Friday, October 31, 2008

31 Horror Movies in 31 Days

Keith from The Kinetoscope Parlor put out a challenge. Watch one horror movie a day each day in October. Well, I did it! Here's a rundown and some quick reviews of the movies I watched this month. Then I'll rank them at the end. If you participated in a Month of Terror challenge, leave your lists here. And if you just watched some really great horror movies lately, tell us what they were.

Night One: The Virgin Spring
This might seem like an odd film to start things off but Ingmar Bergman's 14th century Swedish fable tale (that sounds awful) inspired a slew of rape revenge movies like Last House on the Left and I Spit on Your Grave. The film is beautifully shot and the performances are outstanding. The closing scene is more than memorable.

Night Two: Poltergeist

Night Three: A Nightmare on Elm Street III: Dream Warriors
Dream Warriors is my favorite Elm Street movie. Admit it, the puppeteer scene made you well "Ohhh shit..." when you first saw it. Patricia Arquette may not be great but for what she lacks the Dokken soundtrack more than makes up for. "We're the dream warriors, don't want to dream no more! We're the dream warriors, and maybe tonight...maybe tonight you'll be gone!" Oh yeah, that's nice.

Night Four: The Innocents
Night Five: Poltergeist II
Night Six: Poltergeist III
Night Seven: Pulse
Night Eight: John Carpenter's Vampires

Night Nine: Cube

A group of strangers wake up in a giant Rubik's Cube of death. The death scenes are entertaining, the acting is surprisingly impressive for such a low budget film, and the cinematography creates a sense of claustrophobia that connects the viewer with the characters. Don't miss Cube. Don't even wait until next October to rent it. You are going to like Cube.

Night Ten: Dead Zone

Night Eleven: Frankenhooker
You can read my Frankenhooker review here. Go read it or at least check out the screencaps. Want the plot? Here's the plot. A science nerd accidently chops up his girlfriend and the proceeds to invent Super Crack in order blow up a bunch of hookers which he'll stitch together to reanimate his lost love. A Fugees reunion wouldn't make me as happy as Frankenhooker did.

Night Twelve: The Lost Boys
Night Thirteen: Silent Night, Deadly Night
Night Fourteen: The Exorcist
Night Fifteen: The Howling

Night Sixteen: Someone's Watching Me
You can read my Someone's Watching Me review here. It was a part of my Never Heard of It series. Directed by John Carpenter, this made-for-TV psychological thriller was made right after Halloween was released. Some might call it an homage of Rear Window, others might not have such kind words.

Night Seventeen: Sleepy Hollow
Night Eighteen: In the Mouth of Madness
Night Nineteen: The Amityville Horror

Night Twenty: Deliver Us from Evil
A documentary on Catholic priests and the children they loved. This one might have been the scariest movie I watched. Maybe the scariest movie I've ever watched. Ever. Organized religion is much scarier than Jason, Michael, and Freddy combined.

Night Twenty One: Twilight Zone: The Movie
Night Twenty Two: Carrie

Night Twenty Three: Dead and Buried
Whooo-eeee this was a great movie. Whitney rented this one and I wasn't excited by the title or the Netflix sleeve description. Then the movie started and whooo-eeee. This one's got everything: zombies, nudity, and Evil Grandpa Joe!

Night Twenty Four: Nightmare on Elm Street

Night Twenty Five: Gut Pile
You can read my review of Gut Pile here. Don't bother reading it, I'll fill you in. Gut Pile blows. It's shot on a camcorder, features a POV Monster, and seems hella long even though it's less than an hour long.

Night Twenty Six: Shaun of the Dead
Night Twenty Seven: The Exorcism of Emily Rose
Night Twenty Eight: Creepshow
Night Twenty Nine: Martin
Night Thirty: The Twilight Zone

Night Thirty One: Halloween
Had to end the month with Halloween. It's got the best villian, the best music, and the best use of Donald Pleasence. Anytime someone asks me what my favorite horror movie is, Halloween is always my answer.

