Night of the Demons

Nice strategically place rips, there.

Night of the Demons 1988 Vs. 2009

The 1988 version of Night of the Demons is by no means a masterpiece, but since it was released during my impressionable teenage years, I kind of love it. It’s slow-going and takes forever to get to the gore, but when it does, it’s a mix of terror and WTF moments, involving lipstick being ingested by boob and naughty 80s dancing.

Unfortunately, the remake gets everything wrong. (more…)

The Wolfman

I’m a big fan of anything trying to emulate the look and feel of the old Universal Monsters flicks – so I was really excited about The 2010 version of The Wolfman. Unfortunately, it didn’t live up to my expectations.

First off: Benicio del Toro. Usually a fine actor, I felt like he was pretty much phoning it in here. And Anthony Hopkins, as his father, was basically playing a caricature of himself: a mashup of Col. William Ludlow and Van Helsing, to be precise. Emily Blunt is just fine as the brokenhearted (but not for long!) fiance, but all she has to do here is look ethereally beautiful (Hugo Weaving did the best acting in this thing, chewing up scenery and acting like he actually cared about the film). (more…)

My love/hate relationship with Halloween 2 (and Rob Zombie in general)

I know I am one of few people who actually didn’t mind Zombie’s reboot of Halloween – yes, it was nothing like Carpenter’s classic, but I thought he did a decent job of translating the story for a contemporary audience, and some of the kill scenes were FANTASTIC. So, I put Halloween 2 on my Netflix queue thinking it would be about the same. And it was, more or less.

I have two main complaints about RZ’s films: 1) he “borrows” heavily from other horror flicks and 2) he tries to explain/do too damn much. In the 2007 Halloween, Zombie spends a lot of time examining why Michael Myers slaughtered his family. He tries to make us see that there are legitimate reasons why the kid is as messed up as he is, and then he spends an awful lot of time in the asylum with Loomis & Myers’ therapy sessions.

This carries over to Halloween 2, which starts with a flashback to a monotone Sherri Moon Zombie promising Michael that she’ll never leave him, and spurring a ridiculous amount of “visions” in which mom & white horse tell Michael what to do whilst he’s on his 3rd killing spree. The thing is: we don’t NEED to know what drives Myers to kill. It’s actually so much scarier if he’s just murdering people because he HAS to. (more…)

A Tale of Two Sisters vs. The Univited

Being blown-away by the creepiness of A Tale of Two Sisters long ago at a midnight SIFF showing, I was apprehensive about the US version, but still curious enough to want to see it-obviously not that badly, since I just recently caught it on DVD. But man, did they fuck it up.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with changing up a few things when you’re doing a remake (re: The Grudge or The Ring), but to almost totally rewrite it, while still trying to grasp stand-out scenes just does. not. work. The good news: if you’ve seen The Uninvited, it won’t ruin the original for you. The bad news: you’ve seen The Uninvited.

(more…)

Jennifer Carpenter: Actually a decent Scream Queen – who knew?

Say, here’s a movie that took me completely by surprise: Quarantine. I remember seeing the previews for this last year and loudly dismissing it as total crap. But back then, I mistakenly thought it was some kind of extension of the Saw franchise. Still, even at the beginning of our On Demand purchase, I was skeptical – is that The Schaech I see? With a bad mustache? Why yes, yes it is. Man, that guy gets around the bad B-movies (or so I thought).

But almost as soon as the hot guy (Jay Hernandez, of course), the douchebag (Schaech) and our intrepid reporter (Carpenter) get locked in a creepy old apartment building with a cast of other character actors, things get interesting. And by interesting, I mean zombies. And by zombies, I mean enough splatter, exposed bones, brains and other grossness to keep me more than happy. Seriously – I don’t know who this John Erik Dowdle character is, but I’m paying attention now. You did Romero proud, son.

Of course, I have no idea how much of this brilliance is due to [REC], the Spanish film on which this was based on, but at the very least: good job on translating something without ruining it. I thought I’d at least be disappointed in Carpenter, as her character on Dexter bugs – but nope. She’s got a set of lungs on her, and definitely knows how to act terrified.

And – I don’t want to spoil anything but: BEST ENDING. EVER.

The Last House on the Left

“We’ve got to be willing to do ANYTHING”

The story is virtually identical, so anyone who’s seen Craven’s original The Last House on the Left pretty much knows what’s going to happen in the remake. For anyone who’s not seen it: it’s more of a “terror” film than a horror film, with the bulk of the gore predicated on revenge.

That said, at least the terror shown in the 1972 version is tainted a bit by being severely dated…this film, obviously, didn’t suffer from that. The torture and rape of Mari Collingwood seems so real, so devastating, that even *I* was traumatized. And that’s saying a lot.

All this traumatizing works well later on, when the Collingwoods realize their houseguests are the ones who’ve left their daughter for dead. While this version makes a point (at first) of the violence being strictly a means of survival, it does definitely reach a state of pure revenge.

The audience, dead silent during the scene in the woods where the criminals have their ‘party’ were shouting “hell yeah” and “get ‘em” while the parents went to town with knives, hammers and wine bottles on the perpetrators. Usually I would not embrace this kind of reaction, but I have to be honest: I was glad to experience it in this instance. As far as I’m concerned, any activity that pulled me out of the realism of the previous scenes and into fantasy land was welcome.

This one is definitely not for the faint of heart – and it has almost nothing to do with the gore involved.

Prom Night

Brittany Snow spends most of the movie looking like this.

I finally got around to renting the remake of Prom Night last night, and hoo boy. Not that the 1980 Jamie Lee Curtis flick was much better, but at least I remember it fondly. This one was…well, gah. It was full of so many problems, nothing could save it. Not even The Schaech as the villain, which honestly was the only thing I found entertaining.

Look, with horror movies you have to expect a certain amount of stuipidity from the characters, or there wouldn’t be any killing. But when the cops are so inept that they a) can’t figure out that the escaped mental patient may have cut his shaggy hair and shaved b) can’t figure out that perhaps letting all hotel guests leave en masse isn’t the way to catch him and c) have only a handful of their most unprepared officers guarding the house where his target is waiting for him – I gotta say WHAT? (more…)