Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)

"Demons exist whether you believe in them or not," says the priest at the center of The Exorcism of Emily Rose. Yes, and you could also say that demons do not exist whether you believe in them or not, because belief by definition stands outside of proof. If you can prove it, you don't need to believe it.

Such truths are at the center of this intriguing and perplexing movie, which is based on the true story of a priest who was accused of murder after a teenage girl died during an exorcism. If the priest is correct and the girl was possessed by a demon, he is innocent. If the authorities called by the prosecution are correct, she died of psychotic epileptic disorder, and the priest created complications leading to her death. If, on the other hand, exorcism theory is correct, drugs given to the girl to treat her "disorder" made her immune to exorcism and led to her death.

The movie is told through flashbacks from a courtroom, where Father Moore is on trial. He has been offered a deal (plead guilty to reckless endangerment and do six years of a 12-year sentence), but he refuses it: "I don't care about my reputation and I'm not afraid of jail. All I care about is telling Emily Rose's story." His lawyer Erin Bruner despairs, and yet admires him for his conviction. She herself does not believe in demons. The prosecutor, Ethan Thomas is a church goer and does presumably believe, but lawyers sometimes argue against what they believe to be true. That's their job.

And who is Emily Rose? As played by Jennifer Carpenter in a grueling performance, she is a college student who sees the faces of friends and strangers turn into demonic snarls. Her nightmares are haunting. She speaks in foreign languages. She loses an alarming amount of weight. She calls home for help, in tears. Her boyfriend can't reach her. The parish priest, Father Moore, is called in, and determines that an exorcism is indicated.

He has authorization from the archdiocese, but after he is charged with murder the church authorities order him to accept plea bargaining and create as little scandal for the church as possible. The church is curiously ambivalent about exorcism. It believes that the devil and his agents can be active in the world, it has a rite of exorcism, and it has exorcists. On the other hand, it is reluctant to certify possessions and authorize exorcisms, and it avoids publicity on the issue. It's like those supporters of Intelligent Design who privately believe in a literal interpretation of Genesis, but publicly distance themselves from it because that would undermine their plausibility in the wider world.

What is fascinating about The Exorcism of Emily Rose is that it asks a secular institution, the court, to decide a question that hinges on matters the court cannot have an opinion on. Either Emily was possessed by a demon and Father Moore did his best to save her, or she had a psychotic condition and he unwittingly did his best to kill her. The defense and the prosecution mount strong arguments and call persuasive witnesses, but in the end it all comes down to the personal beliefs of the jury. A juror who does not believe in demons must find the priest guilty, if perhaps sincere. A juror who does believe in demons must decide if Emily Rose was possessed, or misdiagnosed. In a case like this, during the jury selection, are you qualified or disqualified by believing one way or the other?

The film is fascinating in the way it makes legal and ethical issues seem as suspenseful as possession and exorcism.

The movie was directed by Scott Derrickson and written by Paul Harris Boardman and Derrickson. The screenplay is intelligent and open to occasional refreshing wit, as when prosecutor Ethan Thomas makes an objection to one witnesses' speculations about demonology. "On what grounds?" asks the judge (Mary Beth Hurt). "Oh...silliness," he says.

a scene from 'the exorcism of emily rose'

Somehow the movie really never takes off into the riveting fascination we expect in the opening scenes. Maybe it cannot; maybe it is too faithful to the issues it raises to exploit them. A movie like The Exorcist is a better film because it's a more limited one, which accepts demons and exorcists lock, stock and barrel, as its starting point. Certainly they're good showbiz. A film that keeps an open mind must necessarily lack a slam-dunk conclusion. In the end Emily Rose's story does get told, although no one can agree about what it means. You didn't ask, but in my opinion she was possessed, and it was science that killed her, not faith.


p.s There is a scene where Emily explains about a vision she had of the Virgin Mary and it was so touching it almost made me cry. The fact she sacrifced herself for the ignorance of man.

The Exorcist (1973)

The Exorcist. Has Anyone Not Seen It?

Since the debut of The Exorcist in 1973 few films in the horror genre have received so much attention or acclaim.

Two academy awards in 1974, best screenplay based on another medium (William Peter Blatty) and best sound (Robert Knudson, Christopher Newman), as well as 12 other awards and 14 nominations demonstrate the notoriety that The Exorcist has received for everything from Directing to sound to acting to the whole package.

I can remember when The Exorcist became known to me. Myu parents were reminising about all the havoc it caused it the 70's. “Three ambulances are required outside of every theater where the movie is showing”, they said. “People have heart attacks and die from the terror of it all” they continued. Yes, this flick caused quite a stir.

I can also remember why they said it was so scary…”I believe something like this could really happen” said my mother about this tale of demonic possession.

The Exorcist - Regan dualityFor those who don’t know, the story is very simple. The sweet young daughter (Linda Blair) of a successful actress suddenly takes ill. Her sickness progresses to the point where ole mom (Ellen Burstyn) becomes convinced that her daughter has been possessed by evil spirits. Perhaps the fact that daughter Regan speaks in strange spectral voices and floats through the air was her first clue.

A young priest whom is questioning his faith (Jason Miller) is convinced to work with a church elder to exorcise the demon. All hell breaks loose (so to speak).

There are several factors that come together to make this film such a masterpiece. Well, ALL of the factors came together to make this a masterpiece really. Director William Friedkin interpreted the story written by William Peter Blatty (novel and the screenplay) and, through the support of superb acting, music, effects and cinematography, created an experiential trek through the terrifying unknown that stands up just as brilliantly today as it ever did.

The Exorcist - Regan floating above bedThe addition of the subliminal elements of screen flashes and bees buzzing in the background help to create a shroud of fear and uncertainty that persists even when the overt action on the screen wouldn’t seem to cause it. Panic, fear, uneasiness, doubt and terror are all emotions that one can expect to experience while watching The Exorcist.

The only real loser in all this was actress Linda Blair. Blair played the possessed girl Regan at the tender age of 14. This was only the third credited role for this young actress, and it catapulted her to fame.

It also pigeon-holed Blair as the possessed Regan in the eyes of casting directors and movie-goers and prevented her from being taken seriously in any other role throughout her professional career. Well, it was either The Exorcist that caused her difficulties at getting other roles to develop as an actress, or the fact that she really couldn’t act once she passed puberty…not sure which one.

The Exorcist - Regan the spider girl
In any case, Blair did make some attempts to do other things as an actress (I could find 39 movie credits since The Exorcist) but it seems that each one either exploited her persona as the possessed Regan, or capitalized on the fact that Regan acted a bit sluttish when she was controlled by evil forces by portraying her as sleazy.

Overall, it’s hard to say if we would even know her name today had it not been for The Exorcist, so did the movie ruin her career, or make it? You be the judge.

The Exorcist spinning head with cross
The plight of poor Linda Blair does not detract from the quality of what is arguably the best horror movie of all time though. This is one of those horror flicks that you can watch again and again, and be scared each time.

The themes have been debated and analyzed, and The Exorcist appeals not only to those that want to be scared, but also to those who are looking for moviemaking elements that elevate a film above the pack.

The Exorcist - silhouette of demonIf you have seen this film then you’ve likely seen it multiple times, and you don’t need me to tell you that you should watch it again because it’s already in your plan. If you haven’t seen it…watch at your own risk. This one will have an affect on you.

Possibly my fave horror flick of all time.....9.7/10

Monday, April 20, 2009

Blair Witch Project (1999)

The Blair Witch Project Relys on Psychological Scares.

The Blair Witch Project raises feelings of powerlessness, being hunted and the hopeless unknown. All for about 35K...with some ingenious Internet marketing.

The Blair Witch Project movie poster

“In October of 1994 three student filmmakers disappeared in the woods near Burkittsville, Maryland, while shooting a documentary. A year later their footage was found.”

The Blair Witch Project - Heather I was led to a website that started with those now famous words. It told the story of a lady who, in 1785, was accused and found guilty of witchcraft. After being banished from the Township of Blair in North Central Maryland she is then blamed for the disappearance of all of her accusers and others within the township. And now three filmmakers have disappeared tracking down the legend. How intriguing…how inspirational…how revolutionary…how totally cool. I was sucked in.

The Blair Witch Project - Mike with his backpack.

The Blair Witch Project first introduces us to the main characters by showing us the footage of them preparing to travel into Burkittsville, Maryland to investigate the legend of the Blair Witch. Heather, Josh, and Mike are three film students with three different personalities that begin The Blair Witch Project - Josh the camera guy. their journey through the backwoods of what was once the Blair Township. We then watch as all three begin to have their spirits broken from cheerful, to frustrated, to suspicious, to downright terrified. The ending just cements the type of horror that causes long, sleepless nights.

The Blair Witch Project is a classic study in the way a director allows the styles of his influences to flow through his own. Myrick and Sanchez (filmmakers) take a meager budget ($35,000 Note: Night of the Living Dead cost $114,000 in 1968), Hi-8 and 16mm cameras, and create a masterpiece of cinema. Throughout the film you will see the combined styles of Romero, Carpenter, Hooper and even Welles. The Blair Witch Project symbols made of twigs. The editing room floor must have been littered with cut footage. The first cut was two and a half hours long and was cut more to a time of 86 minutes. Not a task that I would have wanted to undertake.

There is no soundtrack, no monster, no special effects, and no gore. Ninety percent of the standard content of the horror movie is absent. The only thing left is the other ten percent or the psychological effect. With the lack of visual effects the viewer is forced to uses the power of the imagination to visualize what could be out there bringing fear to the students.

The Blair Witch Project - children's hand prints. The Blair Witch Project is not for everyone, in fact it is either loved or hated (I loved it my g-f hated it), but should be viewed by every horror fan. It should also be required viewing for any student of film and filmmaking. If for no other reason than to show what can be done with virtually nothing to work with except for imagination, determination, and a passion for their art


(Completely off topic) Wizard of Oz parody.

I just had to post this. I was dying with laughter. All day I just burst into random giggles and people think that I flew ove rthe cukoo's nest!!
It is soo realistic and Dorothy actually sounds like July Garland.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Entity (1981)

Alright, my last review of the day. A review that is so haunting, so terrifying, so scary, if you have a date while watching it, you are guaranteed not to get any. GUARANTEE BABY!!! (trust me i know) Ok, too much coffee, sorry about that. Anyhow, if you recognize the title, perfect. If not, get you’re a** out there and watch this!!!

Plot…based on a true story of a woman who gets sexually assalted (for the close minded...raped) by a spirit…yep, that’s it. But the crazy part is, you are feeling like shit for watching this!!! The moment the loud music comes in, signalling the ghost coming, that’s it, you want to scream and tell her to run, but you know you can’t. And unlike a slasher movie when the dumb person doesn’t run when you tell them to, in ENTITY, when she doesn’t run, you don’t yell. You sit there, waiting for the inevitable to happen. And the ending, oh, if you have yet to feel fear from a movie’s ending, then watch ENTITY…

Acting…not sure of the others, but Barbara Hershey is in it. No clue what she use to be in prior, but I know here she is very convincing of a woman who is being terrorized by the ghost. All other actors did very well…

Nudity…yes, partially, but doesn’t do much for you when you know a ghost is in there first…


CGI…I’m sure there was, but I couldn’t tell. That is probably why it freaks the fuck out of me so much!!!...

Scares…plenty. Again, the music starts, you will start to freak out…

Bottom line…this movie is worth owning. PERIOD. Worth every penny spent, every piggy bank broken.

8/10 (sorry for the sort review)

Misery (1990)

I Love Misery. I also Love Company, but That’s Another Story…

Sometimes the lines between “thriller” and “horror” are a bit blurred, and the gore-factor often tips the scales.

Misery shows Horror Freaks that a horror movie without gore can become a classic.

(DOnt you just love the cover)--->

Stephen King novels are scary, that much is clear. How well do Stephen King novels translate to the Silver Screen? That part is debatable. In many cases the necessity to “pare down” the length and details, as well as the move from action “in your imagination” to action “on the screen” loses something in the translation. Happily Misery made the translation well.

Our story begins with Paul Sheldon (James Caan), a writer of trashy novels who has an auto accident as he travels to the isolated mountain cabin that serves as his “literary sanctuary”. The accident is bad…real bad…and it appears that his broken body will perish in the snow – until an angel appears. Annie Wilkes is Paul’s “Number One fan”, and happens upon the accident scene just in time to rescue Paul from his icy fate and bring him to her comfy country home to nurse him back to health. Wow, Paul is one lucky guy…or is he. You see, Annie is a little whacked in the head, and decides that the best way to show her adoration for her favorite author is to keep him prisoner in her home with no means of escape.

Misery - Annie playing nursemaid
Misery is a true psychological horror film. There is no real gore to speak of. The scare factor is all in your head, and in the realization that Paul is powerless to defend himself against the crazy Annie.

The real strength of this film is found in the amazing performance of Kathy Bates. The academy award earned by Bates for her performance in Misery is well deserved, as she effectively conveys suspense, terror, madness, tenderness and psychosis with a single glance.

Misery - Annie (Kathy Bates) is not happy
Many of my friends insist to me that this is not a horror....I beg to differ.

Gore there is not, that much is true. But…if suspense, dread, fear and terror can be conveyed and communicated without a single gory scene then that’s the genius of horror cinema! It’s one thing to inspire fear by chasing young lovelies through the woods wielding a machete. It’s another thing to create the same type of heart-stopping angst through a simple phrase by a star-struck psychotic who has her victim in a position of utter helplessness.

