While not the first to do it, The Blair Witch Project was the first movie to really bring the “found footage” style of movie to the masses. Telling the tale of three student filmmakers (stole that line from Wikipedia), who went out to make a documentary about the Blair Witch, a legendary figure, and never came back.
The film starts out with a message stating tat the movie was put together from the footage found in the cameras after the three film students had disappeared. The three, Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard, and Michael Williams had headed out to make a documentary about an evil witch, or spirit that is rumoured to haunt the woods outside of Burkittsville, Maryland (formerly known as “Blair”). They talk to locals who tell them the tales they heard as children growing up in Burkittsville, and how the witch tale was used to keep kids in line. They also hear the tail of a tragedy that happened in the 1940s with the disappearance of several local children, as well as several men from the community. Well, the three decide to head off into the woods in search of the Witch, or at lease evidence of such. Soon they find themselves hopelessly lost and it seems the focus of some weird nocturnal activities. They hear weird sounds at night and fins strange constructs of twigs and wood as well as neatly stacked rocks around their tent in the morning. As time passes and they become more and more loss, the individuals start really showing their stress in the way they interact with each other. The weird sounds and such continue and increase, adding to the stress of the group. When one member of the group disappears in the night, and fails to return, it just gets worse. You know things are just not likely to work out for our little group of film makers.
The Blair Witch Project did a great job of capturing the initial enthusiasm of the three, as well as there slide to desperation , and breakdown of the three main characters. They manage to remain believable (for the most part), and while you may grow frustrated with them at times, it’s at times where youy as a watcher are supposed to get frustrated with them. Is this a good movie? Damn straight.
Check out the trailer below, and if you haven’t seen it yet, go out and get yourself a copy.
Suspiria is a 1977 horror movie directed by the Italian master, Dario Argento, and the fist of a trilogy of horror. And it’s weird… and loud.
Suspiria tells the story of America ballet dance student, Suzy Bannion who takes up study at a prestigious dance study in Germany, but quickly discovers that things are not what they may seem. Upon arriving at the school on a ridiculously rainy night, only to see an upset girl fleeing and mumbling something about a secret and a flower – and then to be refused entrance. Next we see a girl die in an artistically weird stabbing… The next day Suzy manages to get to the school, meets Madame Blanc and Miss Tanner, and is shown around the school and introduced to the girls in the locker room. Suzy is told that the room she was to stay in is not ready and that she will stay with another student for the time being. At the school, Suzy has a fainting spell (after a weird encounter with the school’s cook)… later she seems okay…
Alright: All I am doing is describing what happened in the movie – and that is a silly thing to do. It’s al artistic Italian Horror by the master Dario Argento and it is about a Ballet School run by witches…
Argento manages to create a creepy, artistic weird horror flick of sorts that keeps you watching. The strong uses of colour is very jarring as well as is the cacophonous soundtrack which built up so much tension in me that I almost felt nauseous. Seriously, I have never had a soundtrack for a film affect me so… and it was loud. This is a trippy experience of a film and definitely bot for everyone. If you have an open mind (and not overly sensitive ears) , then this will be a memorable watch. Will you like it? Many won’t – I did, but with reservations. You check it out and tell me what you think. Here’s the trailer:
So, I was this posted over at the reddit.com horror sub-reddit: an Evil Dead Fan Film… Very funny stuff!!!
So, I just watched a Zombie movie that was filmed in my home city of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. It was a low budget film, and it lacked polish and there was some questionable performances. You know what? Who cares – this was a fun, silly Zombie film.
