Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Short and Sweet: Something's Coming to Get Us

I'm not dead, just busy. Will be getting back to reviews soon!

In the meantime, here is a nice little short film for you all to enjoy today! The drawings are pretty cool, I gotta say.

Monday, April 13, 2015


Wait, what? Is this little blog FIVE years old today? Yes, it is!

Seriously, where does the time go? I wish I had had time to create a more detailed post for this anniversary - thanking everybody and whatnot - but really, what more is there to say but THANK YOU?! Thank you to everyone that has ever stopped by and liked or hated what they read. Thank you to everyone that has ever taken the time out of their day to write a comment or send me a nice email (and I have kept all of them!). Thank you to all my blog buddies (you know who you are) for all the support, encouragement, criticisms, and compliments. Also thank you to those blog buddies who have done a great job on your own blogs, because it only inspires me to keep going all the time.
I've met so many great people over the years, made some cool contacts and connections, and had the opportunity to discover a whole slew of movies and books that I probably otherwise would not have found out about. My blog is also how I got my current position as a contributing writer for WickedHorror.com, and I am totally loving that so far!
So basically, this has been one amazing ride! I never thought having this little blog would take me as far as it has, and I am so completely grateful for every good and bad experience I've had. Us horror fiends are the best, and I look forward to five (or ten or twenty) more years of dishing about our favorite genre films! Bloody best to all of you!!!

In related news, I also turned 30 yesterday, so that's two milestones reached back-to-back. What a fantastic year!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Movie Roundup: V/H/S: Viral, Repentance, and The Fifth Element

V/H/S: Viral (2014)
More Nacho Vigalondo in the roundup today, friends. But his appearance here is both good and bad. Overall, V/H/S: Viral made me pretty angry while I was watching it because it so immensely shitty. I didn't totally love either of the first two films, but they each had some really solid stand-out segments that were put together with a semi-decent wraparound story. This third installment, though, basically has no wraparound story - or at least not one that really makes any sense or is explained all that well. The individual segments then just feel sort of there, with no real cohesion. "Dante the Great" was actually pretty cool with its flashy visuals and neat special effects but it didn't match the style of any of the previous V/H/S segments so it feels really out of place; Nacho's "Parallel Monsters" was probably the best one; and then it all goes to shit with the last segment "Bonestorm" and then the conclusion of the wraparound. Really wasn't feeling this movie at all, or maybe it's just that the V/H/S movies have run their course. Let's hope so, because I don't know if there is any coming back from this.

Repentance (2014)
I was curious about this one because Forest Whitaker is obviously THE MAN, and it was sorta recommended to me in a roundabout way. So anyway, the movie is about a life coach who needs money when his deadbeat brother comes back into his life, so he takes on a personal client in Angel Sanchez (Whitaker). But Angel gets all unnerved when the coach stops his therapy, so he kidnaps him and holds him hostage in his home. The torture that Angel inflicts is actually pretty harsh at times, which doesn't really mesh with the movie's tone. It says "psychological thriller" but it could just as easily be a straight-up drama, even if the main character didn't lose any fingers. Or get shot. The ending is ambiguous, so we don't really get to find out either way. Overall Repentance feels like a way more intense Lifetime movie that thinks it's saying something really poignant, but isn't really saying anything at all. Sadly, Whitaker isn't worth this one - it's a miss.

The Fifth Element (1997)
Yeah, I had never seen The Fifth Element until like, two months ago. So how could NO ONE tell me how awesome this movie was for the past EIGHTEEN YEARS?! I mean, oh my goodness, The Fifth Element is just such a joyous feast for the eyes and ears from start to finish. It has Bruce Willis, Chris Tucker, Gary Motherfucking Oldman, Milla Jovovich, and all kinds of futuristic shenanigans that had me so fucking mesmerized and amazed. And I LOVE Luc Besson, too, so I had to kick myself in the ass even harder for not seeing this sooner. Just go ahead and chastise me, I know I deserve it.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Movie Review: Nurse (2013)

Wait, this movie was in 3D? Especially after finally seeing it, I simply must ask the question - "What in the hell for?" I have never heard of such an unnecessary use of 3D before. Truth be told, the movie wasn't all that good for 2D, either. The poster makes it look like it's going to be a lot more sexy, bloody, and interesting than it ends up being, and that is very, very disappointing.

Abby Russell is a dedicated nurse at All Saints Hospital, but she has a weakness for seducing and then murdering men she feels are the worst - cheaters. She is thrown from this personal mission when she becomes involved with Danni Rodgers, a new young nurse at her hospital that she takes under her wing.

