Movies for Halloween: The Short Version

October 31, 2011

Due to the amount of school work and countless other adult responsibilities that have, I have really been able to keep up with the Movies for Halloween section as much as I would have liked to. I’m sure that Joseph seconds my thoughts. We are busy college students, Its hard enough to find time to watch movies let alone make blog post about them. To our fiercely dedicated readers we are deeply sorry.

I have however been able to watch a few horror films this month and instead of giving you a hug long post about each one ill just give you a short explanation and out of 10 rating for each.

The Last Exorcism

This film takes the guise of a documentary (we seem to be getting a lot of these recently) about an evangelical christian preacher that has decided to reveal that exorcism is a fraud. He shows us all the tricks of the trade to make people think he’s expelling evil spirits. The documentary is meant to show his very last exploit before retirement (hence the title of the movie).

Overall I thought this movie was pretty good. I had some truly scary and startling parts but in the end it suffers from a poorly done twist ending. I give this film a 6.5/10 score. Its worth the watch but you most likely will hate the ending.

[Rec] and [Rec]2

This season I decided to introduce my little sister to these films because I’m tired of hearing how she can never find a movie that scares her. We have already said quite a bit about [Rec] on the blog. Last year it made our list of the scariest movies of all time. https://offtheedgeproductions.wordpress.com/2010/10/26/7-rec-2007/

As far as the sequel goes it could be even more terrifying. The members of Off the Edge made the trip to Uptown to see this one last year and it scared the shit out of each and every one of us. It was definitely the scariest movie I have seen in theaters. It actually make your heart race and truly enter fight or flight mode. The cinematography is so brilliant it puts you into the movie. During a few scenes I remember having the intense urge to run away, then realizing its only a movie.  As far as horror films go they are  both tops. I give [Rec] a 9.5/10 and [Rec]2 a 8.5/10.

Halloween (Rob Zombie)

I watched this one recently and immediately regretted it afterward. Rob Zombie’s remake of  John Carpenter’s classic absolutely sucks. I have come the conclusion that Rob Zombies sucks as a horror director. He is literally the Ed Wood of Horror. He clearly has a huge passion for horror and has extensive knowledge of the genre (far more than I) he just cant seem to make a good horror film. His style is too heavy handed and derivative of his influences. I almost feel bad for the poor bastard. Anyway to keep it short this movie is shitty. I give it a very generous 3/10 and that probably just for Malcolm MacDowel and Brad Dourif.

Survival of the Dead

This movie just makes me sad. I was so excited to see it because it was my first George A. Romero film in theaters. I was severely disappointed. As anyone who knows me knows I have a lot of love and respect for Mr. Romero, I mean he’s a Horror icon, he reinvented the zombie subgenre back in 1968 with The Night of the Living Dead. It hurts to report that this movie is shitty. The bad story and really shitty CGI effect make this movie almost laughably stupid. I give it a 4/10.

Sorority Row (2009)

I decided to watch this one without having seen the original, which i typically don’t like doing. It was better than i expected. If you expecting much more than a ton and a half of attractive girls getting picked off one by one than you will be disappointed. I give it a 7/10. Plenty of fun and plenty of gore.

Re-Animator

If you havent seen this one do so immediately. Its one of my all time favorites and is also one of the gorriest films I have ever seen. That being said I will refer you to my piece from last year. https://offtheedgeproductions.wordpress.com/2010/10/08/re-animator-1985/

 9/10. This movie is the shit.

The Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence

I’m going to keep this short because I am going to write a full review late. I actually made the trip to Uptown to see this one just as i had with the original. For the record i hated the original. I refer you here to see just how much and why. https://offtheedgeproductions.wordpress.com/2010/05/17/dafuck-a-reveiw-of-the-human-centipede/

Let me just say the sequel is no masterpiece but i found myself enjoying it more than first one probably because Six took my advice and stopped taking it so seriously and it has no “justification.” This movie is for gore and shock value and that is all it is.  i can whole heartedly respect that. This was definitely the gorriest film i have seen in theatres and could be the gorriest film i have ever seen. (I’m gonna have to get back to you when the flashbacks stop). Seriously though this shit is disgusting. It SHOULD NOT be seen by anyone who doesn’t not know full well what they are in for. I’m going to withhold rating this one for now.

Scream 4

Not much to say about this one other than if you like the original trilogy you will most likely like this one. It is basically a more 21st century version of the last good thing Craven ever did. 6.5/10 a film to bring back fond memories of 90’s horror with significantly more gore.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

I’m slated to rewatch this one tonight. It’s the first time I have ever rewatched this film. I havent had a Leatherface nightmare in a while. Hopefully they don’t start again. I refer you here. https://offtheedgeproductions.wordpress.com/2010/10/31/2-the-texas-chainsaw-massacre-1974/  

Dead Birds

I am also going to rewatch this tonight. Dead Birds is one of the most unique and terrifying films i have ever seen. Im not going to say too much now because i hope to have a full review soon. Brilliant 9/10  


Movies For Halloween: The Troll Hunter (2010, Andre Ovredal)

October 13, 2011

Troll Hunter-When I first heard about this movie I had mixed feelings. On one hand it was about giant trolls living in Norway which is awesome. On the other hand it’s one of those “found footage” movies and I’m getting kind of sick of those. It also doesn’t help that Trolls are notoriously difficult to portray in horror films (Troll 2 anyone?). That said, I was still pretty excited to see it and Troll Hunter exceeded all my expectations. It’s funny, dark, scary, and incredibly well done. The basic story is that three young filmmakers in film school decide to make a documentary about a man who is following bear hunters around the country. After getting closer to him he finally agrees to let them in on his secret: he’s a troll hunter for the government of Norway. From there the story really picks up as we are introduced to a whole mythology about Trolls and what they are. It sounds really silly and the film doesn’t try to play it completely straight. There are a lot of moments of subtle humor (and not so subtle) scattered about the film. The film itself is basically a journey through Norwegian countryside and mountains. The views of the mountains especially are incredible. The trolls in the movie range from weird looking, to scary, but they are all done very well. The final set piece especially is absolutely incredible. A lone man with a gun staring up into the face of a 200 foot tall monster. The only complaints I have are that the characters for the most part get swept under the rug. The only one I found myself caring for was the Troll Hunter himself and his character really anchors the film. The filmmakers are mostly bland, young kids who don’t do or say much. Overall this is probably one of the best “found footage” movies and it really has everything you look for in a movie. I just wish the characters were better fleshed out.

8.5/10

 

 

 

 

 

 


Movies For Halloween: The House of the Devil (2009)

October 6, 2011

This film is an indie nostalgia piece from 2009 although you wouldn’t think it by looking at it. Not only is this film a great horror flick its a great period film as well. It was filmed on 16mm film stock which makes it look like a low-budget film from the 1980’s. Everything is so to the period that you probably would have realized it wasnt from the 80’s if someone didn’t tell you. The cool thing about this movie is that unlike the horror films of today it is a tale of suspense rather than a heavy-handed gorefest. Every moment of this film leads up to one of the most shocking and intense endings to a horror film in recent memory. To those who like the right to the point gore flicks that have been done time and time again, this probably isn’t the film for you.

The story is that of a young college girl named Samantha that is trying to move in to her own apartment. She takes a high paying babysitting job at a house in the middle of nowhere. Her friend drives her all the way out and leaves her there for what she finds out is not a babysitting job at all. Every moment of this film builds upon itself and pays off big in the end. If you have the patience to watch a nuanced tension building horror film you will love this movie. If you like the more fast paced bloodbath you probably wont enjoy this movie.

8/10  -A damn solid and genuinely scary film.

-D.J.

Watch it here on Netflix http://movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/The_House_of_the_Devil/70117039?trkid=2361637


Movies For Halloween: Altitude (2010, Kaare Andrews)

October 6, 2011

One sentence was all I needed to get excited about this movie. “A plane is terrorized by a sky creature that is akin to a Kraken”. How awesome does that sound? Sadly, the movie doesn’t quite live up to it’s amazing potential, but it’s still surprisingly good for a low budget Canadian horror film. Altitude introduces us to 5 characters taking a small charter plane to a concert. It’s supposed to be a routine, 90 minute flight, and seems like a great idea to all the kids involved. However, soon enough the plane goes into a storm where all the plane’s instruments are useless and where a giant creature of the sky lives. The acting ranges from pretty iffy to solid. No one shines here, but in the context of the film I think it works fine. It’s really best to go into this realizing that it’s basically a 90 minute throwback to the Twilight Zone. And honestly I don’t have a problem with that. There’s some solid character development for the two lead characters and the twist is something that fits right into the twilight zone universe that the filmmakers are going for. The Kraken itself is also really, really cool. The only downside is that we don’t see much of it until the last half hour or so, but it’s still awesome. Overall if you’re in the mood for a cool, low budget sci-fi/horror film this should fit the bill. It also generates quite a few moments of tension and there are a lot of surprises thrown into the narrative.

