Monday, April 20, 2009

And So It Ends...

Yep, sorry to say that this will probably be The Edge of Your Seat's last post. :(

Blogging was sort of an experiment for me; a little side project where I could vent my moveh opinions. But, I've got a bunch of other projects that I'm more focused on that I'd like to get finished.

It's been good fun for me, and I hope for any of you readers too! Sadly, I just can't keep this up and my other things at the same time... and those other things have first dibs on my time (they've been around longer :P ).

But that does not have to be goodbye! If you enjoyed my humour and silly pictures, you might want to give my DeviantArt gallery a look (where I'm aka Nocmin ^_^). It's filled with all kinds of fun stuff, particularly short comics, with the general style of what you saw here.

So, it's been a good run. Thanks to all of you who commented and shared your ideas. And if there are future comments, I'll still check in every once in a while to keep up the conversation.

See y'all around!


Wednesday, March 25, 2009


I made a few changes around the site. And I want to hear what you have to say about it, my good readers.

First off is the Banner. I was told that it the text wasn't creepy enough, so... I tried to ghostify it up! What do you think? Did I go overboard with the "Your Seat" part? Should I change it back to the way it was, edit this change, or keep things the way they are?

Also, you are now able to watch a trailer for most of the movies I mention (at least the trailers I link to) right above the posts, under the banner. Usually the most recently mentioned trailers will be first in line. So, now you have the option to click the outside link, or just scroll and check it here. Might be easier to watch it here if you're just looking for the trailer, and outside in a different window, if you want to keep reading while it loads.

Anyhoo, just an FYI for y'all.

See ya around!

Scary-O-Types: Part 2

Aaaaand, it's time for Part two of our scare-sorting extravaganza! (Part 1, this'a way)

If you're starting here and haven't read the first half, I've been talking about the five main ways (according to me) horror movies try to scare us viewers. We've looked at the two primary types, and now we're moving on to the three others. When I say 'primary', I mean general.

Anyhow, enough dilly-dallying. Forward!

Type C: The Psycho Attack
Psychological attack, that is. This one is a little harder to specify. It's the type of scare that troubles your mind and usually leaves a lasting impression. I would call this scariotype the most misunderstood. And I don't just mean people can't appreciate it; I mean they don't know what the heck they just saw.

The major form of this type is a sort of dementia in the landscape, scenery or certain images. These things defy reality and spit in the face of the norm. Some examples can include solid objects, like walls, pushing outward as if rubber in the shape of hands or faces. Or maybe bloody footprints will begin walking a path across the roof. Maybe the landscape will drop off into nothingness, or perhaps there will be human-like beings with unusual or distorted features (like being gray, twisted, having no arms, no face, an acid-spewing stomach-hole, and making inhumane noises -- sound familiar, horror fans?).

The Nightmare on Elm Street series does nothing but work with trippy ways to throw the viewer's sense of security out the window. The Cell was a movie that took place in the mind of a psychopath for half the time, displaying strangely-shaped and -acting people as well as other fun things. Silent Hill is another good example and it's from there that I got the description of the monstrosity above. Say "Halloo", that's it on the right (head and upper-chest). You know what? You gotta see the trailers, these are all really cool films. Elm Street, Cell, Silent Hill. In general, this type of scare is seen in such supernatural horrors.

Type D: The Gore Shot
Blood, guts, and severed limbs. Ewwwww. Probably the second most disrespected types of scaring the viewers (or rather, grossing them out), it is also the new and popular fascination of those same viewers. Movie-makers are pumping out flicks that do little more than hack people to pieces and what do the viewers do? They eat them up as though they were starving and excrete criticism. I'm not trying to defend the Gore Shot, here. It's true that this type of scare has become overly abused and nonsensical. I'm just pointing out the fact that people can't get enough of the bloodiness... which is kinda disturbing to be honest. If I go to one of those movies, I wonder if the guy next to me is an axe-murder. :(

Let's give it a nice and neat definition, shall we? The Gore Shot is the excessive use of grotesque and violent images and sounds to disgust the watcher. Common depictions of this include penetration and dismemberment of the body with deadly objects, resulting in large amounts of blood as well as exposed bones and innerds.

There, that's putting it nicely, eh? Although this has been going on for a while, movies like Saw (trailer) really popularized it to another level. Movies started getting gorier more frequently. Hostel is a good example: a movie about a place where people pay to torture other people to death for fun. Wow. Was Saw gory? Yes. Was it clever? Also yes. But the same can't be said about its copycats. For the most part, they are made for nothing more than the violence.

The Gore Shot is mostly seen in Slashers, although they've made a subcategory for the more intense ones called Splatter or Gore films. It also tends to leak into Sci-Fi horror, bringing green or yellow alien blood to the party.

