Texas Chainsaw Massacre – Gets me Every Freaking Time!

December 31, 2012 by  
Filed under Articles, Reviews

I don’t know how many times I’ve seen the Texas Chainsaw Massacre but I am on the edge of my seat every time I watch this movie. This is probably my favorite slasher, horror movie. It was probably the first movie that made me say “GET UP AND RUN…dummy”.

I met the original Leather face in the early 90′s. Part of me wanted to run up to him and hug him…part of me wanted to stay away from him (thinking anyone that can pull that roll off has just a little but wrong with him). But the reality was, I just wanted to shake his hand and take advantage of the photo op. Of course, I had him strangling me in the photo. I was smiling which is something that you’ll not see in the movie.

I say “Hopefully, this will be reminiscent of the old horror movies from back in the day” A LOT. This is the exact example of what I am talking about.

 

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Timber Falls

December 29, 2012 by  
Filed under Reviews

Timber Falls, released in 2007, is a thriller/horror movie. It was made by the director of “Chaos” and “Resident Evil: The Afterlife”, Tony Gioglio. The star cast includes Brianna Brown, Beth Broderick, Josh Randall, Nick Searcy and Sascha Rosemann in the main roles. It is the story of a young couple, Mike and Sheryl, whose fun camping trip leads them into a morbid trap where they must battle for their lives.

 To make a long story short

 Mike (Josh Randall) and his girlfriend Sheryl (Brianna Brown) are on their way to Lake Kimbabrow State Park for a camping and hiking trip. At the entrance to the park, they are advised to stick to a safe beginner’s trail by a park ranger. Inside the park, however, they meet a friendly middle-aged lady called Ida (Beth Broderick). She suggests that they visit Timber Falls which has a beautiful waterfall and lush greenery. On her advice, the couple decides to go to Timber Falls instead. There, they come across a trio of hunters who warn them against mixing up with the locals. Mike doesn’t like the behavior of the three men and tells them to stay away. The next morning, Mike wakes up to find Sheryl missing. He starts looking for her, but gets caught in a bear trap and loses consciousness. When he wakes up, he finds himself in a cabin with Ida, who assures him that she’ll take care of him and call the authorities for help. But soon, Mike begins to suspect her motives and gets into a tussle with her. He overpowers her and discovers a psychotic plot in the basement, where he also find Sheryl bound and gagged. The duo must now try to escape from Ida and her accomplices, who have an insane and unimaginable horror planned for the two of them.

 Acting/thrills and chills

 Despite its over-explored genre and storyline, Timber Falls manages to hold your attention fairly well from the beginning to the end. The gory scenes are well-executed, as are the gruesome effects. The acting is of average quality; but that is to be expected from a low-budget slasher movie like this. There is quite a bit of gratuitous violence and sleaze, which is standard fare for a slasher movie. In spite of this, the thrill and tension are maintained well throughout the film. All in all, it is a good option for the times when you have nothing else to rent or watch.

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The Midnight Meat Train

December 29, 2012 by  
Filed under Reviews

With a name like Midnight Meat Train, you’d probably expect this movie to be full of gratuitous violence and sleaze. But surprisingly, the film is one of the better straight-to-DVD movies released in the last few years. Starring Bradley Cooper, Vinnie Jones, Leslie Bibb, Brooke Shields, Ted Raimi and Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson, the star cast is surprisingly good and unexpected from a movie like this. Despite its straight-to-DVD status, the thrills are as good as any major horror/thriller blockbuster.

 To make a long story short

 Leon (Bradley Cooper) is a struggling photographer trying to make it big in the business. He lives with his steady girlfriend Maya (Leslie Bibbs) who is a waitress. In a bid to help Leon, Maya requests her friend Jurgis (Roger Bart) to introduce Leon to a big gallery owner, Susan Hoff (Brooke Shields). When Leon meets Susan and shows her his work, she puts him down by saying that it is mediocre. Susan tells him to come back when he’s done something challenging and worth displaying. Disheartened, Leon decides to push his boundaries. He goes into a subway station where he saves a girl from a group of thugs by clicking their pictures and scaring them away. He feels exhilarated and happy to have helped the girl and taken some bold pictures. However, he finds out the next day that the girl is missing. When the police refuse to take him seriously, he decides to investigate on his own. He comes across a mysterious stranger (Vinnie Jones) in the subway and soon finds out a terrible secret that could cost him his life and the life of Maya as well.

 Acting/thrills and chills

 Vinnie Jones revels in his role of the mysterious stranger stalking the subways. Bradley Cooper shows that he is more than just a good-looking actor and gives a convincing performance as a struggling artist who gets caught up in a murky world. Ryuhei Kitamura, who has previously directed “Godzilla: Final Wars” does a good job of showing us the terrifying underbelly of a city that’s just like any other on the surface. The horror scenes and gore are detailed and do justice to the story. The climax is somewhat unexpected and although derived from an urban legend; it delivers a good twist as any good horror movie should. All said and done, “The Midnight Meat Train” could be a good pick for your next DVD rental.

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The Last Exorcism

December 29, 2012 by  
Filed under Reviews

The Last Exorcism may not be one of the best movies in its genre, but it still has some features that appeal to a specific audience. Starring Patrick Fabian, Ashley Bell, Louis Heerthum, Iris Bahr, Caleb Jones and Tony Bentley, this movie is based on the reality of exorcism. It is scripted around an evangelical minister, who is preparing to perform his last exorcism on a farmer’s daughter, and the documentation of this event.

 The plot overview

 Patrick Fabian plays the role of an evangelical minister named Marcus in this movie. He is married and has a son, and has been performing fake exorcism for many years. The reason for this is that once he   comes across an article in a newspaper regarding the death of an autistic child through exorcism. This make him decide that he will expose the practice of exorcism and he becomes a part of a documentary team that promises to help him in his cause.

