Ok…on the reviewing side I’m definitely starting to feel the burnout now that I’m 20 films into the annual Hoop-Tober horror marathon. But the good news is the good is definitely outweighing the bad this week With films ranging from “meh but worth it” to “oh crap totally worth it” on the spectrum of watchability. Joe Dante more than cashed in on the success of Jaws by crafting in Piranha a wickedly fun chomp-fest that has its tongue planted firmly in cheek without sacrificing some tense, gore-filled moments. I satisfied my Barbara Crampton requirement by checking out the nostalgia-filled Beyond the Gates, which has its moments of fun recalling the heyday of VHS board games but it’s really the score by Wojciech Golczewski that satisfies. The Strangers isn’t normally the type of horror I go for, but I’m glad I tried it, because the simplicity of its approach and the craft on hand both in front of and behind the camera made for a chilling, thrilling experience to watch. Netflix has quietly been amassing a plethora of independent horror films to release under its banner, but Gareth Edwards’ follow-up to his Raid films is a masterclass of crazed religious fever. Apostle might be Dan Stevens best performance yet, sacrificing none of Edwards’ gore and action for a nasty take on The Wicker Man. And finally Jaws 2 shows that by turning the shark into essentially a slasher killer and giving us copious amounts of Roy Scheider and Keith Gordon is an okay replacement for a great movie.
Two weeks and 11 films to go, so let’s wade through the viscera tunnel that is this week’s review excerpts and get to it. Continue reading
Between all the new music that dropped this week and the fact I’m heading upstate for Columbus Day weekend to do some metal activities (picking apples) we’re keeping it brief for Week Three of the annual Hoop-Tober horror marathon. Julia Ducournau’s Raw is an excruciating film about impending womanhood that just happens to feature some of the most gut-wrenching scenes of gore I’ve seen so far in the marathon. Then it’s a slew of anniversary films, starting with the original 1958 The Blob, which holds up surprisingly well as a fun family flick with an early Steve McQueen performance. Kuroneko might stand as the best film I watch during this marathon, a particularly cutting ghost/revenge story that also doubles as insightful commentary and criticism. I wish I could say Martin holds up as well as I thought it would – my first revisit of George Romero’s “vampire” movie had its moments but overall isn’t something I’ll be revisiting much. The same sadly goes for Dracula Has Risen From The Grave, which is a great title with another killer Christopher Lee performance as the Count, but sadly doesn’t hold a candle to the earlier Hammer films.
And just like that I’m almost halfway through the marathon, with plenty of gore left to go, so you know the drill: time to shut up and get to those review excerpts and links are below. Continue reading
It’s become a tradition to have the first week of the annual Hoop-Tober horror marathon be a bit of a mixed bag. Last year I had a fantastic Stephen King adaptation in Andy Muschietti’s It; this year I had to deal with the drudgery of Tobe Hooper’s adaptation of King’s short story The Mangler. And it was a double dose of not-great Robert Englund performances: besides starring (under tons of makeup) in The Mangler, I also had to reckon with perhaps the worst Freddy Krueger entry with A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master. It wasn’t all terrible, though. Between the slam dunk that is Panos Cosmatos’s psychedelic revenge nightmare that is Mandy, the uncomfortable indie black comedy of Prevenge and the gruesomely fun throwback that is the 1988 remake of The Blob I was able to salvage the opening week of the marathon quite nicely.
And I’m already working my way through a killer second week, so enough of the opening jibber-jabber. Let’s get to the review excerpts below. Continue reading
The year inexorably turns to its final quarter, where the green gives way to the fires of yellow and red and we all find the beauty in the gradual death that signifies Autumn. As as we plan to do every Autumn, Blood Red returns for the next six weeks to celebrate the wickedly varied and vibrant genre that is horror. Continue reading
Week Two of the annual Hoop-Tober marathon brought a little more quality to the table, with three films being a genuine pleasure to watch. Carnival of Souls was a gorgeously shot fever dream that would embed its claws into David Lynch years later when he would begin Eraserhead. Sean Byrne sidesteps the sophomore slump with the evil slow burn of The Devil’s Candy, featuring some knockout performances as well as a killer metal soundtrack with the likes of Metallica, Slayer, and Sunn 0))) – who puts Sunn 0))) in their movie?! And The Unholy Three, besides being an awesome name for almost anything, turns out to be an insane crime caper featuring man of 1,000 faces Lon Chaney and some assured direction from Tod Browning before he came huge with Dracula and Freaks.
The less said about Prom Night and my first (and only) exposure to “classic” Cannibal Holocaust, the better. Although to be fair, one is redeemed by Jamie Lee Curtis’s dancing. I’ll let you decide which film that is. Excerpts and link below. Continue reading