Here's how'd I rank how much I enjoyed these movies:
Shaun of the Dead
The Lost Boys
The Exorcism of Emily Rose
Deliver Us from Evil
Nightmare on Elm Street III: Dream Warriors
Nightmare on Elm Street
Twilight Zone: The Movie
The Virgin Spring
Dead and Buried
The Exorcist
John Carpenter's Vampires
Poltergeist III
Dead Zone
Silent Night, Deadly Night
Someone's Watching Me
Sleepy Hollow
The Twilight Zone (A Few Episodes)
The Amityville Horror
In the Mouth of Madness
Poltergeist II
The Innocents
The Howling
Gut Pile

It was a hell of a month. Some nights felt like a chore, especially when the movies were bad, but now that it's done, I'm glad I did it. I keep trying to convince Whitney to watch 28 romantic comedies in February but somehow, I don't think she's going to go for it.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


What's everyone dressing up as for Halloween?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

You Knows the Rules...and So Does He

Found this at Slash Film. Those guys are amazing.

Never Heard of It: Gut Pile

Gut Pile.
Gut "Fuck Your Horror Movie's Title" Pile.

Unfortunately, Netflix won't let me take screen caps off their Watch Instantly player. That's why you get too look at my kick ass drawings. The resemblance is scary. In case you aren't paying attention, this week's Never Heard of It movie is Gut Pile! I'm very excited. Here we go:

iMovie title sequences just don't look professional. If you can tell a lot about a person by his shoes, shouldn't you be able to tell a lot about a movie by its titles? Gut Pile's opening is an old pair of white homeless guy New Balances.

LIVE FEED COMMENT: (0:02:04) This thing was shot on a camcorder! A fucking camcorder!

I'm half expecting some old geezer to yell "It's alright. It's okay! There's something to live for. Jesus told me so..." I'm going to find both copies of this movie and snap them in half.

Want the plot? Here's the plot: Hunter shoots a deer. Turns out not to be a deer. Turns out to be a guy. He buries the guy. Dead guy comes back from the dead and comes for revenge. Guess what? I'm just guessing about the zombie part but I'd bet my life that this guy's coming back to life.

Here's a screenshot from Gut Pile:

LIVE FEED COMMENT: (0:05:17) Oh, what a lovely 360 shot. Wal-Mart sells some really nice tripods these days.

The sound levels are absolutely terrible. I'm talking close-ups are louder terrible. There's just something about bad sound work that drives me crazy. If I could hear the dialogue, I'm sure it would be just as bad as the acting, which is just as good as the plot, the lighting, and the shooting "Poe-ver-eddie" records with shotguns scene. Guess he doesn't like opera.

LIVE FEED COMMENT: (0:15:04) Nothing like black-and-white flashbacks that replay the entire opening scene. Nope. Nothin' like it.

Hours into a night full of poker and talk of titties, a POV Monster shows up.
For those of you unfamiliar with POV Monsters, a POV Monster is a monster that you don't get to see. You see through its eyes (a.k.a. through the camcorder lens) as it runs around actin' all suspicious.

While one of the hunter's buddies takes a dump, the POV Monster lights the outhouse on fire. Flaming shit. That's how I'd sum up Gut Pile. Shit that's on fire.

Here's a screencap:

The third act sucks less than the first two. The movie's less than an hour long but the last ten are almost worth watching. The POV Monster finally shows his face. He's a scarecrow. Sorry I ruined it. One of the buddies gets his stomach ripped open (off screen) but the on screen results are the film's best moment.

(0:43:02) Ah, there's the gut pile. He just stepped in a pile of guts.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Preparation for Best of 2008

Question: How do you all prepare for making your Best of the Year lists?

I'm currently playing a bit of catch-up.

Here's what's coming in the next couple weeks from Netflix:
The Counterfitters
Taxi to the Dark Side
Standard Operating Procedure
YPF (Young People Fucking)
Paranoid Park
Boy A
The Fist Foot Way
Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay
Funny Games
Cassandra's Dream
How the Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer
Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?
Snow Angels

Did I miss any? I know some of them were officially made in 2007 but I'm counting them if they didn't recieve U.S. theatrical releases until 2008. Control didn't make the deadline, sadly. It's still on my queue but now I probably won't get to it or quite a while.