Misery - Annie preparing to hobble Paul
Rob Reiner, the director of Misery, has had an interesting career – gaining notoriety as the actor playing “meathead” on the television series All in the Family starring Carroll O’Connor. His directing credits include This is Spinal Tap, Stand by Me and When Harry met Sally.

I believe, however, that Misery will be the achievement that he will be most proud of as he enters ripe old age. Between the intensity of Kathy Bates, the quiet panic of actor James Caan, and the brilliant ability of Rob Reiner to create a tone of dread and despair, Misery is a classic of horror that must be seen to be appreciated.
9.2/10----> one of the best Stephen King adaptions and one of my favourite

The Evil Dead (1981)

The Evil Dead is, in the Opinion of Many, the Classic Horror Movie of the 80s.

The Evil Dead is low budget, heavy gore, high imagination and lasting impact...all accurate and true when describing this timeless film.

The Evil Dead (1981) Horror Movie Poster

Before such cinema classics as Spiderman, Darkman, and The Quick and The Dead, there was a 30 minute, extremely low budget, film called Within The Woods that was created by a couple of film students to sell investors on the idea of a full length feature called Book of the Dead. The students were Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell and the film would eventually be released as The Evil Dead. One of my all time favorites.

Evil Dead (1981) - party at the tableWe start our journey in an Olds Delta 88 with five friends traveling to a cabin in the backwoods of Tennessee for the weekend. Upon entering the cabin Scotty (Richard DeManincor) decides to see what is in the cellar after they hear a noise. When Scotty does not immediately return, Ash (Bruce Campbell) goes into the cellar only to be purposefully scared by Scotty. They find a book, some notebooks and tapes which they take back upstairs to investigate further.

Evil Dead (1981) - book of the deadThe book turns out to be the “Book of the Dead”, an ancient Sumerian text that is supposedly inked in human blood, bound in human flesh, and contains incantations that deal with demons and demon resurrection. The tapes contain the voice of a man that not only describes the book but also recites the incantations out loud. This in turn awakens the evil spirits and begins fatally possessing the friends one by one starting with Ash’s sister Cheryl (Ellen Sandweiss). Eventually Scott, Scott’s girlfriend Shelly (Theresa Tilley) and Ash’s girlfriend Linda (Betsy Baker) also become possessed and it is left up to Ash to attempt to make it through the night alive.

Evil Dead (1981) - Cheryl floatingStephen King once said that The Evil Dead was “the ultimate experience in grueling terror". How right he was. Sam Raimi shows off the originality of his film making skills that he will later bring to larger budget films. The camera work is incredible. Raimi’s style will always be distinguishable from the other directors in Hollywood. He has a love for the fast and aggressive shots that have become unmistakable.

The blood and gore is top notch and even over the top for 1981. So over the top, that it was one of the first films to be labeled as a “Video Nasty” in England and is still banned in Malaysia, Iceland, Ireland, Singapore, and German theaters. I wonder if that is what my mother meant when she said, “If it is worth doing then it is worth doing right.”

Evil Dead (1981) - Ash intenseThe Evil Dead also introduced us to Bruce Campbell and the character of Ash. The two fit together. You cannot think of one without thinking of the other. Nobody has been able to match the ability to portray the “abused hero” with such tenacity as Bruce Campbell. He will forever be known as one of the greatest “B” movie actors of all time. The Evil Dead is not your typical horror movie. It is not your typical zombie movie either. As a matter of fact, there is nothing remotely typical about it. Though not intended for those with weak stomachs, I highly recommend The Evil Dead for any “discerning horror freak”.

Evil Dead (1981) - hand of a demon Since the first time I saw this movie in 2008 it has been one of my absolute favorites. Everyone who knows me has seen my rendition of a dramatic moment in The Evil Dead: I begin by standing with my back to the “audience”. Then say “Ace of spades…queen of spades...four of hearts, eight of spades...Jack of Diamonds JACK OF CLUBS!!!!” and then turn around to face them and scream loudly.

Of course, nobody gets it, but I know. This was the instant that Cheryl became possessed.

Evil Dead (1981) - bloody AshWhen I introduced The Evil Dead to watch for the big Halloween Horror group, which consisted of myself and my friends Kelly and Connor, Krytian and Damien, I was immediately put on “movie probation”. I was not allowed to suggest movies for the rest of the night. They didn’t get the genius of The Evil Dead. They were clearly "blind" to the genius behind it all.

What is the moral of this story? Well, the fans of the mass-market horror of late may or may not appreciate the awesome nature of The Evil Dead. I know my friends did not, but they are still good people. If, however, you are a true aficionado that doesn’t require slick Hollywood mega-productions to appreciate an incredible movie then I imagine that The Evil Dead will join your list of all-time favorites and classics of the horror genre.

Two really memorable scenes include Cheryl being raped by trees (i could imagine her walking into the police station with a bunch of trees lined up aginst the wall "It was number four, the oak") and the scene where Cheryl actually become possessed (as mentioned above).

Just watch out for the woods, and wear clean panties…


The Shining (1980)

The Shining is, Without a Doubt, One of the Scariest Movies of All Time

The concept of family security is shattered in The Shining when dear ole Dad becomes the deadly attacker.

The Shining movie poster
Stanley Kubrick, the director of the film adaptation of the Stephen King novel The Shining, has a long history of powerful and impactful movies. Lolita, the Kubrick film from 1962, began the string of well-known cinematic power that continued with Dr. Strangelove (1964), 2001: A space Odyssey (1968) and Clockwork Orange (1971).

Kubrick directed, produced and wrote the screenplay (with co-writer Diane Johnson) for The Shining, and so this film demonstrates the strength of his ability to create and communicate disturbing, horrifying images.

The Shining begins when Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) accepts a seasonal job as caretaker at a mountain resort. With family in tow (Shelley Duvall and Danny Lloyd) he heads to the mountain paradise looking forward to having peace and quiet to finish his novel and bond with his wife and child.

The Shining - Wendy with ax in bathroomTrouble is, when the snow hits the mountainous region of the resort there is no communication possible with the rest of the world. Roads are snowed in, phone lines are down, and a simple ham radio is the only touch point with civilization. The isolation of this environment had caused a lesser man to crack and turn homicidal on his brood years ago…and the spirit of this unstable man has his sights set on leading dear old Jack down the same path…

The Shining - Here's Johnny!Jack Nicholson absolutely makes this movie. If there ever was a man that can believably play “crazy”, it’s Nicholson. Shelley Duvall (Olive Oyl???) does an equally superb job as the mousy wife Wendy (i seriously dont get why everyone hates her lol). And then there’s Danny (Danny Lloyd). Danny plays the only son of Wendy and Jack Torrance, and provides the creep-factor necessary to elevate The Shining to a status reserved for horror movie legends.

Danny has a gift called the "shining" where he can see the future, read minds, and see dead people (insert joke here). Both parents are worried, but are told its no big deal by a doctor before they leave. He has an imaginary friend that has a tendency to take over Danny’s body and spout out creepy quips (REDRUM!! REDRUM!!!) that punctuate the film’s explosive moments and lead to a showdown between father and son where only one can survive.

The camera work was fantastic, I specifically love the shots where the camera follows Danny around the house on his like bike from behind him. The lighting was fantastic, it gave the utter feeling of silence and emptiness.

It is evident throughout the flick that Krubrik really had a golden ear. It is the most terrifying soundtrack that someone could ask for. From the trailer (chilling) to the final scenes of the movie, it really captures the emotions that Krubrik wishes us to feel.

Memorable scenes include: river of blood, "Heres Johnny", "REDRUM" creepy twins, young lady-old lady scene, typewriter scene and the weird dog suit scene.

The unique thing about this movie is that it tries not to explain anything at all. No is up to the viewers to guess what really happened and why. (unless you read the book)

The Shining - Jack in the maze

The Shining is the story of a man slowly going insane, with murderous results. The slow build of tension, suspense and doubt will grab hold of you the viewer and will not let you take a breath until the final, dramatic moments of the movie. We as viewers of this classic are played like a violin – and we love every minute of it.

Cujo (1983)

Lewis Teague was actually given the stamp of approval by Stephen King to direct Cujo. But for some odd reason or another the studio that had the film at the time just decided to go with someone else. But in a weird twist of fate the project was dropped and then Teague was brought on by the new studio to direct the film. The recommendation came from Stephen King after he saw what Teague had done on Alligator. It was probably so great for King because of just the absolute cheese and the little political undertones in the film. This time around the undertones were all about our own personal fears and while this may not be noticeable by just a random viewer if you look closer it is rather evident.

In this Teague animal attacks vehicle Cujo is a nice friendly St. Bernard who is out chasing a little rabbit around a field. Soon the rabbit dives into a whole and Cujo digs his head right down inside to try and catch it. As they say curiosity killed the cat and he is bit by a rabies infested bat. Enter the Trenton family who are suffering from all kinds of inner turmoil. The adults marriage is on the rocks, the father's ad campaign has caused a mass frenzy and the young boy is dealing with the fear of monsters in his closet.

As any family does, there car is in need of a repair and the only decent place around is at a farm about 6 miles away. The farm just so happens to be the home to Cujo as well. As papa heads out of town to cool down after he has heard his wife is having an affair with a friend of his, the mother has to take the Pinto in for some work. As soon as she arrives she realizes something is terribly wrong and Cujo is in full rage mode. This is where the story begins to get good and when their previous worries really become just a drop in the pond when Cujo bears his blood drenched teeth.

Now I wouldn't consider this movie a classic but it is definitely a film that has stood the test of time and definitely deserves this new 25th Anniversary DVD from Lionsgate. Really the performances from actors Dee Wallace and Danny Pintauro are the showcase of this film. I would also be amiss if I didn't mention that fantastic work that Jan De Bont did with the camera. The shots they were able to obtain for this film are very nice and pleasing to the eye.

One scene that I really have to mention in this review is of course one that takes place in the car. The camera focuses on Dee Wallace who is near exhaustion and then swivels around to catch a horrified look on young Pintauro's face. The camera then continues to spin and spin giving you that same dizzying sensation that they must feel. It also adds to the claustrophobic atmosphere that they are stuck in the car with no help in sight. That is just one among many great scenes that take place on the farm between Cujo and the Trentons.

At this point in Teagues career he had pretty much reached his peak and it shows in this film. He managed to show that fear of things that have not happened yet are something that you should never have. But a fear of something eminent such as a rabid dog really put things in perspective. In the case of Cujo the family has plenty of these fears. Losing his account at the PR firm, the wife's fear that she will go nowhere in the town she is living and the young boys fear of the monster in the closet. When they are finally confronted by Cujo it all comes into perspective what is really important in life.

Now onto the good stuff which is the blood and death scenes. Now Cujo looks very menacing in most of his scenes and is one hell of a big dog. As the film progresses and the body count rises he begins to get more and more bloody and dirty. He also gets plenty of drool and other odd body fluids all over himself. It all makes for one crazy ass dog. Of course their is no really gory death scenes but the maulings look pretty convincing.

Ahhh the sweet sound of a beautiful score put together by Charles Bernstein. You have probably heard his work on A Nightmare On Elm Street. Another great score that will always be very memorable. But the score in this particular film is fantastic especially with the theme given to Cujo being the low horns. Not many people appreciate a good score like I do but if you are like me and believe it makes all the difference your ears will have a nice trip during this film.

Anyone who is a fan of Stephen King will absolutely love this movie. It really does the book justice. Now I can't really suggest this film to gorehounds because there isn't a lot of that. But everyone else will get a great kick out of this one.


(NOTE: Possibly one of the greatest "isolation" movies)

Interview with the Vampire (1994)

Interview with the Vampire is a Wonderful Film Adaptation of the 1976 Novel

Although the film version of Interview with the Vampire strays from the novel a bit it very successfully puts a new and intriguing spin on the traditional vampire legend.

Interview with the Vampire (1994) Horror Movie Poster

I have heard the horror movie Interview with The Vampire called many things by many people in the past including “Vampire Soap Opera” (wasn’t that Dark Shadows? hmmmmm) and “The Homoerotic Vampire Movie” (snickers...maybe a bit). My favorite one however, and I can’t remember who said it, is “The Harlequin Romance Novel version of a vampire movie”. That one is just priceless.

I call it something else. I call it one of the best, maybe even the best vampire movie available today. I'll explain why after I get some plot up. There are several spoilers here so be warned.

Interview with the Vampire (1994) - Lestat (Tom Cruise) turning Louis (Brad Pitt)

Interview With The Vampire is well known the world over and even slightly engraved in current culture. Based upon Anne Rice's groundbreaking books from decades ago that reinvented the vampire legend and turned it upside down. This movie begins with vampire Louis (Brad Pitt), a very dramatic almost depressed character, inviting a reporter (Christian Slater) who has been following him through modern day San Francisco to hear his life story and get the word out on it.

Interview with the Vampire (1994) - the Happy Vampire Family

Louis begins the fascinating tale of how he was a wealthy yet grieving plantation owner made into a Vampire in the late 1700's New Orleans by a vampire named Lestat (Tom Cruise). Lestat tried to teach him the ways of the vampire and of killing, but Louis neverInterview with the Vampire (1994) - Louis and Claudia plotting could get used to the one activity necessary for a Vampire’s survival – taking human life. Louis becomes bitter and angry with Lestat for giving him “the dark gift”. In an attempt to ease Louis’ pain and create a “Vampire Family” Lestat turns a young girl, Claudia (Kirsten Dunst), into a Vampire as well.

Claudia keeps Louis and Lestat company for many years until she too grows angry at what Lestat has made them. From there Louis and Claudio perpetrate what they believe to be Lestat's murder and take off on a ship bound for Europe to find others of their kind. While in Europe they find Armand (Antonio Banderas) and his theatre group made up of vampires in Paris. Louis's searchInterview with the Vampire (1994) - Armand (Antonio Banderas) for answers ends up bringing nothing but trouble to him and Claudia in Paris when the other vampires discover what they did to Lestat and plan to avenge him.

I could say so much more on the plot, but I may be here all night. Interview with the Vampire is a must see movie of epic proportions. The movie spans time and place from the 1700s up to present and features a superb all-star cast as well as amazing production values. One of my all time favorite horror movies, Interview with the Vampire does stray from the original book a bit, but makes up for it in style.

The characters, especially Lestat, have achieved Dracula-like fame over the years, and Interview with the Vampire (1994) - Lestat (Tom Cruise) feasting on a poor victimdeservingly so. This movie accomplishes the difficult feat of putting a new twist on the old vampire tale through human emotions and feelings.

Out of ten stars I would actually give Interview with the Vampire......nine Stars. It is that good. This is a long movie but the epic tale is sure to hold your attention throughout. If you have not yet seen it, I strongly recommend you do so.


The Village (2004)

M. Night Shyamalan has made a lot of money making what critics like to call thrillers and director Eli Roth correctly pointed out are horror movies. "The Sixth Sense" and "Signs" are high-end horror films, but are ultimately of the same genre ilk as "A Nightmare on Elm Street," or a well-made Corman classic. What separates the Shay-man from the pack are his tightly-woven narratives. Not a frame or word in the writer-producer-director's stable is wasted or winged. This obsessive attention to detail gives each movie a dreamy, fable-like quality. The viewer is intensely aware that a story is being told, and that the skill and charm of the story-teller, however visible the technique maybe, sweeps away the imagination and maintains a vice-grip on even a waning attention-span.

"The Village," Shaymalan's adventure into the collective unconsciousness of America's larger-than-life tropes explores a society born and bread on the tightly-knight community dealing with the fear of the "encroaching other." Just as he did with the ghost story, the comic book superhero, and little green men before, Shaymalan offers an astoundingly familiar story and attempts to surprise the audience with its very familiarity. However, while the director's filmmaking skills are as sharp as ever, "The Village" falters when attempting a new spin on the tribulations of isolationists.

The story unfolds, urgently at first, of the tiny village of Covington, surrounded on all sides by the Covington Woods. The townspeople, lead by a group of benevolent elders (including William "Dark City" Hurt, Sigourney " Alien" Weaver, Brendan "28 Days Later" Gleason, and Cherry "Cradle Will Rock" Jones) who tell stories of the evil towns that lie beyond the forest. The towns, where violence reigns, are impossible to reach, as the woods are teaming with deadly monsters, deemed "The ones of which we never speak." However, the elders and the "others" have reached a tentative truce, with no one venturing into anyone else's turf.
Sigourney Weaver....still an amazing actress

The younger generation seems no more interested in leaving Covington than their parents, save Weaver's son, played with brooding desperation by Joaquin Pheonix. He desires to move through the woods to find the latest medicine for the villagers (and, of course, not to go on a journey of self discovery beyond his imposed borders, wake me when it's finished). Pheonix finds love in the person of Bryce Dallas Howard, a spunky blind tomboy. Adrian Brody embodies the village's retarded man-child, who must fit into all of this somehow.

As with all Shaymalan's films, it would be cruel to give away too many pieces of the puzzle or any of the many twists and turns. However, this is the great downfall of "The Village." Instead of a creepy-campfire tale, which many fans have come to expect, "The Village" is a simple social commentary with some horrific undertones. However, the films biggest reveals may be spotted earlier on in the film but will still be shocked when they have been confirmed, and those looking for a signature "twist" will not be disappointed. As usual, Shaymalan is fantastic in style, but he falters here under substance. To be fair, multiple viewing may be necessary to gain a full appreciation of the underlying themes, once the tricks and dupes have been fully explored.

The acting is strong, with Hurt putting in a fine, muted performance, and Weaver still stunning and powerful as a secretive matriarch. Howard, daughter of Ron "Opie" Howard, is wonderful in her first major film role. She eschews Hollywoodesque "good looks" and allows her sexual power and maternal care to come out through a very open, emotional performance.

