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Horrorlog 2015

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te18
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Horrorlog 2015

#1

Post by te18 » April 6th, 2015, 2:03 pm

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The Car (1977, Elliot Silverstein) 5/10
I've not done much exploration in the sub-genre of killer vehicle horror but The Car and Christine seem to be the most major ones in which a car plays the role of murderous automobile. The former, however, has a lot more in common -- in terms of its style and action content -- with Spielberg's Duel, an atmospherically superior horror in which a man is pursued cross-county by a seemingly monstrous truck. In fact, this is essentially Duel overseen by a fictional police force with all the nous and finesse of your average slasher movie cops, in which character relationships are weakly developed, death scenes are fairly sanitized and the fact that The Car has no driver is reiterated again and again and again and again. It's not really a bad movie but it doesn't give you much reason to care about its plot or its characters.


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A Simple Plan (1998, Sam Raimi) 8/10
Not a horror movie but a black comedy about the horrors a trio of friends inflict on each other following their discovery of $4.4million inside of a crashed plan, helmed by a mainstream horror director in Sam Raimi, and featuring spot-on performances from Bill Paxton, Billy Bob Thornton and Brent Briscoe as the self-destructing unit (Bridget Fonda is also perfectly hateable as Paxton's money-crazed wife). For me it's Raimi's best film, in which he manages to maintain a fairly consistent balance between dramatic tension and morbid humour, despite the film being a bit protracted and the characters being overly stupid at times. In many ways it's like seeing Very Bad Things executed to the level of Fargo, although the film has more than enough personality of its own.

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#2

Post by te18 » April 7th, 2015, 12:00 pm

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As Above, So Below (2014, John Erick Dowdle) 7/10
After a couple of middling horrors (Quarantine and Devil), John Erick Dowdle steps it up with an underground paranormal horror in which a group of young explorers find torment in Parisian catacombs. Shot from their point-of-view, the film has echoes of multiple recent movies, ranging from The Descent to Paranormal Activity to National Treasure. Inevitably it faces some problems with repetition that these characters-caught-in-a-loop outings have, but mostly it's very effectively done, with a palpable sense of dread and claustrophobia. Extra points for the ways in which the film's characters' past traumas come back to haunt and even kill them in their Hellish underground prison.


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Pathogen (2006, Emily Hagins) 4/10
About as awful as you'd expect a horror movie directed by a pre-teen to be, but it would be mean not to give Emily Hagins points for trying something I couldn't have possibly done at her age. The documentary about this, Zombie Girl: The Movie, was enjoyable.

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#3

Post by Onderhond » April 7th, 2015, 2:15 pm

So is this a collaborative effort or is this your personal thread? :)

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#4

Post by te18 » April 7th, 2015, 10:20 pm

Onderhond on Apr 7 2015, 08:15:40 AM wrote:So is this a collaborative effort or is this your personal thread? :)
Everyone's welcome to contribute if they want to.

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#5

Post by Onderhond » April 8th, 2015, 12:21 pm

I'll do a quick April recap if you don't mind:

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Starry Eyes (2014 - Kevin Kolsch & Dennis Widmyer) 7/10
Much like Contracted and Alyce, Starry Eyes is mostly defined by its modern, urban setting. No more drunken frat teens in the woods, instead we find (often single) women who are in some way exploited, kicking off some horrible disease/affliction. The start of the film is a little slow and the Hollywood setting (actress wanting to break through) isn't the most original one, but once it gets going it's pretty much unstoppable.


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Let Us Prey (2014 - Brian O'Malley) 7+/10
Sure enough, this one isn't going to win any prizes for originality (Storm of the Century influences are plenty), but this Irish/UK collaboration (think Outcast and Citadel) is stylish enough to stand well on its own. Some beautiful shots, stylish editing and a great soundtrack make for a mysterious, dense little horror flick. Takes a while to get going, first part is mostly mystery and building up atmosphere, but there is some pretty gruesome imagery hidden away in the second part of the film. A shame most of the film is set in a small police station, as the outside environments looked a lot more exciting.


Poel, De (2014 - Chris W. Mitchell) 5/10
Works best as a black comedy but tries to be something else. It's pretty standard stuff and when it tries to be tense or horrific it fails completely, but the families are dumb enough for some good laughs. Gets pretty crazy near the end, but because Mitchell never picks a clear direction its fails as a whole.


App (2013 - Bobby Boermans) 2/10
Horrible failure that hopes to survive on its second-screen premise. Apparently you can download an app that gives you some extra info while watching, but who gives a fuck really. Bad acting, boring cinematography, a silly idea made even sillier by dumb plot twists. Avoid.
Last edited by Onderhond on April 8th, 2015, 12:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#6

Post by te18 » April 11th, 2015, 11:32 pm

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Preservation (2014, Christopher Denham) 5/10
Essentially a bastardized, sanitized American answer to Eden Lake, in which a trio of madmen don masks as if to make the film scream You're Next or The Purge, Preservation dips into a grab-bag of woodland slasher tropes with so much cynicism and so little originality that even the solid performances of its cast can't quite salvage it. The fact that the trio of masked killers tormenting these unlucky campers appear to have no tangible motivation only reaffirms the movie's bankruptcy -- unless of course we're to believe that the director's also trying to imitate Them (Ils). At least it's competently filmed if not competently written.

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#7

Post by te18 » April 11th, 2015, 11:35 pm

I'll probably watch Starry Eyes soon (maybe even some night this week if my girlfriend agrees that it looks good), since it's on Netflix after all.

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#8

Post by Onderhond » April 12th, 2015, 10:31 am

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The Houses October Built (2014 - Bobby Roe) 7/10

Typical faux docu flick, but stands out due to its setting. A group of friends sets out to find the most scary haunts/haunted houses. So expect lots of people in clown costumes, creepy masks and nasty make-up. The narrative is a little disjointed, but that only adds to the fun. The group of friends is remarkably enjoyable too, so if you're not terribly bored of all those fake docu-style horror flicks yet, this one is pretty good.

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#9

Post by Onderhond » April 14th, 2015, 12:32 pm

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Alléluia (2014 - Fabrice Du Welz) 9/10

Fabrice Du Welz returns with another twisted horror story. It starts off a little slow, but after 15 minutes the film gets up to steam and never lets down. Dueñas and Lucas are amazing, the film looks superb, sounds superb and travels down some dark paths. But best of all is Du Welz' pitch-black sense of humor, shining through on several occassions. One of Belgium's finest.

Here's my full review
Last edited by Onderhond on April 14th, 2015, 1:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#10

Post by te18 » April 18th, 2015, 12:18 pm

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Backcountry (2014, Adam MacDonald) 4/10
The third killer bear movie I've ever seen if one counts Grizzly Man, whose story is the only one I can remember that is even vaguely similar to the events depicted in Adam MacDonald's "based on a true story" horror. A couple camping and hiking in the woods cross paths first with a ludicrously creepy tour guide and then, finally, an even less sociable bear. The ensuing carnage is well depicted but either side of it is a whole lot of padding. Six days after seeing it there's not really a massive amount of the film that I can remember, besides just how reluctant Missy Peregrym was to use the bear spray she had when being attacked by a bear!

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Long Weekend (2008, Jamie Blanks) 3/10
The last film to have been directed by Urban Legend helmer Jamie Blanks, and perhaps that's a good thing. Starring the unbelievably awful Jim Caviezel as one half of a couple besieged either by nature or some supernatural force on an isolated beach, it's a consistently unpleasant (and I don't mean that in a gory or atmospheric way; it's just incredibly aggravating to watch) experience whose most memorable running gag is the steady progression along the shore of a Dugong corpse -- the major source of dread for the characters in the latter half of the film. That these creatures are herbivorous when alive does not calm this bickering couple's nerves. The film is steadfast in its refusal to divulge what exactly is happening to its characters, which is not necessarily a problem, except that this excludes all the potentially interesting aspects of the narrative. It's all well and good for Caviezel to stumble upon body after body after angry bird, but without any substance to back these discoveries up it becomes a pointless exercise, as if someone were to make a movie about people who discover the bodies of characters killed in a slasher film as opposed to making something that you'd actually want to see, like a decent slasher (like Urban Legend?).

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#11

Post by Onderhond » April 18th, 2015, 3:11 pm

Long Weekend! Really liked that one :)

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#12

Post by te18 » April 18th, 2015, 8:06 pm

From Blanks' other films, the slashers (Urban Legend and Valentine) are the only two that I really remember, so if he were to come back to directing I hope he'd at least stick to the slasher format. Those other films aren't great by any stretch but LW just wasn't my thing at all.

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#13

Post by te18 » April 20th, 2015, 9:33 am

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Girls Nite Out (1982, Robert Deubel) 4/10
Fairly mindless, dull slasher movie notable only for its killer's unusual getup: a bear costume. There are some faint stabs at character development between the killings but these don't ring true. Nor does the admittedly creepy ending.

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Thinner (1996, Tom Holland) 5/10
The kind of horror movie that seems designed so that it can be watched at any time of the day without any conceivable difference in effect. In other words, it has no real atmosphere to speak of. The story, about a man who falls foul of a gypsy family and gets cursed into becoming significantly thinner with each passing day, has potential but it's fluffed by the characters' lack of believability. Still, Robert John Burke seems to relish the role of a corrupt and gluttonous lawyer finally coming unstuck, and Joe Mantegna's supporting role as a gun-toting mobster is amusing. As a horror film, though, it's only slightly better than Drag Me to Hell.

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Mischief Night (2013, Richard Schenkman) 3/10
A young girl loses her sight thanks to the emotional trauma of her mother's death. Years later she finds herself stalked and harassed on "mischief night" by a madman in a yellow coat. It's quite terribly done, with some damnable acting displays along the way, and you can guess exactly what will happen at the end. A slasher film with no surprises and no suspense.

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#14

Post by te18 » April 20th, 2015, 9:33 am

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Xtro (1983, Harry Bromley) 5/10
Perhaps the most off-the-wall alien horror movie I've seen and one of the few films I didn't like that I'd nonetheless recommend seeing, if only because someone else might have better luck getting their head around it than I did. Loved the scene with the spaceship, however.


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The Black Waters of Echo's Pond (2009, Gabriel Bologna) 1/10
Possibly the tackiest horror film ever.


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The Devil's Rejects (2005, Rob Zombie) 8/10
A rewatch of a road horror that I always loved from one of my favourite directors (and my choice as the best director working in the horror genre today). Some of the films elements fall rather clumsily into place and Rob Zombie is certainly no master of dialogue but the plot moves rather seamlessly from one fucked up, bloody scenario to the next, always retaining a particularly perverse sense of humor in the face of unspeakable violence. Zombie puts a unique stamp on his horror movies, even when they owe a lot -- as The Devil's Rejects -- to films like The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and other exploitation flicks of the '70s and '80s, and even when he enters remake territory. Bill Moseley's brilliant leading performance is perhaps the best thing about a sequel that improves massively on its uneven predecessor.

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#15

Post by Onderhond » April 26th, 2015, 8:57 pm

Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death, The [2014 - Tom Harper] 5/10
Don't watch this for the scares or to be frightened. That typical British feel makes it a little dull and lifeless. At the same time, it gives the film a nice moody atmosphere that goes well with a ghost story. Great setting, the ghost itself is somewhat boring and the film has a hard time differentiating itself from a million other ghost flicks.


Hausu [1977 - Nobuhiko Obayashi] 7/10
Fun fun fun. As a horror flick it's completely worthless of course, but Obayashi has so much fun that it's hard not to like this film. The cat song/edit is YouTube avant-la-lettre, the entire finale is simply marvelous. Sadly the beginning takes a bit long and some of the effects really haven't aged that well, but Obayashi makes sure that isn't what matters.


Leprechaun: Origins [2014 - Zach Lipovsky] 2/10
This was bad. After watching it I'm not even sure if it's supposed to tie in to the existing series. A very different kind of film, a "true" (not as in real life, but in setup) origin story of the Leprechaun. Sadly the film lacks everything that could make a horrorfilm great. Annoying characters, lame creature and boring from start to finish. I wonder what the hell they were thinking (then again, I didn't really like the original series either, so it's not that much worse).
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#16

Post by te18 » May 11th, 2015, 12:26 am

It's been a while...


Equinox (1970, Woods / McGee) 6/10
A send-up of mid-20th century B-movies and Ray Harryhausen creature effects that's full of much wonderful goofiness and some inspired "bad" acting. It's a very topsy-turvy film in terms of interest and ingenuity but when it works, it works well.

