Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Horror Movie Challenge’ Category

My mother did a spectacular job of keeping me away from Freddie Kruger movies. She worked at a video store on select weekday nights and as I would stare transfixed upon the gruesome movie sleeves in the horror section, there was but one warning she gave me: “Don’t watch those Freddie Kruger films.”

Eventually I got older and began to ask her why. Tales of girls falling asleep and being dragged, bloodied, across the ceiling in real life as they dreamt of being murdered followed. To an 11-year-old me, yeah, that was intimidating. I seem to recall a Simpson’s Treehouse of Horror episode that fleshed out the concept a little more, though Freddie Kruger was of course scarier looking than Groundskeeper Willie.

Photobucket

I was really looking forward to seeing this classic of all classic slasher films. It’s been 26 years of building itself up to be one of the most notorious nightmare-givers of all time. Freddie Kruger is an intimidating figure. He has knives for hands. He has the kind of skin that you try politely not to stare at from across the food court. He’s a creepy old man. Conditions are right for SCARY!

So why didn’t this movie scare me?

The Halloween costumes, the parodies, seeing Freddie vs. Jason with a handful of friends… they really worked against me seeing Freddie as the new and terrifying creature he was when the films first came out. Maybe our culture had to ruin him with over-exposure just to cope with the fact that a guy who can murder you in your dreams is a really scary thing to deal with. But all of these things aside, the movie itself did a fine job of pulling the rug out from under Freddie feet. I thought that being the first film in the franchise, Nightmare on Elm Street would try to really pound it into our heads that Freddie Kruger is scary and ruthless and undefeatable. Of course he gets the last laugh in the end, but it’s ruined by a rather demeaning climax. How he is ‘defeated’ is simply shameful. By the time the ending is revealed all it generated from me was a roll of the eyes.

Photobucket

1984 is getting into that dated territory where a film has to be pretty damn ahead of its time in order for it to endure the increasingly desensitized public. The concept behind Nightmare on Elm Street was a fine one, terrifying in theory, but in practice in 2010 it falls flat. Again, I mostly blame time and consistent exposure to Freddie Kruger masks at the costume shop. Freddie doesn’t hide in our dreams anymore.

Is there any singular figure of the macabre that has stuck with us as the end-all-be-all of scary? When we look at modern day pioneers of blood and gore like the Jigsaw killer or even Samara from The Ring, do we feel like they will continue to carry their crowns of barbed wire, or will they lose their power to the onslaught of emerging technology? What horrors do future horror movies have for us? Will Jason Voorhees continue to be overshadowed by badder, bloodier, more realistic, more demented counterparts?

Perhaps it’s all a matter of personal experience. People who hate clowns may forever fear Pennywise of Stephen King’s It. If Freddy happened to traumatize you as a child, perhaps your fear of him has stuck with you. But I think people nowadays are far more frightened of ‘concepts’ and the execution thereof. Jigsaw himself is an old, dying man. Samara is a little girl. It’s hard to be scared of those things out of context. But in the right light, I think almost anyone could be scary if they were all wet and veiny and dragging themselves out of a TV. …Or it would just be awkward.

I’m very interested to see where horror is going. Amidst the veritable cornucopia of bad horror films in existence, there exists a small deposit of things that really scare people. Some of it may change with time; some of it may always stay the same. You’ve got to wonder what it says about the times we’re living in.

Photobucket

Read Full Post »

Two boys explore an abandoned hospital of sorts and find a strange girl chained up in the basement. Then one of them decides to use her as a sex slave. From the title of the film, you can guess what’s up.

And they called Cannibal Holocaust controversial.

I feel like a weirdo for watching this film. I feel even more like a weirdo for rating it ‘I really liked it’ on Netflix. I didn’t feel fully like a freak until, while explaining this film to my co-workers, I watched with each passing word how their expressions of ‘attentive listening’ switched to ‘confused and appalled’. I’m sorry, is the rape of the undead a touchy subject?

