism movie that actually scared you, than you can forget about it. What I hope is that you will end up liking the story of Rev. Cotton Marcus. He was a simple, and funny character that entertained you as his story became complete. Other than Cotton, probably the best thing about this movie was the unexpected twist at the end: it will make you wonder what just happened before coming to an end that you may dislike. I give this movie 2.5 pools of blood.

  HorrO




Monday, August 16, 2010

THE DESCENT 2 REVIEW

***Spoiler Alert***

  Before watching this movie, I figured that it would be hard to beat the original because so many people really enjoyed it. It turned out to be a good movie, but I had a minor problem with it here and there. Also, I am not completely happy with how similar some of the situations were to the original. So let’s see how this one measured up.
  The story picked up a couple of days after the events that took place in the original. There was a search going on for the 6 women when the sheriff received a call about one of the survivors ending up at a local hospital. He told them to keep this quiet until a fellow female officer, deputy Elen Rios, and himself could make it down there. Once they got there, they found Sarah, the sole survivor, battered, bruised, and she had completely forgotten about the traumatic experience she had been through. The sheriff decided that they should investigate the cave that Sarah apparently came out of. He ordered that Sarah, whom he wasn’t convinced didn’t have something to do with why the women were missing, accompany Elen, three cave divers, and him into the cave. That was where all the cave monster fun began.
  I usually like when sequels pick up where the original left off. It keeps the story moving, and you don’t feel like you have missed anything in between the two storylines. However, this created a minor problem to start off with. They brought Sarah back because she was the only survivor. Fine, that was understandable because this was a continuing story, and they wanted to have a character that the audience could relate with. What I didn’t like was that they dragged her back into the cave so easily. How could the sheriff overrule any sound medical advice by allowing her to go back into the cave? Wait a minute; there weren’t many doctors around except for one brief conversation before they even decided to go back to the cave. Add that to memory loss, and you get Sarah ready to go cave diving again. All right, I will let it go. They needed her to go back, and it actually worked out once she got her memory back.
  Who wants to talk about the crawlers? That’s what I thought. Yes, they were back to create more havoc in the cave. One of the ways they liked to kill their victims was to go after the victim’s neck. The neck equaled blood, which we saw plenty of. In one scene, a crawler attacked a cave diver, where the diver put his hand up to defend himself. That wasn’t a good idea because the crawler bit off several of his fingers, also a good way to create plenty of blood. Then, came the fatal bite to the neck. Also, the crawlers created a couple of scares. A good scare was when one of the divers was trapped between some rocks, and one of the crawlers was stalking its newfound prey. It is so funny how one minute she was trapped and couldn’t get out, but with a little motivation from the crawl, out she went. If you thought the crawlers couldn’t get more disgusting, you may have thought wrong. It was disgusting when one of them drooled on this woman’s hand, but that was nothing compared to when one of them took defecated into the water that two people were in.
  Before I start complaining about the similarities between the two movies, there was one thing that I really liked besides the crawlers. They didn’t ignore the fact that the women from the original died in the cave. The group ran into a couple of the bodies in their journey. They found one of the women lying against a wall. They thought that she might still be alive because her mouth was moving, but that was only because a rat came out of it. That was completely nasty. By the way, why don’t the crawlers eat the rats? In another scene, they found the woman that died hanging from the top of the cave. Her body had become an obstacle that helped lead to a pretty cool scene.
 

****Spoiler Alert: my complaining gives away 2 small twists and the ending of the movie. You are probably better off if you don’t know (sorry).
 