Razorback (1984, Russel Mulcahy) 6/10
Although it isn't saying much, this is most definitely the best killer pig movie I've seen: a semi-serious creature feature that shares unexpected similarities to films as diverse as Jaws, Phase IV and A Cry in the Dark. The climactic struggle between man and razorback is one of the standard-setting acts in an under-appreciated subgenre.

Lake Mungo (2008, Joel Anderson) 7/10
One of the most inspired found footage/mockumentary horrors that I've encountered, regularly eschewing predictability in its pursuit of the mystery surrounding a young girl's life, death and apparent haunting of her grieving family's home. Even when the film's various riddles meet with a mundane reality, director Joel Anderson retains an irresistible mystique and tensity, seldom missing a beat between each new twist and revelation. He executes his documentary aesthetic almost perfectly for at least two-thirds of the film, and even after that, although he ultimately succumbs to a need to rub his audience's face in details that they might otherwise have missed.

Terrorvision (1986, Ted Nicolaou) 4/10
A goofy comedy-horror that seems to be dependent on mindless nostalgia to get a pass.

Demonic (2015, Will Canon) 4/10
A group of young people enter the house in which a woman committed four murders followed by her own suicide several years earlier and perform a seance to summon the spirits they believe to be occupying the house, with bloody consequences. Police officer Frank Grillo and psychologist Maria Bello arrive to sift through the sparse video evidence and interview the only apparent survivor, piecing together the events of the previous hours as they go. It's all very familiar stuff that's only really palatable because of Bello and Grillo's straight-faced contributions to what's really a very shopworn theme, executed with little inspiration and topped off by a sub-Rosemary's Baby ending that effectively slaughters whatever good will it had earned in the preceding minutes. Also, Scott Mechlowicz has been very good playing disturbed characters in the past (see Mean Creek or Gone) but he's massively underutilized here, despite the fact that his character becomes the number one suspect for Demonic's present-day batch of murders very early on.
Last edited by te18 on May 11th, 2015, 12:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

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#17

Post by mightysparks » May 11th, 2015, 1:39 am

:( I loved Terrorvision and I only saw it a couple years ago. And Equinox is more awesome than a 6/10 :down:
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#18

Post by te18 » May 12th, 2015, 12:11 am

mightysparks on May 10 2015, 07:39:54 PM wrote::( I loved Terrorvision and I only saw it a couple years ago. And Equinox is more awesome than a 6/10 :down:
For what it's worth, I was hoping that I'd love them too! Anyway, I plan to give Equinox a rewatch at some point since I didn't manage to watch it in one sitting like I would have liked. I have a feeling it might work that little bit better if I can watch it without any distractions. 6/10 is still a positive score, though ;)

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#19

Post by te18 » May 29th, 2015, 3:31 pm

It's been a while. Besides the films I've been watching for the TSZDT challenge, I've watched quite a few horrors, but I'm too tired and not verbose enough to give thoughts on all of them, so here are their individual ratings:

Beautiful People (2014, Brini Amerigo) 3/10
Maggie (2015, Henry Hobson) 6/10
The Hollow (2004, Kyle Newman) 3/10
The Barrens (2012, Darren Lynn Bousman) 6/10
The Bermuda Triangle (1978, René Cardona Jr.) 0/10
Naked Zombie Girl (2014, Rickey Bird Jr.) 4/10
Swamphead (2011, Drover / Propp) 4/10
Under the Bed (2012, Steven C. Miller) 5/10
Audrey Rose (1977, Robert Wise) 4/10
Virus (1980, Fragasso / Mattei) 4/10
Conquistador de la luna (1960, Rogelio A. González) 3/10
It Follows (2014, David Robert Mitchell) 7/10
Creature of Darkness (2009, Mark Stouffer) 3/10
Feed the Gods (2014, Braden Croft) 3/10
Sweet 16 (1983, Jim Sotos) 6/10
When a Stranger Calls Back (1993, Fred Walton) 4/10
Snowtown (2011, Justin Kurzel) 6/10
The Drownsman (2014, Chad Archibald) 4/10
Christmas Cruelty! (2013, Steinsvoll / Tomren) 5/10
The Boogens (1981, James L. Conway) 5/10


It Follows was really cool! :D

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