Saturday, November 29, 2008

Horror Movie Review Preview: Thicker Than Water: The Vampire Diaries part 1

Coming soon...Thicker Than Water: The Vampire Diaries part 1. A dark comedy about a family taking care of their vampire daughter.

Starring Devon Bailey, Eilis Cahill, JoJo Hristova, and Michael Strelow, Thicker Than Water: The Vampire Diaries part 1 has won The Accolade Award of Excellence in a feature film, The Indie gathering award for Best Horror film, the Action On Film Award for Best Art Direction, the B-Movie Fest's awards for Best Music and Best Director, the Independent Features Film Festival award for Viewer's Choice Best Horror, the IndieFest USA award for Best Make-Up, and the Family Values Award at the Seattle True Independent Film Festival.

Check out the trailer here:

Join us soon to take a bite out of...Thicker Than Water: The Vampire Diaries Part 1.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Horror Movie Review: Dead Silence

Dead Silence

Starring: Ryan Kwanten, Amber Valletta, Donnie Wahlberg, Michael Fairman, and Bob Gunton

Directed by: James Wan

Written by: Leigh Whannell and James Wan

Production Companies: Universal Pictures, Twisted Pictures, and Evolution Entertainment

Release Date: March 16, 2007

Let's face it...Dolls are creepy. Miniature, humanesque figures of wood or plastic with unnatural face facades with empty eyeDummy Billy isn't the only cast member to give a wooden performace in Dead Silence.s gazing out dispassionately behind false smiles. Creepy. Then there's the ventriloquist dummy...a specialized doll designed to better simulate a living thing...and all the more creepy for it.

James Wan and Leigh Whannell take that idea, leaving behind their success with Saw I-III, and venture anew with Dead Silence.

Jamie and Lisa Ashen come from a small town where ventriloquist dummies are bad omens. So when one shows up outside of their door shortly before Lisa's mysterious murder, Jamie returns home for some answers, followed by Detective Lipton. Jamie pries from the locals the story of Mary Shaw, ventriloquist spinster murdered for her supposed connection with the disappearance of a young boy. Does Mary Shaw's ghost continue to torment the small town? What is the connection Mary Shaw and Billy asks the audience, Who's the dummy now. Clearly we are.between Mary Shaw and Lisa's death?

The premise behind Dead Silence is a bit hokey, but not without potential. Unfortunately, Wan and Whannell aren't able to exploit that potential.

It was clear they were trying to create a tense mood for the audience to be nervously awaiting the next jump and scare. However, all of the sttempts petered out and failed. The ambiance was there, the expectation of the scares was there...but in the end we could see Wan's and Whannell's lips moving and the result was a dull mystery.
Ryan Kwanten tries to find some emotion in Dead Silence.
Star Ryan Kwanten seemed unable to portray a sincere man trying to solve the mystery of his wife's death, and his apparent detachment from the role made it difficult for the audience to feel any passion for his quest.

Bob Gunton and Amber Valletta star as Edward and Ella Ashen, Jamie's wheelchair bound father and his new, trophy wife. Gunton commands the screen in his subdued role evoking more emotion than Kwanten is able to muster. Valletta seemed much like her character, a trophy actress in a limited role. It's hard to tell if she could have done a better job with a more substantial role. Perhaps she'll get more of an acting opportunity in the sci-fi thriller Game, set in a future-world where humans can control other humans in mass-scale, multi-player online gaming environments.

Donnie Wahlberg steals the show.Donnie Wahlberg plays the sarcastic Detective Lipton. Lipton is easily the most captivating character in the movie. Had Dead Silence focused more on Lipton, then even if it wasn't scarier, it would have at least been more entertaining. Wahlberg is the horror heavyweight of the cast having appeared in The Sixth Sense, Dreamcatcher, and Saw II-V.
All Mary Shaw wants is some tongue.
The ending to Dead Silence was the most interesting and helped keep the film from being a total waste. I hesitate to call it a twist ending, because it didn't really explain or clarify the events of the movie any better. It was more of a novelty ending, so, while interesting, it didn't exactly redeem the whole film.

If you want a scary ventriloquist doll movie, check out Magic. If you just want evil toys in general, Puppetmaster or Child's Play. but keep Dead Silence hushed.

