Monday, 30 January 2012

Paranormal Activity 3 steals my heart

I was initially very skeptical of the prequel, especially after the turd that was Paranormal Activity 2, but I have completely changed my tone on Paranormal Activity 3. For better or for worse, it was one of the best ghost films of the year (and the year was a bit poor for horror).

Keeping in line with this, the Blu-Ray/DVD is out now and in a showing of one of the most fan friendly promotions I have ever seen, they are releasing deleted scenes from the DVD (of which many clips can be seen in the film's trailer) online, for fans to enjoy.

So far, they have released 3 clips, typically through campaigns on Facebook where they will release a clip when they get 5000 likes on a photo/status (one of which was reached in less than a minute!).

In a world where Hollywood's dark corporate underbelly is exposed, and people are wondering how to combat piracy, this is the right step forward; an approach that rewards fans, not punish them. I'll be buying it!

Below is the most recent clip, which is a bit pointless, but on their Facebook page, you can find two clips with more sustenance, one of which actually gave me a jump. Enjoy!

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Want Gremlins 3? This will have to tide you over.

If you're a fan of Gremlins 2 (and, let's face it, who isn't?), you might be familiar with a funny little moment in the middle of the film where, if you were in the cinema, or saw most TV broadcasts, where the film snaps. This apparent technical hitch is actually (spoiler alert! And why haven't you seen Gremlins 2? Shame on you) some gremlins messing around in the projection booth. This taught us the invaluable lesson, that only one man can demand the respect of the gremlins:

However, if you had the home video of the film, this sequence was aptly replaced by a moment where the green critters face off against John Wayne (a pretty poor sequence, but fun nonetheless!):

But now, is this age of digital media, these takes of the film stopping are both outdated. Woe is us. What can we do? Cry, is the answer, I think. But wait, one Gremlins-obsessed filmmaker has taken it upon himself to update this section for the DVD/Blu-ray age! Gremlins director Joe Dante even approves of them:

And now, only 5 years after it was originally posted, here is the full sequence of Gremlins invading the VOD! It's a bit overlong, with some sequences having no payoff, but the first one, and some choice cuts, make this essential viewing for those who are clamoring for Gremlins 3. And there isn't any full CG gremlins in sight!

BONUS: A BT advert featuring the little green men:

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Online. On Youtube.

I remember for years struggling to get a hold of a copy of this film to watch, even with the internet being in full swing. Back in the days before Universal re-released it and every Tom, Dick and Harry had their own special edition on the shelves of HMV, this was actually a hard film to get a hold of. I remember eyeing up an Australian import released on a porno label. That's just how it was.

Now, Tobe Hooper's horror classic is up on YouTube, in one easy to watch video, for all to see! The film didn't hit the spot with me the first time I watched it, but like several horror films that have become my favourites (The Shining, The Thing), it took time for me to realise just how much I adored them. 

Who knows how long this will be up on YouTube (I'm going to make an educated guess and say it's not a legal upload), but if you get the chance, this is where most modern day horror comes from.

Happy Sunday!

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

New music video: Martin Thomas - Carry Me Home

Shot around the same time as Ryan James' River of Bones, and finally finding its feet and coming to fruition, here is the music video for the single Carry Me Home, by Martin Thomas.

Corey Taylor and Clown make a film, and it sucks horribly.

Ladies and gents, the first short film from Corey Taylor and Clown (of Slipknot fame)'s new film production company, Living Breathing Films.

So, what's the first thing you noticed about it? Is it that it's completely shit? Because if that's not the first thing you noticed, then there is something wrong with you.

Let me get this clear, I love the intention of their film company; to produce 'psychological' films, and stating if someone hasn't walked out of their film five minutes in, they're not doing their job right. Well, to that end, they succeeded. But whereas they were meaning something affecting people on a deeper level, like The Exorcist, they actually just made stupid, cheap films that no one wants to waste their life with.

Maybe this first film is just a very small stepping stone, and the last moment makes me think it might be intended for nothing more than a little promotional awareness tool, but a 15 minute film is a bit excessive to that end. I only stuck with it because it would be unruly of me to write about it without seeing the whole shebang.

On YouTube, you can already see the Slipknot fanheads attributing a lot of depth where it is not applicable. The film is shallow and barely works on the one level it goes for (though the idea of them shooting themselves is pleasing). What is the plot? Well, Slipknot's two resident cinephiles are taken out of a storage container where we gather they have been taken hostage, forced to put sacks over their heads and then.... they do nothing for ten minutes. Ok, they stand by a few different walls. And they walk. And fall over. This is uncomfortable cinema, but not because it is uncomfortable to see someone being demeaned by struggling to get off the ground. No, it is uncomfortable because it is embarrassing. All I could think was this fucker was supposed to roll over and get up, but can't. They tried to play up the moment, but using a jump cut so he is on his knees is cheating and confirms that, yes, Clown could not get off the ground if his hands were tied.

