The Dead are Back!

After a break that felt like an eternity, AMC’s the Walking Dead is back! Just a quick note regarding the the episode, as to not provide any spoilers. I hate spoilers. They are a jerk move by people who are self absorbed and feel their time and opinions are more valuable than others. Someone ruined the 6th Sense for me and I never recovered. That being said, I wish someone had ruined The Village for me, and I would have not wasted 2-hours of my life. 

So – the zombies and the crew are back. The episode was a dramatic look at how Carl would handle his own, faced in a zombie apocalypse. Spoilers or not you can easily guess how he would fare. He’s a young teen full of piss and vinegar. The results were not to shocking. You know those episodes on The Simpsons, that were heavy on Lisa or Meg on Family Guy…it was the Walking Dead version. 

The rest of the episode was spliced with background information about Michonne, which was a real treat. Danai Gurira is an amazing character actor. We got to peel away the hard exterior of Michonne for the first time and got to know who she is and what turned her into the hard edged badass she is. We all knew she was a gooey marshmallow inside, but we wanted to know the how and why. I had wished they spent more time on Michonne during the episode instead of watching Carl misstep and act like the teenager that he is. 

Final thoughts: pudding is good!


Valentines Day is Bloody Sweet!

Valentines day is coming up. For the traditionalists roses will be bought, perhaps chocolates and a romantic candle light dinner will be had, followed with snuggling on the couch. But I’m not that much of a traditionalist. Of course I love my partner and we enjoy spending an evening together. When My Bloody Valentine (2009) was released on valentines day, I was ecstatic because that was exactly how I wanted to spend my special day. To my surprise the film stood apart from the original film and was very entertaining. Both films remain close to my finger tips if I need visceral cinema to sink into. That all being said, my hunny and I can’t watch My Blood Valentine, every time February 14th rolls around. Maybe if Valentines day was like a leap year and only popped up every 4-years, I could make MBV a ritual.

So — I decided to think about some great romantic-horror films that would be fun to watch this Valentines. When I say romantic, I use the term loosely. I don’t mean romance in the traditional sense like a Dracula film. There is something innately sexual about Dracula that almost seems too obvious. I also don’t mean teen romantic like Warm Bodies. The task of thinking of a great “romantic” horror film became quite a challenge.

After sorting through the various titles in my collection, I came across Thirst (2009). The film is vastly amusing and fits perfectly into the romantic-horror category. The problem is Thirst is more of a comedic horror than a romantic horror and I don’t really want to watch a comedic-romantic-horror, like Shaun of the Dead (2004). Comedy just does not fit the bill for me this year. On the other end of the spectrum of comedy is The Loved Ones, a brilliantly eerie and disturbing film staring Robin McLeavy as Lola a deranged high school student who just wants to find love. The film is one of the best I have seen in a long time. It’s disturbing and grotesque; and McLeavy plays a perfect psychopath. But the film boarders on torture porn and goes over the line for Valentines day. While I enjoy horror, my guy is not a big fan. I have to make some compromises and not go so far off the deep end and ruin the night. The same can be said about Red, White and Blue (2010). 

I think what works so well about MBV is it is harmless fun. There is nothing mean spirited about the film because it invokes the same feeling from the 1980s film and others like it. It is good old fashioned fun without taking itself too seriously. Upon another filter through the unending collection of films I have, I stop at Slither (2006). I really hated the movie when it first came out. I must have been in a mood and taking life too seriously. Don’t worry, I have since recanted my feelings about the film. I have moved it into the filing system under “vastly entertaining.” What is not to like about the film? The film is summed up with Michael Rooker as a possessive husband and phallic alien spawns possessing towns people. Now that is a loving evening. 

What’s on for V day? James Gunn’s Slither (2006) — and perhaps the Bride of Re-animator after 🙂

What are you watching?

I Have Cabin Fever!

Cabin Fever (2002) is one of my favourite films of all time. It is always on hand when I am feeling blue and needing a pick-me-up. What is not like to like about Cabin Fever? Gore, girls, humour, more gore and Arie Verveen as the diseased Henry the hermit! Plus as a bonus there is karate kid screaming about pancakes. 

It always astounds me when people ask me sarcastically if I like the film, because they assume that I can’t seriously like it. I usually hate when people say if you don’t like something you’ve missed the point, but in the case of Cabin Fever, I really think it’s true. The film is a seamless pastiche of 1980s campy horror films. Director Eli Roth resurrects the old horror movie feel and adds his quick wit and dark sense of humour. It is an infectiously impressive film. Really, Roth is just a big horror movie geek and plays tribute to the horror movie’s he was raised on and built his repertoire of movie knowledge.

Why is Cabin Fever so brilliant? Because it is Evil Dead meets Outbreak. Because our favourite TGIF Friday Boy Ryder Strong plays a terribly unlikable and weak character who can’t even kiss a girl. For me, the film is unique and feels like something I have never seen before, but still feels like an old comfortable blanket that I can curl up to. For those who are critics, I defy you to at least tell me the sound editing is poorly done, because that element alone leaves chills up your spine and takes you for a ride for the entirety of the film.

So what is on tonight? Cabin Fever

Friday Night Feast Fest

After a long, arduous week one of my favourite traditions is to spend my evening watching the Feast trilogy. This trio of blood infested gore films, are among my favourites of all time. Perhaps, it is better to think of these films as one long entity with three different chapters, because the films play so marvellously off each other. Sitting down to watch the original Star Wars trilogy is a painful idea to me. It’s not that I don’t like George Lucas and his epic saga, but the idea  of watching the three original films in one sitting does not sound like a lot of fun. Sitting down to watch the three Feast films all together provides me with 4-hours of laughter and sheer unadulterated entertainment without a lot of dialogued. Granted the Feast films are a heck of a lot shorter than the Star Wars films, but Feast delivers memorable slaughter with the right kind of humour that allows me to let loose after a long week. Nothing says relaxation like watching a pack of alien beasts hump and rip apart anything in their sight. 

The Friday Night Feast Fest…happy Friday everyone 🙂

Dark Skies (2013)

In any average cookie cutter pleasantville suburb, where the only catty problems that seem to be a concern are whose kid is in rehab again and how everyone must maintain a perfect facade even when things may not. Underneath this plastic exterior with rows of large elm trees and perfectly manicured lawns there is something lurking and waiting to pounce. In Dark Skies (2013) the perfect looking Barret family has their world shaken when they realize that they are not alone and the strange series events happening around them is only the beginning. They have been chosen by an unforeseen force. What they soon realize is that they are not the first.

Upon viewing the trailer of the film, I was worried about the execution. It seemed to be another one of the Hollywood films that try to use scare tactics for the average audience, making it an average film. Although not created by the master of strange, M. Night Shyamalan, who has let me down countless times. It felt like it was going to be a mishmash of the Happening (2008) and Signs (2002). However, what it turned out to be is more of a marriage between Poltergeist (1982) and Paranormal Activity (2007). Infact the only thing Dark Skies was missing was the iconic tagline “they’re here..” and the film could easily have been a prequel.

The film is not groundbreaking or brilliant, as it is not overly ambitious. Keri Russel was a questionable choice for the lead female role, as a mother that is fairly bland and stonewalled. This is her second recent role in a horror film and I have doubts that she is able to win over an audience as a victim. Much like Josh Hamilton who plays Russel’s husband, the two deliver washed down performances that come across more annoying than sympathetic. That being said, the real stars of the film are their actors who play the family’s children. They are effective at delivering roles of scared, possessed children. The older of the two boys, played by Dakota Goyo, is the true hero of the film and wins us over by being a character with depth and heart. J.K. Simmons makes a cameo as a survivor and expert on these events, and as always is entertaining.

While there are plot holes, questionable performances and strange lines, Dark Skies is a fairly entertaining film, so long as you let the faux pas go. Without the use of gore or violence, there are a number of chilling scenes that make you cringe. I found myself biting my nails a number of times. I am always impressed with any filmmaker who can execute scare tactics without the use CGI and blood spatter. Most recently Insidious (2010) successfully demonstrated that the use of psychological fear can be an effective delivery method to scare an audience. Dark Skies is not quite so successful, but it is a far cry from being a M. Night Shyamlan flop. It is a fun film for an average audience who wants a few goosebumps but can still sleep at night after the popcorn is empty.