Horror Marathon Day 23: The Circle

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The Circle. (On Netflix)

I like board games.  I like social games, like Werewolf, so movies based on a real-like horror game that people are trapped in I like.  The appeal is that I want to learn the rules and figure out the strategy to it and how the characters will somehow ‘win’ if possible.

The idea is that these people are in a room, they have to kill each other, kinda like Werewolf.  They are voting.

This is one of those super cheap films, that realizes solely on the dialog and social commentary, unfortunately, it’s not the best.  It’s okay, but I’m critical of films like this that are trying to say something about our way of life and this doesn’t bring anything new to the conversation.

It’s also missing some reveals or new elements that should have came into play in the second half, and again it’s just the same thing going on, every 2 minutes someone dies.

I’m probably a bad person because I would probably vote for the little girl or pregnant woman early on, and that was deemed ‘bad’ in the film.

I really like the very ending, and wish it went on for another 10 minutes.

I liked this film, wouldn’t say it was great, but it was ok-good.

3 skulls.

Andres

Andres Salazar writes a horror graphic novel called Pariah Missouri, you can learn more at www.pariahmissouri.com

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Horror Marathon Day 21: Willow Creek

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Willow Creek (2013)

Come on, a horror movie about BigFoot and directed by Bobcat Goldthwait?

You can find this indie film on Shudder.

I wish this was not a found footage film, and I LOVE found footage films, I just don’t see that it helps this story, other than it makes it easier to write the script.

This movie costs probably $300 to make; a tank of gas, craft services for the two actors and some memory on the camera.  Generally I like micro-budget films, this is not a negative, but this one needs at least a little money to make it feel like a true film.  While watching I’m just thinking about how cheap it is.  Even Blair Witch feels more like a true movie.

It looks like it was filmed in Yosemite or Kings Canyon national parks, which I know decently well, and that it for me always fun to see.  Years ago I wrote a small screenplay about a boy scout troop up in the woods and man I would still love to make that film, this reminds me why that location is so magical.

The beginning is a little slow, yeah, they are jerks, they mock BigFoot and the town and it’s denizens, shit will go down soon.

Little bit of Blair Witch in this too.

See, I have to be honest here.  I love camping, but in the night, when it’s quiet I do sometimes get freaked out, and crap like this freaks me out.

The ending is what you would expect, but that last 30 minutes when it’s all just in the tent, I couldn’t get into it.  There needs to be something more.  I also felt the acting was at it’s weakest here.  If I heard crazy-assed sounds coming outside my tent, I would at the bare minimum get my clothes and shoes on ready to make a run for it, or SOMETHING.  Do something!  I felt it wasn’t genuine, and that’s too bad because the premise had potential, a couple go into the woods to the original Bigfoot sighting… but here’s the thing, they didn’t add anything to the mythology.  They could have added anything, created something new to it.  I feel like Goldthwait wanted to stick to the accurate stories and accounts of Bigfoot, but hell, this is a work of fiction, so to me go all out.  Create a civilization, or group of them, rules, structure, supernatural, history, something to make it interesting.  It just wasn’t interesting.

I say pass on it, unless you are a die-heard found footage fan or Bigfoot fan.

Andres

 

Horror Marathon Day 20: The Thing

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Two years after Alien, The Thing came out.  Same time as ET.  This wonderful horror film bombed at the box-office, but lives on in many horror-fan’s hearts, mine included.

This is possibly my favorite horror film, right there with The Shining and Alien.  This was a time with horror films always threw some comedy in it, and it drives me crazy.  The Thing does not do that, they play it serious and straight the whole time.

There’s a game I love called Werewolf, this is kinda like that, they are stuck in a place, no escape and one or many could be the ‘bad guy’.  Love this kind of thing.,, who do you trust?  Can you trust?

The effects are great and practical, and yeah some of them are freaking way out there, but I love it still.  You don’t have to make it look perfectly real, but you have to set this up to be believable, and this film does that.

