Friday, May 26, 2017

Random Posts: Upcoming Slashers and what I think about them...

So far, the horror offerings from 2017 seems pretty alright if you know where to look; I found new cult favorites under a Lovecraftian nightmare called The Void, the sci-fright anthology Galaxy of Horrors and a satirical black comedy-slash-thriller called Get Out, but we also have to deal with half-and-half entries like The Evil Within and Don't Hang Up, as well as shitty dumps like The Bye Bye Man and Rings.

But when it comes to slashers, I have to admit we're lacking on that department, so I like to keep my eye out on potential bodycount titles and here are some likely candidates. So just to break out of the norm (kinda), here's be my thoughts on these upcoming attractions.

Note: I'm sure there are a lot of other upcoming slashers and bodycount thrillers out there that I'm gonna miss for this list but I like to keep this post narrowed down to the titles that interest me the most. I might do another one of these if I ever gathered enough bodycount titles that catches my attention.

Fox Trap (UK, 2016)

Plot: After a terrible accident leaves a young girl disabled, five years later, the group responsible are invited to a remote manor house in the countryside for a class reunion. Little do they know, they are being targeted by a masked maniac hell bent on revenge.

My Thoughts: The trailer shows a basically standard slasher with an equally standard "I know what you did so now you die some years later" shindig of a plot. I might enjoy it in a simplistic manner, though I'm not quite sure what to feel about the killer's overly simplified mask...

Hallows Eve (UK, 2016)

Plot: The Hallows Estate is on alert as strange graffiti tags with messages declaring the streets will be taken over on Halloween night begin to appear on walls around the place, along with sightings of strange figures lurking in the shadows. One of the gangs responsible for the serious anti social behavior that give the estate a bad name, decide to take these threats head on and ignore the curfew on Halloween night. But who ever, or what ever, this new threat is, they seem to have the very night on their side as they make good on their promise of claiming the streets by frightening and violent means.

My Thoughts: No trailers, but the concept and the poster art looks kinda awesome! Here's hoping this is a decent slasher for my taste!

The Ice Cream Truck (2017)

Plot: Mary moves back to her suburban hometown, to find that the suburbs are scarier in more ways than she ever remembered.

My Thoughts: So...Ice Cream Man (1995) remake then? Welp, I do like that movie and this seems to be more of a straight-up slasher so I guess I'll try seeing it and hope for the best...if not for the "eehhhh" factor.
Inside (2016)

Plot: A woman in her third trimester of pregnancy is stalked by a stranger who is obsessed with her unborn child.

My Thoughts: The original Inside (2007) is among my top slashers. Nothing will beat the intense brutality that movie unleashed but I understand this version of Inside will focus less on the gore and more on the atmosphere so...nothing against that but here's hoping it will work out. After all, the guys behind Kidnapped (2010) will be doing this and we all know how fucked up that movie literally ended.
Better Watch Out (Australia, 2016)

Plot: On a quiet suburban street, a babysitter must defend a twelve-year-old boy from intruders, only to discover it's far from a normal home invasion.

My Thoughts: No trailers, but I do enjoy a good Home Invasion movie! There seem to be a little buzz going around about this movie and I guess it's for the best not knowing any explicit details about its story! What else can I say but "hurry the fuck up and release this movie already, dammit!"

Wtf! (2017)

Plot: Three years ago, twenty-two year old "girl-next door" Rachel barely survived a brutal massacre that left all of her friends murdered. Time has passed, and Rachel has moved on, but unfortunately her close friends are spending Spring Break in a secluded house in the woods, and they have cordially invited her to join. She would never have accepted the invitation if she realized that another bloodbath would be showing up as plus one. Once Rachel and her friends arrive at the cabin, the partying, sex, and...terror begins. From girls' only pillow fights to debauchery in a bedroom, it's going to be a blast...aside from the stabbing, flesh melting, and castration. Seven friends will go into a secluded house for the best Spring Break of their lives, but only one will be alive to post about it on Facebook the next week, as Rachel's biggest fears become a reality once again! Can Rachel survive another bloody massacre?

