Friday, October 24, 2014

2014 Halloween Horror Movie Marathon- Part Two

Halloween is a week away!! So, how about some more horror movie reviews?
As always, the movies are currently streaming on Netflix, and the descriptions are from IMDB.

Night Watch
"A fantasy-thriller set in present-day Moscow where the respective forces that control daytime and nighttime do battle."
This is an awesome Russian horror movie that is both gruesome and comical. I was really pleasantly surprised with this one. It follows a man named Anton, who discovers that he is an "other" and must choose between the forces of light or dark. He chooses the light, and becomes an enforcer of the truce between good and evil. He has companions like Bear and Tiger Cub who are shape-shifters, and a partner named Olga who was turned into an owl before she exploded back into a human.
Exploded. Yes.
Anton soon meets a young boy who is being lured by a vampire, and a woman who is cursed and he has to stop Armageddon from coming- if he can.
This is in Russian and has subtitles, but don't let that stop you. It is a really bizarro cult film that has moments of gory action, sprinkled with the surreal and peppered with comedy. And it was a lot of fun to watch.

Jug Face
"Jug Face tells the story of a pregnant teen trying to escape a backwoods community when she discovers that she may be sacrificed to a creature in a pit."
Whew. This was almost too much for me. It's not super-gory, but this was really disturbing. Ada is a girl living in the deep woods, somewhere in Appalachia. Her family and her village are all practitioners of an unsettling religion. They have a pact with an other-worldly being that lives in a muddy pit, and when it demands a sacrifice, it causes the village potter to make a jug with the face of its intended victim. If it is fed, then it heals the villagers from their illnesses and wounds. When Ada discovers that the next jug bears her likeness, she makes the decision to hide it. Since the potter was in a trance when he created it, even he doesn't know who was on the jug. When the pit doesn't get its sacrifice, it gets angry and takes its revenge on the village, and things become more desperate to find out who the pit wants. But the movie is not just disturbing because of the human sacrifices. It also features some incest and some domestic abuse scenes. It was an interesting movie...but one that left me feeling sort of ill.

A Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia
 "A young family moves into a historic home in Georgia, only to learn they are not the house's only inhabitants. Soon they find themselves in the presence of a secret rising from underground and threatening to bring down anyone in its path."
It's a Haunting in Connecticut, that's not in Connecticut. Why didn't they just name it a Haunting in Georgia?? Seems silly. Anyway. This was decent. There were some good scary moments, and some particularly skin-crawling scenes. The story involves a family where the women are a somewhat psychic and they just happened to move onto a farm house where the underground railroad used to run, and where a psychopath once lived. The thing that bummed me was that this was "based on a true story" and I have seen interviews with this actual family on TV before, and this story is utterly nothing like theirs. The ghost that the little girl sees is still named Mr. Gordy. And that's about the end of that. But forget all that and just watch the movie, because it is a pretty eerie horror flick.

"Norwegian folklore turns out to be real when Leo and Elvis encounter Thale in a basement. A regular cleaning job turns into a struggle for survival, while they're trying to figure out what or who Thale is." 
This is a Norwegian film with subtitles. The opening scene is pretty cringe-worthy. The crime scene cleaners are scrubbing up what was once a woman, and one of them is repeatedly losing his lunch.  After that, though the film really is not gory or gross.
The film follows the two cleaners who discover a feral woman in a basement bathtub. She doesn't speak, and she is starving and naked. They get her a shirt and some food and while they wait for the authorities to arrive on scene they discover cassette tapes of her caretaker, documenting her growth and metabolism and so on. In one, he references removing a part of her, and sure enough, there's a tail in a mini-fridge. So what does that make Thale? And what are the mysterious creatures now closing in around the cabin?
Unfortunately, the CGI is pretty mediocre when you do see the creatures. Fortunately, it doesn't ruin the movie at all for me, and the movie also ends on a pretty positive note. I liked this. It's a weird film, and I didn't find it very scary, but it was a neat creature feature and unique in that it was based on the myth of the huldra or hulder. I don't think I've seen anything quite like it before.

"150 dead and 350 missing in the tiny mountain town of Snowfield, Colorado. And that's only the beginning..."
Based on a Dean Koontz book by the same name, for me, this is a clear case of the book being better than the movie. They both start off well. It is genuinely scary when the sisters arrive in the now deserted town of Snowfield. The mystery of what killed all of the people there is the best part about the movie. Once the monster is revealed, though, that's where they diverge for me. This is probably because in your head, when you read, a monster can be whatever you want in a way. On film, it is whatever the special effects team made it. And it seemed cooler in my head. On screen it is The Blob, The Thing- and I've seen all that before, and it falls flat. I just...didn't like it. I enjoy most of this movie (especially Peter O'Toole) and then the ending doesn't do it for me.

