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Portrait of the vampire as a young impaler: “Dracula Untold”

October 19, 2014

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Dracula Untold. Wow. Just wow. I didn’t think they gave movies this mind-breakingly stupid a theatrical release. I mean, this should be embarrassedly shuffled into Redbox and VOD, while the creative team behind it change their names and go into porn to save their careers. I really didn’t think I was going to see a major studio release that made me long for the clarity and storytelling sophistication of I, Frankenstein, but there that movie is. It’s just bad. So, so bad.
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In Hollywood, even the ghosts are famous: “The Black Dahlia Haunting”

October 17, 2014

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The case of the Black Dahlia is one of the most famous unsolved murder cases in history, and it’s not difficult to understand why. The killing of Elizabeth Short, aka The Black Dahlia, was so savage, so sadistic,, so monstrous that it’s nearly impossible to understand what kind of a mind could inflict such horrors on another human being. Even such prolific serial killers as John Wayne Gacy, Jefferey Dahmer, and Ted Bundy didn’t do to their victims what was done to Elizabeth Short (well, not pre-mortem anyway). Surely, a crime this horrific must have some larger implications or hold some larger meaning. James Ellroy expertly crafted the former idea into a great novel about the birth of modern Los Angeles. The low-budget horror flick The Black Dahlia Haunting…uh, well, it has a girl/girl shower scene. Without nudity. (Sigh) okay, let’s just get on with this.
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Just stay out of the woods already! “The Hunted”

October 15, 2014

the-hunted-poster Why do people go into the woods? Does anything good ever happen there? On the evidence of cinema I’d have to say no, nothing good ever happens in the woods. I mean aside from ticks, mosquitos, rattlesnakes, a total lack of hygienic facilities and, I should add, absolutely nothing of interest, you also run the risk of contending with:

And, well, you get the point. There’s just no good reason to go into the woods. And Josh Stewart’s 2013 film The Hunted doesn’t give us one, either. The woods are just bad. Read the rest of this entry »

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Just don’t taunt the Bigfoot: “Willow Creek”

October 14, 2014

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Okay, this is going to be a brief one since Willow Creek is a pretty slight movie, clocking in at a measly 77 minutes. Wait, really? 77 minutes? There are episodes of Doctor Who that run longer than that. Okay, maybe that’s not best example, but still. 77 minutes? Is it even legal to make a feature film that short? Well, whatever, nothing I can do about it. Given the fact this is a Bigfoot movie, and a found-footage Bigfoot movie at that, it’s probably merciful the movie’s this short.
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Harry Potter becomes a goat (sort of…not really) “Horns”

October 9, 2014

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Alexandre Aja’s adaptation of Joe Hill’s novel Horns isn’t exactly a horror movie. Instead, it’s more of a supernatural mystery, or perhaps an enquiry into gossamer-thin ties that bind us into a community, and the secrets we kept hidden to keep that community intact. Whatever it is, it was made by a horror director, and based on a book by Stephen King’s son, and I spent two hours watching it, so what the hell, it’s getting reviewed.
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Mirror, mirror on the wall…why are you trying to kill my family? “Oculus”

October 8, 2014

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Mirrors are horrifying, right? Well, no. No, they’re really not. They’re just sort of there. They reflect us in all our imperfections, and…uh…aw screw it. They’re just mirrors. Making a mirror terrifying is a pretty tough row to hoe—making any inanimate object terrifying is tough; t’s why there are more movies about zombies than, say, haunted power-drills—and yet Oculus probably comes as close as you can get. It’s not enough, but, hey they get an A for effort.
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Fear the thing that knocks in the night: “The Babadook”

October 7, 2014

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Children’s books are terrifying, aren’t they? I don’t know about the ones they write today, but the ones I had to read a kid seemed designed solely to impress upon children that the Universe is a cold, merciless place, and that there’s just as deep and black of a void inside all our hearts. I mean, we had the Shel Silverstein books which were a wonderful way to introduce kids to the concept of LSD (here are some insipid rhymes, stark drawings, and a backflap photo of the author who looks like he should be roaming the desert in his VW van in search of “fresh offerings”). Or, when I was a bit younger, my parents bought me a Dr. Seuss book called Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are, in which the doc seems to be trying to assuage his white guilt (and possibly the guilt over all those racist Japanese propaganda tracts he drew in World War 2) by inventing whimsical horrific circumstances you should be glad you don’t have to deal with. Because children are never too young to learn about existential terror. But the titular book in the tremendously satisfying Australian horror film, The Babadook, is terrifying in a more direct way: it forecasts your despoilment and tragic death.
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