Thursday, May 21, 2009

Don't breathe...you're dead!

The Burning


I really love The Burning. I think it's the best slasher movie that isn't Friday the 13th Part 2, and I know I'm not alone in that assessment. Slasher fanatics and overall gorehounds recognize this as a real unsung horror classic, with some of the best make up effects scenes of all time. I've been stalling on doing a post about this film for quite a while now, mostly because it's mostly just got to sound like some fanboy gushing. That's because it is.


I think the coolest thing about this movie is the overall tone of it. It just feels so grim. Sure, it has it's lighter moments here and there, but those are quickly overshadowed by the general dark mood that the film enjoys. Even the funny scenes have something off kilter about them. One perfect example is the scene in the boys' cabin where Dave (played by a young Jason Alexander) returns from god knows where with porno mags for his buddies, who are smoking and playing Go Fish or something. Glaser gives them shit for looking at "girly magazines" when they should try the "real thing". Dave proceeds to refer to his buddy Woodstock as a "jerk off champion" and then gets into an argument with Glaser about non-lubricated rubbers. It's way cooler than I'm making it sound. They just didn't have conversations like this in the F13 series. Nah, The Burning was raw and real! I always talked to my friends about getting a stiff wrist when I was 17...



Going along perfectly with the general mood of dread that permeates the film are the over the top and spectacular kill scenes. This was Tom Savini really turning into the legend that he is today. The murder scenes in The Burning are everything that we know a Friday the 13th wanted to deliver, before they got raped by the ratings board. And oh, so much more. I don't want to spoil anything if you haven't had the privalege of watching this gem, so I won't. I respect it that much. Which reminds me...

GET INTO IT!

The Burning is like F13 without it's training wheels. It's notorious reputation is well deserved, though in the end, it is still designed to be a teen horror slasher film. I have a few friends who are horror snobs and really only like Italian stuff and think slashers are mindless and dumb. Fair enough, they certainly aren't Citizen Kane (though neither is The Cat O' Nine Tails, but don't tell them that), but this flick is the one I show them to illustrate what a really good slasher looks like. In the end, they usually come around to my side. Good job, Cropsy.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Just a quick thought on

The Midnight Meat Train.

I really have to wonder if the creators of this movie read the story more than once before making it. Aside from that, I can't imagine trying to turn a story that's less than 30 pages long into a feature film. I know it's been done effectively before (the classic From Beyond immediately comes to mind), but if you've read the story you'll know why it's a fairly big stretch to embellish a story that takes place entirely in a train car and abandoned subway terminal. The presentation of the violence and gore just didn't do it for me. I love gore, but this just played like a horror version of The Matrix. I've heard a lot of praise for this movie. I didn't find it completely god awful but I certainly wouldn't bother watching it again. As a Clive Barker fan I had higher hopes for this one. Oh well.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Frightful Fives?

When it comes to the two big heavyweight franchises of horror's bastard son that is "The Slasher", of course some of their own offspring are better than others. For Friday the 13 part V: A New Beginning and A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 5: The Dream Child, the obvious couldn't be more apparent. Oft maligned and criticised by both critics and fans alike, it's easy to see why these two flicks could be considered the worst in the whole lot for both franchises.

I'm here to say, I don't hate either of these movies. Are they my favorite in their respectives series? Far from it, but the point is that these flicks maybe aren't as totally bad as many make them out to be. I'm going to go over a few pros and cons from each of these horror black sheep. I wish I could include an image for each of the pros and cons, but that would take forever, and I'm just not that dedicated. Sorry. Anyway, let's start with what is in my opinion the crappier of the two:








That's right. There are multiple images associated with this movie, and while this one (the VHS cover) isn't the best one, it's the first one I saw and it creeped me out as a kid. The movie however, did not.

The Pros

1. Dan's Death. Friggin' gross and fucked up. Very original and well conceived, and pretty damn gag inducing if you ask me.

2. Some awesome soundtrack songs. If we could go back to the days when including Bruce Dickinson and W.A.S.P. on your movie soundtrack was something a major studio would back 100% I'd be a happy camper. One happy Crystal Lake Camper.

3. Demon Gremlin Freddy Baby. The "Son of a Thousand Maniacs" flashback is retarded but awesome. I especially like that the baby crawls into Freddy's clothes on the ground and grows into his adult self.

4. Greta and her death. This girl was really hot. I liked looking at her a lot. However, her death is completely gross. In a really stupid "I can't believe this is what Freddy is doing now, whatever happened to sucking kids into the bathtub?" kind of way. I guess you could call it a con, but it's so ridiculous I have to kind of like it.

The Cons

1. Comic book kid and his dream. Dumbest thing ever, and not in an awesome way. I have no idea why they would possibly think this was a good idea. The set was pretty cool in how it real but looked like it was drawn, I'll give them that, but all in all, friggin' dumb. Massive failure.

2. An even jokier Freddy. I think Freddy was a lot more entertaining when he wasn't so "funny" (if you want to call it that). This persona of his really hits the peak of shittyness in this flick, and continues along the path in Freddy's Dead. Call me crazy, but in this regard part 2 was better than part 5 says this observer.

3. Greta didn't get naked. Yeah I said it, shoot me.

There are plenty of other crappy things in this movie, but I haven't seen it in a while, so I can't think of them right now.

And next...



Sorry for the small image. I couldn't find a larger one of the original VHS box. The newer DVD cover is boring and stock.

The Pros

1. The annoying chocolate munching kid dies VERY early on. If I had to suffer through 90 minutes of this dude I sure as hell wouldn't consider this one the better of these two films. It's only a shame the true gory shots of his death didn't make it into the film. I've seen stills and they are glorious.

2. Reggie the Reckless. I'm sorry, but this kid rules. He also has an awesomely high shrieking scream. On the new retrospective documentary His Name was Jason we get to hear some comments from him (Shavar Ross) and he says something to the effect of "I would come back, Reggie the Reckless would come back and kick Jason's butt. I will put the red suit on...". Love the red sweatsuit, Reggie.

3. Tommy Jarvis can kick some ass. The scene where he comes down to breakfast, flips out, and almost wrecks that kid. Damn right, Tommy.

4. The deaths of the lovers in the woods. I think I'd go so far as to say Eddie and Tina have the best deaths in the movie. Mention of Tina brings me to my next point...

5. Tina's topless scene. There are quite a few bare breasts in this movie, but the only ones that matter are Tina's. Nuff said. If only Violet took her shirt off shit would have been perfect. But then again, I'm all for dated 80's flicks with your stereotypical tortured soul goth/punk chick.

The Cons

1. The VHS box. Scroll back up and look at that shit again...
What a waste.

Check out the previous film's poster:


Can you get more iconic than that? This is probably my favorite slasher poster of all time. Ask any 10 people between the ages of 25 and 50 which poster image comes to mind when they think of these movies and I am willing to bet over half them will say "the one with the knife going into Jason's mask". The other ones will probably mention the one for the first movie. How could they go from something this awesome to the boring uninspired image they came up with? That's not even what Jason's mask has looked like in any of the movies. Remember how I said I couldn't find a decent sized image? That's because it's lame. It took me two seconds to find a pretty good copy of the one for The Final Chapter, and that's because it's fuckin' bad ass.


2. Jason's look. I know it's not really him, so maybe he's supposed to look like shit, but come on. The way he moves, his mask, etc. All crap.

3. Major hold backs on the gore. I know all these movies were really pillaged as far as the blood and guts were concerned, but I get the feeling this movie had some major trims and if the footage were found and reinserted it would elevate it from "eh...it's ok" status to "pretty damn decent" status.

4. The ending chase sequence is a too drawn out. Once you've seen the movie and you know it's not Jason the last 20 minutes of the movie are extremely grueling and nearly diminish any rewatchability for me.

So there you have it. Jason's Forest Cabin back in full swing. I had fun writing this entry, so please drop me a line if you have any comments. In fact, feel free to submit some of your own pros and cons.

Friday, May 8, 2009

I'm at it again

http://www.monstermania.net/MMC_Guests_Hartford.html

Look at that guest star list. I thought it couldn't get any better.

Coming soon, my thoughts on two notorious Part 5's
Friday the 13th part V: A New Beginning
and
A Nightmare on Elm Street part 5: The Dream Child

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

"Inside", torture porn, and new school horror

I have returned. Rejoice...

So I just watched Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury's Inside. While I don't consider it the total masterpiece a lot of people are proclaiming it to be, it was pretty decent. The gore was top notch, the acting was decent, and it was pretty suspenseful. As someone who's not a huge fan of many current horror movies I've admittedly only seen a couple of the French films that are being heralded as the saving grace of the modern horror film; High Tension and this one. I can see what all the fuss is about I suppose. No holds barred violence, suspenseful action, and effective plotlines, though that's not to say the plots are without their holes. To find a horror film without any plotholes is pretty rare, though obviously that doesn't stop me from loving them anyway.

The French films do what the so-called "torture porn" films fail to do, and that is to have a plotline which actually delivers and puts it in the confines of a film which harbors some suspense. I think the Saw and Hostel films are some of most boring and annoying horror films I've ever seen, and I'm not the only one who thinks so. I'm a complete gore hound. There's no question about it. Even if a movie is relatively bad, if it has well executed (no pun intended), clever kills and gore effects, it deserves some praise. Some could argue that some of the films I'm slamming, particularly the first Saw film, are clever. I won't argue that Saw, the first one, is pretty decent. They should have stopped there. Rather than having the gore and clever traps and plot twists work together as a way of engrossing the audience in the proceedings, they become the entire bulk of the film. The torture porn films are like the Hollywood equivalent of mall metal. A watered down, boring, passionless, tasteless, facsimile of something far greater than it's portrayed to be by the mainstream. However, like shitty nu/mall metal, these pieces of celluloid regurgitation disguised as real deal horror flicks (I include shitty remakes in this category too, namely TCSM, Black X-Mas, Prom Night, etc) do have two positive after effects I can think of.

1. In the case of the torture porn and other crap films, they expose people to horror, and may thus interest them enough to check out some good ones.

2. In the case of the shitty remake, not only do some people let their curiousity lead them to the original film, but it also means home video companies usually release a special edition of the original film. This happened with My Bloody Valentine, which is awesome, because that movie begged for a DVD with missing scenes.

I feel like an old man sometimes, even at the age of 25. I complain about modern films and music all the time. At least in the case of horror films, making a completely authentic 1970's horror film in this day in age would come off as more sarcastic or ironic than genuine, so I suppose we really do have to adapt to the modern age. At this point, I think the French filmmakers are going to be the ones to keep my eye on. I've seen two movies they've done that aren't terrible, and I might even go so far as to say they're "good". Anyone reading, clue me in to some other ones that are good. I read Irreversible is one to check out. Until the second coming of Lucio Fulci, or until Dario Argento really makes a true return to form, A fellow such as myself may have to rely on the new batch of Frenchmen (and women) to keep my faith in the modern horror film alive.

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21st century rocker with a multi-track mind.

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