The Dead Mile is a truly Canadian movie that combines hockey, a Zombie Walk and real Zombies to create an end of society, Zombie outbreak movie that delivers on the fun and the gore. A group of friends are preparing for an annual Zombie Walk when an actual, cow transmitted Zombie virus hits the city. The Zombie Walk participants are actually turning into Zombies, and our little group of friends need to find a way to survive. One of our characters, Tyler, works for a dick, Kevin Wong, who owns a comic shop, who is hosting a a signing event for a couple of horror stars to coincide with the Zombie Walk. Well these two get wrapped up in the whole Zombie outbreak and join forces with Kevin and his friends. They are soon joined by two simple, hockey obsessed guys, who suggest they make a break for the hockey/ice rink – a fortress according to them. Of course, like in all Zombie films, the fortress is never quite as… fortressy (yes, I know that’s not a real word – but it’s my blog so nananana-boo-boo), as they hope. One by one the group is diminished as members fall prey to the Zombie hordes. You know, like in a Zombie movie.
This movie is low budget and flawed, but really, who cares: most Zombie movies are. At least this movie delivers on the humour, and for a low budget film, it manages to look pretty good (and thank you for not finding it necessary to make the film look grungy and 70’s like – that works when for 70’s films only – you deserve kudos for not doing that). They also deliver on the gore, like a true Zombie movie should. I say this is worth a watch, especially if you are Canadian, and even more so if you are from Calgary. The movie’s writer/Director , K.J. Kleefeld and his crew did an admirable job. The film it self is available to rent online at https://vimeo.com/ondemand/thedeadmile for $4.99 – I though it was a little steep for a rental of an independent film, but I said “What the Hell,” I’m supporting a small film maker” (who just happens to be local – GO CANADA!!!). Check out the trailer below, and then go spend $4.99, you cheap bastard, and help some independent film makers.
Thank you to everyone that made the Calgary Horror Convention an AMAZING event. A fantastic lineup of guests, including a reunion of the cast from the fantastic 1990 remake of Night of the Living Dead: Bill Moseley, Tom Savini, Patricia Tallman and Tony Todd,
Last night I watch the masterful biopic, Hitchcock, about the Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock and absolutely loved it. The movie takes place during the filming of Psycho. What I learned was that Psycho was loosely based upon the crimes of Ed Gein, a serial killer, body snatcher and possible necrophilliac from Plainfield, Wisconsin. This left me wondering about who this Ed Gein was and were there any movie based specifically about him and not just inspired by his crime. A quick Google search and I foung the movie, Deranged from 1974.
Deranged starts with a warning that everything in the film is based on real events and that the names have been changed to protect the innocent…. blah, blah,blah! Telling the story of a man that was raised by an overbearing religious fanatic mother that taught him that all women, aside from herself, were diseased whores out to corrupt him. Not allowed to socialize with others outside of school, Ed was bound to come out twisted. Ed, obsessed with his mother, devoted himself to her caretaking. When she suffered a stroke, he became even more so. Upon her death he boarded up the rooms that she used and left himself a small area in the house for his own use.
In the movie, Ed soon finds himself missing his mother terribly, and convinced himself that she was actually sleeping and not dead. His mother’s voice calls to him telling him to retrieve her and bring her back to their home. Exhuming the body, Ed does just that. Mother, having been buried for the better part of a year was not in prime shape, so Ed decides to make repairs to his mother. Using bits of fish skin and the like he fixes her up as best he can. Eventually, he studies taxidermy to improve his skills. Not content with animals, Ed exhumes bodies from the grave yard, taking parts of or whole bodies from fresh graves. Ed’s a ghoul.
Soon Ed ups the ante when he becomes smitten with a local bar owner and kidnaps her. Hoping she’ll be his wife, he introduces her to his mother and dinner guests: posed bodis of the peopl he stole from the graveyard. Playing along, she convinced him to release her bound hand, and attempts to escape… Sorry! Ed ain’t letting you go. Instead of a wedding, she’s dead now.
Ed keeps up his shit with no one suspecting him at all, until a girl keeping shop dissapears with signs of foul play. The last person in the shop was Ed and the local Sherriff goes off to Ed’s farm house to talk to him. That’s where they find the body of the girl and evidence of all of Ed’s grisly crimes. The movie then ends with a write up of Ed being found insane…
Okay, this is not a great movie, but I did find it interesting as I knew little of Ed Gein. There have been a lot of movies about Ed and based on him. Not many of the biopics are very good, but this is one of the first. Should you watch it? If your interested in the crimes of Ed, then yes. If not, then don’t bother.
