Thursday, 31 October 2013

H13. This Is Halloween

Hi all,
And here we are at the end of the 10 days of Halloween. I have seen my 13 films. Some have been good, some have been the very worst films I have ever seen. But before we break open the Jack 'O' Lantern and crown the scariest Halloween 13 film, there is one more film yet to be reviewed, the final film. The one film named after the holiday itself. I present to you, Halloween. A truly great film from the 70s, it brings the Halloween 13 to a rousing close. However, you shall have to be patient as the rankings of these films will not be released just yet. But you don't have long to wait. Beginning next Monday will be my September/October Recommendations posts. I've planned something a bit different which, if is successful, will become the traditional way I do them in the future. See you then!

1978, USA, Directed by John Carpenter

Halloween is one of the most successful horror films of the last 30 years because it’s still genuinely terrifying. Be it because of the wonderfully creepy piano theme (which I now have to have on my computer, it would make great writing music) or because it all takes place in an otherwise peaceful suburb, it has lost none of its power. It’s all about (as Tim Curry would say) “antici…pation.” We’ve seen Michael in the background, he was there a few seconds ago but now, he’s gone. Oh, crap where is he? Oh, there he is again. Run, lady! This happens about 30 times as Myers hunts down one of Laurie’s friends and when the final moment of her death comes, it’s truly shocking. The protagonist, Laurie, as played by Jamie Lee Curtis, is also key to the film’s success. Appearing unassuming, but soon proving herself to be kind, resourceful and a magnificent screamer. Her fear in the horrifying climax is enough to make you question your own sanity, as terror is rammed all the way up to 11. From the moment she discovers her friends, her commanding way of protecting the children under her car and hiding out in a closet knowing he’s coming, it all is enough to make you pull your hair out. And then, he just doesn’t stay dead. He dies 3 times in that climax and still his fate is left ambiguous (in a hugely unnerving final scene), making this one of those films that’s going to make it difficult for me to walk around in the dark. In fact, even during the day, because of that shot where Michael is standing by the clothesline or patiently staring at her from outside her classroom. Through undertaking The Halloween 13, I’ve learnt that not all horror movies are scary because they just haven’t had the attention and love required to pull off a really successful film. What makes Halloween different is that it’s all about the horror of waiting for something to happen. Compare this to Playback or Hellbent and the difference becomes palpable. It comes from a different time, but arguably a much more frightening one. And Halloween proves that utter terror created through stunning cinema is timeless.

Gore/Violence: 3 (bit of blood)
Sex/Nudity: 3 (topless women and a little sex scene)
Scares: 5 (completely terrifying)
Best Scene: The climax (because I doubt a scarier scene has ever made it to film)
Overall Verdict: 10
It's Halloween, everyone's entitled to one good scare.
- Halloween

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

H13. Diabolical, Dark And Disturbing

Happy Halloween! Apologies for not posting anything yesterday, but again I left my USB at home. Damn. But to compensate, we have three of the very best movies I've seen as part of this marathon! The first two are Japanese, the first a strange comedy, the second an unsettling ghost drama. However, it is the final film I'd like you to pay most attention to. The Loved Ones is a film I've been wanting to see for ages (I remember seeing the posters everywhere) and it was... an experience, I'll say that much. I would recommend it but it's not for the faint of hearted as you'll see. Only one more film to go and that will be reviewed tomorrow (hopefully). I know these things usually finish by Halloween but I actually want to see it on the night, so you'll have to wait :D. Anyway, until then,