Kurt Russell can do no wrong and man he is awesome in this film.

I really wish this was a 3 hour film and we could stay with the characters more.  There are about 12, which is a lot, and in the beginning it is hard to keep track of them all, but that is an extremely small negative to the film.

Go see this film.  Love it.

5 skulls.

Andres

Horror Marathon Day 19: Alien

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Those of you who have been reading this for years know that I watch this movie, probably once a year, I love it that much.  Alien is in my top 5 movies of all time, so of course for the horror genre it’s like maybe number 1 or 2 (The other film would be The Thing, which I will talk about tomorrow)

Alien to me is one of the best movies made, the production design and art is simply amazing.  They just don’t make films like this anymore.  To see all these things made, real sets and props is breathtaking, if you haven’t seen it, it’s a real treat.

Comparing it to modern horror, if won’t have the same number of jump scares and gory scenes, but there are some truly iconic scenes that just about everyone has seen and made reference to.

What I love about it, beyond the production, and atmosphere and horror is that ages so well, I think it’s still effective and looks great.

Love this movie.

go see it

5 skulls

Andres

Horror Marathon Day 18: The Missionary

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A twist on the slasher horror, what if Jason was a Mormon?

Actually that would be a great film, and this is not that, but it could have been.  It’s much more of a thriller than horror, but you don’t really know that until you see it.

The film-makers did some research, the characters sound Mormon, but that really wasn’t enough for me.

Other than that novelty, is it worth seeing?  Honestly, maybe not, there are better films out there, but I saw it and it wasn’t bad, just not good or great.

Too pedestrian, not enough horror and I’ll have to say, give it a pass, unless you want to see a Mormon thriller.

Andres

Horror Marathon Day 17: The Taking of Deborah Logan

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Flipping through Netflix I found this film, it’s new and I thought I’d give it a try.  Unlike some of the others this month, I really liked this one.

I really like the concept of old age, dementia or some mental illness being a horror film.  You have this old lady who does crazy, harmful things and we never know, until half way through what is the cause.  It’s shot like a documentary, which is fine it works, but I bet you could have done it as a straight narrative and it might have turned out better.

I think the main characters are good, not a big fan of the journalist and cameraman, but it’s not distracting.  There are some good scares and I think it’s entertaining.  One of the better horror films out there in recent years that is also out on Netflix, so it’s pretty much free to watch, can’t complain about that.

So, my recommendation is go see it, I like the concept of a spooky senile lady.

Andres Salazar is the writer and creator of the horror graphic novel series Pariah Missouri www.pariahmissouri.com

Previous posts:

Horror Marathon Day 15: Green Inferno

Horror Marathon Day 14: The Re-Animator 

Horror Marathon Day 11: The Invitation

Horror Marathon Day 10: Cannibal Holocaust 

Horror Marathon Day 9: Monsters

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Horror Marathon Day 16: The Fury

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The Fury.

Might not be considered strictly a horror film, it is a thriller, with some horror moments and I think it loosely follows the structure and outline of a horror film, although some may say it’s a supernatural action film.

Yeah, so action, wow, right off the bat we have some killing, machine-guns, not something you usually see in a horror film, there’s no guy here with a knife chasing people, in this film its the government who are the bad guys and there’s evil, hidden group that is running PSI tests on kids.  Yeah this idea we’ve seen a lot in modern times, but I think back then when this was made it was much more novel.  And did I mention, there’s Kirk Douglas?  Oh yeah, the man is in this and he’s looking for his son, who, yep you guessed it is a physic and has been captured.  He’s somehow telepathically bonded to a cute teen-ager who is also a physic and together they look for the missing son.

There’s actually some cool ideas here, and I like that they are using the boy’s counselor, a beautiful woman to keep him in line, but of course that doesn’t last.

