Boy, we've had some stinkers this time around. Here's the last one:
The New Daughter with Kevin Costner. The only movie I reviewed that had a well known actor (No. Rene Zellweger doesn't count, and neither does Bradly Cooper because he was barely in that movie!)
I've never been able to understand the success of Kevin Costner. I know he has his fans, but just come on now. (Dances with Wolves was good despite Costner's acting, not because of it.) He has one facial expression--the same one you have when you're standing in line to get a coffee.
I was ready to hate The New Daughter. I didn't even set out to watch it. I'm kind of busy with Halloween, so I was puttering around the house while my wife watched. To my own surprise, it drew me in and I ended up making sure that I was near the TV for the final scenes.
This is not your typical horror movie. It's not really even a psychological thriller. It's basically a Lovecraftian story about things Man Was Not Meant To Know, and the horrors that lurk just out of sight of our everyday civilization; that drive mad anyone unfortunate enough to confront them.
What some people have called "plodding", I would instead refer to as "even pacing". The story sets a slow, but deliberate pace and it keeps it up for most of the film. That is part of the atmosphere of the whole story. Costner is not so much being wooden as he is playing a man who is coming to terms with a malaise that has descended on his family. One that he can't seem to escape and that only becomes more monstrous and desperate, the more he learns about it.
Some parts are predictable, yet most are not. (Part of that predictability is that Costner's family is repeating a pattern that has occurred in the house in the past.) There was more than once when I thought, "they aren't really going there, are they? Yep, I guess they are..."
My spoiler is this: This is not a story about hope. If you like your horror stories to have happy endings and a victory dance, then this may not be the one for you. Lovecraft stories and Mythos stories rarely end with the protagonist completely conquering Evil or emerging whole, healthy and sane after confronting it.
And seeing his daughter coming home late at night covered in dirt and small twigs causes Costner; like any good dad would do, to go to a "mound walker expert." I didn't make that up by the way, the guy actually calls himself that in the movie. Apparently there is a University somewhere completely dedicated to large mounds of dirt in the woods, where interested students can become experts in the study of mounds and other mound related things, such as dirt, psychosis caused by laying on mounds, as well as angry Indian mound spirits. Anything this movie had going for it pretty much got buried under a mound at this point, where it then probably proceeded to become a mound walker. And the ending, I won't ruin the ending, but apparently a mound the size of a swimming pool has an underground network of tunnels that rivals the size of the sewage system of Washington D.C. Unless you have some sort of dirt covered Indian zombie fetish or are some kind of masochist, don't watch this movie.
Then again the horror movies I hear people enjoy are actually slasher films with lots of gore. That's not really horror, that's a form of sadism, but hey! Whatever gets you off (that was sarcasm)
If you like your horror to give you something to think about afterward, though, then give The New Daughter a try.
Movie Review #4 The Possession of David O'Reilly
Music Jumps: 2
Creaks: 0 (Wow)
Gross Out: 2
Bullsh*t: 2 small and one EXTRAL LARGE CRAP BURGER!
Wife survival time: Full length.
Wife quip: Character says “It's too dark, I can't see anything” Kay: Welcome to how we see the fricken movie!”
This one was listed under supernatural fitting my criteria for a Horror movie. I could just as easily not been a supernatural movie.
Plot: A young couple get a late night visit from a friend (David) whose girlfriend has cheated on him. He asks if he can crash for a bit, and they let him. Spooky stuff happens.
The movie starts off with a series of panning shots around the house, in what I thought was going to be a possible “this is the layout of the house, it's important to know where you are” kind of way. It was not important. This seemed to be a running theme, in retrospect, as there were scenes where the camera followed the actors and then stopped. They would keep walking and the camera would stay fixed focusing on what I felt was supposed to implicate that the audience should be looking for something, or at least remembering it.
Also established early on is a security web cam that goes off whenever something goes past it. The characters reasoning for this is sound: a friend from work discovered that while he was away someone broke into his house daily, ate his food, slept in his bed, and wore his clothes. I thought this would be a set up for plot, but it barely gets looked at later in the movie. A character sleepwalks, and that's the reason given for the cameras going off.