My Thoughts: Why does the entire plot reminds me of Ripper (2001) or even Last Girl Standing (2016)? And seeing the kind of promotional piece they have for this film, I have a sinking feeling that this is going to be a mess, both literally and figuratively. Still, we wouldn't know until we get to see it, right? Maybe the gore will be worth it, who knows...

The Ninth Passenger (2017)

Plot: A group of salacious students party aboard a luxury yacht only to turn on each other as a 9th PASSENGER picks them off one by one.

My Thoughts: I gotta admit, this doesn't look anything like a slasher movie and there's a good chance this film may end up a creature thriller based on its trailer alone, but the tease concerning what the "Ninth Passenger" is was enough to get my attention. Maybe I'll see it just to settle my curiosity.

The Sandman 

Plot: THE SANDMAN tells the story of Nathan, a young student in the city who struggles to forget his childhood trauma at the hands of the serial killer dubbed "The Sandman." Nathan killed The Sandman years ago, on Christmas Eve, after he witnessed the murder of his mother... until he sees the beautiful woman who lives in the apartment across the way dying at the hands of that same masked killer. This brutal murder plunges Nathan into an odyssey into the night country of his past, his dreams... and the buried secrets of The Sandman.

My Thoughts: Dario Argento. Doing a modern horror movie, (recalls my experience with Argento's Dracula and the number of hours I cried under a running shower for the time from my life that I wasted with that movie) ...oh, God.
Tonight She Comes (2016)

Plot: After a girl goes missing, two of her friends and a mysterious set of strangers find themselves drawn to the cabin in the woods where she disappeared. They will laugh, they will drink, they will kiss, they will make love, and THEY MUST ALL DIE.

My Thoughts: Huh. The last slasher movie I recall having a naked chick as the killer was that underrated cheese-tastic bodycounter Blood Night: The Legend of Mary Hatchet (2009). I simply adore that movie, so I guess I might see this one. The trailer sure made it look campy and stupid fun but, well, it's a trailer. It's supposed to make things look fun... right, The Beaver (2011)?

Tragedy Girls (2017)

Plot: Tragedy Girls, a twist on the slasher genre following two death-obsessed teenage girls who use their online show about real-life tragedies to send their small mid-western town into a frenzy and cement their legacy as modern horror legends.

My Thoughts: Hurm, I'm getting a vibe from this one. The "American Psycho 2: All American Girl" vibe. For those who doesn't know, I have a strong disdain against American Psycho 2 and Tragedy Girls has that tone of pompous self-aware from one trailer alone, but I am still gonna give it a swing. The idea is interesting enough and the two leads look pretty cute, so I'm hoping the kill count better be worth it.

Plot: A remake of the 1982 video nasty 'Unhinged'. Four American best friends decide to take the back roads travelling to a wedding in England, on their way a deadly secret forces the girls to be stranded in the woods, where they discover a house occupied by Miss Perkins, who promises to look after them until help comes. Little do the girls know, a dark evil lurks in the attic above them, waiting until they're alone and only when the girls come face to face with 'it' will they truly discover what real horror is.

My Thoughts: Though I'm not a fan of the original Unhinged (1982), I'm gonna be lying if I say I didn't have at least some bit of fun from that movie. Now, the trailer for this reboot looked promising enough despite the obvious mid-quality budget, so I guess I'll be checking this one out should I ever get a chance.

Plot: A maniacal clown named Art, terrorizes three young women on Halloween night and everyone else who stands in his way.

My Thoughts: It's friggin' Art, man. One of the creepiest clown I've ever laid eyes on! I'm a sucker for killer clown slashers. I adore the original Terrifier 2011 short. I find the 2013 All Hallows Eve anthology pretty passable. So why wouldn't I be excited for a movie focusing entirely on this freak? Bring in the clown, guys!

