Watching A Horror Movie A Day In October – Week 4 Results1.11.11 # News # No Comment
For the month of October I’m watching one horror movie that’s new to me each weekday and writing up my thoughts. Please post your reactions in the comments. Oh, and Happy literally-almost-Halloween.
John Carpenter’s Village of the Damned
I can picture the pitch meeting in my head and to be fair it makes a lot of sense: take a classic sci-fi horror story that’s been turned into a cheesy movie twenty years before and give it to John “The Thing” Carpenter to remake.
I’d fund that sucker, it sounds great!
So … what went wrong? Answer: every damn thing.
The special effects are silly, the dialog is boring, the acting is stilted, the plot is tedious, and the glowing eyes look … well … they look like this:
Jean Grey can no longer deny the rumors about Cyclops and Storm. (*Note to Editor: how geeky is too geeky?)
The only good thing about this movie is Christopher Reeve, an actor so engaging that he’s fun to watch in every scene, even though he spends half the movie teacher kindergarten in a Mr. Rogers sweater. But in the end, not even Superman can raise this film above the level of a D-grade B-movie.
Not even his touching scene with a young Billy Idol.
Paranormal Activity 3
Just when you thought it was safe to spend 11 bucks at the theater, the critics go and trick you again.
While the first film scared me so badly I may or may not have slept with the light on for the first time since seeing The Exorcist when I was 12-years-old, and the second film was mildly entertaining though ultimately too repetitive, Paranormal Activity 3 has the distinct honor of being the only film in the franchise to be both unscary, unfunny, and utterly pointless.
The director and writer plan the next shot.
The filmmakers fail to properly utilize their premise for good scares. Much like part 2, which sets up an awesome demon baby dynamic then fails to capitalize on it and focus on needless mythology, this third chapter has an unused ace up its sleeve: it’s set in the 1980s. And while this should allow for some awesome, grainy 8mm film stock and low-grade video, helping to create a scary mood, the directors used modern high resolution camera and slapped a cheap filter over it to simulate older video footage. Normally things like this don’t bother me in cheap genre films, but the parameters of the Found Footage call for extreme realism and simple things like this really ruin the magic.
Also, the script uses heady exposition to justify why everything is being filmed. There is scene after scene of camera prep instead of character development (something the first film got right) without any good scare scenes. The problem with sequels is that the cat is out of the bag. Audiences already know there is a demon so why tease them with it in the same old way? Either find something utterly new or cut to the chase and start without outright terror.
Utterly terrifying (*not actually in the movie*)
*** SPOILER ALERT *** After about an hour of the same old stuff, the filmmakers decide to write basically out the demon and focus mainly on a religious cult. And while you may be thinking “whoa, hey, spoilers dude!” let me tell you, it ain’t no spoiler because it’s painfully obvious from the first act. Basically, if you’ve seen The Last Exorcism you’ve seen the end of this film already. In fact, just rent that movie instead. *** SPOILERS END *** It’s not very good either, but it’s way better than Paranormal Activity 3.
Paranormal Activity 2: Tokyo Night
In a desperate attempt to save our annoyingly unscary evening after catching PNA3 at the theater, my sister and I decided to watch Tokyo Night. An unlicensed Japanese sequel to the first film, we figured the country that brought us The Grudge and The Ring could generate some great bizarre scares.
Cause let’s face it, that country has some issues.
PNA2:TN (as it’s known to its friends) is the most insipid, pointless, and unneeded sequel since Highlander 2: The Quickening. Desperately trying to connect it to the original film, the filmmakers feel the need to spend three whole scenes talking about how the female lead was in a car crash in San Diego, and how the woman who hit her later killed her boyfriend and went missing.
Literally, three whole scenes to convey that one sentence. Ignoring the fact that apparently demon possession can apparently be contracted through hard impact, in between those exposition scenes there is video footage of them sleeping … with nothing happening. In one case, the classic night vision footage goes through the night, then the images fade out and fade back on to: more night vision footage. For no reason at all.
Eventually, “scary” things begin to happen and it involves the actors rolling on the floor and screaming with no external source of the danger. Finally, in the last ten minutes, someone gets possessed and walks around on two broken legs, a truly brutal and honestly scary moment … but then this possessed person walks around the house for a while, AND THEN GOES BACK TO BED!
Pictured: every life decision leading up to the making of this film flooding his head and driving him insane.
The rest is foggy because I was so bored I was dosing off, but I remember someone being thrown at the camera but they’re not really dead, so they run away. And the final scene is inexplicably in a morgue, where the protagonist is brought in to identify a body what may or may not have been a random person from the beginning of the movie, then he’s dragged off into darkness, and then credits roll.
That’s it. That’s the entire movie. No matter how much you crave the awesome scares from the first film and are bored with the mediocre sequels, do not look to Japan to get your fright fix. This dysmal sequel isn’t scary at all, even when you watch it here:
No seriously, this is where I watched it.
I desperately want to love this movie because it’s so rare to see a horror film with brains and heart (unless it’s being ripped out of someone in an Eastern European country).
Ultimately, May is a solid attempt but not a great film, taking too long to get to the point (the final “twist” in the last 30 seconds of the film really feel like the inciting incident) and delivering few scares or tense moments.
Raggedy Andy: Porn Star.
The story revolves around the titular character May, who is brought up by overprotective parents. Now on her own, her attempts at human interaction fail miserably and her search for love only leads to her lesbian co-worker who wants nothing but sex.
When she falls for a local mechanic, she manages to snag his affections but ultimately loses him when she reveals her sick obsession with gore. This sends her on a bloody rampage to collect random body parts.
And he wasn’t even running.
All this sounds like a good movie … except the bloody rampage doesn’t happen until the last ten minutes, forcing the audience to sit through 80 minutes of characters sitting on park benches and talking about their feelings.
True, there’s some lesbian sex thrown in there to keep you interested, but it’s never, EVER enough.
It’s been a tough week but finally a movie worth watching. Despite the title and DVD cover which hint at a movie about a sexy girl werewolf cult, Ginger Snaps is really a touching coming-of-age story about two goth sisters, their obsession with death, and what happens when one of them reaches puberty before the other.
I’ll have what the she-wolf’s having.
The moon cycles that drive the werewolf are a fertile source of metaphor for this subject matter (see what I did there?) and the movie does a good job of blending character growth, social metaphor, and fun gory werewolf slayings.
Nobody crosses Tom Sawyer. Nobody.
Unfortunately the low budget hinders the werewolf special effects, which come off as rubbery and fake, but the story is good enough to carry you through the cheesier moments. There is a dearth of good werewolf movies out there so make sure to check out this flick if you love a good lycanthrope.
The Sesame Street Halloween Special ends in tragedy.
Psychological State After 4 Weeks Of Horror Movies:
The house is bleeding and the dark man keeps telling me things … things I cannot … wait. Where is my wife? Why is all this blood on the wall? Oh God. Oh my dear God, what have I … no, it’s okay. It’s all okay. It told me to, it wanted me to … all I need is to get through a few more movies and I will be free … so free … if only …………….