Production value is nil. I could probably safely say it was shot on a Handycam, with no professional equipment employed. This technique can be done nicely (see Visitor Q), but this ramshackle piece is over-indulgent and lacks any intention of forethought. It means nothing if the camera runs around like a third person spectator if there is no threat. And the 'big shootout' at the end is ridiculous owing to it's lack of motivation and lack of effects. Sorry to spoil it on you (I did put the video at the top of the page, jackass), but they are both shot in the head, but in the style of old Westerns ie. they fall over as if they have been shot, hoping no one will notice the lack of actual bullet to skull contact.

The idea that they have shot themselves gives the film a glimmer of intelligence that was missing for, oh, the entire thing up to that point. But even this is tired and cliché. And the acting.... Or lack of... Sorry Corey, I could see you were trying, but please, you are so talented in other ways. Maybe give the acting a miss. 

Several lazy music loops run throughout the film, possibly trying to cover up the moments when production audio leaks on to the soundtrack, but regardless of it's intent and poorness, it doesn't take away from the film any more, because the film is an inferior product anyway. And the editing... If this was a five minute film, it would still be too long, but using double takes, and switching between colour and black and white is just ridiculous. I do not exaggerate when I say a first year film student would not be let away with this kind of sloppiness.

I can already hear people defending it, saying I don't get it, or understand it's art or intent, but that's the thing; I do. And I am all too aware how it has failed on every level. Just because you are a massive Slipknot fan does not mean you can defend everything to do with them. If they do something crap, you have to call it like you see it. And I know exactly what I saw with this.

This should never have seen the light of day, and the fact it is in any way associated with Sundance is even worse. This is as embarrassing as when an actor tries to be political. A musician trying to be a filmmaker, doing something different but only highlighting they couldn't do it right if they tried. An abuse of station, surely.

But if there is any glimmer of hope in this turd, it is that Corey and Clown DO have good intentions, and the means to give filmmakers who could be as subversive as they are talking about a chance. This is a misstep in every shape and form. Don't defend it, it isn't worth your breath. All you can do is move on from it and make sure the next product of Living Breathing Films actually has a point or reason to exist.

That is all.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

The Woman: All the good you heard is lies

Today, after much to-do, The Woman finally makes its way to Blu-ray, DVD, VOD and digital, courtesy of Bloody Disgusting Selects. Well, in America anyway. If you live in the UK or Ireland, you may have seen this one sitting on the shelves in Tesco for a few weeks already, albeit with inferior cover art. Is this the bees-knees that Bloody Disgusting have touted it as, or is it another B-grade straight-to-DVD release?

The Woman centres around a family in the American countryside whose successful lawyer father/leader hunts and captures a wild woman he finds in the forests. He declares it a family project to recivilise her, by chaining her up in the work-shed and trying to force modern ways (dress, proper eating) onto her. The father is well known and liked in the community, but beats his wife, with an underlying tension rippling throughout the family to his son (who seems to be following in daddy's footsteps), teenage daughter (who is hiding a big secret and just wants to get away from the dirty ways of her family), and youngest daughter, who doesn't really understand anything odd is happening. They try and keep the woman chained in their work-shed a secret from the outside world, which becomes harder and harder, when she physically marks the husband, and the daughter's (potentially lesbian) teacher gets nosy at her change in demeanor at school.

A simple but effective plot, really. Family find savage. Family try to civilise savage. Who is real savage? Badda bing, badda boom. Effective film. BUT... The Woman decides it would prefer to examine less obvious avenues, with far more inept results.

Let's go with the good first. The effects are good, and the scenes that do focus on the woman in the work-shed are easily the crux of the film. The final ten minutes of the film are also quite effective (going the only way a quasi-exploitation flick can go; all out chaos). Unfortunately, the filmmakers don't focus enough on the woman, instead following the individual members of the family and their psychological trauma. At first glance, that should be a good thing, but the characters here, the father and son in particular, start off as crazy as Jack Nicholson in The Shining, and never diverge from crazy. I get that the father is supposed to be respected in the community and it's a typical abusive relationship between him and his wife, but I just couldn't buy it. There are glimmers where the wife has a Stockholm Syndrome moment,  bringing some intrigue to her character, but these moments are fleeting and in the end, totally dismissed.

The only person's story I felt any way emotionally interested in was the daughter, but even then, a lot of that is built in the outside world (in school), taking us away from the elephant in the room (or woman locked in the basement), always being a poor choice for the film. There is a nice pay off towards the end, with a few twists that had me going 'huh. That's kind of clever', though the draw down after the climax is ridiculous, unbelievable, and betray the films drive. 

