Monday, October 27, 2008

The Fog (1980)

--Reviewed by Lindy Loo

Plotline: A fog rolls into a small fishing town, but it's no normal fog: something lives within it, and it's killing people.

Scariness factor: *fart*

Gross-Out Factor: *fart*

Complaints: I'm sure I'll get yelled at for saying this, but I have NO clue why this gets such rave reviews from folks. It was incredibly boring. And when I realized within the first fifteen minutes of the movie that [kind of spoiler alert] the spooky things within the fog were vengeful pirates, all I kept saying to myself and N-A the whole rest of the movie was: I cannot believe they expect me to be afraid of ghost pirates. =P [/end spoiler alert] This movie was SO slow, and nothing interesting or spooky ever happens.

High Points: Boo.

(Oooh, glowy-eyed pirates,
so scary! *FART*)

Overall: Again: I'm not sure why this movie is held in such favorable regard by horror fans. It is boring and unscary. I don't recommend. However, I will note that my friend Patrick gave it a much more favorable review when he reviewed this movie for this blog years ago, so go check it out if you want a second opinion.

Grade: D


The Strangers (2008)

--Reviewed by Lindy Loo

Plotline: A couple returns to the cabin they've rented for the weekend, only to have some young woman scare them in the middle of the night by knocking on the door in search of some unknown friend. This is only the beginning. Soon three different masked figures begin to torment the couple from outside (and inside) their cabin.

Scariness factor: The first 30 minutes of this movie (all "boring back-story" aside) were some of the tensest moments I've seen in a new horror film in a LONG time. And the first time you see one of the masked figures SCARED THE LIVING SHIT OUT OF ME, no lie. It was so well-done and subtle and goddamn fricking spooky.

Gross-Out Factor: There are only two major gross-out scenes, and honestly--they don't show all that much. I can't speak for the unrated version though.

Complaints: My big big big complaint with this movie are the shots of the spooky masked figures where the action of the figures seems to benefit no one other than the viewer. If you don't quite get what I mean, I'm speaking of the moments where one of the victims is unaware that one of the masked figures has walked into view somewhere behind them and yet the masked figure never follows through with any actions that would REQUIRE them walking into the scene in such a way, other than to spook the viewer out. I mean, why would a masked figure, who is trying to torment one of the victims, take the time appear behind them about 50 feet away without ever making their appearance known to the victim and without ever DOING anything else that really EXPLAINS why (outside of the fact that it spooks the viewer out) the masked figure even took the time to walk over there? Also disappointing was the ending. [spoiler alert] The movie would have been infinitely more interesting if they would've ended it MY way, which would've been that the masked tormenters vanish without a trace in the morning, never killing the two victims, and leaving the victims haunted with the knowledge that they killed their own friend when it wasn't necessary since their tormenters just wanted to scare the shit out of them and had no plans to kill them in the first place. [/end spoiler alert]

High Points: Holy crap, the first time they show a masked figure: I swear to god my heart skipped a beat. It was so damn subtle and spooky. The beginning of this movie houses most of the high points. The spookiness of this movie is not from any of the actual violence or chase-scenes that take place. It's from all the moments leading up to these things: the pounding on the doors and the anticipation and the not-knowing what's going on. Once the victims and the masked tormenters meet, it's not quite as scary anymore. But the first 30 minutes or so: good good stuff.

Overall: I'm torn. I thought it was fantastically creepy at the beginning, but the rest was kind of meh. Well-worth sitting through the first 30 minutes though. And although N-A insisted afterwards that the movie was dumb and unscary, he apparently forgot that he spent the first 30 minutes muttering threats at me for making him watch such a freaky movie and hiding his face behind a blanket.

Grade: First 30 minutes: A, Rest of the movie: B

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--Reviewed by Lindy Loo

Plotline: A scientist working at an isolated luxury apartment complex has developed some sort of parasite that reduces human hosts to a primal, orgiastic state of being. When he realizes the horror he has created, he attempts to kill the hosts it has taken root in, but he is just a little bit too late, as the parasite is spreading from person to person like an STD, inducing sex-crazed mania in them all.