Shaymalan remains one of the strongest mainstream filmmakers working, and the flaws of "The Village" lie primarily in his script. I would like to see him bring someone else's script to screen, and use the same care and deliberate craftsmanship while eliminating the clunkier aspects of his work and freeing him from his self-imposed "trick" endings. "The Village" is better than most of the brainless summer fair, and it's always nice to see a major studio release a film with a perspective, but the interesting premise is not entirely served by its "shocking" finale.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

ROFL Steven King vs Stephanie Meyer

Ok so there has been alot of controversy involving the god of horror, Stephen King and the mormon trash Stephanie Meyer. Stephen "insulted" Stephanies writting skills and compared to J.K Rowling....cant right a darn.
Hilariously the Twilight fans are fighting back and accusing that King is jealous that he didnt think of twilight first, he has no idea what he is talking about and my personal fave, his books are too twisted for him to understand Twilight.
This is a ficticous reply from Stephen King...amazing!!!

The Descent (2006)

The Descent also makes sure that any fears you have of enclosed spaces (or vicious monsters for that matter) are exploited and shoved down your throat.

Watching this horror movie frees me to never (thankfully) need to personally go into a cave.

The Descent (2006) horror movie poster

I have a friend, Matt, that is a self-proclaimed “caver”. An adventure junkie to the extreme, Matt never passes up an opportunity to don his adventure gear and enter into impossibly small spaces, where he then must crawl on his hands and knees for miles (literally) so that he can look at the rock formations before emerging from the other side of the cave with a sense of victory and accomplishment. Matt says that caving is one of the most incredible experiences a person can have.

Well, he can have it.

The very thought of climbing down into a passage almost too narrow for my body, crawling with my face in the mud hoping that I won’t get stuck and spending the entire outing worrying that either the cave will collapse or that there is some kind of man eating animal down there that won’t enjoy my intrusion is just, let’s say, not appealing.

The Descent (2006) cave crawl

So, instead, I went to see the horror movie The Descent.

The Descent begins by introducing the main characters, a group of longtime female friends that are all highly athletic and adventurous. Every year this group gets together for an “adventure vacation”.

Caving is on the menu for this particular trip, and the expedition begins well enough. Then, one disaster after another strikes and our heroines are left fighting for a way out of the cavernous tomb, and later for their lives against the indigenous life that dwells two miles beneath the earth.

The Descent (2006) - Lie still or they will hear you

The Descent does an amazing job as a horror movie on a number of levels. First is in the characters that lower themselves into the earthly menace. With six characters to keep track of the chances for ultra-poor character development is high – but The Descent treats us to characters that are believable and complex. The acting is good and there isn’t a weak link in the bunch.

As it dawns on the group that they are being stalked by these malevolent humanoid predators, their pretence of unity is utterly abandoned and this break down opens old wounds, particularly for Sarah (Shauna Macdonald), who has recently recovered from the deaths of her entire family. She is shocked to learn that Juno had an affair with her late husband Paul (Oliver Millburn), and this revelation acts as a catalyst that spurs her into action. From this point, Sarah decides that the only way for her to survive and escape to the surface is to be as savage as the creatures hunting her, and to this end she goes completely ‘Ripley’ on any of the Crawlers she comes across.

The caving sequences are extremely well done, and while watching the laborious climb the sense of claustrophobia is strong. It completely creeped me out just to watch the trek, worrying the entire time that the worst might happen – and when it does it is even more unsettling than I thought it would be. I was squirming in my chair and couldn’t wait for it to be over – while at the same time relishing the racing of my heart.

The monsters in The Descent are great – horrible and menacing without being over the top. It is very believable that such creatures could indeed dwell in the dank underworld of our National forests.

The Descent (2006) scream

Finally, The Descent contains storyline twists and turns, gratuitous scares and jump factors of sudden and unexpected happenings (several of which earned a “yell out loud” from me) and the surfacing of hidden secrets and agendas as the adventurers sink deeper and deeper into the earth. Elements of justice and revenge play well here also, but as we have learned through so many horror flicks before, revenge has its price.

The Descent is not for the horror movie beginner. If, however, you ARE a beginner and you want to prove to your friends that you can tough it out, then go ahead and jump right in where the big boys (and girls) play and see this movie. For the Horror Freaks out there,The Descent will bring you to a gleeful fright-space. The Descent is not as good as the classic Alien (to which this movie has been compared), but if you loved that one then you’ll likely enjoy this one too.