Friday, October 16, 2009

The October Horror Movie Gauntlet - 2009

The Next, Next Five Days

Oct. 15 - Laid to Rest* - Earlier this year I went to a panel discussion of this films that included director Robert Hall, and a handful of cast members. It wasn't particularly enlightening, but it was pretty fun. The only problem was that we had missed the screening of the film that they were talking about. When I finally watched it, I realized I hadn't really "missed" that much. Pretty generic little slasher here, played without any irony (which is usually good) but completely devoid of atmosphere, which is a clear sign of incompetence behind the camera. And the story. Wait...what story? Who needs a story when you've got some truly excellent gore effects? At least that's what the thinking seemed to be when making this film. I will emphasise that the special effects are particularly nasty and may make it worth a watch for you gore hounds out there. But even the best grue can't save a meandering film like this from being anything more than mediocre. And, honestly, do we really think that Chrome Skull is "totally sweet fuh realz!" (to paraphrase from some message boards)? To sum up, mediocre is the word of the day for Laid to Rest. 5/10

Oct. 14 - Curtains (1983)* - When I popped my DVD of Curtains (ripped from a Vestron Video VHS) into the ol' DVD player I was really hoping I was about to watch an undiscovered (at least by me) gem. What I got was a tame, somewhat interesting, but nigh bloodless slasher. The story revolves around a group of actresses that are all invited to a house to audition for the role of a lifetime. But someone is unhappy with this arrangement and begins to knock them off - one by one. Not a terrible premise by any means, and the story actually plays out pretty well. There's also a pivotal part of the story involving Samantha Eggar, but I'll spare you the not-so-gory details. Overall, it's just a little south of par - the actors do a good job, and the story is fairly decent, but there is little to no excitement in the picture at all. The kills are almost are terrible, uninventive, and without tension. And that happens to be a big part of a slasher. Most second and third tier slashers from the eighties fall in one of two categories: terrible and a waste of time or really bad, but still fun to watch. Curtains falls somewhere in the middle. 4/10

Oct. 13 - I've failed you yet again, and didn't get one watched.

Oct. 12 - Trick 'r Treat (2008)* - I was really going to try to wait until Halloween night to watch this one, but I just couldn't wait any longer. I mean, come on, if you're up on your horror you've been waiting at least a year for this one. Was it worth the wait? For the most part, yeah, it was. It's not going to take the place of John Carpenter's seminal Halloween as the must watch flick on Halloween night, mainly because there aren't a lot of actual scares, but it is going to be a fun piece of October film watching for the rest of my life. The movie is stunningly shot, well acted, and often really funny. Full disclosure here; I have a soft spot for Dylan Baker and Anna Paquin (for different reasons, however). The best thing about the film? The film-makers ability to capture the essence of Halloween. It's been said before, but I'm not sure that there are any films that more accurately portray the Halloween vibe. That aside, the movie to best compare it is Creepshow, obviously because they are both anthology films. There are other reasons I think they compare as well. For instance, they are both supposed to be comic books come to life and they both feature their own brand of gruesome comedy. The biggest difference in the two is the way they are formatted - instead of each segment being a standalone story (ala Creepshow) the tales in Trick 'r Treat all piece together as part of the same world on the same night. 7.5/10

Oct. 11 - Dark Floors (2008)* - Dark Floors is a pretty stupid movie, but it's not stupid in the way I thought it would be. You see, Dark Floors is sometimes dubbed as "The Lordi Motion Picture" because it stars the dark glam metal band (that's what I call them - think Kiss in Gwar's garb) Lordi. And the concept is also credited to the band. So, going into it, what could you expect but a mindless slaughterfest? If that's what you are looking for, look elsewhere, because Dark Floors attempts to be far more cerebral than that. I think that it fails on a lot of levels, but it's not an entirely terrible effort. The film is about a group of people in a hospital that appears to fall into some terrible, demonic state of limbo, led by a young, autistic girl who seems to know more than she lets on. I won't give away the ending or the main plot twists or anything, but let's just say you don't see it coming, but you've seen it before - even if it makes less sense this time. There's also a surprising lack of grue that is disheartening to say the least. 4/10

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