Hostel

Spoiler warning! 

When I first saw Hostel I honestly wasn’t a fan. It takes a looong time to get to any kind of gore (we’re 33 minutes in before the first severed head is revealed – and then it’s another 20 minutes before the real gory stuff starts), and the main characters are all completely unlikable douche-bags.

But, I’ve since come around. Why? Because Eli Roth has a masterful way of telling a story, and mygod, that man knows his gore. A recent re-watch made me realize that there’s actually a surprisingly little amount of blood and guts on screen. I tallied it up, and all the bloody stuff adds up to roughly 20 minutes.  (more…)

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Wolf Creek

31 Horror Movies I Own #25: Wolf Creek

One of my greatest fears is being stuck out in the middle of nowhere being tormented by a sadistic mad man, with no possible hope of escape or finding help. So, uh, needless to say, Wolf Creek succeeded in scaring the pants off of me.

This is also exactly why you’ll never find me doing something crazy like hiking in unfamiliar country and then agreeing to accept the help of a total stranger when my car breaks down—and you ESPECIALLY won’t find me drinking anything said stranger happens to hand me. (more…)

Audition

31 Horror Movies I Own #23: Audition (Odishon)

True story: when I went to rent Audition from my local video store, the guy took one look at me and said, “Are you sure you want this one? I mean it’s really violent. REALLY REALLY horrible stuff happens. Like, I almost threw up while I was watching it…” Little did the guy know that by saying that, he totally sold it to me.

Anyway, yes. It’s true. Really really horrible stuff happens (Takashi Miike knows torture porn, that’s for sure!). And as with most films , it’s all super gross, “I-can’t-believe-someone-actually-thought-of-this” stuff. But the reason this one stands out (at least to me) as one of his best is because the lead, Eihi Shiina, delivers a chilling balls-out insane teeth-gritting performance as a woman who has some major “issues” with men. Drugging, torturing, and dismembering kind of issues. (more…)

Train

I stumbled across this 2008 horror flick via a Netflix suggestion – which I had somehow completely managed to miss despite my years-long crush on Thora Birch.

Entitled simply “Train” (rumors abound that it was supposed to be a remake of 1980’s Terror Train but then the plot changed), this thing is basically Hostel on a locomotive, but instead of people paying to be murderers, they’re paying for organ harvesting/transplants. Our unsuspecting victims are a US wrestling team of 4 (+ 2 coaches, 1 who smarmily shows off his tattoo & nipple rings) who miss their train due to late night partying and have to get on a more mysterious one. Birch plays the only person who seems clued in to the bad vibes of the situation. (more…)

Saw: Enough, Already

Seeing how I just watched Saw VI and have suffered through every one of the sequels, I thought it might be time to run through a quick review for each one…especially since Saw VII is currently filming for an October release.

Saw: The original was actually pretty awesome – a new twist on something you don’t see often, and the beginning of a great idea. Inventive “games” with homemade murdering devices, a serial killer that doesn’t actually ever kill anyone, and two strangers stuck in a room with a dead body trying to get out.

Sure, Cary Elwes & Leigh Whannel weren’t the best actors, but it was thrilling to follow them through to end, and Jigsaw (Tobin Bell + his creepy puppet!) is pretty terrifying in this one. Just try to ignore Danny Glover’s ridiculousness at the end. It’s also fun to re-watch to see Ben from Lost as the bewildered kidnapper.  (more…)

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.