LOL Dummy says, I cantz sleepziz. Gotz wood.
Related Movie Previews

Saw V starring Donnie Wahlberg. Currently in theaters.

Magic starring Anthony Hopkins from 1978.

Puppetmaster from 1989

Child's Play from 1988

Dying Breed starring Saw and Dead Silence writer Leigh Whannell. Currently playing in Australia.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Horror Movie Review Preview: Dead Silence

Coming soon...Dead Silence. A widower returns to his hometown to search for answers to his wife's murder, which may be linked to the ghost of a murdered ventriloquist.

Dead Silence

You Scream. You Die.

Starring Ryan Kwanten, Amber Valletta, Donnie Wahlberg, Michael Fairman, and Bob Gunton, Dead Silence carries a 6.0 star rating out of 10 at IMDB and 3.1 out of 5 stars on Netflix.

Join us next week to see if there's anything to say about...Dead Silence

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Horror Movie Review: The Mist

A tentacle monster says Give Me Five!The Mist

Starring: Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, Laurie Holden, Andre Braugher, Toby Jones, William Sadler, and Dan Miller

Directed by: Frank Darabont

Written by: Stephen King (story) and Frank Darabont (screenplay)

Production Companies: Darkwoods Productions and Dimension Films

Release Date: November 21, 2007

Awards: The Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress: Marcia Gay Harden

Let's face it. Taking a Stephen King story and translating it to the big screen is a difficult taskThomas Jane as David Drayton saying I think we need a bigger flyswatter... and one which, often times, fails to end well. They are always entertaining in some respect but for every The Shining and The Green Mile, there's a Graveyard Shift or Sleepwalkers. But when one comes out, I have to watch it and with as much trepidation as when I sit down with one of his books...but with an inverse reasoning. With his books, I open nervous about what he might pull out to scare me and with movies based on his work, it's fear that I won't be scared at all...

lolmonster asks can i has hooman nomzWhich brings us to The Mist. A novella I haven't read with monsters. I like the sound of it...but can director Frank Darabont translate a Stephen King story to the big screen? Ok, a King novel with monsters...He did a great job with the more down-to-earth Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile.

The story features a small town that has a military base nearby in the mountains. A large storm rolls through leading the town folk to get supplies and materials to repair damage. As friends, neighbors, and...not really friends, discuss how they weathered the storm. Then in rolls a thick mist. Running frantic into a grocery store is Dan Miller screaming, "Don't go out there! There's something in the mist!" Dirty Ollie saves the day.

Now trapped in the grocery store, the debates begin: What to do? What the mist means? What's in the mist? As store employee Ollie says, "As a species we're fundamentally insane. Put more than two of us in a room, we pick sides and start dreaming up ways to kill one another. Why do you think we invented politics and religion?"

Sorry, could someone tell me what expiation means? Srsly...While Brent Norman and his sceptics venture into the mist, Mrs. Carmody begins preaching the word of God and about the end of days, and David Drayton just wants to stay alive, the monsters are trying to get in. Giant insects, tentacles from something unknown, strange, featherless bird-like creatures, and giant spiders. But are those the most dangerous creatures in the mist? Or are fear-stricken, uncertain, panicked survivors the true monsters. David Drayton sums it up after Amanda claims, "My God, David, we're a civilized society," he responds, "Sure, as long as the machines are working and you can dial 911. But you take those things away, you throw people in the dark, you scare the shit out of them - no more rules."
We will, we will stone you....stone you...
The Mist was a gripping, tense film that focused more on the monsters in humanity than the extra-dimensional monsters that terrorized the characters that would make it one of the best King films...except for the end.

Darabont agreed to direct the film only if Dimension agreed to not change the scripted ending. My only real complant is the scripted ending. I'm not going to spoil it for you if you haven't seen it yet, but it's an ending I find not the least bit thought provoking or to be one that adds to the film. I find it to be an ending designed for shock value and in its shock, it takes away from the film. Stephen King says that he wishes he'd thought of the ending. I say that, since the rest of the film, while frustrating in its depiction of humanity, is an excellent horror film, I will stop the film early at an earlier point where I can determine the outcome of the movie, much like King's ambiguous ending, rather than Darabont's gimmicky ending.

Thomas Jane played the lead role of David Drayton. Jane has not proven himself a versatile actor, but cast as the stoic, intense Drayton, Jane does a good job. This isn't Jane's first film based on Stephen King's work, having starred in Dreamcatcher. Friends on a camping trip discover thClever comeback the town they're vacationing in is being plagued in an unusual fashion by parasitic aliens from outer space. He was recently seen in The Mutant Chronicles in which he plays 23rd century soldier Major Mitch Hunter who leads a fight against an army of underworld NecroMutants. Jane's next film will be the January 23, 2009 release, Killshot. Beautiful Carmen Colson and her ironworker husband Wayne are placed in the Federal Witness Protection program after witnessing an "incident". Thinking they are at last safe, they are targeted by an experienced hit man and a psychopathic young upstart killer. The ensuing struggle will test Carmen to the limit.

Marcia Gay Harden won an award for her portrayal of the maniacal zealot Mrs. Carmody, and she certainly deserves the award. Harden also starred in the 2007 supernatural mystery The Invisible. After an attack leaves him in limbo -- invisible to the living and also near death -- a teenager discovers the only person who might be able help him is his attacker. Harden can currently be seen in the limited release comedy The Maiden Heist centered on three museum security guards who devise a plan to steal back the artworks to which they have become attached after they are transferred to another museum, also starring Morgan Freeman, Christopher Walken, and William H. Macy.

Amanda Dumfries was played effectively by Laurie Holden. Holden also found herself cut off and plagued by strange creatures in Silent Hill. She plays Cybil Bennett, a police woman who helps Rose find her daughter in the haunted town.

Andre Braugher played the short lived role of Brent Norton. He played the slightly paranoid sceptic well, and had a strong screen presence while his character was present. Braugher can be seen in the limited release of Passengers about a grief counselor working with a group of plane-crash survivors who finds herself at the root of a mystery when her clients begin to disappear. Braugher also starred in the 2004 TV adaptation of 'Salem's Lot.

Superb actor William Sadler portrayed the wavering Jim in The Mist, his third Stephen King film, his other two being The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile. He next appears in what seems to be a B-Movie, Nothing Sacred as the father of two twins who seek to kill him before he attains immortality. He will also appear in Silent But Deadly about Thomas Capper, an unconventional and mysterious serial killer who takes aim at a Hollywood film set, by unleashing his own brand of retribution on the cast and crew. He will also star in The Hills Run Red about a group trying to discover the mysteries behind an old film titles "The Hills Run Red" and run afowl of an axe murderer.

Ollie was excellently played by Toby Jones, awarded the Britsh Actor of the Year in 2006 by the London Critics Circle. Arguably the most likeable character in the film, hopefully we'll see more of Jones. Jones also plays Karl Rove in W. He will next play Thomas Huxley in Creation, a dramatic biography about Charles Darwin and his religious wife Emma.

Director-screewriter-producer Frank Darabont has been involved in many horror films including writing screenplays for Nightmare on Elm Street III: Dream Warriors, the 1988 version of the The Blob, The Fly II, and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. It has been announced that he is working on a screenplay adaptation of Fahrenheit 451. He's producing a Zack Snyder directed adaptation of Ray Bradbury's The Illustrated Man. He has no directing jobs set up at this time.

The next Stephen King adaptation to film will be Dolan's Cadillac about a young man attempting to avenge his wife's death after she is murdered by a Las Vegas mobster starring Christian Slater. Other King works in various stages of production include a new Creepshow, and adaptations of Cell, From a Buik 8, and Bag of Bones.


Sunday, November 9, 2008

Horror Movie Review Preview: The Mist

Coming Soon...The Mist. A powerful thunderstorm unleashes a mist that envelops a small Maine town. Dozens are trapped inside a supermarket knowing that in the mist are horrible creatures which feed on humans. Being stranded takes its psychological toll. The trapped shoppers split into 2 camps: those who believe it is an act of a vengeful god who demands human sacrifice and those don't. Based on a short story by Stephen King, long considered one of his scariest.