Scariness factor: It's not really anything white-knuckle inducing. No sneaky scares.

Gross-Out Factor: It has its moments, but they're very 1970s.

Complaints: The movie was a bit slow. But I mostly think my major complaint was my own fault--I've been wanting to see this since forever, and I only this past week realized it was at a nearby videostore. I'd overhyped it for so long in my head that there's no way it could've ever lived up to the hype.

High Points: Cronenberg's early horror flicks are great fun to watch, and this one--with its overwhelmingly 1970s feel--fits the bill as well. It's creepy at times. Gross at times. Has a parasite that looks disgustingly phallic. And is--like all Cronenberg's horror--infused with a bit of social commentary. The acting is both good and terrible. And the special fx are fun.

Overall: If you like Cronenberg, it's a definite must-see. And if you like 1970s movies, again: a must-see.

Grade: B+


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The House on Haunted Hill (1959)

--Reviewed by Lindy Loo

Plotline: A husband and wife arrange for a handful of guests to come to a party they are throwing at a haunted house. Any of the guests that make it through the night--alive--will win $10,000.

Scariness factor: I actually must admit--I was pleasantly surprised. I'm not a big fan of older horror movies as they usually are kind of slow and not scary at all. But this definitely had some creepy moments. Some lame moments too. But some creepy moments.

Gross-Out Factor: Minimal and 1950s.

Complaints: The screaming. Dear god. The screaming. Let's just say that I am happy that our female horror victims have finally developed some agency within horror flicks in the past couple decades instead of just standing around helplessly screaming. Over. And over. And over. Without ever running away.

High Points: First off, I've got to mention that the skeleton-attack featured in the picture below CRACKED my shit up because it is SO precisely what The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra was making fun of, and that movie is funny as HELL. All that aside, Vincent Price is in this movie, and he is a creepy weirdo. This movie is also surprisingly shocking at times--at least for the time it was made. It also has some damn creepy moments, again--surprising for the time it was made. Granted, it's dated. But as old horror flicks go, it's definitely a fun one to watch.

Overall: I dug it. It's definitely 1950s, and it may occasionally suffer from slow pacing. But at worst, it'll give you and your friends a good 75 minutes worth of laughter.

Grade: A


Gin Gwai/The Eye (2002)

--Reviewed by Lindy Loo

Plotline: A woman, blinded in her youth, becomes the recipient of an eye transplant. As her eyes adjust and she begins to see strange things, she must call into question whether they are just a matter of her brain rewiring itself to understand sight or something to be very very afraid of.

Scariness factor: Holy shit--even just looking at the pic right below freaks me the hell out. And the movie itself MOVES. So yeah: high high high scariness factor.

Gross-Out Factor: Pretty minimal actually. Relies moreso on jump-in-your-seat moments.

Complaints: Really, I can't think of anything.

High Points: The first thing that pops into my head that I like about this movie is how it uses drastic change in volume-levels of its score/dialogue to freak you the hell out. It's really kind of brilliant because it's almost impossible to not jump in your seat when the voice of someone unseen by the main character begins to whisper and then seconds later BLASTS out your speakers with sound. Other brilliant things: everything that the 2008 version does wrong, this version did right. It makes its moments spooky as hell. It's got decent acting. It may not have the best special fx at times, but you're willing to overlook them. And (unlike the 2008 version, which I just realized COMPLETELY altered the ending to make it cheery) it has a dark ending that will freak you out. But most importantly, it is scary scary scary. Many moments that will make you jump or make you sit all white-knuckled in your seat. The elevator scene is particularly noteworthy. I think I held my breath the first time I saw it.

Overall: This really is a fantastic film. Burn the 2008 version and order this one instead.