7 Below
"A group of strangers trapped in a time warp house where a terrible event transpired exactly 100 years prior."
Kids, can we say "snoozefest?" I know you can. Snooooozefest. That's the way!
 No seriously. This was not even good. A group of people are heading to a resort they never make it to, because the van that was chauffeuring them there crashed. A strange man picks them up and says he will take them to his home because there is a storm coming and no hospital for two hours drive. So they go with creepy dude to his creepy abode and then they start seeing a ghost kid murdering other members of his ghost family. And as they linger in the home, they start popping off as well. That actually sounds not half bad, except that you never see any significant storm- not one that would stop anyone from getting around, anyway. And the acting is flat, and the action takes forever to show up and when it does, it doesn't deliver. I played Candy Crush while watching this because it couldn't hold my interest. Ooh, candy bomb!

Trannsylvania 6-5000
"Two reporters travel to a strange castle in Transylvania to investigate the apparent reappearance of Frankenstein, and encounter such kooky creatures as the sensitive Wolfman, the horny Vampiress Odette, as well as a whole cast of other weirdos."
Speaking of boring, there's this. Oh, I wanted this to be good! It has Jeff Goldblum, Carol Kane, Michael Richards and Geena Davis in it. And its a goofy horror comedy from the 1980s. It couldn't sound more well-suited to my tastes. And it just stinks. Carol Kane was the one bright spot for me here, and even her performance is not as good as many of her other movies. Goldblum seems like he's chuckling to himself through half of it. Look elsewhere for a silly movie for your Halloween bash.

Carrie (2013)
"A re-imagining of the classic horror tale about Carrie White, a shy girl outcast by her peers and sheltered by her deeply religious mother, who unleashes telekinetic terror on her small town after being pushed too far at her senior prom."
I was hesitant to watch this, because I am often disappointed with remakes. Not so with this one. It is mostly the same movie, to be sure, but it does manage to add a bit more horror to the mix. Firstly, bringing the story into the modern age makes the abuse Carrie suffered so much more awful. In addition to being tormented, she is filmed and the abuse is uploaded for all the world to see. It also adds a disturbing realism to the movie, since these issues have actually happened in recent times. Then, they add a longer prom destruction scene, and a more special-effects driven final death scene and the result is that this movie is everything the original was, and then some.

"As he helps a young artist with her upcoming exhibition, the owner of a mannequin shop's deadly, suppressed desires come to the surface."
This is actually a remake of the 1980 movie by the same name, but I have never seen the original, so I have no thoughts on whether or not it is better or worse than the other. But this was a horrorfest for sure. Elijah Wood is perfect as a psycho. It is a dark, psychological film that is gory and intense, so it is not for everyone. Definitely not for the squeamish. The murders are disturbing enough, but the scalping is almost unbearable. I had to look away many times and watched much of it while grimacing, and/or flinching. (Especially the ending.) Still, though, as a portrait of a serial killer this is top notch- the camerawork, the soundtrack, acting all come together flawlessly and it makes for a complete movie that is as beautiful as it is repugnant.

The Ward
"A thriller centered on an institutionalized young woman who becomes terrorized by a ghost."
A girl named Kristen gets sent to an insane asylum for burning down a house.The asylum is weird- it's a large building, but there only ever seem to be the same six girls there. And there's a ghost named Alice inhabiting the place, who doesn't want any of the girls to get out. If they are about to be released, she shows up and kills them. Soon there's only a couple left. And the hospital seems to be covering things up, not investigating why easily half of their almost no patients have all kicked the bucket. In fact, throughout a lot of the movie, there are more staff than patients. All of that seems weird, but stick with it, it makes sense in the end. So, it was a decent movie. Plot, acting and special effects are ok, and it is moderately scary.

The Legend of Hell House 
"A team consisting of a physicist, his wife, a young female psychic and the only survivor of the previous visit are sent to the notorious Hell House to prove/disprove survival after death. Previous visitors have either been killed or gone mad, and it is up to the team to survive a full week in isolation, and solve the mystery of the Hell House."
This is one of those great classic horror movies. It is from 1973, and so the special effects are dated. However, this manages to still be quite frightening, even by today's standards. It's the typical haunted house story with a team of investigators trying to solve the mystery of just what exactly causes the spiritual effects at Hell House. Is it psychic energy from a powerful personality, long dead, is it multiple spirits bound to a house by a night of trauma, or is it simply a location that channels the energy from the psychics themselves who show up to investigate? Whatever the answer, Hell House is evil and it has claimed many lives already. The four researchers who are trying to connect with the house now are in for a disastrous week. This is up there with some of my favorite oldies but goodies, like The Omen, Rosemary's Baby and The Shining.

Well VampChix, I hope you have a fantastically spooky Halloween!
I know I will! Mwa ha ha ha ha ha!

No comments: