Tuesday, May 27, 2008

OTR Tuesday

We like to think that in the comfortable everyday world that there are some things that absolute and final. And in fact some things are, but death is not one of them. It is an odd sensation when one first comes to the realization that they are no longer counted among the living. Simply shuffling off one's mortality isn't always easy. Understandably one becomes quite accustomed to having warm breath and a beating heart. Oh sure the white light is appealing, but for some it's just not quite right. Perhaps there's unfinished business, unrequited love, or perhaps penance or even revenge. For myself there is no better a place to entertain my fascination with life and death than here between them. Here is a trio of old time terrors which tell the tales of others whom have perhaps not made the journey to the lands beyond.

The Mysterious Traveler
No Grave Can Hold Me

Strange Doctor Weird
He Woke up Dead

The Day I Died

Sleep well,
Gary D. Macabre

Friday, May 23, 2008

Public Service Announcement: Making your zombie plan

Welcome to my place of repose here on the river Styx. Yes it's a quiet and peaceful place right now, but here between the living and the dead things can get interesting without a moments notice. Sure it usually starts over there in the land of the dead, but it almost certainly will have repercussions on the living world. It's almost mind boggling that the land of the living is perpetually caught unawares and unprepared. So here are some tips in preparing yourself and your family for the next inevitable Zombie breakout.

1. Know your Zombies: There are essentially three main category of Zombie, one should be able to identify each of these categories if one hopes to be able to effectively survive an outbreak.

Traditional Zombies--Classic or traditional Zombies can be identified by their vacant expression, relatively healthy complexion and robotic behavior.
These zombies are born of Voodoo practice. As such it is important to know they are not infectious and are always under the control of the individual whom is responsible for their creation. If you are facing attack of this type of zombie be warned it is extremely likely such attacks will persist until you find and deal with the voodoo Priest or Priestess who has it in for you. There is good news for you if this is your situation however. First off their numbers will be limited buy the number of recently deceased bodies available to the offended practitioner, the number vulnerable fools whom could be turned into living zombies and the relatively involved spells or "tricks" required to create them. Secondly this class of zombie is awkward and slow moving, making escape through limited confrontation a possibility. This type of zombie may still be an entranced living mortal or a deceased corpse, therefore a simple body blow or serious body wound may incapacitate or dispatch such a zombie, but then again it may not.
It is important to understand that there are relatively few films or accounts dealing with individuals dispatching traditional zombies, so I cannot say with certainty that even the tried and true shot to the head will achieve the desired results. The only certain way to deal with traditional Zombies is by dealing with the conjurer or with fire/incineration.

Modern Zombies--The living dead. First described by George Romero, this variety of Zombie can be easily recognized buy the shambling gait, the vacant expression the pallid gray complexion and the compulsive behavior directed towards attacking and consuming living human flesh. Unlike traditional zombies this variety can be quite vocal although completely incoherent. They do not obey a master rather they simply obey instinctual behavior: kill--eat.
The origins of this category of zombie is not entirely clear, whether it was of extraterrestrial/cosmic or earthly nature, the simple fact is that it is their existence is unintentional and is their behavior is not under intelligent control. Warning highly infectious! Whatever was the initial cause of the recently deceased returning to life, it is of relatively little consequence. Their numbers increase exponentially as any victims which are not consumed quickly succumb to a mysterious illness and upon death become zombies themselves. Although they are slow moving and, like traditional zombies, with some effort an individual may fight through them to escape, death due to infection is an extremely high risk.
Destroying Modern Zombies is relatively straight forward, however limited in options: destroy the brain, separate the brain from the brain-stem or incineration.

Contemporary Zombies: This category included supernatural zombies, pseudo zombies and non-zombies. Not all script writers or directors choose to stick with the rules established for Modern Zombies, and thus we end up with this motley collection of the undead or seemingly- undead, so beware if faced with zombies of this variety.
Because of the variable nature of this type of zombie, they can be more difficult to identify than the former groupings. However it is more often the trend for this type of zombie to be deceased for a greater period of time thus displaying a greater degree of bodily decomposition. Remember that in only a generalization however and does not necessarily apply. For example the non-dead are just that, living beings infected with a disease mimicking a zombie state and thus would show no decomposition or excessively pallid complexion, but are equally deadly and infectious. Unlike Traditional and Modern Zombies, Contemporary Zombies as of recent have been known to move exceedingly fast, so stay on your toes until you are certain of what type of zombie your are dealing with.
Again because the rules have been flaunted so loosely in the past, there is no simple or guaranteed way to dispatch a contemporary zombie. Even incineration of this class has been know to emit dust and smoke that can rain down creating more zombies from long dead corpses. Similarly supernatural zombies may only be susceptible to the destruction of the greater evil and magic that has created them. The majority however respond equally well to severe head trauma in the same manner as Modern Zombies, thus this is the recommended first course of action. The key here is buying yourself enough time to get as far away from them as possible.

2. Making a Plan: One should not live in fear of a zombie outbreak, but simply acknowledge the possibility and prepare accordingly, as one might keep candles, matches and a battery powered radio in event of a power failure or earthquake, or perhaps like one keeps fresh garlic and holy water on hand in case of vampires. Once one accepts the possibility of zombie attack and has an understanding of the various types of zombie, they should quickly outline a basic plan that ideally addresses all three varieties of zombie they may encounter.

3. Has it Happened Before?: Fact is zombie breakouts are usually dealt with within days of the initial outbreak by high ranking officials and military or national guard units. So if your area has not been previously affected a much more short-term rudimentary plan should be sufficient. However outbreaks tend to re-occur and usually the second time can be considerably worse with the possible collapse of civilization. If your area has had a previous outbreak, you should immediately begin outlining a long term and dramatic plan for the eventual second outbreak. Relocation of your residence should be a first consideration (hello Pittsburgh).

4. Location, Location, Location: Densely populated centers are likely to be the worst in the case of modern or contemporary outbreaks, while rural tropical localities are more likely to experience traditional outbreaks. Remote rural Northern communities are likely the last to be effected by a pandemic. In addition to there being a much smaller population to have to fend off, weaponry and ordinance may be more prolific in rural areas and more easily acquired while scavenging.

5. A Safe House: Consider your residence, are you in a place that can be easily defended? How about an escape route? Certainly a place you can readily defend is a good idea, but be careful not to trap yourself in the process. A basement may seem Ideal but what if there are more zombies than you can properly fend off? A staircase is much easier to defend than multiple entrances and windows, so a property with a second story is ideal, as the living dead do not have the mental capacity to scale the side of a building to get to the second floor. Apartment buildings can similarly be defended, however beware the fact you have numerous neighbors all around you who could become infected, making your condo complex a hive of the living dead. A multi story building may not have simple enough means of alternate escape either. Consider this when choosing your high-rise.

6. Weaponry: The ideal weapon to deal with Zombies is a firearm, in that they can be engaged at a distance to reduce the possibility of infection. Different firearms have their advantages and disadvantages. Shotguns have really limited usefulness for entering the skull and damaging the zombie's brain, so while they would be effected against mortal invasion (which is a distinct and real threat), the are not a good choice for zombie protection. Large caliber rifles have tremendous power to remove craniums and are exceedingly accurate, however are limiting at close range. Fully automatic firearms are relatively useless as they do a great job of spreading a lot of lead around, buy only a small percentage of bullets used would hit the required target. Handguns however, are ideal for close range protection, but are less accurate and do not have as powerful cartridges as rifles. All firearms however are limited to the amount of available ammunition and reload rate. My personal weapon of choice is the Lee Enfield rifle. With the renowned speed of the bolt action (hence the mad minute), the ten round magazine, stripper-clip loading and a 17 inch bayonet they are a very formidable weapon.

Other weapons of choice: Chainsaws are very popular and if you happen to have one handy well why not, but in the end they are limited to their fuel and are rather unwieldy. If you are preparing for a secondary outbreak which in all likelihoods will last a while, tools or weapons that best represent a medieval lineage are likely the best choice long term. Examples would be baseball bats, axes or machetes. These will not fail you even it matters the most. But remember in hand to hand combat you are most likely to succeed against one or two individuals rather than against a horde pouring through a door or window which are likely to overwhelm you.

7.Long Term Planning: If your area is likely susceptible to a long term outbreak, then it would be wise to consider how you will acquire other necessities such as food and water, and replenish other supplies when necessary. Again counting on large public outlets and chain-stores, while they may appear attractive are wrought with danger, and might be best avoided unless absolutely necessary. Don't forget that these places are typically loaded with people and this could translate to more zombies, additionally other survivors and looters will have though of such facilities before hand and may be quite aggressive.

8. Other Survivors: Be careful out there. Not every survivor is necessarily going to wish you the best. they may be violent and present as much or greater a risk to your well being that the zombie horde if they become desperate and are otherwise ill prepared.

9. Other Contingencies: A good zombie plan will also prepare you for other contingencies such as home invasion of post apocalyptic holocaust, so once you have your basic plan in place consider how it can be easily modified to suit other conditions and threats. For example stocking a couple silver bullets just in case of werewolves too is a simple extension if you have chosen to have a firearm.

So there you have it follow theses simple steps when formulating your own Zombie Plan and you will likely survive the next zombie outbreak.

Gary D. Macabre

*update* as this post has taken on a life of it's own it would appear, I am adding links to forther related posts: A Further Guide to Zombie Planning - Firearms Part 1 - Firearms Part 2
Additional future zombie guide posts will be linked here as well.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Guest Blog :Arbogast on Film

My first reaction upon seeing photos of the cast of the 2008 remake of LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT was "Funny, they don't look Jewish."

I consider Wes Craven's LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (1972) to be one of the great unintentional blood libels of the latter half of the 20th Century. I don't think for a minute that Craven is anti-Semitic but rather that he, like all of us, carries with him learned associations that exist apart from his conscious mind. Just as David Lynch has in the past identified a sense of evil in effeminacy (BLUE VELVET) and ethnicity (WILD AT HEART), Wes Craven particularizes in LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT his perception of pure evil with a distinctly Hebraic flavor. Though none of the characters identify themselves explicitly as being Jewish, David Hess' Krug is depicted as an obnoxious cigar-smoking "Jew Yorker" whose perpetual stubble, curly hair, olive-colored skin and outer borough accent code him as an obvious Heeb. Add to that, Krug has been convicted for the killing of a Catholic priest and two nuns.

Cast in the role of Krug's accomplice, Weasel Podowski, Fred J. Lincoln wears the slate-colored hair and slack suit of a Lower East Side alter cocker while both Jeramie Rain (as Sadie, a common Jewish name that also brings to mind Manson killer Susan Atkins, aka Sadie Mae Glutz) and Marc Sheffler (as Krug's schlemiel of a son, Junior) have "difficult" ethnic hair. Weasel's rap sheet identifies him as a child molester, which fits the historical blood libel that slandered Jews as sacrificers of children. The quartet is shown to be "animal-like," to inhabit a dirty tenement (a dwelling associated with foreigners) and, while transporting their kidnap victims from the city to the country, Krug and Sadie engage in rear-entry sex (coitus more ferarum, or "sex by way of the beasts"), a form of copulation frequently associated (however unfairly) with non-Christians.

The transition of the kidnappers/killers from the city to the country is a key element of LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, illustrating an old white Anglo-Saxon fear of the contamination of suburbia's assumed purity by ethnic types (as Fairfield County, the film's location and setting, became a destination for upwardly mobile urban Jews post-World War II). The waspy surname of one of the victims and her parents, Collingwood, is eerily similar to Sadie's imaged alias (Agatha Greenwood), suggesting that Krug & Company aspire in some part to assimilate even while they shred the very fabric of Christian society.

In the film's most disturbing sequence, Krug, Weasel and Sadie kill their captives after stripping them and humiliating them sexually. When Phyllis tries to escape, she is run to ground, stabbed and then butchered in a scene that can't help but evoke shechita, or Jewish ritual slaughter. Phyllis' intestines are pulled out of her oozing abdominal cavity and examined, as a shochet would do to determine if a slaughtered animal were fit to be declared kosher. Obviously, Phyllis' disemboweling is not genuinely kosher but does suggest that Krug & Co. are operating on auto pilot, as if by collective cultural memory, in the same way that their earlier torment of Phyllis and Mari echoed the treatment of Jews bound for concentration camps. The kidnappers seem to be maltreating their captives as a form of confused racial self-hatred, channeling ritualistic acts that both glorify and slander their ancestors.