 Dead Sushi
2012, Japan, Directed by Noboru Iguchi
When I sat down to watch this film, I knew it was going to be weird. It’s a film about killer sushi for god’s sake, how can this not be strange. But even knowing this I wasn’t prepared for just how batshit crazy it would be. I also didn’t realise I was going to enjoy it so much. It’s an incredibly satisfying film, by far the most entertaining thing I’ve seen this marathon. Describing this film is almost impossible other than to see it’s hugely violent with more blood gushing than in any other film I’ve seen (it’s more than Kill Bill) but it’s also done in a way that’s stylish and not gory. There are only a few scenes that threaten to gross you out and even then they’re brilliant. There’s one iconic image of a man’s face being pulled apart and it’s both gory and cool and in another part a sushi bites someone’s tongue pulling it out way past its natural length. Plus, it’s got sushi with teeth, rice spewing zombies and a tuna man. This probably isn’t a film for everyone but you should at least give it a go. I didn’t think I was going to enjoy this film, I really didn’t, but now I can’t help but think it’s one of the most awesome things I’ve ever seen. It makes you want to punch the air and say yeah a lot. Basically, it’s a film that demands to be watched with a group but even watching this by myself I couldn’t help but love it. In terms of story and acting, this would probably rate very low but in terms of sheer awesomeness, this is one of the very best movies I’ve ever seen.
Gore/Violence: 5 (oceans of blood, muscles, holes in stomachs. Super violent)
Sex/Nudity: 4 (topless female nudity which is then covered by a shower of blood from a decapitated head and body sushi which is where sushi is eaten off a woman in a bikini)
Scares: 2 (not all that scary because you’re just cheering but there were a few moments that scared me a little)
Best Scene: All of it. I really don’t know what else to say. I want to say one scene but then I think of another. I can’t decide. It’s that good.
Overall Verdict: 10
  Dark Water
2002, Japan, Directed by Hideo Nakata
 Because of the slower nature of this film, I didn’t like it all that much while I was watching it. I was desperate for something scary to happen. This was, after all, a horror film. However, nothing truly terrifying happens until the last 20 minutes of the film which led to a general feeling of dissatisfaction. As soon as I finished it, I rated it a 7 and went to sleep, incredibly disappointed by it. However, time has been incredibly kind to this film. It’s only been a day and my opinion of it has already grown considerably. The reason is this; Dark Water is far more than a horror film, it’s an experience. While many horror films opt for terror, this one opts to unnerve you. It often comes across as quite reflective and the pace is very lax. But I really liked this film because it’s more about the characters than it is the scares. By the end of this film, we know these characters so well and in the final quarter it becomes really quite moving. I think it’s something about the ghost sub-genre which allows horror filmmakers to become incredibly poignant. Many of these films are about repentance and allowing the spirits to find peace. Looking back on it, I realise just how beautiful and well-directed it was and how it was more than just about the scares (which when they come are quite frightening and unsettling), it was about making us feel something, to experience what these characters are going through. It’s a great film because it allows you to think about what’s going on. While I may not have liked it while I was viewing it, in reflection it comes across a sensitive, incredibly accomplished film that transcends the horror genre. Brilliant.

Gore/Violence: 2 (extremely minimal)
Sex/Nudity: 0 (none at all)

Scares: 4 (oh, Jesus)
Best Scene: The last time we see the daughter, because it’s a stunning image.
Overall Verdict: 9
  The Loved Ones
2009, Australia, Directed by Sean Byrne
As I was watching this film, I came up with so many ways to begin this review. I was going to say it was my first example of torture porn, that it was quite a neat full circle as the penultimate film was Australian just before the final one and even that the casting of the super-hot Xavier Samuel made this even nastier. But then as I was watching it, all these thoughts gradually faded away as it became even more vicious and sadistic. Part of me really wants to hate this film because there were moments when I wanted to turn away or to turn it off but it’s a bit like a car crash, you want to turn away yet you’re desperate to find out what happens next. It caused a visceral reaction within me which wasn’t particularly pleasant. Even just thinking back on it freaks me out. I have this thing about body horror/mutilation. I don’t know why but that has always disturbed me more than anything else. There’s a moment in the very last bit of the film when Lola goes limp-wristed and I was truly horrified. Before that was the drilling scene which made it almost impossible for me to get to sleep. And yet I also have to say I really liked this film because it’s doing something quite clever. It’s almost like a reverse Carrie as the innocent dreamer is shown to be a complete and utter psycho. With Carrie, we’re almost made to sympathise with her because we’ve seen how cruel the students are to her, but with this film, Lola just comes across as one nasty bitch, condescending, child-like and completely and utterly twisted. Her dad is no better and the two of them make for one of the most unpleasant villains in any horror movie. Xavier Samuel’s casting does make this quite a hard film to watch but even if they’d cast someone I wasn’t attracted to, the visceral horrific nature of this movie would have had the same effect on me. That’s not to say this film is perfect. There’s a sub-plot about the real prom which feels unnecessary and breaks up the tension created by Lola, but part of me is thankful for these moments because they allow us a break. Usually I rate films depending on how much I enjoyed them so even if they’re technically accomplished and well-directed but I hate them, then they don’t rate highly with me (case in point is Avatar and Oz, The Great And Powerful). I could never say I enjoyed watching this film. Even thinking about is making me feel a little sick (something that rarely happens with me) but I have to say looking back on it, I really liked this film because it’s horrific but it’s clever. And it really has to be quite a good film to create such a real reaction within me. However, I will say one last thing; it has royally ruined the song ‘Pretty Enough’. 
Gore/Violence: 5 (nasty as knives, hammers, nails, forks, drills, kettles, cleavers and pillows are all used)
Sex/Nudity: 4 (sex scene at the start with Xavier’s topless girlfriend and much of what motivates Lola can be seen to be sex. Oh, and the real object of her desire just adds to the nasty)
Scares: 5 (No jump scares but a sense of utter horror)
Best Scene: The drilling (not really a best scene, just the most disturbing).
Overall Verdict: 10

