TUSK

1297588852068_ORIGINAL{cross-posted to Three Imaginary Girls}

A horror movie from Kevin Smith? Based on one of his smodcasts? About a guy who lures unsuspecting victims to his home in order to turn them into … walruses?

Yup. Tusk is all of those things. And while the premise IS ridiculous, the first two-thirds are actually pretty terrifying, and then it all falls apart thanks to a cameo by a high-profile star who really, really, really loves to wear fake noses and adopt funny accents.

At the start, we meet podcaster Wallace Bryton (Justin Long). Wallace is kind of a douche; his “Not-see Party” podcasts are built around making fun of unfortunate souls on the internet—like a boy who cuts his own leg off with a sword—in which he travels to meet them in person and then comes back home, describing his adventures to his podcasting buddy, Teddy Craft (Haley Joel Osment). (more…)

Junk Bonds: The Return of Junk Bucket

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This is one of those rare instances where I’ve seen a sequel *before* I’ve seen the original, but in the case of this splatter-filled horror comedy, I think it’s fine. I’ll eventually get around to watching Stephen Lange’s first feature: Junkbucket—and based on its sequel: Junk Bonds: The Return of Junk Bunket, I’m sure I’ll like it just as much!

Writer and Director Lange uses his horror knowledge to drop some great tributes to classic splatter flicks, making this 2013 film feel like something that could have been made in the 70s or 80s … and I mean that in the most flattering way possible.

The story for Junk Bonds closely resembles 1974’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, only instead of Leatherface, the Big Bad is Junkbucket: a man who’s got his own “junk” sewn to his face instead of a regular nose, wears his victim’s faces stretched over a bucket, and whose weapon of choice is a phallic axe/club combo. (more…)

31 Horror Movies in 31 Days …. Ish

Maximum overdrive

So much for getting this all wrapped up last October! Excuses are lame, so I’m not going to make them. Instead, how about I finish what I started by giving you the scoop on the rest of the Stephen King adaptations I’ve seen.

{side note: even though I LOVE The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, Stand by Me, and Dolores Claiborne, I don’t really consider them horror so I didn’t include them in this list}

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I really wanted to like this one, because John Cusack! And Samuel L. Jackson! And a creepy haunted hotel! But unnnnnnnggggggh….I hated it. The special F/X were pretty boss, but the plot is a mess, the acting is just plain NOT good, and the chosen ending (out of several alternatives) was pretty fucking awful. I know there are a ton of people who love it, though…maybe they appreciate it as over-the-top entertainment? So while I’d say SKIP IT, I don’t know, you guys. You might like it.

Apt Pupil
It’s been awhile since I watched this one, but I remember being really impressed with how the story was translated on screen. Ian Mckellan is postivitely terrifying as Kurt Dussander, and Brad Renfro (poor Brad Renfro!) is equally so as his student? Admirer? Hater? Who knows. This is one of the stories that I was really into when I was a kid, so a lot of the nostalgia I have about Different Seasons is probably leaking over to my love of this adaptation. (more…)

The Babadook

babadookimage01{tentative release date: October 2014}

Holycrap, you guys. HOLYCRAP. I was not prepared for how awesome this Australian horror film would be. I mean, how scary can another spin on The Boogeyman actually be, right? The answer, though, is REALLY F’ING SCARY. The basics: grieving mom, out-of-control son, creepy book, unleashed creature, possession, and some really amazing imagery.

The Babadook is a non-stop ball of tension from beginning to end, the acting is freaking amazing, the creature F/X are great. I can’t even express how surprised I was by this movie, and how utterly terrified I was while watching it. Bonus: The Babadook pop-up book featured in the film is so goddamn cool! I hear the filmmakers are considering a kickstarter to produce it for real, and I am prepared to throw my money at them as soon as they do.

Rigor Mortis (Geung si)

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{Cross-posted to Three Imaginary Girls

I was pretty psyched to watch Rigor Mortis, mostly because I knew that Takashi Shimizu was involved as a producer, and I love all incarnations of his Ju-On films—including the American remake that he also directed—beyond any acceptable level of reasoning.

