Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Treats

DUDES. It's freaking HALLOWEEN.

The best and most fun holiday ever. Of course, like most others in our horror blogverse, every day is Halloween in our minds and hearts! A fabulous celebration of the mad and the macabre, the bloody and the gory, the slasher and the slashed. 

One thing that makes this Halloween so much awesomer is....................................................

I won the Bates Motel t-shirt and keychain from Dollar Bin Horror!!!!!!!!!!! Quite possibly the coolest thing ever. Another huge "thanks a bunch" to Dollar Bin Horror - which by the way is one kick-ass website.

In other horror related news, on October 26, Rockstar Games released one of the best downloadable addons for their recent highly popular game, Red Dead Redemption. It's called Undead Nightmare and takes us back toward the middle part of the original game, showing what horrors might have happened! 

It's another 6 hours of zombie-killing and survivor-saving fun with Red Dead and it freaking rules. I haven't gotten that far in it yet, but I love killing zombie and junk so how could I not love it? Plus, at $19.99, it's an incredible deal if you buy the whole Undead Nightmare collection, which includes the Liars and Cheats pack AND the Legends and Killers pack. If you don't have Red Dead yet, go out and buy it right now and immediately download Undead Nightmare. Twenty bucks and you're on your way to pure bliss.

I don't have any real big plans for ye grande olde Hallowe'en, but I'm cool with that. It's only the end of October and we in Missouri have had one confused weather god for the past month, with temperatures much closer to summer than autumn. In my mind, this is hoping that autumn will stretch past its usual expiration date before entering the dreaded WINTER. Because Halloween also rules because it falls during autumn, my favorite time of year for weather, food, and holidays. Apple cider, chilly nights, cool days, pumpkin pie. It all makes me happy inside. So snuggle up this fine Halloween night and celebrate your favorite holiday however you see fit!

Friday, October 29, 2010

My Top 20

Okay, I just had to do it. Yes, I'm a thief and a copycat and whatever words you can come up with. But seeing other top 20 lists just made me wonder if I could commit to a list of my own.  I still have A LOT more films that I need to see, but my list for right now is as follows (in no order):

Easy one. First movie to give me nightmares for years.

Lots of good female characters, lots of claustrophobia, lots of blood.

I love me some zombies and lasers that tear people into little pieces (even if it was bitten from Cube).

The Omen (1976)
Beautiful decapitation and awesome over-the-top music.

Yup, the remake. Try to tell me that it wasn't great. Just try.

The Fly (1986)
Cronenberg's the man. And this movie was gross. In a really giddy good way.

Wrong Turn (2003)
One of the best in recent years.

Saw (2004)
Can't help it. I love it.

Horror-comedy at its best.

Carrie (1976)
Do I need to explain why?

My favorite of Asian horror

My favorite EVER.

Still kicks ass to this day, with the one and only person who should ever play Freddy.

Incredibly haunting and beautiful ghost story.

Hellraiser (1987)
"Jesus wept!"

Evil Dead 2 (1987)
The sequel to the ultimate experience in grueling terror!

Scream (1996) 
Have and will always be a Scream supporter and lover.

[REC] (2007)
Although the American version is pretty much the same, I still can't get over how awesome this one was.

The French seem like they just wade around in blood all day and then make a movie out of it. For that, I love them.

More sci-fi but has definite horror elements - and a shit ton of fantastic actors.

Halloween is all around...

I'm a produce clerk at a grocery store. Glamorous job, yeah? Anyway. For the longest time the music they played was that basic, cheesy, non-recognizable elevator music. A few years ago they started playing some kick ass songs - 70s, 80s, and 90s stuff that you could and actually would want to sing along to.

Us at the store know that there is no worse time for our music than freaking Christmas. Anymore Alvin and the Chipmunks would make me seriously commit murder. But this year for Halloween, they've upped the quality of the music! The actual Halloween theme, random creepy songs (hell, on Sunday I heard "Voodoo" by Godsmack), and I totally spazzed out yesterday when I heard the Rosemary's Baby theme, considering my new-found love for the film.

Ah, Halloween rules. And it makes stocking apples ten times more fun. Happy Halloween in a few days! Mmwahahahahahahahahaha! Okay, I'm done. Sorry.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Movie Review: Magic (1978)

This was quite an interesting little movie! Magic was suggested to me by NetFlix and I'd never heard of it before, but it was actually a fabulous little surprise.

The first foul-mouthed ventriloquist dummy.
Anthony Hopkins plays Corky Withers (damn, what an unfortunate name, huh?) who starts out the movie as a struggling new magician. Later we see that after much practice, and adding a ventriloquist dummy to his schtick, he is soon going to become a big name. His agent tries to make a deal for a TV special, but Corky becomes strangely defensive, and he runs off to hide in a cabin in his hometown. There he meets up with a high school sweetheart (played by Ann-Margret), but a visit from her jealous husband and his agent finding his hiding spot only add to his mental deterioration as his dummy, Fats, starts to control his mind.

So after seeing Dead Silence a few years ago, one thing that I thought after the movie was, "Thanks. But I really did NOT need another reason to fear ventriloquist dummies." After Chucky and that one episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I've sort of had my fill of creepy little life-like dolls who mean me harm. So does it make me a masochist that I still wanted to watch this movie anyway? Anyway. Thankfully, and I hate to spoil the movie so soon in my review, but Fats the dummy is not the real danger here.

Same sweater, SAME MIND.
This more of a thriller dealing with the psychosis of one man. Corky has been successful in his endeavors as a magician/ventriloquist but somewhere along the way Fats became more and more a part of him. He speaks for him and says the things that Corky himself can't; when Corky gets in trouble, it is Fats that deals with the situation and tells him what to do. But what is Corky's real issue? In the beginning scene, he completely flops when he first goes on stage to perform magic at a club. When he ruins his chance for a TV special with NBC, he and his agent, Ben Greene (whom he calls Gangrene) claim that he might have a fear of success - as Gangrene has seen happen to his other stars before. But later in the movie it becomes apparent that it is really Corky's fear of failure that haunts his mind.

There is a great scene where Corky's agent comes to see him and walks in on him arguing with Fats. He sees that Corky leans on and perhaps has a very unhealthy attachment to Fats and asks him if he can make Fats shut up for five minutes. Corky can't do it. His reliance on his dummy is the outward expression of how he feels about himself and what he thinks he is capable of, both professionally and personally. The failure that he fears so much perhaps has nothing to do with his career as a magician, but in who he is as a man and how he relates to people. He's stumbled on this great relationship with a human he used to love, and yet he can't seem to fully commit to her. Fats keeps coming between them.

The always beautiful Ann-Margret.
The film did get a little confusing at times because, and perhaps this was an attempt at misdirection by the filmmakers, there were times when Corky would talk to or argue with Fats and his mouth or throat wouldn't move, as it would if he was performing. It actually took me a bit to see that he wasn't talking for Fats, but rather hearing his voice in his head. But it was a good ploy into making us think that Fats was really alive.

Anthony Hopkins is actually quite charming in this role and it is sort of a look into the future to his portrayal of Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs He plays Corky with equal parts innocence and disturbed individual. He also supplied his voice talents to Fats, giving him a high-pitched squeaky voice that is both funny and scary, especially when Fats is saying not so nice things. Ann-Margret as Corky's old crush Peg also gives a believable and likable performance, and surprisingly even shows off that famous beautiful body of hers (read: you see nipple!). I did not expect that out of her! I even liked the actor playing the husband she doesn't love anymore, Duke. However, he is completely different in appearance and personality than Hopkins' character, so it's easy to see how she could fall for Corky so fast. Duke is the scruffy, hard-drinking outdoorsman, and Corky, well, he's got the accent going for him. That always wins over the ladies.

The film was directed by Richard Attenborough, who I only knew as John Hammond from Jurassic Park, and the screenplay was written by none other than William Goldman, adapted from his own book. We don't even need to talk about how badass Goldman is. He rules, and you know it. I believe this is the first film from Attenborough I've seen, and I wasn't disappointed. The lighting and shot composition were spot on, and the pacing of the film never falters. He keeps the tension high, and you never know just what Corky (or Fats) is going to do or exactly how the story will develop.

Magic is a nice creepy film with great performances from the main players, especially Hopkins. A different sort of movie, but I'd say it was an excellent find!