Monday, 28 October 2013

H13. The Orphanage ATM had a poster of Darna Zaroori Hai

These are the films from the weekend and yesterday. I was going to post the first two reviews yesterday but I left my USB at home! Aargh! Anyway, not to worry, they're here now and we have quite an eclectic mix today. Two world movies and one awful one from America. Almost at the end of this marathon now with only 4 films left. It's a bit sad really, I've been enjoying scaring myself silly after midnight. There's something so wonderfully primal about it all. Anyway, two J-Horror flicks removed tomorrow and then only one more day until Halloween itself. Spooky.

 The Orphanage
2007, Spain, Directed by Guillermo Del Toro
I loved this movie because it took my expectations and shoved them through the window replacing them with something infinitely more satisfying. I was expecting a ghost movie freak-out that was akin to turning my brain off for a couple of hours but was ultimately unmemorable. It’s what haunted movies are quite good at and I wasn’t expecting anything more than that. I was too stupid to realise that this is directed by the great Guillermo Del Toro. Creator of the exceptional Pan’s Labyrinth, I should have realised that with writers and directors certain themes reoccur. Like Pan’s, this film is scary in parts and incredibly creepy with some really great jump scares, but ultimately it’s about much more than that. While the former film is all about imagination, The Orphanage is more about memory, past mistakes and family. Del Toro uses the framework of the ghost story to tell an incredibly moving story, complete with a stunning final twist. Like all good twists it seems incredibly obvious in retrospect (as all the clues were there) but because of the filmmaker’s ability to create misdirection we don’t see it until they want us to. And similar to Pan’s Labyrinth, The Orphanage positions death as a hopeful transcendence from earthly pains but still with that ambiguity about those we leave behind. In the end, this film actually comes as really rather sweet if incredibly creepy (that mask) and unlike most horror films it has no sex and very little violence. A film to treasure.

Gore/Violence: 2 (a little bit of blood and a memorably gory death but the violence minimal)
Sex/Nudity: 0 (none at all!)
Scares: 5 (oh dear God, the terror)
Best Scene: “OMG, how did I not work that out”
Overall Verdict: 9
2012, USA, Directed by David Brooks
The first thing to know about this film is that it’s not actually a horror movie, it’s a thriller. I picked it up at my local library and thought, ah, a horror movie, because of its freaky DVD cover and interesting concept, but it’s not, so there you go. Second thing is that it’s an awful movie. It has a 9% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and is widely reviled and for good reason. It’s hard to really know where to begin when talking about this film because it’s get everything so wrong. It’s a film about three people who get stuck in an ATM cubicle on a freezing winter night because a creepy guy is standing outside. They want to ask you what you would do in this situation and I was immediately drawn to this idea. I love it when we see people under pressure as we see their true selves because it’s so much more unnerving than the unreal. Except in this film, the characters are so bland and one-dimensional that you don’t care about what they’re saying or doing. We know absolutely nothing about them. They’re enigmas which is a big, big problem when the film is basically a three-hander between them. A larger problem is that these people are incredibly stupid. There’s a number of really obvious ideas but they don’t seem to think these are a good idea. It’s mind-numbingly stupid and unlike Hellbent it isn’t offensive so it just comes across as really bad but unmemorable. It’s not even that scary. It’s a huge case of missed potential. There’s a good film about people being put under pressure because of tense situations, but it isn’t ATM. Don’t watch this.
Gore/Violence: 2 (minimal, bit of blood and head smashing, but not all that much)
Sex/Nudity: 1 (couple of references but that’s all)

Scares: 2 (again it’s the characters. They’re just stupid)
Best Scene: The last one (because it was a little tense and because it signified that it was finally over)
Overall Verdict: 2
  Darna Zaroori Hai
2006, India, Directed by Various
In undertaking this marathon I’ve learnt that I’m not as easily scared as I thought I was. Very few of these films have freaked me out on a deep level so I’ve actually become quite comfortable with the horror genre. And then this film screwed all that up. It’s terrifying for the vast majority of its hour and three quarters. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie this scary. My nerves were shattered after watching this and it took me ages to get to sleep as I began to be terrified of what else may be in my darkened bedroom. It’s an anthology film which I generally love (Creepshow is one of my absolute favourite movies and would have formed part of this marathon, but I was unable to get a copy in time) made in India. This is my very first Indian film and I was a little concerned simply because I had no background to rely on. What was really great about this movie is that it makes you realise that scary things transcend cultures. We all get scared and this film does it really well. It has more jump-scares, shocks and twists than you can possibly imagine helped by some freaky music and a terrific cast. This is a film that will keep you up at night and I doubt if I’ve ever been quite this scared while watching something (well, I suppose that’s not quite true. The trailer for the original Japanese version of The Grudge is probably the scariest thing I’ve ever seen. It freaked me out. I am both desperate to see that and horrified by the idea). This was a really great film, filled with memorable moments, stylish direction and enough terror to make you tear your hair out. A truly great Halloween movie.
Gore/Violence: 2 (a bit of blood)
Sex/Nudity: 2 (bit of a sexual reference, but nothing really onscreen. However, the opening song is really sexual even though she’s talking about death)

Scares: 5 (I considered turning it off because I was convinced my nerves couldn’t take anymore)
Best Scene: So many to choose from, but probably the first story (with the movement in the house)
Overall Verdict: 9

Friday, 25 October 2013

H13. Hellbent On The Theatre Of Blood

Sorry about not posting anything yesterday, was out shopping. Anyway, I've since watched two more films. One was Hellbent, a disturbing film for a whole number of reasons which means that the entry on that is less of a review and more of a moral discussion. The other is Theatre Of Blood, a brilliant horror film starring genre icon Vincent Price.

1980, USA, Directed by Roger Spottiswoode

It’s not often that I find myself in situations where my moral stance compromises my artistic appreciation of something. The media I am experiencing at the time is usually setting itself up in one way and I like to think I’m able to challenge or accept these values in terms of my own beliefs. Literary studies has complicated this significantly (by exposing damaging messages in treasured texts of mine), but it has also allowed me to be more open in my understanding of the world we all live in. I say all this because I’m disgusted by Hellbent. It’s a gay slasher movie and I must admit I was quite excited to see this. As a gay man, I generally praise any exposure we get in film/television because it’s so minimal. I was particularly interested in this film because the horror genre and sexual orientation have a curious history. Gay characters are hardly ever represented or if they are they’re killed off early on, or worse, revealed to be the character. One of the most famous horror films Psycho has a gender-bending murderer and the previous film in this marathon has a questionably gendered antagonist. It’s something of a nasty trend and one I wished Hellbent would reverse or, at least, challenge. What I got was something wrong. As a film, it’s poorly acted, structurally odd and ultimately unsatisfying, but that’s not the problem I have with this film. The worry I have with it is all the disturbing things just below the surface. The story of the film begins on a policeman who’s looking up criminals hoping for a hook-up. I was appalled. It’s this sort of thing that gay campaigners try to fight. It’s no excuse that he’s later revealed to be a good guy with a kink for bad boys (something which could have been expanded further to make a more interesting film). As the story continues, I wanted to throw my laptop across the room and here’s why; violence is sexualised, specifically bloody violent murder takes on something of an erotic fixation. This happens to some degree in most horror films (the archetypal horror film is the slasher kills the sexually promiscuous teenagers. One of the more iconic images being a naked girl running away from a serial killer, hence the two categories that I’ve used to distinguish different types of films) and I think there’s something deeply concerning to say about society when that sort of link is made, but there it’s unconscious. An opposing argument could easily be made that horror films are advocating the virginal heroine (something which I have a feeling I’ll go more depth into when I view Halloween), but here there’s no debate. One of the most disturbing scenes sees the innocent character being attacked by chainsaws covering his body in blood. This is all fake, part of a club where this sort of thing is common but its immensely worrying, especially when he’s later killed, as are most of his friends. There’s one scene where the likable character in a drag is murdered after he de-girls as it were because he just wants someone to like him again. It’s a sad, nasty scene. I wanted to throw this film away but I hoped that it would get better at the end when we find out the serial killer’s identity. But we don’t. We don’t know if he’s straight or gay or anything. He’s just a mystery. Some would argue it’s scarier that way, but to me it just feels like lazy plotting. Adding to the sexualisation of violence, it’s telling that the climax of the film occurs specifically because a guy has been chained to a bed (possible sado-masochism and bondage) and it’s just wrong on so many levels. It does get some things right (the moment where the serial killer’s knife audibly scrapes against the protagonist’s glass eye is a truly disturbing image) but they’re few and far between. I think the problem with my viewing of this film is that I half-expect all gay films to be message orientated or at least towards a more inclusive perspective of the world. What I got instead was one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen, but what’s more disturbing is that by association (by the simple fact that we’re viewing it) we are involved. It’s never criticised (again a problem that could have easily been solved by explaining the killer’s identity. He could be turned on by violence which would confine it to him) and it just makes you feel disgusting. After I watched this (finishing at 2 in the morning), I felt physically sick. Even writing this review is filling me with that feeling of something truly disturbing. I couldn’t get the image of the killer licking the protagonist’s glass eye and holding it in his teeth out of his head. Never ever watch this movie. Never, never, never, never. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go watch a happy gay movie.
Overall Verdict: 1
  Theatre Of Blood
1973, UK, Directed by Douglas Hickox
Now that’s better. This 1973 camp horror film, starring the inimitable Vincent Price and Diana Rigg, is brilliantly clever, rising above its schlocky peers. Taking the works of Shakespeare as inspiration for a series of nasty murders, it’s just an immensely likable horror film. Basically about a theatrical performer who takes revenge on critics who savaged his work and humiliated him, it’s so much more than that. By using Shakespearian texts, audiences realise just how gory the classic’s plays were. For example, I didn’t know that a Queen was forced to eat her own children. Gross. But then what makes this film genius is that it translates those to a modern (for the 70s) setting. Thus, the death of Joan of Arc becomes a woman being burned to death and Shylock actually gets his pound of flesh (and sends it to the detectives in a memorably gruesome scene; “my heart will always be with you”). It rewards literary fans but is also a great experience for anyone not familiar with the Bard’s work. It works on a number of levels as we are simultaneously made to hate and cheer on Lionheart. This is probably because of Vincent Price’s wonderfully camp performance (particularly when he becomes a gay hairdresser, using the policeman’s panic to safely murder an unsuspecting critic) but it also owes to the fact that many of us in the arts often feel that we wish to attack our critics. Very few of us would probably resort to murder (at least not in reality. We work it into our craft) but it makes for an oddly satisfying film. Diana Rigg also puts in a strange performance as Lionheart’s daughter, seen most of the film in drag as a butch bikie, which is just so not her usual type of role. This is one film I’ll probably want to re-watch after this marathon, once I’ve been more clued up on Shakespeare because I’ve probably missed some of the in-jokes but this is a nasty, camp film that’s also incredibly enjoyable.
  Gore/Violence: 3 (the murders, but the violence is minimal, mainly only blood. It’s suggestion)
Sex/Nudity: 1 (hardly any although it is brilliantly used to replicate another Shakespearian murder)
Scares: 3 (not that scary, but it hardly matters with this film)
Best Scene: “Where are my doggies?” “They’re here with you right now.”
Overall Verdict: 8

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

H13: 4. Terror Train

Hi all,
Another cool Halloween flick for you now, this time it's a slasher. And a scary one at that! This is probably my favourite of the films I've seen so far because it fits more easily into what scares me and why I watch horror movies. Thankfully, it's also not really that gory. Okay, there's a bit of blood and a decapitated head (which made me scream) but it's from the 80s so it's not really all that graphic. That's how I tend to get around the problem of gory and scary horror films. Generally, the classic films (before the 2000s and the rise of the Saw movies) are less gory and sometimes scarier, but that could just be me. Some people watch movies from 20 years ago and laugh because it's all so dated, but that's part of the appeal to me. Anyway, this has just inspired me to continue the marathon unabated so expect more reviews in the coming days!

 Terror Train
1980, USA, Directed by Roger Spottiswoode

It begins slowly, does Terror Train. Really slowly. For about the first 45 minutes, you’re desperately waiting for something truly scary. Okay, there are murders but they aren’t scary, not really. It’s got quite a common revenge plot, surrounding a nasty prank gone horribly wrong and I was expectation so much more. But then we get to the climax. I have this habit while watching horror movies to grab something. As I didn’t have a partner or table with me, I usually resort to grabbing my leg as a sort of shock absorption. While watching this film, I scratched my leg so hard that a small mark there now. And I don’t have long nails. It’s terrifying. I was literally pulling my hair out as I watched Jamie Lee Curtis (who I always think looks like Bastian from The NeverEnding Story. They look identical, except for gender differences) trying to escape the murderer who’s wearing a Groucho Marx mask. There’s a bit where she gets trapped inside a cage and the killer uses this as target practice with a pole. Nasty. It doesn’t take much to scare me and it’s been something I’ve been looking forward to while undertaking this marathon. I was disappointed by the fact that the first three films weren’t all that frightening (only Final Destination came close and even that didn’t involve deep leg scratching) so Terror Train was always going to rank pretty highly in my books. It’s got quite a bad rap by critics, but I think it’s destined to become something of a guilty pleasure for me. A brilliantly scary horror movie well worth watching.
Gore/Violence: 2 (blood and a decapitated head)
Sex/Nudity: 1 (almost naked breasts)

Scares: 5 (no more sleeping after this)
Best Scene: The lengthy (almost) climax
Overall Verdict: 9

Alana: You're better than he is. I'm sure you're better.
The Killer: I am. He didn't know to cut a woman into pieces.
- Terror Train

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

H13: Playback the Final Destination

Hi all,
The Halloween 13 marathon continues with not one, but two more scary movies! The first is a really obscure film from only last year called Playback. I was doing a bit of research on it and learnt that it was the lowest grossing movie of last year, playing in only one cinema and selling only about 33 tickets. Still, it was sitting at the library so here it is reviewed for your reading pleasure. The second film is 2000's Final Destination, a truly iconic and well-regarded horror movie. A really scary movie it grossed $53 million and spawned 4 sequels. That's how you do a successful horror movie. Oh, and in response to yesterday's reader comment; I also experience horror movie regret, particularly because I always decide to put them on when its midnight and raining. A Tale Of Two Sisters still haunts me, but that's why I love them. Being scared is fun! :)

2012, USA, Directed by Michael A. Nickles
 I don’t think I could have picked a more different film to form the second part of this marathon. Playback is a new film only about a year or two old and it’s exactly the type of film that I was complaining about in my discussion of Patrick. It’s incredibly violent with a horrific opening. As I sat down at midnight to watch this movie (yeah, that was a really good idea), I was literally disgusted and tempted to turn it off. It was only because I knew that it was forming part of this marathon that I continued. And like many modern horror movies the blood and gore is incredibly over-the-top and truly nasty (there’s a murder involving a pole going through someone’s eye and we’re spared none of the horrific visuals). Add to that a whole lot of unnecessary teenage female nudity, a paedophile policeman and the Devil and that’s basically the entire movie. There’s a few neat little twists, but I guessed those early on and a couple of scary moments, but they’re not oh-my-God,-I’m-not-going-to-be-sleeping-tonight scares. The use of a classic film is an interesting idea (and one that almost seems believable) but ultimately this horror movie fails because it just feels really mundane. It’s not stylish or clever. It’s violent, pointless and unmemorable. Even now, writing this review the day after I’m struggling to remember it. Just really average.

Gore/Violence: 4 (blood gushes, guts come out, heads explode, brains come out the back of heads, it’s a violent, gory movie)
Sex/Nudity: 3 (lots of breasts)
Scares: 3 (scarier than Patrick, but not by much)
Best Scene: Oh my God, that’s what happened to the baby!
Overall Verdict: 6

There’s no reason to cry. This is destiny. And you get to be a part of it.
- Quinn, Playback

