Archive for movies

Upcoming 2010 Horror Releases

Posted in News with tags , on March 3, 2010 by gobbets

2010 is looking set to be a year dominated by remakes and sequels. We’ve seen this trend happening for a while – with reboots of 80s classics and easy-money-sequels dominating not just the horror field but mainstream cinema in general. But that’s not to say there aren’t a few gems to be seen nonetheless (I personally think any year that has a George Romero film is a good year!), and the shift to 3D has the potential to really work well in this genre (I may have to eat my words on that one – stay tuned!). Have a look at some of the releases that have got the horror community buzzing…

Which ones are you looking forward to?

Any you wouldn’t go near with a flamethrower?

A Nightmare on Elm St (April)
Remake of Wes Craven’s 1984 original. Featuring the now famous Freddy Krueger, who haunts and kills suburban teenagers in their dreams, the original film was credited with kicking off the modern slasher genre. Supposedly scarier and more serious (no more wisecracking Freddy) I wonder whether the charm of the original will be completely obliterated or just made more sinister?

Survival of the Dead (May)
Next installment in zombie master George Romero’s … of the Dead series – this time a group of survivors think they are close to finding a cure for the zombie plague.

Jonah Hex (June)
Based on the DC character of the same name, this film is a western/horror hybrid about a former confederate soldier and bounty hunter who has been near death so many times he has one foot on the ‘other side’. Current plot discussions online suggest that in the film Hex must track down a voodoo practitioner who is planning on raising a zombie army in the South.

Predators (July)
Scifi/horror hybrid designed as a sequel to the 1987 film Predator in which aliens come to earth to hunt humans for sport. (Yes, there has already been a sequel – Predators 2 in 1990 – apparently we are assuming that didn’t happen). The cameo by original star Arnold Schwarzenegger is yet to be confirmed.

Piranha – 3D (August)
Remake of the 1978 film of the same name. A volcanic tremor releases millions of piranhas into the local lake.

Resident Evil: Afterlife (September)
Fourth film in the series (not including the animated feature ) this time Alice joins forces with the inhabitants of a Los Angeles prison to fight off the zombie hordes. Also in 3D – which to the best of my knowledge is a first for a zombie film.

Saw VII (October)
Number 7 (and apparently final) installment in the franchise that launched the term ‘tortureporn’. This time also in 3D which could be interesting since the entire film is being designed for and shot in 3D rather than utilizing the usual 2D to 3D transfer.

Let Me In (October)
American remake of the 2008 Swedish vampire film Let the Right One In (based on the novel by John Lindqvist). This time set in New Mexico, it tells the story of a young teenage boy who becomes friends with a child vampire.

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The Wolfman: Lon Chaney would be proud

Posted in Reviews with tags , on February 25, 2010 by gobbets

Though film remakes have a reputation in horror circles of being unmitigated disasters (my hackles rise just thinking about Nicholas Cage butchering The Wicker Man!) I’m going to go out on a limb and say I love the new version on The Wolfman. Now the 1941 original starring Lon Chaney is an undisputed classic – but I think even the wolfman himself would howl with pleasure over this one.

The opening scene sends little shivers down the spine of the true fan who will immediately recognise the poem from the original:

Even a man who is pure in heart
and says his prayers by night
may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms
and the autumn moon is bright.

The Victorian setting-  replete with misty moors, eerie manor house housing ghosts of the family’s troubled past, and the usual gaggle of gypsys and superstitious locals – is new, but works well to create the right atmosphere of mystery and suspense (and of course to capitalise on the craze for all things Victorian at the moment!).

The inclusion of Hugo Weaving as Inspector Aberline (more famous for his work on the Jack the Ripper Case!) adds another element of interest into an already full dance card of celebrated character actors. Anthony Hopkins plays an eccentric and increasingly sinister patriarch (no surprises there!) and Benicio Del Toro (a collector of original Wolfman memorabilia) has just the right hangdog look to play the confused, melancholy Talbot Jnr.

The ‘look’ of the wolfman is strikingly similar to the original – with Del Toro becoming the man-wolf hybrid made famous by Lon Chaney rather than the ‘large wolf’ type werewolf favoured by modern films. Interestingly it seems the hirsuit Del Toro made make-up artist Rick Baker’s job a little harder: “Where do you go from there? He’s practically there as it is! … going from Benicio to Benicio as the Wolfman isn’t a really extreme difference” (you can read the rest of the interview here).

The attention to detail in the set is amazing – it will take a few watches to really see all the curios scattered through the house – and the clues to the real mystery of the wolfman that are hidden in plain sight. And I’m certain the cinematographers had enormous fun setting up shots that mirror those from the original film, but with a wry twist here and there.

The Wolfman is no ‘prodigal son’ but a faithful heir to the Hammer throne.

The best bits: the scene in the asylum’s lecture theatre, and the bloody fingerprints on the piano keyboard.

Rating: 4 severed thumbs

I’m game for Phoonk 2

Posted in News with tags on February 25, 2010 by gobbets

Bollywood Horror director Ram Gopal Varma has offered $10 000 to the person who can sit through his new film Phoonk 2, alone, till the closing credits, hooked up to medical equipment and a camera rig.  Although it seems he’s tried this publicity stunt before (read more here) with questionable intent, his film is certainly making news. You can watch the trailer here.

To me it doesn’t look all that different from the spate of evil-adolescent-ghost films we’ve seen coming out of Japan in recent decades. But it got me to thinking – what would make me stop watching? Where’s my limit?

So I’m curious: have you ever walked out of or tuned off a horror film? Which one?

Share your stories with us!

70 or so horror movies I must see before I die

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on February 20, 2010 by gobbets

I was appalled with myself yesterday. I flicked through my new copy of 101 Horror Movies You Must See Before You Die (ABC Books, 2009 ) only to discover I’d only seen about 30 of them. 30! That’s a bit less than a third – and these are apparently the best horror movies of all time. What have I been doing all these years?

In my defence, some of the titles chosen are still quite difficult to get a hold of on DVD (who has a VCR player these days?) and sadly I wasn’t around in the 60s to catch the classics of the genre at the drive in (patent on time machine pending). But it did make me realise how much there is still to explore.

So while my two all-time favourites made the editor’s cut: Polanski’s suspenseful Rosemary’s Baby (1968) and British occult masterpiece The Wicker Man (Hardy, 1973), I was like a kid in a candy store deciding what to try out next. The German expressionist classic The Golem (1920)? Or the notoriously exploitative Freaks (1932)?  I mean, who could resist that tagline: Can a full grown woman truly love a midget? Perhaps the Italian Dellamorte Dellamore (1994) – probably worth it just to see Rupert Everett battle zombies!

I’m going to do my best to track some of these down – so stay tuned!