 To prove that exorcism has no impact on people, Marcus chooses a farmer’s request to perform an exorcism on his possessed daughter, Nell. His documentary team accompanies him to the farmer, Louis’, residence. Once Marcus reaches Louis’ house,he places cameras and speakers in a room to record his fake exorcism on Nell. Once the exorcism is over, the farmer’s daughter follows Marcus and the documentary crew to their motel, and from here the horror element of the movie begins.

 The farmer’s daughter, Nell (Ashley Bell) suffers throughout the movie, and Marcus tries to get her psychological help. But as the movie progresses, Marcus and his crew try and unravel Nell’s story, that seems to be more like a case of demonic possession. The movie has many macabre images, and a dark element to it. So viewers may be interested in it at times, but it’s slow pace may often break their concentration.

 The likability factor

 Daniel Stamm, the director of the movie, tries very hard to hold the script together throughout. Sadly, despite his efforts, the story is a bit stretched. However, the elements of classic blood-stained horror may help in keeping viewers involved in it for a while. As part of the “Exorcism” series, this movie is very mediocre and has no significant parts that would excite the viewers. The only gripping factor in the movie is the protagonists’ dilemma over whether or not Nell may be possessed. Considering all these factors, this movie may appeal only to a selected audience who enjoy a touch of dramatic mystery in horror movies.

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The Amityville Horror (2005)

December 29, 2012 by  
Filed under Reviews

A remake of the 1979 movie with the same story and title, the Amityville Horror is a story of a family that moves into a house and the horrifying turn their lives take thereafter. The story itself has been adapted from a novel by Jay Anson, which documents the allegedly true events that transpired in 1974 in Long Island. A house where a mass murder took place, was occupied by the Lutz family and a chain of terrifying incidents began, which continued till the time they finally left the house.

 To make a long story short

 George (Ryan Reynolds) and Kathy (Melissa George) decide to move to a place where they can let their three children have a comfortable childhood. While house-hunting, they are shown a large and old house with a beautiful rugged feel and enough space for their children to run around. Their enthusiasm is dampened a little when they find that the reason the house is priced so low, is because of a mass murder. But being a young couple with modest means, they decide not to get deterred and buy the house, keen to start a new life. Their happiness, however, is short-lived when strange things start happening around them and George becomes increasingly hostile and withdrawn with each passing day. While George starts hearing voices that urge him to “catch ‘em and kill ‘em”, the young daughter Chelsea (Chloe Moretz) develops a friendship with an imaginary friend. As the days pass, Kathy is forced to face the possibility that something may be seriously wrong with the house and she may have to act quickly before they become the next victims.

 Acting/thrills and chills

 If you haven’t seen the original version or read the novel, the Amityville Horror could be a great watch for you. Director Andrew Douglas gives a fresh take on this straightforward story of a haunted house. His efforts prove successful largely due to the superb acting by Ryan Reynolds. The actor, who is known more for his comedic roles, shows that he’s perfectly capable of channeling his dark side. His descent into a completely psychotic man is a treat to watch. Melissa George does well in her role of Kathy, but it is Chloe Moretz who shows why she is considered an actress to watch out for in the future. The horror scenes are very well executed and despite the polished look of the film, the director manages to make the viewer feel the intensity of the hauntings. The Amityville Horror is a well-executed remake and definitely a good watch.

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Sinister

December 29, 2012 by  
Filed under Reviews

If you have been waiting to watch a nerve-wracking horror movie, and if you enjoy the sight of blood, screams and spine-chilling mystery, then Sinister is a movie that you definitely shouldn’t miss. This movie is based on the life of a crime writer who is investigating a murder mystery for his book and stars Ethan Hawke, James Ransone, and Juliet Rylance. The story has been put together with great skill and grips the viewers in its horrific web throughout.

 The plot summary

 The movie revolves around Ethan Hawke’s character, Ellison Oswalt. In the movie, Ellison is a struggling crime author who is desperately seeking a story for his novel. He hasn’t had much success in the recent past and has been moving from one city to another in search of a good story, with his family. Juliet Rylance plays the role of Ethan Hawke’s wife in the movie, and her character’s name is Tracy.

 The movie starts with the Oswalt family facing troubles as Ellison’s previous two books were not appreciated by the public. As a writer, Ellison likes to relocate himself close to a crime scene and then write about it. Desperate to have another shot at fame, this time he moves into the house where a crime had taken place.

 The sheriff of their new locality is wary of the Oswalt family’s relocation and warns them to be careful. As soon as the family moves into their new house, the horror element of the movie starts. The reason as to why this movie immediately grips its viewers is the fact that it moves into a mysterious mode in a matter of seconds, and unlike other movies it doesn’t build-up the suspense at a slow pace.

 The movie takes a turn when Ellison finds a box with old footage in his attic and decides to watch them. These films have terrifying murders taped on them and frame the entire story of the movie. Finally, Ellison decides to investigate these cases with the help of the local authorities.  

 The likability meter

 If you really enjoy watching movies of this genre, then Scott Derrickson’s work will definitely excite you. This movie has the potential to make you squirm, scream and shiver as the story is so intense and fast-paced that it keeps growing on you. The acting, the storyline and the effects make this movie a complete package and it’s hard to find fault with it. If you plan on watching the movie, grab onto your seat because you might just fall down out of fear. Sinister is a great horror movie and a must-watch for all fans of the horror genre.

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Why in Hell are People Drawn to Scary Movies?

December 29, 2012 by  
Filed under Articles

As we grow, we leave our fears of the closet monsters behind by rationalizing or trying to meet the expectations of our peers. But these closet monsters are never really left behind. They linger in some corner of our subconscious. Watching a scary movie gets into forefront all the hidden fears from a safe avenue. The lure of scary movies in people may be because of several factors such as lifestyle, gender, personality, age, physiology, heredity etc.