Photobucket

Just kidding, I know it is. And that’s why I have these mixed feelings of apprehension and appreciation over the film. Okay, but I’m not trying to cop out in saying ‘I know it’s wrong so I can’t say I liked it or I’m betraying my gender’ or… something like that. I don’t know. I’ve been drinking. But I’m just going to own up to it. I liked this film. Why? Because it treated itself really seriously. It was this very realistic account of teenage boys becoming a slave to their sexuality and impulsive desires. You want to think this is a sexist film about the use of women as sex objects? More than anything this film says HORRIBLE things about the male half of the species. Their desires betray them, they betray each other, they betray you, and this film puts us all in a dark place.

Tackling a subject like rape, much less rape of the undead, is a gutsy thing to do. It borders on the moral debacle of bestiality – as it confronts having sex with a being unable to give consent. Necrophilia is an obvious parallel, but at what point does a human being stop existing as a human being? At what point do we become objects? Does the fact that the titular (pun intended?) character moves and breaths take it to an entirely different place? So many lines, so many ways to cross them.

Do I really want to have a discussion with myself about the moral quandaries of fucking a zombie?

Probably not. But I’d be lying if I said that going to art college didn’t get me into a bunch of absurd and deep and absurdly deep conversations.
We’re touchy about our remains. Our culture is getting into a place where we are becoming more and more interested in what happens to our bodies after we die. What CAN happen is becoming more interesting. This goes beyond organ donning. You can go to the Body Farm so people can observe how the body decomposes under different conditions. You can be plasticined/preserved for a science exhibit. Medical students can practice on you. But some people just don’t want that. For some people, going into a coffin after being embalmed is the only way. Others choose cremation. Some people need to be buried. Others want to disappear. But ALL of this circulates around consent and respect. One COULD argue that being at the Body Farm and being left to decompose in the sun isn’t all that respectful, but that’s more about using your discarded body for a purpose. People who opt for these donations, they understand the detachment aspect of dying; “I’m dead, why does it matter what happens to my body?” However, we have to take into consideration about how the people we love would feel.

Photobucket

I think about it this way. …I can’t believe I’m about to type these sentences and post them in a blog. Oh god.

If I was dead, and someone got a hold of my body and decided they were going to have sex with it, IF I were to be watching this occur from some sort of after life, my reaction would be “…Ew.” Beyond that, I wouldn’t feel all that accosted. Okay, maybe if they were calling me names I would. I don’t know. I certainly wouldn’t prefer it in any case.

But if I consider this scenario with say, my best friend in place of me; if I caught people doing that to his/her dead body, I would drive cutting shears through their neck. Why? Because it is inarguably disrespectful. Unless my friend explicitly instructed that upon their death X amount of people could molest their body, it is essentially disrespectful. From here we can launch a counter attack against all zombie films that have exploited the undead. Of course it’s not respectful to impale a zombie with a fire poker. Of COURSE it’s not respectful to make zombies cage fight each other. Of course it’s not respectful to, ala Dead Rising style, put a Lego head on a zombie and watch it shamble around until you break its back with a propane tank. But we don’t think about it from this angle, do we? Why? Because zombies are gross and they’re trying to eat us. They become creatures, mindless things that hunger for our blood. They’re not people any more, so it’s okay to run them over with your car.

You know what, being a zombie isn’t really respectful business in and of itself. I think, given the choice, most people would prefer to be shot in the brain than wind up half naked and shambling, decomposing all over the place and groaning. Maybe that’s what we say to ourselves to make the thought of killing what looks to be a human being okay. But to have sex with it? C’mon, dudes, gross. Moral quandaries aside, people shouldn’t want to have sex with a zombie any more than they should want to have sex with an inflatable doll covered in decomposing meat. And this girl in the movie… yeah, she’s a good looking lady… beneath the bleeding and sweating and looking generally grungy. You could be ALIVE but I’m not getting in bed with you if you look like you haven’t showered in a month. It’s just… ick.

I don’t know if I’ve really hashed out all my questions. It’s hard when all I have is myself to bounce these things off of, and I’m essentially the queen of playing devil’s advocate with stuff like this.

Having sex with dead girls = bad. This movie on the general whole = good. Point established. The rest of this discussion is for another date and a lot more drinking.

Read Full Post »

And Number 1)
Photobucket

We all saw this coming, right? At least tell me you aren’t surprised.

