Archive for March, 2010

Podcast-o-Rama for March

Posted in Podcast on March 27, 2010 by dunyazad

Here’s our latest (long delayed) podcast, in which we discuss the non-existence of Irish horror movies, the Wolfman and its remake, and the importance of doing your Kegel exercises during a zombie apocalypse.

Enjoy.

Blog of the Dead

Posted in Reviews on March 15, 2010 by dunyazad

Of George Romero’s original trio of zombie movies, the one I have the least acquaintance with is Day of the Dead (1985). This isn’t really an accident–I didn’t like Day of the Dead the first time I saw it and I didn’t like it any better when I saw it again in the mid-90s. There are two reasons for this, really: first, it’s populated by wholly unpleasant characters, even the heroes (a fault compounded by generally bad performances from all involved); second, it’s easily the most nihilistic of Romero’s original trio. The younger me found this to be off-putting. The older me still finds it a bit off-putting, but the older me is also a bit more forgiving of this sort of thing. When I originally wrote about the film for my old web site, some thirteen years ago, I noted:

“Romero is too talented to make a totally uninteresting movie when he is working in his own self-invented sub-genre, and there is actually material here that holds one’s attention, but most of the film’s best moments are provided by Tom Savini’s thoroughly repulsive grue. Given that the principal aesthetic virtues of Night and Dawn of the Dead are not provided by their grue would indicate that Romero is using his effects as a holding action until he can make the movie he really wants to make.”

Some of those interesting things seem a lot more important a decade further on. Continue reading

My Review of The Crazies

Posted in Uncategorized on March 13, 2010 by Renee

I’ve been a fan of Timothy Olyphant’s since…well, just since Deadwood really, which hasn’t been that long, but I love the guy.  He’s got that kind of slow-spoken charm that makes me want to watch him.  Even if he’s doing absolutely nothing, I could watch forever.

With The Crazies, I only had to do that for two hours.

So if you like Timothy Olyphant, go see it.  If you like horror movies that say something, are scary, or at least have some interesting gore, do not.

Review: “The Secret” (graphic novel)

Posted in Uncategorized on March 3, 2010 by annamae3

“The Secret”
Story/Created by Mike Richardson
Art by Jason Shawn Alexander

Major spoilers!

High school outcast Tommy is invited to a party by Pam, a girl who is out of his league. At the party, the kids play a prank call game involving passing around a phone and everyone dialing in one number until a complete phone number is entered. The kid who is left holding the phone has to call the number and when the other end picks up, they say, “I know your secret,” and then instruct the person to go to the park at midnight. Naturally, the kids manage to call someone who actually has a deep dark secret, and sure enough, when they all go to the park to presumably mock whoever was on the other end, Pam ends up abducted by the guy with the secret.

What follows is a fairly typical teens in trouble horror story, and predicting the outcome was painfully simple. Tommy just knows he can save Pam, but of course the cops don’t want his help because they think he’s a suspect. So he takes matters into his own hands, and by a sheer stroke of dumb luck, manages to find the spooky old farmhouse where Pam’s abductor has been keeping women tied up for god knows how long. I’m sure you can figure out the rest. People get killed for doing stupid shit that anyone who’s seen a slasher film would know not to do. Tommy manages to save Pam and take care of the bad guy, but doesn’t want the cops to find out. But guess what? At the end, he gets a phone call from a mysterious person saying – wait for it! – “I know your secret.” The final frame even includes the text “The End…?” The answer is YES.

To add insult to injury, the story does a lot more telling, as opposed to showing, than it needs to. A good graphic novel utilizes the images to tell the story, which is pretty much the point. But when one frame shows Tommy entering a room that clearly has a trap door, don’t have the character say “Hmm…a trap door.” We can see that. In fact, Tommy just talks too much. Maybe it was supposed to be a character trait, but he narrates his every action. Who is this guy, Marv Albert? It’s annoying and completely unnecessary in a GRAPHIC novel.

The one saving grace of “The Secret” is the art. Alexander has a style that works well for a horror GN, making it that much more disappointing that it was wasted on such a crapjob story. Avoid this one. If you want a GN that is far more disturbing, you’d be better off reading Grant Morrison and Dave McKean’s “Arkham Asylum,” and that one isn’t even touted as horror.

UPDATE: Apparently, “The Secret” is the first in a four-part series. However, I can say that based on an opening like this, I’m not interested in reading the rest of the story.

Review: Candyman (1992)

Posted in Uncategorized on March 3, 2010 by annamae3

Candyman (1992)
Director: Bernard Rose
Writers: Clive Barker (story) & Bernard Rose (screenplay)
Starring: Virginia Madsen, Tony Todd, Xander Berkeley, Kasi Lemmons

Mild spoilers.

It’s rare for a horror film to double as a true thing of beauty. Candyman is one of those rarities. Boasting a dream-like style that plays out less like a standard ‘pop-and-go-boo’ thriller and more like a dramatic romance (which indeed it is), not to mention an incredible Philip Glass score, the film is the story of two graduate students researching the urban legend of the Candyman in the Cabrini Green housing development. As one of the students, Helen Lyle (Virginia Madsen), becomes more intrigued by the story – the Candyman was the son of a slave, brutally murdered for his love affair with the daughter of a plantation owner –  the further she finds herself a part of his story, until she becomes something of a meta-urban legend herself.

What works so well about the film is the way director Rose approaches the material. He never takes the obvious routes of a typical horror film, instead setting it up as something like a dark romance. This is why the scares work. There is hardly any build-up in tension, nor are there so many of the well-placed “stingers” horror fans have grown accustomed to. Working hand-in-hand with the way the story is presented is the aforementioned Philip Glass score. Apparently, Glass did not know he was composing music for a horror film, and was so upset when he found out after the film had been released that he blocked the score from being released in album form for years (he has since changed his mind, and the soundtrack is now available to the public).

What doesn’t work well is the same thing that doesn’t work well in many of Clive Barker’s stories – the main character is always running headlong into his or her cruel fate, all too eager to open Pandora’s Box to unleash the hell within. Frankly put, his characters never know when to leave well enough alone. What saves Candyman from being yet another one of these stories, aside from the style and score, is particularly the acting. Madsen seems to be caught in a dream – indeed, she was apparently hypnotized for certain scenes. Tony Todd, as the titular character, brings a seductive charisma to an otherwise menacing character. The supporting cast is believable and never over the top, and adding to the realism is the fact that many residents of the Cabrini Green projects were hired to play extras.

Overall, Candyman is a horror film unlike any other horror film out there. There’s a lot more substance, a lot more style, and a lot more seduction to the darkness.