It is a middle of the road production in terms of performance, and I was never able to not think of the woman as an actress playing a savage. I'm not sure what she could have done to aid this, but perhaps too few a fleeting moments with her, adding in the low budget of the film (I assume), never gave her a full chance to spread her wings with the performance. 

The filmmakers utilise an overabundance of cross-fades, particularly in the opening montage, almost as if the film is preparing to be an airy art-piece. Really, it ends up feeling cheap, overused and distracting. The visual of the film as a whole is a resounding 'meh'. Everything feels very flat. The film could have had a great visual arc of Blue Velvet perfect living slowly descending in to gritty Texas Chain Saw Massacre as the ants are revealed under the surface, but alas, everything is a constant composed pop of colour. I will give exception to a moment in the final sequence, which, owing to the rest of the film's reluctance to be edgy, stands out like a sore thumb as an echo of what might have been. 

All in all, The Woman should have taken more Hills Have Eyes and less of the generic horror film pill. Worth buying only if it's in the bargain bin.

NOW, onto a bit of a bone of contention I have surrounding the release.

I have a huge amount of time and respect for the horror site Bloody Disgusting, and will put it out there that they are one of the best horror sites today, but they have their own distribution label, Bloody Disgusting Selects, which they acquired The Woman with. That's cool. No problem there. Getting films out to the masses is difficult, and these guys are saints in their own right for aiding the cause. BUT, their end of year lists were dominated with The Woman as the best film of the year. And that, folks, is misleading.

Like I say, they are a site to typically trust and feel a part of, but they shamelessly used their clout to promote their purchase. They had a great campaign where fans helped design the cover art, they talked about the film, getting people amped up for it. That was enough. What they should not have done was go out and say The Woman was one of the best films of the year. It was not. By a long-shot. And the writer who did that even made a point that it wasn't because Bloody Disgusting was distributing the film.


They tried to rig the election (which I do think tainted my view of the film a bit). I'm all for self-promotion and pushing what you got, but not when it interferes with the morals and integrity of what you have built. I have found myself feeling distanced from the site, but I know, like a scorned lover, I will call them back, seeing if we can work things out, find the common ground and move on. I just hope that this is a once off thing. 

Sites like Bloody Disgusting should be the safe-haven for the horror fan. If I wanted to read fluff pieces, I'd buy Fangoria.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Begotten provides some sunshine in the world

I'm normally not one to put up small things like this, but as I prepare to watch Human Centipede 2, and have had a trying few days, I thought I should share something that gave me a bit of a laugh. 

A few days ago, I wrote about the intense and eerie Begotten which, for the uninformed, is quite an arthouse masterpiece. In that article, you can find the link to the entire film on YouTube. Buried deep in the comments is the most hilarious contribution I have seen. Keep in mind, Begotten is black and white, intense to the verge of bringing you to tears, and offers not repentant value. Here is one commentators response:

Thank you, RealDeal3951. Your work here is done.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Resident Evil Retribution trailer arrives like the loud funmeister it is

The eagle has landed. And by eagle, I mean the new Resident Evil: Retribution trailer. And it has arrived a day later than promised. Check it out:

I quite like the trailer, what with its 'misleading' start, and the film seems to be promising ridiculous popcorn action, which is exactly what you'd expect from Resident Evil at this point. 

Once upon a time, I had high hopes for this series to be good and potentially worth note in the annuls of history, but I have long since given those hopes up. The series not only jumped the shark pretty much from the get-go (though far more noticeably with every following sequel), it shot, knifed and bazooka-ed it, then brought it back to life and tried to killing it again, but (what a twist) it still sharked on. So, let's take this as it is; stupid action. 

There looks like there will be more variety in the monsters featured, if the winged beasts are anything to go by, and plenty of past characters make their return (not in an entirely forced way, of course). Will it be good? Na, probably not. Will it be fun? Damn straight it will be.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Top 5 Zombie Movies That Have Actual SCARY Zombies

I know, I know, zombies are dead. Wait, I don’t mean like that, like they are the walking dead. I mean that the zombie fad has come and gone and our numbskull friends are once again put to rest while the movie world movies on to other horror houses like vampires or ghosts.

Sure, there have been enough zombie films made over the past decade to make an impressive undead army, but really, only a handful have stuck, and most of these are ones that take the mickey out of the genre (see Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland). But why have zombies faded away once again? Scouring the depths of classic zombie flicks, I think I may have found an answer; Modern zombies just are not scary.