A bloody knife is manageable. A severed limb is shocking. Intestines spilling out of a stomach wound are unsightly. The Human Centipede is GROSS.

The premise was simple enough: three people, sewn together, A-T-M style. When you hear it for the first time you are appalled. Unlike the poor colleagues who bore witness to this monstrosity with me, I had a month to get used to the concept of what I was about to see. I was going to see three people, sewn together, A-T-M style. See? It’s the second time you’ve heard it and it’s lost some of the sting, right? …Right?

I refuse to believe that director Tom Six is the first person to ever conjure up such a horrible thing. There are too many people out there who have gotten to the alcohol-induced levels of perversity required to bring up such a thing in conversation. Tom Six however, was the first one who brought it out into the light and had the gall to put it on the big screen. I didn’t have the privilege (or ill luck) of seeing it in the theater. I DID however, get to see it in HD, which is really not something you should care to demand with this movie. Still, I bribed my friend Joey with my last $5 just so we could all watch on his flat screen as opposed to us all huddling around my laptop. Yeah, I sat with this movie stored on my hard drive for a week, not daring to touch it, feeling too disgusted with myself and too intimidated to watch it alone. What had I gotten myself into? I needed company. So, five of us gathered one evening against better judgment and thus the journey began. I ate a sandwich really hurriedly during the first part of the film, finishing it before the film got ‘to the meat of the matter’.

Photobucket

Set aside the acting. Set aside the script. Set aside anything you could criticize about this film. The trailers promised us three people, sewn together, A-T-M style. And the film fucking delivered. Without being too explicit with visuals, much of the horror was implied. The part of the film that everyone talks about is when the lead of the ‘centipede’ actually has to go to the bathroom, much to the chagrin of the lady attached to his rear end. Nothing is shown; everything horrific about that scene is in the actress’ eyes. You gag on concept alone.

This film has gotten some flack about the fact that it relies on the shock value alone to compensate for the lack of actual horror taking place in the movie. What they don’t see is that the horror IS the shock value. The film didn’t promise social commentary. The film didn’t say it would teach us new things about ourselves. This film wanted to be the sickest damn horror movie in history, and look what it did. …THAT.

Before I get too poetic on you, let me knock it down a bit; I actually kind of regret seeing this movie, mostly because now I can’t un-see it. My friends and I descended from Joey’s apartment changed individuals. My co-worker was clearly traumatized, and remains so to this day. Clearly however I’m not the only one who’s gotten ‘comfortable’ with what I saw. Human centipede jewelry, cat toys, parodies, cosplays; yep, examples all saved to my hard drive, because I’ve become ‘that girl who watched the Human Centipede’ and therefore I get sent all of this stuff. But clearly, those involved with the making of this film have become nothing but legends in the world of cult movie classics. Evil Dead 2, you’ve been outdone.

I hate how casually I’ve come to refer to the movie. I hate that I now make constant jokes to my co-worker, constantly threatening to ‘make him number 2’ just so I can see his eyes widen in fear at the threat. I hate how announcing ‘the rape drug!’ has become a casual exchange between me and my friends. I hate that I’m looking forward to the sequel, wondering how they will own up to the promise of making First Sequence seem like “My Little Pony compared with part two.”

Despite the gross out factor to the film, unlike Saw, it doesn’t really call into question all that much about us. This isn’t about accusing us of being horrible people for wanting to witness the horror, it’s about seeing it so you can say you saw it. The concept itself, despite being treated very realistically*, is too terrifyingly outlandish that no one’s really taking it seriously. Yet that is how the film carries itself. Tom Six is a sick bastard. And he’s going to try to outdo himself.
Personally, I don’t think he has to worry about too much competition.

Photobucket

Read Full Post »

Movie #7 – Lo

Lo, like Zombies of Mass Destruction, was not on my original list of horror movies to take down.

Appropriately so, it wasn’t really a horror movie. You have to go into watching this one with an open mind and a willingness to accept the fact that this movie is not what it seems based on the description. Considering the movie itself, this approach is crazy appropriate for a movie like this.

Viewing more like a stage production than a movie, this low budget jaunt into hell is about an awkward fellow, leading an awkward life, who finds a girl – also awkward – and he falls in love. Alas, she winds up being kidnapped by demons and dragged to hell, and in an attempt to save her, the guy summons a demon named Lo to help him get her back. Too bad Lo is a big ol’ asshole.

Photobucket

This movie (for the first part anyway) reminded me lots of The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Johnathan Stroud. The mischievous nature of Lo had some parallels to Bartimaeus, and the whole ‘If you step one pinky outside of your summoning circle, I’ll eat you’ angle was another similarity that makes me wonder if the director wasn’t a fan of Mr. Stroud. But if that’s the case, the concept was merely inspired and hardly a copy. The movie quite takes its own direction.

I do feel the character of Lo does kind of slap you in the face with how edgy he is too much at the beginning of the film. At first it reads well, then it goes a bit over the top, but by the end it all sort of evens itself out. The hero of the story again seems to emphasize the theatrical nature of the movie by overexerting his facial expressions.

Overacting? Maybe a little. But I really enjoyed the story, and the makeup was top notch; they spent their budget on the things that mattered. There were even (what I interpreted to be) nods to Evil Dead, but sadly I think this fellow needs a bigger budget if he’s going to hit cult movie classic status.

Photobucket

I would love to see this as a live performance. Call me prone to being blind-sided by plot twists, but the ending was deliciously touching and it was really the moment that won me over. I started watching it expecting a lot more action, but it really was about flashbacks and strange musical numbers which might have seemed out of place if I hadn’t been forewarned about it’s true nature.

http://thedemonlo.com/ is the site. Sadly, this and all of the linked material pointing to the creative forces behind it have been vastly abandoned.

As a bonus though, here is a short film by the same director.

I found it particularly amusing. This guy has potential. Good luck to him.

Read Full Post »

Netflix has made me into a bit of a monster. I don’t say that to be ‘punny’ with this whole horror movie binge I’m on, but I’ve been devouring movies like a rabid beast ever since I joined Netflix a few days ago and now I’m all crazy backed up with movies to review. The moment I absolutely fell for the service was when I realized I could watch movies from my phone, at work, with nothing but a 3G network. Overjoyed and giddy at the discovery, I abandoned my list of horror movies to watch and went off the suggestion of a friend.

Zombies of Mass Destruction was what came of it.

Photobucket

Had my boss not sent an enthusiastic text boasting of how great this movie was, I completely would have overlooked it in my Netflix suggestion queue. But behind its seemingly textbook premise (ZOMBIES, right??) there actually lies a fair gem of a story.

Zombies of Mass Destruction is not a movie about zombies. It’s a comedic look at a small town and the absurd people in it. I think that Shaun of the Dead (one of my favorite movies – horror or otherwise – of all time) described itself as ‘A romantic comedy… with zombies’, and this follows a similar beat in which the zombies ARE the main conflict, yet they come off as just a detail running in the background while we mainly follow the humor of the heroes’ plight.

Resemblance to Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland aside, Zombies of Mass Destruction is fairly cruel and, for lack of a better term, gutsy with who they chose to die and how they chose to execute it. Touching on issues like racism and homophobia, they managed to find a unique niche in ‘zombie humor’. The gay couple in particular were favorite characters of mine, and I think one would be hard pressed to ignore their charm. Special effects did the job of giving us gore, but you very much get the idea that this was a movie made for fun, not to set out and be a pioneer of the horror world.

Photobucket

It’s quite okay that it’s done that too. The result IS a fun movie, it’s kind of a pity it hasn’t gotten more attention. Still, it was well suggested by both my boss and Netflix. Definitely worth the watch for any fan of the zombie genre.

Read Full Post »

As always, spoilers spoilers spoilers.

I’m not all together sure about how I feel in regards to the ‘women are crazy’ theme going on in both these movies, so they’re being reviewed together.

Gothika is about a woman who works in a crazy house and then one day she wakes up as a patient in said crazy house and then goes crazy because she’s being accused of killing her husband AND there’s this cracker-ass white girl ghost following her around. Robert Downey Jr. is busy looking sexy as he tries (nicely) to explain to Halley Berry that she’s a crazy person now. The movie beats you over the head with foreshadowing and then dicks with you by adding a twist at the end.

Photobucket

Not alone indeed. But I kind of wish this movie did what it did without the ghosts. Granted, I guess without the ghosts, leading the heroine to the answer to her debacle would have been complicated. The ghost thing was just the easiest way to have all be revealed. But it’s just not good enough for me. I would have been sold on this movie without the ghosts, but then I guess it’d be more of a thriller (Shutter Island, anyone?) than a horror film.

Don’t get me wrong, I liked it overall. It was way better than I expected. But I don’t really see anything special to it. I’m also a little dubious about the women empowerment angle just because it spent so long having Berry run around like a crazy person and essentially be victimized. The ending doesn’t make the whole experience better. But again, maybe that’s just the raging feminist in me. Let’s move on.

Candyman took my Netflix virginity. A+ for the story and the story telling. A+ for not chickening out at the end like I thought it was going to. And gold stars all around for the end. I liked this movie. However, there was one thing that worked against it.

Photobucket

Tony Todd is way too attractive to be scary. Okay, the hook is unsightly, and the vomiting of bees detracted from the sexy factor. And while the ‘Oh man I’m gonna gut you it’s gonna be so good’ thing isn’t what every woman wants to hear, I stand by my stance that sexy does not work well for scary. Remember the Secret Window and Johnny Depp? Yeah. Like that.

Adding to the sexy is Virginia Madsen.

Photobucket

Who spent majority of the film looking like Lady Gaga also acting kinda crazy. The ending however, in all the twisted, right ways, brought back the whole empowerment thing and I really appreciated that. I also appreciate that it’s a story about an urban legend that doesn’t make use of teenagers to tell the story. I should have known that Clive Barker would live up to the expectations Hellraiser set for me.

But please notice how most of what I talked about in regards to this movie was the good looking people in it. Just saying… it was one sexy fucked up movie.

Read Full Post »

I think the gateway movie to Japanese Horror was The Ring… which is sad because it was an American remake. But The Ring led to people watching Ringu, and then The Grudge came out, and people watched Ju-On. From there it was things like The Audition and A Tale of Two Sisters, and if you got really obscure, there was always Uzumaki. And in the midst of this there’s Suicide Club… but the subtitles also called it Suicide Circle so I don’t know what to trust.

Photobucket

Fifty-four Japanese schoolgirls hold hands and jump in front of a subway train – simultaneously. That’s really how I’ve been introducing this movie to everyone. It’s definitely got the disturbing concept down, and unlike the Americanized favorites, the horror aspect here doesn’t rely on the fact that children are creepy. Not to mention I always kind of respect horror movies that aren’t afraid to kill kids.

…I promise I don’t hate children that much. I just think it’s a gutsy thing to do.

So, no one is safe, and pretty soon the suicide craze washes over Japan, all connected by an implication of subliminal messages and rolls of skin sewn together. I knew there was a reason to not trust J-Pop. Also there is a guy who I affectionately refer to as Asian-David Bowie. He’s pretty awesome.

I’m not going to lie, after I watched the movie I delved into a few forums to see some of the discussion that this movie generated. As was to be expected, there was a bunch of argument revolving around ‘This movie was stupid I don’t get it!’ VS. ‘You’re an idiot this movie was brilliant how could you not understand?’ I kind of wish I’d left the whole thing alone and stuck to drawing my own conclusions. But the consensus is this: beneath the disturbing storytelling is a simple tale about conformity and following fads. How this is conveyed by a sporadic musical number in a bowling alley while a bunch of animals and people writhe around in pillow cases on the floor is beyond me. But overall the plot is fairly put together and easy to follow. …Sometimes.

The main question the movie poses is “Are you connected to yourself?” With both America and Japan being countries dependent on technology, the concept of being ‘connected’ is worth examination. Allow me to derail this a bit…

I just got Netflix. I know, I was the last one to get on this train. But my defining moment for falling in love with the program was when I learned that I could play movies on my phone with nothing but the Netflix app and a 3G network. It was then that I realized just how much my phone does for me already. It makes calls, it checks my email, I can get on facebook and tumblr, I can read Savage Love, it has a calculator, a calendar, a pedometer, it tells me weather, it’s my GPS, it recommends places for me to go, I play games on it, I text, I check my bank account, I take pictures. My phone can do anything. ANYTHING. …Except give me money. But I forgive it for that. Add to this social networks and the internet in general. Think about how gmail now lets you connect to your blog. How Twitter and Facebook can cross-post to each other. My wordpress is synced with my Del.icio.us account. EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED.

Yes, Suicide Club, I got you. I’m connected to all the people around me. But am I connected to myself? Is it possible to ‘be yourself’ when you’re basing who you are and what you do on everyone else?

Be yourself! An astoundingly urgent and dare I say optimistic motivator coming from a movie about suicide.

I think I have to applaud this movie for that alone. And yes, maybe it does seem like I’m oversimplifying things but I reckon it might be a poor move to over think a movie like this.

1-2-3!

Read Full Post »

So, as part of my horror movie challenge, I recently began and later decided not to finish two of the movies on my list.

I left off saying that I was starting the 2010 version of Wolfman. I’m not too sure what I was thinking. Werewolf movies, in my humble opinion, aren’t all that scary. I ran the gamut on werewolf fiction in my high school days, and I will say that the pool of werewolf movies is shallow and has only a scant few gems. American Werewolf in London is the pinnacle of lupe garou story telling. The rest of them? Eeeeehh, not so much. Werewolf movies can be gory all they want. They can rely on ‘startle’ scares that make you jump, but the concept of a man turning into a wolf has been around for so long that people have just kind of gotten used to it. Some even find it sexy (thanks, Stephanie Meyer, you hack). Even though werewolves are not as prevalent in movies as vampires, the two are similar in a sense that movies involving either just aren’t full of enough… stuff to keep you up at night with the lights on. Wolfman (2010) drives this point home. The fact that it was a high budget production actually works against it. This movie is too damn preoccupied with being ‘pretty’. This is one of my main gripes with ‘period horror’ and horror flicks produced by Universal in general. The drive to make it aesthetically pleasing gets in the way. The best horror films out there are gritty and gross and make you feel unsafe. Their realism lies in the lack of professional production, but Wolfman (2010) doesn’t care. It’s a remake that tried too hard to live up to its predecessor, and even though it’s a classic among the world of werewolves – it wasn’t exactly scary to begin with. The concept of the werewolf has been around at least since ancient Greece and probably even before that; you’d think we’d try and come up with ways to refresh it and make it interesting instead of just remaking what’s already been done.

Anyways, Wolfman (2010) is like a 2 hour long movie and after the one hour mark I just wasn’t thrilled enough to keep going. Yeah there was gore, yeah the transformation scene was… okay. But the original wolfman looked undeniably silly and to make a callback to that was a bad move because even with all your special effects, it STILL looks silly. And the over-use of 3D effects to depict animals wasn’t even close to passing as realistic. It was more awkward than anything else and it just wasn’t worth me wasting another hour. Back in the day, I sat through a lot of hokey, poorly done werewolf movies. It would seem I’ve lost my patience for them.

Movie number two that didn’t make the cut was a fairly recent (2008?) release called Autopsy. I don’t remember how I heard of it. It might have been through browsing IMDB for horror movies I hadn’t heard of before. I really need to learn how to read the warning signs of a genuinely bad horror film.

Some horror movies can get away with being hokey. Bad acting is usually supplemented with excessive gore, or at least tits. This movie tried with the gore, but it just wasn’t enough. They really blurred the line between either being an intentionally bad horror movie, or a horror movie that was trying to be legit but was failing miserably. The intent to go one way or the other was just not clear enough. You are either one, or the other, you can’t be both.

So it’s a film about these kids who are driving home from some party or something and they run over a guy in a hospital gown. They’re picked up by an ambulance which takes everyone to the hospital and eventually you find out they were really picked up by some crazy people who just want to get them on an operating table and cut them open and stuff. There’s a creepy laughing girl who wanders around and a shifty nurse but none of it seems really important. The characters are so obnoxious and generic you have a hard time liking them, much less caring about what happens to them.

The part I stopped watching occurred when one of the female leads, (after having her gutted boyfriend climb on top of her and have his intestines spill out onto her face for a good 40 seconds) runs back out into the hallway, all bloodied and in hysterics, and out of nowhere one of the hospital henchmen steps out, punches her in the face, and then starts to drag her into another room.