Type E: The Skincrawler
Although this is a little related to the Gore Shot, it's different enough to get its own category. Simply put? Disturbing images or ideas to make your skin crawl. Maybe it'll even unnerve you enough to make you want to rub or itch your skin. Makes you shiver, gives you goosebumps, makes your skin crawl. Okay, okay! I'll tell you how. Usually it's caused by scenes of insects or other things moving around on or... under a person's skin. The movies that use this take "it get's under your skin" seriously.

This one isn't done too often, and usually it ranges from moderate to well done. Most any insect horror movie will have it to some degree. Sci-Fi horror flicks about an "infecting" alien that implants itself or some substance into a person to transform the victim usually gives the same sort of willies. The Mummy, the action/adventure/comedy/horror movie, as I like to consider it, had a pretty darn creepy use of this. But one of the best instances of the Skincrawler has got to be The Ruins. If you want to be unnerved, watch that movie because it is intense and painful (in a good way -- good if you like horror, that is). Behold the trailer and shudder!

Well, then. We are all now more educated in what sort of horror we're watching. Hopefully you'll be able to tell more accurately what aspects you like and dislike. Here's what I think of them all. Stylish Scares, Psychological Attacks, and Skincrawlers are awesome (and disturbing). The "Boo!" Effect and Gore Shots are low-brow, but without them hardly anyone would watch horror, which is a shame. Time to go and enjoy our movies with a new outlook. Huzzah!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Scary-O-Types: Part 1

Also spelled "Scariotypes" by people of the highest authority in this sort of thing (or I may have just made it up), scary-o-types are the different sorts of scares that our good ole horror films throw at us.

According to my craaazy hardcore research that I've been working on my entire life, there are about five different categories of Scare: The Stylish Scare, The "Boo!" Effect, The Psycho Attack, The Gore Shot, and The Skincrawler. The different types of movies also have a tendancy to use certain types of scares. Let's have a look-see at what the heck I'm talking about.

P.S.: In part 1, I'm going to start us off with the two main types. Part two will have the other three.

Type A: The Stylish Scare
Oho, yeah. Scaring ya... with style! This is probably one of the most respectable but overlooked types. Time to sound like a dictionary: it usually involves using a scene or the overall atmosphere of the movie to unnerve or frighten the watcher with overwhelming or subtle images. It does not resort to the "Boo!" Effect (see Type B), but is often mistaken for it because something called the Delayed "Boo!" Effect, a version of the Stylish Scare. This is done by having something scary appear on the screen without immediately drawing attention to it, leaving the watcher time to say "Oh my gawd, am I seeing this right now? WHY ISN'T THE MOVIE TELLING ME I AM??"

Another example is having something fast but gradual happening with no way of stopping it. It leaves the watcher with time to dread what is happening, helplessly. One way to do this is with a creature moving in quick but small movements, or even a large creature with long drawn out movements (which are still pretty fast considering how big it is). The Uninvited had at least one of the fast small movement scares, causing the object of terror to take longer to do its thang. Cloverfield was one that nicely mixed the giant monster with the horrific hopelessness in long movements.

Almost any sort of scary movie can have this, but it's something rarely included. Sadly. Still, I always have my eyes open for when it comes along.

Type B: The "Boo!" Effect
And now we flip right over to what is often considered the least respectable and most used type of scare. That's right, folks. It's the number one reason why many people are afraid of scary movies, the number one reason scary movies are resented, and unfortunately the type that seems to keep everyone's attention the most. It's also properly called the "cheap scare" and is probably the main cause of low reviews today, only rivaled by excessive gore (see Type D - Part 2).

Wow, sounds like a bundle of fun.

It goes a little something like this. Something suddenly appears on the screen, usually a frightening image, to make the watchers jump in their seats. The appearance draws attention to itself with a loud noise or a quick shift in the camera, and it usually follows a drawn out silence. In other words: ... ... ... BOO!

The reason people hate it so much is because the image itself is often not even that scary. The suddenness and the LOUDNESS are what catch the viewers off guard. What's worse is that for a large part of the movie, this happens at the stupidest moments. For example, the stereotypical frightened girl is alone... walking slowly into a room in her new possibly-haunted-house-or-something... no sound... then... OMYGOSH THERE'S A HAND ON HER SHOULDER, DON DON DON! "So, like the new place?" says her parent/sibling/friend. Oh wait, I just flew to the roof in fear for nothing. Thanks, movie.

Almost every single horror movie in existence uses this one by the dozen. Nay, by the two-dozen! But Slashers and Ghost Stories, oh they thrive on it.

Stay tuned for the next episode. We've got three more scares to cover! It'll be on at [later tonight/morning] (well, it's dark out anyways).

Monday, March 9, 2009

Slasher: Origins

Sounds like a bad horror-prequel, doesn't it? I guess in a way it is.