To prove my point, here are 5 classic zombie films where the living dead succeed in making a nice new home in your nightmares.
5. The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue

This is an odd Italian zombie film set in Manchester that manages to spend the majority of its time A) not in Manchester Morgue, and B) featuring the living dead. However, once these guys strike, with their painfully slow and lumbering ways, suddenly, you know why the film used them as a selling point. These guys feel like terminally ill hospital patients have got up from their beds and are slowly following you, purely with the intention of making you shit yourself. The iconic bandage zombie almost has regret in his eyes, as he nibbles your innards.
4. Return of the Living Dead

It must be said, pretty much all ‘fast’ zombies are not scary. A fear of a crazed crowd is different from a fear of mindless undead. The only exception to this ‘speed does not equal fear’ rule is Return of the Living Dead (with a big shout out to Peter Jackson’s Braindead, or Dead Alive, for the yanks). Why is it that these guys are the exception? Because they are dead, but they aren’t dumb (“Send more paramedics”), and by mixing a fixation of brain munching with intelligence and speed, we are placed dead centre of a situation we just cannot find our way out of. If you can’t outrun them or outsmart them, then how the hell do you defeat them!? I guess chop them up in to little bits, right? Oh, I forgot to mention, they literally will not stop moving. If you cut them up in to bits, the bits will keep trying to get to your cerebral cortex. Fine, incinerate the bits. What’s that? The smoke from the incineration will raise more ghouls? Well, fuck you then.
3. The Evil Dead

Here are some dead heads brought back by an evil curse, where they possess the friends of our big chinned (and hopefully some day, lover) Bruce Campbell. We are stuck in a remote cabin in the woods, and the only bridge back to civilisation is mysteriously destroyed. These ghouls possess the friends, one person at a time, drawing out the torment, letting us know that we are inevitably next. Though Campbell takes out each threat as it comes, there is an inevitable defeat in the making when you realise that they are pretty much letting him win, like a cat will let a mouse run a few feet before crushing it. Like our Return of the Living Dead zombies, they won’t stop if you cut them to pieces. Nope, these guys are simply here to fuck with your mind, destroying all your hopes and desire one pencil in the Achilles at a time.
2. Zombi 2/Zombie Flesh Eaters

The Italians really know how to do a good dead walker. This time, they are confined to the shores of a Caribbean island, not that that stops them from being creepy as hell. These guys are not just the slow variety. They are the ‘paint might be drying faster’ kind. And there in lies the terror. You let down your guard because you know you can walk by them no problem, but then, forgetting any lesson you might have learned from the tortoise and the hare, you stop and have a picnic (or tend to broken ankles, whichever applies to you), and then WHAM, zombie attack. They are still as slow as ever, but you long ago phased them out as ‘oh, those nuisance I will never have to worry about’, until fifty of them surround you, all seemingly still yet suffocating you at the same time. Watching the walkers in Fulci’s masterpiece, you could be mistaken for thinking he just brought in a lot of crazy people. There is something seriously not right in their eyes.
1.      Day of the Dead

This is one of my favourite films, so I’m kind of cheating by giving it number one. Then again, this is my blog, so my rules. In this film, the dead have, for all intensive purposes, taken over the world, and some of the few human survivors are held up in an underground storage complex, where their biggest foe is the tension between each other. They can just about keep the zombies out up above, but they have to let a few in below for essential experiments. Director George Romero openly allows us to mock the undead individually or in small numbers and actually tries to make one of them our friend, completely undermining what thirty years of horror films had told us about the ghouls. When the shit goes down (as is wont to happen in a zombie movie), our hundreds of slow moving reanimated dead come at handful of people from all angles, and suddenly, those goofs you were teaching to shave are now turning on you like a rabid dog unexpectedly attacking its owner. There is nowhere to turn, as any way door you open, there is another hoard, just waiting. These guys aren’t smart, just driven by instinct. They know there is strength in numbers, and they know they want food. Our heroes run and even use electric carts to try escape the dead, but down in the underground complex, it is a losing battle. And THAT is terrifying.

Zombies have been done to death (boom boom), and we probably won’t see much of them for a very long time, but if there’s one lesson we can learn from all this, it’s that you cannot keep a good dead head down. What do you think? What zombie movies have terrified you?

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

The beauty and boredom that is Din of Celestial Birds

Last week, I vigorously raved about E. Elias Merhige's uber-dark art house experimental flick, Begotten. Well, that was the beginning of an unofficial trilogy. Here, for the approval of the Midnight Society, is the 2006 follow-up, running at a much shorter time of 14 minutes, Din of Celestial Birds:

Begotten dealt with Genesis, whereas Din of Celestial Birds is a poetically visual look at the birth of man. Premiering on Turner Classic Movies in 2006, it is the middle part of an uncompleted trilogy. But is it any good?