Grade: A


Friday the 13, Part 2

--Reviewed by Lindy Loo

Plotline: A new camp, adjacent to Camp Crystal Lake of the original Friday the 13th, is prepping to open. Will THESE camp counselors make it out alive?

Scariness factor: I dunno. It's a sequel. I think that may be my response to pretty much everything about this movie actually.

Gross-Out Factor: Nasty, but fun/1980s nasty.

Complaints: It's a sequel. So basically it's just a rehash of the original. And I basically don't make it a habit to watch sequels for that very reason. But Friday the 13th is one of the few series where the actual infamous horror villain isn't the antagonist in the original. So I wanted to finally meet the hockey-masked villain. And yet: still no hockey mask, dammit.

High Points: The special fx were fun in that 1980s-type way.

Overall: Meh. Take it or leave it.

Grade: C


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Friday the 13th

As I am apparently your horror-movie-reviewing bitch ; ), I watched Friday the 13th last night, as requested...

--Reviewed by Lindy Loo

Plotline: Camp Crystal Lake is prepping to open again, 20 years after a series of horrific murders. Will the camp counselors make it out alive this time?

Scariness factor: All I have to say is CHI CHI CHI CHI HA HA HA HA CHI CHI CHI CHI HA HA HA HA.

Gross-Out Factor: Pretty high, in that 1980's campy slasher-film-type way.

Complaints: This movie's fun, so I really don't have any. Oh wait! No. The one thing that DROVE me nuts was when the one girl takes elaborate measures to fend off her attacker by stacking and dragging various different objects in front of a door THAT OPENS OUT IN THE OTHER DIRECTION, essentially making all her effort not worth JACK SHIT.

High Points: This movie is great classic 80's slasher film camp. It's creepy and yet funny. It's got bad acting. It's got over-the-top death-scenes that essentially just show off gloriously old-school special fx. It's got a creepy-ass ending. It's gonna a funny as shit ending. *SPOILER: It has one of THE funniest horror movie villains in it: a nearly-elderly woman whose bones you can almost hear creaking whenever she moves and who does a FANTASTICALLY hysterical job of looking crazy while slapping around the Final Girl. Because she of COURSE has to be a slapper, seeing as she is a woman. /END SPOILER* It also has a very young Kevin Bacon in it who looks like he's had every square inch of hair Naired from his body. Seriously: way too much fun.

Overall: A great slasher classic, perfect for the Halloween season.

Grade: A


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer

--Reviewed by Lindy Loo

Plotline: Henry is a serial murderer. There's not any real elaborate plot other than that. He murders. Serially. That is what the plotline is about. So there.

Scariness factor: It's creepy. And disturbing. Not jump-in-your-seat scary, but disturbing scary.

Gross-Out Factor: Pretty high, actually. There was actually a scene in here that kind of turned my stomach, between the sound and the events taking place. Definitely not for the squeamish.

Complaints: It was a well-done movie, so I don't have many. Other than that I don't really know that I enjoy sitting through 90 minutes of serially murdering when it SEEMS realistic. Call me a hypocrite, but I'd take a slightly campy, 1980s slasher film over this one any day. Fun horror rather than disturbing horror.

High Points: This MUST'VE been shocking when it came out. It's very graphic. It's very realistic. It doesn't mince words. The acting (at least by the lead) is well-done. And it has a lot of grittily-filmed and well-done moments. Also, the murder scenes are HORRIFIC. And it has a great final-scene. That was probably my favorite part about this movie. Would I watch it again though? Hell no. It's really quite good for what it is, but what it is is a bit too realistic for my horror tastebuds.

Overall: Gritty and realistic. Also horrific. I can understand in some ways why it's high on people's "Favorite Horror Movies" Lists. But I prefer something a little bit less intense and disgusting and disturbing when I want to entertain myself with horror movies. So I dunno: mixed opinions. I think I'd like to hear what YOU think if you've seen it, so feel free to leave your two cents.

Grade: C? B? Can't decide actually.


Movies I've Rewatched So Far This Season

Despite the fact that it may not seem like I've been watching that many horror flicks so far this season, I assure you: I have. It's just that several of them I've reviewed before. But I figured it won't do any harm to link back. So these are some of the second-timers I've dabbled in over the past couple weeks...

So anyone decide yet what they're going as for Halloween? I'm struggling. My impulse is to go as zombie all the time (I mean, who DOESN'T want to dress up as a zombie without the least excuse?). So please: easy suggestions are always welcome.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

The Eye (2008)

--Reviewed by Lindy Loo

Plotline: A woman, blinded in her youth, becomes the recipient of an eye transplant. As her eyes adjust and she begins to see strange things, she must call into question whether they are just a matter of her brain rewiring itself to understand sight or something to be very very afraid of.

Scariness factor: The original: creepy as hell. (Perhaps I will rewatch this season since it looks like I have yet to review it here). This one: not so much.

Gross-Out Factor: Fairly minimal.

Complaints: We get it, Jessica Alba. You are hot. I am not one of those girls who is so insecure that I'm gonna waste my time snarking about you when really, I'm just secretly jealous of your hotness. I don't even LIKE girls in that way, but I will freely admit that if you came onto me on the subway, I would take you back to my place. In a second. You are luscious and divine. Every boy in the world wants to do you. Most girls probably do too, if they'd just be honest with themselves. All that being said and done, this movie read more like a new "Jessica Alba is Hot" sitcom than it did a good creepy horror flick. Oh, look at how cute Jessica Alba is being so extremely normal! There she is, eating ice cream out of a tub, just like a Regular Girl! So endearing! Oh, look at Jessica Alba as THE world's most HOTTEST blind chick you've EVER seen! Oh, look at Jessica Alba in THE most RIDICULOUS gratuitous shower scene you've ever seen! I must pause here, as this one warrants a bit more commentary. I'm an advocate of the gratuitous shower-scene. It is a fun and silly trope of slasher films, the inexplicable and unnecessary footage of some hot chick showering in the middle of the movie. It always makes me grin. BUT THIS IS NOT A SLASHER FILM. This is a film that was TRYING to be all intense and serious. So good god, people: 90 seconds of a) Alba, muted out by the shower door, her curves and flesh still ABUNDANTLY apparent, and then b) Alba toweling herself off and dressing, WITH INEXPLICABLE CLOSE-UPS ON HER TAUT STOMACH AND OTHER SEXY FLESHY PARTS--unnecessary! Honest to god--there was NO REASON to have this scene in there. None. If there were an award for "THE Most Unnecessary and Gratuitous Shower Scene EVER," this would be taking that baby home IMMEDIATELY. Enough about Alba (though clearly this movie is just a vehicle to show her off for 90 minutes). Moving on to OTHER qualities that make this movie one of the most RIDICULOUS remakes of a truly fantastic film... The special fx blow. The creepy shadow people BLOW (I mean, they fricking look like dark versions of those stupid alien designs that were popular in the '90s):

The therapist: WTF?! He is like THE worst therapist EVER. He basically yells at Alba all through the film--good therapy work, buddy! The scary moments weren't scary at all. The credits have some horribly lame 1980s-esque lame-ass song playing over them. OH! And Alba--of course--saves some dude from getting hit by a fricking bus in the first 2 minutes of the movie. Apparently this is to demonstrate how fine-tuned all her other senses are, but COME ON. Seriously??? SERIOUSLY??? OH! SO ANGRY!

High Points: Getting to watch Jessica Alba look hot. And look absolutely amazing in a really pretty yellow dress at the end of the movie. And that's pretty much it.

Overall: Wow. So so so so bad. If I was like the Incredible Hulk of horror films, I would right now be turning green and bulging out of my shirt with furious anger at having my time wasted like this. GO RENT THE ORIGINAL. Really. THAT is a good and creepy flick that will scare your SOCKS off.

Grade: D

Oh, and PS: Just because you're blind doesn't automatically mean you have cloudy eyes, especially when your eyes were functional and not cloudy before. Fucktards.