What I didn’t know, and probably should have going in, is that Rigor Mortis is actually one big in-joke, specifically related to the 1985 horror-comedy Mr. Vampire (which I have never seen). Mortis shares several actors withVampire, and makes reference to both the hopping vampire at its center and the priest who’s tasked with stopping him. (more…)

Willow Creek

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{Cross-posted to Three Imaginary Girls

Holycrap, you guys. I was not expecting to get completely and totally sucked in by Willow Creek, especially because Director Bobcat Goldthwait has been calling it, “The Blair Squatch Project.” But 10 minutes in, I was ALL in, and even though the premise is ridiculously goofy, the film itself falls firmly in the horror genre.

The ridiculously goofy premise is this: Jim (Bryce Johnson) and his girlfriend Kelly (Alexie Gilmore) take a road trip to the site of the Patterson-Gimlin film footage in search of Bigfoot. It’s clear up front that Kelly isn’t a believer and that even though Jim might kinda-sorta want to believe, this is more about a fun birthday weekend for him that fulfills his childhood dream. Jim’s brought along a camera with plans to film the entire trip as a documentary of their findings, frequently turning it on himself and Kelly and interviewing local townspeople on the way to their end destination. (more…)

Carrie, Carrie, Carrie

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Stephen King’s “Carrie” has  been adapted three times now, and while I’m a long-time fan of DePalma’s 1976 version, the newest addition by Kimberly Peirce is pretty damn good too. Really, the only horrible misstep is David Carson’s 2002 made-for-television version, which whole-heartedly SUCKS.

SPOILERS! SPOILERS!! SPOILERS AHEAD!!!  (more…)

Italian Horror Double Feature: Argento’s Tenebre and Dracula

Tenebrae 2

In order to save my sanity (lest it break from too many awful adaptations) I had to take a break from my Stephen King project this weekend to review a couple of horror films by Dario Argento instead.

Ah, Dario Argento. I feel like Italian horror is either something you completely love or completely hate, and I’ve been completely in love with Argento since I viewed Suspiria when I was a teen. After that, it wasn’t long before I was driving down to Scarecrow video every weekend to check out more Argento films, along with some Lucio Fucli and Lamberto Bava (Demons and Demons 2! YES). In order to love Argento, you have to love bad dubbing, melodramatic acting, and watching women’s heads crash through glass windows over and over and over … and over again. Which I do!  (more…)

Cat from Hell (Tales from the Darkside: The Movie)

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Tales from the Darkside: The Movie is one of those films that I always forget about, and then when I watch it again I’m like, “Oh, hey, this is great! Why don’t I own it?” I can only chalk it up to seeing it on TV over and over and over again in the 90s, which apparently created some kind of near-blackout in my brain when I try to think of horror movies that are wildly entertaining.

Anyway. This 1990 horror anthology features 4 stories (one of which is an amazing wrap-around story starring Deborah Harry and Matthew Lawrence), and the middle story is based on Stephen King’s “The Cat from Hell.” George A. Romero (yes, THAT George A. Romero) adapted the screenplay from King’s short story, and the entire movie is directed by John Harrison, who also directed a bunch of episodes of the Darkside TV show.  (more…)

The Shining (1980) and The Shining (1997)

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terrifying

The two adaptations that have been made so far of Stephen King’s The Shining are a pretty stellar example of what I mean when I say that when King adapts his own work, it just doesn’t make for a good film. Stanley Kubrick re-worked King’s story into his own by adapting the screenplay himself for his 1980 film, and then a pissed-off King (who never thought Kubrick got it right), wrote his own adaptation for the Mick Garris-Directed TV miniseries of The Shining, which aired in 1997. 

While I think Garris and King’s adaptation is pretty terrible, I understand why they did it: they both felt that Kubrick made his own version of the story that was completely different from the book. Garris has a good explanation of it here. It’s an interesting story, Mick, but unfortunately almost nothing about your film was scary. The only moment I found myself gritting my teeth through was when Weber’s Jack Torrence assaulted De Mornay’s Wendy with a croquet mallet (as written in the book), and I mean BEFORE his face morphs into demon-mode — but it was still nothing close to the way I feel every single time Nicholson axes through that door to get to Wendy and Danny. NOTHING. CLOSE. (more…)

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