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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

MOVIES TO WATCH ON HALLOWEEN

Over the past few weeks I've asked people through PromoteHorror.com and HorrO's Gory Reviews if certain movies made their Halloween watch list. Nothing scientific, just a random selection of movies. Of course there are plenty of great movies missing. So here's what we came up with...












And a few others:

Wrong Turn
Jeepers Creepers
The Last House on the Left (both versions)
Urban Legends
Paranormal Activity
Drag Me to Hell
Dead Silence

A couple of maybes...

The Blair Witch Project
The Amityville Horror

And there was actually a no even though I like this movie!

The Hills Have Eyes (remake)

Friday, October 19, 2012

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 4 REVIEW



"Psss"
"What?"
"You know it's going to be October before we know."
"So?"
"So we need to make another Paranormal movie. Do you think we still have time to do it?"
"Of course. It can't possibly take that long to come up with a story."
  That story now moves to Nevada with a new family that seemingly has nothing to do with the other movies. Most of the movie centers on this family's teenage daughter, Alex (Kathryn Newton), and young son Wyatt.  Things get weird for the family when the mother decides to take in the young boy, Robbie (Brady Allen), from next door after his mom is taken to the hospital. Alex eventually notices the paranormal activity, but too bad her parents prefer not to pay attention to her until things hit the ceiling.
  Sometimes when there are sequels people complain that they just made the movie for money because it has little cinematic value. This movie just might be the definition of that. Seriously, I wrote the intro like that because that's what it seems like. They felt the need to do another PA so they just whipped something together at the last minute.
  This franchise is all about the scares so let me complain about that first. You know that commercial showing all the people jumping out of their seats? Well they must have been watching a highlight reel from the previous movies because there is no scare in this movie that tops any of the best scares from the previous movies.
  The coolest thing they do is introducing night vision from the Xbox in the living room. If the audience looks closely enough, they can see things that aren't suppose to be there. The problem with that is that it's cool, and not scary. The first few scares, which are not ground breaking, come from the camera moving at the right time, and from sources that aren't paranormal. There is one scare that I'm still not sure how it happens involving a knife. I'm not going give it away, but I seriously want to know what people think about the knife scene. The only part of the movie that is remotely scary is the last say 10-15 minutes, but I'll get to that shortly.
  Moving onto my next complaint, which is the storyline. I realize the movie is all about the scares, but the previous movies at least have some kind of plot. This movie just moves too fast, and leaves out too much detail. Part of the problem is introducing a family that has nothing to do with the other movies. It doesn't make the audience really care about these people. One of the most interesting characters is Alex's boyfriend, Ben (Matt Shively). He’s certainly a character that the teenage audience will relate to. The problem with him is that he provides a lot of comedy, which again diminishes the scariness.
  As far as taking in the random boy next door, who does that? They make it clear that this family barely knows Katie (Katie Featherston), so why would they take in her son? Alex does try to get her mother to explain how they got to the point of taking in Robbie, but the mother doesn’t explain it well enough. Speaking of things that people don’t do, who walks around their house filming everything? In the other movies they use security cameras, or there is a decent explanation to why things are being filmed. In this one, Alex is filming for no apparent reason besides in the opening scene. She does Skype with Ben in some moments, but still. And of course she has Ben set up more cameras, but they just stop reviewing the footage at one point so what's the point. Those are just a couple examples of the holes in this story.
 Besides seeing if they could create any new scares, I really wanted to know more about what Katie and Hunter have been up to. Well audiences may never know because they end up spending more time on the family than giving the audience any concrete information about what mother and son have been up to. Most of the investigation is spent of trying to figure out why Robbie is so strange. At one point, Alex does the typically Internet search for information, but since she can't pronounce what she reads, it totally distracts from figuring out what she’s talking about. There is a little twist in the story, which I will give them credit for cause I didn't see it coming. However, it just opens up so many more questions that I'm not even sure they can answer.
  Now back to the last 10-15 minutes, which are the only moments that had my full attention. I won't get too specific, but say that Katie finally gets involved. It’s still a little creepy anytime they show her because you remember what she is capable of doing. Finally there are hints of expanding on the ideas from the end of part 3, but just no explanation along with it. They do take things, if you will, to the next level. However it almost feels like they did the whole movie hoping that final shot would shock audiences into liking the movie. It’s somewhat shocking, but again opens up so many more questions.
  And will audiences ever get answers to those questions? Well maybe in part 5. Yes, I said part 5. If you stay to the end of a very quiet credits sequence, there is a bonus scene letting you know this isn’t over… really! Seriously, when they said they were doing a fourth part, I really wished they would’ve started a new storyline like American Horror Story is doing in their second season. Instead, they are just going to drag this on. I was all right with the decision to show where Katie took Hunter, but they ruin it with the lack of details about how she got to this point.
  Paranormal Activity 1 started off well, but pissed me off by the end. To this day, I’m still not sure if I like Paranormal Activity 2 or Paranormal Activity 3 better, but I did enjoy them. Paranormal Activity 4 is clearly the worst movie in this franchise. The scares are nowhere near the best scares in the previous movies. There are too many holes in this storyline, which creates a family that audiences won’t care enough about. And they just don’t give audiences enough new details tying this movie in with the others. No surprise here, I give this movie 1 pool of blood.