After I posted Titans of Slash, someone said to me "Ok, hold up there a sec. You start us off with Psycho then leave us hanging!" I sure as heck don't wanna do that, so let's have a look.

Although some say Slasher movies had earlier origins, there's no arguing that Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960) is the one that popularized the genre. Somewhat inspired by earlier murder mystery horror, such as House On Haunted Hill (1959), Psycho must have been one of the first to portray violent murders. This movie itself inspired much of the following wave of films depicting graphic killing.

Now, about the movie itself: it was simply amazing. And I'm not just saying that because everyone else does. There's a reason why it's considered Hitchcock's greatest film.

To the edge of my seat did it take me? Yes, oh yes indeed.

What first struck me as remarkable was how old it didn't seem. You heard me right. Many movies of that time, as well as those for a long while afterward, have a certain feel to them. Maybe it's just for us looking back from the modern age, but usually you feel like your watching peopel act in older films. The cast of Psycho did not act. It lived. Particularly the lead. Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates was so genuine that he stood out from the other actors (who were also very good) and seemed to be in a completely different world, a real world. The filming was smooth. The movie was more at ease (especially for one that makes you so uneasy) and natural than it's peers, adding even more to it's unreal reality.

Now, this movie doesn't tote high body-count that the slashers of today aim for. And sorry gore-lovers, but though it was considered extremely violent for it's time, it's nothing like what we see in ours (though it was still fairly brutal). That's okay, it doesn't need any of that. The suspense alone is enough. And when the violence comes, it is fast and relentless, catching you off-guard even when you know it's coming.
(Mrs. Bates is one scary mother'.)

Definitely worth the watch, even if you hate old movies. It also spawned three sequels, though I haven't seen them. It seems that all three were generously received by fans. Though they do not measure up to the original, they were considered decent enough films each on their own. Perkins came back to play Norman in each one, though they were all made many years after the original (in '83, '86, and '90).

And finally, in '98 they did a remake. A shot-for-shot remake. No, it didn't exchange punches with the original, it was just almost an exact reenactment of the '60 version. The only differences? The actors (and acting), modernization, and length. Overall, it wasn't as good as the original, but it's decent enough if it's your first time seeing any version (like it was for me). As a reviewer on IMDB going by bob the moo said, "So-so, until you compare it to the original - then it's poor." Though I enjoyed it plenty, I have to agree.

First of all, most of the scenes were longer than in the original. Not much, sometimes only by seconds. Did that add to the movie? Half the time it added a bit more character to what was already there, and in the other half it was just unnecessary drag. The modernization didn't change much; it took place in a different year, monetary amounts were different, and a few expressions were updated slightly. They tried to make it seem like a '60s movie with their filming and sadly all that accomplished was a distracting conflict of style for the viewer.

Three of the five characters of interest were portrayed by actors that seemed completely uninspired and lifeless. Anne Heche had the same neutral look on her face for most of her scenes, and Julianne Moore and Viggo Mortensen (more like Riggo Mortissen) seemed bored out of their minds. I felt like I could have gotten more life out of a blank wall in an invisible room that doesn't exist. William Macy, however, held up his character well enough. Vince Vaughn, in the leading role of Norman Bates, did a disarmingly good job. I don't know about you guys, but this was a completely different role for Vaughn than I've ever seen him do, and his acting matched the unusualness. How did he measure up to Perkins? Well, his was a different Norman Bates. Vaughn's version was more socially awkward and obviously disturbed, while Perkins' just seemed like a polite shy young man. I admit I liked Perkins' Bates better, but there was nothing wrong with Vaughn's. In fact, I'd watch the remake again if only to see Bates in that different light.

Last note of interest: I couldn't help but notice that at times, Perkins (right) reminded me a bit of Christian Bale(left). What do you think? Interestingly, Bale starred in a film called American Psycho as Patrick Bateman. We know that the name is a tribute to Psycho, but what about the actor choice? Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Jason, Have You No Heart?

Because you're newest movie doesn't! The rehash of Friday the 13th was a senseless kill-fest that lacked story and character. The only substance it brought to the viewers was a different Jason Voorhees than we used to know.

Uh-oh! A negative review?

Well, not ALL negative, but yeah, sort of.

I had really high hopes for this one. I guess this is all I should have expected from it. The majority of the later Friday the 13th movies were all about the killing, less about story. The fans were fine with it, really. Youpee! Jason is killin' some dudes! That's what they were looking for. But me, I enjoy a horror more when it has a decent plot to back it up. I'll begin with the bad, then move on to the good later.

