Archive for the ‘Horror’ Category

Fun-Size-Horror-HBFun Size Horror: Volume One is the final step of a terrific idea. For Halloween 2014, Zeke Pinheiro rallied his friends and fellow directors into creating a series of horror shorts and releasing them onto the web via select sites that cater to fans of the genre. Now, they’ve been brought together and released via iTunes and VOD as a complete package.

The result is just what the title promises – bite-sized scares that rival more heralded anthologies of late including The ABCs of Death and V/H/S series. It’s a perfect fun pack for pre-gaming your next costume party. Volume Two is reportedly underway for release this fall. (more…)

imageIs cannibalism the flavor of the month?

In 2013, we had a delicious Maori dish served with a side of kiwi in the New Zealand comedy cannibal caper, Fresh Meat. Eli Roth reheated ingredients from classic recipes like Cannibal Apocalypse and Cannibal Holocaust in his 2014 film, The Green Inferno. Even The Walking Dead whipped up a little something at the beginning of season 5 when it turned out that the good folks of Terminus were a match for any zombie when it came to chowing down on their fellow man.

Long pig – it’s not just for hillbillies any more.

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rl_galerie_005Too often it seems as if the programmers for the Berlinale Film Festival use the H.L. Mencken definition of puritanism as their maxim for selecting films. They display a haunting fear that someone, somewhere may be happy after seeing one of the movies they choose to showcase at the annual event. Working your way through the Competition or Panorama category can be an eat-your-vegetables exercise. Where then can the intrepid filmgoer go for a nice slice of genre pie after days and nights of sampling overdone highbrow fare? The task is not an easy one. Berlinale has yet to follow the lead offered by the world’s other premier film festivals like Sundance, Tribeca, Toronto, and London and added a Midnight section for horror, science fiction, fantasy, off-beat comedy, and other films that don’t so much push the envelope as rip it a new one. (more…)

Among-the-LivingThe opening scene of Aux yeux des vivants (Among the Living), the new French horror film from the makers of Inside and Livid and contributors to the anthology The ABCs of Death 2, is intense. Intense in this case translates to shocking, violent, and graphic. How intense? Even hardcore fans of the macabre may fear that they are in over their heads with this one. If the movie starts with this type of shock, you might ask yourself frightfully in the cool black of a darkened movie theater, what lies in store over the remaining 85 minutes?

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Shrew's NestFestival program writers and film reviewers have been rather free in comparing the new Spanish horror movie Musarañas (Shrew’s Nest) with Misery, the 1990 feature that presented Kathy Bates as an obsessed fan tormenting her favorite novelist, James Caan. Yes, there is a man held captive through much of Shrew’s Nest, but the best point of comparison is not the excellent Stephen King adaptation directed by Rob Reiner from a screenplay by William Goldman that focused on celebrity obsession and fan expectations that straightjacket artists who try to break from type. There was zero sexual tension in Misery between Bates and Caan, except for those who consider ankle breaking a form of foreplay. Shrew’s Nest, by contrast, is heavy with sexuality, even if unfulfilled or absolutely forbidden. (more…)

springSpring weaves together familiar cinematic strands to fashion a strangely beautiful and original tapestry. The sophomore effort by the filmmaking team of Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, the duo responsible for the well received 2012 horror thriller Resolution, is a hybrid of genres, with elements of horror, science fiction, and romance in a near-perfect ratio. The film invites a mash-up movie pitch, i.e.; it’s (movie A) meets (movie B), as do the filmmakers – literally. During the Q&A session after a screening of the film at the London Film Festival, Benson and Moorhead encouraged the audience to come up with their own, like Spring is Say Anything meets Species or EuroTrip meets Lifeforce or An American Werewolf in London meets An American Werewolf in Paris. The game is almost as much as fun as the movie. (more…)

5_thumbUntil its last 20 minutes, Dracula Untold is as much a vampire movie as World War Z was a zombie movie. That is to say, not very much at all. The majority of the film plays out as a PG-13 Game of Thrones episode with a nod toward the Lord of the Rings movies. While entertaining enough despite some slow patches and predictable plot points, the horror lite flick, as constructed, calls into question recent press reports that Dracula Untold is one part of a classic Universal monsters reboot with Frankenstein, the Wolf Man, the Mummy, and perhaps even the Creature from the Black Lagoon to follow. The inchoate title – (couldn’t go with Dracula: The Untold Story or maybe even just Dracula?) – does not ring of a franchise launch pad, although it does lead to mirthful speculation about what the sequel will be called: perhaps Dracula Told, with the final chapter of the trilogy coming in as Dracula Told Off. The eccentricities of this production bolsters the notion that Universal was simply being opportunistic in tying this to a potential renaissance of the beloved black-and-white horror icons. However fans and critics view this film as standalone entertainment, Dracula Untold is simply not good enough on its own merits to justify expectations that the studio has a supernatural Avengers on its hands. (more…)

in-darkness-we-fallThe only good that could possible come out of widespread viewing of the latest group underground, found footage, schlock horror film known as La cueva or In Darkness We Fall is if audiences united after suffering through it and demanded a moratorium on trapped underground movies or found footage movies or, at a minimum, trapped underground found footage movies. It’s not going to happen, but it is nice to think that every film, not matter how awful, has an opportunity to make a lasting contribution to the arts.

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extraterrestrial1There are about 30 minutes of cinematic gold in the new science fiction-horror flick Extraterrestrial, scenes good enough to meet the expectations raised by the smart, sleek trailer for the film and give rise to the hope that The Vicious Brothers may have hit on the elusive formula to provide the Alien on Earth mash-up that has eluded this genre to date. Unfortunately, Extraterrestrial runs for a too-long 106 minutes, meaning that the 30 minutes of genius are subsumed completely by a sub-standard storyline that renders the overall product unfortunately unpalatable. (more…)

The-CanalDirector/screenwriter Ivan Kavanagh comes off as something of a dilettante in his new horror film, The Canal. Kavanagh dabbles in the subgenres of scary movies, never settling on a single theme or approach. Is this a psychodrama or a ghost story? Are there real demons behind the walls of the house or are those sounds just the voices inside a jealous husband’s head? Does that 100-year old archival film showing murders along the same canal indicate a spectral presence that now haunts a public bathroom in the area or is the laconic Irish police detective right in his assessment of the situation? We always think it’s the husband, he explains to the husband, because it’s always the husband – every time. (more…)