Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Stay Tuned

I will be doing some reviewing pretty soon, so no, I'm not letting this die again.

I went out on a limb and ordered a copy of Trick 'r Treat, which from what I hear, is a really respectable new spooky flick that has all the earmarks of a "classic". I sure hope so. I hate buying DVD's that end up sucking, and I'm pretty picky about modern stuff. More on this soon.

I will be watching The Fog shortly, which I usually do once or twice a year. Great and underappreciated movie. May put up some thoughts on that as well.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

oh, the shame...

So I really dropped the ball yesterday. I didn't go to the Rock n Shock horror convention, which a bunch of my friends did. I missed out on a few horror stars I've yet to meet. I also missed out on getting to see Saint Vitus live and hang out with them and my friends afterwards. What a buffoon I am.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Combat Shock/American Nightmares




This one will be brief because my good friend Phil over at Grim Horror already reviewed this flick a while back, and his review was my reason for seeking this film out.

This movie packs a punch. Buddy G's Combat Shock is one of the most relentlessly bleak, disturbing, and depressing films I've ever seen. Because of these qualities it succeeds. Even though it's one of the most uncomfortable movies to watch I can say that I "like" it, because it brings you to the place it intends to take you and doesn't let go. It is very hard to find cinema this intense and disturbing, yet this honest at the same time.
Combat Shock is a film detailing a Vietnam War veterans' life of poverty, dementia, and depression as he struggles to cope with continuing visions of his life in combat and as a POW. Frankie's entire life is an abysmal mess. No job, no money, no food, shitty delapitated apartment (of which he is being evicted), a nagging wife (can you blame her?), and a baby with deformities blamed on Frankie's agent orange exposure in Vietnam. He has seemingly no friends or family who can help him, and has criminals he is in debt to. Things are not looking good for Frankie.

As Phil and many others have said before me, Combat Shock shares themes and has a similar tone to films such as The Driller Killer, Eraserhead, Maniac, and Taxi Driver. A definite must-see if you're into this type of thing. Troma recently released a beautiful 2-Disc DVD, so grab it while it's available and prepare to have your mind mangled. The comparison to The Driller Killer is mostly in it's gritty, raw New York atmosphere, as well as having a similar look to the cinematography, at least as far as the film is concerned. I wouldn't be surprised if both were originally 16mm, but I don't know a lot about that sort of thing. Combat Shock was blown up to 35mm by Troma when they purchased the film, it was shot in 16mm and originally titled American Nightmares. The other films I brought up for comparison are mostly only tied thematically. David Lynch's Eraserhead baby is very obviously referenced here and the way the child is represented as part of the story definitely shows the influence that film had on Mr. G's Combat Shock. While they share obvious similarities, Combat Shock makes (Scorsese's masterpiece) Taxi Driver look like an episode of Sesame Street. No joke. I'm going to try to avoid ruining the film for you, but if you've seen any of the films I've made reference to, I'm sure you have an idea of what happens as Frankie's fragile psyche receives continuous bludgeoning as the film plays out.
If you're depressed, this movie can have two effects one you (maybe both?):
A) It can make you feel little better about your own life situation because hey, at least you're not in the same shitty situation Frankie is in. However, this soon wears off because this movie is so raw and realistic that obviously it draws from real life shit that many people have gone through, and that's also pretty damn depressing; knowing how many unhappy and seemingly helpless people there are out there.
or
B) It can spin your depression in an even further developing downward spiral of paranoia and hopelessness.
Either way, you still lose. Enjoy the movie, manics. Don't worry, I'll be back to something a little more fun next time around.
Well, so much for being brief.

16 more days 'til Halloween?

Can you believe it, folks? We're almost there, and that means 2009 is also drawing to a close. Where'd the time go?

For a horror junkie I'm admittedly not very into dressing up. A few Halloweens ago when a friend of mine was dressed a zombie and grunted the all too familiar call of "brains!" I felt the need to speak up and explain him and my girlfriend at the time which film series this originated in (as they had not seen it). The aforementioned (now ex) girlfriend was confused and said "for someone as insane about horror as you, how can you not like dressing up for Halloween?". I really don't know.

I'll tell you what I really like about Halloween though: Horror DVD sales. This is the time of year when I scarf up all the leftover goodies I had been contemplating purchasing but for nearly half the normal price. It often times pays to wait a while after a DVD is released before purchasing, especially if Halloween is on the way, as not only do DVD's go down in price months after release, but Halloween causes the prices to plummet. I purchased like four movies the other day for like 6 dollars a piece. When you're considering that two of them were special editions that actually boasted special features, that's a bargain, and that makes me pretty giddy.

I always get excited about watching horror movies in October. Watching Suspiria (or Halloween for that matter) always feels all the more fitting when the air is chilly and dry, and you can hear the leaves blowing around outside. July just doesn't create the same mood. Though that doesn't stop me.

Every year, often times on Halloween, I choose to watch the immortal film taking it's name from this joyous holiday. Something about the season just doesn't feel complete until I screen this gore-less classic and marvel yet again at it's effectiveness. A true masterpiece. We all know how I feel about (most of) the sequels though.

Readers (?), have any of you unearthed any treasures this Halloween season?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Drag Me to Heck!

This is how you do a PG-13 horror film folks. I was really skeptical when I heard Drag Me to Hell wasn't R rated, but I was wrong, and now wish I hadn't waited until DVD to check it out.

Though a self professed gore fiend, this movie is pretty bold with it's use of body fluids and other nastyness and pushes the boundaries of the rating. A number of things work for it regarding it's use of horror and mild comedy. While it is a serious story, it plays very much like an old episode of The Twilight Zone or an EC Comics/Creepshow tale (in that it's a morality tale with a semi-humorous twist ending). While it doesn't get into any full blown slapstick comedy scenes, it uses humor to it's benefit in that it lightens the mood a little at times. Highly recommended.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Holy crap, guess what? I haven't died.

What have I been doing? You probably don't want to know. Or rather, I don't want to tell you. My recent activities make posting pros and cons of 1980's slasher films sound hip by comparison, and I don't think I can deal with the ridicule.

Zombieland? Nope haven't seen it. Will I? It's possible. I am a bit of a snob though, and wonder how good this thing can possibly be. Woody Harrelson is awesome, but being that zombies are "cool" right now (and not in a Fulci kind of way) I have to question the merits of this one. Call me jaded of call me elitist, I don't care. People at work who know I'm into horror crap have attempted to crawl into my little world by talking about this movie with me and these are people who've only seen 28 Days Later and the new Dawn of the Dead. That said, I'll probably end up seeing it this week while I'm on vacation.

You know what's really awesome though? The Creepy and Eerie Magazine reprints I've been reading.

No one even reads this! After 6 months, can I blame them?

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21st century rocker with a multi-track mind.

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