Having killed Phylllis, Krug rapes Mari... but not before he uses a switchblade to carve his name into her sternum. This gesture reminded me of Rabbi Lowe scratching the word "EMET" into the forehead of The Golem. (With his helmet hair, Krug even resembles Paul Wegener's iconic 1920 interpretation of THE GOLEM.) As EMET is the Hebrew word for "truth," Krug's mutilation of Mari might be said to be his way of sending a wake-up call to WASP society, announcing both his arrival and his intention to destroy their four-square, missionary position world. (In this regard, Krug also bears a resemblance to the character of Berger from the musical HAIR, who comes to his position of iconoclastic hippie king from a distinctly urban Jewish environment.) And can it be mere coincidence that Krug comes to his decision to shoot Mari after having overheard her reciting the Lord's Prayer, as she wades into a woodland pond in a cleansing act of self baptism?

At this point it's worth remembering that LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT is a remake of sorts of Ingmar Bergman's THE VIRGIN SPRING (1960), a Medieval morality tale set at a time when Christianity was waging war against Paganism for world and spiritual dominance. LAST HOUSE hews closely to the VIRGIN SPRING template by having its spree killers (who pose as salesmen, and in so doing aligning themselves with Jews via the merchant class) taken in by Mari's parents, who feed them in a scene that mimics da Vinci's The Last Supper (while leaving an empty chair in the foreground - for Elijah?). Over the course of the evening, the truth comes out and Mari's parents turn on her killers. While the ensuing slaughter is strong stuff, the third act's oddest/most brutal bit of business is Mrs. Collingwood's oral castration of Weasel in a scene that seems to mock the Jewish rite of circumcision (thus explaining the chair left empty for Elijah). It should also be noted that she performs this act after first using Weasel's leather belt to bind his hands in what could be construed as an allusion to the philactery, the calfskin box containing Hebraic scripture that some Jews wear strapped to their heads and wrapped around their left arms during weekday prayers.

Again, I hasten to add that I don't believe ex-Baptist Wes Craven set out to slander the Jews with LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT but the Jewishness of the killers he created cannot be ignored. My feeling is that Craven was writing/casting/directing instinctively from a series of societal and cultural presets and prejudices. Certainly, living and working (first as a taxi driver and then as a young filmmaker) in New York, Craven would have had plenty of negative experiences with people of all ethnic persuasions. I half suspect Krug was modeled on a particularly noxious distributor who blew fetid cigar smoke in Craven's face while cheating him out of profits. However it all came together, these textures (real or imagined) give the original LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT intriguing layers of meaning. You won't find this kind of subtext in a New Millennium remake claiming to pay homage to 70s cinema while pissing all over a glorious, difficult and demanding decade that was never afraid to get blood on its hands.

Arbogast's blog Arbogast on Film can be found HERE

Friday, May 16, 2008

Post Mortem

I've decided to try something new this week, I call it the Post Mortem. Instead of reviewing a film in it's entirety I figure I'll cut to the chase and review the juicy bits, the death scenes. As well it should be said that this review is focused on victims and not the final fate of the primary antagonist, monster, etc.

I figure a death scene is comprised of five main components; first and foremost the manner of death, the effect it has on the story and plot, the appearance and direction of the scene, the overall mood of the scene, and lastly the acting.

Here is how I will go about assessing the scenes.
Each of these categories will receive a score on a scale of 0-5

Manner of Death: How did the Character Die? Was it interesting? Creative? Well suited to the story? Otherwise satisfying or disturbing to the audience?

Effect on Story: Did the character's death forward the plot of the film in any significant or meaningful way? Did it provide tension, character motivation, a sense of impending doom or vulnerability to the other characters? This is the only Category that will be ranked on it's relation to the rest of the film and not it's individual merits.

Appearance and/or Visual Direction: Quite simply that. did the scene look good or was it goofy? Was the amount of blood and gore suitable for not only the manner of death, but was it suitable for the overall film, was it "over the top"? Did the director make good or poor choices in the scene's execution (excuse the pun)?

Mood: Related to appearance and direction, this category however is not so much about the visuals as the feelings imparted on the audience. Did the director provide a setting and and overall feeling that let a distinct and desired impression on the audience? Was it creepy, suspenseful, or scary?

Acting: This one kind of goes without saying. Did the actor or actress make the scene believable? Did they transmit their feelings to the viewer? Quite simply, was the acting good, decent or poor?

So for my inaugural Post Mortem I have selected a film which runs the whole gambit;

Post Mortem: American Werewolf in London
Body count: 10 werewolf victims, 6 Nazi monster victims, numerous traffic fatalities.

Jack's demise
Manner: Attacked and mauled by a Werewolf on the Moors of England. Being mauled by a werewolf in a werewolf film may seem predictable so some, but that's what I expect and want to see in such a film. Perhaps falling and impaling himself would have been less predictable, but far less satisfying. Full marks for being mauled by a werewolf.
5/5 (excellent)

Effect: Jack's animated corpse/ghost/embodiment of David's psychosis what have you is integral to the plot of the story.

Appearance/direction: This scene was shot beautifully wispy mist on the dark moors, only being able to see a few meters (yards) before darkness complete immerses the viewer, especially in a darkened theatre. the amount of gore in this scene was not over the top but rather very much what one would expect from a mauling of a large animal.

Mood: The lead up with the monster circling them, the suspense of the howling in the distance, fact they failed to heed the villagers' warnings. Led you to know something ad was indeed going to happen, and even then the attack comes out of nowhere as a surprise. I have to admit this could well be the best death scene in horror movie history.

Jack's struggle beneath the beast while screaming for help was fantastic, and really the most brutal mauling in the film. But I have to admit the line where he screams "It's killing me!", although I can't say that the line was out of place, it stood out and was a bit redundant. For that it gets a point against it. (that and it helps establish I'm not a pushover on my ratings, I'm actually a tough marker)
4.5/5 (very good)

Overall with a total of 24.5/25 this scene gets an A+. So the bar is set, for my money this is possibly one of the greatest scenes in Horror history.

OK this was a weird side trip that really was Landis on a tangent. And I loved it. Grind House Exploitation written all over it. Pointless but fun.

Manner: Deformed mutants in Nazi uniforms but in to the family home and kill everyone. I know there are people who hate this scene, but you have to give it credit. In a film where people are getting chewed to bits by werewolves, this scene is unique and unexpected.

Effect: OK for those of you who hate this scene, you'll like this score. As it has NOTHING to do with the film or his fears of turning into a werewolf, nor move the plot along in any manner whatsoever I gotta' be firm. but I'm giving it a single point as it does shake the audience up and that was it's sole purpose.

Appearance: OK this is a hard one. Do I rank it based on the fact it was Nazi monsters in immovable rubber masks with bullets flying everywhere and bodies flying away like cartoons, or as ...well it had Nazi monsters in immovable rubber masks with bullets flying everywhere and bodies flying away like in cartoons? In other words was it supposed to be this bad? Well I think it was. If it was a whole movie of this stuff it would be one thing, but as a dream sequence it's quite another.

Mood: Well it definitely served the purpose it was meant for, shock and surprise.

Acting: Even if it was meant to be a bad dream the acting was still pretty poor. More grind house feel IMO, but still pretty bad.

Overall this scene really doesn't benefit from my analysis one way or another. Viewers really need to form their own opinions on this one. But as this is my duty here is the final mark; 16.5/25, 66%, C

First Victims:
Manner: Again shredded by a werewolf in an setting fully appropriate to the film gets high marks. The actual attack does not vary much from the initial attack on Jack and David, and in fact runs the same pretty much through the entire film. So for this fact it was good but not excellent.
4/5 (good)

Effect: Well a werewolf movie without people being eviscerated would be pretty boring, so this scene is a necessity for the story, but does not advance plot or character motivation. That this is David's first kill it gets a bonus to make it a bit better than average.
3.5/5 (better than average)

Appearance/direction: Care free couple on a night out visiting. Dark night on the edge of a park setting looks good, but really not much else as the actual blood letting happens off screen. I do have to say that Landis I feel made the right decision to leave most of the maulings off screen after giving us a very powerful visual in the first attack on the moors. The fact we later see the results in part with a mutilated and severed arm is a powerful and graphic image only upping in the audiences imagination what went on after the cut.

Mood: Well really not much of a set up. Victims step out of a cab and whammo they're eaten by a werewolf. In the context of the film, not every scene needs to be powerful but on it's own merits, which this is all about it's just not there.
2/5 (fair)

Acting: This one is almost not applicable, but I will rate it on it's lead-up and there it is completely average at best. In fact really it seemed they had a few before going out (perhaps based on the couple we later see whom they were going to visit, that is quite understandable). Regardless I'm giving them a hard score.
2.5 (below average)

Overall 15.5/25 This scene comes in at 62% which gets it a passable C-.

Homeless Guys:
Manner: Same as before. Although personally I've always hated the drunks and the homeless hanging out along the paths by the river in Calgary, pissing under the bridges, etc. I always though a large carnivore lurking the banks would be a nice addition and there would be no shortage of prey (yeah so know you get that I'm really not such a nice and charitable guy), so this scene works for me.

Without the benefit of being David's first kill this is another monster killing people scene. Hay that's a big part of monster movies, I get that, but that doesn't make it any better than average.
3/5 (average)

Appearance: I really liked the look of this scene and the set up with the dog. Much better than the previous scene with the socialites. But again a cut away left entirely to our imagination and without follow up. Again works in the context of the larger film but really hurts the scene on an individual ranking system.

Mood: Better mood and lead-up for certain. Again too bad there's no payoff.
3.5/5 (above average)

Acting: All said I like these three I thought they played it pretty well.
4/5 (good)

Overall, for a scene without out payoff perhaps I'm being a bit generous. 17.5/25 is a 70%, B-

Manner: You got it folks another off screen cut-away werewolf mauling.

Effect: The third in a series of brutal slayings on the night. So really nothing new here for effect either. Really if this scene wasn't the best of the trio it would crater pretty hard in this category. It was a good decision to save the best of the three for last.

Appearance: This scene is completely out of place being in a subway, but the fact it's late at night and the subway is otherwise deserted, it's creepy in itself. So this setting does indeed work.
The scene plays a lot longer than the previous ones and the character is actively pursued and stalked in bright light which is quite powerful. Perhaps it is the fact we are all used to busy places like this that it's emptiness is unsettling to us. The stalking and the desperate escape could be from a mugger or a rapist, whatever and it would play the same. Very real and personal to the audience. Landis made great choices in shooting this scene the way he did. Some great shots, especially the overhead shot at the escalator where we actually get a pretty good view of the creature for the first time.

Mood:You knew this guy was a gonner, but the desperation of the scene was all there.

Acting: Following up on the Appearance and the Mood, if the acting failed here, if the victim didn't seem sincerely shocked and terrified it would have fallen flat. I have to give this one top marks.

Overall this was a great scene, cut-away or not. 22/25, 88% or A

Theatre Usher and Manager: OK there's two killings here, but they're so intertwined I'm lumping them together.
Manner: More monster mayhem, and cut-away killings. (if you haven't caught on most of the gore in this film isn't actually filmed while people are being butchered, but in eviscerated body parts and decomposing ghosts. But that's OK there's still plenty of gore to go around.)
The fact the usher is killed immediately after being transfixed, watching David turn into a werewolf in a porno theatre definitely has to get some bonus points in the manner category.

Effect: Well this is the beginning of the climax of the movie, so I suppose I could rank the deaths on that. More to the fact he is right down town in Picadilly Circus when he turns and kills these two than the murders themselves. By this they are more significant to the progress of the story than many of the previous deaths.

Appearance: Not much to be said for appearance here, it's in a darkened porno theatre. The werewolf discovered ingesting the corpse of one of the men was nice and juicy however.

Mood: Not much for mood either.

Acting: The usher watching him turn into a wolf was rather amusing, when you keep in mind this guy has probably thought to this point he'd seen everything one could in a smut shack. And the manager showed suitable emotion, but nothing here moved me to score them above average.

Overall: Well it is what it is, 16.5/25, %66, C

Picadilly Cop:
Manner: The first to be visibly decapitated by the werewolf, infact this is the first on screen mauling sing the intro.

Effect: None really just creating havoc on the streets. After all at least one person had to get shredded in that crowd.

Appearance: Even though this was the first on screen werewolf killing since Jack's death it really kind of fell flat visually. Perhaps it was for the best that the rest of the murders were cut-away.

Mood: The public curiosity followed by panic and the screaming cops were good. More action than moody however.

Acting: Lets scream as wolf grabs at your neck and then we cut to see your head bounce off the hood of a car. Nope not much acting.

Overall a terribly weak scene but it gets quickly absorbed in the ensuing confusion and we look past it. This is fortunate, as otherwise it would be a big downer on a pretty solid monster flick with respectable death scenes. 13.5/25, 54%, D

There you have it. Feel free to nominate another film or even a scene and we'll put the 'scope to it.
Gary Macabre

Friday, May 9, 2008

Bad Ads: Sea Monkeys

Really what kid didn't have God like visions of creating life and a society of these little monkey like creatures when they saw them in the back of the comic books. Sure we all know what they actually contained, but this is what we all saw when we read the ad.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Scream Anne, Scream for your Life

"Now you see it, You're amazed, you can't believe it. Your Eyes open wider. It's Horrible Anne, but you can't look away. There's no chance for you Anne, no escape. You're helpless Anne, helpless.
There's just one chance... if you can scream! But your throat's paralyzed, try to scream Anne, TRY! Perhaps if you didn't see it you could scream. Throw your Arms across your eyes and scream Anne, SCREAM FOR YOUR LIFE!"

So here is your chance to be discovered and become the next scream queen, or at least make $250.00 and that's good too. Besides you never really know where life (or death) will take you.

Ryne at The Moon is a Dead World blog has put out the call for submissions to Urban Chillers Scream Contest.
"Urban Chillers are having a contest for the best creative scream.
What I can tell you is that it's a contest for May that asks submitters to
post a video of a creative scream, taken all in one shot, no edits, in 2
minutes or less, and shot on a camera phone. You can win $250 at the end
of May, and there are runner up prizes as well."

For details if your the next Fay Wray here's the place to go... http://urbanchillers.com/contest/

Gary Macabre

Saturday, May 3, 2008

The Girl Next Door

The discussion on excessiveness in Torture themed horror lead me to the film The Girl Next Door which was stated to be taking the next ground breaking step in crossing the line of inappropriateness.

I wasn't particularly interested in this movie, and all said I'm not a big fan of the "torture porn" that has been touted as horror recently, but I have to admit, the talk of "new ground" intrigued me enough to watch it. What is new ground, where can it go. I'm a pretty unemotional detached fellow (admittedly to the extent that it wigs some people out) So lets go for the dark. Well here's my review of the film:

I you are looking for SAW or Hostel, you are in the wrong place. Gore, torture and terror are not what this movie is about.
To be honest I'm not sure that the classification of horror is quite right for this film, all though by definition it was indeed horrifying, but really that was not the direction or intent of the movie, no more than Brokeback Mountain was a Western.

I think I would describe this film as the Wonder Years meets The People Under the Stairs. The point of view is not so much the physical victim, but the outsider trapped in the web who develops a close sympathetic bond with the victim and is forced to suffer along with her as he struggles with his own fears and uncertainties for her and how to best help her while he himself is trapped in a less literal way. Even the peripheral characters who are as much the bad guys are in themselves victims of the main antagonist's cruelty and disturbed methods of up-bringing.

As the audience we sit helpless for 89 minutes watching this unfold, unable to change what we are seeing before us. Through this we sympathize, and really do in our own minds become the lead character in the movie. From an initial and innocent morbid curiosity to the final soul scarring finale. Unquestionably, anyone leaving this movie with anything less than a dark somber feeling of distaste and the need for a hot shower is more disturbed of an individual than I and should likely be avoided at all costs.

It is a strong movie with good writing which tells it's story and gets it across with crystal clarity to the audience. Nowhere does it get distracted, or confusing. All the actors play their roles sincerely and credibly. Definitely worth the viewing if one is willing to pay the price.

Gary D. Macabre