Again, it’s older, and I dig this.  One thing I have to say, you gotta see this for one reason.  The ending is the BEST ENDING OF ALL TIME.  I mean that.  I don’t even want to spoil it, but the very last scene and shot is the way you end a movie.  All movies should end this way.

 

Andres

Andres Salazar is the writer and creator of the horror graphic novel series Pariah Missouri www.pariahmissouri.com

Horror Marathon Day 15: Green Inferno

Horror Marathon Day 14: The Re-Animator 

Horror Marathon Day 11: The Invitation

Horror Marathon Day 10: Cannibal Holocaust 

Horror Marathon Day 9: Monsters

 

Horror Marathon Day 15: Green Inferno

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Why do I do this to myself?

Yeah I am hungry for more cannibal movies… well, I saw Cannibal Holocaust and I actually liked it, so I wanted to see the newest film in this genre of horror, Green Inferno, which takes some of the same plot points, but it is fair to say that this is it’s own film.

What’s bad is the writing.  The dialog.

It looks pretty, they put money into the shots, I’ll never say anything bad about that, but it’s just visual and again no substance.

And then Eli adds these horrible comedic moments that just aren’t funny.  The same jokes that are in a bad 80s movie, and it’s still not funny man.  You are killing me (not in a good way).

Seriously?  A tribe that chews coca leaves regularly to get a high is going to lose consciousness from some weed? I’m not an expert on the chemistry, but it’s cheesy things like this that Roth uses to no effect.  I mean, if he was going for something bad then he succeeded, but I don’t get the feeling he’s trying for that.

Anyways, it’s a bad film, If you like the colors red and green I’d say see the film, they did a great job in post with the filters and color correction, other than that, don’t bother.

Andres

 

 

Horror Marathon Day 10: Cannibal Holocaust 

Horror Marathon Day 9: Monsters

Horror Marathon Day 14: The Re-Animator

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The Re-Animator

Each month when I do this 31-day exercise, I repent of some of the classics, undoubtedly people say, ‘really, you haven’t seen that one?’ and so it is with the classic Re-animator.  I have never seen this before tonight.  Part of the reason why is I’m not a fan of the comedy stuff (although Dale and Tucker vs Evil is brilliant).

Right off the bat, I have to say the special effects are good, not John Carpenter good, but still good.

I think the problem that this film might have with today’s audiences is that it doesn’t have the Look and atmosphere was a horror film. The scenes are all bright, everything is lit and in that way it feels dated.  Today’s movies are all about shadow, darkness and obscured shots.  So if this same exact film, same script was shot with today’s look, I think it would be a big hit.  If you can get past all of that, I still think it’s good.  It similar to people who like modern comics, but can’t read Silver age stuff.  They are still filled with great stories, you just have to put your mind back in those times with the art and visuals of the time.

This is pretty freaky.  There are a couple of scenes that are pretty out there.  So it does bring the horror in the second half.  I recommend it.

Andres Salazar writes a horror graphic novel called Pariah Missouri, you can learn more at www.pariahmissouri.com

Horror Marathon Day 13: Poor Pretty Eddie

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Poor Pretty Eddie

I’ve been looking for some old 1970s horror, and found this little film on HULU.

Words to not describe this film.

It’s about a rapist who loves a high-yella black woman, so maybe he’s not racist?  I don’t even know.  I know there’s rape and racism.  It’s not played for laughs, although some of the acting and characters are cartoonish, I can only hope that the south wasn’t ever THIS bad, and I lived in Arkansas in the 80s.

It’s frustrating in one part because our main protagonist is a prisoner, and she doesn’t seen to be able to escape or do anything other than be a victim, but I can’t put that completely in the negative column as this is a horror film, and that’s pretty standard, still there were times I was like, come on, do this or do that.

Pretty Eddie is our titular villain, but there are times that he saves our protagonist from other worse off fates, or maybe it’s just his obsessiveness.  The other supporting cast are actually interesting, and there is one plot point with Eddie and an older woman that I felt was actually good and interesting, I thought she would be the main villain, but unfortunately she is just another victim of Eddies.

