Sunday, April 10, 2011

"You see, Jason was my son, and today is his birthday... "

Friday the 13th (1980) Directed by Sean S. Cunningham


I enjoyed this one very much. I think that this one is the second film this semester that freaked me out! While watching the film I would predict what was going to happen but it wouldn’t happen that way! Crazy! There were many times that I just knew that the POV of the camera was the killer’s and that (spoiler!) she was going to kill someone. So just as I would pull the pillow, covering half my face, waiting for that moment, it would never come. Just as I became comfortable again and let my guard down, BAM!, the unexpected would happen. This was great! I do enjoy watching a horror film where I know what’s going to take place so that I won’t get scared. But it was refreshing to no trust the director. It made the movie watching experience so exciting!

The killer in this film was quite different from “A Nightmare on Elm Street”. Instead of some psycho dude with a liking for sharp objects we now have a crazy woman with hatred towards summer camp counselors. The director threw me off when the direct of the camp went off for about half of the film. I was almost convinced that he was the killer. So when Jason’s mom showed up, I was blown away! There was a scene in the film where she was hiding in the bushes, her hand was the camera and I immideately thought that the hand belonged to a man and not a woman. That brings up the question: When films like this are made, do we (as viewers) always assume the killer is a man? 

I'll give this a 4 out of 5 stars!  :)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

"What can be seen, can't always be proven."

Film: A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) Directed by the legendary Wes Craven.

This movie changes the game of slasher killer. Instead of having a real person going around killing people, the killer is in the character's dreams and can't be proven to be a real killer. He is in certain people's head and only they can experience him. Craven brings in the supernatural into the story by having Freddy be a literal dream killer. Doing this can make a viewer question what they are truely afraid of. Is what they are scared of real or is it all constructed in their mind. The "monsters" like the Boogyman and whatever it is that lives under the bed, don't harm us in real life; which implies that people just construct it in their minds. The character of Freddy is be believed by others, not real and that the kids made it up. Except for the part where he kills them. There is also the big question about how much of our dreams really affect our life, "If we fall off a building and die in our dream will we die also?" This film takes that question and answers with a crazy "yes". 

The special effects are awesome in this film. Freddy walks through a jail cell!!! Even for a crew in 2011, making this happen can prove to be a bit challenging. There's maggots coming out of Freddy, bugs crawling out of Tina, the carpeted stairs become gooey, and of course a load amount of blood. Even Freddy's makeup is crazy good. Compared to the trailer and pictures for the new Nigtmare, I think this Freddy is way more scarier. The burns on his face are horrific! His face seems to show what is supposed to be muscle and bone while the new Freddy's face is more like donor skin graphs were placed. There was a sheet that was moving and no one was moving it! Effects that would seem to be so simple for us were difficult in the past but sometimes (this is one of those times) they turn out to be better than the present. 

The camera work was really good also. Sometimes the viewer is Freddy, sometimes the characters are put in our face, and sometimes the viewer is placed in abstract angles and places. When Tina wakes in the beginning, she awakens suddenly to the camera. During the night when Freddy tries to break through the ceiling, the camera is also at a high angle on the same plane as the ceiling. These types of angles and placements can create suspense, the awkard placement of the viewer being the killer which would imply that the viewer is killing all these people, or can also place the viewer in a position of isolation from the characters so to make them feel like they cant get any help. There isn't a camera shot that does not work for this film. Everything from the story, effects, and camera work is done smoothly and all of it flows so well together. This is a masterpiece.

Wes Craven is brilliant! I love this movie! I will be buying this movie!!

 *Side note: When Glenn dies all that blood must have come from everyone Freddy killed cause on human being can't have that much blood in them....   :)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Film: The Omen (1976) directed by 

The Omen is a great horror story of the Antichrist being born during our time. Many interpret the book of Revelations in the Bible to say that when the end of the world comes and Jesus returns, the Antichrist will be living among us. For those that do read the book that way the idea that the son of Satan is living in as a child among us, is very terrifying. Hence, a perfect horror film. Horror films are all about playing out people's worst fears and this one without-a-doubt, is doing exactly that. When thinking of this subject, one tends to ask questions. Why is he here? What will he do while he is here? Who will be siding with him in his endeavor? The answers to these questions can be seen throughout the film as if to be the director's own opinion of what it will look like.

The imagery in this film was wonderful! At one point in the film when the photographer and Mr. Thorn are climbing a fence that I thought about The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. It appeared to have that eerie sense among the ends of the fence poles. The eeriness of the film translates with the camera work also. There were many high angle and low angle shots and also tilts. It seemed to give the viewer a sense of being a higher being. The bird's eye view can give the viewer the sense that they are like God watching from heaven. Tilting the camera at an angle can skew what's going on especially if what is happening is something that seems to be crazy. 

I enjoyed this film alot! Many viewers are used to seeing or thinking of Satan to be in the form of a man rather than a child. We are so used to thinking about how children are so innocent and a clean slate waiting to be formed in to young people, and in this film the child does not have any innocence (just like in "Let the Right One In"). It can be really scary to think that children already have the mind of adults and think such horrible things.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Film: Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) Directed by Philip Kaufman.

This movie was creepy good. Not quite what I expected it to be, which was good. The title lead me to believe that it would be about aliens but thankfully it wasn't (kinda). The actual body snatchers came from outer-space but it was the government who was in control of it all. Once again, big brother just can't keep his hands off our lives. :) 

And also the generic story of humans not being able to escape the "monster", and it's great. Not only can the characters escape from the snatchers in the town they are living in but the "disease" is also being transported on boats out of the city which implies that the government is spreading it all over the country. Nowhere to run to! At first I was a little sad when I saw that the two main characters were going to escape on a ship. But all was restored when I witnessed the crate of creepy pods were being loaded on that ship. After that moment I knew the younger looking Donald Sutherland would have to become one of the emotionless zombie people walking around (Spoiler Alert!: he did.).

I really liked how the "alien" in this film wasn't really an alien and how the government was trying to take over people. It gave a new idea to the alien type film. Instead of the aliens being hostile towards us, "Big Brother" was enlisting the help of some unknown plant to take over the world. It makes one think about how much trust to put into our government and how much we should trust them with our lives. 

Saturday, February 26, 2011

"Some yell and scream, some go quietly, some explode, some implode, but all will try to take you with them. "

Film: The Lost Boys (1987) Directed by Joel Schumacher.

I enjoyed this film so much that I also watched Lost Boys: The Thirst and Lost Boys: The Tribe. In that order too. I know, kinda backwards. 

I felt that this movie went a little too quickly at the beginning. Not long after the family moves to California David is progressing to a vampire. The way that he was changing was very different from other vampire films. Instead of biting, David drinks the blood of one of the vampires from a bottle which David believes is some alcohol. The majority of vampire films the victim has to get bitten by a vampire in order to become one. Signifying the transfer of bodily fluids, as a sexual transfer. But in this case all that was taken away. The history and interest behind vampires is dismissed into something as simple as taking a drink. Maybe it's a way to show how easy it is to fall into temptation. The spiritual side of vampires. The whole religious background to vampires is that they represent all the sin and evil in the world. Something else that I see in other vampire films is the aspect of dying. I have seen that humans become vampires once they are bitten and once they have "died". Hence, the term "undead". The humans in these films just have to make their first kill. Once they have done that, the become full vampire.  In this film the creators took out the consequences of being a vampire out. There isn't a transfer of a disease and the human doesn't have to sacrifice their life to be this "creature".

The camera work was cool in this film. At times the camera would put the viewer in the place of the vampires. Times when they were flying and chasing their victims. It made the viewer be the villian of the film at certain parts of the story. It gives more suspense to the film for the viewer to watch the movie that way. The camera makes it seem that they are the vampires. Something else I liked was that the camera would hide the vampires when they would be aggravating the humans. The vampires would be going around the house reving the engines of their motorcycles, yelling and screaming; creating chaos. All the while none of the characters could see them and neither could we. There were other times in the film when that would happen. As the viewer, I felt the chaos around the characters and it made me feel uneasy and nervous.

