The Neon Demon

the-neon-demon-_tnd6702_rgb

{cross-posted to Three Imaginary Girls} 

“I know how I look. What’s wrong with that?”

Last night I finally go to see Nicolas Winding Refn’s epic shock porn horror art piece, The Neon Demon, which many of the people at Cannes deemed as “trash,” and walked out of. A few people in the theater with me last night for the preview screening also walked out — however, thought Refn’s film was pretty brilliant both visually and in its hilarious skewering of a problematic industry I’ve never been able to understand or embrace.

(more…)

Pet Semetary

pet-sematary-large-picture

It may be complete and utter madness, but this year I’ve decided to start with a “retrospective” theme again. Last year was Wes Craven, but this year I’m focusing on horror films based on the works of Stephen King … which is likely to get very, very painful since so few of them are great. Or even good. Or even watchable. But! Believe it or not, there are some gems. Such as this one, which I have a soft spot for.  

Pet Semetary, a 1989 film by Director Mary Lambert (who also helmed the PS sequel as well as the recent SyFy masterpiece Mega-Python Vs. Gatoroid) is based on one of the King novels I read until it was falling apart when I was a teen, and was giddy with excitement to see in the theater when it was released. Unfortunately the bonehead dude I was dating at the time had other plans, mainly: walking out of the theater about 55 minutes in when he was personally offended by the storyline. NEEDLESS TO SAY THAT GUY DID NOT LAST.

Anyway! I managed to see the rest of it later when it came out on VHS. And I was hooked immediately. The movie stars a handsomely-coiffed Dale Midkiff as Louis Creed,  Denise Crosby (aka Tasha! Yar!) as his wife, Fred Gwynne as their older (yet not much wiser) neighbor, Jud Crandal, the most annoying child actress in the world as their daughter Ellie, and Miko Hughes as their son, Gage, who was just a little over 2 years old when this thing was filmed. (Fun fact: Hughes also played Dylan in Wes Craven’s New Nightmare(more…)

Room 237

Room237 poster{Cross-posted to Three Imaginary Girls}

“This is not “The Making of The Shining.” This is not a biography of Stanley Kubrick. This is: After the film has left the filmmaker’s hands, how does the audience grapple with it and make sense of it?” ~ Director Rodney Ascher from an interview with Vulture

After viewing a film (in particular, viewing a film over and over and … over) some fans latch onto the tiniest details, stringing them into clues that they then weave into a larger meaning that is personally important to them—and then convince themselves that the Director obviously meant that ONE THING.

In Room 237, the film in question in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, and those “one” things include The Holocaust, the massacre and betrayal of the Native Americans, something-something about a Minotaur and the maze, an analysis of impossibly constructed rooms and hallways, a look at the interesting imagery created when it’s played backwards and forwards at the same time, and awestruck respect at how the whole thing is inlaid with hidden meanings. (more…)

[Rec]3: Genesis

{Cross-posted to Three Imaginary Girls

Sometimes when filmmakers continue their horror film franchises, it doesn’t work out so well (I’m looking at you, Paranormal Activity). But while [Rec] 3: Genesis is admittedly the campiest film in Director Paco Plaza’s zombie trilogy, it’s still a nice follow-up to his previous creations, and he manages to keep changing it up enough that it doesn’t feel tired.

Also, I love camp—especially when it involves a bride running around with a chainsaw.

Yup, Genesis takes place at a wedding reception, with an unsuspecting uncle nursing a dog bite that eventually turns him feral and starts a chain reaction of guests biting guests, with massive blood splatters, screaming, and lots of torn dresses and ripped tuxedo jackets. (more…)

Lovely Molly

{Cross-posted to Three Imaginary Girls

Opening with a “found footage” sequence (expected by Director Eduardo Sanchez, one-half of the writing and directing team that brought us The Blair Witch Project) packed with intense emotion, Lovely Molly then backtracks to start at the beginning.

Scraping together money to start their new life together, young married couple Molly and Tim Reynolds move back into her parent’s home: a spooky out-in-the-middle of nowhere 18th century house that Molly will be spending a LOT of time alone in while her husband works long hour trucking across the country.

It isn’t long before Molly starts being terrorized by sounds of footsteps, slamming doors, and an eerily haunting singsong voice that she believes is her dead father. As Molly slips deeper into depression and despair, the details of her tortured childhood are slowly revealed: horrible physical and sexual abuse at the hands of her father that led her to retreat into heavy drug use and destructive behavior, which she is repeating again with an even faster—and scarier—descent.

And this is where I disagree with most of the reviews I’ve read about this movie that say, “it’s not scary”, because it’s actually fucking terrifying. The thing is, the most frightening thing about Lovely Molly isn’t the horror aspect of the story—it’s the past demons that Molly is facing that make you feel true terror.  (more…)

The Pact

{Cross-posted to Three Imaginary Girls

While I think overall The Pact is a solid thriller, it’s also one of those movies that’s way better if you don’t know too much about it.

Sisters Nichole and Annie don’t exactly agree on how to handle their mother’s death—but when Nichole goes missing, Annie (Caity Lotz – who had a memorable role in Mad Men as Anna Draper’s niece, Stephanie) returns to their childhood home to find out what happened. After a few spooky encounters, a local detective (holycrap. that. is. Casper Van Dien.) starts looking for the truth. And that’s when shit gets all kinds of crazy. (more…)

The Lords of Salem

I’ve mentioned before that I have a love/hate relationship with Rob Zombie. While I appreciate a lot of what he does, I still feel like his films aren’t as completely awesome as they should be. That said, his new film, The Lords of Salem, has a killer (haha) cast including Barbara Crampton, Ken Foree (!!!), Dee Wallace, and Meg Foster – just to name a few of my favorites. And this still pretty much guarantees that I will see the film, no matter what.

{ht to Dread Central}

Crawl

ooh. Crawl looks like it’ll be pretty interesting. Nice job on the trailer — doesn’t give much away, but builds the suspense and shows us some excellent splatter.

Splinter

Man oh man. I finally caught Splinter the other day due to my friend Carl’s recommendation and HOLYCRAP WAS IT AWESOME.

It’s about a couple who gets kidnapped by an ex-con – only to end up trapped inside a gas station by the craziest parasite ever put on film. I mean, this thing is BRUTAL. Spiky, and brutal. I can’t really say anything else without ruining what happens, but this thing has some of the best special F/X and bloody gore I’ve ever seen. Just a really fantastic little horror film.

Definitely recommended! Check it out.

The Shape wishes you a Happy Halloween

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

For my “trick” today, I got to experience catastrophic hard drive failure, and have spent all day trying to restore and back-up files. So uh, yeah. I’m behind on my 31 Days of Horror postings – and there’s no chance of catching up tonight.

It’s cool to just pretend November is still October, right?

Hope everyone is enjoying their day with rad costumes, gory films, and lots of sugary sweets! I’m off to squeeze in a viewing of Carpenter’s classic – and then do some more work before I turn in.