Entries Tagged as 'Horror'

‘The Thing’ (2011)

Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.’s ‘The Thing’ (2011) is nominally a prequel to the 1982 film of the same name by John Carpenter. Carpenter’s film was a remake of remake of Howard Hawks’ ‘ The Thing from Another World ‘ (1952), itself an adaptation of John w. Campbell’s novella, “ Who Goes There? ” (1938).

Despite the fact that 30 years separate both Heijningen’s prequel and Carpenter’s remake, that intervening 30 years was not enough time for Universal to figure out what made the first 2 films into the classics that they are. [Read more →]

‘Return of the Living Dead III’ (1993)

Zombie girlfriends, rebellious teens, fast cars, motorcycles and gunplay. To spell it out that way, it almost sounds like some other movie. Some other, equally improbable movie.

Of course, it’s just the 3nd sequel to George Romero and John Russo’s Night of the Living Dead (1968)  but this film belongs to the dramedy fork of the franchise that Russo took when he and Romero went their separate ways.

Of course, RothLD 3 was written, directed and produced by ’80s low-budget schlockmeister and H.P. Lovecraft aficionado, Brian Yuzna . Unlike it’s predecessors, it abandons the full-on campy excesses of predecessors Dan O’Bannon ( Alien, Lifeforce, Total Recall )  and Ken Wiederhorn to inject the tragic pathos of teenage romance into the mix, and somehow it works marvelously. [Read more →]

5 Upcoming Genre Features, 2010-12

via Squidoo.com

Captain America: The First Avenger ‘ (2011) • IMDb l ink Captain America:The First Avenger

This one’s a bit contentious — Joe Johnston, who directed The Rocketeer way, way back in 1991 should have been a good choice to direct a period piece about Marvel’s Captain America set during WWII. But then, Johnston turned in the pointless and unnecessary Wolfman remake this past year, and then cast Chris Evans ( Fantastic Four ‘s Johnny Storm) as Steve Rogers, rather than  Mark Valley , (‘Human Target’) an actor born for the role.

Understandably, Marvel and Disney are reaching for a younger actor for the role, but I really dobt that those 18-49 women should be the marketing department’s target. Rather, the target audience ought to be 4 generations of American men aged 7 to 70 that Marvel ought to be aiming for. That, and the fact that 25 year-old Evans will have to go up against 46 year old Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Hemsworth and Samuel Jackson in ‘ The Avengers ‘ (2012) and make it somehow appear that they are peers. [Read more →]

‘Never Let Me Go’ (2010)

When writer-director Robert Fiveson created ‘ Parts:The Clonus Horror ‘back in 1979, I’m sure he had no idea he was creating one of the most enduring science-fiction memes of the late 20th and early 21st century.

To summarize Parts , a group of young people are born, grow up and live in carefully controlled environment, wherein their every desire is indulged, yet their every behavior is monitored by the powers-that-be until such time they receive a call and it’s time for them to emigrate to the utopia of “America.”

Of course,  America is just a lie and all of these bright, young, ambitious kids are just the spare-parts clone-farm of an aging, wealthy, politically-connected elite that created the desert haven of Clonus as an organ-bank to extend their own lives. But the kids are aware of none of this — they are simply caught up in the celebration of their young lives, until the day that they are summoned to ‘America’. [Read more →]

Case 39 (2010)

“This little girl heard her parents say that they were going to send her to hell.” — Emily Jenkins, Case 39

So begins Case 39 , a horror-thriller vehicle for Renee Zellweger that’s sat on a shelf for 4 years. Wikipedia says , that the film was completed in “late 2006″ and rescheduled three more times before landing on American screens, this Friday, October 1.

