The Neon Demon

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{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.

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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…)

Near Dark

Ah, Near Dark. My first exposure to Kathryn Bigelow (that’s right – the woman who directed The Hurt Locker also directed a bloody, gory vampire flick).

If you’ve never heard of this, I wouldn’t be surprised. I feel like it flies well under the radar – probably because it came out the same year as more popular The Lost Boys, or maybe it’s just that people hate the ending as much as I do. But despite the stupidity of that last scene (trying hard not to spoil anything here), this film is pretty damn sweet, and way more badass than TLB.

A traveling van of vamps made up from most of the cast of Aliens (Bishop, Vasquez, and Hudson) lands in small town America, where their newest member Mae (mmm, Jenny Wright) “accidentally” turns farm boy Caleb, causing them to go on the run when Caleb’s family won’t give up the search for their missing son/brother.

Turns out these vamps are particularly ruthless, and do things like slaughter an entire bar for sport. Also, the youngest one is harboring some serious resentment about being stuck in a 10-year-old body. It all makes for one fun, bloody, excellent horror film. I’m particularly fond of the way the vampires burn when they get caught in the sun.

Totally recommended! I honestly think this is one of the best vampire films ever made…if I could just change that ending a little bit, it would be perfect.

SIFF 2011 Horror

The Seattle Intl Film Festival ended earlier this month, and I’ve been meaning to make an update to ye ole’ splatter blog, but just haven’t had time until now. Anyway! Here’s a quick list of some great bloody & disturbing films I was lucky enough to see that will hopefully be released to theaters near your or on DVD soon’ish.

The Intruder: (pictured above) Think “Snakes in a Thai Apartment”, like thousands and thousands of them. Seems the residents of a certain low-rent apartment building – which happens to have been built upon an ancient mystical swap, oops – have been sinning WAY too much, and the snake gods, they are angry. So they send a legion of King cobras in to clean things up. There is an amazing amount of splatter in this, some ridiculously entertaining special F/X, and a very wince-worthy scene involving a pane of glass and a man’s leg. *shiver*  (more…)

30 Days of Night

31 Horror Movies I Own #16: 30 Days of Night

Initially skeptical about this one (as I am of all vampire films), I have to admit that Director David Slade pretty much blew me away with 30 Days of Night. Based on a comic-book miniseries, this stark excellently filmed horror flick has enough blood to keep me happy and enough drama to actually make a good story.

The small town of Barrow, Alaska is in the process of shutting down in prep of not seeing the sun for 30 whole days and nights. Vampires couldn’t ask for a more perfect setting, non? And sure enough, they waste no time getting right in there and starting with the feeding.

The lead vamp, Marlowe (excellently played by Danny Huston), kills any way of communicating with the outside and proceeds to lead his creepy blood-covered gothic vampire gang on a killing spree, which includes turning children into vampires and letting helpless near-death chicks run around crying for help as bait to get other victims.

Good-guy sheriff Josh Hartnett might seem a little *too* earnest here, but he didn’t bug me enough to ruin the film (even while moon-eye-idly pining away after ex Melissa George). The actor who definitely turns in the best performance though, is Ben Foster, whose character, The Stranger, is a fantastically good update of Renfield from Dracula.

The lengths to which some of the townspeople go in the wake of this tragedy is shockingly depressing, and the aerial shots of blood-splattered snow are amazingly impressive. The only thing I have a tiny problem with is the end—it seemed like a little too much sap to buy on top of so much awesome devastation.

Even with the ending, it still has a huge impact, and I recommend it to the fang-obsessed as one of the good ones.

Daybreakers

Daybreakers

This is one of those films that several people have recommended to me, and I avoided it mainly because I hate Ethan Hawke with a burning, fiery passion-but that’s another issue for another time.

Daybreakers surprised me in a few ways: (more…)

Let the Right One In

The Right One??

Thanks to this month’s DVD releases, I finally got a chance to see Let the Right One In (Lat den ratte komma in) – a movie that every one of my filmgeek friends has been talking about since FOREVER. All I heard was “it’s fantastic” and “it’s amazing” and “it’s one of the best films I’ve ever seen! YOU HAVE TO GO SEE IT NOW”. And you know what? They were right. I messed up by not getting off my lazy ass and seeing this in the theater.

To be cliche, “this is not your mother’s vampire movie”. Hell, it’s not even my vampire movie, and I’m only approaching 40. This thing makes me think I might be missing out on some kind of super-cool secret Swedish Vampire genre. But, I digress.

Allow me to simplify:

“Aw, this is such a sweet story about these two misfit kids forming a bond…HOLY CRAP SOMETHINGISREALLYREALLYWRONGWITHTHATONE Look out! Augggh! Gross! WHOAAAAAA….what??? Awwww.”

Only 100x cooler than that. Is there splatter? Oh yes, there’s splatter. Along with some shots that are so beautiful I can barely breathe and an effectively creepy CGI’d gang of cats (trust me on this one, guys – it’s not as cheesy as it sounds).

In any case, it’s not like every scene is soaked in blood – the murders are actually timed out quite nicely to the pace of the film – but when they do happen, they sure make an impression.

Also, make sure you watch it subtitled. It makes it even creepier, somehow – and the English dubbing is way too jarring to enjoy.