Wednesday, May 20, 2009

First Look at ABC's Remake of V

V has always been a personal favorite of mine. I still have vivid memories of watching the show in the 80s (such a long time it seems) and being totally enthralled. It had action, adventure, lasers, spaceships, and aliens with a taste for human flesh. And best of all, the aliens were only disguised to look like us; false flesh concealed green scales and forked tongues. The series had its share of shocks (the infamous guinea pig swallowing scene comes to mind), but more importantly, it dealt with themes of totalitarian oppression and resistance. The visitors had a distinct Nazi vibe and presence.

But now it's time for a new V, one for the 21st Century. Based on the trailer, the show has similarities to the original. It has the same basic premise and the motherships look much like the 80s versions. However, the campy red suits and sunglasses are gone, replaced with a sleeker, more deceptive look. The trailer provides a hint that the revamped series will deal not with oppression, but rather faith and devotion. The people seem to worship the Visitors as saviors sent to help us from destroying ourselves. No doubt, fanaticism will play into the narrative as well as cults. People will turn to anyone that promises answers and easy solutions to life's difficulties. But life isn't supposed to be easy, and we all know the Visitors are not what they seem.

The new V is scheduled to start in 2010 on ABC as a midseason replacement series. I'm looking forward to see where a new generation of writers and creators will take the property. But it's a safe bet that we'll see some rodent consumption, hopefully sooner rather than later.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Ink - Cult Film in the Making?

Ink, a new film by Jamin Winans, looks to be an amazing urban fantasy with a story in the vein of Neil Gaiman. Although it's an independent film, it has stunning visuals, a complex storyline, and a hauntingly beautiful score. It just proves that bigger budget doesn't always equal better quality. The scene in Trailer 1 where a character runs up into the air and teleports away looks fantastic.

The story revolves around a war in the dreamworld where good dreams battle nightmares, with a girl's life hanging in the balance. The dream characters, or "storytellers," are quirky and cool. I can already tell that Jacob will be my favorite (He's the one in the trailer with black tape over his eyes). Based on the quality of the trailers, I'd say Ink could easily gain cult film status.

I'm sure most of us will have to wait until the DVD comes out to see it, but the movie opens on March 13th in Denver, CO. So if you're in the area, check it out and support indie filmmakers.

You can also check out the official site for more info on the film.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Midnight Meat Train Could Have Been a Trilogy

Despite what some fans think about the horror remake trend, it's only hurting us in the long run. Original material is forced to take a backseat.

What could have been if Clive Barker had his way...

(from Famous Monsters of Filmland)-
A bit of a downer in news for Midnight Meat Train fans today. Midnight Meat Train could have been a trilogy says author Clive Barker in an exclusive interview with Shock Till You Drop. He author blames the lack of following in the film on its limited theater release from Lionsgate. He tells the site:

“It frustrates me because we would have had a trilogy out of this. I set to work to develop, in note form from way back, the back story of the city fathers. The other movies were not just taking place in this city but in other parts of America. They were connecting up the story of underground activity which is America-wide. It would have climaxed with a meeting of all the stations, all of the lines. I had this massive plan in my head. The absence of a theatrical release was…not only were we losing the chance to exhibit the picture the way it should have been shown, but also we were killing the chance of getting a real horror trilogy that would be constructed picture by picture.”

There’s still a chance a trilogy could happen. For those who didn’t see it in theaters or loved it so much you just gotta watch it again, Midnight Meat Train in stores on DVD and Blu-ray today!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Watchmen Viral Marketing

This video just popped up on the 'Net. I love viral marketing; it worked well for Cloverfield as well as The Dark Knight. It just makes me even more excited to see Watchmen. As we get closer to the movie's opening, I'm sure we'll be seeing more cool stuff like this "1970 Edition of NBS Nightly News."

And in case you still haven't caught the latest trailer for the film...

I'm pretty sure the music in the beginning is from Clive Barker's Candyman, and the song is "Take A Bow" by Muse. "Take a Bow" is perfect for it. The song's politically charged lyrics are an excellent fit for the story's setting and underlying messages.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

50th Blog Post!

I just read this on the Fangoria site and had to share. It raises a lot of questions about "movie critics" and their perception of horror films versus the typical moviegoer. Personally, I can't stand critics. They get paid too much to basically bash everything that comes out. I never rely on critics' reviews to determine which movies I watch. If it looks interesting or fun, I'll check it out. Is it so wrong to formulate our own opinions about movies? Watch it and judge for yourself! Horror, in particular, can go so many ways. Yes, there are many movies that are too painful to watch. Some films are as complex as they are disturbing. And some horror flicks are just a blast to watch (like My Bloody Valentine 3D). Horror is more popular now than ever with numerous outlets available to fans: books, magazines, movies, TV, comics, and others. The demand is there, so producers will continue to make films that are good, bad, and in-between. It's up to us to decide where to spend our dollars.