I actually like the racist angle, we don’t see that too much in horror, other than the black guy gets killed first.  So to have it as the major source of tension I liked.

The ending, well really the entire thing feels like something that Tarantino as watched and studied multiple times.

This is a movie I’d love to see re-made.

If you want to see Redneck horror and a black woman be made a prisoner of “love” then this is for you.  If you want to see a film that clearly has inspired Tarantino, this is probably on his list of films.

Andres

Andres Salazar is the writer and creator of the horror graphic novel series Pariah Missouri www.pariahmissouri.com

Horror Marathon Day 12: American Werewolf in London

Horror Marathon Day 11: The Invitation

Horror Marathon Day 10: Cannibal Holocaust 

Horror Marathon Day 9: Monsters

Horror Marathon Day 12: American Werewolf in London

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American Werewolf in London
I thought I saw this film years ago, but after watching it I realized I have NEVER seen this movie!  What the heck!  It’s a classic for a reason, and the special effects were revolutionary for the time.  Brilliant stuff. The dream sequences are all amazing and for me it;s those moments that sell the movie.  The love story is fine, but I’m not that into it.  There’s some great comedic bits as well, which I wasn’t expecting in this film.

I couldn’t help but think of the amazing music video, Thriller while watching it.  Michael Jackson specifically asked for John Landis to direct his video, who also did this movie, and a lot of the special effects looks the same, not a bad thing at all.  John Landis is also the father of Max Landis, a  film-maker who loves wrestling and made Chronicle as well as recently sold some spec scripts for a princely sum, kind of hard to do in today’s market.

But I digress.  This is a good film.  It’s not perfect, it’s not amazing, but I really liked it.  Again the dream sequences are my favorite and you haven’t seen it I’d say give it a watch.

3 skulls.

Andres

Andres Salazar is the writer and creator of the horror graphic novel series Pariah Missouri www.pariahmissouri.com

Previous Posts:

Horror Marathon Day 11: The Invitation

Horror Marathon Day 10: Cannibal Holocaust 

Horror Marathon Day 9: Monsters

Horror Marathon Day 11: The Invitation

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Invitation (2015)

You can watch this bad boy on Netflix right now. Again, I went in without knowing anything about it.   Again, I like these small movies, it’s all in one house, must have been cheap to make, but really leaves an impact on you.  Great little film.

It is very tense, and you know since it’s horror the shoe is going to drop at some point.  But when??  The first 40 minutes and you are just waiting… what is going on?  Is this all up in this dudes mind?  

Then…  the cell phone call.  Oh CRAP!

This is a good film.  I kinda wish that things heated up a little earlier, but I think that last cat is still worth it, so just hang in there.  This is the type of film that would be EPIC if you didn’t know anything about it, just going in to a film, thinking it was a rom-com or drama, then BANG, crap hits the fan.  Really wish I would have seen it like that.  
Andres Salazar writes a horror graphic novel called Pariah Missouri, you can learn more at www.pariahmissouri.com

Horror Marathon Day 10: Cannibal Holocaust 

Horror Marathon Day 9: Monsters

Horror Marathon Day 10: Cannibal Holocaust

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Cannibal Holocaust

Leave it to the Italians to show us the way on how to make horror.

A new movie came out in 2015 called Green Inferno, I decided to look into the original, called Cannibal Holocaust (1980) with the firm opinion that the original films are usually superior films, even if the technology feels dated.  General rule of thumb, if the movie is classified as a horror and made in the 70s it’s probably awesome.  Yeah we have fancier gadgets and can make things look shiny, but give me a good story over looks any day.  Yeah I’m looking at you Zack Snyder.

Cannibal Holocaust is on Shudder, the AMC produced streaming service for $5/month with ALL horror films and shows.  I said, what the heck, I’m doing a community service here, so I just bought into it for the month.

