First things first: Robert Rodriguez should have his visa revoked if he makes another R-Rated film with an overly-long strip sequence that doesn’t involve any actual stripping.
Other than that, this was a pretty good action film but had absolutely no real elements of horror in it. I would have much preferred a few good zombie survival segments over the inter-personal subplots and what not, but the action made up for most of that. I do think Hal Sparks was an odd choice as the bad ass lead, but it worked all the same.
Rating: 6.5/10, watch it, but not for the horror.
I have a friend who actually helped Tarantino develop this one. Here’s what the original rough outline was:
BLAH BLAH BLAH, BLAH BLAH
[REFERENCE TO OLD OBSCURE TV SHOW]
[OLD POP MUSIC BLARING]
BLAH BLAH BLAH
[RIDICULOUSLY AWESOME VIOLENT SCENE OUT OF FUCKING NOWHERE]
REPEAT ACT 1
This wasn’t very good, aside from the one really violent scene that sort of makes the movie worth watching.
Keywords: Ghosts, Creepy Houses, Russia is Fucking Scary
This one was part of the After Dark Horrorfest which I’m going to catch up on. I really enjoyed this. It was very well made as a film, with top notch directing and editing that effectively showed off the beautiful, but very creepy, rural Russian countryside. The story was strong in that it took the typical ghost mystery story but ramped up the violence just a bit and avoided the traditional ending. There was also an overall sense of terror as opposed to the standard quick scare here and there. The only real weaknesses were the dialogue at times and the complete violation of the rules of physics that is typical for these sorts of movies. Both were completely forgivable.
Rating: 6.5/10. Must see for fans of ghost stories.
Keywords: NOT The Grudge, Cyberpunkish, Vampire bondage, Feed ME
This film is by Takashi Shimizu of The Grudge fame, but if you know anything about him you know he has no problem making complete departures from his most recognized work. Aside from a creepy Japanese girl, this bears no resemblance to any of the Grudges. This is a surreal mix of cyberpunk, vampires, and Little Shop of Horrors (sans singing). It’s basically the Masters of Horror episode Jenifer on acid. I didn’t go in expecting something like this, but I enjoyed it all the same. It takes a good bit of patience to get through and lacks directions at times, but if you’re of an open mind you’ll probably find something to enjoy in it.
Rating: 6.5/10. Good if you’re looking for something a little wacked out.
Keywords: Sean Bean being a Badass
My dad described this as, “Just an excuse to put some violence on the screen.” Pretty much sums up the movie perfectly. I enjoyed it all the same.
However, for a better insane, unstoppable killer movie you must watch Gau ngao gau AKA Dog Eat Dog. It’s less of a horror film and more of a Hong Kong crime/cop chase movie, but it’s great all the same. I’d expect fans of Oldboy to enjoy it.
Rating: 6.5/10. Fun, worth a look.
Tagline: Behind this doorway lie the terrifying and unspeakable secrets of hell. No one who sees it lives to describe it. And you shall live in darkness for all eternity.
Outline: A young woman inherits an old hotel in Louisiana where after a series of supernatural ‘accidents’, she learns that the building was built over one of the entrances to Hell.
Keywords: Violence, Creepy Blind Chicks, and finally ZOMBIES
AKA E tu vivrai nel terrore – L’aldilà AKA And You Will Live in Terror: The Beyond AKA Seven Doors of Death AKA The Beyond fucking Awesome. This is a widely respected horror classic that lives up to the hype. It’s the fantastic blend of creepy, psychological horror and an ultra-violent gore fest. There are some obvious flaws, like the pointless and carelessly dubbed audio (I hope whoever taught Europeans how to dub is burning in hell, they dub porn for fuck sakes), and the music can be a bit dated and overbearing at times. Doesn’t really matter though, this film is still top notch. This is a must see for any horror fan as far as I’m concerned.
Finally making time to watch this film has made whole project worthwhile.