And there be my thoughts on these upcoming bodycounters. Is there a particular slasher you are excited about or that I missed? Feel free to let me know about it and I'll see what I think of it! until then, see you guys later! I have a meeting with a bloody naked chick and a demonic clown...

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Video Tape Evidence Exhibit 1: Evil Things (2009)

Evil Things (2009)
rating: ***
starring: Laurel Casillo, Morgan Hooper, Torrey Weiss

What makes a good found footage film? A feel of authenticity, perhaps? The more it looks real, the better the chance it could cook up something creepy and, maybe, even something scary. And while many tries to pull off the creep factor with something unexplainable like ghosts, zombies and even unseen witches in the woods, sometimes a simple plot with a straight direction is all we need to make a Found Footage workable.

Evil Things took this approach as early as possible by opening the film with what appears to be a notation claiming that this is actually a smuggled evidence from an actual investigation involving some missing college students. The tape showcases five teenagers on their way to a friend's country house deep in the snowy woods, to relax and have fun. What they weren't expecting, however, is that they're going to be followed  by a shady looking van with occupants who seem to have taken a deadly interest on them.

First starting out as a creepy stalking, the group managed to scare the driver away during one encounter and continues to their destination thinking all is now fine. But after one day of nearly getting lost in the woods, they soon found out that whoever was in that van already trailed them, infiltrated their house and began a deadly game of cat and mouse...

The film's pretty short in terms of plotting; nearly everything about this film is something you've probably seen before, from the lengthy conversations to questionable acting. A lot of drawn out scenes are done to fill up the running time and the scares are pretty much basic, however what I do like about Evil Things is that, with its simplicity, it still managed to emphasize the dread and uneasiness of the characters.

The cast are pretty likable despite a few bad eggs. I somehow find them humanly relatable, something I believe helped the movie be a bit more tolerable for the most parts. Sure, they seem lacking on the thinking department once in a while, almost to the point that they are pretty much your usual horror-variety slasher victims, but a majority of their choices have a level of realism to it, albeit flawed.

The last few minutes of the movie is when the whole thing just goes for the chaotic as, one by one, the gang gets attacked by someone or a group of someones who finally got these kids right where they wanted them. The lack of explanation to why the villain/s are doing this kinda works for me, as it adds much to the dreadful atmosphere the finale is putting out for us without dropping a single blood on camera nor does it with overly dramatic set-pieces. Evil Things is simplicity in its finest and most solid, quite an impressive feat given the obvious limited budget these people had to work with!

On a nutshell, Evil Things isn't anything new as a found footage horror flick, but for when it tries to be creepily atmospheric and intense, the build-up to these scenes are quite worth it. A decent addition to fans of found footage, as well as something worth a look for the rest of us horror junkies.

1 male attacked, presumably murdered
1 male and 1 female presumably murdered
1 female presumably murdered
1 female attacked, presumably murdered
Total: 5

Friday, May 19, 2017

To Survive an Axe man: My Little Sister (2016)

My Little Sister (Italy, 2016)
Rating: *1/2
Starring:  Lucia Castellano, Alberto Corba, Astrid Di Bon

Oh look! A slasher in the woods! Quaint, is it?

Not much.

In this oddly titled offering from Italy, couple Sheila and Tom are venturing into the woods to meet and catch up with some friends for a fun camping weekend, only to find their friends missing and a random axeman showing up to give them the usual "stay-here-you'll-die" doomsayer spiel which, of course, the two did not heed. It wasn't too long before our maniac, also oddly named "Little Sister", shows his ugly masked face and starts hunting the couple, which soon leads to a formulaic and nearly repetitive stalk-escape-stalk-kill gig that gets really boring quick.

