Monday, April 29, 2013

The Lords of Salem

I wasn't going to write this one up, and to be honest that's because I am somewhat intimidated by the overall response this film is getting. It's not that I actually care if the internet thinks of me as a moron, I'm used to that, get it all the time. I suppose it's got more to do with a lack of confidence in my ability to talk about this movie and accurately get across exactly how much I loved it, and why I loved it. In the end though, with all the negativity being spewed from all corners of the internet, I feel like those of us who enjoyed the film should step up and put our opinions out there as well.

The name Rob Zombie almost immediately gets eye rolls from many a self-appointed movie critic. Me? I dig the guy's movies. I'm not crazy about his take on Halloween, but I loved The Devil's Rejects and House of 1000 Corpses. The thing about The Lords of Salem is that even for fans of his work, it still comes as a shock, and it's a shock that you're either going to love or hate. It's a well documented and obvious fact that Rob loves the horror movies of the 60's and 70's. Up until now though, his films have taken their largest influence from the grindhouse or exploitation genres. If that's what you're expecting this time around, I could maybe see why Lords was a bit of a disappointment. The term "slow burn" is not one that most would ever expect to associate with a Rob Zombie flick, but that's exactly what Lords is.

Zombie went for a more mature tone this time around, using classic psychological horror films as influence. The Lords of Salem brings to mind movies like Argento's Suspiria, Polanski's Rosemary's Baby, and even Kubrick's The Shining. It might sound ridiculous, or even blasphemous, to compare a Rob Zombie film to any one of those, and while I'm not saying Lords fits alongside any of them, there's no denying they are where a lot of the inspiration came from. Things move along at a relatively slow pace, with a couple of genuinely creepy scares along the way. There are flashback sequences scattered throughout, which is where most of the scary comes from. What it all builds to though is a 20 minute long finale that brutally assaults your senses with all kinds of disturbing images, sounds, and actions, all interwoven and thrown at you in rapid succession. It's a throwback to the mindfuckery of the 70's, only done with modern filmmaking techniques. In short, I fucking loved it.

Rob isn't the only Zombie who shows sings of maturity in Lords though. As per usual, his wife Sheri Moon plays a big role in the film. I typically don't enjoy her acting much, she's especially annoying in House of 1000 Corpses, but her performance this time around shows that she's growing in her craft, which was a welcomed surprise. The cast is rounded out by a few other Zombie regulars, Michael Berryman, Sid Haig, and Ken Foree, all of whom perform well. Most noteworthy performance-wise though are Dee Wallace, Patricia Quinn, and Judy Geeson. I loved it when they were on screen together. Their roles could have easily been overacted, and thankfully they managed to take it in stride.

Of course the soundtrack is amazing, but I've come to expect that from a Zombie film. I read somewhere that Jon 5 did most of the heavy lifting this time around, but he's obviously on the same page as Rob, because this sounded like a Rob Zombie soundtrack. Lots of creepy tunes to accompany the creepy goings on.

When all was said and done, The Lords of Salem managed to do one thing for me that most don't, it kept me thinking long after the credits started rolling. In fact I've been ready to see it again since I left the theater. I encourage anyone who doesn't immediately turn their nose up at Rob Zombie's name to give it a watch. For fans of psychological horror, particularly ones with a 70's vibe, there's a lot to like here. Just don't go into the theater expecting the usual from Rob, his style is still there, but Lords is more about the atmosphere. It's a more grown up Rob Zombie movie, and I for one would love to see more in this vein from him in the future.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Some pretty cool creator owned books have come out as of late, and since I haven't talked about comics in a while, I thought I would mention them. I'm actually reading way more creator owned stuff right now than I am regular Marvel and DC stuff. In fact, I think I'm only actually buying two Marvel books monthly. I read more than two, but as far as actually purchasing, I just get Deadpool and Hawkeye. Anyway, the great thing about creator owned stories is the creators have free reign to do whatever they want, without having a moron editor telling them what they can and can't do. The end result is a superior comic book, which they have an emotional attachment to, and we get their absolute best work in it. I'll sign up for that over a Marvel or DC book every time.

East of West comes to us from Jonathan Hickman and Nick Dragotta. Hickman is one of those writers who I've just recently gotten into. He primarily works for Marvel, which explains why I've not read a lot of his stuff. But recently at the store, I've been keeping up with his Avengers reboot, which is surprisingly decent, so I gave this book a shot based off of that. East of West is described as a Sci-Fi/Western, which I suppose is accurate enough. It's set in a distopian future where the rulers of the world are doing everything they can to bring on the apocalypse, only the Horsemen seem to be trying to stop it, they're also trying to assassinate the president. It's kid of hard to really grasp everything that's going on being that it's only two issues in, but what I can tell you for sure is this is going to be a very good read. Solid storytelling through both script and artwork.