One really great bonus is that things get going pretty quickly. Many times with a paranormal movie we have to sit through the bumps and moves. The bumps and moves being a series of objects that are moved by unseen forces, and unexplained noises. This movie doesn't do that. There are moves and bumps, but it happens with greater effect and originality in this movie.
The directors frequently film scenes from the point of view of one of the three characters. While this does add tension in certain places, it's ultimately overused diluting the intended effect as the movie continues. As with most horror movies, the main characters are also prone to making bad decisions which make their situation worse and this only serves to undermine the story in places. In addition, we are given very little back story about any of the characters and there are some definite pacing issues.
Then another character is introduced, a pregnant woman who talks to herself in the hall. Her story is a sad one, but arbitrary to the plot. Unless I missed something, which is possible, but not likely.
This movie has some genuine creepy moments that reminded me of Lovecraft (The father of modern American science fiction horror). Lovecraft often gave minimal or conflicting descriptions of his creatures. The idea was for the reader to be unable to fill in the blanks and have their imagination run wild. It's a great technique, after all whats more scary, the wasp you can see or the wasp you can't? The wasp you can't see could be anywhere, including on your back.
The demons or imps or ghosts are never clearly seen making them very scary. There is a lot of brooding done by David, who seems to have some kind of history in paranormal dealings as he knows to put salt under all the doors.
There isn't very many moments of Bullsh*t, except for the very end. Everything is believable; the freak out that inspires the couple to get their friend mental help, the best friend backing out of getting David said help because he wants to believe him, etcetera.
Often I try to take the view of the people directly in the movie, so if a character reveals a clue that should be unknown to the other characters I would expect a certain level of shock. If someone blurted out “that's why I stole it”, and the whole time they had been telling you they won something in a contest, would you not back up and say “Wait. You told me A, when it's B?” Davids friends don't do this. They should, considering the precarious situation they are in and how important any scrap of information is.
What was a really great twist was the new version of the Ouija board. I like it when something old and hackneyed gets a fresh breath of life.
The biggest pile of Bullsh*t that hits the screen is the ending! Nothing is resolved or explained. We don't find out if David is the killer or if there are demons, or if he is possessed or just batshit crazy. We never get to know the involvement of the pregnant girl, or why David wants to rock her baby. I have some theories, but they don't really add up.
I think David is crazy, having killed his wife and unborn child ten years earlier. He disassociates himself, and eventually the massive guilt manifests itself as hectoring demons, which torment him into killing again.
However, there is no evidence to support that. The husband of the pregnant woman is jailed, and would not have gone to college.
Watch it? If your idea of scary is watching two grown men and one grown woman scream and run around in a dark apartment while being "chased" by slimy creatures for eighty minutes, then this might be the film for you. Otherwise, you'd be better off letting this one slide by unnoticed, as it has for just about everyone else in the world.
I give it 2 reflective surfaces out of 5.
I was going to review 11/11/11, by the movie company The Asylum. Then I remembered what movies they produce, and I already saw a bad movie that took itself too seriously. I mean, they do have movies like Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus, and Transmorphers, so it's not all bad (sarcasm). Many of their films take advantage of older people and stupid people, I'm sure. How many people rented Snakes on a Train thinking there was going to be a badass black guy acting serious in a comedy?
To me a horror movie has some kind of supernatural/super nature element to it. A slasher movie like the Hitcher or Saw I consider to be a thriller. Horror has an element of the undefinable, thrillers use jumps and gore.
So I went with the British slasher movie (I thought the category said paranormal, my bad).
Movie Review #4 Spiderhole
Directed by ahh who cares anymore... this is their first film. I doubt anyone will treat them Scorcese-like ten years from now.
Music Jumps: 1
Gross Out: 3 with one extra for Kay being grossed out for a sneeze into a rag.
Wife survival time: 56 min out of 1hr 26min
"Spiderhole", a Spiderhole production...That can't be good. When the movie shares the same name as the production company it usually means they take themselves too seriously when they haven't produced anything to support that.
I started to compare this movie to others, but that's probably because the previous nights film jaded me.
It starts off with the cliche-begin-with-the-ending. So we immediately know who the last victim is going to be. Then it moves into a version of the-kids-go-camping-in-an-isolated-area. Only this time it's college kids are looking for an empty house to squat in. Kay said of this, “I would rather camp in the middle of nowhere than in an abandoned building”. This was validated by one of the characters asking, “This is safe, right?”
What made this film seem different from an American film of the same style, was that the characters seemed to like each other. In an American slasher, usually the male characters are goading each other so badly you wonder why they are spending any time together if they hate each other so much. Here, when they rib each other it seems good natured.
So, four college kids break into a house with squatting plans. They drink a bit, check the place out, and find some bloody clothes in a cupboard. First off they immediately think to call the cops...in the morning.
In the morning they find that they are sealed in the building. The doors are steel and are bolted. The windows are covered in sound-proof steel (discovered after they take the boards covering them down). They think of escape plans very quickly, and discover that their cell phones have been stolen. How would someone sleep through all this? Krazy Yellow Knockout Gas (shown being used later).
Their deductions are good and at least they are smart victims. They fashion weapons, suggest burning plastic in the fireplace to get attention, other ideas until they are knocked unconscious again.
The killer has also seeded false hope effectively throughout the house. They have lights, food is left out for them, and when one gets cut the find a tray set out with a needle and thread to stitch the wound.
There is a moment when one of the characters lies to the others, and his reasoning is completely plausible. He feels a combination of cowardice and protection for the others, which he admits to. It's rare to see characters in a thriller movie with this kind of awareness.
The killer has some good misdirects and even I with the jaded eye was a little slow on one or two twists. The killer also has a strange motivation for killing, and it's not entirely out of the realm of possibility. It's shown that the killers father is an intelligent man, and implied that the killer is not as intelligent. For someone who isn't as smart as a surgeon, he plans meticulously well.
Of course, with any movie, there are moments of Bullsh*t. Spee ihder hole only had a few (sorry about the spider joke. Been watching Megamind too much).
Watch it? If you like slasher movies where the people are trapped, yes.
I gave it 3.5 glowsticks out of 5.
Movie review #3 Hampshire: A Ghost Story
“Starring”: Greg Ellery, Kieth Franx, Valerie Hernandez, Victoria Kelly
Directed by: Christopher Kelly, based on the screenplay by his wife Victoria. Yeah. That tidbit's important.
Music Jumps: 9 (I had to count how long it was, not when)
Creaks: 1 door, 1 floor, and for the first time in a LONG time 1 door opened with no creak!
Genuine Creeps: 7
Gross out: 1
Wife survival time: Full Length...because “it was like watching a car crash. You're horrified but you can't look away”.
Kay and I chose this one because we are both foodies. Here is the blurb on the movie:
"Supernatural events begin disturbing the people and affecting the food at an upscale eatery following the mysterious disappearance of a contractor."
There is ONE scene that has food in it. That scene has what starts as a great creep factor, and is immediately ruined by the appearance of albino boa constrictors.
O dear God in heaven where to start with this pile of putrescence?
It is very low budget and the music sounds like a cross between a guitar being dropped and a 70's porno film. It's also very distracting, drowning out the dialogue at times, and other times completely mocking what's happening on screen. In what should have been a serious montage of events made me think of a Looney Toons episode.
It starts off kind of arty, and the director does not know how to use snap cuts. At first I thought it was going to be a “Haunted Dinner With Andre”. Two characters on a date try WAY too hard to segway buying a jacket into their own ghostly experiences. And, of course, what do you do on a date when you mention ghost stories? You wait for the restaurant to close in the middle of the afternoon (?) and break in!
I need to break in with a series of questions: was the baby crying in the background supposed to add a creep factor, or just lousy audio? Or what was with the random scene with no audio at all? Why does Zed the Chef have his own theme music that cuts in and out?
Everything seemed like I was watching an episode of Paranormal Witness with only re-enactments and rationality. These re-enactments are broken up by an awkwardly paced series of flashbacks. The movie would have been immeasurably better had it ignored the owner/manager/prep cook/chef story and started off with the dinner date haunting, and gone straight into the flashback that happened “2 years ago”.
They flashback to "2 years ago" twice within the same flashback, so you think they went back 4 years, but no. They are just trying to clarify that it is still 2 years ago.
Also, there is no explanation why a thirty year old man would hang out drinking with underage twin boys. It's not even addressed. Maybe I'm jaded, but most men who would invite two young boys into a secluded area and get them drunk probably has that episode of Silver Spoons on his mind....
The flashbacks had the most and best creep factors; the flashbacks. Shadow people, weird noises, spiritual harassment, delving into insanity, finally not giving a f*ck, the murder of a paranormal investigative crew....wait? What? Oh, yeah. No explanation on that little chestnut. I should add that to the B.S. list.
I'll go into all the Bullsh*t factors individually because there are a lot of them:
SPOILER (If that's possible): The people who die/get murdered at the beginning live. After everyone else is murdered they go back into the restaurant and have dinner.
END OF "SPOILER"
The scares in this movie are legit. It's like they thought through “what's scary?”, and ignored trivial things like plot, character arc, pacing...so while watching those scenes Kay and I both thought it was creepy, but it doesn't sustain the lackluster acting, the inconsistent plot, or even the music.
I want to say something redeeming about this movie, but really it is a complete waste of time. I would watch Uwe Boll films on a continuous loop than watch this again.
I couldn't even be bothered to learn the character's names. I did look this up on IMDB and found some tidbits for you:
The place is a real bistro (and it is in a very cool building). The restaurant closed down right after they finished the movie. It's like the restaurant knew that the movie was an abomination, and ended it's own existence.
The manager of the restaurant's character “Kreese” has his own entry on IMDB. I learned the characters name while looking up the movie. www.imdb.com/character/ch0119242/bio
While watching the credits and looking up the movie I found out that everyone is either related, a neighbor, or friend.
There is a reason Hollywood makes movies. It's because they have the ability to do so. Even when they churn out a stinkburger like Van Helsing, it's still better than this.
Watch it? Not unless you want to fret over getting an hour and a half of your life back.
0.5 ninjas out of 5
* (Found out the reason. It's the directors wife and his daughter).
Starring Megan Fox,
Directed by: Karyn Kusama, based on the screenplay by Diablo Cody (Juno, United States of Tara)
Music Jumps: 0
Genuine Creeps: 5
Gross out: 3 (Does Megan Fox needing to eat a sandwich count as gross)
Creaky: Door 1, Floor 1, Faucet 1
Wife Survival Time: Full length
Favorite line: "You gotta tampon?"
I was a little hesitant when Kay originally said she wanted to watch this when it came out. While I liked Juno and United States of Tara, I didn't think horror would be part of her skill set. That and I thought it was just going to base it's money generating revenue on Megan Fox's sex appeal and less on actual scary plot.
I was wrong. Not dead wrong, but wrong in my perception that it wouldn't be scary enough. To me this movie felt like it borrowed from Juno, Carrie, and Ghost-busters (comedy mixed with horror, which fits considering that Ivan Reitmans son is the producer, the director of Ghostbusters. I actually just noticed that while looking at the cast list).
Diablo Cody has a way of writing dialogue for characters that isn't realistic, but that we wish we could talk like. How many times have we stayed up trying to think of a quick comeback to something that happened earlier in the day? It is angsty teen speak with liberal pop culture sprinklings. There's also a musical nod to John Hughes films with songs from Simple Minds buried in the background.
The film sets the rules up fairly quickly with a few misleads, that obviously I won't put here. It takes place in fictional Devils Kettle, and Megan Fox's (Jennifer) and Amanda Seyfried (the aptly named Needy) relationship is quickly established. Jennifer is a character that the viewer doesn't have much compassion for, which is fine because the movie is more about Needy and her dependance on Jennifer. She depends on Jennifer to be everything she feels she is not, which made me a little concerned of the state of feminism.
Maybe I'm too much of a misogynist (not really, but I am a man, and that's the stereotype), but I found Jennifer's sexual liberation and aggressive behaviour a step back for women. Our society has taught women how to act like men, but not taught them how to act like gentlemen. Somehow, somewhere it became acceptable for men and women to act crass and as long as they were both acting that way, it is “equal”.
I'm done social commenting for now, let's keep politics in movies like Night of the Living Dead.
The plot involves Jennifer's adoration of a punk band, the bar they play at burning down, the bands success, and the dissolving relationship between Jennifer and Needy. All while Jennifer brutally murders the guys in her school.
Megan Fox does an amazing job being genuinely creepy. There were moments when Kay and I were actually unnerved at what was going on. However, Jennifer already has a “man-eating” philosophy from the beginning of the movie, and it seemed almost arbitrary to make her have demonic powers. Her monster side is very creepy and not overdone. The special effects crew should get an award for making Fox look so disgustingly skinny...oh, wait.
One part that I got that others may not have caught was the psychic link that is explained in a flashback. Basically Needy is having hallucinations and feeling what Jennifer is doing while she kills. In a flashback to when they are little girls, Jennifer gets a pin prick and Needy sucks the blood out. I knew from my own occult reading (more on that in a moment), that because Needy had ingested Jennifer’s blood at one point, in certain occult fields, it means you gain a portion of the persons power.
Occult reading; in a self referential moment one character says disbelieving “We have an occult section in the school library?”
There were a few moments of Bullsh*t, mainly the zero explanation of why there is an abandoned building with a pool in the middle of a field. It's never brought up beforehand, and the actual showing of the building seems tacked on since it was very clearly a photo-shopped picture of the building.
Another was a scene where a deer drinks blood. There is no explanation why the Disney critters show up for a blood orgy. However it did cause Kay to look up "Deer drinking blood" which resulted in a very funny yahoo answers.
Final BS: What teenage girl doesn't carry a cell phone on her?! (Thanks for that one Kay).
Some people don't know what to make of this film, whether to laugh or be scared (or not scared at all). I thought that it was a good twist on the cliche horror movie where the virgin always lives, and the victim becomes the villain instead of the hero (Jennifer being the "hero" turned villain). It isn't always successful, but it is entertaining.
Watch it? Go for it. Even if you hate it with a violent passion at least you'll know to never watch a Diablo Cody film again.
I give this movie 4 out of 5 bloody tampons.
A little build up information on my reviews:
I will be watching these movies with my wife, Kay (housewifelife.weebly.com). In the event that what I watch is repugnant, boring, or ludicrous to her I will include a “Wife Survival Time” in the review.
I usually count things like “Bumps” (false scare tactics), “Music Bumps” (the music is used to scare), “Creaky's” (Creaking doors, floors, repetitive squeaks), “Gross Outs” (wasn't scary, just for shock factor), and a few others.
The movie review will usually be based on the rules that it establishes, it's plausibility, the tone it sets, if it cheats, unanswered questions, and enjoyment factor. Some movies I will probably love because they are so terrible. Movies will be compared to other movies, but only as contrast. As much as possible I will rate the movie on it's own level; Comparing something like Army of Darkness to Amelie wouldn't make much sense, both are funny but in very different ways, both communicate to the audience different values and have different “rules” that they follow.
What are the “rules”? If a movie establishes at the beginning that only a stake, sunlight, or decapitation can kill a vampire, and then the vampire dies from drowning, that would be breaking the rules. The rules are decided by the movie itself. Unless a new rule is discovered that is legitimate, that is discovered before it is used, it is a cheat, or Moment of Bullsh*t. If the main vampire drowns at the end of the movie and the characters had no idea and say “Oh, wait. I guess we can drown them” it's different from “Hey guys! I found an ancient text that says we can drown vampires. Anyone have a pool?” The first way means the writer/director didn't know how to end the movie so he just tagged on an answer. It's the Dues Ex Machina and I hate it. Other Moments of Bullsh*t might be where a character goes against type, or makes a decision contrary to what they have said before.
I also rate on an “out of 5” format, with some variance. A zombie movie could get “3 out of 5 brains”, Carrie could get “4 out of 5 tampons”. I try to tie in the rating with whatever stuck out in the movie to me, or seems funny.
With ground work established, let's go to our first movie.
Halloween Review 1: Case 39
Starring Rene Zellweger and Bradly Cooper. “Directed” by Christian Tate
Bump Scares: 7
Music Scares: 0
Creaky: Door 5, Chair 3, Plate, 2
Genuine Creepy moment: 7
Gross Out: 2
Bullsh*t Moment: 2
Wife Survival Time: Full Length
In the very first scene I saw Leoban from Battlestar Galactica. No matter what movie I see him in, even though I have seen him before BSG, I will always know him as that. I don't know why. It also tells me immediately that the movie is filmed in Canada, specifically but not only, to British Columbia.
The movie starts off well enough. The creep factor is there: who is this girl and why is she afraid of her parents. Then we go to a series of almost vignettes with Rene Zellweger, in what I call the Highlander Police Establishment. In Highlander the police are shown going about there business, saying and doing things that are “police-ee” but aren't directly related to the events at hand. It's a customary style in many films to establish how our main characters world looks and feels like.
The tone of the movie is a kind of Film Noir. The colours are drab, the streets are wet (this could have just been because B.C. gets a lot of rain), the characters grim. It is reminiscent of Se7en, or Fallen, that kind of minimalist introduction.
We learn that Emily (Rene) is a social worker, and her character seemed like a busybody who cares about being right more than actually caring. Immediately I begin to ask certain questions, and that's not usually a good sign for me. Questions like “How does a social worker afford a house like that? Especially a single one?” I'm not saying a social worker couldn't, but honestly, they don't make that much, and women don't get paid as well as men. It's really a minute point. Then I ask questions like “what has happened for Emily to become so interested in this little girl. And really, the “clues” are circumstantial. Lilly's falling asleep in class and her grades are falling. You and I would come to the immediate conclusion; “Yes, there is some kind of warranted, horrible abuse happening to this sleepy child.” (That was sarcasm. There really isn't any justification for a social worker to get involved. In the real world this wouldn't have been a blip on the radar. A teacher might pick up something first, and then have to find some other evidence to bring to social services).
Ahh, then comes Bradly Cooper. I really wasn't sure what his role was: good friend, ex-boyfriend, potential love interest? He is a psychiatrist who works with children from abusive homes, but I don't know of many therapists who make late night calls to people they work with and have drinks with them, who don't have at least a sexual interest. The chemistry between Zellweger and Cooper fell flat for me. Then again I don't find anteaters attractive, so it may be just me.
There are a few bumps along the way, but there wasn't anything here I really hadn't seen somewhere else, and done better. It seems kind of jaded to say “the old bug crawling out of the eye routine” since this is a new horror scare tactic unavailable to previous generations al la computer animation. It's here, though. I saw this already in Constantine (done effectively) and Drag Me To Hell (didn't see it except in the trailer).
The real creep factor goes to Jodelle Ferland and her excellent acting skills (She's also from Vancouver Island, where I live). I first saw her in Tideland, and I think she will be the next Jodie Foster, able to segway nicely from child to adult actor.
The gore and gross outs are minimal, which doesn't constitute horror for me anyway. If gross outs are horror then Van Wilder is a terrifying movie. One piece of gore that I thought was used effectively was the kitchen fight scene between Leoban and a cop. It showed consequence of action. Leoban gets his head smashed into a refrigerator and the effect is pretty brutal. It told me that as fantastic as the film may get, it is still grounded in a world of consequences... or so I thought.
There are two moments of bullsh*t, one that is almost insulting to police officers and Catholics. When Emily goes to her police officer friend who has helped her in the past, she goes directly to his church knowing he'll be there. She explains the supernatural events that are going on. He doesn't quiet believe her (as anyone, even a devout person would react. Just because you're born again doesn't mean you were born again yesterday). It only takes one garbled voice recoding to convince him that SPOILER!!! They need to kill the girl. That's it. One person's plea and a garbled phone call and he's ready to pull out a shotgun and blow her away. Either he is a very gullible Christian, or a terrible cop. It is established that he is neither, so our just having to believe that a person would come to this immediate conclusion is a cheat.
The other cheat is the ending. I'm sorry, when you burn your house down and crash your car killing what to the rest of the world is a little girl, it would be interesting to see what happens to Rene. No, the movie ends with her just sobbing in relief. I would have preferred her to end up in an asylum or at least getting arrested.
END OF SPOILER!
I think Zombieland changed the horror genre enough so that we shouldn't have to see the same cliches happen over and over in horror movies. Like how you should always check the back seat! Or that it's absurd to lock yourself in with no way of escaping. Or going for a walk alone in the middle of the night in an isolated area when you are about to stop the bad guy.
There are several shots of a knife in various ways, and this is never paid off. It was a red herring, in my opinion. And Kay very cleverly pointed out that there is a shot where Rene bleeds on a case file, and the camera lingers on it making it seem important, when it isn't at all.
Kay's last comment: “The movie poster made Zellweger look prettier than she was. I wouldn't have even thought they were the same person.”
Watch it? If your bored, but don't go out of your way. You won't feel like you wasted any time, but you won't turn off the lights and make a mad dash for the bed.
I gave it: 2.5 Knives out of 5
Halloween is soon upon us, so as I have done before, I will attempt to review a different horror movie until the end of the month.
Most of these will not be mainstream scary movies, some might be ones that failed at the box office but were still well done, and others will most definitely be total pulp, like last years Killer Klowns From Outer Space.
I'll take suggestions, but availability will control what I watch. Largely it will be Netflix, and if I get a chance I'll go down to Pick A Flick and check out one of their 8,000 selection (of just horror).
This is a new tradition with myself, since I started it last year out of boredom. I had to be away from my family for several months and missed spending Halloween with them for the second time (this will be my first with all of them, YAY). While I sat alone in my room I watched the worst movies I knew I couldn't watch at home, due either to inappropriate material for little children to accidentally see, or the missus being completely disinterested.
My time with Kay is precious so I may not end up reviewing a movie every night. I don't want to force her to sit through the most amazing drek, or effective nightmare inducer when I could be talking to her.
Why do we watch horror movies? I personally think that it is necessary for what we are as a species: survivalists. Ask anyone or listen to people watching a scary movie and you'll always hear someone say “Don't go through that door/woods at night/haunted house. I would never do that.” In effect, the person is learning, from a certain perspective. We watch disasters on the news and pay attention to how those people dealt with the situation. We listen to people who survived horrible experiences, are fascinated at car accidents (everyone slows down on a highway).
By watching these scary movies, we're allowing ourselves to positively deal with what is perceived as a negative motion. It is a fear we can control, that doesn't control us.
And like most things, it should definitely be done in moderation. We don't want to become so inured to the violence and terror that we don't react to it in real life. Like a marijuana experiment I read about a while ago: mice were given pot and then left in a cage with a cat added to it. They were given the standard set up of food and water, this time the water was in a dish instead of from a bottle.
The control group of mice reacted in fear towards the cat (it had been fed and wasn't an actual threat to the mice, don't worry), and avoided getting too close to the water. The “high” mice ignored the cat and even climbed on it, also, they played in the water, something that mice don't do because they drown so easily. (Bringing up the argument that pot does impair critical judgement skills).
Panic is essential to our survival, and while unpleasant, is easier to take than injury or death. Panic triggers our fight or flight function in the brain, and when this panic is engaged for too long it developes into fear and anxiety, and while fear can be a healthy thing to help us avoid dangerous situations, anxiety is not, because we feel that fight or flight when there is no appropriate trigger.
As writers I think it is something we should pay attention to. How much more terrifying would our horror or thriller books be if we knew the specific short term triggers that scared our readers, and thusly, profitable! Much like one of the key words in a soft core adult book is “tastes” because it makes the reader think about one of the five senses, and looks like testes.
I use the sense of smell often in my stories because I have a powerful sniffer, and certain smells trigger thoughts or memories in me. For me, a writer describing the smell of a monster dog from hell would get more of a reaction from me than if they wrote about its glistening fangs. That's me, and I don't expect the same reaction out of someone reading my book as I feel writing it.
I think I'm descending into babble, so I'll cut this one short. I haven't been sleeping well lately, and it's nauseating writing on a moving bus.
Thank you, Cult of Machine followers.
So talking over my book with my wife, I realized how far I deviated from my original novel idea.
I don't want to get rid of what I've written, but I also want to tell that original story. I can't do it as a sequel or prequel.
The way it is now, it is a complete science fiction story.
Originally it was a supernatural horror story.
The only writer I know who was able to combine the two was H.P. Lovecraft. Read during his own time he wrote supernatural horror. Read now, it is science horror.
I think what I may have to do is write two different novels, with the same characters, same locations, possible same conclusion, but drastically different in theme and style.
Stephen King did something like this with Desperation (I loved it), and then released a Bachman book called the Regulators (not as good in my opinion). Both had the same characters, involved similar locations, but were very different from each other.
Other times movies have done this. Anyone who is a fan of Donny Darko knows that there is an American version and a directors cut. In the American version, it seems more like God is calling to Donny using an avatar named Frank. In the directors cut, they are advanced beings from the future.
I don't want to cheat the story, that is my primary concern. Am I being lazy by not wanting to rewrite the entire story?
Such a conundrum.
I admit, I get sucked into internet arguments. I read comments of Yahoo! news and if the comment is particularly redundant or inane I feel this overwhelming compulsion to throw my two bits in.
I am a very opinionated person, and I have a tendency to look down on others who don't agree with me. This is at odds with how I also give people the benefit of the doubt, or accept that there is more than one way to do things.
Here's a safe topic we can all get irritated about: Star Wars. I can't stand Star Wars. To me it is a soap opera, and the only thing missing from it is an evil twin (although Luke does have a paternal twin sister. Did I use that right? I always mix up paternal with fraternal).
Star Wars has the worst character arcs, giant Death Star plot-holes, retconning and cliche dialogue I have ever seen. I didn't even like it when I was a child.
Now I have watched both trilogies, played the games, read one or two of the books, watched the behind the scenes movies, read Joseph Campbells “Hero With A Thousand Faces”, seen the old Flash Gordon serials, so it isn't as though I am not completely in the dark about what goes on in these movies.
Chewbacca is from Endor, right?
Even with all this information I still just plain don't like the movies. I don't like how Luke's family dies and the film makes it out like he's doing this great sacrifice by joining the rebellion. Everything he cared for was destroyed, so glad he could tear himself away.
I don't like how easy it is to destroy a Death Star, not to mention flying through a straight corridor and firing.
I don't like how Obi Wan tells Luke his father is dead, and then backtracks in the next movies. Like those pesky mitichlorians.
I don't like how the most intelligent and wise being in the universe can't use proper grammar. Break me a fucking give.
There are many more reasons why I don't care for the films. But you know what? I know people who LOVE them, and a thrilled every time they get a chance to see it, who share it with their children, and that's cool. Stupid, moronic, terrible decisions these parents have made. But let them do it.
Star Trek will still be available to kids, so everything is right with the universe.
I have often wondered about writing from experience. How do fantasy writers do that? What are they on and how do I get me some of that!
I find it difficult to write from direct experience, or to take characters directly from the ones in my life. Perhaps its because I don't know any interesting people, or I don't want to psycho-analyze them.
Most of what I like to write, or what I feel I write well, is speculative fiction. I like to pose a what if, be it world or situation, and let the characters develop naturally from there.
They may make choices that make me cringe, or that I wouldn't do myself. I think of a character who could be anyone, and through the course of the adventure, their character becomes defined, and then possibly changes.
Sometimes they don't change, their circumstances do. People do this in real life, by making the world around them conform to their belief, like Gandhi.
I did something similar in psychology. Whereas most theories come from observation and experimentation, I would design my labs "in the real world" and introduce situations, or objects, that were outside the norm, or regular continuance. One such experiment was introducing a toy cow to people, telling them his name, his interests, and if they would want to have Magnus sit on their shoulder (it was a beanie Jersey cow and balanced perfectly).
Women refused and looked at me weird. Men often accepted Magnus, and would set it on their shoulders. With additional information and interviewing I devised a theory that women were more self conscious, and because of this in certain ways less developed emotionally than men in public environments. Men appeared to be comfortable with who they were regardless of what others thought of them.
Popular? No. Society holds that females mature emotionally more than males, and that is often the case. But females care more what other people think, to the degree that they will tear each other apart socially for status. this does not seem very emotionally mature.
That's what I do with my characters: I try to take what is the accepted norm, introduce something fantastic in a reverse Dues Ex Machina or ironic twist of fate that "propels the hero through his journey"*
*Rango. Every writer should watch that movie.
Why "Failed Daily"?
Because I fail to update daily.