Trailers ho! (Youtube, Apple)

First of all, Vanessa of Cinema Coquette mentioned that I don't really hate on the acting in the movies I've reviewed so far. Well, she'll be delighted to know that that's just what I'm going to do in this case. Simply put, the acting was bad, or at least had no feel to it. Not horrible, per se; horrible does come along, but I reserve that word for the worst of the worst. Still, you could pick up a teen off the street or off the set of any soap opera (oho! a low-blow to the soap operas!) and have a cast mostly on-par with what we seen in this movie. "Hyuk, hyuk, I'm a teen and like sex and drugs, hyuk!" I couldn't find any inspiration to root for a character's survival. I'll pretend I'm going to find some deep meaning to this film and say that the lack of any depth meant that nobody was really there, and it was all a dream, the end.
(Hahaha! I have no need to act >:D )

The next problem was the plot. Basically, they jammed two movies into the first 30 minutes, and the rest was a third movie. They were all slightly related, but they didn't need each other. The first two were just another half-hour of sex and gore for the audience and back-story that us viewers could deduce perfectly well on our own. So what's this 'story' I keep talking about? I don't need to put it in a nutshell for you, it's already in there. Some teens go to a lake to party, one guy is looking for his missing sister, and Jason decides to kill them all for being there (that's HIS territory, punks!). He also randomly goes and kills some dude who has been living in the area for quite a while. I guess the characters in the movie are like items on clearance at your local superstore: ALL THINGS MUST GO! He got introduced as a character, so I suppose the movie makers decided they might as well kill him too. Why not, right, we're on a roll.

They had a steady formula for the movie: introduce teens, kill teens; introduce more teens, kill 'em some more. Nothing in between. You get just as much story as a McDonald's ad. And to put it simply, there wasn't much in the form of scares either. Sure he jumped out at you a few times, and maybe you jumped too, but otherwise no. Anything worth drawing out some fear was used in the commercial anyhow.
(I'm totally not right behind you.)

My goodness, I sound like a professional critic! For once we're on the same wavelength, and I think that's the scariest part about this movie! Mr. Allan Hunter puts it very nicely on Rotten Tomatoes.

"One for horror fans that everyone else can happily avoid."

"Golly, do you have anything nice to say to this poor defenseless film?" Oh, yes, that's next. Because, you see, if senseless violence in the form of a large amount of slaughtered teens is what you were looking for, then this is the movie for you! In fact, you get two whole bunches of them looking for love and marijuana, just asking to be slasher victims. And for those of you who say "that is horrible!" keep in mind that what I just said is the main reason people go to see this movie: to watch whatever creative ways the makers have put together for people to die. If looked at only from that point of view, this was a great movie. Not much else going on.

But the one thing that I personally found to be a treat in this movie is the new and improved Jason. If you've seen the old movies, you remember the slow, clumsy, indestructible brute that was Jason. Now, not only is he stab-proof, but he's cunning (traps, plans, etc), he's fast (what's scarier, a guy with a machete walking at you, or a guy with a machete RUNNING at you?), and he's agile (more stealthy then ever, with smooth deadly movements). They took a threatening dude and made him into an even more unstoppable monster. In my opinion, seeing that was the main reason to watch this movie.
(I've been exercising! Can you tell?)

Overall: Critically, it's not a good movie. I might rent it when it's in the cheap-movie isle at Blockbuster, and that'll be the end of it. But, if you're in the mood for a movie with a decent kill-count and fair variety of ways to pull off said kills, then go ahead, have a ball. Heck, you might love it. I enjoyed it fine. Still doesn't make it good.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Titans of Slash

The 'slasher' genre has many different psycho killers that have left an impression on us. Psycho, for example, practically started the whole shebang. But although quite a few people have heard of Psycho, not that many know anything about it other than it's a horror film. I want to quickly touch on those titans that everyone has heard of and almost everyone has some idea of what they are.

Particularly because of recent and upcoming remakes, we should get to know these unstoppable freaky crazies. They rose to power during the late 70s and early 80s, and they are Michael Myers (of the Halloween series), Jason Voorhees (of Friday the 13th), and Freddy Krueger (of A Nightmare on Elm Street).

Let's start our horra history lesson!

Now, the guy who really got Slasher movies going was Michael Myers (not to be mistaken with Mike Myers; don't worry, it happens). Big scary dude, wears an gray expressionless mask, matching overalls, and can't seem to be killed by anything. He goes around killing people, particularly those around any of his surviving relatives (P.S. He's trying to kill his entire family). The series had 8 movies with a plot becoming more and more complex as it went along (though Halloween III was a bit of a sidewinder and had nothing to do with the rest). The first was extremely popular, and the second was not far behind. 'Three' was okay, but everyone wanted Michael Myers, not some other crap. Fans still liked 4, 5 and 6, but favour (and flavour) was on the decline. By Halloween H20 (number 7) , people were getting tired of it all. They watched it, but they weren't satisfied by it.

