Archive for Halloween Horror Movie Marathon

Halloween Horror Movie Marathon: Recap and Awards

Posted in Halloween Horror Movie Marathon, Movies with tags on November 7, 2011 by Justin T.

Ghost Girl

Another Halloween, another twenty or so movies come and gone. Time to wrap up the Halloween Horror Movie Marathon!

Haunted houses. One shape-shifting alien. One ancient Mayan pyramid home to living, man-eating plants. Organ harvesting. Monster from the deep. Slaughter on a raft. Achilles tendon severing. Leg amputation. A hand mangled in a lawnmower. A building made of wax. Fear. Despair. Loneliness. Tragedy. Continue reading

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Halloween Horror Movie Marathon: ‘The Ward’

Posted in Halloween Horror Movie Marathon, Movies with tags on November 2, 2011 by Justin T.

The WardThe Ward (2010) Directed by John Carpenter. Starring Amber Heard, Jared Harris, Mamie Gummer, Danielle Panabaker, Laura-Leigh, Lyndsy Fonseca, Dan Anderson, Susanna Burney, Mika Boorem.

Here it is, the final film for the marathon! Too bad we had to go out on such a turd directed by one of horror’s greats.

The Ward takes place during 1966 in the ward of a psychiatric hospital. Kristen (Amber Heard) is a new arrival at North Bend. She’s been brought in after burning down a farm house but she has no memory of why she’s done so. There are four other girls with her in this special ward run by Dr. Stringer (Jarred Harris). And it wouldn’t be a mental hospital film if he weren’t using some cutting-edge, controversial treatment on the girls. And it wouldn’t be a horror movie if the ward wasn’t haunted by a former patient who’s started killing the girls. Continue reading

Halloween Horror Movie Marathon: ‘The Curse of Frankenstein’

Posted in Halloween Horror Movie Marathon, Movies with tags on October 31, 2011 by Justin T.

The Curse of FrankensteinThe Curse of Frankenstein (1957) Directed by Terence Fisher. Starring Peter Cushing, Robert Urquhart, Hazel Court, Cristopher Lee, Valerie Gaunt.

I have some serious catching up to do when it comes to horror films produced by Hammer Films. Might as well get caught up by watching the film that started Hammer’s legendary run of films throughout the ’50s and ’60s, The Curse of Frankenstein.

I’ll keep this short: it is superb, of course. The Gothic sets are fantastic, Peter Cushing is great as the arrogant Victor Frankenstein, and Christopher Lee shambles through a physically intimidating performance that only hints at the sorrow of the creature demonstrated in the 1931 film. I also appreciated the “twist” at the end that is revealed in the film’s framing device, though I suppose the ensuing sequels reveal the answer to the question raised.

Well, sorry to cut this one short but let’s see if I can squeeze in one more film before I prepare for an evening of trick or treating with my son.

Halloween Horror Movie Marathon: ‘Kairo (Pulse)’

Posted in Halloween Horror Movie Marathon, Movies with tags on October 31, 2011 by Justin T.

KairoKairo (Pulse) (2001) Directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa. Starring Haruhiko Katô, Kumiko Aso, Koyuki, Masatoshi Matsuo, Kurume Arisaka, Kenji Mizuhashi.

Boy, this one’s a downer. Kairo is a slow moving film from Japan about ghosts using computers to reach into the real world and drag the living into loneliness and despair.

It took me a while to fall into the crawling pace early on, probably because I was still reeling from the action of the previous film. Had I known, I might have chosen to watch this one first.

I can’t get into the details of this one right now; it affected me far too much. It’s themes of loneliness and isolation as a result of technology got to me, particularly considering I watched the movie alone… on a computer…

That said there’s an inherent irony anytime someone uses technology to relay an anti-technology message that makes me take the whole affair with a grain of salt. At least upon reflection. Not that the point Kairo makes is necessarily less relevant because of the chosen medium.

I am curious, though, what the the director, who also wrote the film, thinks about the state of technology today and the proliferation of social interaction on the Internet today– Facebook, IM, texting, blogging… He might have it wrong; the Internet is not called a ‘network’ for nothing! … but while I was here, alone, watching Kairo on a computer… the dark tone of isolation the film strives for struck me hard.

All right, time to move on…

Halloween Horror Movie Marathon: ‘[REC2]’

Posted in Halloween Horror Movie Marathon, Movies with tags on October 31, 2011 by Justin T.

[REC2][REC2] (2009) Directed by Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza. Starring Jonathan Mellor, Óscar Sanchez Zafra, Ariel Casas, Alejandro Casaseca, Pablo Rosso, Andrea Ros, Àlex Batllori, Pau Poch, Manuela Velasco.

Starting Halloween off with a bang! on this roller-coaster ride of a movie. [REC2] is the sequel to one of my favorite flicks from last year’s marathon, [REC]. That one started off slow, in a good way, and ended with pure insanity. The sequel picks up right where the last one ended and maintains the same intensity throughout with just enough lulls to allow us to catch our breath.

This time we follow a Grupo Especial de Operaciones (GEO) team, the Spanish version of SWAT, into the quarantined building.  They are led by Owen (Jonathan Mellor), a member of the Ministry of Health who has a mission and just happens to be the team’s only way out once they’re inside. Cameras are brought along to record important information, and to, you know, give the audience a movie to watch.

I’ve said before, I’m a sucker for the “found footage” genre; when it’s done well, it can be pretty effective. No problems here. The plot may have its obvious contrivances to keep the characters in the claustrophobic setting, but I can forgive the film that minor issue. The pacing is exciting, the effects are great overall, this one’s a winner. It’s every bit as awesome as the last film. One of my favorites of the marathon so far.

Forging ahead!

Halloween Horror Movie Marathon: ‘The Innocents’

Posted in Halloween Horror Movie Marathon, Movies with tags on October 31, 2011 by Justin T.

The InnocentsThe Innocents (1961) Directed by Jack Clayton. Starring Deborah Kerr, Megs Jenkins, Pamela Franklin, Martin Stephens, Michael Redgrave, Peter Wyngarde, Clytie Jessop.

The Innocents is listed in that book I mentioned in my last post. I also seem to recall it appearing in some ‘best of horror’ lists, including Scorsese’s. Well, seemed like it was time to give it look. Considering my reaction to the number one pick on his list, The Haunting, I went into it with lowered expectations but found myself pleasantly surprised by this tremendously effective ghost story. Continue reading

Halloween Horror Movie Marathon: ‘Turistas’

Posted in Halloween Horror Movie Marathon, Movies with tags on October 30, 2011 by Justin T.

TuristasTuristas (2006) Directed by John Stockwell. Starring Josh Duhamel, Melissa George, Olivia Wilde, Desmond Askew, Beau Garrett, Max Brown. 

My mother-in-law gave me a great book for Christmas last year called Horror! 333 Films to Scare You to Death. It provides a chronological list of films as well as a written introduction for each decade describing the important themes and styles of horror films released during those years. I keep it by my bedside and just flip the book open to read about some great horror flick. I’ve only seen about half of the films listed and, of course, I’d love to get all three hundred and thirty-three under my belt.

I picked Turistas because it’s one of the films listed. I don’t get why it’s there. They call it a guilty pleasure but I found it a boring, run of the mill entry in the “urbanoia” horror sub-genre, with its misleading portrayal of the locale and natives firmly intact. Continue reading