It's True - There Really Is Nothing New In Horror

I recently read something that I believe will resonate with more than a few people, based upon what appears to be the prevailing opinion regarding Hollywood's output during the last decade (or two).

"The movies have been so rank the last couple of years that when I see people lining up to buy tickets I sometimes think that the movies aren’t drawing an audience — they’re inheriting an audience. People just want to go to a movie. They’re stung repeatedly, yet their desire for a good movie — for any movie — is so strong that all over the country they keep lining up...

... An atmosphere of hope develops before a big picture’s release, and even after your friends tell you how bad it is, you can’t quite believe it until you see for yourself. The lines (and the grosses) tell us only that people are going to the movies — not that they’re having a good time. Financially, the industry is healthy, so among the people at the top there seems to be little recognition of what miserable shape movies are in. They think the grosses are proof that people are happy with what they’re getting, just as TV executives think that the programs with the highest ratings are what TV viewers want, rather than what they settle for... If for the last couple of years Hollywood couldn’t seem to do anything right, it isn’t that it was just a stretch of bad luck — it’s the result of recent developments within the industry...

...There are a lot of reasons that movies have been so bad during the last couple of years and probably won’t be any better for the next couple of years. One big reason is that rotten pictures are making money — not necessarily wild amounts (though a few are), but sizable amounts. So if studio heads want nothing more than to make money and grab power, there is no reason for them to make better ones...

There is an even grimmer side to all this: because the studios have discovered how to take the risk out of moviemaking, they don’t want to make any movies that they can’t protect themselves on. Production and advertising costs have gone so high that there is genuine nervous panic about risky projects. If an executive finances what looks like a perfectly safe, stale piece of material and packs it with stars, and the production costs skyrocket way beyond the guarantees, and the picture loses many millions, he won’t be blamed for it — he was playing the game by the same rules as everybody else. If, however, he takes a gamble on a small project that can’t be sold in advance — something that a gifted director really wants to do, with a subtle, not easily summarized theme and no big names in the cast — and it loses just a little money, his neck is on the block. So to the executives a good script is a script that attracts a star, and they will make their deals and set the full machinery of a big production in motion and schedule the picture’s release dates, even though the script problems have never been worked out and everyone (even the director) secretly knows that the film will be a confused mess, an embarrassment...

... It would be very convincing to say that there’s no hope for movies — that audiences have been so corrupted by television and have become so jaded that all they want are noisy thrills and dumb jokes and images that move along in an undemanding way, so they can sit and react at the simplest motor level. And there’s plenty of evidence, such as the success of *****. This was a haunted-house-with-gorilla picture set in outer space. It reached out, grabbed you, and squeezed your stomach; it was more gripping than entertaining, but a lot of people didn’t mind. They thought it was terrific, because at least they’d felt something: they’d been brutalized... Yet there was also a backlash against ***** — many people were angry at how mechanically they’d been worked over."

These are just a few quotes from Pauline Kael's famous essay "Why Are Movies So Bad?" published in The New Yorker magazine on June 23, 1980. The title of the film I replaced with "*****" is Alien (from 1979), and the full essay is available online at

For those of you unfamiliar with Pauline Kael's credentials, the following is from her obituary in the September 4, 2001 New York Times:

"Ms. Kael was probably the most influential film critic of her time. She reviewed movies for The New Yorker from 1968 to 1979, and again, after working briefly in the film industry, from 1980 until 1991...

... At 59, Ms. Kael left The New Yorker for Hollywood. She briefly worked as a production executive for Warren Beatty. After that job ended over what were described as "artistic differences," Paramount Pictures put her under contract as a consultant and scout for several months before she returned to The New Yorker in 1980."

Based upon her experiences working in Hollywood, she wrote "Why Are Movies So Bad?". I have the following questions for readers new to Ms. Kael's essay:

1. How many people assumed that the above quotes were written recently by yet another critic bemoaning the current era of horror cinema (or cinema in general)?

2. How bitterly ironic is it that she was commenting on an era (and a film) that many people today consider "classic" rather than the current era and a recent remake or "torture film?"

If you've read more than a few negative reviews (or comments from fans) of horror movies that have come out during the last decade or so, it's plain to see that if there's nothing new in any aspect of cinema (including horror) - it's critic's "observations."

The next time someone complains that "movies have been so bad during the last couple of years and probably won’t be any better for the next couple of years," or that "there’s no hope for movies — audiences have been so corrupted (or "dumbed down") by television and have become so jaded that all they want are noisy thrills and dumb jokes and images that move along in an undemanding way, so they can sit and react at the simplest level," please respond with, "What else is new?"

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Zombie Humor

Even the walking dead can be funny! How cool would it be to open your morning paper to read the daily zombie comics? Oh, wait. We use the interwebs now...

Does anyone even still get the newspaper? I'd say it's a plus because without the 'Net, I couldn't deliver the undead goods.

Splinter: Movie Review

Indie horror has a way of sneaking up on you. It often takes time to wade through all the terrible low-budget films in order to find the good ones. Splinter is definitely a good one...great, actually.

From IMDB: "Trapped in an isolated gas station by a voracious Splinter parasite that transforms its still living victims into deadly hosts, a young couple and an escaped convict must find a way to work together to survive this primal terror."

The setting of the movie is reminiscent of West Virginia: beautiful trees and deserted mountain roads leading nowhere. The isolation presented by the setting adds to the horror of the film, and the ancientness of nature provides hints as to the origin of the monster.

Monster is probably too strong a word for the creature. Rather than a run-of-the-mill style beast, we get a parasitic fungus with spines like a sea urchin. Maybe that doesn't sound too scary, but the formula works. The fungus feeds on blood, using the body as a host. Just one prick from its spines and you're infected.

Once things get rolling, Polly, Seth, and Dennis lock themselves up in a remote convenience store while the creature tries to find a way inside. Their acting is solid, and the terror is palpable, which makes you wonder if anyone will make it out alive.

The fungus may not have a body of its own, but it's fully capable of making due. Once in the victim, the fungus takes full control of it. The sound of bones snapping while limbs contort in unnatural positions provides some of the movie's most disturbing moments. The fungus even uses dead body parts to form, what could be considered, the actual monster of the story. Quick cuts and shadows make the creature more terrifying. It would have looked silly in the light most likely. But it is executed nicely, slamming bloodied heads into windows, desperately trying to get to the people inside.

Splinter easily bumps The Strangers out of my Top 10 of 2008. I highly recommend it for it's originality, and that it shows how a shoestring budget can still produce a great horror film...The box cutter scene alone is worth it.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Best 10 Horror Films of 2008

Horror cinema has seen its share of both good and bad in 2008. Fortunately, the good films were very good, and the bad, well...I'll leave those alone. The top 10 list I've compiled is based solely on the films I've actually seen this year. There are several films I haven't gotten around to yet like Repo! The Genetic Opera and Splinter, which might have made the list, but weren't available to watch. I've included trailers for each movie as well, so if you haven't seen them, I highly recommend checking them out.

10. The Strangers

I'm not really into serial killer films, but The Strangers surprised the hell out of me. It has a 70s horror vibe and succeeds in building tension and terror. The scariest thing about this movie is the anonymity of the killers. We never find out who they are or why they kill. And that's truly terrifying. The studio's "based on true events" tag line is just another marketing scheme to get people in theaters. According to what I've read, the producer remembered a girl coming to his house when he was a kid who had the wrong address. That's true, and scary...Isn't it?

9. The Ruins

Based on the novel of the same name, The Ruins is a creepy film that ties into Mayan culture. Yes, it's another "hot college students in danger" story, but it does something unique; it makes plants scary, something The Happening failed to accomplish. That, and it's actually good.

8. The Signal

A great independent film that plays on our fear of technology. People change into psychotic killers after hearing and/or seeing a mysterious signal broadcast through TV, phones, and radio. Love and infidelity is the true story here. The movie is as emotional as it is brutal.

7. Doomsday

This is a fantastic post-apocalyptic movie. Although zombies are nowhere to be seen, there's a fair share of cannibalism. A lethal virus wipes out most of the British population and the infected survivors are walled off from "civilized" society. Mad Max and armor clad knights are dropped in a blender to create pure chaos and one kickass movie. The car chase scene at the end is one of the best and most entertaining I've ever watched, with several laugh out loud moments.

6. Dance of the Dead

The best way to describe this movie would be "teen zomedy." Nothing's more important than prom (according to teen movies anyway), so what do you do when zombies crash your special night? It's simple. Form a group of misfit survivors, add one crazy coach, and kick zombie ass! Dance of the Dead never tries to be more than what it is, which is what makes it so enjoyable to watch. And who knew rock music could soothe the walking dead? I might be partial to this film because one of the characters wears a T-shirt like one of mine. But the movie does have a sharp script full of laughs, thrills, and gory action.

5. Diary of the Dead

Many Romero fans are torn over this film. People either love or hate it. I enjoyed this movie because it allowed Romero to go back to the beginning of his zombie epic and give a new spin on it. The first-person POV film is low budget but contains some great effects and a lot to think about. As with all of Romero's zombie films, Diary of the Dead isn't about shambling flesh eaters; it works as a metaphor to explore how the media handles things like terrorism and natural disasters. When the shit hits the fan, who should you trust? Is the news giving us the facts, or doctored lies? While some of Romero's social commentary is heavy handed at times, Diary of the Dead is a testament to Romero's passion for the genre, and it shows that horror can be just as complex and insightful as "literary" fiction.

4. Trailer Park of Terror

Don't let the title fool you; this movie rocks. Trailer Park of Terror is adapted from the Imperium Comics series. The comic is an anthology in the vein of Tales from the Crypt. Norma, the main character of the film, is the comic's Crypt Keeper of sorts. The movie itself centers around her, providing an intricate and tragic backstory that connects small town mentality with revenge and a deal with the devil, played by country singer, Trace Adkins. Some viewers might be put off by the trailer park stereotypes in the film, but if anything, they add depth to Norma's character and provide for some truly hilarious moments. This movie is sick and twisted with just the right amount of humor.

3. Cloverfield

While Godzilla is the greatest monster of all time, he is a distinctly Japanese creation. J.J. Abrams kept that in mind when he set out to develop an American monster movie. What makes Cloverfield stand out is its well executed viral marketing campaign. The trailer reveals nothing about the monster other than it's big enough and strong enough to toss the Statue of Liberty's head across New York. The trailer has no title for the film either, which unleashed a tidal wave of speculation on the Internet when it was released. People thought the movie was everything from Cthulhu to Voltron (no joke).

While a Cthulhu movie would have been amazing, Cloverfield has a strong Lovecraftian feel. The first-person POV is a little jarring at first, but the movie would have failed without it. It looks and feels real. The characters are believable and evoke a true sense of awe and terror during the creature's rampage. The monster itself has a unique design and looks very otherworldly. I'm not big on sequels, but I hope that we see Cloverfield return in the near future.

2. Midnight Meat Train

Lionsgate really screwed Clive Barker and his fans over by denying his film a theatrical release in favor of The Strangers. Barker's film is far superior to The Strangers in both story and direction. Adapted from the short story, Midnight Meat Train is about a photographer who becomes obsessed with a serial killer. The true reason behind the subway murders is revealed at the end, and is chilling in true Clive Barker fashion. The killings are brutal and visceral.

According to the director, gallons of blood were used in the movie, and it shows. The camera never shies away from the violence and the story is an interesting look at what might be hiding beneath city streets, not to mention that obsession can lead to tragic results. Without a doubt, Barker is back with a vengeance.

1. Let the Right One In

This Swedish film really caught me off guard. I had heard good things about it, and many reviewers have listed it as their top horror film of the year, and for some, the decade. It is definitely the best film of 2008. Let the Right One In is another novel adaptation. I haven't read the book, but the movie is amazing. It's a brilliant coming-of-age story masked as a vampire film.

The story focuses on characterization, allowing the supernatural elements to progress organically. It is harrowing and heartbreaking, but never loses its eeriness or dread. A boy befriends a vampire who helps him break through his insecure shell. He is bullied frequently and viciously by classmates, something many of us can relate to regardless of cultural settings.

Vampire enthusiasts, like me, who are bewildered and disgusted with the Twilight phenomenon will revel in the bloodsucker depiction presented in the film. Fangs are unfortunately absent, which I hope doesn't become a trend. However, those who have always wondered what would happen if a vampire entered a home uninvited finally get an answer...and it isn't pretty.

Vampires are on the verge of dethroning zombies as the next trend in horror, and if Let the Right One In is any indication of what's to come, then I'm ready for more. This dark fable delivers on all levels, and that is why it is my #1 horror film of 2008.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Twilight Mania!

Ahhh...The Soup just makes everything better :)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

PG Porn: Nailing Your Wife

I love James Gunn (writer/director of Slither) and Nathan Fillion (Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog). Together, they make magic happen! Who needs the sex when you've got the storyline?!