  Even though I liked the movie, I just was not totally comfortable with a couple of things. First, I call bullshit on the fact that Juno was still alive. I don’t care what explanation she gave for how she survived, there was no way she survived the attack at the end of the original. She was completely surrounded by the crawlers, and was injured to top it off. If you believe that she survived, it takes a little away from the dramatic ending in the original. On the hand, her survival made for an interesting turn of events. Immediately, it made you want to see a face off between Sarah, and her.
  Then there were the constant similarities between this movie, and the original. I’m still not completely sure how I feel about, and am actually surprised I haven’t heard any complaints about it. They set up some interesting situations, but did it by almost repeating what happened in the original. This was especially present at the end of the movie. Sarah was faced with the decision to leave Juno behind again and ensure her survival, or risk death and save her. Not long after that, she again faced the same decision with Elen. Speaking of Elen, you could see how she had done away with many of her fears just as Sarah had done in the original. She had to turn her back on a friend, learn to fight off the crawlers, and then escape the cave with Sarah being the decoy much like Juno was in the original. Even when she escaped the cave, you see her reach out dramatically fighting her way out like Sarah previously did. Besides the similarities, it was interesting because you saw Sarah and Juno face off, and then watched their friendship come full circle. 
  The final ending of the movie was actually pretty depressing. You think that Elen had made it, and was going to be reunited with her daughter. Sarah, had redeemed herself from what some people would say was a very selfish act at the end of the original, and went out a hero. Or maybe she was alive; hell, Juno survived a similar attack. Then, they had to go and pull a Lake Placid on you. Did anyone see that coming? There was something fishy about that guy when they were getting on the elevator. If you think about it, that actually makes sense because it was not like many deer were going cave diving.
  After writing this, I guess I was a little more annoyed with certain things than I thought. Regardless of that, I still think it was a good movie. The movie brought back a character you were familiar with, and completed her story. It continued with the scares, blood, and killing that the crawlers provided. Then, they added a few small twists to make things interesting, and complete the overall story. Putting my complaints aside, I give this movie 3 pools of blood.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

1 YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF HORRO'S GORY REVIEWS


  
  August marks the 1 Year Anniversary of HorrO’s Gory Reviews. I can’t believe it has been one year already. At first, I thought I would just have a little fun, and write my thoughts about some movies. I really wasn’t expecting to take this so seriously. However, as time has passed, I have felt the need to build the site into what it is today.
  It started off mostly being reviews, and a few pictures. Then I added a schedule of movies coming to theaters, DVD releases, and polls. Then came things such as, the Horror Item of the Week, and Websites not to be afraid of. I created Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube accounts, and even an email address. The site currently has 7 pages not counting the home page for my reviews. It has grown to 32 followers, while I have over 260 followers on Twitter, and tons of friends on Facebook. I know that is not a lot compared to some of the other great horror sites out there, but that is more than I could have ever expected. Currently, I am really enjoying writing about my thoughts on episodes of True Blood on the Horror on TV page. I guess it helps that this season has been so good. Also, the site has gotten me to do some things that I never thought I would do. I have gone to conventions, and talked to people such as Derek Mears, and Herschell Gordon Lewis. I have received screeners, and seen movies that I never had a clue existed.
  It is a great deal of work, but I continue to have fun writing my reviews. Some are easier than others to write, which is probably why some have come out better than others. I just wish I had more time to see movies, and write more reviews. There is just not enough time in this world to do everything. I am really jealous of the people that get to spend so much time watching all of these movies, and writing about them. There are so many great websites, and blogs out there.
  Let me take a minute to thank everyone that has taken a least one-second of his or her time to check out my site. I really appreciate it, and hope that I have been able to entertain you in some way. I have met so many awesome people, and had so many great conversations. Some of those people include The Film Connoisseur (http://filmconnoisseur.blogspot.com), who has been a regular reader of the site, and has posted many great comments. Mac (@missjuly), who was also one of the first followers of the site, and has become a great friend on Twitter. Speaking of Twitter, there are just too many great people to mention here, but I have to give a few people their dues. I have to thank FearShop Mike (@fearshop), who was one of my first followers on Twitter, first to check out the site, and is always willing to share his opinion of a movie. Then there are the people who I regularly discuss movies with such as, Sarah (@Sarah_TX), Les-QuikG (@LesQuikG), Sid (@_SidVicious_), and Rick (@FreddysFingers). A special thank you goes out to my editor. I couldn’t have done all of this without you. Again, I thank everyone who has read a review, talked to me on Twitter or Facebook, voted on a poll, or even checked out one of my YouTube Videos.
  I hope to bring you more reviews, and other types of entertainment for another year. I look forward to meeting more people, and having more conversations about horror movies. As far as things to come, I am going to be doing my first book review shortly. That will be something new, and different for me. In October, the plan is to go to Halloween Horror Nights, and the Spooky Empire horror convention. I hope to share pictures, and videos with you as usual. As far as August, maybe I will come up with something special to celebrate like a contest or two, so stay tuned! Again, thank you!

  HorrO
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