This is a true Grindhouse type of exploitation film.  Made by the Italians and banned by a number of countries, if you want to see something raw and visceral, this is it.  It’s NOT for the mainstream horror fans, and even the gore-fans that like all the Eli Roth fans might think it’s too much.  In it you will see real live animals killed (like they do in the real world jungles) so if that turns you off, don’t see it.  It’s part documentary, part found footage film.

They shot this in the Amazon jungles and used real indigenous people which is awesome.

I actually think this is a very good film.  It’s not Good fellas or anything, but for the genre, the time and subject, I think it nails it.  It has an unusual structure to it, with entering the jungle with a crew that finds footage from a previous crew of journalists and then we see the original footage and what dark fate befell them.  I think we might have spent too much time with the first team and maybe showed too much, but other than that it works..

If you like horror, I say go see it.  But again I warn you, there is real footage of animals getting killed.

Andres Salazar writes a horror graphic novel called Pariah Missouri, you can learn more at www.pariahmissouri.com

Horror Marathon Day 9: Monsters

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When you get to direct a Star Wars movie it’s saying that A LOT of people and money trust you.  It’s a massive statement on your vision, management and ability.  Star Wars Rogue One is coming out and it came from this director.

I remember hearing about this low-budget film set in Mexico and I was very excited to see this new indie horror film.  It is a horror film, but only in the strictest of definition, there are monsters this is true, but they are in the periphery of the story and get little screen time , which for me is fine.  Don’t go into this thinking it’s Godzilla or a gore-y Cloverfield.  It doesn’t have 1/10 the action of Cloverfield, but I think in some ways it’s a much better film.

This is the type of movie that I love, what I’d want to make.  It’s a horror film, but only tangentially, there are few scares in it, but I love the concept.  Monsters, about a world where Mexico has been infected by an alien invasion and the US has built a massive wall to prevent contamination and two Americans as they try to cross the countryside to return home.  We see glimpses of the Cluthluean monsters on TV screens and in the background, but it’s not in your face horror.

I would love to learn more about the world and have a book series or TV show about this story.
Highly recommend it.

Andres Salazar is the writer and creator of the horror graphic novel series Pariah Missouri www.pariahmissouri.com

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Horror Marathon Day 8: 1984

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While this book is not traditionally considered a horror story, I believe is definitely is and we are talking about it today on the Horror Marathon month!

Ok, I am extremely late on the train on this one.  Most read this in high school, and for some reason, my class had to read The Stranger, which had no impact on me, and I couldn’t even tell you what it was about, while this book is damn near atomic in its physiological power it’s had over me this week.  Before you keep reading this, if you haven’t read this book, please go out and get it.  You can find it free at libraries, online PDFs, whatever, just go read it, it’s not long and it’s brilliant.

I’m going to talk about the book and the 1985 movie with William Hurt.  Anytime a writer creates a language for a book, you gotta give him props.  I love that there is this NEWSSPEAK and whole new system of speaking and thought.  It’s amazing.  This is where the book shines and while the movie hits the beats and gives great visual atmosphere and tone, you don’t get the beauty and craftsmanship of the language unless you read the book.  I will say one thing negative on the book is there here are good-sized portions of the book, where Winston is reading from THE BOOK, which can be a challenge, unless you enjoy Geo-political topics and sociology of the 19th century, as it reads very much like a text book (which it is supposed to.)

The thing is about this is that this author, George Orwell is that the man knew what he was talking about, he understood political systems, societies and class systems.  He also had an amazing understanding of psychology.

The main reason why the world at large still loves this book is that even though written in 1949, it feels VERY applicable to today’s challenges.

I think the movie does a good job of visually communicating the themes and feelings of the book.  If you want to see how the world probably will never be, but still terrifying, watch the film or read the book!

4 skulls.

Andres

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