I watch the short horror film “Treevenge” every December, but I wanted to highlight it here because I love it that much. In just 16 minutes of footage, Jason Eisner and Rob Cotterill (the guys behind Hobo With a Shotgun) show us what happens when Christmas trees seek revenge against the humans who mistreat them – and the results are grisly. YES, the acting is awful, it’s low budget, it is absolutely ridiculous, nonsensical (for some reason the Christmas tree language involves dolphin noises), and gory, but I just don’t care… I love this.
When I was just a little girl growin’ up in the ‘burbs only a few things truly scared me: cockroaches, the wrath of my older brother if I was caught using his Playstation, and Pinhead from Hellraiser. This movie could probably be best described by Stefon from SNL because it has everything: a Moroccan puzzle box that serves as a portal to hell, a slutty serial killer who harvests blood to reanimate her former lover, an entire legion of sadomasochists known as Cenobites (BADASS 80S MAKEUP EFFECTS ALERT), and oh, look what just walked in, “the human ribeye” – you know, it’s that thing where a dead guy lives in your attic and doesn’t have any skin. This was Clive Barker’s first feature film and it’s terrific because it’s probably the only horror movie whose characters are appropriate costumes for Comic-Con and a porn convention.
Red State is directed by Kevin Smith, stars the badass Melissa Leo and John Goodman, and is, in my opinion, a must watch! Three friends set out to get laid by a woman from an “adult friend finder” website, but quickly find themselves in the middle of a local cultish church’s ritualistic horror. There are epic action scenes and I really enjoyed this one; Smith clearly drew influence from effed up Westboro Baptist, hypocrisy in government, and the “end of days” hysteria/Mayan prophecies we were all supposed to die from.
I went to Redbox after work to see if I could rent The Purge for $1.20 because I had a feeling it wasn’t going to be that great, but it wasn’t available via Redbox yet so I drove home and ordered it from on-demand (can Blockbuster make a comeback, please?) Well, I wish I would’ve waited until it was available for only $1.20 because The Purge is a victim of having a fantastic concept (future America has a booming economy and 1% unemployment because the government allows murder to be legal for one night per year, aka”the purge”) but lackluster writing (kind of like this blog) and almost-but-not-quite-there performances. I’m a big fan of Ethan Hawke and the home invasion sub-genre, but this one left me saying “meh”.
Blessed be the new Founding Fathers, let us purge,
There’s so much I love about Rob Zombie’s best movie to-date, The Devil’s Rejects, and I proudly consider myself a dedicated member of its cult following. Sid Haig reprises his role as Captain Spaulding; a psychotic, vulgar clown and patriarch of the Firefly family, and the movie focuses on the Firefly’s cat-and-mouse game with the ruthless local police department (meanwhile they run amok in a murderous rampage). The Devil’s Rejects is equal parts grindhouse, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and the Manson family – nonsensical violence mixed with campy humor and lots of gore – and I’ll always wonder how Rob Zombie ended up marrying someone as pretty as Sherri Moon Zombie.
31 Nights of Horror, Night 9: The Conjuring (releasing on blu-ray October 22!)
Three sentence review:
Supernatural horror is one of my favorite sub-genres, and I’d argue that James Wan’sThe Conjuring is the best addition to this category in the last two decades – I mean, it’s Rated R just for scares alone (no gore, just lots of suspense and tension!) Ed and Lorraine Warren, real life paranormal experts previously best known for investigating the Amityville Horror House, finally have their incredible life stories put into the spotlight by the supremely talented Vera Farmigia and surprising horror regular, Patrick Wilson. Supporting actors Lili Taylor and Ron Livingston are excellent as the Perron’s, a husband and wife who move their entire family into a farmhouse with a gruesome past, and the movie clearly (and successfully) draws influence from retro horror gold like Poltergeist, The Amityville Horror, and the Exorcist.
31 Nights of Horror, Night 7: V/H/S 2 (Originally titled S-VHS)
WARNING: This film is for seasoned horror fans and I do not recommend casually watching this or popping it in for your Halloween pumpkin carving party.
Three (run-on) sentence review:
Just when I thought mainstream horror couldn’t get any more disturbing, more innovative, or shocking; that films like “The Conjuring” and “Cabin in the Woods” were the answer to modern horror’s lack of fresh, scary material, and just when I thought I had seen it all and could never ever possibly feel genuinely scared again, I watch V/H/S 2 and its four short films: Clinical Trials, A Ride in the Park, Safe Haven, and Slumber Party Alien Abduction. V/H/S 2 completely blows the first installment (which I reviewed last year and consider my favorite watch of 2012) out of the water and manages to pack four completely new and frightening short films into the same anthology/wrap-around narrative format we saw in the first V/H/S. The overarching story of the movie is about two investigators searching for a missing college student who stumble upon his weird collection of VHS tapes – the found-footage/POV camera style of all of the shorts are unnerving, and while all of the four installments are incredibly solid and frightening, “Safe Haven”, the third and best phase of V/H/S 2, left my jaw nearly dragging on the floor and I’m finding it hard to shake off some of the visuals and adrenaline rush it produced even an hour after the credits rolled.
“Clinical Trials” is about a man who agrees to test out a bionic eye with ghostly side effects.