Nurse had the perfect setup to be a wonderfully fun camp film with a healthy dose of blood and sex, but it doesn't take advantage of anything that it has going for it. A big problem that contributed to this is that the movie lacks any real focus - it doesn't fully commit to what kind of movie it wants to be, and it doesn't fully focus on a single character. Abby's voiceover throughout suggests that as our narrator, the movie should be told through her eyes. And yet, half of the film seems focused on Abby and the other half seems focused on Danni, the protagonist. The tone is also hard to place. It's a black comedy, but it's not funny at all. It's bloody, but it's not exactly horror all the time. I don't know what it is.

Paz de la Huerta was miscast. Sure, she has a killer hot bod that looks good in that ridiculous nurse's uniform, but everything else about her was so wrong. Abby Russell should have been much more magnetic and charismatic. De la Huerta's diction made it seem like she was going for sultry and pouty, when it really sounded like someone whose first language was not English because of how long it took her to say each line of dialogue (P.S. this is not the case - Paz is American!). Though she gives Abby a lot of confidence in everything that she does, she doesn't make her all that charming, or like she is capable of seducing any man she comes in contact with, which is what the movie suggests. I read somewhere that Dita von Teese was supposed to be in the movie - I think she would have made a much better Abby.

Katrina Bowden, the adorable cutie from Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, tries to step up her game in Nurse as Danni Rodgers. There isn't really much to her character though, and she basically ends up being the typical "figure out who this crazy bitch really is" characters so we can get to the bloody showdown at the end. Boris Kodjoe plays a guy who is way too hot to be a policeman, and is also one of the worst policemen ever because he can't figure out for himself that Abby is a nutcase.

Speaking of the bloody showdown - it really is the best part of the movie, but it's not enough. If Abby was this crazy murderer without a conscience, then we should've gotten some better kills earlier in the movie than just her pushing some guy off a roof. They save all the really good, bloody stuff for the end and it's over far too quickly for it to be satisfying. The flow of the action at the end is also really off and everything happens too easily for Abby. How the hell did she get out of the hospital after all that carnage anyway, SERIOUSLY? Danni is pretty much forgotten about at the end, and another character who they try to make all symbolic (the only man Abby likes) is talked into committing a felony also way too easily just so they can get to the winky-wink ending they had picked out.

I don't know about you all, but I was left with a huge "That's it?" reaction for Nurse. If they had really embraced the inherent campiness that the movie had going for it visually, it could have been much more fun and effective.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Movie Roundup: Houdini, Open Windows, and Dark Skies

Houdini  (2014)
Every since I was a child, I have loved magic. There was this TV show that came on once every year called The World's Greatest Magic and I never missed it. Magic shows are just fucking awesome, I don't care who you are. I also learned everything I possibly could about Harry Houdini and still consider him one of my personal idols, so when I finally got the chance to watch this (yet another) miniseries documenting the life of the Great Houdini, I was all over it. And I loved it, too. I was even crying by the end because I am that much of a dweeb and I love this guy that much. Adrien Brody as Houdini was fantastic, and Kristen Connolly as his wife was okay, but mostly I loved the way the story of Houdini's life was presented here. During Brody's voiceovers, he kept referring to the bad things that happened to him as a "punch in the gut" - which was both genius and sad because a punch in the gut is exactly what led to Houdini's death. "Houdini" is a very solid miniseries and a respectful look into the life of one of America's icons.

Open Windows (2014)
What do you call cheese that isn't yours? NACHO CHEESE! Pardon the bad joke, but I needed something to help me stray from getting too angry over Open Windows. Nacho Vigalondo (hence the bad nacho cheese joke) helms this movie with a concept that I admit at first sounded kinda cool - but once I saw it in practice, realized it wasn't at all. Open Windows stars Elijah Wood as a geeky fanboy to Sasha Grey who gets sucked into this crazy online chaos scam by a super-computer-hacker. I know that doesn't make any sense, but neither does the movie. The whole movie is shown to the audience through a series of "open windows" on Wood's computer screen - random cameras and chat screens, that kind of thing. It got very old after a while, and as the movie headed toward the stupidest and most disappointing climax ever, the quality got very lame as well. I finished watching it just to see how it would end, but I just wasn't feeling the last half of the movie at all.

