Category Archives: Creep-A-Thon

Horror Movie Checklist

Watching a dozen horror movies for the past week, I have noticed some glaring similarities. I have prepared a checklist of what I learned from horror movies. A template, if you will.

thumb-20040929-check_markWe’re Taking A Trip

Have a bunch of stupid people traveling to remote area. Everything will fine.

thumb-20040929-check_markLeave Civilization Behind

Why travel in a car? How about walking on foot? Donkey?

thumb-20040929-check_markNo Bars

Bring your phone that will not work.

thumb-20040929-check_markI’ll Be Watching You

Make sure that a creepy person is sizing you up for your demise.

thumb-20040929-check_markHello! Please Kill Me!

When you hear a noise, please investigate. Let the killer know where you are.

thumb-20040929-check_markPick Off the Little Sick One

One person dies first and everybody else is on high alert.

thumb-20040929-check_markKeep Hope Alive

The optimist tries to keep the survivor’s spirits.

thumb-20040929-check_markEverything Is Not Okay

The pessimistic rebuffs any chance for survival.

thumb-20040929-check_markIs There A Doctor In The House?

One of the characters has to be a medical student to fix up the potential worm food.

thumb-20040929-check_markRock Out With Your Cock Out

Go on and have sex when a killer is about to get you.

thumb-20040929-check_markClaustrophobia

Screw being in a vast open space to be killed. Go into a small, crapped place. Great idea, brianiac!

thumb-20040929-check_markI’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up

One of your lower extremities has to fail to make you a prime target.

thumb-20040929-check_markMake Creative Kills

Slice, cut, julienne multiple enemies with swords, knives, chainsaws, etc. Whatever is near you.

thumb-20040929-check_markWhen In Doubt, Gouge Their Eyes Out

Blind them! Use your thumbs. Get in there good.

thumb-20040929-check_markCost You an Arm or a Leg

If an infected person bites you, you have to amputate said body part as gruesome as possible.

thumb-20040929-check_markHappy Entrails to You

The killer wants to expose your insides to everyone. Look at my guts!

thumb-20040929-check_markBlood Baptism

You have to have your friends or the enemy’s blood smear all over you like facial.

thumb-20040929-check_markScared Shitless

One of your friends has to sneaks up behind you.

thumb-20040929-check_markStab Me in Neck, Why Don’t You?

When you just killed a creature, immediately swing at the first thing that approaches you. Have your victim inexplicably talk while blood is running out of their throats.

thumb-20040929-check_markBye, Bye Birdy

If some annoying animal is in your way of survival, kill it.

thumb-20040929-check_markCliffhanger

If there is no way out, take the plunge and take any one in the vicinity with you.

thumb-20040929-check_markHappily Never After

Be creative. Don’t have all the characters survive.

I’m not saying that all horror movies are the same, but I just want to point out some things. I has a great time diving into the unknown. I would like to do it again. Until next time…

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The Exorcist (1973)

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Your mother’s in here, Karras. Would you like to leave a message? I’ll see that she gets it.

— Demon

I owned a VHS copy of The Exorcist for a time, but I have not seen the Director’s Cut of the movie until now. Seeing that this is the end of my “Creep-A-Thon”, I wanted to end on a high with this ten-time Academy award nominated movie and the #208 movie of All Time on IMDb by William Freidkin. It won for Best Adapted Screenplay for William Peter Blatty for adapting his own book. This movie still creeps me out.

It has been a long time since I have seen the movie that I don’t want was or wasn’t in the theatrical cut. In this version, Father Merrin (Max von Sydow) is on an archeological dig in Northern Iraq where he uncovers an ancient artifact that is reminiscent of the devil.

Cut to Georgetown where an actress, Chris McNeill (Ellen Busrtyn) in the middle of filming a movie for Burke Jennings (Jack MacGowran). She rents out a house with her daughter, Regan (Linda Blair). Everything seems to fine, except Mrs. MacNeil hears noises from the attic. She thinks that there are rats. When she investigates, nothing is there.

After Regan’s twelfth birthday, she starts acting weird with spacing out, the inappropriate outbursts and swearing. Chris and Regan don’t know what is going on. Chris contacts Dr. Klein (Barton Heyman) to perform a battery of tests on Regan. He concludes that she has a lesion in her temporal lobe that causes the change in behavior.

In consulting with Dr. Taney (Robert Symonds) with x-rays, they cannot find on her brain. The doctors are stumped. They have exhausts of their options medically. It could be mental. A therapist (Arthur Storch) is called to put Regan under hypnosis. During the session, a spirit that inhabits her body is brought out.

There last resort is an exorcism to drive the spirit out of her body. Father Karras (Jason Miller) wants the task to perform the exorcism, but his superiors want to have a person that had actually performed. The church enlists Father Merrin to lead the exorcism.

I can’t believe that I was bored at some parts with this movie. During the movie, I was dozing. I don’t remember the movie having these B, C and D subplots with Karras’ mother, the mystery of the death of the director, the noises in the attic, etc.

The movie is still good. This movie is so creepy that it might happen to you. Being possessed by the devil. It’s more real than a vampire, a werewolf or a zombie coming after you.

Judgment: After all this time, the movie is very effective by freaking you out.

Rating: ****

Interview with the Vampire (1994)

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Your body’s dying. Pay no attention, It happens to us all.

— Lestat

I haven’t seen Interview with the Vampire in years. It has been so long that I forgot that Neil Jordan directed the film that was based on the book by Anne Rice. She wrote the screenplay and was famously know for disliking Tom Cruise being cast as Lestat. I still enjoy watching it again.

Louis de Pointe du Lac (Brad Pitt) is a 200-year-old vampire recounts his life story to an interviewer, Daniel Malloy (Christian Slater) in his sparse apartment in San Francisco. At first, Malloy doesn’t believe that he is one, but Louis’ ability to movie stealth speed convinces him.

Louis starts in beginning circa 1791 Louisiana when his wife and child die within a year each other. He doesn’t want to live until he meets Lestat de Lioncourt  (Tom Cruise), a vampire that could grant him his wish for death.

Louis decides that he wants to have the gift of immortality. Newly turned, Lestat teaches Louis about how to be a vampire. Lestat has an unquenchable thirst for blood, going through three victims a night. Louis has the hunger, the desire, the thirst for blood, but he doesn’t want to take a human’s life. Over time, Louis hates Lestat for giving him his undead life. He resents him.

Lestat turns his attentions to the slaves in the surrounding area that rises concern with their servant girl, Yvette (Thandie Newton). When Louis’ desire takes over and tries to bite her, the slaves along with himself burns the mansion him and Lestat share, down.

Louis is always tortured about being vampire. They become nomads, moving from the place to place, feeding the people of New Orleans. Everything comes to a head when Louis couldn’t kill a young woman that Lestat wants him to do.

On the streets, a young orphaned girl is dying of the plague, Claudia (Kirsten Dunst). Louis takes pity on her. She is taken in and fed Lestat’s blood when she turns. She becomes their surrogate daughter when the thirst takes over her.

She becomes Lestat’s protégé. She matched his thirst for the kill. Lestat want to rule over their lives. Over three decades pass and Claudia wonders why she cannot grow up. Both Claudia and Louis are tortured because they realize that they will never grow old, never die. They want to leave Lestat.

I was swept up with the allure of these vampires. The dialogue is still sharp. The costumes were fantastic. I have a few minor gripes with Antonio Bandera’s heavy accent as Armand. Sometimes I couldn’t understand what he was saying. You can tell that there was some wire work in this movie. It shows. There is also a portion of the film that I need explained. Spoiler section time.

Judgment: A great vampire story that makes you wonder why people are into Twilight.

Rating: ****1/2

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Blade (1998)

blade_ver1

You give Frost a message from me. You tell him it’s open season on all suckheads.

— Blade

Blade was probably the first movie that I ever seen with a Black man as the hero—more of an anti-hero. Having seen the entire trilogy, it follows the same progression. Everybody enjoys the first movie, loves the second movie and wishes that the third doesn’t exist. This movie is a decade old and it is showing its long in the tooth.

Based on Marvel comic book series, the tale of the half-human/half-vampire begins with a mysterious woman, Racquel (Traci Lords) leads a date into an underground club where he discovers that it is filled with vampires

Blade (Wesley Snipes) shows up the place to lay waste to the vamps that are in there. He runs into an old lackey, Quinn (Donal Logue) that he tortures by pinning him up and setting him on fire.

Quinn’s body is brought to the hospital where hematologist, Karen Henson (N’Bushe Wright) is performing an autopsy on the charred remains with Curtis (Tim Guinee). What they don’t know that vampires could regenerate themselves. Quinn comes back to un-life to bite Curtis dead and Karen.

Blade comes to the rescue again to save Karen as Quinn gets away. He brings her back to his abandoned warehouse to his handler, Whistler (Kris Kristofferson). Whistler examines her to determine that she doesn’t have very long before she turns. He tries to slow down the progressions, but they need a remedy.

The underground club owner, Deacon Frost (Stephen Dorff) is the thorn on the side of Dragonetti (Udo Kier) who is the leader of the vampire brood that thinks he shouldn’t be a part of the group because is not a pure vampire.

Whistler urges Karen to end herself before she turns. They let her go on her way. Back at her apartment, Officer Krieger (Kevin Patrick Walls), a familiar aka a human wannabe vampire that is an errand boy to Frost tries to kill her. Blade saves her again.

Their steps led to the underground vampire archives where Deacon wants to translate ancient text to fulfill a prophecy to sacrifice the spirit of twelve to awaken the Blood God, La Magra. The after effects would lead to a vampire apocalypse.

I still had a good time with this film. The side gags are still good. The action is solid, but over time, the film has not aged well. The CG is wonky. The acting from some of the supporting, especially from Arly Jover who plays Frost’s moll, Mercury is not good.

Judgment: A campy good time with a kick ass action anti-hero.

Rating: ***1/2

28 Weeks Later (2007)

twenty_eight_weeks_later_ver3

It all makes sense. They’re executing code red. Step 1: Kill the infected. Step 2: Containment. If containment fails, then Step 3: Extermination.

— Scarlet

The slick-looking 28 Weeks Later is a slight departure from the gritty goodness of Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later. I actively avoided seeing this at the theater, because I thought that it would be a retread of a movie that I thoroughly enjoyed. Juan Carlos Fresnadillo took over the director reigns with Danny Boyle serving as executive producer. This movie is a worthy follow-up.

This story follows a different group of survivors from the outbreak than the previous film. Donald (Robert Carlyle) and his wife, Alice (Catherine McCormack) are hiding out in an older couple’s house when the infected bust into the house. He cowardly leaves his wife behind with the infected in order to escape.

Over the next 28 weeks, the infected with the rage virus have died from starvation. American forces resolve the situation in London. It is declared free from the infection. The rebuilding begins with the survivors.

Fifteen thousand survivors are allowed back in London before they go into quarantine, then the refugee camps. The survivors are living on the Isle of Dogs, a safe haven for the survivors aka District 1. The surrounding areas are contaminated for the dead infected that hasn’t been cleaned up yet.

Donald’s kids, Tammy (Imogen Poots) and Andy (Mackintosh Muggleton) are reunited with them. They wonder where their mother is at and Donald bends the truth about what happened to her.

After having a nightmare, Andy fears that he might forget what his mother looks like. The kids sneak away from the island where a sniper, Doyle (Jeremy Renner) spots them. They go back to their old house. In the process of getting their, Andy finds his mother hiding in the upstairs. She appears not to be an infected.

She is quartered in a special area of the Island where Scarlet (Rose Byrne) examines her. She determines that Alice contains the virus, because of her genetic mutation is immune to the infection, but she is a carrier of the virus. Unbeknownst to Donald that sees her later on when the virus is reignited.

This movie is more schizophrenic that it’s predecessor. Some sequences were too jarring and frantic for my taste. I didn’t like at the last half of the movie. The texture is a little off trying to make midday into night. There are some inconsistencies and plot-holes that bothered me. I will discuss them in the spoiler section.

There were some interesting ideas in this movie about Andy and how his same mutation could help contain the rage virus.

Judgment: A solid installment in this franchise that does have its flaws.

Rating: ****

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The Ruins (2008)

ruins_ver3

We’re being quarantined here. We’re being kept here to die.

— Amy

The Ruins is the next entry in my “Creep-A-Thon”. I do not know what this movie was about when I saw it. Judging by the poster, the ruins are going to get them. I was somewhat right. This is an interesting way to torture your characters.

Based on the book of the same name by Scott Smith, the movie is about four college age friends; Jeff (Jonathan Tucker), Eric (Shawn Ashmore) and their girlfriends, Amy (Jena Malone) and Stacy (Laura Ramsey), that are on vacation in Mexico. They are bored. They wanted to have a last hurrah before going back to school.

A German traveler, Mathias (Joe Anderson) befriends them and asks them to come along on a trek to long lost ancient Mayan temple that hasn’t been discovered yet. Mathias wants to find his older brother, Heinrich (Jordan Patrick Smith) that disappeared looking at the same area.

They travel to the remote place from a makeshift map with a friend of Mathias, Dimitri (Dimitri Baveas). When they arrive at the pyramid, the local Mayans in the area, Lead Mayan (Sergio Calderón), Mayan Bowman (Jesse Ramirez), Mayan Horsemen (Balder Moreno) confront the group.

The locals kill Dimitri and chase them to the top of the pyramid. They surround it. The group wants to know why the locals cannot let them down. Jeff thinks that they would be rescued because before they left Dimitri left another copy of the map with a couple of Greeks.

The more time that the group stays up there, the more the pyramid wants to kill them.

I thought that this is a departure from the typical horror movie. That was no human killing them. It’s a plant. I know that sounds lame, but I thought it was more intriguing of a concept. The psychological effects that being near the vines are doing to them. By the way, doesn’t the growth on the temple look like marijuana?

Judgment: It’s a different type of horror movie to pique your interest.

Rating: ***1/2

Dying Breed (2008)

dying_breed_ver2

Dying Breed is an Australian film that I heard about from a Cinematical article about the controversial poster it had when it was released. From what I gathered with the rejected poster was that it had to deal with cannibals. I just wished that the cannibals would devour the producers of this film.

This movie centers around the folklore of Alexander Pierce (Peter Docker), the Irish convict who fed on human flesh to survive in the woods and his descendants.

Nina (Mirrah Foulkes) is a researcher that goes to the same Tasmanian woods where her older sister (Sally McDonald) disappeared eight years earlier. The sister tried to look for a rare Tasmanian tiger that was rumored to be extinct. Nina tries to resume her research.

Her doormat of a boyfriend, Matt (Leigh Whannell) comes along with her with his pompous older brother, Jack (Nathan Phillips) and his girlfriend, Rebecca (Melanie Vallejo).

The quartet goes to a podunk town near the Pieman River where the locals size them up. They creep out the girls and Jack wants to throw down when one of the local keyed his brand new pickup truck.

Nina is concerned that things are not what they seem when he has newspaper clippings about a couple of hikers disappeared from the area over the last years of recorded history in the area.

Going out into the woods, the four hikers realize that maybe it was a mistake to search for something that is not there.

I wasn’t terribly impressed with this movie. The performances were fine. I thought that Nathan Phillips annoyed me. I wanted him to die so much. The movie is typical. He does. I was happy. The only thing that I marginally like was the ending.

As a bonus, I will show you the rejected poster for this movie. I hope you haven’t had anything to eat yet.

Judgment: This movie will certainly leave a bad taste in your mouth.

Rating: **

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The Descent (2005)

SAW_1Sheet_Comps

I’m an English teacher, not fucking Tomb Raider.

— Beth

The Descent is a movie that I eagerly anticipated seeing, but haven’t had the chance until now. Having a female cast is something different that I thought I could get into. The movie as it turns out is not unique.

After a river rafting trip, a family gets into a car accident where the husband Paul (Oliver Milburn) and child Jessica (Molly Kayll) die, leaving the mother, Sarah (Shauna MacDonald) with survivor’s guilt.

A year later, Sarah’s best friend, Juno (Natalie Mendoza) arranges a trip to Chatooga National Park where they could walk the caverns. Along for the trip is Holly (Nora-Jane Noone), Beth (Alex Reid) and sisters, Becca and Sam (Saskia Mulder, Myanna Buring).

Juno coordinated the trip, but she is thrill seeker. When they all go out to explore the Boreham Caverns, Juno decides to leaves the booklet for the caverns behind in the care. Big mistake.

They descend into the caves and explore the vastness of them. Juno leads them into alternate passageways. It wasn’t until a cave in that the women realize that they are not in Boreham Caverns. They are in an unnamed cave that Juno wants to explore so she could name it after Sarah.

With no way out, the group tries to find a way to the surface. Along the way, Sarah keeps on hearing giggling noises in the distance. At first, it was thought to be an after effect of her PTSD, but something does not feel right. The women soon realize that they are disturbing the first inhabitants of the caves.

Watching the movie could be a chore. Nothing major happens to the girls until over halfway to the movie. I was thinking what the hell is taking so long. Watching it, you do feel claustrophobic with the tight squeezes of the tunnels. There were some inconsistencies that I have an issue with, but to discuss that will be in the spoiler section.

Judgment: A different configuration to the same basic plot.

Rating: ***

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Dead Snow (2009)

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I have heard about Tommy Wirkola’s Dead Snow for some time now. I wanted to see this movie so bad. It was nowhere near my local indie theater during the summer. After watching the movie, I was giddy with glee over the blood, guts and zombie killin’.

The story takes place during an Easter vacation in Øksfjord where seven friends are traveling to the cabin of Vegard’s (Lasse Valdal) girlfriend, Sara (Ane Dahl Torp). The problem is that a zombie killed her in the beginning of the film, but they don’t know that.

Vegard goes ahead of the rest of the group to warm up the cabin when the others get there. There is the med student that is squeamish of blood, Martin (Vegar Hoel) and his girlfriend, Hanna (Charlotte Frogner), the horn dog, Roy (Stif Frode Henriksen), the shy girl, Liv (Evy Kasseth Røsten), the film geek, Erlend (Jeppe Beck Laursen) and the girl that drawn to him, Chris (Jenny Skavlan).

The gang hangs out in the cabin waiting for Sara to come when a stranger shows up at their door. His name is Turgåer (Bjørn Sundquist). He wants a place to get warm. As time passes, he tells the group about the legend of the area that the kids don’t know about.

Nazi soldiers called themselves “Einsatz” where stationed there to stop communiqué between the British and the Russians. Colonel Herzog (Ørjan Gamst) and his troops tortured and killed the German people that were living in the neighborhood. Near the end of the war when the Russians were on their way, the Nazis looted the villages of gold, silver, anything shiny. The villagers fought back against and had them retreat into the mountains where they likely froze to death or maybe not.

When the man leaves, the group thinks that he is just a crazy nut trying to scare them. The next morning, Vegard searches the mountainside for Sara. He comes across the tent of the guy that was at the cabin the other night. He sees that he is disemboweled. He realizes that they are not alone.

I was not excepting this to be a groundbreaking movie. I wanted to see some zombies get butchered. That’s what I got. The movie was bloody disgusting and I loved every minute of it.

There were a couple of things that bothered the hell out of me. When Turgåer was recalling the story about the evil Nazis, it felt a little unnecessary. There was also a point when Erlend finds a jewelry box that was integral to the plot. The payoff with that was a bit lame.

Judgment: I have three words for you. Zombie Nazi killin’. Come on!

Rating: ****

Blood: The Last Vampire (2009)

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Blood: The Last Vampire was not on my radar when it premièred this summer in limited release. Now that I am in full swing of my “Creep-A-Thon”, I decided to check out this recent DVD release. In retrospect, this movie is not that good.

This movie is based on the anime series of the same name, the story revolves around a lone vampire hunter named Saya (Gianna) in 1970 Tokyo. Her only goal is to kill Onigen (Koyuki), a powerful vampire leader that killed her father when she was a child.

Her handler, Michael (Liam Cunningham) provides intel to her where vampire nests are at in the city, trying to flush Onigen out of hiding. Michael and his right hand man, Luke (JJ Feild) work with a secret organization called “The Council” to save humanity from the vampires.

Saya’s latest assignment is to infiltrate a military base, Kanto and enroll in the high school there. Gen. McKee (Larry Lamb) and Frank Nielsen (Andrew Plavin) meet the trio with resistance. They wanted to know there presence. They lied and said that they were with the CIA.

Saya sits in class with the general daughter, Alice (Allison Miller) where she is picked on for being a daddy’s little girl. During a kata class, two classmates, Sharon and Linda (Masiela Lusha, Ailish O’Connor) try to attack Alice. Saya comes in and saves her life when it is revealed that they were both vampires. Alice witnesses the girls being killed.

She goes to her father and there is a big commotion over the presence of the new people on the base. Alice follows her teacher, Mr. Powell (Colin Salmon) that almost set her up for her demise to a local bar where she finds out that it is filled with vampires. Once again, Saya comes to save the damsel in distress.

From that moment on, both girls have a price on them from the Council and Onigen traveling with her escort, Kato Takarora (Yasuki Kurata) that Saya had a run-in with years earlier.

This movie tries to be like a Japanese Kill Bill, but it’s not. Saya is no The Bride. The acting and dialogue is awful. The action sequences were somewhat cool, but the badly rendered CGI ruined most of them. The endless amounts of CG blood got on my nerves. The movie came from the same producers as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Hero. I was not impressed.

Judgment: If you want to see a vampire movie that is worse than Twilight, watch this movie.

Rating: *1/2

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