Archive for October, 2015

The Black Scorpion

Posted in Halloween Horror Movie Marathon on October 21, 2015 by Justin T.

The Black Scorpion

The Black Scorpion (1957) — Directed by Edward Ludwig. Starring Richard Denning, Mara Corday, Carlos Rivas, Mario Navarro, Carlos Múzquiz, Pedro Galván, Pascual García Peña.

I loved monster movies as a kid. Aw, heck, I still do. You might think it’s all about seeing people picked up by giant claws and devoured by a gigantic creature or buildings smashed to pieces by enormous feet, which is a lot of fun, but for me it’s just as much about seeing things brought to life that don’t exist in the real world, someone’s imagination realized on film. I remember watching the original King Kong, captivated by Kong and the dinosaurs even on my parents’ tiny black and white TV. I marveled at Ray Harryhausen’s Cyclops in The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad. Later I would be terrified of Medusa’s green gaze in Clash of the Titans; I almost couldn’t look at the screen, convinced I would turn to stone just by catching a glimpse of her eyes. Stop motion animation, particularly in older films, may look hokey if you didn’t grow up on it but I still love the craft. The patience and attention to detail required to simply walk a model across the screen still blows me away. We still see stop motion in current films but the trend is more towards animating an entire movie instead of integrating models with real actors and locations. I look forward to sharing these old classics with my sons at an age where they can be as dazzled by them as I was. Unfortunately The Black Scorpion, though featuring some impressive animation by one of the pioneers of the craft, isn’t one of the best examples of this dying art form.

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‘The Visit’

Posted in Found Footage, Halloween Horror Movie Marathon on October 7, 2015 by Justin T.

The Visit

The Visit (2015) — Directed by M. Night Shyamalan. Starring Olivia DeJonge, Ed Oxenbould, Kathryn Hahn, Deanna Dunagan, Peter McRobbie, Benjamin Kanes, Celia Keenan-Bolger.

M. Night Shyamalan is back! After taking a steep nose dive with some truly lousy movies that incorporated lame twists (The Village), spoiled brat whining about film critics (Lady in the Water), and just plain ridiculousness (The Happening), he has returned with The Visit, a found footage thriller/horror film that seems to work pretty well on the surface. After taking a closer look, however, I have some concerns with how the film exploits dementia in the elderly for its scares.

Siblings Rebecca (Olivia DeJonge) and Tyler (Ed Oxenbould) are heading out for a week-long visit with their grandparents, Nana (Deanna Dunagan) and Pop-Pop (Peter McRobbie). The kids have never met them because their mother Paula (Kathryn Hahn), after leaving home during some tense family drama, has been estranged from them for the past fifteen years. Rebecca, a budding filmmaker, is eager to meet them and plans to make a documentary of their visit with the goal of initiating a reconciliation between her mother and grandparents. But as their visit begins they notice some odd behavior. Nana has mood swings and wanders around the house after bedtime doing strange things like projectile vomiting and scratching at the walls. Their mother, via Skype, brushes these incidents off as simple old people behavior but things gradually become more deranged and sinister. What is going on with Nana and Pop-Pop? Why are they so damned scary?

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‘The Green Inferno’

Posted in Found Footage, Halloween Horror Movie Marathon on October 5, 2015 by Justin T.

The Green Inferno

The Green Inferno (2013) — Directed by Eli Roth. Starring Lorenza Izzo, Ariel Levy, Aaron Burns, Kirby Bliss Blanton, Magda Apanowicz, Ignacia Allamand, Daryl Sabara, Nicolás Martínez, Sky Ferreira, Ramón Llao, Antonieta Pari.

Feel like going on a trip? Eli Roth thinks you’re better off at home. Cabins in the woods, Eastern Europe, and now the Amazonian jungle have all come under his scrutiny and the world he sees is dangerously unaccommodating to outsiders. Woe to you, oh traveler, who wanders this wicked world!

Columbia University freshman Justine (Lorenza Izzo, Eli Roth’s wife) doesn’t care if her dorm mate Kaycee (Sky Ferreira) snarkily proclaims “activism is so f**king gay”, she joins a campus activist group anyway. The group’s leader, Alejandro (Ariel Levy), sees her father’s connection to the UN as a vital piece in his plan to save an Amazonian tribe in Peru threatened by deforestation carried out by a company mining fuel in the area. The activists aim to halt the company’s progress by chaining themselves to the demolition equipment and streaming the protest online via their smart phones. They succeed surprisingly quickly, though there is a dubious reason for that, and while celebrating on the small plane taking them out of the Amazon, an engine explodes and the plane crashes… wouldn’t you know it, right next to the tribe they were trying to save. And they’re just in time for dinner! You can probably guess who is on the menu…

The Green Inferno is Eli Roth’s tribute to cannibal films of the kind that flourished in the 70s and 80s, peaking with Ruggero Deodato’s controversial Cannibal Holocaust. If you want to get caught up you can go through the filmography presented near the end credits of Inferno and then see how this one compares. The Green Inferno is the highest profile cannibal film in some time. The only other cannibal film I’ve seen is the infamous Cannibal Holocaust so I don’t have much to compare it to but as an exploitation/horror film in general, The Green Inferno held my interest but wasn’t all that impressive.

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