Up until this point, my opinion was pretty parallel to the opinion of the 'they' I keep talking about. Everyone else; the fan base. But then came Halloween Resurrection (craaazy eights!). This was another that many fans thought of as 'not satisfying'. I thought of it as pure garbage. The series plot ends at the beginning of the movie, then the rest is a bunch of sad acting from a bunch teens just waiting to be killed. Most of the time I was wondering "where did these clowns come from?" and couldn't care for their fates like I could for the characters in every single other movie in the set. Basically it was a movie saying "oh lookee! we can have Psyko Miko kill more teens," but it had no good reason to exist.

Later, the series was graced with Rob Zombie's remake of the original, which I personally thought did credit to the whole. Well developed characters along with a more human look at Michael Myers and his insanity was a very interesting change.

As much as people know the name and theme music of Michael Myers, they easily recognize the mask of Jason Voorhees (which actually didn't show up until the third movie). Again, this killer seems indestructible and kills people mostly because they stray into his 'territory'; he has less direction than Myers. He (well, the series) is also distinguished by the creepy "ki... ki... ki... ma... ma... ma..." sound that often signals his presence. Inspired by the Halloween series, Friday the 13th was supposed to be faster-paced and more violent. This series, however, managed to pull off 11 movies and one remake. In this case, the first three were the most popular, tailed by a decent fourth (which supposedly ended the series). The next five movies were not as good, though followed by the loyal fans. They were basically a constant repeat of the past with Jason being resurrected over and over, somehow, to kill again. Once more, things supposedly came to an end with Jason dying and this time going to Hell.

No such luck.

Jason X, the tenth installment, was a joke. Jason goes to the future! He gets frozen, picked up by a spaceship, rebuilt and future-a-fied by some nanobots or something, and gets to killing the passengers (I said the acting in Halloween Resurrection was bad; this was worse). I mean, they try to distract him with a hologram of two naked chicks. It was utterly ridiculous and might have done better if it was actually trying to be a comedy, but it wasn't. It was just a messy attempt to bring a new twist to the series.
(Rawr! It's Jason Trek! The Jasonator!... or something...)

Freddy vs. Jason, the eleventh movie in this series, joined Jason's story with that of Freddy Krueger (making it also the eighth movie in the Freddy series). This was another that fans would generally enjoy but still wish it could have been better. It apparently takes place some time before Jason X since he's not all futury and stuff. And last but not least, a few weeks ago the Friday the 13th remake was released... and I'm not saying anything about it! Haha, no I'll be doing a full (albeit late) review on that some time tomorrow night.

And we arrive at Freddy, who sliced up teens in a whole new way: in their dreams. Also known as "that guy with the claws on his hand" by those who are unfamiliar with A Nightmare on Elm Street, Freddy Krueger is known for wearing a snazzy hat, striped shirt, and being completely covered in horrible burns. He's particularly nasty because he kills people in their dreams, causing them to die in real life. His series of nightmarish drug-trips had eight movies (including Freddy vs Jason) and some spin-offs. As usual, the first was the most popular, but the rest actually well recieved (by fans; 5 and 6 didn't go over too well with the critics). I know it looks like I'm hurrying through this one, but I haven't seen much of it yet. I need to get on that soon! Oh, and we can expect a remake for this series as well (all the cool kids are doing it), sometime around 2010. That's how they've got it scheduled anyhow.

A quick mention for one of the newer guys around the block who made a big impression on the Slasher world. The Scream trilogy, featuring a murderer with a ghost mask killing teens, has been extremely popular. It's known for showing signs of being a 'typical slasher', then turning them on their heads while still being a respectible bunch of horror films. After a long wait, they're planning to make a part 4 which is also scheduled for 2010.

I hope that helps put some of the big boys in context. We need everyone to be aware of them because they're important influences on horror, particularly slasher! Halloween gave the genre the boost into popularity, Friday the 13th kept it up, Nightmare on Elm Street made it more supernatural, and after a slow spell Scream started a new wave. Then we got to the gore-slasher movies (popularized by Saw) and now we're on to a crudload of remakes (which really got going with the Texas Chansaw Massacre remake). I won't go into details about this stuff, not today, because they're off subject! Besides, this is getting longer than I'd hoped.

See you next time with Friday the 13th!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Enjoying Horror 101

Ladies, gents, welcome to the class of Enjoying Horror! Today we’re going to consider how to enjoy a horror movie and why they’re so very disliked. Are you ready? Ok! Let’s get started.

To like them, we first need to understand why they’re hated. Well, first of all, many horror movies aren’t ‘good’ movies. What? It’s true, and I’ll admit that. A lot of ‘em are sub-par. But isn’t that also true of any type of movie? Maybe, but the difference is that people seem to hold it against horror more than they would against any comedy or action flick. The average movie-goer (myself included) will watch the stupidest comedy in their lives, and still laugh their butts off. They’ll watch a generic, same-old same-old, action movie but still get a rush from it. Why isn’t it like this for horror?