Begotten could be seen as a harsh narrative. Complicated, yes, but still a film. The same cannot be said of Din of Celestial Birds. It plays more as an extended music video, or an art gallery piece (which you may remember, I pushed as a positive that Begotten was not). It is undeniably beautiful and stunning, a visual partner to its predecessor as well as story-wise, but after three minutes of the Rorschach-like montage, you want to just move on, which doesn't happen until the birth of man, which is followed moments later by the closing credits (which account for almost a third of the runtime, but appear to be three names repeated again and again).

The film is a bit of a cock-tease. Perhaps it is preparing us for the final film in the collection, but I doubt it. Begotten is a notorious unrelenting flick, with this one seeming to be the response to critics, saying 'It's ok, I can do something calm as well'.

The tone of the short reminds me a lot of the final act of The Fountain, but lacking the expansion Aronofsky's feature had. All in all, Din of Celestial Birds is beautiful, but not worth a second look. It is a polar opposite to Begotten and, as such, is missing the bite and depth.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Argento's Dracula 3D Trailer is Viral Gold

File this one under 'So Bad, It's Good', or maybe 'So Bad, It's Shit'. Just watch:

That there is a leaked trailer (complete with unfinished effects) for Dario 'Suspiria' Argento's upcoming 3D flick Dracula 3D. When I first saw this, I was convinced it was a piss take, but Rutger Hauer and Asia Argento are on display, so I am nothing but confused. What can I tell you about the project? It isn't a direct adaption, but 'borrows' elements from Stoker's novel. It was filmed in Budapest. It doesn't seem to have a distributor. And the trailer is viral gold.

I can't imagine this working as a full length film. Seems to me this trailer says it all. I'm guessing it's supposed to be a send up, but then again, maybe it's just a poor cheapy. Who knows? (If you do, you HAVE to tell me!).

Unless this is all some sort of joke and I've been left out of the loop!

Saturday, 14 January 2012

A new turn for Hobbit director Peter Jackson

Amid all the hubbub of The Hobbit, Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh have unexpectedly (for me, anyway) produced the documentary that was an Official Selection of Sundance. Ladies and gents, the extended trailer for West of Memphis:

Directed by Deliver Us From Evil director Amy Berg, the film is a new documentary about the West Memphis 3, a trio of boys (at the time) who were arrested, charged, and sentenced to life in prison/death penalty for the murder of three young boys. It is a widely held belief that they were scapegoats for the murders for being outsiders in a small community, with a massive and long lasting campaign for a new trial and relaunch into the investigation as many felt the original go was improperly performed. In August of 2011, they were released under a ruling saying they acknowledged there was enough evidence to convict them, but asserting their innocence. 

The topic has already been dealt with extremely well by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky with their Paradise Lost films (the third of which is due out soon), but the big difference is this one is produced by Damien Wayne Echols, one of the men who was incarcerated.

The trailer makes for what could be a thrilling watch, though I am a bit surprised HBO have financed this film, as the other documentaries on the subject were pretty definitive, though I have been suggested that whereas they were documentaries (ie. trying to remain impartial), this one is setting out to assert their innocence.

Regardless, I will happily watch this and Paradise Lost 3 as companion pieces. I'm not too sure what Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh's involvement is. Perhaps they were moved by the story as so many were, and gave their name to give the film some promotional weight, or else they financed it, I cannot be sure.

Whatever the case, this film exists, and it looks like it will be a corker.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Like Eraserhead? You have to see Begotten

Artistic. Bizarre. Obscure. What the fuck? Just some of the ways you can describe E. Elias Merhige's 1991 bootleg classic, Begotten.

What to say about this film? Well, how about making sure you know it is a challenge to watch. Low budget with no dialogue or music (but with soundscapes), and in black and white, but with no greys in between, making it all that more dissident, Begotten is a piece of art but in an acceptable film form (as opposed to those lame ducks that are 4 hour long loops in galleries).

If you are a fan of Eraserhead or the more obscure side of cinema, this one is for you, but be warned, it pulls no punches. Unlike other films of a similar ilk that turn to black humor to ease the weird-factor, Begotten sets out on a determined path, and by God, it will not stop. Like an ambient song, a lot of it's technique is repetition and drawn-out scenes, so the 80ish minute running time amounts to far fewer scenes than you may be used to, but for a style than could be boring, it actually adds to the film, letting you digest and ponder over what it means.

What does it mean, you may ask. Well, good luck on that one. It is a telling of the story of Genesis, and inspired by a near-fatal car crash the director had when he was 19, so the religious iconography is on display throughout, with the first (and in my opinion, best) scene literally God killing himself. Nihilistic and unrepentant, the film is not an atheist hate-fest, but a ponder-piece, where you the viewer must accept or decline the harsh images you are seeing. And hey, the truth is never pretty, as they say.

Shown: Not pretty.

The film is well regarded and has quite an eclectic fan-base, with Nicolas Cage asking the director to helm Shadow of the Vampire, and Marilyn Manson using parts of the film for his song Cryptorchid, along with newly filmed footage of the shock-rocker himself (see the video below).

It is no surprise people were drawn to the stark style Merhige gave us. He painstakingly added filters to each frame, allegedly taking up to 10 hours for each minute of film.

It did have an official DVD release a long time ago, but the company went under and now the film survives as a bootleg easily found online. What can I say? It's not a film you will share at a party or watch casually, but it is a masterpiece in its own right and has earned its place in the patheon of arthouse cinema. 

And you can watch the FULL thing, right here. 

What do you think? Does the silent film speak volumes or fail to rise above the noise?

Monday, 9 January 2012

Paranormal Activity 4 is on its way

For those of you who may have missed it, or didn't guess it, Paranormal Activity has another sequel in the works, due for release in October.

As reported here by Bloody Disgusting, PA3 directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman will be returning after their film was a big step up over the turd called Paranormal Activity 2 (come on, a floating fuckin' baby? Is that supposed to scare me?). No other news is forthcoming yet, other than no script is yet known, so it may be quite a quick production, then again, these films don't need as much of a spit and polish as the every day Hollywood blockbuster. Also unclear is if it will continue the story started in PA3, which was by all regards a prequel, or will is continue on where PA2 left off.

It is hardly surprising Paranormal Activity is spawning so many sequels (five, including this one. Don't forget about the Tokyo sequel). This is this generations Halloween, or A Nightmare on Elm Street, or Friday The 13th. It may end up going as bat shit insane as the Saw franchise did, but hey, it reversed the rule of diminishing returns with the last flick. 

Can it capture that spooky magic again? What do you think?

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Nothing in the following is real.

I dunno how many cinemas actually showed this Pepsi ad for a good cinema experience featuring some plastic actors, but anyone who remembers Bray cinema from back in the day, prepare yourself for a blast from the past.

I bet you still read the opening titles out loud with the narrator!

Also, HAPPY 100th POST!!!

Friday, 6 January 2012

NEVER SLEEP AGAIN: The Ultimate DVD Review

I have raved before about Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy, a documentary covering the making of all the Nightmare on Elm Street films, which runs four hours long. Today, while perusing the 2-disc collector's edition DVD, I realised that before, though I gushed heartily, I never talked about how amazing the DVD itself is (mainly because I didn't have the DVD at the time). Well, fear not, because I am about to give a full recap, which I know you will be delighted to hear.

The documentary itself, while long, is undoubtedly a must-view, even for non-Nightmare fans. It is possibly the quickest four hours of my life. But I have gone in to all that before (a year ago, in fact). Let's over-analyse the stuff I haven't said yet.

Right, so, I will start with disc one, which comes with the added feature of an audio commentary by the filmmakers. I recently saw a commentary on the documentary Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Genre (a good documentary in itself) that was boring as hell and full of self congratulations. Knowing that Never Sleep Again was an independent production and was very acclaimed, you'd expect the filmmakers to be gloating and heaping on the self praise, but no. 

For the full four hours, we are provided with an entertaining and candid commentary. Never once does the track fall in to boredom or silence (bar one moment where something has been edited out, which is understandable as these guys are very loose with their tongues). They are open about the tribulations and short comings with the documentary, pointing out what they wish they had done better and what was the fault of other crews they had to hire for foreign interviews. Sometimes they heckle each other, in an undoubtedly friendly but endlessly amusing manner. They talk about why they went independent after His Name Was Jason, the disappointing documentary on the Friday The 13th series; they say which actors were gracious and just couldn't do the interviews, and the ones that just wouldn't do it; they give their own views as fans of the series, adding in new trivia not included and giving alternative perspectives. 

Like I say, this commentary never drags and is just as entertaining as the documentary itself. Even if it is things like the very quick telling of a Renny Harlin story (where, sitting at the back of a cinema where his films were being shown, every time his credit appeared, he yelled out 'genius!') just make you smile. And if you ever wondered what the hell was up with Lezlie Deane and the odd human pet she appears to have in her interview, everything is explained.

Now on to disc two which, in terms of extras, is worth double the price that you will pay.

First up is the 'slashed scenes', or extended interviews for us laymen. Averaging about ten minutes extra a film,  there is over an hour of extra material here, all of it just as interesting as the main feature. I'm sure it doesn't work in the context as a whole, or else it was cut for running time (which has never been more understandable), but for those craving more, this will give you it. You get to see Mark Patton and Kim Myers' first time seeing each other in like twenty years, which is touching. There is even a little clip dedicated to people's thoughts on the NOES remake, which essentially is they all hate it and have nothing to do with it, but think Jackie Earle Haley is possibly the only person who could come close to filling Robert Englund's shoes.

Next on the disc is a sneak peak at Heather Langenkamp's upcoming (?) documentary I Am Nancy, which seems a lot like a convention documentary Bruce Campbell made a few years ago. Looks like one for fans.

For The Love Of The Glove looks at an avid NOES memorabilia collector who has collected a lot of different gloves from various Freddy films (which nicely segues in to a funny story of the glove being stolen on the set of NOES 2). It also looks at the many people who run websites and manufacture Freddy gloves. More interesting in its existence and abundance than actually looking at each of them individually, the crux of this featurette for me is one of the effects artists on the films talking to the fan who owns the glove and telling him exactly where each prop is from in the film. Like Ralph in The Simpsons, you can almost pinpoint the moment his heart breaks when the prop isn't quite as rare as he thought. Endearing as fuck.

Fred Heads: The Ultimate Freddy Fans again joins the uber fan and the special effects artist as they look at more of his memorabilia and almost bring the man to tears when it is revealed the masks were worn by stunt men as opposed to Robert Englund himself (I say this, but I'm sure he knew already). We then see some hardcore fans, which is again interesting, but not exactly something worth dwelling on too long.

Horror's Hallowed Grounds is a half hour program where we are brought back to the locations used for filming by an ADHD riddled presenter who, in a cheesy and hilarious manner, brings some of the stars of the films with him. Sometimes a bit overbearing and cringy, it is pretty insightful and interesting. It's runtime doesn't outstay its welcome anyway!

Freddy Vs The Angry Video Game Nerd is about the review of a guy who plays a character called the Angry Video Game Nerd who is always reviewing old-school video games (angrily, one would assume). Like some of the other features, it feels like a completest item as opposed to a must-see, but it is entertaining without a doubt.

Expanding The Elm Street Universe looks and the comic books and novels that have been inspired by the film series and, for me, is the weakest feature, but that is personal feelings towards spin-off books (mainly due to their lack of real continuity or causation with a film series). I have to say, I found this one boring. Maybe people who love those comics and novels will love it, who am I to say?

But right after that turd we do have one of the most interesting pieces; The Music of the Nightmare. While the documentary does have a section with composer Charles Bernstein, no one else is talked about. This documentary shows that the interviews were done, and there is a fascinating bit of backstory with each one. The personal favourite has to be Christopher Young, but that's because I'm a fan.

Elm Street's Poster Boy is an intriguing look into the work of the artist behind the one sheets of the films, which are some of the best film posters ever done (and probably some of the most surreal). We find out he didn't really have a briefing on the first films poster, but somehow captured everything that was needing to be captured and set a benchmark for horror posters, and we see how he wasn't asked to do part 6's poster, but did do the soundtrack album artwork. This one caught me by surprise and I loved it.

A Nightmare on Elm Street in 10 Minutes is an extended version of the actors reciting some of their famous lines from the films that is seen at the end of the documentary and has a lot of nice real moments of amusement. 

The teaser trailer for the documentary is included, which has a nice image of Heather Langenkamp in a Freddy jumper. That must be one of those Rule 34 things.

And rounding us out is a nice little easter egg, which I won't spoil for you (mainly because I have no clue who the guy is in it, and it confused me to no end, though it made me chuckle in the process).

So, there you go. The WHOLE DVD's special features, ripped and torn apart. Some places, I got very critical, but only because other places are so flawless. This DVD is a must have, just as the documentary is a must watch. This is not some piece made to make money. This is the real deal. This is fans who set out to make a documentary telling it like it is, and a DVD that stands against everything wrong with most modern release DVDs. They may have only set out to make a great disc, but in the process, they made a hell of a statement against double-dipping companies who wring fans out for every last penny.

Thank you guys for that!

Thursday, 5 January 2012

The Thing: Penguin Version

A mate passed on this fantastic video. 

For years, people have been calling out for John Carpenter to revisit his classic sci-fi remake and, using technology favoured by the likes of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, replace all the actors. With penguins. Sure, isn't that what we all have always truly wanted; more penguins? Everyone liked March of the Penguins and Happy Feet.

Plus the fat has been cut out of the film, leaving us with a lean, mean, modern take on The Thing, with special effects more convincing than the premake to boot.

Long live Pingu.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Bosco: Resurrection

This is going to be mainly of interest to Irish readers, but if you're a UK reader, substitute in Sooty, and if you're a US reader, pretend I'm talking about Elmo. Or if you need to know who Bosco is, watch this:

Bosco was a big part of every Irish childhood from the 70s to the 80s and now, in the style of Batman, he is about to make his return in a gritty reboot.