 Lifestyle

 People watch scary movies to be scared! Getting scared is a lifestyle statement. Everybody who goes to a scary movie knows that it will eventually be over and that they will get out of the theatre alive and still breathing. Watching a scary movie can also be like a good healthy exercise for your nervous system. Everybody deserves a change from their mundane lives and a scary movie can be a welcome change sometimes.

 Gender roles

 Gender roles also play an important role in influencing people to watch scary movies. Horror and scary movies are usually date movies. These movies provide the girls with an excellent excuse to scream their guts out and hold on to their date for dear life while the guy pretends to be the strong man that he is. Studies have showed that males tend to display bravery while the females tend to display fear. A fine example of classic exaggerated role playing situation!

 Personality

 Personality is another factor that leads people to watch scary movies. The way in which a person reacts in any situation can be determined by his/her personality. Some people like to confront the situations at hand while others prefer to avoid any confrontation. Studies have indicated that those who enjoy confrontations also like horror movies compared to those that avoid confrontations.

 Physiology

 The physiology of a person or in simpler terms, the way in which a person reacts to different situations, also determines if he/she will or will not be lured towards scary movies. These reaction traits vary depending on factors such as the person’s ancestry, adaption to fear and so on. People go to horror movies and on roller coaster rides not only because they like to be scared but also because they enjoy the excitement and the adrenaline rush.

 Age

 A person’s age also plays a crucial role in how he/she reacts to a movie. Young people are more drawn towards highly intense and gory movies whereas older folk prefer movies that are scary but without the blood and gore.

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Waking the Dead – Why Most Horror Movie Remakes Don’t Work

December 29, 2012 by  
Filed under Articles

When it comes to remaking movies, a touch-and-go topic in itself, the genre of horror is the biggest casualty. The fact that horror movies rely on scares makes it easier for directors to take extreme “cinematic liberties”. Iconic moments that terrified entire generations are rehashed as badly made copies of the original. The end result is not unlike a genetic experiment gone awry in its attempt to replicate life.

 Old is gold and can’t be resold

 Bad ad libs aside, there’s a reason why original movies worked so well and why their remakes didn’t. Every film is a product of its times. When a film is both critically and/or commercially successful, it means that its central theme has struck a chord with the audience of that era. A good horror/thriller movie brings out the deepest fears of the average cinema-goer. A good example is the second “Friday the 13th” movie. It showed Jason making quick work of hormonal teenagers at Camp Crystal Lake and spooked an entire generation of young boys and girls who swarmed the beaches and lakes at spring break.

 Another big reason why some films went on to become iconic movies, is the fact that they drew first blood; so to speak. When “The Exorcist” released, it was the first movie that depicted demonic possession. After its release, there was reportedly a phenomenal increase in the number of phone calls made to Catholic institutions around the world about reported “possessions”. This unprecedented impact was mainly because the subject hadn’t been dealt with before. So when it came along, audiences discovered to their horror that there was a whole new realm of the paranormal that they had no knowledge of.

 Most remakes also suffer from a lack of imagination on the part of the writer/director. Glossy production quality and special effects are poor substitutes for a gripping screenplay. This is why remakes like “Psycho” and “Quarantine” failed to grip the audience’s imagination unlike their superlative originals.

 But enough about the film-makers. What about us; the audience? The slew of bad remakes is no one-way street. If studios continue to churn out terrible remakes, it’s because there is a thriving market for these monstrosities. Many cinema-goers enjoy the overdose of gore that is passed off as horror. This is a major reason for the dumbing down of the genre.

 Let the Dead Rest in Peace

 Lack of originality and imagination to present a classic in a new light, besides poor performances, is why most movie enthusiasts reject remakes. Given that only a handful of film-makers and actors are able to breathe new life into remakes, studios should wise up and look for new ideas. Our old monsters have done their job and admirably so. It’s now time to let them rest in peace.

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Quarantine

December 29, 2012 by  
Filed under Reviews

A remake of a Spanish movie REC, Quarantine is a film about how a group of people are trapped in a building when they are forcefully quarantined after the outbreak of a deadly and mysterious virus. In the midst of it, a news reporter and her camera man not only try to find out the truth behind the virus, but also survive being mauled by the infected. The movie was released in 2008 and grossed just over $30,000,000 in the United States.

 To make a long story short

 The film begins on a night like any other in the city of Los Angeles. It’s a slow news week and TV reporter Angela (Jennifer Carpenter) and her camera man Scott (Steve Harris) have been assigned to cover the night shift at a Los Angeles fire station. What begins as a routine news feature soon becomes exciting when a call comes in for a rescue at an apartment building. The fire-men, including colleagues Fletcher (Jonathan Schaech) and Jake (Jay Hernandez), rush to the site along with Angela and Scott. Once inside the building, they soon realize that things are not quite as they seem. There is a mysterious infection that is spreading fast and threatening their very lives. But the biggest surprise is when they find out that the police have boarded up the building from outside and are not letting anyone get out. The mystery deepens when they find that power and phone lines to the building have been disabled. With the authorities refusing to divulge any information apart from the fact that they are being quarantined, the group of surviving residents and the outsiders must band together and try to find a way out before it’s too late.

 Acting/thrills and chills

 Although a remake of REC, Quarantine is not nearly as good as the Spanish original. The acting and screenplay are often tedious, with no good surprises unfolding on-screen as they should. Jennifer Carpenter tries to keep up the pace, but comes across as screechy on several occasions. Jay Hernandez acts well, but he too fails to generate interest in the proceedings. The scares are few and far between, and the hand-held camera/night vision scenes can get irritating after a while. The story, although good as far as zombie outbreak stories go, has moments where the tension lags and the interest of the viewer could wane. All in all, Quarantine is not one of the better zombie/virus infection movies if you’re looking for a good watch. Instead, consider watching the Spanish original REC for better scares and a tighter screenplay.

