I was lucky enough to be able to check out the latest 1980’s throwback monster movie ‘The Void’ at the Hollywood Theater here in Portland Oregon last night. I’m pretty fucking stoked that I’m so close to one of the coolest theaters in the country that’s constantly giving us here alternatives to the huge Hollywood blockbusters continuously cranked out. If you’re ever in Portland I highly suggest checking out this place as it always has several incredibly unique events and movies happening there. But I digress, The Void was definitely a thrill to see on the big screen!
I’ve been waiting for this one for quite a while and right now it’s showing all across the country at select theaters. If you’re a fan of classic 1980’s horror flicks like ‘The Thing’, ‘Reanimator’ & ‘Hellraiser’ you’re in for quite a treat. ‘The Void’ captures the look and feel of films like these with ease, similarly creating an incredibly unsettling sense of dread throughout. Seeing it at the particular venue I did intensified the experience, along with the fact I smoked some pot (hey it’s legal here now so get off my back!) before and I felt a little bit like I was transported back to simpler times when horror flicks were at the peak of their charm. It’s story is pretty simple at it’s surface, taking place almost entirely inside a lonely hospital during a graveyard shift. We meet a group of people whose quiet night soon becomes a descent into total madness as the hospital becomes surrounded by a weird ass masked cult dressed in white robes with black triangles displayed upon their hoods. Continue reading
I checked out the much hyped indie flick “Saturday Morning Mystery” the other evening with high hopes. In case you have no idea what this new movie is all about it can be summed up pretty simply: live action Scooby Doo in an R-rated horror flick. Sounds pretty fantastic right? It’s clearly a pretty great idea but beware, these characters though clearly based on the cartoons aren’t really the comic relief you might be expecting. This is a more realistic take on the group, so don’t expect the dog, named Hamlet to be talking in this one. The rest of the characters are more true to life as well Floyd(Shaggy) smokes weed and does acid, Chadwick(Fred) & Gwen(Daphne) have wild sex and Nancy(Velma) has a crush of her own on one of the team members.
The movie starts out pretty strong, with the gang investigating a haunted house, but soon like the cartoon find that behind the curtains are just some normal yet truly sick people. They’re even reprimanded by the police for messing up their covert operation-those meddling kids!! It’s not long before the gang is running low on funding for their paranormal investigations so they decide to tackle one last case in hopes of maybe discovering something supernatural before throwing in the towel. Their last case leads them in their vintage van to an abandoned “haunted school” where there’s rumors of satanists and ghosts within it’s walls.
There’s not too much more I can or should tell you about the story. It’s got a few twists and turns and for the the most part is a pretty solid horror flick with a great premise. However I think the premise of this film is by far it’s strongest attribute. If you take away the whole “Scooby Doo” theme there honestly wouldn’t be a heck of a lot to really separate this from anything else out there. To me they could have benefited by adding a little more comedy, naivety and color to the characters and the story. There could have been more of “Scooby” or Hamlet I should say, in the story as it seemed maybe the film was played a little too real, at least for what I was hoping for.
I also hoped for the sets to be a bit more interesting, it’s have been cool to see them an truly unique and colorful haunted setting. An old haunted school should have looked and felt more like it would have in the cartoon, but perhaps it wasn’t in the budget? The settings (at the very least the inside of the school) were a bit bland for my expectations. The film takes a turn in it’s third act and gets gory and gritty and this really would have been more effective had out gang acted a little more like their cartoon counterparts. At times it brought to mind say “Night of the Demons” or “Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2” but clearly operating on a lower level. “Evil Dead meets Scooby Doo” is what Aint it Cool News called it-not quite. In the end though I think it was a decent, solid effort that doesn’t quite live up to the hype. On a more positive note, I gotta give it best movie concept of the year!
I’ve been out doing a ton of cool summer stuff lately and decided to take a break from the blogging for a couple weeks, kind of summer break. It’s tough to find cool shit to write about everyday that’s not just regurgitating stories from Ain’t it Cool or Bleeding Cool and sometimes I feel like adding even more hype to huge Hollywood blockbusters is an uninteresting, uninspired waste of time. I mean what’s Hollywood done for me lately?! So I was waiting until something cool that’s a little more under the radar got me pumped to do a blog again. Well it came in the form of bad ass little flick called “Under the Bed”!