Speaking of writers who have recently completely won me over, that Cullen Bunn fella is all sorts of good at what he does. He's become one of those writers whose stuff I read, regardless of what it is. I even read the new Secret Defenders book, which not only features characters I don't give a shit about, but is also a Marvel comic. He's that damn good of a writer. Helheim is his latest creator owned effort from Oni Press. Again, it's a book that falls into a genre that I don't normally dig all that much, fantasy, but he's writing it, so I'm reading it. Another book that's only two issues in, but Helheim is more easily accessible at this point than East of West. A small village is attacked by dark forces, and it's best warrior, a young man named Rikard, falls in battle. He reluctantly returns from the grave, via a spell from a witch who resurrects Rikard into a body she's crafted from the body parts of fallen warriors. It appears her plans are to use him for her own means, but I doubt that's going to be sitting well with him. We'll see where the story goes, but it's off to a great start so far.

Jupiter's Legacy is the latest from Kick-Ass creator Mark Millar, and All-Star Superman artist Frank Quitely. I can guarantee you one thing, when these two work together on a book, it's going to be worth your money. I'm not as big of a Millar-ite as I used to be, as he's made the move to mostly Marvel stuff, but I still read Kick-Ass and whatnot. Frank Quitely is an artist who I will follow anwhere, and I likely always will. If he starts drawing the My Little Ponly monthly from IDW, I'll sign up for it. I love the dude's art that much. My impression from reading Jupiter's Legacy #1 (which is the only issue that's shipped so far) was, it's sort of like what The Osbourne's would've been like if Ozzy and Sharon had been superheroes instead of a rock star and his manager. This book is about the spoiled rotten, lazy, drug addled children of the world's greatest superhero couple. They want nothing to do with following in their parent's footsteps, they'd rather spend their time, and their parents money, partying, doing drugs, and so on and so forth. I have a feeling this is going to be a really special book, provided Quitely can keep it on some semblance of a regular schedule. Fingers are crossed.

Actually have a couple of other new books to talk about in the coming weeks, Chin Music from Steve Niles and Tony Harris, and Ten Grand from J. Michael Straczynski and Ben Templesmith for example. There are also a couple of other things I've gotten into recently worth mentioning, Sex from Joe Casey, Snapshot from Andy Diggle and Jock, and David Lapham's Ferals, but I'll save those for a future post.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Friday Night Drive-In

I couldn't even begin to tell you how many times I watched this flick when I was in high school. It combined so many things I loved... horror, video games, Fangoria, this newfangled invention called the "internet", etc. Way ahead of it's time, and bonus, a young "pre-substance abuse issue" Edward Furlong! The Trickster is taking over the Drive-In tonight...

"Igor, dial 555-FEAR..."

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Hatchet 3 Unrated Trailer

This looks like it's going to kick Hatchet 2's ass all over the swamp! I can't wait...

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Mister Bones' Top 5

As with most of the horror lovers of the world, I'm all into Eli Roth's "Hemlock Grove" on Netflix. There's one scene in particular at the end of the second episode that's had everybody talking for a couple weeks now,  a werewolf transformation. It's a pretty damn good one, and I don't need to tell you that those don't come along very often. It's an oft debated topic, which transformation is the best. Almost everybody references either American Werewolf in London or The Howling as the very best, and then runners up are all over the place.

Seeing as how I've not done a top 5 in a month of full moon's, I thought I'd throw my picks into the ring. Now, take into account that while I've seen a LOT of werewolf movies, I still haven't seen every one, so if there's something more badass than the one's I've picked, please feel free to point me in the direction of better ones. I do love me a werewolf flick.

Top 5 Werewolf Transformations

5. Hemlock Grove - The new kid on the block manages to snag the #5 spot on my list. I like how the actor makes it look incredibly painful, like the eyes and teeth popping out, and absolutely love that the wolf takes a chunk of the leftover flesh as a little snack. My only complaint is the CG, a couple of places it looks fairly cartoonish. But still, no denying that this is one of the best transformation sequences in recent memory.

4. Thriller - Out of all my picks, this is the one that I suspect might get me the most flack, but it's my list and I'll pick what I want. This absolutely terrified me as a kid. Rick Baker does the unthinkable, and actually makes a young Michael Jackson even SCARIER than he would eventually become later in life! Fast forward to about 2:15 for the transformation.

3. Trick r Treat - Really dig this one, partially because it had been SO long since I'd seen a really badass werewolf transformation sequence when I first watched Trick r Treat. I really dig that they're all female, and I like how the transformations look a lot like strip tease, only instead of just removing clothing, they're taking skin off too.

2. The Howling - Yep, I find myself on the "Howling is #2" side of the fence. Yes, this is fantastic effects work, no denying it. For it's time, it's a stunning achievement. My minor nitpicks though? What's with all the bubbling? A little bit is ok, but there's just a bit too much for my taste in this transformation. My main complaint though, is that dude looks happy to be transforming. Despite all the bones cracking, the aforementioned bubbling of things, etc., there are times when he's smiling. It definitely gives it a creepy as fuck vibe, but at the same time, there's no way he could be enjoying it.

1. An American Werewolf in London - Ah, the grandaddy of them all, no film in my lifetime has ever topped Rick Baker and co.'s transformation in An American Werewolf in London. It just does everything right, INCLUDING making it quite obvious that David is in some serious pain, as we can see from the very beginning. Nothing I can say that hasn't already been said a million times before regarding this masterpiece of FX work. 

There's my picks for the top 5 werewolf transformations of all time. As I mentioned before, I always welcome differing opinions, feel free to recommend others that I might not have seen.

Sunday, April 21, 2013


There was a time in my life that killer clown movies were the pinnacle of entertainment. I was listening almost exclusively to the Insane Clown Posse, as were most of my friends, and things like Killer Klowns From Outer Space and The Clown at Midnight were on heavy rotation. I've since grown out of most of that stuff, I still like Twiztid and whatnot, but I'm not as into it as I once was. Still, I'd be lying if I said there wasn't still some appeal to evil clowns for me. Something about the makeup and outfits, the idea that they're supposed to be entertainment for children, then having them be evil, murderous psychopaths is just great. That being said, had I seen Stitches 10 years ago, it would've been my Citizen Kane. Today, it's not quite up to that standard, but I still loved the shit out of it.

Stitches is your typical "Carny" clown, he's not particularly funny, he doesn't appear to enjoy his job very much, as the years of performing to ungrateful, smart ass little bastards has gotten the better of him, and he's just going through the motions to earn a paycheck. Case in point, he's working a birthday party for Tommy and his friends, most of whom are cursing at him, throwing things, basically being kids. One prank goes too far, and causes Stitches to take a header into an opened dishwasher full of cutlery and such. He emerges with a butcher knife stuck through his head, and appears to have worked his last birthday party.

As you might expect, seeing a sight like that on your birthday as a kid, it takes it's toll on them, Tommy in particular. They're all in high school now, and haven't exactly remained best buds. Tommy takes medicine for anxiety, and is perpetually bullied in school. He also hasn't had a birthday party since the one with the mishap with Stitches. His mom is going out of town on his birthday though, and the kids at school are encouraging him to have a house party, which they would all be attending, of course. He eventually gives in, and as with any good unchaperoned teenage birthday party, cue the underage drinking and premarital sex! It wouldn't be a birthday party without  clown though, and sure enough, eventually Stitches returns from the dead and starts wreaking havoc.

There's actually a pretty cool little explanation for how Stitches comes back to life, but I don't want to spoil things here. It's not that it makes a hell of a lot of sense, it's just a cool idea and I liked that they threw it in there, instead of just having the clown come back and expecting us to just go with it. All that aside, the real reason we are all going to be watching this flick is for the kills, and  fear not, they're fantastic. There's some fairly imaginative stuff, most of which are clown related, and all of which are brutal and plenty gory. Despite the mean streak that Stitches has, the kills still have a bit of humor injected, but that's to be expected being that he's a clown I suppose. For instance, one kill has Stitches disembowel a kid, then hold his intestine up in front of him, blow it up like a balloon, and twist it into a poodle. Hilarious! The one minor gripe I had was the lack of practical effects. This flick relies on CG a bit too much, even when it wasn't really necessary.

Stitches starts off strong, but does drag a bit in the middle, leading up to the party. Things just seem to take a bit too long to get going. When it does get cranked up though, it's a hell of a good time. Decent "evil clown" flicks don't come around too often, trust me I've seen a LOT of bad ones, but all it takes is a movie like Stitches to remind me that there's still hope. It can be done. To all my fellow Juggalos out there, you will LOVE this shit, trust me. For everybody else, if you like a little humor thrown in with your disembowlment, Stitches doesn't disappoint. As with most things I watch, it's not going to be for everyone, but there are far worse ways to spend your 90 minutes.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Science Team Promo

Got an email from the writer and co-director of The Taint, which I liked, about his newest project, Science Team. Looks pretty interesting, so I thought I'd share. Gonna be keeping an eye on this one.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Don't Move

Bloody Cuts has finally released another short film, this one titled "Don't Move". Be sure and check it out below, and if you're not all caught up on the Bloody Cuts goodness, hit the link above and watch their other short films. They're pretty awesome.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Evil Dead

Let's go ahead and dispense with all the "I love/I hate remakes" talk for the purposes of this write-up. As I've said before, they don't really bother me all that much, and I certainly won't discredit a film just because it's a remake or revamp of an older one. Now, that should take care of all the horror snobs who might have wandered by here. For those of you still with me, let's talk about this new Evil Dead flick...

We all know the story, so I'm going to assume there's not a need for a plot synopsis, right to it then. I have to be honest here, I had sort of a love it/ hate it experience with this movie. While this is true of a lot of movies, I can't remember a more extreme example than Evil Dead that I've seen recently. I felt like the tone was there, they definitely nailed the "evil" part. I fully understand why people are calling this the scariest thing they've ever seen. For Joe Movie-goer this shit is most likely terrifying. Jane Levy as Mia is absolutely fantastic. I had no idea who she was before, but you can bet your ass I'll be on the lookout for future work from her. The rest of the cast though? Laughably bad. It was like everybody else was doing all the could to ensure I didn't have a good time. The best metaphor for the acting I could come up with was "Jane Levy is a hot chick in a movie full of cock-blockers". I wanted to enjoy her so much, but goddamn if everybody else wasn't trying to ruin it for me. Especially Shiloh Fernandez as "David". He is just absolutely terrible, but being that his character has to be the stupidest motherfucker to ever grace a movie script, I suppose that's fitting.

I loved all the little nods to the original. I know a lot of folks are bitching about this and that, but I enjoyed them. In fact, to me this felt more like an updated sequel to the franchise than a true remake. Sort of like "hey, we're in the same universe, but all this shit is happening to new characters now". I'm not saying it should've been called Evil Dead 4, I'm just saying there were little things that made it feel more like a new series that's set in the same universe. It's hard to explain without spoiling things.

If you can get past the horrible acting and utter stupidity of the characters, Evil Dead is a good time. It's over the top gory, at times disgusting, and there's definitely plenty of evil. In short, I laughed, a lot. The pace is good, things never get boring, and once the madness kicks off, there's lots of it. Despite it's flaws, there's no denying that Evil Dead is a success. The whole world is talking about it, and whether you love it or hate it, horror is king at the box office right now, and that's always a good feeling.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Hate Crime

Uneasy is a word that I use to describe very few films. At this point in my life, I've only managed to find a handful of movies that gave me that feeling as I watched the events therein transpire. I had read a lot of hype about director James Cullen Bressack's home invasion found footage flick, Hate Crime, most of which promised that most people won't be able to stomach it. Those are the kinds of boasts that catch my attention almost every time, and sadly, more times than not, I'm disappointed when I finally watch the movie in question. Last night, Hate Crime was officially released for rent on VOD via Psykik Junky Pictures, and within minutes of the link being posted, I had paid my $6.66 and readied myself for pain.

It's evident early on that Hate Crime isn't playing around when it comes to the violence. It's raw, sadistic, and just as the name implies, hateful. That's not to say it's full of gratuitous gore, or blood splatter, there's hardly a drop of the red stuff, save for a couple of scenes. The violence in this movie is actually realistic, and that's what makes it so disturbing. At times it was difficult to watch because the entire time I was thinking to myself "this could easily be actually happening right now". Take heed to all the warnings from reviews folks, I don't know if I've ever seen a meaner flick.

As I mentioned, this is a found footage movie, and I know that's going to get groans and eye rolls from a lot of people, but it doesn't really feel like a found footage movie. It's incredibly realistic, it basically happens in real-time, and is beautifully edited. It feels more like you're there, enduring the hell with this family instead of simply watching. Of course all the editing in the world wouldn't help if the cast weren't believable, and thankfully, Bressack managed to find some incredibly talented actors and actresses to bring his story to life. I can't imagine it was an easy feat to get into the right mindset to act out some of the things in this movie, but almost everyone involved turns in a totally believable, flawless performance. Again, it's terrifying because this is exactly what a home invasion of this nature would look/sound like.

Hate Crime isn't a movie to be enjoyed with others, I feel like it would lose it's effectiveness in larger groups. It certainly isn't a "get drunk with all your buds, and watch a movie" kind of film. To truly experience this movie, and get the most out of it, I feel like solo is the best way to watch.

From the very beginning, Hate Crime grabbed me by the neck and repeatedly punched me in the gut, and then kicked me while I was down. I lost count at the amount of times all I could do was sit there and say "fuck". James Cullen Bressack and company deliver a movie experience that actually gets to you, elicits an emotional response, and that's incredibly rare for me. This is guerrilla film-making at it's finest.

This movie will absolutely not be for everyone. In fact I only personally know a handful of people who I think would be able to watch it through to the end. Only those with strong stomachs, and strongly desensitized to violence need apply. Hate Crime is a rare treat for those of us who seek out this type of experience with a film.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

John Dies at the End Bluray

The movie adaptation of the best book I've read in a looong while is out today, courtesy of Magnet Releasing and is more than worth your hard earned monies! Don Coscarelli did an amazing job bringing this story and these characters to life. If you've read the book, you may wonder how in the Hell that is even possible, but trust me, it happened. Check out what I thought of it here.