For those ready to revisit your childhood, here comes the little red-head, complete with guest stars Don Conroy and Ray D'Arcy, in an action-packed trailer for the story not suitable for after school telly. Feast your eyes on this:


Monday, 2 January 2012

We Are What We Are: A Snooze-Fest of a Cannibal Film

Cannibal films are always a mixed bag that rarely deliver, and personally, I prefer the gory tribes in the jungle ripping people apart to the understated modern family. We Are We Who Are, a cheap but well made Mexican horror film, had an uphill battle with me from the get go.

Telling the tale of a impoverished family consisting of a slightly neurotic mother, one aggressive son and one repressed son, and a cunning daughter who have to perform 'the ritual' after their father dies in the mall. To do this, they target people and kill them, saying they are getting more food and that they have to be done before a certain time.

What I have just written might seem like I am trying to hide some big twist. I'm not. The film spends an awful lot of time teasing the audience with questions like 'what is the ritual and why do they do it?' and 'why did the father die suspiciously? Who were those people who cleaned up his body?'. A good film knows to make the audience ask questions, but the answers should always be there in some way. Unfortunately, We Are Who We Are forgets to let people know the answers.

The film is well directed and shot, taking any film to task on aesthetic, the music is catchy and couldn't be more perfect (even in its sparse use) and the cast are all solid and convincing, but the film misses one key element that it cannot do without; a good script. The story is very linear and doesn't exactly bring anything new to the table. The film teases by going in to side plots about hookers and young gay cannibals, but doesn't go the full way with what is potentially the most intriguing part of the story. Instead, we stay with the main story of the family trying to choose a new leader for the family and perpetuating the ritual. It is interesting, but not enough for an entire feature.

Oh, I love A Nightmare on Elm Street. What...? Oooooohhhhhh....

The family are also all quite despicable characters. I understand they are supposed to be flawed, but where we might sympathise with them, instead our best bets for connecting with are lost on a whiny boy and a psychotic girl. Also, the region 2 DVD features a quote from Scott A. Johnson of calling it 'a cannibal gore-fest', but I have to say, though the gore on display is realistic and effective, I'd hardly call it a gore-fest. Maybe a gore-trickle. Whatever, there isn't much gore. But there are 'funny' cops and some morgue attendants who disappear as quick as they enter the scene.

"Hi, you'll never see me again after this scene ends."

It's a shame really, as the film could have been quite a good character analysis of a clan of cannibals, but instead sells itself short and goes for too simple a plot full of extraneous characters that, in an alternate world could have been beneficial, but instead over-bloat a simple idea.

Worth a watch, but only in passing, on TV.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Happy Horror New Year!


Happy New Year, one and all! May 2012 be full of horror for one and all (that's a nice thing to wish, right?).

Fingers crossed this will be an exciting and action-packed year for both horror and this blog. There should be some exciting things afoot, along with the odd interesting tidbits I stumble across.

I would like to give you all a big thank you for making it the most successful year for This Horror Is Your Face (mind you, it is also the first full year it has been going!). The last few months have been exciting with the blog gaining more and more readers every day. Thank you for reading, and please, join in. This is a place for horror and film fans. Opinions are always welcome!

To kick off a fresh new year, let me put to bed some bits from last year, namely the five most popular articles. 

5. Dear Victor, your Hellraiser film is a disgrace to cinema
I wasn't what you would call a 'fan' of Hellraiser: Revelations, and I had to be honest. Nothing personal, Victor, but what the fuck!?

4. Top 10 WTF?! Films
Some films are challenging, some are confusing, some are just out right out there. This is the top 10 list of the ones that will make you ask WTF?

3. Top 10 Criminally Overlooked Horror Films
A list of horror films you might never have seen, but should give a second look at. I'm not saying they're all classics, but they do deserve a second look in.

2. Cannibal Holocaust: The Grindhouse Edition Review
One of the most controversial films of all time with an in-depth analysis, plus a thorough look at the special features of the most definitive release of the classic to date. Not an article everyone will agree with, but a topic that will come up again and again in light of situations like the censoring of the Human Centipede 2.

1. Peter Jackson's BAD TASTE Made Good Taste
We are now officially on the run-up to the release of the first part of The Hobbit, and it seems a lot of people are looking back at where it all began with soon-to-be-legendary filmmaker Peter Jackson. Bad Taste is a crazy film, and the documentary Good Taste Made Bad Taste shows just how ingenious Jackson was in the making of a cult classic.

I hope you all enjoy a bit of a look back, just before we head forward! Have a horror new year!

Rich, 1/1/2012