2008’s The Midnight Meat Train (MMT) is something unusual: a good movie made from a Clive Barker story.
Don’t get me wrong, I like Clive Barker’s writing, but aside from Hellraiser, there aren’t many film adaptations of his work that I can point to and say, “this is a good movie.” Well, there is one more and this is it.
Based on a short story of the same name from the Books of Blood collection, MMT tells the story of a talented photographer in New York City by the name of Leon (played by Bradley Cooper), who after showing some of his pictures to a wealthy Galley owner Susan Hoff (played by the still beautiful Brook Shields), is spurred on to capture the true, grittiness of the City. Going out on night shoots, Leon captures a near mugging/rape of a famous model. Still, despite saving her from a gang of thugs, she disappears that night when she is attacked by a large, silently imposing man, known simply as Mahogany (and played by Vinnie Jones), with a meat hammer on the subway . Hearing of the disappearance the next day while reading the paper, he decides to go to the police, thinking that perhaps the thugs, after being initially scared off, might have come back and got on the same train as the model. When Leon brings this to the attention of the police, the officer that serves him seems strangely unconcerned.
Leon shows the photos he took of the near rape/mugging to Hoff, who states she loves them and challenges him to get two more photos to go along with these and she would host a showing of his work. Leon takes up the challenge. Returning to the subways, Leon notices a large silent figure that catches his imagination. The figure is that of Mahogany himself. Leon follows him, taking pictures, until wordlessly confronted by him in front of the aging hotel that Mahogany calls home. Frightened, Leon apologizes for bothering him and leaves. Later, when going over his photos of the incident of the model, he notices that Mahogany was on the train that the model entered, but never got off. Leon starts to obsess over Mahogany and continues following him, discovering that during the day he works at a large scale butcher, as a meat renderer. Leon sneaks into the butcher to get more photos, and is almost caught by Mahogany. Leon starts to connect other disappearances that had occurred on the New York Subway line with train schedules. He works out that below the butcher shop, there must be an abandoned subway station, where Mahogany unloads the bodies and gets rid of the evidence. He presents this to his fiancé, in a scene reminiscent of something from the movie A Beautiful Mind. Freaked out and thinking Leon is going crazy, she begs him to stop following Mahogany and get back to day shooting. Leon promises… But goes back to following Mahogany. That night, he catches Mahogany in the act, photographing the scene while Mahogany prepares the body of his victim like one would prepare meat. Chased, captured, marked (via scarification) and eventually escaping, Leon now knows for sure that Mahogany is behind the disappearances. Returning home, beaten and disturbed, his fiancé freaking out – he tells her what he saw and that he took phots but the camera was taken from him during his ordeal. On her own volition, she and a friend decide to go to Mahogany’s room after he leaves and look for Leon’s camera – While there, she finds subway schedules going back a century, with train times circled that correlate to disappearances that happened. Also… her friend is captured and bludgeoned by Mahogany, and she barely escapes with her life. Going to the police, the same officer that dealt with Leon shows the same level of unconcern and stated that Mahogany reported something stolen, the train schedules, and that he wants them back. Claiming that her friend, who was captured by Mahogany has it, and if they want the schedules, they have to find him.
Okay… what the hell am I doing? I’m freakin’ describing the whole freakin’ movie. Look – Mahogany is a guy that has a job, and that job is to help feed… something inhuman. It’s an important job and he would normally have gone unnoticed, but something in Leon’s make up made him attune to Mahogany. At the end of the movie, all is revealed, and it is a typical Clive Barker twisted concept – an idea that below the surface of what we as normal humans perceive, there is another world of darkness – the stuff nightmares are made of. Midnight Meat Train did a good job of bringing that world to the big screen. Do I suggest watching it? Oh Hell yes.
Check out the trailer here: