Saturday, August 30, 2008
A fun Hammer horror film from 1964 starring Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing and directed by the legendary Terence Fisher.
IMDB: "In early-twentieth-century middle-Europe, villagers are literally becoming petrified. Although the authorities try to hush the matter up it is apparent that at the full moon, Medusa leaves her castle lair and anyone looking on her face is turned to stone. When this fate befalls a visitor, experts from the University of Leipzig arrive to try and get to the bottom of it all."
View the movie below
Friday, August 29, 2008
Fridays at the Rant are for new and upcoming horror films.
A brit revenge horror flick being released in the UK this September is Eden Lake. The movie is directed by James Watkins and stars Finn Atkins, Alyssa Cooper, Shaun Dooley, Eliza Elkington, Michael Fassbender, James Gandhi, Thomas Gill, Jack O'Connell.
IMDB supplies the following information: "Nursery teacher Jenny and her boyfriend Steve, escape for a romantic weekend away. Steve, planning to propose, has found an idyllic setting: a remote lake enclosed by woodlands and seemingly deserted. The couple's peace is shattered when a gang of obnoxious kids encircles their campsite. Reveling in provoking the adults, the gang steals the couple's belongings and vandalizes their car leaving them completely stranded. When Steve confronts them, tempers flare and he suffers a shocking and violent attack. Fleeing for help, Jenny is subject to a brutal and relentless game of cat-and-mouse as she desperately tries to evade her young pursuers and find her way out of the woods. Exhausted and distraught, she finally arrives back to the safety of the town. And meets the parents..."
So here it is ... Eden Lake
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Perhaps my favorite movie of the modern age is Japan's Battle Royale. While technically not a horror film in and of itself, it certainly has elements of horror in it and the survivalist nature of the film parallels with the slasher genre. The film basically pits an entire high school class against each other on a remote island forcing them to eliminate each other in order to survive ... and there can only be one survivor!
Based on a popular Manga comic, Battle Royale is expertly directed by Kinji Fukasaku and stars Tatsuya Fujiwara, Aki Maeda, Taro Yamamoto, Chiaki Kuriyama, and Takeshi Kitano. All the actors handle their parts magnificently bringing the right mix of innocence, pathos and terror into their part. Takeshi Kitano is especially brilliant in his part as the teacher that sends the kids into battle. This is an amazing film and should be on your must see list.
So here it is ... Battle Royale
Saturday, August 23, 2008
By the time this movie was released, I had written off the Re-animator series and gave this flick a big old pass. So, up until this week, I never saw this very enjoyable romp of a horror flick. I caught this on Time Warner's FearNet VOD options. I was surprised how much fun it was and how well it was made and acted. While still not a great film nor a classic, this was better than many films I've seen lately.
At this time of its release, I think this film may have been a victim of the market place. Horror fans were kneedeep in exploring the J-Horror explosion, even the Freddy vs. Jason film was being directed by an Asian director. Even though this film was being produced by the Spanish production compay Filmax, by the time it made it to the States, it had missed it's opportunity to capitalize on the success and following of the previous two movies, Re-Animator and Bride of the Re-Animator.
So, after seeing it some 5 years later, I think this movie may need a revisit. The cast hams it up wonderfully from Jeffrey Combs to Simón Andreu as Warden Brando, especially in his later Rat-Zombie incarnation. Heh, too much fun.
The movie is set in a prison, but it really doesn't play out a prison film. The prisoners really don't spend that much time behind bars -- in fact, West is shown in his cell only in one scene. Every other scene, he's either in the courtyard or the operating room/laboratory or somewhere in between. This could have just as easily been set in an asylum or a bording school.
The effects by Screaming Mad George are chessy but in a magnificently fun way. One cell mate spends the later part of the film as a zombie from the waist up in what may be the highlight of the film. Another injects himself with West's syrum as if it were a street drug and explodes into zombie-dom -- continuing to persue his junky ways.
Brian Yuzna directs with his almost-there flair. He has a few shining moments of atmosphere, such as West's final moments on film, but most of the film is about getting from one scene to another. At times the movie is top notch and at other times it appears made-for-tv. It almost appears as if they were running out of money at the end of filmmaking and had to make cuts. Even at it worst, it's still highly watchable and a better-than-usual effort from Yuzna.
In the end, I enjoyed Beyond Reanimator and that's what counts the most. I had a great time watching it even with its flaws. It held my attention throughout and left me with a smile on my face. I can't think of a better complement for a film.
So, here's the trailer ... Beyond Re-animator
Friday, August 22, 2008
Thursday, August 21, 2008
With It's Alive being fairly successful in its initial run, a sequel was produced and released in 1978 called It Lives Again. It is also known as It's Alive 2. The sequel, while better in many ways, suffers from a lack of originality. It is still worth a viewing if you get the chance. With a remake of the original on the way, now is the time.
The movie is again written and directed by Larry Cohen and John P. Ryan returns as Frank Davis, the baby's father from It's Alive. Frederic Forrest and Kathleen Lloyd (The Car) are the proud parents this time around.
So here it is ... It Lives Again
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Another movie on the remake fast track is the classic seventies creepfest It's Alive about a killer ... baby. Heh, yeah ... but the movie is actually alot of fun.
So here it is It's Alive
Monday, August 18, 2008
This past week end Alex Aja's Mirrors was released and crept to the fourth spot and mixed reviews. Next on Aja's plate is a 3-D remake of Piranha.
So let's take a look at the originial from 1978 directed by Joe Dante and starring Bradford Dillman, Heather Menzies, Kevin McCarthy, Keenan Wynn, Dick Miller.
Friday, August 15, 2008
Friday at the rant is for new, upcoming horror movies and today's is the strangest yet. Repo! The Genetic Opera, brought to us by the makers of SAW is a Horror Rock Opera on the lines of Rocky Horror Picture Show or Phantom of the Opera ... and it looks fantastic.
So here it is ... Repo! The Genetic Opera
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
As you may know, the Rant favors horror movies of the seventies and one of our favorite '70's horror films is It's Alive. We also love the Omen. Now, fast forward thirty years ahead and we've grown to love movies world wide, including j-horror. A recent release in Japan and a hit a last springs festivals is Tamami: The Baby's Curse based on a manga story and mixing elements from these classics.
Also known as Akanbo Shojo, Tamami is directed by Yudai Yamaguchi and stars Nako Mizusawa, Goro Noguchi, Takumi Saito, Itsuji Itao and is based on the Manga Akanbo Shojo.
"Birthed in trauma, Yoko (Nako Mizusawa) is a fifteen-year-old orphan who suddenly discovers that she isn’t an abandoned child after all: her birth family are still alive and they want her back. She arrives at the family mansion to discover that her mother is insane, the housekeeper is a creepy old ghoul and her dad is a kindly, but distracted, professor of...we’re never quite sure. Oh, and there’s a crazed mutant baby in the attic that has the mind of an adult but the body of a killer infant with claws and fangs. And it’s not happy to have a big sister"
So here it is ... Tamami: The Baby's Curse
Monday, August 11, 2008
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Last of the Living (2008)
Here comes a horror comedy from New Zealand, Last of the Living. In a world overrun by zombies only these three bumbling bumbleheads can save the day and the world. Heh, yeah right.
This looks like another Shaun of the Dead with a slight twist. Ah, there's always room for another Shaun of the Dead.
Here ya go ... Last of the Living
Saturday, August 9, 2008
So here it is ... Dance of the Dead
Friday, August 8, 2008
The Haunting of Molly Hartley (2008)
As usual, Friday's at the Rant are for new, upcoming horror flicks. This week we take a peek at an upcoming USA October release...
This halloween season will bring us Quarantine and Saw V ... and the following film, The Haunting of Molly Hartley. It looks to be a busy spooky season, with Quarantine coming in early and Saw V and Molly Hartley fighting it out halloween week.
From the trailer, it appears the Molly Hartley will play like a modern day version of Carrie as the lead character discovers frightening events that bind her past and her future. This teen horror flick mixes Carrie with equal parts Omen and Rosemary's Baby as Molly's soul may have been promised to the devil (or worse) and her mother is out to kill her. Add to all this, she may be going mad in the process. Wouldn't you?
Molly Hartley is directed by Mickey Liddell and written by John Travis and Rebecca Sonnonshine. The movie stars Shannon Marie Woodward, Chance Crawford (The Covenant, Gossip Girl), AnnaLynne McCord, Haley Bennet and Nina Siemaszko.
So here it is ... The Haunting of Molly Hartley
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Now, Nightbreed isn't a movie that I remember fondly nor did it make a great impression on me. I've had the opportunity to catch again from time to time and find myself not really interested in doing so. With that said, I wasn't really interesting in listening to guys from BGH chat about it for a half hour or so -- meh. However, it turned out to be a good listen and I found myself intrigued with the movie, if just ever so slightly.