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Lost Boys 2: The Tribe

December 29, 2012 by  
Filed under Reviews

The sequel to one of the biggest teenage vampire hits ever, Lost Boys, Lost Boys II:The Tribe has been directed by P.J. Pesce, also known for the TV series Tremors. The movie has Angus Sutherland as the antagonist and Tad Hilgenbrink and Autumn Reeser as the lead protagonists. Like the original, it is a story of a brother-sister duo who move to the coast. Very soon, they find themselves in the midst of a gang of boisterous teenagers who are blood-thirsty vampires by night. The movie released in 2008 and managed to collect only a little over $4,000,000 at the box-office.

 To make a long story short

 Siblings Nicole (Autumn Reeser) and Chris (Tad) move in with their aunt in Luna Bay after losing their parents (Michael from the original movie and his wife) in a tragic car accident. Their aunt, however, wants the duo to pay for their lodgings. Chris, who is a good surfer, decides to earn money as a board shaper. He visits the only other board shaper in town, Edgar Frog (Corey Feldman), but finds his trailer empty. He leaves a note for Edgar and heads out to the beach. There, Chris comes across former surfing legend Shane Powers (Angus Sutherland), who gave up his fame and fortune and disappeared from public view a few years ago. Nicole and Chris end up going to a beach party with Shane, where unknown to Chris, Nicole has a mysterious drink. The siblings find out soon after that Shane and his gang are vampires and prey on unsuspecting local girls. Chris must now do everything he can before Nicole transforms completely into a vampire and he finds help from an unexpected ally.

 Acting/chills and thrills

 Lost Boys: The Tribe is almost a scene-by-scene remake of the original. But unlike the original, it fails to provide thrills or campy humor. The director has managed a casting coup by getting Angus Sutherland to reprise a role made famous by his brother Kiefer Sutherland. But the plot is uninteresting and offers little substance for Angus to deliver a performance as great as his brother’s. The movie is carried almost single-handedly by Corey Haim, who reprises his role as Edgar Frog from the original Lost Boys. However, he too is unable to keep the thrill from fizzling out toward the end. The most interesting part of the movie is actually the final scene, which delivers an unexpected twist in the form of a cameo by a character from the first movie. All said and done, you can give Lost Boys II:The Tribe a miss and rent the older Lost Boys for guaranteed entertainment.

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Ju-on – The Grugde

December 28, 2012 by  
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Unarguably one of the eeriest movies of the last decade, Ju-on – The Grudge, was one the first Asian movies to re-spark Hollywood’s interest in the Asian horror genre. Directed by Takashi Shimizu and with Megumi Okina in the lead role of Rika, Ju-on is relentless and full of doom right from the very first scene. The story follows the fates of a group of people who are cursed by vengeful spirits residing in a house. One by one, the rage of the spirits take the lives of any person who comes into contact with the house in the familiar creepy style of the Asian horror genre.

 To make a long story short

 The story begins with Rika (Megumi Okina), a social worker, who is assigned to take care of an elderly catatonic lady by her boss. Rika visits the house and inside, she finds it to be in a state of filth. Soon, she realizes that there’s no one in the house to look after the old lady. She finds it strange but starts with her duties nonetheless. While vacuuming, Rika finds a family picture with the face of the woman in it, cut out of the picture. Upstairs, she comes across a little boy with a cat. She assumes it to be case of negligence and calls the child care center to report the incident. Suddenly, she hears sounds coming from the elderly lady’s room and rushes in to attend to her. There, she finds that the lady is terror-stricken by the sight of a ghostly figure descending from the ceiling. Two eyes stare at Rika from within the haze and she faints in terror.

 From here on, the story moves back and forth in time, narrating how the curse came to be. The viewer finds out about the horrific deaths of Kayako and Toshio, mother and son, at the hands of Toshio’s father Takeo. The murders resulted from an unfortunate case of jealousy and suspected infidelity. Cursed by their rage, the trio now haunt the very same house that Rika has been assigned to visit and carry forward the curse by taking the lives of all those who enter the house.

 Acting/chills and thrills

 Ju-on scores high when it comes to the horror element. The spirits are downright scary and the little boy, especially, is an unnerving sight to see. Kayako’s by-now-famous ‘death rattle’ manages to spook you through and through. But the strongest effect is that of the house itself. The director Shimizu has done a great job of choosing a house that actually conveys a sense of claustrophobia and impending death. All in all, “Ju-on” is certainly one of the finest horror movies of the decade and a must-watch for any cinephile.

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Greystone Park

December 28, 2012 by  
Filed under Reviews

Directed by Sean Stone, son of famous Hollywood director Oliver Stone, Greystone Park is a fake documentary/found footage kind of movie. It depicts the experiences of a group of documentary film-makers who visit an abandoned property, Greystone Park. In the late 1800s, Greystone Park was an actual psychiatric hospital and mental facility with many inmates. The movie is reportedly based on a true incident that happened with the director and a cast member. It had a limited release in America and had a lukewarm reception from cinema-goers, besides being panned by the critics. It was released in early 2012 across theaters in America and a few months later in countries like Mexico and Russia and in the Middle East.