Case 39 is not a bad movie, but it is a movie we’ve seen many times before (see Orphan (2009) and  Joshua (2007)). RZ plays the hard-working, well-maening social worker, Emily Jenkins who prevails upon her to add one more child protective case to her already-overburdened caseload. Vocation turns into affection and Jenkins adopts the child and brings her into her home, and then… things start to go wrong. [Read more →]

‘Predators’ (2010)

I saw it and I was impressed. And I say that as someone who falls squarely on the Alien side of the fence when it comes to ’80s high-concept horror.

The problem with both previous Predator flicks were that there was very little high-concept. In both preceding entries ( Predator and Predator 2 ), the Predators and the humans were on Earth.

In the first film, the Predators interrupted Arnold Schwarzenegger’s hunt for something or other, and in the sequel, they appeared in a very hot L.A. summer, getting in the way of a police investigation of some sort. In each, it is strictly humans vs. Predators. [Read more →]

‘Shutter Island’ (2010)

[ WARNING :Uncharacteristically, this review is all SPOILERS, but this film is so well put together that you should consider my spoilers a feature, rather than a bug.]

Operation Paperclip Nazis working in criminal sanitariums off the coast of Washington State? Mind control? A WWII veteran and widower with PTSD? Visuals by David Lynch.

It’s 1951 in this film and the most unfortunate thing about Shutter Island is that Scorcese and writers Stephen Knight and Laeta Kalogridis decided that it’s okay not to make sense. They decide to just let go. Film is a visual experience and flourishes are flourishes, so why the fuck not? If your local cinemat can affor to spend $750k on a new 3D projection kit, you can sit and watch Martin Scorcese orchestrate some crazy in 2D. On Shutter Island, the Eater Eggs and Red Herrings run thick, wild and free. So wild, that you may want to pause and consider throwing a few back, before deciding which ones you want to take home to eat. [Read more →]

‘Pandorum’ (2009)

It’s unofficial, but the disappointment that was ‘Event Horizon’ (1997) now has a sequel.

The misguided mash-up that resulted in Hellraiser — in Space … by Executive producers Paul W.S. Anderson and Jeremy Bolt have now given us Alien -meets- Serenity -meets- The Descent -meets- Defying Gravity -meets- 2001:A Space Odyssey -meets- The Abyss -meets-Cube-meets- Sunshine, allowing the worst aspects of each film a moment for a pirouette of inexplicability.  3 of those 7 movies had serious story problems.

Like the 4 different posters in the movie’s advertising campaign, the PR can’t seem to determine whether the movie is science-fiction, horror or something else completely. While that combination might sound somehow enervating, the fact is that where those producers missed with their horror-fied remake of Andrej Tarkovsky’s ‘Solaris’ is exactly where this duo have missed with ‘Pandorum’. [Read more →]

‘District 9′ (2009)

district_9 All the reports that I’ve read have said that director Neill Blomkamp and Wingnut Films elected to do ‘District 9′ while they were in a holding pattern while they were waiting on a green light from Microsoft to do a live-action adaptation of the Halo video-game.

Imagine a couple million dollars of filmmaking equipment, and empty studio and several tens of state-of-the-art technicians waiting on some Seattle lawyers, and you get the idea. though the film is a little more substantive than  that. [Read more →]

‘Hellraiser’ (1987)

Yeah, I saw this one during it’s theatrical release, back in 1987, and above all, I recall leaving the theater in desperate need of some mental hygene given the movie’s uncomfortable explorations of incest, S&M and the consequences of selling your soul.

While the franchise’s demons, the Cenobytes, appear within the film’s first 5 minutes, we only get a glimpse — they are by no means central to the story. Rather, Pinhead and the Cenobytes are simply the vehicles of hubris:The cenobytes both identify and punish those who are willing to overreach. Though the SciFi Channel insists that all genre movies reveal their creatures within the first 15 minutes , that formula — dictated by commercial requirements — is really irrelevant because ‘Hellraiser’ is an epic drama that circulates around Kirsty Cotton ( Ashley Laurence ) and her evil stepmother, Julia ( Clare Higgins ). [Read more →]