It’s partly because it just can’t cover up its faults as easily as other types. Bad acting, bad plot, bad setting can be covered up with tides of action, comedy, morals, or emotion. But if you throw too many scares at watchers, they’ll quickly become resistant to it: part of what makes it scary is unexpectedness. So all the necessary slow parts let any defects seep through. The viewers then get so caught up in the bad that they block out and forget the good.

What’s the moral of this story? Try to stay objective! That means be fair and aware of both the pros and cons, enjoying the good and destroying the bad. This way if you watch a mediocre horror movie, instead of saying “That was crap!” you might say “That was alright.” Better yet, instead of calling an actual factual good one ‘alright’ you might very well find yourself giving it a thumbs-up!

But for the average movie-goer, that’s not even the main issue. The primary problem is empathy. Let’s stray off topic for a sec. Why do guys generally dislike chick-flicks and emotional movies? Because it would be ever so un-manly of them to share in those mushy-mush feelings, of course. Then, give them an action movie and they can allow themselves to relate to that: car chases, explosions, yeah, ROCK ON! The same problem exists, to a lesser degree, with the girly-girls who don’t want to feel the un-ladylike adrenaline rush of action flicks, or the mature propah people who cannot allow themselves to relate with senseless immature comedy.

The point of all that? You need to empathize with a movie to enjoy it. You need to want to feel the emotions that the film stirs up. And what’s the emotion that almost everybody doesn’t like feeling? Fear. So they’ll do whatever they can to avoid it. That means avoiding horror and talking it down. The funniest part is: many people keep watching horror movies and keep saying they hate them. Isn’t that hilarious? I mean, what’s the point? Ah, but the answer is in the fact. People keep watching them so that they can keep calling them stupid! They’ll go watch a horror movie and try hard not to get scared because they don’t want to look like wimps. Not in front of family. Not in front of friends. Not in front of themselves. Again this is particularly true for guys, who need to keep up their “I AM MAN” reputations. In fact, people will even get help to resist the fear. They’ll watch the film with friends and talk as it goes and/or forcefully joke and laugh about it. At home, they might watch it in daylight for extra support.

How do we fix this? Step one, the hardest, is to try to be scared. You have to want it. That means defying your instincts that try to protect you from fear. Step two: don’t talk during the movie. Let yourself drift into the atmosphere. That can also include not thinking too much about the movie as you watch it. This way you’ll spend more time feeling emotion instead of analyzing it.

Now you might ask, “Why the hell would I want to be afraid?” That’s the easiest! The same reason you watch action movies, the same reason you go on roller-coasters, the same reason you drive fast: for the rush. Being afraid is just another kind of stimulation. It gets your heart racing, adrenaline pumping, and that feels good (sorta). It can take your breath away. I might sound like a loony idiot for saying this, but why would you not want to be afraid? It can be damn good fun!

So, everybody, now you can go out and watch horror movies. And if you follow my instructions, you might just enjoy them more than you used to. It’s worth a try! Leave your skepticism at the door and have a good time. If you’d like to discuss or debate any of this further, you’re welcome to come see me 'after class' (in other words, you’re welcome to continue the conversation in the comments ^_^ ).

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

"The Uninvited" Can Stop By My Place Any Time

While The Uninvited may suffer in some areas, it's a great thriller. And, it even brought me to the edge of my seat.

Yes, I said it!

"But who knows, I could be way off."

How true that turned out to be! The trailer did the movie no justice. I was in for quite a surprise: I actually enjoyed it from the start. But that's not to say it wasn't flawed. Because it's true that it was made up of things that have already been done, but it was an entertaining blend.

I'll tackle the fear-factor right from the start. Like any horror or thriller, this one has a couple jump-out-at-cha scares, but not that many. It depends more on setting up nightmarish moments where the terror slithers into you. It's not sudden, it's not loud; you see it coming at you... and you are helpless to stop it. Ever feel helpless in a terrifying dream you couldn't wake up from? That's how our main character felt. I'd say there are about four or five lengthly enough scenes that do this, which is a fair amount. Especially since straight-out terror isn't the only thing this film uses against you. I'll say this though: I never want to see a trash bag again. Evar!
(Crap, did that thing just move?!)

You know what? I'm glad the commercial sucked. Yeah, I'll be blunt about it this time. Because luckily, for that reason, it didn't give anything away! Not too great for marketing (if I wasn't doing this blog, I'd probably have skipped this one until it was available to rent), sure, but I'm grateful now. All the best parts were waiting to catch me off-guard.

The second thing used to get you tense is a good ole psychological attack. The paranoia of the girls is infectious! You aren't just watching them worry about the evil step-mom-to-be. You're actually involved, wondering what she'll do next, and if something goes wrong, deep down you're thinking "Noooo, she's at it again!" instead of just "Yup, she done it."
(Ugg, that is going to stain...)

I have other good things to say, but let's throw some balance in the mix and talk about where the movie stumbles. The plot had no holes, but sadly it was often predictable. It's full of twists and turns, but you know many of them are going to happen. I found myself calling some things a good ten minutes ahead of time. Not to mention that, as I've said before, many of the themes have been done: "I don't trust that person and nobody believes me" and "we're ghosts, we're trying to warn you by scaring you."
(Nice to meet-- that's not how you shake hands!)

However, I'm now going to deconstruct all of what I just said. :P

Maybe the movie was supposed to be that way. Because even when you see parts of the plot coming, it affects you like the scares do: "Nonono, don't do that, not that!" You're like a fortune-teller who can see upcoming doom and can't change it, which tears at you making you pray it won't come to pass. But it does. As for the "it's all been done" problem... let's just say that though they were obviously inspired by at least three common plots, the way they put them together disarms and distracts you enough to make you think you know where they're going with it when you don't. Certain aspects of the film made me think the makers were smart enough to do something like that. I really liked their contrasting use of "Welcome Home". After seeing what some other people thought, I can see that they agree. Everything that looks plain or like a plot-hole has an excuse. You'll see. ;)

The acting was perfectly fine. Nothing Oscar-worthy, but not at all lacking either. The characters felt very genuine, including their attatchments to one-another. I'm particularly thinking of the relationship between the two sisters. They disagree at times, but when it matters they stick together and stand up for each other. As for the others, well, the father looked like a guy who didn't know how to handle his teen daughters, and the woman he's in love with looked like a manipulator who fakes her kindness just enough to trick him but not the children.

There isn't much to say about the critics. The main thing they whined about was the predictability. They also focused on the few "typical" scares the movie did have. Basically they were being closed-minded. But a fair amount cheered the movie on for its bountiful good qualities and I cheer them back.

Funny story: something happened after watching the movie. I got in my car, turned on my MP3 player, and headed home. As I pulled into the driveway, the clock struck midnight. I looked down at my MP3 to turn it off, and what song was just starting to play? "Welcome Home" by Coheed and Cambria. What the eff! Not only is there the coincidence of the title and the fact that I'd just gotten home, but emotion of the song resonates a bit with some emotion of the movie.

So, that made my night complete. :0

Overall: A good movie that may just be a great movie in disguise. It depends on how deep you can look into it after its over. One thing's for sure: it knew how to create an effective atmosphere.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

It's Lycan Action-Horror Movie

Called 'horror' mostly for its Gothic style and for being about vampires and werewolves, it's not at all scary. But, it is full of action and an epic-style story. Plus some romance if you want that. :)

Personally I'd just call Underworld: Rise of the Lycans an action movie, but since it's placed in the horror genre (and there wasn't any other horror flick on that week o_o) I'll include it here.

But let's not let that bring us down! Yay! Action movie!

Right, so, it was pretty good. The effects were nice with some cool looking werewolves going around. Though there could have been more action sequences, what they had was intense. Everything from close combat to huge ballistae. I especially liked that they briefly had a human that could kick some butt too. Still, it delivered part of what we all went to see: more Werewolf vs Vampire craziness!

Yet, it didn't so much fill the other part: Underworld. The first movie (and even the second one) had more of a horror feel than this one. Creepy scenes, Gothic but also unknown, and even the style of a gritty underworld were lacking in this third installment. To me, it felt like a separate story, even though many parts were related to the other two films. Really, when you get right down to it, it might as well have been. As things stand though, it is Underworld, and I enjoyed watching it just fine. And to be fair, I guess the werewolves were at times a little intimidating. ;)
("Wanna be friends?! :D")

The cast was great. Solid acting all around. Michael Sheen returned to play Lucian and did his job in the rebel-slave-leader-who-is-also-a-werewolf role. Like everyone else, I was sad that we wouldn't be seeing Kate Beckinsale, but they brought in Rhona Mitra (woo!), which was nice. :) And then we have Bill Nighy returning as well as the tyrannous lead vampire Viktor. I once again loved how he played the cold, self-centered, powerhungry, merciless Viktor, unblinking and for some reason always seeming like he is trembling with wrath. That's him on the right. Creepy.

The romance was your typical star-crossed lovers thing... with wolf-mans and vamps, but yeah, same old. That was one of the big things that separated this movie from the others: deep down it was a love story. Sure the other ones had some romance, but this was Romeo and Juliet... if Juliet could kill a man with the flick of her wrist. Like I said, good for some movies, but is it "Underworld"?

Now for them critic people. They tossed this movie to the wolves (pardon the intended pun). Seriously, they tore it apart. Many were put off by how different it was than the others. One guy, Jeffrey M. Anderson, at Rotten Tomatoes had this to say on that note: quickly turns into a pretty standard-issue "revolt of the slaves" action picture...

I disagreed with some other things he said, but he's right there. However, some of the critics just plain sounded ignorant in their bashing of Rise of the Lycans. Some said Sheen's movement from roles in dramas (like Frost/Nixon or The Queen) made his place in an action movie awkward and laughable. Uh, sorry to disappoint those poor fools but he's been in action movies before either of those said roles (like Underworld and Timeline). Did I mention he did a good job in those action movies too? Oh, how silly of me, because he did. So, that was "dumb criticism #1" from them. Number two would probably just be the way they boohoo'd about how they didn't enjoy action and the story. The problem with many critics is that they get too involved in their own opinions and don't look at the movie objectively. Take a look at the review done at The Movie Blog by John Campea. He had some interesting things to say, but most of all he looked at the good and the bad and rated it fairly. Unlike the rot some critics spout out, senselessly declaring that they were bored or that it was stupid, or such things.

Overall: Definately worth the watch, especially if you're a fan of the series. It's different, yes, but a good different. And yes, for those of you who were disappointed in Underworld 2, this one makes up for it. I'd make some joke about how you could sink your teeth into it, but I wouldn't want to sound cliché would I? Oh.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Time For A "Horror Movie Awareness Day!"

We've got a couple horror films coming up, and I think its time to get all excited about them (if you haven't yet). Or maybe unexcited. Prepared! But unless some new announcements are made, there isn't much on the horizon past February. Lets hope we get more! If push comes to shove some weeks, I'll find and watch new-ish foreign horror to tell you about.

So, let's get right into it. Next week's release is The Uninvited. Yep, another Un- movie. From the commercial (Youtube, Apple), it seems... nothing special. The ghost-warning has been done before, and in possibly more interesting ways. I can't tell you which movies without ruining the twist though. Anyhow, the "person-everyone-trusts-but-you" thriller has been done nicely as well (like with Disturbia). Sure combining them is not so worn, but even so I don't see anything original coming from this one. Honestly it doesn't even seem that creepy/scary. But who knows, I could be way off. In some cases, I could never understand why the ghosts feel they have to scare the person they're trying to help, instead of just talking to them. Rules of some sort? Why not just scare off the evil person or haunt them into confessing? *shrug* Comes out the January 30th.

Next up on my list is probably the most anticipated horror movie in the near future: Friday the 13th. That's right, the story is being revived. The legend of Jason Voorhees. Check it out (Youtube, Apple 2a). Finally, the serial killer in the hockey mask has some mobility instead of being slow and stiff. It had always bothered me in the old movies when Jason would walk after sprinting teens and still somehow catch up. This looks like an interesting slasher. A big guy with a machete (and other sharp objects) and a scary mask popping out and attacking teens. What else do we need to make us insecure on a camping trip? It is possible that they could somehow mess it up, but there is a lot of expectation riding on this movie and the makers know it. Give us your best shot guys! Comes out in Febuary on Friday the 13th.

Now for something that's been kept more in the shadows. Another revival of a classic. The Wolf Man. There are no official trailers yet, but somebody recorded a preview at Comic-Con and leaked it on the internet. The quality ain't great, but enjoy! It looks very... classical. Old-fashioned, and that's not a bad thing. We're looking at a strong cast too. Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, and Hugo Weaving. I'm genuinely interested. Could be a wild ride. And its also coming out February 13th. Wait, wait. I just noticed that production got pushed back. Rotten Tomatoes had it set for February 13th, but now its aiming for November 6th. Awwww, man! People are saying it's because they want more time to market it, and on a My Bloody Valentine 3D wiki that has been taken down, the poster speculated that it may also have moved to avoid competing with Friday the 13th. Isn't that lovely portrait of Wolf Man to the left there cool? It's got my attention!

There are a few recent foreign movies that look interesting. First off is Eden Log, a Sci-Fi horror from France. It looks cool enough, but I can't really tell where its going. Plus the 'creature' looks less impressive than I was expecting. It came out in December. Then there's Dead Snow, a Norwegian movie about Nazi zombies. Yes, you heard me. And it looks as entertaining as it sounds. That can be good or bad depending on how it sounds to you, hehe. I can't believe they quoted Indiana Jones! The Movie Blog gave a review about it if you're interested. It came out earlier this month.

So for the near future, it looks like I'm going to pray that Friday the 13th turns out to be some kind of masterpiece.

Oops, and I fixed those last 5 pictures if you noticed they were down. :)