This cool little monster movie is brought to you by director Steven C. Miller who brought us Automaton Transfusion, The excellent Aggression Scale and more recently the Silent Night, Deadly Night remake. I honestly have been looking forward to Under the Bed for a while now and thankfully it delivered the goods. The movie is described as a ‘suburban nightmare’ which rings true, however I see it as a more Dante-esque style “kids in danger” monster movie. It’s basically a tale of two brothers who go to battle with a vicious creature who lives under their bed.
Older brother Neil, comes back to live with his father, his new wife and his younger brother Paulie. After a two year leave of absence trying to deal with the death of his mother and his previous battle with the monster he returns to his small hometown where everyone thinks he’s bat shit crazy and his father is on the verge of a mental breakdown himself. He soon learns that his younger brother Paulie has also been terrorized by the same evil force for the last two years.
The movie takes it’s time to get to the real action, but the movie doesn’t lose steam at any point. It’s well shot, well acted and pretty dang creepy. Once the boys decide to make their stand the movie changes direction drastically and the films third and final act suddenly delivers a heavy dose of unexpected gore-which was a welcome surprise! The monster also looks great and the film is pretty much devoid of CG which gives it a much more organic old school feel which I personally love.
Once the creature appears the film jumps into hyper drive, without giving away too much it seems to have hatched from films like Poltergeist, The Gate & Insidious while still bringing something fresh and new to the suburban horror genre. I will definitely be looking for this on dvd when it’s released and I’m quite sure it will be one of my fave horror films of 2013. Right now you can see it VOD, so if you’re tired of the usual overblown, glittery, hype stuff summer blockbusters maybe it’s time to get back to the basics with a good old fashioned creature feature….
I recently checked out ‘John Dies at the End’ a flick which I’ve been looking forward to for quite some time now via VOD the other night for a whopping $9.99 viewing price. I’ve read the non stop hype on this one for a while now and I’ve been pumped for it, especially as it’s coming from Don Coscarelli, one of my all time favorite horror directors. Don’s most well known for his Phantasm films and more recently Bubba Ho-tep which has become a full on modern day cult classic. ‘John’ had all the ingredients of another horror hit, we even get Paul Giamatti in a spporting role along with a wild and crazy story that plays something like Bill and Ted’s meets The Matrix meets Evil Dead. I was hoping deep down inside this’d play like a companion peice to Phantasm II, my favorite of his films. So my question is why did I find myself a bored while watching it? Maybe I didn’t “get it”? Was it too quirky? I’m not entirely sure what about this movie didn’t work for me. It’s based on a book by David Wong, and the premise of it surely sounds like a winner. Check it and this truly “more awesome than the movie itself” poster:
A new killer drug that promises an out-of-body experience with each hit has been circulating the party scene. On the street they call it Soy Sauce, and users drift across time and dimensions. But some who come back are no longer human. Suddenly a silent otherworldly invasion is underway, and mankind needs a hero. What it gets instead is John and David, a pair of college dropouts who can barely hold down jobs. Can these two stop the oncoming horror in time to save humanity? No. No, they can’t.
Now this certainly sounds like my kind of movie and it’s clear this was going to be a challenge to translate to film on a small budget. The acting was decent and Giamatti is always a pleasure to have on screen. However for me the two lead characters weren’t quite interesting enough and the movie just kinda rode this straight line with really nothing that leap out entirely at me to get my blood really pumping. The plot seemed a bit disjointed, confusing and the pacing seemed a bit off to me as well. The movie is basically our hero Dave is dicussing the unbelievable events that have transpired to a reporter (Giamatti) at a diner. His buddy John uses this new drug “soy sauce”, which is given to him by the most generic “jamaican guy” you’re likely to see onscreen and suddenly their worlds are turned upside down as they enter into a confusing quirky quest into other dimensions. For for me to really describe how the plot thickens would probably require me to be typing about this movie far, far longer than I’d like to be. But that’s not to say the movie doesn’t have some fun and unique moments within.
The special effects in this movie were well done for the most part, some decent but not incredible practical monster effects were employed. The scene with the freezer meat monster was probably my favorite use of them and is bound to be a memorable movie monster. The CG effects were a bit on the sub par side but passable and the action was kept at a slower moving pace than what I was hoping for. The movie has been described as “hilarious” but I’d say it was chuckle worthy at best. In the end I wish I had more to say about this one, at best for me upon first viewing it was a mediocre movie experience which left me less than a little less than satisfied. The more I think about it though I think it might be a movie that deserves a second viewing upon which I’m hoping the second time around I get it…..