 To make a long story short

 Sean (Sean Stone), Antonella (Antonella Lentini) and Alexander (Alexander Wraith) are a group of young documentary film-makers. At a dinner with Sean’s father Oliver (Oliver Stone), the conversation turns to ghost stories and places in America that are allegedly haunted. During the conversation, an abandoned mental facility in New Jersey is mentioned. Greystone Park, which used to be a mental institution and psychiatric care facility in the late 1800s, is now abandoned. During its heydays, rumors circulated of the terrible activities that went on behind its walls. People whispered about the treatment  that was meted out to its inmates that bordered on torture. Ever since, there have been reports of paranormal sightings in the property. After this discussion, Sean’s curiosity is piqued and the three film-makers decide to shoot a documentary inside Greystone Park to find out the truth. Once they are inside and the cameras start rolling, strange things begin to happen and the trio sense that they are not alone in the hospital.

 Acting/chills and thrills

 As far as acting goes, all the actors manage to deliver fairly decent performances. Despite that, the movie fails to keep the viewer’s attention engaged. Although the scary parts (sudden noises, shadowy figures suddenly appearing) are good in themselves, they can get a little irritating after a while. There are moments when the shaky camera and night vision footage may get on your nerves. Unfortunately, the movie relies heavily on such moments to make up for the lack of a strong plot. However, credit goes to Sean Stone for creating an overall tense and eerie atmosphere with the strong cinematography. Apart from that, Greystone Park has nothing exceptional to set it apart in the already over-saturated genre of ‘found footage movies’.

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Frailty

December 28, 2012 by  
Filed under Reviews

Released in 2001, Frailty is one of the most underrated horror/thriller movies of the last decade. Starring Matthew McConaughey and Bill Paxton in starring roles, the film also marked the directorial debut of actor Bill Paxton. Dealing with the horrors of religious fanaticism intertwined with insanity and the supernatural, Frailty managed to shock and awe cinema-goers with powerful performances by the entire star cast.

 To make a long story short

 The film opens on a rainy night. A young man walks into the Dallas office of the FBI. He introduces himself as Fenton Meiks and claims that he may know the identity of the notorious serial killer who goes by the moniker ‘God’s Hand’. The lead investigator Wesley Doyle (Powers Boothe) brushes him off at first. But soon, he is intrigued by Fenton’s story of a religious but mentally unhinged father who claims to have received a message from God. The message is to kill all ‘demons’ roaming the Earth, to punish them for their ‘sins’. The only catch is that the demons look just like normal human beings.

 What follows next is anyone’s guess. Regular people are picked and mercilessly hacked to death with the help of “Otis”, Dad Meik’s trusty axe and buried in a rose garden. Younger brother Adam, the alleged “God’s Hand” killer, is fascinated by the idea of being a super-hero and gleefully assists his father. But the older Fenton realizes Dad Meiks (as Bill Paxton is referred to in the film) has descended into insanity. The carnage finally reaches a boiling point and events transpire that change the whole course of the trio’s lives.

 Acting/Thrills and Chills

 In what may be his finest performance ever, Bill Paxton is guaranteed to shock and terrify you with his amazing performance as Dad Meiks. Channeling a psychotic killer perfectly, he wields the axe with ease and without remorse. Matthew McConaughey is a revelation as Fenton, the man with a terrible secret. The young actors Matt O’Leary and Jeremy Sumpter are superb in their respective roles of the young Fenton and Adam, showing us how easily innocent young minds can be distorted and manipulated to do almost anything imaginable.

 Despite being made on a budget of about $11,000, 000, a pittance in Hollywood these days, the movie never compromises on the thrills and chills. The direction is par excellence, with Paxton expertly portraying the madness that unfolds in the tiny rural household of the Meiks. The best part of the movie is that it manages to be thrilling and terrifying despite the fact that many of the killings take place off-screen. Perhaps this could be a lesson to film-makers these days, who rely on gore and gratuitous violence without focusing on a strong story

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Feast

December 28, 2012 by  
Filed under Reviews

As the title suggests, this is a movie with a straightforward premise – a group of bar patrons attacked by hungry monsters. There is literally nothing more to the plot of the movie. The entire film depicts how the patrons, who have no real names, are attacked by the monsters. Directed by John Gulager, who also made “Piranha 3DD”, “Feast” stars Judah Friedlander, Balthazar Getty, Henry Rollins and Jason Mewes among others.

To make a long story short

The movie begins with a group of people having a good time in a bar. All of a sudden, a man rushes in claiming that there are monsters outside the bar. The patrons laugh off his claims and continue drinking. But the man convinces the crowd by showing them the head of a monster he has in his hand. At that very instant, the man is attacked by a slimy monster and killed. The very next moment, a woman rushes in and on seeing him dead, breaks down sobbing. The woman is revealed to be the man’s wife. Seeing the sudden turn of events, the patrons decide to board up the bar to keep out the monsters.  But their efforts seem useless as the monsters manage to break in repeatedly and even carry off a young boy right in front of his mother. The patrons then decide to fight the monsters as well as they can and a long-drawn battle ensues between the monsters and the humans. Whether the patrons manage to survive and how the stave off the attack of the hungry monsters forms the rest of the movie.

Acting, story and effects

As far as the story is concerned, there is none. There are probably video games with more detailed background stories and character histories. The movie introduces the characters and quickly moves on to dealing with the monsters. There are a few funny moments in between, but for the most part, there seems to be no connect among the characters or with the plot itself. Among the actors, Judah Friedlander and Balthazar Getty manage to sustain an interest in the proceedings. The monsters look like a mix of the aliens and predators (who are also aliens technically) featured in the famous “Aliens” and “Predator” series. They look sufficiently scary and manage to hold up the gore. The director seems to have concentrated more on the effects than the plot, and it has paid off. The violent scenes are well done and would be enjoyed by fans of the low-budget horror movie genre. For the rest of us, it’s perfectly fine to give “Feast” a miss.

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Eden Lake

December 28, 2012 by  
Filed under Reviews

Eden Lake is a story of a young couple who plan a romantic getaway to a lake, but find their vacation and their lives threatened by a gang of unruly youths. The movie features Michael Fassbender and Kelly Reilly in the lead roles and has been directed by James Watkins. Watkins is more famous for his other movie “The Woman in Black”. Eden Lake was released in 2008 and managed to earn a measly sum of $6000 in theaters across the US. It fared much better in the UK, where it grossed close to 200,000 pounds.

To make a long story short

Jenny (Kelly Reilly) and Steve (Michael Fassbender) are a young couple in love who decide to take a romantic getaway to a beautiful lake near a small rural town. Unknown to Jenny, Steve carries an engagement ring, planning to propose to her at the lake. When they reach the secluded lakeside, the setting seems perfect for a romantic vacation. However, their plans are soon disturbed by the arrival of a group of raucous and unruly youths who seem intent on disturbing the peace. Steve wants to confront their leader Brett (Jack O’ Connell) and set them straight. But Jenny convinces him not to do so. What seems like a minor nuisance at first, quickly becomes a terrifying ordeal when Brett and his cronies decide to punish the couple for arguing with them. While Steve is held hostage by the youths, Jenny manages to hide in the woods where a dangerous game of hide-and-seek ensues with the captors.

Acting/thrills and chills

Despite being a complete unknown, the movie is quite well-made. The story, somewhat similar to that of “Straw Dogs”, is told in a simple yet thrilling manner. Michael Fassbender and Kelly Reilly do well in their respective roles. But it is Jack O’ Connell in the role of Brett, who manages to surprise with his delinquency and terrifying cruelty. The setting of the lake and the small town helps keep up the tension that develops once the couple come face-to-face with the possibility of torture, and even death. The director introduces the twist late into the proceedings, which provides a good shock to the viewer. However, the ending seems a little contrived and one can’t help but feel that the characters could have been handled in a better manner. Despite this, Eden Lake is a good one-time watch for fans of low-budget thrillers.

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Paranormal Activity 2

December 28, 2012 by  
Filed under Reviews

If you have watched the first movie in the Paranormal Activity series, then you probably have a basic idea about the story line. The first movie was based on the characters Katie and Micah and their struggle against Katie’s demonic possession. The second movie revolves around Katie’s nephew and step niece. Starring Katie Featherstone, Micah Sloat and Molly Ephraim, this movie shares the basic features of the first movie, and is probably the best in the entire series.

The plot overview

Even though the movie is titled Paranormal Activity 2, it comes across as a prequel to the first one. The story of this movie revolves around Katie’s stay at her sister’s house and it is impressively linked to the first movie, unlike many other sequels. The highlight of the story are Katie’s nephew and her step niece, and her sister’s struggle with the spooky activities in her house. The use of single camcorders continues in this movie as well, but they increase in number this time.

Katie’s sister’s house is vandalized in the beginning of the movie, so the couple decides to get camcorders all over their house. This movie is seen through the eyes of 5 different cameras, one by the poolside, 2 in the kitchen, 1 at the entrance, and 1 in Katie’s nephew’s room. Like the first movie, the story and horror build up slowly and the viewers eagerly wait for something spooky to happen.

This movie has a lot of similarities with the first one. In the first part, Micah ignores Katie’s concerns about her possession and in this movie, Katie’s brother-in-law ignores her sister’s point of view as well. The good point about this movie is that it retains the elements of the first movie and tries to build up on them. The use of camcorders, and the brother-in-law’s ignorance will remind the viewers of the first part and intensify the story of the movie, much more than the first movie.

 The likability meter

 What distinguishes the Paranormal Activity series from other horror movies is the fact that it concentrates on suspense more than ghastly violence. The director of the movie tries to involve the viewers by making them anxious and not by cheap gimmicks. This quality may or may not appeal to all horror movie fans who enjoy blood spills and screams more than subtle suspense. But apart from that, this movie is still a good entertainer in its segment, and is definitely one of the impressive ones in the whole Paranormal series.

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Trick or Treat: Why We Are Drawn to Horror Movies?

December 28, 2012 by  
Filed under Articles

It happens almost every Friday. Groups of people, young and not-so-young, flock to the theaters for a good scare. If there’s a horror movie running, you can be sure that half the crowd is buying tickets for it. In fact, I’ll admit that I take an unhealthy delight in being scared out of my wits. There’s something very fundamental and primal about being frightened. Fear taps into the innermost recesses of our mind. It is an emotion that every person experiences irrespective of their cultural background, upbringing and social status. As an adversary, there’s nothing that gets the better of us or makes us feel more united, than fear. Given that I’m such a huge fan of the horror genre myself, I’ve always been curious to understand my own fascination with it. So here’s taking a stab (pun intended) at what makes us squirm through the endless sequels to Saw or an hour and half of The Ring.

Getting to be a kid again: The most obvious explanation of our fascination with horror, is the chance to become a child again. Watching the protagonist hide from a supernatural being makes us regress to the time when we checked under our beds every night for the proverbial monster. Marketing executives know this all too well. Which is why trailers are designed the way they are; to whet the curiosity of your inner child. You find yourself wanting to know more about what happens on that dark deserted road. No matter how grown-up and mature we may become, we’ll always be afraid of dark scary places.

 ~  We love a good scare: Most of us have a morbid fascination for things that frighten us. If you’ve ever been to a carnival, or seen one in movies, you’ll remember the looks on the people’s faces. Out comes the bizarre three-headed cow and although clearly horrified, they’re staring at it with wonder. This is an inexplicable and universal phenomenon. It is also a strong reason why you peer through your fingers or half-shut eyes when the protagonist sees the ghost for the first time.

 ~  It’s Good to be Bad: We all have a set of norms, a code, that we follow every day. Whether it’s not cutting ahead in a queue or tolerating your neighbor’s pesky kid, you toe the line. So, many of us look forward to leaving behind all societal norms for an hour or two of pure misbehavior. Here, we’re not the hapless young girl being chased through the forest; but the maniac wielding the axe. It probably means there’s some deep-rooted issue that needs to be sorted out with a good psychiatrist. But spending a few dollars to indulge in it harmlessly feels like a great release and we never get enough of it!

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Ed Gein: The Butcher of Plainfield

December 28, 2012 by  
Filed under Reviews

Based on one of the most infamous serial killers in American history, “Ed Gein: The Butcher of Plainfield” is a re-imagining of how Ed Gein massacred his victims in the small rural town of Plainfield. The story depicted in the movie is a fictional account of how the sheriff’s department races to save a young woman from the clutches of the killer before it’s too late. Starring Kane Hodder as Ed Gein, the movie also features Adrienne Frantz, Michael Berryman and Priscilla Barnes as the characters caught up in the events depicted in the movie.

To make a long story short

Ed Gein is a quiet and reclusive man who has grown up and spent his entire life in the small rural town of Plainfield. Having lost his father at an early age, he and his brothers are brought up by their mother, who is somewhat fanatic in her religious fervor. She teaches her children that the world is full of immoral people and that all women except her, are of questionable character. In this way, she manipulates the young boys, especially Ed, into a twisted outlook on society. Years later, Ed’s mother passes away, leaving him behind alone. Devoid of any other human companionship, he withdraws into a dark and morbid world. This slowly leads him to desecrating graves and finally, killing live women. The movie depicts a fictional event which didn’t actually occur in Ed’s time. Here, we are shown how the sheriff’s girlfriend is abducted by Ed and the efforts of the sheriff’s department to rescue her in time.

 Acting/thrills and chills

 Perhaps the only redeeming quality of the movie is the performance of Kane Hodder as Ed Gein. Hodder, who is best known for portraying the cult character of Jason Voorhees in the “Friday the 13th” series, does complete justice to his role. It is interesting to watch his take on the infamous character who inspired such movies as “The Silence of the Lambs” and “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”. In the “Silence of the Lambs”, the character of Jame Gumb or “Buffalo Bill” was based on Ed. Although quite unlike the real Gein in build and looks, Hodder manages to inject freshness into a character that has been attempted several times in the history of American cinema. The rest of the actors don’t have much to portray. You could consider renting “Ed Gein: The Butcher of Plainfield” just once, if only to enjoy Kane Hodder’s superb performance, and nothing else

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Drag Me to Hell

December 28, 2012 by  
Filed under Reviews

 ”Drag me to Hell” stars Alison Lohman as Christine Brown, a loan officer, who must race against timed to undo a curse that could banish her to hell forever. Directed by Sam Raimi, it is a thrilling movie that shows that the director of the “Evil Dead” trilogy still has his finger on the pulse of horror movie enthusiasts. It was released in 2009 and grossed a little over $42,000,000 in the United States alone. Somewhat similar to the “Evil Dead” trilogy in terms of tone, the movie was acclaimed by both the masses as well as the critics as one of the best horror movies of the last five years or so.

 To make a long story short: Plot Summary

 Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) is a loan officer in a small-town bank who has a devoted boyfriend Clay Dalton (Justin Long) and a normal life. However, she’s insecure about where her life is headed. She’s competing with a colleague Stu Rubin (Reggie Lee) for the assistant manager’s position, but her prospects aren’t too bright. Her boss tells her that unless she can make some profitable decisions, the job might go to her rival. To add to it, she finds out that her boyfriend’s parents don’t consider her to be good enough for him.

 On the same day, she is visited at the bank by an old gypsy lady, Mrs. Ganush (Lorna Ravers), who needs an extension on her mortgage. Feeling that she needs to take a firmer stance to move ahead, Christine rejects Mrs. Ganush’s application and has her removed from the premises. Her boss lauds her tough attitude and feeling pleased, she leaves for home. In the parking lot, she is violently accosted by Mrs. Ganush, who curses her. Not knowing what she’s fated for, she receives first aid and is taken home. But the same night, strange and frightening incidents in her house make her suspect that she’s been cursed. From then on starts her desperate struggle to undo the curse before she gets dragged to hell.

 Acting/thrills and chills

 Alison Lohman’s portrayal of the soft-hearted Christine is a perfect foil for the terrifying and often vile incidents that the character suffers as part of the curse. Special mention must be made of Lorna Ravers, who manages to give a good fright as the gypsy lady Mrs. Ganush. However, Justin Long is wasted in the role of the boyfriend and one can’t help but feel that any actor could have done the role. Despite that, the movie is yet another great attempt by Sam Raimi in the horror/campy humor genre after “Evil Dead”. The effects are good too and enhance the horror. “Drag me to Hell” is one of the better horror movies to hit theaters in quite some time and definitely worth a watch.

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The Kids are Alright – Or are they? Horror movies with Children as the Antagonists

December 28, 2012 by  
Filed under Articles

There’s something about little children that makes them perfect candidates for evil entities. If you find this hard to digest, just take a look at the list of movies with children as antagonists. The Omen, Children of the Corn, The Exorcist, and the most recent Case 39 are just a few of the more well-known examples. In each of these movies, the killer isn’t a monstrous-looking entity, but a fresh-faced child. With the influx of new ideas into the genre of horror, there have been changes in treatment in such movies too. Here’s taking a look at the most iconic ones over the years.

 

  1. Children of the Corn: This 1984 classic was adapted from the Stephen King story of the same name. Linda Hamilton and Peter Horton played a young couple who get trapped in a desolate town where no adults survive. They soon find out that the children in the town, led by a psychotic boy preacher, have murdered all the adults. John Franklin as Isaac, the boy preacher with an angelic face, can make even the most devout church-goer clench their Sunday hats in terror. When it released, the movie faced some criticism for its treatment and for the scenes of violence featuring children. Despite that, it remains one of the most popular horror movies with  children as the killers.

 

  1. The Omen: This is a classic from the 1970s. An American ambassador finds out that his young son is the incarnate of the devil; the Anti-Christ. This movie was one of the first to show a child as being purely evil, rather than being possessed or manipulated into doing something bad. However, it was made clear that the child in question was not really an innocent child. He was the Devil himself. So when young Damien pushes his mother off the balcony, even when you’re flinching you know that it isn’t a child but the Anti-Christ who gives the fatal push.

 

  1. The Exorcist: No horror movie list is complete without this 1973 classic. An actress and mother of a young girl finds that her daughter is possessed by an ancient demonic entity. As the days go by, the young girl slowly transforms into a horrifying entity. The scene where the young girl Regan crawls downstairs like a twisted acrobat will remain seared onto our collective consciousness for ever. Linda Blair gained worldwide fame for her role as Regan and till today, there hasn’t been a scarier little girl at the movies.

 

So these are 3 of the most memorable films that featured children as the antagonists. There were many more such movies in the years that followed, but none matched the impression these films left on our minds. You could say that when it’s a little child’s smile that masks a killer’s face, the screams are all the more louder.

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Blood Creek

December 27, 2012 by  
Filed under Recent Activity, Reviews

Blood Creek or Town Creek is director Joel Schumacher’s attempt to combine history and horror. It presents the much-exploited conspiracy theory of Nazi forces dabbling in the occult, and fails to provide a good thrill. Audiences across America seem to have thought as much, as the movie managed to last at the theaters for just a few days.

To make a long story short

The story begins in 1936 with the Wollners, a farming family in West Virginia. The Wollners are asked by a Nazi envoy to play host to a German professor, Richard Wirth. They are offered a handsome sum and accept the proposition. Once the professor settles in, however, the family finds out that his visit has a sinister motive. Many years ago, the farmer had discovered a well-preserved Viking runestone. This object is of great value to the professor as it has occult powers. But before the professor manages to harness the power of the runestone, he is overpowered by the Wollners. The family cannot kill him, so they keep him trapped in their cellar. In doing so, their fates get inextricably linked with that of the professor’s.

Cut to the present day where we meet Evan Marshall; a young man trying to deal with the disappearance, and possible death, of his brother Victor. One fine day, Evan is surprised to find Victor at his doorstep. All Victor reveals is that there is unfinished business to deal with at the Wollners’ farm. Evan agrees to help his brother in his quest for vengeance and both head out together, armed to the teeth. Not knowing the true nature of the horror they’re dealing with, the brothers set the professor free, unleashing an ancient evil that they must now defeat at all costs.

Acting/thrills and chills

In Blood Creek, the finest performance is that of Michael Fassbender, who plays the antagonist. As the professor, he delivers some thrilling moments, aided by his authentic German accent. It is surprising, however, to see an actor of his caliber in a movie like this. As you can imagine, his potential remains untapped. Henry Cavill and Dominic Purcell as the two brothers Evan and Victor give satisfactory performances. But the real undoing of the movie is its weak storyline and gratuitous violence. Blood Creek will probably not appeal to any one apart from staunch fans of movies that focus only on excessive gore. It can safely be given a miss.

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28 Days Later

December 27, 2012 by  
Filed under Reviews

Directed by Danny Boyle, who has to his credit such subliminal movies such as Trainspotting, 28 Days    Later is a thrilling story of zombie-like humans or the “infected” overtaking London and turning normal people into hunted game. Released in 2003, the film received accolades from both critics and the masses alike. It is considered amongst the top 10 horror movies to have been made in the last decade.

 To make a long story short: Plot Summary

The movie begins with a laboratory being attacked by a band of animal activists, who want to free the animals caged up inside. Despite the frantic warnings of the scientists in the laboratory, the activists free the animals, unaware that they’re carrying a deadly virus that causes uncontrollable “rage”. This “rage” virus then infects the activists when they’re bitten by the animals and thus begins the zombie/infected apocalypse.

Cut to 28 days after the outbreak, Jim (Cillian Murphy) who is a bicycle messenger, wakes up from a coma to find that his city, London, has turned into a wasteland. He somehow manages to fight off the infected and reaches an abandoned church. What he doesn’t know is that the church is teeming with more of the infected. He is saved in the nick of time by Selena (Naomie Harris) and Mark (Noah Huntley), who have been battling and surviving the zombie apocalypse as best as they can. Together, they try to make their way through London and find aid before the “infected” can get to them. Along the way, they find the father-daughter team of Frank (Brendan Gleeson) and Hannah (Megan Burns) who tell them that a message is being aired on the radio by the armed forces.This message contains information about a safe haven near Manchester. Together, the group journeys to find help. But they’re unaware of a deep and dangerous conspiracy that awaits them.

 Acting/Chills and thrills

 The movie stands out in the whole zombie/undead genre. The ending may seem improbable given the characters’ circumstances. But aside from that, the story and performances are great, as are the scares provided by the zombies. As Jim, Cillian Murphy turns in a convincing performance of a man who has to grapple with a grim reality after awakening into a terrifying world. He is ably helped by the rest of the cast, especially Naomie Harris, in his fight for survival. Despite being a story that has been previously told by geniuses like George Romero, the plotline manages to keep you hooked till the very end and you find yourself wondering what would really happen if a zombie outbreak were to occur.

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Paranormal ACTIVITY4

December 13, 2012 by  
Filed under Recent Activity

Neque porro quisquam est qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit…”
“There is no one who loves pain itself, who seeks after it and wants to have it, simply because it is pain…”

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry’s standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book.

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