The Mist

Fear Changes Everything

Stephen King's Legendary Tale of Terror

Belief divides them, mystery surrounds them, but fear changes everything

Starring Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, Laurie Holden, Andre Braugher, Toby Jones, William Sadler, and Dan Miller was nominated for the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Films Saturn Award for Best Horror Film. The Mist lost that award to Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, but Marcia Gay Harden won the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress. The Mist receives a 7.4 star rating on IMDB and a 3.4 star rating from Netflix.

Join us next week to see what we can The Mist...

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Horror Movie Review: Grindhouse Double Feature - Black Candles and Evil Eye

Black Candles

Starring: Vanessa Hidalgo, Mauro Ribera, and Helga Line

Directed by: Jose Ramon Larraz

Written by: Jose Ramon Larraz

Original Title: Los Ritos Sexuales del Diablo

Release Date: April 3, 1982

Evil Eye
Pilar Velasquez wonders why someone would knock on a naked girl's door...
Starring: Jorge Rivero, Richard Conte, Anthony Steffen, and Pilar Velasquez

Directed by: Mario Siciliano

Written by: Julio Buchs

Production Company: Emaus Films S.A., Metheus Cinematografica, and Producciones Gonzalo Elvira S.A.

Original Title: Malocchio

Release Date: February 6, 1975

Vanessa, as Carol, does an experiment. Do my breasts keep your attention, or the smell from my armpits?I'm not a big fan of foreign cinema. Well, except for British film. I'm too easily distracted with foreign films. If there are subtitles, I'm distracted by the words. I watch a film to, you know, watch...not read. I've got H.P. Lovecraft and Stephen King if I want to read horror. If it's been dubbed, I'm distracted by the fact the lips aren't making the correct shapes required for the words. But if I'm going to watch a foreign piece, I go for dubbing, and every so often I hear about a foreign piece and I decide to watch it anyway.

Now, I'm not sure which of the two I read about, Black Candles or Evil Eye, but something made me decide to watch one, and it was partnered with the other, so I had to watch both.
Fiona may not look it, but she's the leader of a hot sex cult.
Black Candles, the first Grindhouse offering, follows Carol and...friend...Robert visiting with Fiona, her sister-in-law, following Carol's brother's sudden death. It seems, however, that Fiona is a prominent member of a Satanic cult. Carol struggles with her sanity as Robert gets enticed into the cult.

Robert thinks, sex cult? I got hooked to just the right family!The plot is really just an excuse for a series of soft-core porn scenes. The cult seems centered around sex and freely switch partners. Anything goes in this movie as one scene is suggestive of incest (though the actors are not related, so it's not real) and another depicts bestiality (though also staged). The story is pretty slow since most of it is based on sex scenes. Sure, I like to look at breasts, but the sex scenes hardly increase the pace.

The ending is the most interesting part as it leaves you wondering if Carol is insane after all.
Why, of course my refridgerator is running. I better what? I COULD KILL YOU!
Second up in our Grindhouse Double Feature is Evil Eye, originally entitled Malocchio in its original Italian. Peter Crane is an infamous, womanizing playboy with the world at his fingertips. But when women that Peter's had a nice, one-night-romp with begun turning up dead, Peter's life begins to spiral out of control. Fearing that he may unwittingly be the murderer because of nightmares he is having, Peter checks himself into a psychiatric hospital. But playboys who voluntarily sign in to psychiatric hospitals apparently get to prescribe their own treatment, including romantic rendezvous with Dr. Sarah Turner.
Evil Eye explores the forbidden allure of brushing teeth.
Can Peter or Police Detective Ranieri figure out what is going on before it's too late?

Evil Eye is a generally more interesting film than Black Candles because it has a plot. There's mystery and intrigue. Why do things tend to move on their own before someone gets killed? But it Random creepy lady from Evil Eye.doesn't have any answers, either. The ending is very similar to Black Candles, but where in the previous film, it added some interest, with Evil Eye, since it leaves everything unanswered, it's just frustrating.

I don't have much experience with European horror, or films in general, really, but these two hardly encourage me to try some more. But then, maybe expecting plot and explanation is just expecting too much...

Crazy naked dream people from Evil Eye.