7/10

Should I turn on the lights?: Nah, but there are several scenes that will make you jump out of your seat


Movies For Halloween: The Thing (1982, John Carpenter)

October 5, 2011

Paranoia is the best word to describe this film. A group of researchers on a remote outpost in the Arctic are being stalked one by one by…a thing. The thing is an alien creature that can change into anyone or anything that it comes in contact with and it can replicate everything about them perfectly. Crew members turn on each other as no is sure who is real and who is a replica. Many films have tried to copy what this movie does, but few achieve such perfection. Kurt Russell is the star of the film and he is perfectly cast as Mcready. He desperately tries to fight the creature and hold the crew together. The rest of the cast also do an amazing job, including the always great Keith David as Childs. What makes the Thing so effective is the tension it generates. Every single scene in the latter part of the film is so tense and effective that it just gets under your skin. The audience, like the crewmembers, are left totally in the dark about who is infected and who isn’t. One of the best scenes of any horror film is the blood sample test scene where one by one crew members are tested for signs of infection. Overall this is about as good as horror gets. Scary, tense, great acting, and the special effects still hold up incredibly well.

10/10

Should I turn on the lights: Yes, this one will scare you.


Movies For Halloween: Devil (2010, The Brothers Dowdle)

October 3, 2011

I was pretty wary about this when it first came out. Mixed reviews and produced by M. Night Shyamalan? I was close to my fill on him after The Happening. However, Devil actually ended up being a really good film. It’s a wannabe Hitchcock film that takes an amazing premise (5 people are trapped in an elevator and 1 of them is the Devil) and runs with it. The cast all do a great job and the cinematography is fantastic. The camera movement livens up the tension and atmosphere during all the scenes in the cramped elevator. Paranoia runs rampant as no one knows what is going on and everyone thinks someone else is the murderer. The ending was a bit cheesy for me and some of the characters outside of the elevator do incredibly stupid things (guy with live wire, Mexican Guard’s silly dialogue), but on the whole it’s a really good thriller. This is also the first in the Night Chronicles which is going to be a trilogy based on ideas from Shyamalan (the third film is said to be based on the unused script to Unbreakable 2). Anyways, I’m excited for the next two films in the series. Devil is an original and engaging thriller with splashes of horror and creepiness thrown into the mix.

8/10

Should I turn on the lights?: Again, not gonna scare you senseless, but it’s definitely got a few scenes that’ll make you jump.


Movies For Halloween: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)

October 2, 2011

If you’re looking to watch a horror film why not start off with the very first one. I just recently watched this film for my film history class. It absolutely blew me away. This movie is awesome. It’s now one of my favorite silent films of all time. It is a film in the style of German Expressionism which means that the sets are really strangely shaped and often disproportioned.  This was meant to reflect the social instability of the Weimar Republic era of Germany. This was also the film that was allowed to be exported to the U.S. and Europe after the Treaty of Versailles.

Robert Wiene directed this film with an absolutely tiny budget. It is said that for some scenes they only had one bulb to light the whole scene. In many of the scenes you can see that they actually painted light on the ground when they needed to show beams of light. The sets are all dimly lit and crooked and disproportioned which gives you the sense that you are actually in a nightmare. If you get a chance check out the version with the guitar synthesizer score. Its amazing and adds a whole new sense of creepiness and surrealism to the film.

The story is based on a German legend of a sideshow act that travels with a circus and mysterious murders follow.  Dr. Caligari has a circus act where he uses magic to wake a somnambulist (someone who has been sleeping their entire life) named Ceasar. When Ceasar is awaken he is completely at the will of Dr. Caligari. He will do anything he tells him to do, even kill. I don’t want to reveal a lot about the story but the ending of this film has a plot twist that took me completely by surprise. It is actually nearly the same as a popular film from 2010 so it may seem a little familiar. I was impressed that this twist was first used 90 years ago and still surprised people in 2010. It is a super creepy film that is definitely worth a watch especially if you’re a horror fan and want to travel back to the beginning of the genre.

10/10

*also if you’re a super nerd the story is a complete allegory for the social situation in the Wiemar Republic and the ending was actually changed by the government to what it is today. See if you can catch the allegory.

Watch the full movie here

Watch it here on netflix. (better video quality) http://movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/The_Cabinet_of_Dr._Caligari/342780?trkid=2361637

******note- Neither of the above versions have the guitar synth score that I originally saw the film with. They also don’t have the original tints which adds quite a lot to the story. The version on Netflix has better video quality and what seemed to be a better score. The KINO version is the best if you can get a hold of it.

-D.J