  HorrO

Thursday, October 18, 2012

AMERICAN HORROR STORY ASYLUM EPISODE 1



  The American Horror Story Asylum premiere sure made an awesome birthday present. The only way it could’ve been better is if The Walking Dead also premiered, but I’ll take that premiere as an early present. So I thought I would put together a few thoughts about last night’s premiere, and give a chance for any of you to share your thoughts.
  I guess I could just say “Bloody Face,” and end this right here. Last season’s mystery character was the man in the rubber suit, and now it looks like Bloody Face will be his replacement… not bad. He certainly is creepy looking. Since we saw him in the present, I guess the mystery is who from the past is he, and why is he still there in the present?


  I liked that they opened in the present. It gave a little perspective, including the info the newlyweds just happened to share with us like the death chutes (definitely what to know more about them). I do wonder if that is all of the present we will get to see since it appears the couple didn’t make it. And how about those opening credits? Now that is the way to get a show started. I actually watched them a few times just to soak in all the craziness.
  The last thing I thought I would’ve seen last night is an alien. I know AHSA is suppose to be insane and all, but I didn’t think they would go there. Apparently that isn’t the end of it either since that little chip stood up and walked away. It’s still hard to think about aliens on this show, but ok. It’s also hard to think of a bakery in an asylum. Are they actually selling baked goods, or is that for the patients? I sure as hell want nothing from the asylum’s bakery!


  Wow, Jessica Lang is good! One of the best moves they made was bringing her back. I guess after her award winning performance last season that was an easy decision. She puts on such a commanding performance. It was also good to see Evan Peters back. Looks like he’s going to go from being a tortured soul to a probed one.
  The new character that almost stole the show is the crazy doctor. What asylum doesn’t have a crazy doctor? While he’s very interesting, of course we all want to know what his experiments are all about. I was a little confused cause it appeared he was feeding something downstairs, but the nun was also feeding something in the forest. Are they the same creatures? What a great conversation between Sister Jude and the doctor. Loved how they played what seemed like a violin (not a music expert) when key things were mentioned. Season 1 had a lot of interesting music and sounds so it looks like they will continue to do that this season, which is fine with me.
  I think I will leave it at that. Definitely excited to have the show back. Season 1 set the bar high, so let’s see if they can surpass what they accomplished last year. Can’t wait for the doors of the asylum to open next week!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Short Film Series- "Seven Minutes"



It has been a while since I’ve added a review to my short film series. After writer/director Neill Morris shared his film “Seven Minutes” with me, I thought this would be the perfect short film to add to the series. So posted below is “Seven Minutes," which is followed by a short review. What I would like you to do is watch the film first, as the review will include spoilers, and then post your review/comments in the comment section. Enjoy!

Plagued by nightmares of a demonic man ever since her childhood. Anabel quickly learns that her nightmares are a lot more real that she could ever have imagined. A normal day quickly turns into one of terror, as she is hunted down and lead to a shocking truth by the person she fears the most.

Written / Directed / Shot and Edited by
Neill Morris
Producer Neill Morris



  The film might be about seven minutes long, but it certainly doesn’t waste any time grabbing the audience’s attention. It’s a decent scare having that guy pop out of the shadows. As the film then focuses on Anabel, the audience is left to wonder who he is. Obviously he’s coming back because that isn’t the first time Anabel sees him.
  Besides stressing over the man in her dreams, it appears that there is something strange happening as the film moves so quickly from forest scene back to her house. That is when the mystery and suspense starts to creep its way into the film. It’s a simple touch having her blinking her eyes in front of the computer screen, and don’t forget the wine glass. The audience isn’t sure if she has fallen asleep when she sees the man again. The woman who plays Anabel does all right through out the film, but the thing I liked most is how she constantly gives that look as if she is half asleep. It helps hold the mystery of what is going on.
  It's another nice scare having the guy in the hallway. I bet you thought, “Why do they always open the door?” As that door opens, the twist in the story begins to take shape. I definitely didn’t expect the guy’s eyes to light up, which is a pretty cool effect. With the man flashing as she awakens, I was still wondering if she was dreaming the whole time, or what.
  I really can’t believe I missed that one. That's a very good job with the twist, as I didn’t expect her to be dead already. I guess I was just focusing too much on whether she was sleeping or not. It’s good to see it all makes sense in the end. It’s actually a much more depressing ending than I could have imagined once it started. Overall, I enjoyed “Seven Minutes,” and I hope you did as well. It should be making its way to film festivals soon, so please help support it if you run across it.

  HorrO

Monday, October 1, 2012

SINISTER REVIEW



  Sometimes I get to attend some awesome events, and this was definitely one of them. Thanks to Keep It Classic, we not only got to see “Sinister” early, but there was a Q & A with the director/writer Scott Derrickson, and writer C. Robert Cargill afterwards. Because there was a Q & A, I had high hopes that it would be a pretty good movie. So was I right, or were they in for a long night of questioning?
  Ellison (Ethan Hawke), a crime novelist, moves his family into a new home in order to do research for his next novel. While his family is used to living near the crime scenes he is researching, this time it’s different. They are actually living in the house where a family was horrifically murdered. Upon moving into the house, Ellison stumbles upon a box of old films. He decides to watch them as part of his research, but they soon become more than just research.
  While the movie has its fair share of suspense, there is no suspense in this review. I’m going to come right out and let you know that I love this movie. You know how some people talk about love at first sight, well that might have happened to me during the opening sequence. While some horror movies give audiences a little set up before hitting them with a bang, this one combines the set up with the bang.  The first thing the audience gets to see is a family getting murdered, and soon after sees that is where Ellison just moved his family.
  One of the interesting things about this movie is the different use of found footage. Instead of this being an entirely found footage movie, Ellison is the one who finds the footage, and the audience gets to watch it with him. It’s good to see found footage where the audience knows exactly who is watching it unlike some of these movies that just play found footage, but never explain who exactly is watching it and why besides the obvious fact that it is a movie.
  On top of that, the found footage is of Super 8 films, each showing the murder of a family. The Super 8 films give the murders uniqueness not just in how the murders are committed, but how the audience gets to see them. As you might be able to tell, the first murder is my favorite, but that is not to take anything away from the other ones. The original plan was for there to be six films, but they cut it down to five, which turns out to be a good enough.
  This movie really has a little bit of everything in it. The films supply the real horror with the murders. There is plenty of suspense and tension in scenes where Ellison hears something in the house, and goes to investigate. The tension usually leads to some pretty good scares. Then throw in the mystery that Ellison is trying to solve.
  Finally there is the guy we all see in the movie posters. For purposes of this review I’ll call him Mr. B., as I don’t want to give away his full name. He is as creepy looking in the movie as he is in the poster. Scott let us know that they actually found the design for the face from an online search. Sometimes it pays to put your work out there. They don’t over use him in the movie, as they seem to pick just the right times for him to appear.
  While Mr. B. doesn’t dominate this movie, Ellison certainly does, which brings me to the acting. Ethan simply puts on a fabulous performance from loving father to obsessive writer. They told us Ethan actually wasn’t too sure about doing a horror movie, but after his first scare scene he settled right into his role. I totally believe that because the audience will completely feel his fear when he roams around the house trying to figure out what is going on.
  Juliet Rylance puts on a strong performance as Ellison’s wife Tracy. Michael Hall D’ Addario and Clare Foley, who play Ellison and Tracy’s children, don’t have a lot of screen time, but they definitely create some memorable moments. James Ransone quietly puts on a great performance as a local police deputy. At first audiences might just think his character will come and go, but he definitely grows on the audience the more they see him.
  The last thing I will mention is the score, which you know I rarely bother to mention. Part of it is done Christopher Young, and part of it is from music that Scott found. It absolutely adds to the tension that is created. I picked up on it mid way through the movie, but it really stands out in the movie’s final sequence of events.
 They took C. Robert Cargill’s idea of finding a box of films, and really came up with a terrific film. It’s full of suspense, tension, scares, and pure horror. For those looking for originality, it has that too. Mr. B is certainly creepy, but Ethan steals the show. I really didn’t know much about this movie going in, and that is certainly the way to see it. Don’t watch the trailers because as usual they show way too much. Just believe me when I tell you that you need to see this movie because I give it 5 pools of blood.

  HorrO

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