That was when I realized they were FINALLY siding on the ‘funny’ horror angle, but by then it was just too late. It’s like they made the choice half way through to just make it campy as hell, and this lady doesn’t like indecision. With something like 46 minutes left, it just wasn’t worth my time to finish. I have a ton more horror movies to go through, and I didn’t need this eating up my minutes. I have more important things to do. Like watching disturbing Japanese films about suicide.

Sometimes, challenges like this are all about learning when to cash in your chips and move on.

Read Full Post »

Okay, so Vacancy came out before The Strangers, but I’m glad I saw The Strangers first because it really set the bar. The premises are similar, a couple, out in the middle of no where, out to get murdered by strangers. And Luke Wilson has a funny face.

Let me say this: if there’s one thing that makes me squirm in horror films, it’s the scenes where people are being chased. I hate it. It makes me so anxious. I don’t even like tag or hide and seek, I even get a little antsy when my cat and I are chasing each other around the house and he turns it around and starts running after me. I don’t know why.

Anyways, my point being that this movie was good at stressing me out because it capitalized on my rather specific fear.

One of the things I liked about this film is that it starts us off with the knowledge that the couple about to be terrorized are getting a divorce. That’s kind of where it stops being different from the standard scenario, however. I’m not sure if it was Saw or Hostel or even Cannibal Holocaust that kick-started the popularity of ‘snuff fiction’, but I do believe it is indicative of a very dark turn the horror industry has taken.

Photobucket

Vacancy is really nothing all that special. It does what it does, and unlike many horror films these days it ends with a relatively hopeful feel, as opposed to crushing your dreams and forcing you to accept what a horrible world we live in. But the Strangers took the latter route and for it I feel it is a much more deeply disturbing movie. It invades the familiar, the safe, and it does so with faceless villains with seemingly no motivation other than the joy they derive from fucking with people’s lives. Vacancy is really just about sickos who sell snuff porn and *somehow* get away with murdering a bunch of people and recording it.

But I think it does call into question just how similar we all are to the antagonists in this film. They record people being put in horrible situations and ultimately being murdered with the intent to make money. And what are these horror movies than having us, the audience, pay money to see people being put in these horrible situations?

I’ll touch more on that in a different line of articles. For now, I’m almost an hour into the 2010 rendition of Wolfman so we’ll see how that goes.

Read Full Post »

Just finished Rohtenburg (got tired last night). It’s a fictional account of the Armin Meiwes story (the German guy who butchered and ate a consenting ‘lover’), only they use different names for the actual characters. In the movie, we follow along as a present day student becomes obsessed with the tale and begins plunging herself into the world of the two men – trying to understand who they were and how they wound up the way they did.

Photobucket

If this film wasn’t based off off a true story, I might have found the notion purely ridiculous. But miraculously, this movie treats the tale with surprising sensitivity. Having watched “The Man Who Ate His Lover” – a documentary involving the real Armin Meiwes, I know that a lot of the events that unfolded in Rohtenburg were true to form in regards to the real life events. I’m a little confused as to why they changed the names of Meiwes and Brandes, as it’s no secret what the real names are, but if it was to highlight the fictional nature of the movie, so be it.

Human beings are amazing. Through random selection or corruption, from traumatizing pasts or the environments we grew up in, as a species we can and have fetishized anything. But what I like so much about this film (or even this story, as sad and disturbing as it is), is that it vastly removed itself from being sexual. It was *intimate* however, and I think that’s what captivates the main character in this film so much – it’s a level of intimacy that is incredibly intense – and yet such a small part of the population experiences this particular level of perversion. …It’s a touchy subject I know. And ‘perversion’ is really the wrong word for Meiwes. Some element DID deviate from the norm, here. But Meiwes (both in real life and in the movie) incorporated the consent into their fetish. Meiwes wanted to eat someone. Brandes wanted to be eaten. I guess… good for them.

…But deeply unnerving.

Vacancy is up next. I guess I should state that I’m not doing these in any particular order. I have a little laundry list that I keep under my pillow and I just select whatever I’m compelled towards at the time. Here we go!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »