Thursday, 30 October 2014

Day 31: Top 25 Films To Not Watch This Halloween

There is no shortage of "Tops Films You HAVE TO Watch This Halloween" lists on the internet because, let's be honest, there's a lot of good movies out there. OK, over the course of the last month I might not have enough recommendations to come up with enough to cover the day but that's only because I was aiming to watch films that I hadn't seen before. You only get one Halloween but, like, a few dozen recommendations for the one film you must watch that day, so I'll help you scratch a few off your list or at least help you justify to friends and well-wishers why you ignored their advice and went your own way.



28 Days Later
OK, I'll give this movie one big get: It's the most accurate representation of animals rights activists I've seen in a film. Dumb, thoughtless idiots break into a research lab - with no knowledge of what was being tested on the chimps - with the intent on releasing these mystery illness inclined animals based purely on their own sense of self-righteousness with no thought of the consequences. As a result of these idiots not being willing to research (read: read) what's up with the chimps the world is f**ked. As is this movie, after this opening scene the movie goes rapidly downhill. This movie gets a lot of flack for "fast running zombies", hardly its biggest problem. This movie also features Cillian Murphy's wang. It's in the second scene. If that's what you want to see you can turn the movie off then, it doesn't make a reappearance.
If that's not what you want to see, then, I dunno, tough - This film has way more problems than you being a massive prude and if I have to reason you past this point then I might wear myself out before the real problems show up.

Ghostbusters 2
I've mentioned before that I think "The Secret of the Ooze" is a near perfect movie subtitle. Ghostbusters 2 had the chance to use it first and didn't. Strike one.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Day [Number]: 'Webcomics'

I had intended to do up a post which was entirely horror webcomics, but these last 2 weeks have gotten away from me so I haven't gotten around to it.
Luckily someone at io9.com did, and their list pretty much has everything I was going to list and a good few more, so rather than present a half-formed thing check out io9.com: http://io9.com/looking-for-a-spooky-read-check-out-these-horror-webco-1652126842

One of my very favourites on this list is 'His Face All Read', a creepy short story whose style just oozes atmosphere. I mean, just look at it:


I'd be lying if I said that my original plan to draw up a list of horror webcomics wasn't just a means to share this comic.
So, yes, read it and enjoy.

I'll also draw special attention to the pants-sh*ttingly scary: The Bongcheon-Dong Ghost. I throw around the phrase "pre-sh*t your pants to get a head-start on the surprise of it later" but this comic pretty much defines that warning.

Everything after those two is a bonus.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Film [insert number]: 'What We Do In The Shadows'

So, Horrorthon is over for another year. Dead and buried until an ill-wind blows the top dirt off of its shadow grave and the festering corpse beneath - seeing sunlight - blinks, breathes, and rises anew!
But, that's for the future.
For now I'm left with the fond memories of this year's festival to get me through to the next.
The high of this year's festival was the closing movie: "What We Do In The Shadows".




Sunday, 26 October 2014

Film #25: 'Trick 'r Treat'

In the same way that some films just feel like Christmas ('Elf', 'Die Hard', etc...) "Trick 'r Treat" is a film that just feels like Halloween.

Film #24: 'The Babadook'

Playing catch up now, a busy week has gotten on top of my writing schedule. My movie-watching has been fairly regular though, so it's catch-up Sunday!




Thursday, 23 October 2014

Film #23: 'The Possession'

People? Am I right?
Sometimes they're just an empty vessel waiting to be filled with some kind of nonsense. Sometimes it's a fad, or a lifestyle, a catchy song or they're possessed by a demon, or something - I dunno. This film's probably vaguely about all of those things...
This film being 'The Possession'.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Film #22: 'Cube 2: Hypercube'

'Cube 2: Hypercube' has a title worthy of any sequel.
In the same way that 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze' and 'City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly's Gold' have - what I would consider to be - perfect subtitles, 'Cube 2: Hypercube' works on that same level. Maybe its subtitle isn't as freely interchangeable as the other two, but I still like it. Seriously, whenever a sequel to a movie is announced I always want it to be 'The Legend of Curly's Gold' or 'The Secret of the Ooze' and it would almost always work - try it out!

Anywho:

'Forget everything you thought you knew about cubes!'

'Does for cubes what 'Sphere' did for spheres.'

Any tag line would be better than the one this film chose:

'The first one had rules.' seems pretty stupid, when you consider that people probably would have responded better to the fact that some of the numbers arranged on the front seem to form the word booob!



But, maybe the tag line is just going for 100% accuracy rather than marketability. The first film did have rules. The first film featured a series of shifting boxes housing a group of people who need to figure a way out, all while trying to avoid the escape/ death ratio that works it way towards 1:1; some kind of mathematical code dictated which rooms were safe and which were not.
This second 'Cube' might not adhere to that construct. For one thing it's escape/ death ratio approaches then surpasses 1:1. The number of people who die in this movie far exceed the number of people who are in it. How?

Hypercube! That's how!
Hypercube is a 4th dimensional construct, slowly folding across and revealing breaks in the laws of physics, time, space, whatever has rules, this film breaks them!
Want to move sideways into another room? Nope! You've just dropped from the ceiling to your death!
Want to spend time trying to figure out if that is Brian Cox or a guy who just looks kinda like him?
Brian Cox
Brian Cox-blocked
OK, you'll have time for that one; but only if you can get your mind away from why the film feels the need to draw attention to Lindsey Connell as "the hot one" when Kari Matchett is clearly better looking.

Yes, there are rules in this film. But are there really?
Yes. Yes, there are.

In a film that relies on the Cube being able to bend time and space, absolutely no use is make of that, for any effect at all.
Yes, people discover deal trans-dimensional or time distorted versions of themselves, but all in a very linear and pretty-much-entirely-explained-before-they-show-up way. It's a decent, inoffensive B movie, really the only kind of sequel you could imagine the original 'Cube' having without rehashing the exact same plot, but this is not as well thought out as it needed to be to stand on its own.

Overall I'd rate this film:
"Hey! I know Kari Matchett from '24'!" out of 10.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Day #21: {Horror games}

Not that I do much research in these posts - 30 posts in 30 days may have stretched the limits of my ambition - but in the brief space of time that I did spend looking up stuff for this post it became very clear that I was under-prepared to write it. But, here it goes, with one caveat, this isn't a list of "the top horror games" it's horror games which I enjoyed.
So, no, Resident Evil is not here. Why? Because I have no love for Resident Evil, I tolerated the first one's scurrying about looking for crests and sh*t to open doors while listening to the weird moaning sounds of the zombies, and while there was tension there it was on the 'frustrating' side rather than the 'challenging' side of things.
I did like Resident Evil 2 though. Maybe it just got me at a better time, but it was a good game.
But after that the franchise lost me with its, by about the time "Resident Evil: Dead Aim" came out it wasn't a franchise worth following. OK, it might have picked up after that, but I never really played it again. I picked up 'Resident Evil 4' (Fun fact: there are 11 'Resident Evil' games between 'Resident Evil 2' and 'Resident Evil 4') and it was a decent game, but not enough to get me interested in following the franchise or story again.
Sorry, 'Resident Evil', as much of a corner-stone as you are to horror computer games you bored the sh*t out of me when you had the chance, smooshed that sh*t into the ground with your heel, and no amount of marketing can get me to sniff at it.

Anywho, in no particular order, here are some of my favourite horror games:


Home




Have you ever killed someone? Actually, don't answer that. Not only do I not want the responsibility of knowing, but I also don't think we have that sort of connection where we can confide that sort of stuff, you know? Thanks for understanding! Now as regards to uncertain murders and motives, 'Home' dumps you right into the middle of whatever you might have confessed. Did you kill some one? Are you a murderer? Where are you? What the f**k's with that cellar and the maps and the blood? All questions with uncertain answers in this game, your actions decide the back-story. Creepy as f**k.



The Walking Dead (seasons 1 + 2)


Games are escapist fun! Even games where the player makes the decisions ultimately play along a linear path made to entertain... right? I mean, no one would ever write a game where your poor choices are held against you at every turn by the other characters? And these other characters wouldn't serve as living memorials to your decision, twisting the knife of their feelings and wedging it deeper into you, leaving you cold and alone, struggling to survive in a story where zombies attacks are the least of your worries?
The Walking Dead does just that. If you have a will, this game will wear it down. If you have a heart, this game will break it. It will break it hard.
The story features different characters and settings to those from the tv series, which makes the fact that they can cram more character development and pathos into these games all the more impressive. Seriously, I still can't talk about the ending to season 1.



Left 4 Dead (1 or 2)


"Here's a gun, go shoot some zombies" is an easy concept to think up, quick to sell, but hard to execute. Left 4 Dead's main achievement is in making a ridiculously fun shooter, that it's co-op so you and 3 others can fight hordes of the undead through a series of familiar horror locations makes it a near perfect at it's job. Running, shooting, reloading, running zombies, and special zombie types infesting locations, all swarming in from all directions, cornering you and pushing you to moments of exhausted desperation, before the sweet release of death or a safe room welcomes you inside are all part of every level in this game which rarely lets up on the action.



Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth



Buggy, frustrating in difficulty at times, but it has to be recommended for its effort. So many games ape a Lovecraftian tone, but few really carve those ideas into anything concrete that legitimately feels like the source material. This game does, it's a success in tone and style, creepy, chilling, respectful of the source material without jamming too much in for the sake of showing off. Fans of games and Lovecraft can get behind this as being a standard-bearer which it'd be hard to imagine anyone rivaling.



Limbo




I promised myself that I wouldn't make any party/ broom jokes here, so I'll just say that the closest your back gets to the ground and the flattest you get in this game is when you've died and some dark shadow of a horror has killed you. You, a young child, who wanted nothing more than for some sense or light to arrive in the dark shadows of this game, will see no relief as this platformer moves you through a silhouetted landscape filled with giant spiders, collapsing ground, people who hate you, and brain controlling creatures waiting for you to walk beneath them.


Amnesia: The Dark Descent


Believe it or not, the sensible thing to do before you play this game is to pre-sh*t your pants - it'll save you being surprised by the warmth, odour, and texture of it later.
'Alien Isolation' owes a lot to this game, and this game did it more effectively with a far shorter play time. It has a plot, that I missed due to some whimpering, and an objective which I missed while cowering in one of the games hiding spots, or while running across the room in my house to turn on the lights because who needs to play games with the lights off? That's stupid, I'll turn them on if I want to, f**k you!



Among The Sleep


Hey, you play a toddler, and your adorable teddy friend acts as your guide! Super cute! Right?
WRONG! Pre-sh*t your pants! Do it now to establish a trend! Or if you get caught sh*tting your pants while playing try to pass it off that "the game was so engrossing that you lost yourself in the character of the child and your bowels loosened as your reached some sort of emotional sync".
As with 'Amnesia' a lot of time is spent cowering and hiding, dreading and fearing, just no.



Deadly Premonition



Ending on a slightly lighter note, Deadly Premonition is the Twin Peaks of computer games. It's been described as a "beautiful trainwreck", and it's hard to argue with that description. This game is both a piece of sh*t and deserving of every second of your time that it robs you of. It's a game that has you gunning down trench-coat clad killers in one sequence, distorted version of which stalk you and draw ever-nearer, and in the next scene a wheelchair-bound masked man is having his assistant advise you on the merits of eating a turkey, strawberry jam and cereal sandwich while a whistling carefree soundtrack plays over.
So, yeah, it's a weird one, an acquired taste, but one that rewards as much as it annoys.



Alan Wake



Where Deadly Premonition is a Lynchian fan-ficiton-inspired wet dream, Alan Wake is a Stephen King story without the... ummm, the Stephen King name on the box. I liked this game, It nails the tone of a (good) King novel, the graphics are crisp, it's divided into "episodes" which end with a darkening screen and a familiar song playing in the background like a tv show, and it just moves along at a nice pace. Real effort went into the atmosphere and it pays off in the way that Stephen King doesn't anymore.
Not pant-sh*ttingly scary, but it has some real unnerving spooky moments.



Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines



Vampires, those potentially creepy sh*ts. I mean, who knows what to make of them? Are they sexy, sharp eyed being of immortal seduction? Nosferatu-like freaks skulking in the shadows? Insane monsters whose minds slowly warps over the eternity of their lives? Handsome Socialites?
However you feel about them, this game makes it possible for you to recreate that image and play through an RPG in that style. Seriously, the choices here are staggering! The setting, so well realized! You can walk the streets or stalk them swinging a f**king mallet and sucking the blood out of everything that moves. As many RPGs are there are in the world there is nothing close to this game.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Film #20: 'Let Me In'

'Remake' is a dirty world to film lovers.
You could write a thousand swear words about a beloved classic, you could point out things it does badly, curse the actors, call the director a hack, or melt copies down into a trough and place it in a pub toilet for people to piss into, and some people would think you were treating a film with more reverence than someone who wanted to remake it.

So when "Let The Right One In" - a haunting tale of the growing friendship between two kids, one of whom is from a broken home, bullied, and without friends, the other is an ageless vampire - was to be remade there was the expected outcry of "why can't mainstream movie-goers just read? They'll ruin this film! blah blah blah"
Most of the arguments against remakes kind of annoy me, for a start no matter how bad you think a remake is, it can't ruin the original. Worst case scenario, you learn a little something more about what you like in films!
After that, if it turns out to be good: Bonus.
If not: Don't see it.

As for this particular remake, it came out in 2010 and I saw it last night in that time it was really easy to put off seeing this film based on its advertising:

Anyway, that just leads to this "Let Me In":


Sunday, 19 October 2014

Film #19: 'The Mist' (Black and White)


Late with this post today. And, technically this trailer isn't even the one for the film I watched.
And this is also a film I'm rewatching, so, yes, Sunday is a fine day to coast!


'The Mist' is Frank Darabonte's movie based on a Stephen King novella about a mist that arrives after a storm, engulfing a town, and bringing a strange series of monsters hidden within it.

Film #18: [Short] 'Steadfast Stanley'

OK, I dropped the ball on day 18 - so as a quick way of catching up I present the wonderful short film 'Steadfast Stanley'. It's a great, warm animation which manages to do more with the "zombie apocalypse" mayhem idea in 4 minutes than 'The Walking Dead' managed in its last 4 seasons.
Enjoy, watching this is worth 4 minutes of your time more than anything I could write about it.



The creator. John Cody Kim, has a blog with more information on the making of it if you want to do some more reading today.

Note: I'm posting this online because it's impossible for me to publish it directly into your feelings where it belongs!

Friday, 17 October 2014

Film #17: Disney's "Spooky Buddies"

OK, before anyone asks, are you really going to argue me away from watching "Disney's Spooky Buddies" and towards "I Spit on Your Grave"?
No, you won't.
And if anyone ever tries to ask you to stop watching a film with puppies in it in favour of one with scenes of extremely distressing assault, sexual violence, and beyond, then that person mightn't be the most emotionally balanced to take advice from.
Spooky Buddies it is!

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Day 16: 'Welcome to Nightvale'

'Welcome to Night Vale' is a podcast from COMMONPLACE BOOKS which takes place in the fictional town of Night Vale, a town steeped in Lovecraftian lore, Twin Peaks-ian mystery, conspiracy and absurdity. It's a wonderful podcast which can be funny and sinister in equal measures, and is an easy recommendation to all.
Tonight a live performance will be taking place in The Olympia, in preparation for which I haven't given myself time to watch a movie for today - sorry if you were expecting one, but congratulations if you were hoping to not have skim over and forgive my typos and dropped sentences - but I have written this post in preparation for what you can probably expect from the show:

You are in a theatre enjoying a show, before you the crafted pageantry plays out in its scripted fashion, the audience gasps when it should, laughs when appropriate, and holds its breathe on cue.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Film #15: 'Pumpkinhead'

"How have you not seen 'Pumpkinhead'?" used to almost be the catchphrase of a friend of mine.
I don't see him all too often anymore, but I'll probably bump into him at this year's Horrorthon, and my response now would be that "I have seen the film, and it was wonderful!"




Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Day #14: {Intermission: Horror Books}

It turns out that watching 30 films (that I've never watched before) in 30 days is entirely possible but writing a short bit about them that does them justice or makes sense is harder than it seems.
There's some sh*t out there, worse than stuff I've written about, stuff I've tried to watch but had to turn off - I think suffering 'The Human Centipede 2' and 'The ABCs of Death' is a little much for one month and definitely tainted what I could watch after, and ultimately ruin the entire concept of horror for me - defining it as grotesque 'gore porn' with no real purpose.

So, I'm giving myself a break and writing about some other horror that I genuinely love. So, in no specific order, I present:

Horror Books That You Should Read (if you haven't done so already)

Monday, 13 October 2014

Film #13: 'Dead Silence'

If you've already seen this 'Dead Silence' read something waaaaaaaay (read: infinitely) more interesting than anything I could write about it, its screenwriter Leigh Whannell's personal blog entry on the origins of the film and why he hates Hollywood and, in particular, this film.

You know what are creepy? Dolls. Always have been, always will be. It takes very little effort for a film to convince me of that.
What it does take effort to do is convince me that they are scary.
Yes, as lifeless people shaped things they are the perfect vessels for people to project their neuroses or fears on to, so why not feature them front and center in a horror film. It's worked before, right?



Sunday, 12 October 2014

Film #12: 'The ABCs of Death'

'The ABCs of Death' is a horror anthology made up of 26 short movies made by 26 different directors, so the hit/ miss ratio is something to bear in mind when saying that this 'movie' is good or bad.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Film #11: 'Mr. Jones'

Found footage, more like FOND footage, am I right? People love these things, don't they?
Well, whoever made this film did, or didn't. It's not entirely clear.
What is clear is that 'Mr. Jones' is another one of those films that attempts to use shaky handheld cameras to create tension, but then tries to take things in a completely different direction.



Friday, 10 October 2014

Film #10: 'From Dusk Til Dawn 3: The Hangman's Daughter'

'From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman's Daughter' is the third movie in the 'From Dusk Til Dawn' series. It's also the third and final western in my apparent horror western sequence this week.
It also exists in spite of the collective will of everyone who subjected themselves to 'From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money' wishing this franchise out of existence.


Thursday, 9 October 2014

Film #9: 'Tremors 4: The Legend Begins'

'Tremors 4: The Legend Begins' sees Michael Gross returns to the only role outside of "Family Ties" that I know he's ever been cast in.
OK, not the exact same role, but the same series of films, playing the ancestor of the character he played in the other films.
Yes, 'Tremors 4' is a prequel to my beloved 'Tremors'.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

"Look on my work, ye mighty, and despair!"

So, my dog walk into the sitting room and flipped over this carpet, then left.


So, I fixed it back over. She immediately stormed in, did it again, and sat on it, glaring at me.
"Look on my work, ye mighty, and despair!" is definitely the subtext she's going for here.

Film #8: 'The Burrowers'

'The Burrowers' is a 2008 monster/ western/ horror movies which it would be very easy to get wrong.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Film #7: 'The Strangers'

"What you are about to see is inspired by true events... On the night of February 11, 2005, Kristen McKay and James Hoyt left a friend's wedding reception and returned home to the Hoyt family's summer home.
The brutal events that took place there are still not entirely known."

And thus begins the first 'home invasion' film of the month, 'The Strangers'.


Monday, 6 October 2014

Film #6: 'Citadel'

'Citadel' is a Irish horror film which it was a pleasure to watch. OK, 'pleasure' is definitely the wrong word given the subject matter and the subtext of the film, but I meant that I had low expectations for this film so for this to be a decent film surprised me.
The 1 star rating on Netflix, it should be said, isn't really an indicator of quality but considering some of the sh*t on that site some films REALLY deserve that rating, while others cry out for a zero star rating that Netflix won't allow - 'Citadel', however, does not deserve zero or one stars.



Sunday, 5 October 2014

Film #5: 'Child's Play'

One of the aims for this 30 days/ 30 horror films challenge I've set myself is to watch films that I haven't seen before. It'd be very easy for me to do 30 days of "Evil Dead 2", "The Shining", "An American Werewolf in London", "Slither", "The Thing", "The Fly", "The Wicker Man" or any of the big classics because these films are burnt into my mind and I could gush about why you should watch them and how great horror films are.
However there are films that I've seen years ago, popular films, whose stories I know, that I've somehow completely forgotten. 

'Child's Play' is one such film.


Saturday, 4 October 2014

Film #4: 'Stake Land'

At last year's Horrorthon I saw a film called 'We Are What We Are', a remake of a Mexican film of the same name. I loved it! It was dark, grim, tense, drama about a family of cannibals dealing with the death of the mother while the father tries to keep things in order for their yearly cannibalistic ritual.
It was a well-handled drama about cannibals rather than an all-out blood splattered horror about people murdering and eating other people. The cast, particularly the daughters, were great in their roles, the whole thing just worked.

The film was directed by Jim Mickle, and written by Jim Mickle and Nick Damici, who also brought a film called 'Stake Land' to the screen before that.



Friday, 3 October 2014

Film #3: 'The Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence'

Full disclosure: I've never seen the first 'The Human Centipede', the entire premise (a man decides to surgically attach people in a row, one person's mouth to another person's anus, to form the titular creature) seems like a grotesque and gratuitous gore-porn fantasy that I have absolutely zero interest in.
I like horror movies, but if a film exists just as a matter of trying to gross people out, an edgy, abstract performance art piece filled with blood might be a better/ cheaper outlet for those images. Or a long talk with a therapist might be the best way to sort out some of the issues dealt with.
One time I was in Vienna and there was a ballet performance on down the street, which consisted of dances, classical music, and a large white screen with graphic images from an abattoir being projected onto it.
I have no f**king idea what the point was, why it existed, or who the f**k would recommend this to someone outside of the "you have to see this weird sh*t to believe it!" group. THAT same mentality is how I assume 'The Human Centipede' came into existence and gained notoriety.
Anyway, since I'm not paying for the privilege of watching 'The Human Centipede' I decided to watch the second one.
Why?
Because it's already on Netflix so I have to pay nothing extra to see it.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Film #2: 'Hell Baby'

Back at last years Horrorthon (which has a nice new site here, and a 2014 schedule being released soon) I saw film called 'Delivery', about a woman whose pregnancy takes a sinister turn. It's starts as a painfully kitsch reality tv show about pregnancy and devolves to a regular old found footage horror film about a woman and a haunting or a demon or something... I don't know. The parts that weren't just terrible were immediately forgettable. Since there are no parts of this movie I plan to consciously recall I'm not gonna get more into it.
The point is, this was a low point for pregnancy-based horror films, which are apparently a thing.
So, we'll call 'Delivery' the low mark, and we'll call 'Rosemary's Baby' the high mark.
Best I can say, 'Hell Baby' definitely falls somewhere between these two films.


Wednesday, 1 October 2014

30 Day Horror Challenge - #1: 'Willow Creek'

So, Bren from the 'Under Your Bed' podcast (which is a podcast about horror films, not a podcast recorded under your bed because obviously anyone talking under there would give their location away. No, you need to keep an ear out for soft controlled breathing, and the gentle sound of fabric moving across carpet as whoever-it-is moves into  more comfortable position, to detect someone who is actually under our bed) has started a 30 Day Horror Film Challenge.
Since I was half-planning on doing something like this already I'm taking a final prompt and just going for it to see how far I make it.

Film #1: 'Willow Creek'