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The Bad Seed (1956)

--Reviewed by Lindy Loo

Plotline: Rhoda is the most perfect little girl in every which way. She likes to wear dresses. She is courteous to adults. She says please and thank you and curtsies when appropriate. Yet, why is it that the people who cross her keep showing up dead?

Scariness factor: This is a 1950s flick, and the scariness is uber-subtle. But it's there. And it's good in the moments it seeps through. But if you're someone who is into horror films for the slasher-flicks, you won't like it.

Gross-Out Factor: Nada.

Complaints: It's slow-moving. It actually didn't bother me too much, but I think for folks looking for fast-paced, slasher-momentum type flicks, this won't please you.

High Points: The little girl in this movie is creepy as hell--you will want to push her down the stairs. The mom is both a terrible actress and a good one. Yet, she is the crux of the movie, along with the little girl. And she does well. This movie, for the time period, is also strangely uncomfortable, especially the last 15 minutes or so, moments which I suspect The Omen no doubt took cues from. There are also many scenes in this movie that seem ahead of its time--like the way the fire and the groundskeeper scene goes down. They very brilliantly choose not to show a minute of the actual groundskeeper but instead keep the camera focused on the mother and her response as the horrific noises of the events taking place fill the soundtrack. This wouldn't be anything surprising in a newer film, but it seems wickedly smart for one from the 1950s. I guess I was just impressed with the subtle nuances of this movie. It is slow-moving, but I can see why it is on many Top 50 Horror Flicks lists, as there IS something really kind of unsettling about it.

Overall: The more and more I think about it, the more and more I like this film. Slow-paced, but unique and clever for the time it was made, and this lends it a scariness above and beyond the typical 1950s horror flick.

Grade: A


Homicidal (1961)

--Reviewed by Lindy Loo

Plotline: Emily is a pretty, blond caretaker for Helga, the childhood nanny of Warren, the man Emily is apparently married to. Which is all well and good except that Emily also has an inexplicable penchant FOR STABBING PEOPLE.

Scariness factor: Not so much. Though the stabbing scene is pretty crazy. I *LOVE* that they have a 60 second "Fright Break" though at the climax of the movie, so that you have the option to leave the theater if you're too scared to see the ending. Ha ha ha.

Gross-Out Factor: Very 1960s-ish violence.

Complaints: Just the general complaints of some of these older horror flicks, which is that they can seem more silly than scary. It has its moments though. And it's good camp. I mostly just found myself uninterested in the plot of the movie though--other than to figure out why the hell the lead was so stabby. Oh, also, Warren is the ugliest man EVER. And I couldn't help fixating on it through the whole movie. He also talked like a fool. I am also stupid.

High Points: This movie plot was so weird at times that it was entertaining and creepy. The female lead: also entertaining and creepy. It also reminded me a bit of Repulsion which is far creepier. I feel like I kind of liked it, but then also that it was kind of boring. And I can't so much decide.

Overall: My mom recommended this to me--she said it was ridiculous and silly and her and her brother used to LOVE it when they were little. I agree on most counts--it was entertaining, and campy, and had its moments. But overall, I think I could've gone through life without seeing it and not have felt any enormous loss.

Grade: B-


Salem's Lot (1979)

--Reviewed by Lindy Loo

Plotline: I guess it's something about vampires invading a small New England town, but I hadn't quite gotten to the point invasion.

Scariness factor: Well, seeing as I apparently hadn't gotten to any real scary moments when the dvd crapped out, hard to say. The part with the boy floating by the window was pretty creeps though.

Gross-Out Factor: See scariness factor.

Complaints: That I made it about an hour and 20 minutes into the movie and then the dvd stopped working.

High Points: Boy floating in Window.

Overall: Right now, I can't really give this a fair review since I didn't get to see the whole thing. So perhaps one day I can let you know.

PS. Check out Stephen King in this pic--ha ha ha.

Grade: TBA