 Final Destination
1997, USA, Directed by James Wong
Now that’s more like it! Final Destination is truly scary, stylish and an incredible demonstration of what the horror genre is capable of when it pulls its socks up. This was a film franchise I’d heard quite a bit about due to my brother’s obsession with it (the one with the car pile-up I’ve seen over 10 times), but I’d never really sat down and given it the time of day. I thought it was a stupid series of horror movies just like any other. I was wrong. This is a truly scary and intelligent horror movie examining fate and death and how we can change when we die. The very best horror movies deal with primal fears; of monsters, of rapists, of senseless murderers but, most of all, of death. There is no greater fear than death and our inability to control when it happens to us. It is this primal fear that gives Final Destination a really frightening edge. It’s also got some of the most inventive death scenes ever put to film as natural objects and incidents combine to create some truly spectacular murders. What’s great about these is that we feel fearful over one aspect of the murder, not realising that it’s all coming together. It’s genius. Also, this movie features almost no nudity or sex and the violence/gore is actually related to the story. Add to that is the supercool climax and creepy ending, suggestive of our inability to escape destiny and it becomes a truly unnerving horror movie experience. It’s because of films like this that the horror genre is so popular.
 Gore/Violence: 3 (blood causes accidents, a head gets cut in half)
Sex/Nudity: 1 (one naked Penthouse photo)
Scares: 4 (truly, utterly, terrifying)
Best Scene: Train murder.
Overall Verdict: 9
In death, there are no accidents, no coincidences, no mishaps and no escapes. What you have to realize is we’re all just a mouse a cat has by the tail. Every single move we make, from the mundane to the monumental, the red light that we stop at or run, the people we have sex with or won’t with us, aeroplanes that we ride or walk out of, it’s all part of death’s sadistic design, leading to the grave.
- The Mortician, Final Destination

Monday, 21 October 2013

The Halloween 13: 1. Patrick

Sorry I haven't blogged for a little while, but I've been busy with Uni stuff. Thankfully, all my assignments are finished now, so I should have a lot more time to watch, read and blog what I want for four months. Yay! Anyway, the September Recommendations post is almost done, but I think I'll combine it with October's one seeing that we're almost at the end of the month. End of October? That can only mean one thing; it's almost Halloween! Yes, I know, I'm an Australian and it's an American holiday, but I've always quite looked All Hallow's Eve. It's the perfect time for me to watch lots of scary movies which I never would. And seeing I would be doing it anyway, I thought I might as well make it something of a blog celebration; thus, I give you the Halloween 13; 13 horror movies viewed over 10 days (was going to be 13 but, again, Uni). These aren't the best horror movies ever made, they're just those movies I have lying around which I've been wanting to watch for a little while. Anyway, I hope you enjoy these next 10 days as I aim to post a review everyday. The first film is 70s Ozploitation film, Patrick (which I've just learnt is being remade and released this month!) Let's get our scary on!
1978, Australia, Directed by Richard Franklin
I love movies from the 70s and the 80s, I really do. Especially horror movies. Unlike modern movies, these films don’t aim to gross you out with over the top, but focus on the type of scares that keep you up at night. I was thus quite excited to see Patrick. I’d never heard of it before, but it had a great trailer and it was Australian, so I thought I’d give it a go. I’m so glad I did. It’s a wonderfully creepy and stylish movie that has some nice little scares within. Much of the terror of this film comes from the titular character’s ability to send objects flying across the room in an attempt to kill them, despite the fact that he’s in a coma. What makes this really quite unnerving is that unlike most coma patients, his eyes are open the entire time. Unblinking and wide, it’s just freaky. I don’t know how the actor did it! In fact, much of the acting is quite good. The creepy doctor is a stand-out, especially when he cruelly kills a frog (something that really happened on set. Not something you’d see nowadays), an action that comes back to bite him in a truly disgusting scene. The main problem I had with this film is that it doesn’t climax all that strongly or memorably, somewhat weakening the film’s impact. However, it did make me jump at one point. Oh, and the music’s really good (sounds a bit like the Psycho OST). It was quite a neat little film, ultimately only memorable for its shocking (teehee) set pieces. The opening bathtub double murder is worth the price of entry alone. Cool.
Gore/Violence: 2 (minimal. One burnt hand, one burnt face)
Sex/Nudity: 3 (quite a bit of female nudity and a sex scene at the start)
Scares: 3 (quite scary, but not truly terrifying)
Best Scene: He moved!
Yet each man kills the thing he loves
By each let this be heard
Some do it with a bitter look
Some with a flattering word
The coward does it with a kiss
The brave man with a sword
- Patrick, Patrick