Before the genius of Cloverfield, before the tedium of the Paranormal Activity sequels, and before the utter mediocrity of The Gallows, 1999’s The Blair Witch Project was the found footage horror film that started it all. Anybody who was a high school student in the late 90’s will probably remember this film as the one all of the grungey kids with black leather boots and waist-long hair lined up in droves to see at the multiplex. Whether you love or hate the film, it’s impossible to deny that it was a cultural phenomenon when it came out, and was a huge success for the filmmakers. However, despite its fame and longevity as a found footage classic, there is still more of the film that has yet to be seen.
The extensive trench of 80’s horror films and creature features is a slippery slope one can find themselves on, looking for new thrills once the ‘famous’ monsters have had their day on your screen. One of the beasts that just couldn’t breakthrough the finish line tape of ‘mainstream success’ was 1988’s Pumpkinhead, a disgusting ghoul with a cool design, amazing practical effects, and hammy story that ultimately bogs it down just a little too much for it to appeal to anyone other than diehard cultists of the genre. Perhaps that’s why, of all the dumb remakes and reboots we’ve seen over the years of horror movies that simply did not need them, Pumpkinhead may be worth giving a shot—which is exactly what’s happening. (more…)
The horror genre goes through phases. At its height, the main draw was an unstoppable superhuman monster that stalked the hero (usually heroine). Through the endless sequels, that appeal went away. The genre reinvented itself through irony during the 90s and made a new generation fall in love with it. Throughout the genre’s many stages of evolution, it’s usually been about teens making terrible decisions, and the things in the dark that go and attack them. Green Room follows many of the rules for horror and is a captivating film. Writer/director Jeremy Saulnier creates a tense, gory, violent, haunted house film, but instead of the monsters being the undead, they are Neo-Nazis led by the legendary Patrick Stewart.
The best way to describe watching 10 Cloverfield Lane is like eating chocolate ice cream with lemon-infused olive oil: it’s unusual but tastes absolutely delicious. Audiences expecting a Cloverfield spin-off will be greatly disappointed. There’s no giant monster wrecking a city, no shaky-cam, and no T.J. Miller screaming “Oh my god!” It’s a smaller, more humble film that resembles an apocalyptic thriller more than a monster-disaster movie. J.J. Abrams made it clear on several occasions that this film would be a “blood relative” to the original Cloverfield and not feature the first film’s monster. The only thing these films have in common are their extraterrestrial and horror themes. It’s much like what John Carpenter tried to do with the Halloween films by having several films with different stories all set during the holiday (before audiences decried the third film’s lack of Michael Myers). Much like Halloween 3, 10 Cloverfield Lane focus on crafting a new story instead of rehashing an old one. As a result, the sheer quality and ambition of 10 Cloverfield Lane is absolutely enough to make it even better than the film that spiritually preceded it.
“Why don’t more people know about [INSERT GRAPHIC NOVEL TITLE HERE]? [INSERT GRAPHIC NOVEL TITLE HERE] is the best thing ever!
~Every cheated comic book nerd ever.
With almost a century’s worth of tradition, comic books have absolute metric craptons of excellent, well thought-out content, even after you have subtracted the 90% of crap that infests every medium, as predicted by Sturgeon’s Law. And while this 10% might sound pretty damn promising, a lot of it just has simply been lost to time and lack of reprints, mostly due to their lackluster sales.
Which makes sense, from a market perspective: how many newfangled nerds know about the work of Rick Veitch? Who among the steampunk nerds have even heard of the unbridled lunacy that’s in the work of Bryan Talbot? Heck, how many otaku do you know that know the work of Boichi or even Kago Shintarou? Even if you factor in those creators’ excellence, their work often slips through the cracks, by virtue of simple logistics. (more…)
It seems like babysitting is going to be a much more lucrative job in the near future. Ever since the Deadpool movie hit the jackpot with its R rating, the “PG-13=more money”mentality seems to be dying a slow and painful death. Now it seems like the studio suits are giving filmmakers some much-needed freedom when it comes to mature content. The upcoming Wolverine film is supposedly aiming for an R rating, and will hopefully give audiences an appropriately gory adaptation of such a brutal character. Moreover, there is another film is looking to be restricted to unaccompanied audiences under 17. This one in particular is an adaptation of a Stephen King story with one of the scariest clowns known to mankind.
There was old saying, back in the glory days of grindhouse films and low-budget slashers: “When the gore stops flowing, viewers stop showing”.
The now infamous Saw horror franchises obviously took this saying to heart, when they ran their 6 sequels to create a run-away horror mega-hit that finally went out with more of a whimper rather than a bang, with Saw 7. However, there is a bit of good news to share with all our gorror readers, as Saw Legacy was recently announced to have moved out of development hell and into production, backed by a very peculiar writing team…
Based on the legendary horror novel by William Peter Blatty, The Exorcist told the tale of a Greek-American Catholic Priest going through a crisis of faith, a Jesuit badass going up against the ancient Babylonian demon-king of the wind (and Hubert Farnsworth‘s bound servant) Pazuzu and fiction’s scariest possessed little girl, Regan McNeil. The book stirred up a lot of controversy on its 1971 release, especially considering that the author allegedly based most of the facts of the exorcism on an actual rite, performed on a 14-year-old boy with the assumed name of Roland Doe.
The series was stuck in development hell since 2012, when the first attempt to create a TV series was made, but now it seems that FOX have given the go-ahead to finally bring the classic to the small screen…
Editor’s Note: This review originally ran during the 2014 Fantastic Fest. We’re rerunning it now that It Follows is in limited release.
David Robert Mitchell’s The Myth of the American Sleepover is a movie about the resigning of innocence; the last gasp of youth that is gracefully exhaled before inevitably breathing in the fumes of the adult world. Like American Graffiti before it, there’s an overwhelming sense of melancholia that hangs over the movie’s single night setting, as if the writer/director is mourning the cycle of childhood as it moves into the dawn the responsibility. With his follow-up feature, Mitchell has crafted a natural progression in terms of thematics, only he adds a dash of perverse Cronenbergian genre play, resulting in what may be the defining horror film of this generation. It Follows is a dynamite piece of supernatural storytelling, equal parts touching and thrilling. Though fundamentally the film is more of the same from Mitchell, who is emerging as the premiere cinematic observer of youth in the modern auteurist pantheon. (more…)
As we all know, Halloween is a hodge and a podge of various cultural and religious traditions. The Jack O’ lantern, the holiday’s cheerful, grinning orange mascot is based on an old Irish legend of a man who was so evil he was kicked out of Hell. Jack was sentenced to wander for all eternity, with only a burning coal inside a hollowed-out turnip to light his way. Upon their arrival in America, the Irish found that the pumpkin was a far more user-friendly carving medium for their disturbing little tradition.
Trick Or Treating also has Celtic origins: On the festival of Samhain, the spirits of the dead walked the earth, and people would leave food out for them, hoping this would keep the dead from vexing the living.
It became an American tradition in the early 20th century as a way of keeping the young from vexing homeowners. Essentially, the adults of America made a deal with the nation’s children: “Stop breaking and burning our cities every October 31st, and you can go to any home you want and get free candy”. America’s youth accepted, and Trick Or Treating has been practiced in nearly every American community for almost a century.
Today, we explore the nerdiest of Halloween traditions: The Halloween horror movie marathon.