Keywords: Don’t go in the fucking basement
AKA Quella villa accanto al cimitero. This is another film by Lucio Fulci the Italian horror master. This was a bit of your typical slasher film, done more as a ghost mystery, and with all sorts of weird shit added in that’s never fully explained and an ending that’s open to lots of interpretation. As with The Beyond there was a large amount of violence that always kept things shocking, and also a number of very suspenseful moments (thanks to the old self-locking basement door). I thoroughly enjoyed this and sincerely hope some of you try it or The Beyond.
Rating: 7.0/10. If you can find any of Fulci’s movies, watch them. He’s awesome.
Tagline: The Only Thing More Terrifying Than The Last 12 Minutes Of This Film Are The First 92.
Outline: A newcomer to a fancy ballet academy gradually comes to realize that the staff of the school are actually a coven of witches bent on chaos and destruction.
More creepy, violent, Italian classics. This one was by Dario Argento (my first), and I’m definitely looking forward to more. This was easily one of the most beautiful and colorful films I’ve seen of any genre, let alone horror. My only complaint was that it drags a bit in the middle between the big scares, but then again the movie is more of a thriller than straight horror.
Rating: 8.5/10. Must see, it’s so pretty.
Tagline: Death Is Only The Beginning
Outline: A Japanese actress begins having strange visions and experiences after landing a role in a horror film about a real-life murder spree that took place over forty years ago
Keywords: Actresses in Japan seem to have a high mortality rate
AKA Reincarnation. This was another film that was part of the After Dark Horror Fest. Again, Takashi Shimizu shows that he’s uninterested in giving us just another grudge. While this one isn’t as much a departure as Marebito, it’s much more about psychological twists and turns than it is ghosts. It still has plenty of nice scares though and is altogether a good, interesting film that will keep you guessing until the end.
Wicked Little Things (2006)
Tagline: Prey for them
Outline: Karen, Sarah, and Emma Tunney are all moving to a small town in Pennsylvania where, unknown to them, in 1913, a horrid mine accident trapped dozens of children alive, underground. But there’s a problem. They’re still alive.
Keywords: Average Gore, Average Creepyness, Average Plot
Another After Dark title. Average, middle of the road horror. Nothing terrible, nothing great either.
Tagline: No one gets out alive.
Outline: Space Marines are sent to investigate strange events at a research facility on a distant planet but find themselves at the mercy of genetically enhanced killing machines.
Keywords: Scientifically Plausible Monsters, Testosterone
I was in the mood for some Sci-Fi so gave this a shot, I am so glad I did. I really, really, really enjoyed it. It was easily one of the best 2nd tier Sci-Fi films I’ve seen. I’d put it up there with some of my other favorites Event Horizon or Starship Troopers. The “witty” dialogue was actually witty. The one-liner’s weren’t grating. The made a real effort to make cookie-cutter character types interesting. Plus, the entire premise was well thought out and seemed about as realistic as this sort of film could get. You’ve gotta love Urban and The Rock and they were both on full bad-ass.
Rating: 7.0/10. Delivers everything you could ask for from an action/horror movie about Space Marines on Mars.
The Thing (1982)
Tagline: Man is The Warmest Place to Hide.
Outline: Scientists in the Antarctic are confronted by a shape-shifting alien that assumes the appearance of the people that it kills.
Keywords: Aliens, Ice, Perfection
I can’t offer any meaningful critique on this. This is as good as horror movies get. I’m so glad I finally got a chance to watch it. The characters, the story, the pace, the directing, the effects were all absolutely spot on. From beginning to end I felt like I was watching something completely brilliant.
Tagline: Terror Beyond Belief
Outline: An American writer in Rome is stalked by a serial killer bent on harassing him while killing all people associated with his work on his latest book.
Keywords: I Love the 80s
Another by Argento. Overall I really enjoyed it, but a few things took away from that. It felt very dated at times and many of the plot points involving the cop in the film seem absurd in a post-CSI/Law and Order world. The film also took a bit too long to get really going, but after the first 30 minutes it’s an epic gorefest that had me dropping my jaw multiple times.