To be fair, My Little Sister did came up with one neat twist to a would-be familiar trapping; it was a neat take on a classic slasher scene in which a victim tries to impersonate "Little Sister's" dead family member ala Jason and Ginny Field in Friday the 13th Part 2, though instead of having it work in favor of the victim at some level, the whole shtick instead backfires and ends up with another victim dying at both "Sister's" and the impersonating character's hand. Apart from that though, I mostly remember being bored by the painfully dull execution of pretty much everything else about this film as it reeks low budget from every corner of the production such as lighting, audio and special effects. Obviously not a great sign this movie getting on my fair side.

The paper-thin story being a challenge already, I at least expected some good tension and plot development from My Little Sister, but the movie definitely overdid the intensity to the point that it all felt overly stretched into nothingness and whatever character our leads have felt more of the same throwaway slasher victims that barely made an impact for me once they bite the big one. There was a neat reveal at the end showcasing what lead into the creation of "Little Sister", but the tag-along twist it came it was hardly that surprising, certainly something we all could have seen an hour before the damn movie brings it up again.

At that, I will say My Little Sister may have sent Italian horror back a few years. It's boring, mostly predictable, and it's really nothing more than one big chase scene between a random horror victim and a random slasher with a stupid name and mask. For those who enjoyed it, I believe this Sister is yours, not mine.

1 male had his face flayed off
1 female eviscerated with a bushwhacker
1 male found rotting dead
1 male hacked with an axe
1 male bled to death from axe wounds
1 female stabbed with a pair of scissors
1 girl hacked with an axe
1 female ingests acid
Total: 8

Thursday, May 18, 2017

A Pocketful of Rye: Formula For A Murder (1985)

Formula For A Murder (7, Hyden Park: la casa maledetta ) (AKA Formula Per Un Assassinio) (Italy/US, 1985)
Rating: ***
Starring: Christina Nagy, David Warbeck, Carroll Blumenberg

Our intro? A guy dressed as a priest handing a doll to a girl, only to give chase and implied to have broken the girl's back during this attack.

Twenty five years later, our opening victim, Joanna, is now a wealthy and wheelchair-bound heiress who plans on using a good chunk of her money opening sports centers for paraplegic people, as well as donate some to her local church. This benevolent goal, however, isn't sitting too well for some people, to the point that they are willing to start murdering in hopes of getting their hands on the moolah. But who could it be? Joanna's live-in caretaker with an obvious lesbian attraction? The motorbike-riding priest who is seemingly unaware that another priest was murdered earlier in the movie? Or perhaps it's Joanna's doctor who seems to know more about our lead girl's paraplegic conditions?

Well, if you stick around about 30 minutes into the film, not only will you find out who's behind the killings, but Formula's plot switches from a potential whodunit to a crime thriller with afternoon soap opera theatrics and a small dosage of bodycount horror.

As a giallo, Formula For A Murder isn't really a good one; while the early curveball definitely threw away any good opportunity of a decent mystery, there is still a good chance the movie could have been more interesting should it deepened its characters and took its plot a bit more seriously, but instead it decided to stick with a straightforward story that really isn't all that original (I believe the whole "scare the heiress dead to get their moolah" shtick was done before in Let’s Scare Jessica to Death (1971) and The Spiral Staircase (1946) kinda did the terrorized disabled lead a tad batter) and campy as heck.

Formula may as well shown some of the ongoing signs that pure breed Italian gialli were slowly losing their touch by the 80s, but it did make up for the lack of strong sleuthing and plot development with trashy exploitation craziness such as murder attempts involving bloodied dolls, TV soap heart conditions that are triggered by extreme fear but not when making love (?!), and unexpected betrayals which ultimately leads to a good old-fashioned 80s slasher stalk-and-stab with a killer that just keeps on going despite the fatal punishments unleashed against them.

Perhaps it is better that these trashier tropes have a significantly stronger presence in the overall final product seeing we pretty much knows who and why all of the gruesome stuff is happening, as at least Formula For A Murder tries to be entertainingly crazy and hammy. It does succeed at that quite fairly and I find myself satisfyingly enjoying the preposterous twists and turns on a what should have been a too conventional giallo. So long as blood works are flowing, the over-the-top villains are plotting, and the tone be cheesing from this film, I am glad to say that I am a part of an audience who are content to have seen this cheddary guilty pleasure and I will have no quarrels seeing again in the future.

