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Friday, October 29, 2010

Horror a Day Week 4

Friday, October 22: S&MAN

I actually watched this movie on Thursday, Oct 21st, but because I also watched The Dividing Hour that day, I thought I would bump my thoughts to this week's screenings. I feel like I have a semi-connection to S&MAN. Back in 2006 I made a documentary called Horror Fans (which I posted earlier this week on the blog). During the making of Horror Fans we travelled from Toronto to New Jersey to shoot interviews at Chiller Theatre - the same convention featured in S&MAN.  It's definitely a strange coincidence that we were both shooting "documentaries" (I use that word loosely for S&MAN) at the same place, at the same time. The only difference is that mine was a short and went on to play only a few film fests, while JT Petty's film has gone on to play everywhere and ultimately receive a great DVD release from MAGNET. S&MAN deserves all the attention it receives. It is an ingenious film and takes the mockumentary genre one step further. The premise is simple... While attempting to film a documentary on a local "peeping tom", JT Petty comes across a filmmaker named Eric Rost who appears to be making real life snuff movies. I almost don't want to say anything else about the movie. I wish I had gone into it not knowing a thing. And because of that, I will not write another word about it. Just see it. As a side note: for anyone who has seen S&MAN and enjoyed it, I highly recommend you check out Catfish, which is currently in theatres. It's not a horror movie, but is being advertised as a reality-thriller. I was literally on the edge of my seat for most of the movie. Again... I do not recommend reading anything about Catfish before watching it!

Rating (out of 4):

Saturday, October 23: THE OMEN (ORIGINAL)

The Omen is a classic. The movie stars Gregory Peck as an American ambassador who suspects that his son is actually the literal Antichrist. The movie was made back in 1976 and it still has some of the scariest scenes in horror movie history. That's all I have to say. Watch it!

Rating (out of 4):

Sunday, October 24: THE EXORCIST

I still consider The Exorcist THE SCARIEST MOVIE of all time. I've come across few films that can rival it, but to this day just the sight of possessed little Reagan scares the shit out of me. If you're a horror fan and still haven't seen this movie, you're a fool. Both The Exorcist and The Omen are must watch films and the best in the genre. I'll leave it at that.

Rating (out of 4):

Monday, October 25: PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2

I didn't think I would see any other new horror films this October, but I just couldn't resist seeing the sequel to one of my favourite horror movies of last year. Going into the movie I really didn't know what to expect. I hadn't read any reviews and hadn't spoken to anyone who had seen it. It's probably a good thing too, because I think I would have liked it even less if someone told me it was good. The movie may bill itself as a sequel, but it's actually a prequel. Taking place 60-odd days prior to the first movie, the movie follows Katie's (the girl from the first one) sister's family as they begin experiencing paranormal activity in their household. At first Katie's sister tries to ignore the phenomenon, but her step-daughter can't ignore it and takes it upon herself to find out what it is. The best part about Paranormal Activity 2 is the way in which they tie in the first movie to this one. It's quite seamless, but it's the explanation they give as to why both of these sisters are being haunted that really ruins the movie for me. The step-daughter does some google-searching and finds out that it isn't a ghost that is haunting them, but a demon who is trying to claim what is owed to them. Firstly, I can't stand movies that do a quick google or wikipedia search to find an explanation for why something is happening. It's just lazy writing. And for the step-daughter to just accept the answer she finds online is infuriating. My other problem with the movie was that it really did take more than half of the movie to actually get started. I haven't seen the first Paranormal Activity in over a year, but I remember being on the edge of my seat right from the inciting incident. I also remember being terrified by more scenes than Part 2. It may be the inclusion of the baby that made it less scary and more funny. I found myself laughing more at the cute kid in his crib than being terrified for his life. For instance there is a basement scene, which I'm guessing was supposed to be scary, but I couldn't see a thing and when I did see something it was the little boy...and he was super cute, I just couldn't resist laughing. While Paranormal Activity 2 does have 2 or 3 really scary moments and does tie in the first movie well, it doesn't live up to classic-status that the first one did. I think I was also a little disappointed it only became a sequel in the last few minutes of the movie. I'll just have to wait for Paranormal Activity 3.

Rating (out of 4):

Tuesday, October 26: SCREAM 2

Scream 2 is just as fun as the first Scream. I only saw Scream 2 once and that was in theatres opening weekend. The mystery as to why there is a new ghost-face killer in town is lame, but it's the cameos, the actors and some fun sequences that make it a worthwhile sequel. Sydney Prescott and Randy Meeks are now attending college, but their schooling is halted when a copycat killer sets out to finish what the original two killers started in Woodsboro two years prior. Some cameo's to look out for: Heather Graham (reprising Drew Barrymore's role), Luke Wilson (reprising Skeet Ulrich's role) and Tori Spelling (reprising Neve Campbell's role) all star in the movie STAB which is based on the book written by Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox) in the movie. Scream 2 has one of the best killers of the series. I won't say who it is, but they starred on a television sitcom for 9 seasons. They are absolutely brilliant as one of the killers in this instalment. I would love to see her star in her own horror movie.

Rating (out of 4):

Wednesday, October 27: BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA

Bram Stoker's Dracula is a perfect example of style over substance. It's not that the original Dracula story doesn't have substance, it's just that Francis Ford Coppola spent so much time trying to make the movie so stylish, that I think he forgot about a few other aspects of the filmmaking process. The biggest problem with this interpretation is the acting. Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder are cringe inducing as Jonathan and Mina. Luckily Gary Oldman and Anthony Hopkins are there to pick up the pieces. I also find the story to be quite dull. The movie works well as a companion piece to the book, but I think a lot could have been cut from the movie. Now, where the movie truly succeeds is the costume, creature and set design departments. Some of the scenes are absolutely breathtaking...and then Keanu Reeves will open his mouth and ruin it. For those that haven't seen it, see it for the design work, in-camera effects work and to see one of the truest versions of the Bram Stoker story (as far as I know).

Rating (out of 4):

Thursday, October 28: LEPRECHAUN

I know it's not St Patricks Day, but I have never been able to sit through Leprechaun before, so I thought now was the perfect time. For whatever reason, I have only seen bit parts on TV and on a compilation DVD. I kind of wish the DVD I own (the 3-pack that includes 1, 2 and 3) included a commentary with writer/director Mark Jones. I would love to know who the target audience was for this movie. It almost feels like it was made for 8-12 year olds. Some of the sequences are so absurd (killing a guy with a pogo stick) that I just can't take any of it seriously. But maybe you're not supposed to. It's just that everything is so juvenile that it amazes me this movie spawned as many sequels as it has. The movie stars Warwick Davis as a Leprechaun who is killing people until he gets his gold coins back. One of the terrorized humans is none-other than Jennifer Aniston. It's a perfect movie to watch that shows just how terrible of an actress she actually is. Her acting in Leprechaun is about on par with her current talents she has been displaying in some of Hollywoods recent rom-coms. Reasons to watch: Warwick Davis's great performance as a Leprechaun; you have Irish blood; to watch terrible Jennifer Anniston acting; or you enjoy juvenile horror movies... like me. I have been a little hard on Leprechaun. It really is fun if you can get into the ridiculousness of it all. I will definitely have to check out the rest of the Leprechaun series on St Patricks Day in 2011.

Rating (out of 4):


Horror movie reviews for Friday, Saturday and Sunday will be posted on Monday.
Click here for Week 1 reviews.
Click here for Week 2 reviews.
Click here for Week 3 reviews.

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