Dark Skies (2013)
Gah! This fucking movie tricked me again! It tricked me into watching it the first time, thinking that it might be good, but it wasn't good so I forgot all about it. Then it popped up in my Netflix suggestions again and, since I had forgotten about it, I was all "Hmm, maybe this could be good." It's not good, damnit! It's not! Why couldn't I remember that?! Dark Skies is an utterly run-of-the-mill, boring piece of PG-13 alien crap. There's nothing new, nothing interesting, nothing that hasn't been done many times before - which was probably why it was so forgettable. The bland, one-dimensional characters don't help the movie at all, and the acting is only good enough to earn a paycheck. Dark Skies is a turkey, you all probably already know that.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Short and Sweet: The Last Dinner

If you don't let your limitations bother you and just focus on coming up with a great story, then you will be successful, that's what I've always believed. Case in point, this short film by Steve Lanthripp called The Last Dinner. It's low budget and it shows, but the concept is absolutely genius! I don't even care about the rest. It's one of those shorts where you think you know exactly what is going on, but then they pull the rug out from under you and take you somewhere totally different. Love that. There's also a cheeky sense of humor that I love too. Great job!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Project Terrible: Morning Star (2014)

Overall, this Project Terrible round was not all that painful. I got some laughs and I got some goofy sci-fi and now I've got some... well, I'm not all that sure what this was. Morning Star, my pick from Robert Mohr at Gaming Creatively (and Mondo Bizarro), is some odd period piece that looks good but doesn't have anything else to back it up. Let me explain why.

This is a movie that has forgotten something that is usually pretty important to movies. Like a plot. Morning Star does not really have one. You'd think someone would have noticed that, but it seems like they were too focused on trying to make the film all deep and meaningful - which it is not at all. Basically, the movie begins with some lame battle where one dude who is never given a name survives. His best buddy ever was killed in said battle, which makes him sad, so he wraps the body up and sets out to take him home to be buried.

But you see, that really is as far as they get plot-wise. The whole movie is a repetitive series of the dude - we'll call him Soldier - travelling, sleeping, dreaming, meeting up with strange people, having conversations with these people where they both talk a lot but nobody really says anything, and having lame swordfights. THAT'S IT. His prophetic dreams or hallucinations supposedly give the audience clues as to Soldier's state of mind or what's really going on, but not so much. Even at the end, which is the most convoluted, ridiculous ending you have ever seen, you still have no idea what the fuck has been going on for the past 90 minutes. I even took some notes and I have no idea. Granted, I don't really care, but at least I tried. The filmmakers didn't.

I will give them some points because Morning Star does look good. Most of the movie takes place in various places outdoors so there are some nice landscape shots. This technique probably also helped them out since the film takes place during the Inquisition, all they had to worry about getting sorta-historically accurate was the costuming. Could be totally wrong, but again, I don't care. The really disappointing thing is that all these medieval swordfights that Soldier gets into suck really bad. Not one drop of blood! Ever! How is that possible? I thought for sure that these guys must have been inspired by Gladiator or Beowulf and would surprise the audience with some gory kills. What? Did you spend all your money on fake leather and dirt? 'Cause that's all there is in the movie.

The audience doesn't know if half of the events in Morning Star are ones that actually happened or not. The "plot" is just as comprehensible as Soldier's dreams. They try to make it so meaningful for Soldier, too, by having him be continuously visited by his dead buddy (although not in an awesome American Werewolf in London way) but that certainly doesn't help our confusion. What furthers the confusion even more than I thought possible, was when the movie suddenly jumps back in time to one of the very first scenes and then continue on from there as if none of the other stuff ever occurred. The dialogue tries to wax poetical with every word out of every character's mouth, but it just ends up sounding like narcissistic, inane bullshit. None of it means anything, don't even try to make me believe otherwise.

Morning Star is nothing more than a waste of time and film. There is no meaning and no reason for this movie to even exist, as it has no meaning. Ugh, I really hate movies like that. So that's it for this Project Terrible round, friends! It's been fun, as always!

That Netflix description for Morning Star though. "After conquering their enemies, a group of triumphant warriors returns home. But what starts as a day of celebration quickly turns to horror." For serious? That could not be further from the truth, and whatever jackhole wrote that is setting some viewers up for some very serious disappointment if they happen to his 'play' for Morning Star. And that's just not right.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Project Terrible: The Phantom from 10,000 Leagues (1955)

For something completely different, we have my next Project Terrible film, assigned to me by Mr. Maynard Morrissey. And it's a crappy science fiction movie from the 50s, which can sometimes be fun, but is not really at all in this case. Plus, I was having some computer and sleeping issues while trying to watch it and have now seen the first 20 minutes about five times now. They didn't really improve over time, in case you were wondering.

So this movie is about a mysterious "phantom" in the sea that is claiming the lives of some people that we don't care about. A government agent and an oceanographer both arrive on scene at the same time to find out what the monster is and who or what created him. And a local professor has been acting very secretive lately...

The first of many big mistakes of Phantom from 10,000 Leagues is that they show the audience the "phantom" literally within two minutes of the movie starting, when it kills a local fisherman. I know it's on the poster, but seriously. Do they have no sense of mystery at all?! You can pretty much turn off the movie after seeing that, because the monster is the most interesting part about it. He looks kind of like a Chinese Fu Dog - except for the hole right under his chin for the head of the actor in the suit. There's a lot of talk about the science about how the Fu Dog was created and such but it all sounds like blah, blah, blah to me. Something about a radioactive rock and nuclear light.

Another problem is that there are a lot of characters to get straight. First Ted Baxter shows up and finds the dead fisherman at the beginning, then he meets up with the Department of Defense investigator Grant. Then this other guy named George Thomas shows up next, and he's the assistant to Professor King, who works at the local oceanographic college. But then Ted Baxter's real name is not Ted Baxter, it's Dr. Stevens, and he's another oceanographer who has done research on the effects of radiation on marine life. Then there's the Professor's daughter, the Professor's secretary, and this other blonde femme fatale who all play somewhat important parts. Ahhh! Stop bringing in new characters! Nobody is really the main character for most of the movie and it gets a bit hard to follow sometimes, especially if you're half-asleep like I was. Also, transitions between scenes and characters are not very good, and you never know who you are going to be following next.

You're so busy trying to figure out what is going one with these people and who is lying to who and who is selling secrets to a foreign power, that you forget about the phantom for a while. He pops up again at about 45 minutes in, but only very briefly. With that huge headpiece on the costume, the poor stunt guy can't really do much anyway to make the monster look scary, except move his arms around a little bit. Definitely not as fluid as The Creature from the Black Lagoon. Wait! Did poor Ethel just get SPEARED on the beach? Hey, things are looking up! Well, not too much. The climax has some cool explosions, but still nothing all that exciting from the monster. Maybe the movie is trying to say that the humans who created him are worse the monster himself! How thought-provoking!

Like any good movie from this era, there has to be an unbelievable love story in it. I knew from the second that Stevens met King's daughter Lois that they were going to hook up. And surprise, surprise - they did! There's even a little meet-cute scene where arrives at the house to meet the Professor and Lois walks out of the bathroom after taking a shower, not knowing he's there. Oh, how awkward and full of sexual tension! They probably end up getting married after they watch Lois's father blow up in the ocean with the phantom - something that she surprisingly doesn't freak out about. Your father just got BLOWN UP. Shed a tear, at least.

I guess there's some nostalgic charm to The Phantom from 10,000 Leagues because of the monster and all the talk about radiation and death rays. It's definitely a product of its time and fits in nicely with other similar movies from the decade. But for me, it feels way longer than its 80-minute runtime because the movie is so slow and full of exposition. The action is minimal and lame, and the overall presentation of the movie is just plain boring. Nice pick, Maynard!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Project Terrible: Movie 43 (2013)

So what round of Project Terrible are we at here, guys? Are we in the 20s yet? Who cares, it's a good time, every time and I'm just happy to be back. The core four of us are participating this round - me, Alec, Maynard, and Bob - and as usual, there is a quite diverse group of films going on. My first movie, assigned to me by Alec, is one that people apparently really, really hated. Awesome.

Movie 43 is this sketch-comedy anthology thing with a shit-load of big name stars in it. The wraparound story is Dennis Quaid as a screenwriter trying to pitch all his bad movie ideas to exec Greg Kinnear. All the shorts are then his ideas, get it? One or two, and sometimes five, Hollywood A-listers star in each sketch - most of them going completely against type from what they are known to usually play.

I really have no problem saying that I actually liked Movie 43 a lot. The great thing about an anthology, too, is that you don't really have to like the WHOLE movie, really. There were definitely some sketches here that weren't my taste, but I wasn't crazy offended by any of them and I didn't outright hate any of them. No, I lied. I hated the one with Anna Faris. But that was it! The rest of Movie 43 is just a bunch of oddball sketches where the material is kinda funny - but it's mostly only funny because of the actors involved.

So what can you expect to see in Movie 43? Well, there's Kate Winslet on a blind date with Hugh Jackman, who has balls hanging from his neck. There's Chloe Moretz getting her first period at her boyfriend's house. There's Richard Gere peddling the iBabe - an iPod that looks like a life-size naked woman. There's Halle Berry playing Extreme Truth or Dare. And there's Elizabeth Banks getting peed on by a cartoon cat that is in love with his owner, Josh Duhamel. The overall idea is that this is a "gross-out" comedy which is probably my least favorite thing in the entire world. Strangely though, the gross-out stuff here didn't really go that overboard for my taste (except the Anna Faris one... really, really was not amused by that). There is way more juvenile crap out there than this, trust me.

The two best sketches of the bunch are "Homeschooled" with Naomi Watts and Live Shreiber, and "Superhero Speed-Dating" with Justin Long, Uma Thurman, Kristen Bell, Leslie Bibb, and some other people that I didn't know. Both of these were actually pretty clever with their comedy, like the parents who homeschool their kid - but still torture and belittle him so he'll get the "real" high school experience. Justin Long as Robin in "Superhero Speed-Dating" was adorable and I really liked the self-aware comedy of this segment, and the cheap look of the superhero costumes.

There were also a couple of funny fake commercials. "Machine Kids" was pretty awesome, and will maybe make you think twice about getting angry at that copy machine or ATM. Something that also got a big laught out of me was the Tampax commercial that shows a woman being hideously devoured by a shark in the ocean, followed by the tagline: "Tampax. Now leak-proof." And the whole period segment before the commercial should be amusing to a lot of woman because it makes fun of the way men freak the fuck out over girls' periods.

So who knows? Maybe it was the spring-like weather of the day that put me in a good mood and helped me enjoy Movie 43 more than I should have, or more than other people think I should have. It was genuinely funny at times, and even when it wasn't, it was just so off-the-wall ridiculous that you kinda just enjoy it for that. Usually this kind of thing would have been terrible to me, Alec, but alas, not this time!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Win a Scarlet Gospels Prize Package!

Dudes, Clive Barker has a new novel coming out in May about Pinhead called The Scarlet Gospels, and the website I contribute to, Wicked Horror, is hosting a contest where you can win a copy of the book and some other awesome stuff!

It's a fan art contest, but don't be losers and think you can't win something because you can't draw. Put your heart and your love for Pinhead into it and we'll see it! It can be realistic, it can be graphic or abstract, it can be simplistic, we don't care! You can even make a fan video of some kind, like that stuff you see on YouTube. I'm so excited to be a part of hosting this contest, and I'm even more excited to see what fans can come up with.

Also, I can say with absolute certainty that The Scarlet Gospels is an awesome book, and Hellraiser and Clive Barker fans will definitely want to read it!

I've reposted the information about the contest below, but go to the Wicked Horror site for all the info and a picture of the prize package!

“If you're already excited for the release of Clive Barker's new novel The Scarlet Gospels this May 19th, then Wicked Horror has something to get you even more excited! We're working with St. Martin's Press on The Ultimate Pinhead Buzz-building Competition, where one lucky fan will win an awesome Scarlet Gospels Prize Package!

All you have to do is put your artistic skills to the test to create your own unique fan art for The Scarlet Gospels. Use your computer, paint, watercolor, pencil, or even crayon to show your love for your favorite Cenobite Pinhead and/or his adversary in The Scarlet Gospels, investigator Harry D'Amour. You can also make a video! Then email your submissions to our Wicked Horror staff writer by clicking HERE (or use address seeno_evil63@yahoo.com) with “Scarlet Gospels Contest” as the subject, and be sure to include the title of the book in your art. The winner will be chosen by the Wicked Horror staff.

What's included in the Prize Package? (pictured here)
- A hardcover copy of The Scarlet Gospels
- A Lemarchand Box
- A poster of Clive Barker's Pinhead artwork
- Plus, your artwork/video will posted on the St. Martin's Press social media pages

In addition, 4 runners-up will each receive an advanced reader's copy of The Scarlet Gospels, and will also have their art/video appear on the St. Martin's social media pages!

The contest is officially open NOW and entries will accepted until May 1st, 2015. Remember to include "The Scarlet Gospels" somewhere in your artwork, go HERE to submit it to Wicked Horror (using “Scarlet Gospels Contest” as the subject), and be sure to like the Wicked Horror Facebook page for all your horror news!

So get creating and get excited for the release of The Scarlet Gospels!”

See, that's easy enough! The entries are being submitted to me at my email address - seeno_evil63@yahoo.com. I would enter this contest myself just for that Clive Barker artwork poster, but it's one of YOU who will winning it, so get those entries to me! Remember, you have until May 1st!

Prize Packages can only be sent to residents of the United States and Canada.