Trying to remember what I didn't care for when I first saw this film, I recall that it was all over the place and lacked a solid focus. I remember being confused by the variety of monster, none of which had much pathos to them - say like a Frankenstein. I also remember being confused by the mad Dr. Decker character played by David Cronenburg. I also remember that the lead Craig Sheffer (Boone) didn't do much for me either - I wasn't drawn into his plight. While I enjoyed the character effects and design work, the direction and story left me cold and distant.
The podcast brings this up as a common reaction to the movie at that time. Could it have been that the movie was just made at the wrong time for the audience to relate - could it have been the social climate, the state of horror or just different trends? Hmmm. Interesting.
Okay, so now I have to give it another try sometime. Yet another film to add to my TiVo wishlist. Even though the guys at Bloody Good Horror made a good case for taking another chance on this film, I would wager that it won't live up still. Benefit of the doubt however. I'll give it another try and with my mind as open as possible.
So here it is ... Nightbreed: http://www.traileraddict.com/trailer/nightbreed/trailer
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
We interrupt the regularly scheduled program for jaunt to a more recently released horror movie trailer - recent as in 5 years old instead of 30 - heh. Today, let's take a look back at the 2003 release and remake of Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Last night I was talking to my son about some of the classic horror movies that have changed or inspired cinema in profound ways: Alien, Jaws, Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) and Exorcist. As conversation continued we talked about remakes and the thought that they suck but then sometimes don't -- Dawn of the Dead, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Ring -- and that we are looking forward to the upcoming remake of Friday the 13th.
Then I remembered how the trailer alone for the Texas Chainsaw remake was so successful converting many doubters in about 2 minutes 10 seconds. This trailer is brilliant in its execution. It sets you up quickly with a series of introductions and events and leads you into a collection of increasingly tense moments each cut with a freeze frame, camera flash and sound. Then, the selling moment of the clip, the screen goes black and you hear Jessica Beal wimpering and then footsteps surrounding her. As you feel yourself lean into the screen itself you hear a sudden roar, the unmistakable sound of the chainsaw firing up and grinding for something to tear and rip into .... then it appears, violently, out of the darkness and the trailer picks up.
This is one of the best trailers in the past few years. With the same production team and director handling the Friday the 13th remake early next year, one can only hope, beyond hope, that it too will live up. Recently released footage from San Diego Comic Con gives all horror fans hope.
TCM 2003 was directed by Marcus Nispel and stars Jessica Beal, Jonathan Tucker, Eric Balfour and the great R. Lee Ermey.
So here it is ... Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
In 1972, Amicus Productions released Tales from the Crypt directed by Freddie Francis from a screenplay by Milton Subotsky. The tag line reads "Death Lives in the Vault of Horror" which is ironic since the next film from Amicus was titled Vault of Horror.
The story follows five strangers who get lost in a crypt together and meet the Crypt Keeper. The Crypt Keeper weave tales of terror in which each stranger discovers how they will die.
The film has a wonderful cast including Joan Collins, Peter Cushing, Roy Dotrice, Richard Greene, Patrick Magee and Ralph Richardson. The movie has some classic images including Peter Cushing's character rising from the grave and, of course, Joan Collins being chased around by a sadistic evil Santa Claus. The poster also has an astounding image of a skull with an eye remaining it one of its sockets -- even if the image doesn't appear in the movie. Great stuff.
So here it is ... Tales from the Crypt
Monday, August 4, 2008
Sunday, August 3, 2008
With this week’s extremely limited release of Midnight Meat Train comes some controversy with the idea that serious mainstream horror is getting ignored by the distributors. As more and more horror films are being released with PG-13 ratings, the R rated American Horror film is getting the shaft. On the internet and in the press, Midnight Meat Train has recently been getting the spotlight for a film falling into this absent-minded mindset.
So, imagine how shocked I was when I found out that this flick was playing in a local (Raleigh, NC) theater and at $1.50 no less. What? Were my eyes deceiving me? No, there it was at the local second run theater on its opening night. While I thought I was going to have to decide whether or not I was going to pluck down the bucks to see the third Mummy movie or not, I found myself scrambling to get to the theater to see Midnight Meat Train.
So going into this movie, I knew very little about it. I knew it was based on a Clive Barker book of blood and that Vinnie (Juggernaut) Jones starred as the butcher. I discovered I’d been caught up in the ‘press’ of it all instead of the movie itself. How fascinating. I was going to go see a horror film, in the theater, with little to no expectation of the movie itself – besides the bare basics on the plot and stars.
I sat in the theater around 4:30 in the afternoon with about a dozen or so fellow North Carolinians. I wondered if it was going to be subpar or just gross or just silly. Why wouldn’t they wide release the film I was about to see. I hadn’t seen the first ad on television, only the online trailer – and that was some time ago.
The film itself is shot, directed and photographed very professionally. The actors are fine, better than usual in fact. Hey, is that Brook Shields and is that the guy from Desperate Housewives? Hey, there’s Sam Raimi’s brother – again. Bradley Cooper stars as Leon a photographer who stumbles onto the mystery of missing persons cases after he shoots a Model the night she goes missing. Later he pieces together that a mysterious Butcher (Vinnie Jones) was with the Model (on the train) that night as well. From there, things go downhill for Leon as he delves deeper into solving the puzzle. His girlfriend Maya (Leslie Gibb) and best friend Jurgis (Roger Bart) get drawn in as well trying to save Leon from his self-destructive obsession. Then it gets weird – in a good way.
Vinnie Jones makes a striking figure giving this film a much needed center; he’s quiet and imposing. The director, Ryuhei Kitamura (Versus, The Messenger, Godzilla: Final Wars), guides the movie with a steady and focused pace very unlike his other films. Only a few times during the film would I recognize his trademark kinetic style such as the climatic fight scenes on the train and some of the more graphic killings – watch out Ted! For the most part the film is a surprising success.
The film is not without its flaws however. To its credit it takes it time setting up the story, giving us some glimpses into the horror we’re bound for – sometimes these glimpses are too jarring for the narrative and upset the balance. The tension that should be surrounding the Butcher isn’t quite all there either. As we’re aware he kills on the train, he is not as imposing when the film spends time following him around when he’s not on the train. Also, the last act of the film builds to what should be a fantastic reveal to the mystery of the Butcher and his train, but it stutters and only gives us a brief unrewarding look into the bigger picture. That and the fact the ending is predictable make the film fall just short of being what it really wants to be – a classic. While I certainly enjoyed the film (especially for $1.50), I fear it will be known more for the film that got the shaft on its release than a film that known for its own merits.
6 out of 10
This week we continue our trip through the trailers of the seventies. For me, this was a great time for horror, full of experimentation and transition. Some of my favorite sub genres of horror unfortunately were transitioning out, such as the anthology. Amicus discovered their own formula for creating a long string of hit horror anthologies begininng with Dr. Terror's House of Horrors in 1965.
Today's focus is Asylum released in 1972. This pic has a great threading plot with a young psychiatrist's first day on the job where he interviews four inmates. Those interviews give us our tales of terror. Surrounding all they flashback mayhem is the mystery of what happened to the last psychiatrist.
I remember seeing this film when it was released in the States as House of Crazies, one of the rare horror films I was able to see in the theater (it was rated PG). The idea of the disembodied creeping arm coming after its victim and the frightening (at the time) visage of the wrapped head drew me in. And it delivered.
The movie was directed by Roy Ward Baker (The Vampire Lovers, The Vault of Horror) and written by Robert Bloch (Psycho, Twighlight Zone, Night Gallery). The film stars Peter Cushing, Britt Ekland, Herbert Lom, Patrick Magee and Barry Morse.
So here it is ... Asylum
Saturday, August 2, 2008
This week I was listening to the 42nd episode of the HorrorEtc Podcast featuring SciFi Horror. Initially, I was thinking "I don't like SciFi Horror" prefering the supernatural to the spacebound fare. However, I found myself surprised on how many SciFi Horror films I really truly love: Alien (the entire series), The Thing, The Blob (both original and remake), and all the great giant bug films of the 50's. Oh man, give me Them! any day.
One movie they focused on was Event Horizon, a movie I have seen but dismissed. I don't remember this movie making any kind of impression on me. So in the spirit of things, I thought I would revisit it, beginning here with the trailer. So give the HorrorEtc podcast a try here: http://www.horroretc.com. In the meantime, I'm going to put Event Horizon on my TiVo search list and I will get back to you with a review once I get a chance to see it.
The movie was directed by Paul W. S. Anderson (Alien Vs Predator) and written by Phillip Eisner. The movie has an impressive case featuring Laurence Fishburne (A Nightmare on Elm St. 3: Dream Warriors), Sam Neill (Jurassic Park), Kathleen Quinlan (The Hills Have Eyes 2006), Joely Richardson and Jason Isaacs.
So here it is ... Event Horizon
Friday, August 1, 2008
Gosa: Bloody Mid-Term Exam (2008)