1 male had his throat cut with a knife
1 male bludgeoned and hacked to death with a shovel
1 female slashed to death with a razor
1 male dies from his wounds
Total: 4

Thursday, May 11, 2017

An Eye A Day Keeps The Blindness Away:Child Eater (2016)

Child Eater (US/Iceland, 2016)
Rating: **1/2
Starring: Cait Bliss, Colin Critchley, Jason Martin

Convinced to babysit Lucas, the son of her father's recently widowed friend, young Helen expected nothing else but the usual night of scary movies and scheduled bedtimes. However, Lucas appears to be uneasy that evening as he have been spotting a strange old man prowling around in the woods nearby his house. Of course, Helen dismisses the issue as merely the boy's imagination, but all of that changes when he disappears from his room and an old legend, the almost blind and cannibalistic Child Eater, returns to feast on fresh young eyes in his insane and desperate attempt to keep his sight.

Now, Child Eater is less of a dead teenager slasher movie in the likes of Friday the 13th (1980) or Halloween (1978), and more in line with monster films with a very slasher-inspired villains like Darkness Falls (2003) or Jeepers Creepers (2001). There were actually a lot of chances that the film could have gone with the classic slasher route, mainly with the very fact that it features yet another babysitter in peril (the typical final girl choice) with an added bonus of an Ahab/doomsayer hybrid with vengeance in mind against the monster, but instead Child Eater decided to focus more on building its mythos and setting its tone through a lot of creepy imagery and stalking scenes.

I personally find our titular shriveled freak and his mythology as one of the movie's greater elements, with few contrasting explanations given to who and what he is working their magic to keep the ambiguous creepiness of our monster as much as possible, despite a stronger emphasis on the Eater being an obvious supernatural foe. Furthermore, it's also quite interesting to see evil on two legs keeping its kills on a tooth and nail level of savagery. I honestly have no problems with this as I already have my fair share of decent slasher titles in which their villains are more in touch with their beastly side (such as The Unnamable (1988) and Humongous (1981)), though I will admit, the kill count could have used a couple more bodies.

With all of these being said, I could like Child Eater for the villain alone, but this monster comes with a movie full of characters that we are supposed to feel for and, to be frank, I find it hard to do just that; though I will admit there was some effort in the acting department, I just can't help but feel distracted by some of the casts sounding and looking like as if they are reading their scripts in front of them, which is obviously not a good thing if the movie has a stronger focus on story and dialogue. A few important characters such as our lead girl Helen and kid-in-peril Lucas did manage to be more tolerable, but not enough for me to actually feel for them as they hardly broke any new grounds as classic horror thespians.

The budget is relatively restraint, with most of it likely used for the little special effects this movie features which, I admit, are delightfully gory and ambitiously modest to look at. Pacing is slow at first with all of the development taking place, but at least the stalk and chase-heavy last act made the wait worthwhile. In the end, Child Eater barely made a dent as a new age monster/slasher hybrid, but I will give its many attempts to do so their due as I can tell they really tried and the resulting product has potential. So if you like a good indie horror with villain that tops pretty near high at the creep-o-meter (and possibly open to the fact that the title can be a tad misleading) then I say go for this movie and give it a try.

1 male had his eyes gouged, brained
1 male had his eyes and tongue mauled off, killed
1 female mauled off-camera
1 female ran over by a car
Total: 4

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

"He may have been your father, Quill, but he wasn't your daddy."

Seen Guardians of The Galaxy Vol 2 last Saturday and, God damn, Yondu was awesome!

If you hadn't seen it (and you are not sick, not in jail, and/or a big Marvel fan), what the heck's wrong with you?!