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…)

Interview: Cockneys Vs Zombies director Matthias Hoene

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{Cross-posted to Three Imaginary Girls

One of the most fun films I saw at SIFF this year was the Adventure/Horror film Cockneys Vs. Zombies, and I got to sit down and talk to Director Matthias Hoene (my people!) about the making of the film, which was REALLY AWESOME. Really, really, really awesome. Like, I could talk to this guy all day about horror films awesome. Why don’t you live here, Matthias? SERIOUSLY.

Anyway, Cockneys Vs. Zombies was released on VOD August 2, so you can still find it there — and Matthias said he “hopes” the DVD will be out by Halloween. Fingers crossed!

Me: Let’s get into your inspiration for the film! Did you grow up loving zombie films? 

Matthias Hoene: Well, my love of zombie movies started when I was given a grubby old VHS tape, which only had “Dead Alive” written on it …  (more…)

The Serpent and the Rainbow


Ah, The Serpent and the Rainbow. This + The Believers kicked off a teenage obsession with all things voodoo and magic … which I guess would explain why I’ve watched it at least 20 times. It doesn’t hurt, of course, that my beloved Bill Pullman is the star.

Serpent is chock-full of insane drug-infused nightmares, visions, and of course the famous torture sequence, which left every male audience member shivering in fear.

Ethnobotanist/anthropologist Dennis Alan is employed by THE MAN to go to Haiti and track down a rumored potion that renders people unable to move or speak—and even gives them the appearance of death, though they can still think and feel. The end result, if the people survive this ordeal and manage to rip themselves out of their graves, is a sort of crazed zombie state.

All of this is actually based on a book by a real ethnobotanist, Wade Davis (who apparently HATED this adaptation), which I actually read and was fascinated by—well, after I got past most of the scientific talk. But this is a horror film, not a science report. So even though the potion and one of the “zombies” are routed in a (possibly) true story, Craven adds his own spin, which involves railroad spike torture, blood-filled coffins, mummies that shoot snakes out of their mouths, and a power-mad paramilitary leader obsessed with owning as many souls as he can.

So, anyway, Alan arrives in Haiti, and in the process of trying to track down a guy who will make the potion for him, falls for a beautiful doctor named Marielle and grabs the attention of Commander Dargent Peytraud, who is a very evil man.

SPOILERS AHEAD (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…)

Amazing.

Uh, wow. The Walking Dead Left Behind promo thinger on Facebook is pretty damn awesome. It’s the best way I’ve ever seen a company use FB integration, for sure.

5 Reasons to watch The Walking Dead

5 reasons you need to watch The Walking Dead

I’m always wary of something that has SO much hype surrounding it. But you guys. YOU GUYS. The Walking Dead was so awesome I’m having trouble even thinking about how to describe it—so I whittled it down to the 5 best reasons:

  1. Andrew Lincoln (as Rick Grimes): This guy is kicking all kinds of acting ass, ranging from his initial breakdown to his necessary, but still reluctant, Zombie killing. I can’t wait to see what he does in the next episode!
  2. Utter despair: Main character Rick is missing his wife and kid, and thinks they might be dead. Little does he know they’re alive…but wifey appears to have hooked up with his best friend (yikes).  Still, that’s even not as bad as the father & son he meets who have to deal with seeing Mom as a zombie every night.
  3. The Zombies: Hoards and hoards of ‘em! They’re more traditional zombies, but they’re not exactly super slow either. Every close-up in the Pilot episode showed a near-flawless execution of makeup and special F/X. They all looked TERRIFYING. Especially the little girl at the beginning, and the crawling half-corpse that tries to eat Rick.
  4. The Directing: Oh, Frank Darabont. You rule so hard. So many beautiful shots, but the one that got to me the most was when Rick leaves the hospital and stumbles upon body after body after body. That, and the aerial shot at the end pretty much took my breath away.
  5. The Splatter: MOST importantly, the splatter! Gunshot splatter, baseball bat splatter, crowbar splatter – so. much. awesome. splatter. The blood sprays were almost beautiful in their execution and the sheer amount of gore is impressive. I’m in love, AMC. Thank you for treating this mini-series like a quality film, and not mid-season filler.

Dead Alive

31 Horror Movies I Own #29: Dead Alive (AKA Braindead)

My second favorite Peter Jackson film (Heavenly Creatures is the first), Dead Alive is a hilarious 1992 blood-fest from the LOTR master that makes me extremely happy.

Shy Lionel Cosgrove is trying to escape his overbearing mother’s clutches so he can woo the girl of his dreams, when oops! Mom is bitten by a Sumatran Rat Monkey (omfg. The monkey! makes me laugh. and laugh. and laugh), and turns into a maniacal, flesh-eating zombie.

Once Lionel realizes his mom is of the undead, he tries to hide her in their house, subsequently stuffing all the other zombies she creates in the basement—which eventually results in buckets and buckets and buckets of blood, and insane puppet-y zombie creatures that try to consume the entire town.

It’s totally low budget and slapstick-y, and the acting is almost ridiculously bad, but I still love it to death. The amount of blood and entrails alone is enough to warrant multiple viewings.

I highly recommend this when you’re in the mood for something that will make you laugh, but is also gory enough to satisfy your love for bloody special F/X.

28 Days Later

31 Horror Movies I Own #14: 28 Days Later

In 2002, Danny Boyle shook up the zombie genre by introducing us to a virus that turned almost everyone into undead brain-cravers possessing super strength and scariest of all: INCREDIBLE SPEED. No more outrunning hoards of zombies—28 Days Later suggests that if you find yourself in this situation, you’re pretty much fucked, because escaping a few might be possible, but 100, no way. (more…)

The Return of the Living Dead

31 Horror Movies I Own #11: The Return of the Living Dead
“Send. More. Cops.”

If any movie cemented my love for Zombie apocalypses, it has to be 1985’s The Return of the Living Dead. Like any good horror-obsessed-alternative teenager in the 80s, I saw this (it has The Cramps and The Damned on the soundtrack, for chrissakes!) before the original Romero Night of the Living Dead—a fine ground-breaking film in its own right, but without the glamour and glitz of this blood-soaked, special F/X-laden, naked punk-rock dancing girl extravaganza. (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.