Happy Halloween

Friday, October 24, 2008

Mistaken Movie Poster Actors

Ever see a movie poster and think you're looking at one actor but it turns out to be someone else. Happens to me every once in a while too. Here's a few of my best movie poster mix-ups.

A Quick Question...

Halloween is in ONE WEEK.
Where the hell are all the horror movies?

How are our only horror movie options Saw V, Quarantine, and some piece of trash called The Haunting of Molly Hartley? What's that about? This is some lame sauce.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Seriously F***ed Up Video

Really people, this video is crazy.
It's 100% real.
If you want some more details, just ask.
I don't want to compare people with disabilities with monsters
but in this case...

Happy Halloween

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Never Heard of It: Someone's Watching Me

I consider myself to be a huge John Carpenter fan. Assault on Precinct 13 was the first film I reviewed on He Shot Cyrus. I own a number of his films including Pro-Life, his installment in the Masters of Horror series. And while I claim to be a so-called "fan," there was not only a Carpenter film I had never seen before, but had never heard of either. The film is called Someone's Watching Me. It was brought to my attention by Whitney at Dear Jesus. How did I miss this one? It must be terrible. All I know about Someone's Watching Me is the title and the director. Here we go with week two of Never Heard of It.

The film opens with shots of various pieces of surveillance equipment. Tape recorders, telescopes, and a mystery man talking on the phone. He makes a creep call to a woman named Elizabeth. There's just something about the words "Sweet Dreams" that creeps me out. Always has.

Live Feed Comment: (0:1:26) "I hope this is a rip-off of The Conversation. Also, do I own Enemy of the State?"

Interesting title sequences have a way of sticking with me. Someone's Watching Me's opening is incredible. A bright red screen gets covered in thin white lines creating a grid-like look. The music plays as three bold white letter sweep toward the camera: SOMEONE'S WATCHING ME. The red eventually fades away into a tall building, the red is replaced by concrete walls and the white squares are replaced by windows. If someone knows how rip videos, this one should end up on YouTube for me.

LIVE FEED COMMENT: (0:02:12) "Who's Lauren Hutton? Sounds familiar..."

Fresh in from New York City, Leigh, needs an apartment in the new city. Apparently she needs a job too. Her first interview at a local TV station goes well and the interesting blonde who talks to herself too much gets hired. She meets Sophie, a crackshot lesbian television director, who will probably be my favorite character in this movie. After Sophie warns Leigh about the skeezy guys who work at the station, it's back to the apartment where we can all assumme the real trouble will start.

LIVE FEED COMMENT: (0:14:29) "Who played the mom on E.T.? I don't think it was this woman. 'Dee' something. Damn. That gonna bug me."

LIVE FEED COMMENT: (0:14:44) "Dee Williams! She was in Poltergeist too. So who the hell is Lauren Hutton? Looks familiar."

LIVE FEED COMMENT: (0:15:45) "Woah! Something creepy just happened. I don't want to spoil it for you. If Danny DeVito's smiling by the end of this movie, check it out and keep your eyes open around the fifteen minute mark!"

So like the title implies, Someone's Watching Me is a stalker movie. The "Me" is "Leigh," the "Someone" is undetermined, and the "Watching" is done through telescopes. Leigh's stalker has planted hi-tech bugging devices around her apartment and when the creepy phones calls start, the audience is left guessing a little less than the protagonist. Some people hate when the viewer knows more than the main character. I usually don't mind if it's handled correctly. Someone's Watching Me does a so-so job. Thanks to these bugs that we're aware of, there are a lot of how could he know that scenes were Leigh and her friends try to figure out just what's happening to them.

One pitfall that Someone's Watching Me manages to avoid is the I Met a New Man, I Think I Like Him but in Twenty Minutes I'll Suspect HIM of Being the Stalker cliche. Leigh meets Paul and they hit it off. I was hoping Leigh and Sophie would hit it off but maybe that's too much to ask for. Come on, Mr. Carpenter, you shot a little girl through her vanilla cone, you can have two women fall in love.

LIVE FEED COMMENT: (0:27:50) "I bet John Carpenter's against Prop 8. Good for him."

The second act moves a bit slowly. That being said, the film is a pretty decent thriller. It avoids the temptation of melodrama and shows the stalker's ability to slowly wear this strong woman's will down. When a telescope shows up at Laurie's apartment, along with written instructions from the Peeping Tom, it's clear the stakes have risen. When an orange polka dot bikini shows up, Tom's intentions seem pretty clear.

The second act ends on a suprisingly high note. When the police pull their He Hasn't Done Anything Wrong routine, Leigh takes matters into her own hands. She's got a suspect and she's gonna track him down. Down in the laundry room, Leigh does some stalkling of her own. In a pulse-raising scene, Leigh hides underneath a metal grate as her stalker stand on top, smoking. He drops his cigarette down and leaves before giving Leigh a good look at his face. Apparently, these were the days before DNA testing. I would have taken that cigarette straight to the closest DNA lab and ran some tests. Then I would have listened to The Who.

LIVE FEED COMMENT: (0:55:45) "If someone is watching you through your windows, describing the clothes you're wearing, asking you to take them off, etc. then what possesses you to have sex with all the blinds open?"

LIVE FEED COMMENT: (1:05:31) "Hey, they're arresting Uncle Leo from "Seinfeld." The one with the pen that writes upside down. The astronaut pen. It's only an hour into the movie. I bet he's not the guy."

The third act is REAR WINDOW. Woman runs across to the next building over. Friend watches her progress from her apartment through a telescope. Tension builds. Someone gets attacked. The only things missing are flash bulbs and the oddly humorous sound of Jimmy Stuart yelling.

The film has quite a few strengths. Leigh is a very interesting character (who likes to talk to herself all the time). Sophie and David are well-rounded supporting characters who don't ever lose faith in their friend's story. If there's something more annoying than knowing more than the main character, it's watching all the supporting characters treat the protagonist like they're crazy. That never happens in this movie. Leigh is strong on her own but accepts the offered help from her buddies and lovers.

A final showdown between Leigh and her heavy-breathing Crank Yanker was a must. This is one creepy scene. She enters her apartment to find that the guy's already been there. The numbers in her phone have been removed. The electricity box has been messed with. The locks are broken. She moves through the darkness and just when you think the guy's not in there, he jumps on her. Not going to give away the ending, but it did put a smile on my face. It might be someone you expected. It might come out of left field. You'll have to rent it (or e-mail me) to find out.

I don't know how I could have missed this movie. The film has a very different feel compared to the other Carpenter films I've watched. It's possible that someone else wrote the screenplay (I meant to watch for the writer's name during the opening titles) and Carpenter filmed it. Either way, it's a pretty decent thriller with a few standout scenes and moments. I know it wasn't released before Precinct because the only feature he made before that was the offbeat sci-fi comedy Dark Star. Now, if you've never seen Dark Star, check it out. It got a DVD release and it's definitely worth ninety minutes. Can I say that about Someone's Watching Me? I'll let Danny DeVito decide. If you've forgotten what the Glad I Watched It rating system looks like, click this link.

Glad I Watched It Rating:

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Exorcist...only with bunnies.

If you've never seen it then it's new to you!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Top Five Favorite Horror Films

5. Dead Alive

4. The Descent

3. Night of the Living Dead
2. People Under the Stairs

1. Halloween

Easy question:
what's your Top 5 favorite horror movies?

Friday, October 17, 2008

In Bruges

Yesterday, on the recommendation of my friend Jonny, I watched In Bruges. It had made my first Top 7 I Want to See list but for one reason or another, I hadn't seen it. So much has been written about Martin McDonagh's first feature-length film and potential comeback film for Colin Ferrell that I'm inclined to just step back and agree with everyone. The movie's great. It's funny, moving, beautifully shot, filled with twists and turns, and just might find a slot on my Top 10 of the Year list. It's that great.

I remember watching a documentary that explored how Steve McQueen became the superstar that he was. Performing amongst some of the best ensamble casts ever grouped together (The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape), McQueen was constantly active, even in the shots where he was in the background. He'd be playing with his hat or moving his arms in a certain way that would subtlely distract the audience from the other actors in the shot and bring the attention to himself. While Ferrell doesn't have an ensamble to compete against, it would seem that he has some work to do to convince people he's still an actor worth paying for.

One of the things I noticed most about In Bruges (which is in Belgium, by the way) was Colin Ferrell's face. Whether it's shot from far away or in a close-up, Ferrell's face is so expressive. It's noticeable but not distracting. I would argue that his role as Ray is the most emotionally developed character of Farrell's career. Don't get it twisted, I sorta understood the motivation behind Bullseye. He liked darts, right? His expressions in In Bruges really help flesh out his character. They may seem silly in stills but in the right context, they work.

Alright, even in the right context, some of them are still pretty silly. All in all, In Bruges is worth watching. You're doing yourself a diservice by skipping on it because you didn't love S.W.A.T. or because you thought Alexander sucked. Thanks to everyone who recommended it to me.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Ladies and Gentlemen, I Give You...

My favorite post ever written, by anyone, ever.
Jason Bellamy's Diane Lane Naked at The Cooler.
It's more tasteful than it sound.

Also, Jason is hosting the Politics & Movies Blog-a-thon.
It goes from November 4th to November 9th.
Everyone should participate.
Until, go read Diane Lane Naked.


This wasn't the Al Franken sex tape I was promised.
That being said, Mary Shelly must be proud.

The year was 1990. Brain Damage and The Basket Case series were gaining notoriety on the home video market. Cult film director Frank Henenlotter teamed up with the original editor of Fangoria and penned a script involving a psychotic pre-med student with a love for puzzles.

When the robotic lawnmower Jeffery designed for his father's birthday accidentally slices and dices his fiance Elizabeth (played by Penthouse Pet Patty Mullen), the mission is clear. Keep her head on ice until the next lightning storm. Then, take all the various body parts you've hacked off of the hookers you've hired and stitch them together (remember that love for puzzles we just talked about?) and !KABLAMO! your loving wife-to-be is back and life can continue like normal.

A born romantic, Jeffrey still takes the time to make Elizabeth feel special. It's really nice that he could love her even with those Christmas ham-sized feet. Those really shouldn't be on the dinner table. When he's not pouring wine down the throatless head's mouth, he's in the garage trying to figure out how to play God. If you're wondering how someone whose never attended any courses on Hooker Reanimation could possibly comprehend all those complex equations and variables, don't worry, our mad scientist solves all these problems by shoving a power drill into his brain and mixing stuff up a bit until the world makes sense.

Now to find the hookers!

[From Left to Right: Ol' Crick Neck, Erika Eleniak, Ponder-osa, NeonThong, Motorboat, Red, Scratchy, and Big Ominous Hand.]

Now that Jeffery's found the right hookers, he needs to decide which parts to take from which streetwalker. He measures their arms, legs, and brains (just kidding, why would he need one of those?) and writes up his grocery list. After all the busts and butts are accounted for, it's time to murder some ladies of the night. With his robotic lawnmower in the pawn shop, Jeff's gotta come up with another ingenious plan. Back to the power drill. Ah, of course!

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Super Crack. What hooker can resist Super Crack? It's just like crack except bigger, stronger, and more...

Here's a video clip of hookers exploding. You know you're clicking this damn link.

Back in the lab, Jeffery throws together the pieces just in time for the lighting storm. The thunder rolls, the lighting strikes, the hooker is...ALIVE. Oh shit, I can't believe everything didn't go as planned. Elizabeth thinks she's a hooker. Didn't see that coming.

Frankenhooker Warning of the Day: If you have sex with a prostitute, make sure her "down there area" won't make you explode during your no-pants party.

Happy Halloween.