I enjoyed this film. Corey Feldman was hilarious in all three of them! I loved his hashed-out personality. He was so funny!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

"Well, she didn't want to tell us about the second croc 'cause she was afraid we'd blow its head off. "

Film: Lake Placid (1999) Directed by Steve Miner. 

Betty White was brilliant in this film! She was almost clueless to what was going on just as if she were a old senial woman. Her comic character brought a refreshing break to the suspense that was in the film.

My biggest question for this film is; What's the difference between Jurassic Park (action/adventure), Jaws (thriller), and Lake Placid (horror)? For I would have probably categorize them all the same as thriller. They each have the suspense that follows the anxiety of a creature going around following its instincts. In all three there is something that is trying to feed it’s hunger as a predator. In Jurassic Park there is the T-Rex, in Jaws there is the shark, and in Lake Placid it’s the ridiculously large crocodile. Another would be the amount of deaths in the films. In Wolfman, Survival of the Dead, and in Scream the amount of deaths is astronautical while in Lake Placid only two people died. For me, for a film to be horror there needs to be some kind of blood bath. People need to die! :) That's what makes horror so horrifying. For something other than mother nature being able to take one's life so quickly scares people; scares me. 

There was a major dose of suspense in this film. I found myself jumping a few times throughout the viewing. The knowing of what is to come and the music behind the feeling brought tension that had me hanging on for every second. Even though I knew the scuba guy in the beginning was about die but there was suspense or tension about when it would happen. That is how it was for the other killings. As the viewer I knew that they were going to die but I didn't know how long I had to wait for it to happen.

I found the script to be a little bland. The dialogue did not captivate me and the story line was kinda boring. Unlike Jurassic Park, Survival of the Dead, and Scream all of the characters could have gotten away if they had just left the area. Though it is seem that they have a moral conscious, the park rangers and police officers, they are characters of a film and the writers made it too easy for them to not get killed. In Jurassic Park the characters were on a distant island constantly surrounded by killer dinosaurs and in Survival of the Dead the characters were once again on some island surround by zombies trying to eat them. Not to say that it only works when the characters are on some island surrounded something that wants to kill them but both of those have the characters in some situation where they literally can not escape from the horror they are going to experience. In Lake Placid, the characters are in the mountains having to deal with 2 just 2 crocodiles.  

The croc in this film was ridiculously big and that was awesome! I would totally categorize this under thriller rather than horror.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

"That's the last hitchhiker I ever pick up."

Film: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), directed by Tobe Hooper.

According to Box Office Mojo this film was rated number 3 in 1974 with a gross of almost 31 million dollars. Continually for years now I have heard how this movie was amazing in all aspects and something that sits on the pedestal of horror films. I fear that I must disagree with that thinking. 

This film, for me, lacked many things that I feel should be in a horror film; timing, suspense, lighting, etc. Without such things, made me bored and tired. I almost fell asleep a few times! The disappointment I feel towards this movie has much to do with the low budget and lack of technology compared to now. Not that horror films require the technology we have now but because I have grown with the technology around me, it makes it hard for me to enjoy films that others have found to be so awesome.

“Observe due measure, for right timing is in all things the most important factor.” -Hesiod

One of the things lacking in this film was timing. It first started off very slow, went very quickly about half way through the movie, and then slowed down for the last part of the film. This timing made the film seem disjoint and choppy. It didn't flow smoothly from act to act. Though an upside to this disjoint makes it very easy for the viewer to identify all 3 acts of the film. For the first 35 minutes of the film nothing really happens except the kids on the trip pick up and then drop off a hitch-hiker. Then for another maybe 20-30 minutes four of the five kids are killed off almost back to back. Then that leaves about another 30 minutes of so for Leatherface to chase the remaining kid around the property until he either kills her or she gets away. The timing for this film wasn't put together quite right for my tastes.


Lighting...Oh the lighting. Another major turn-off for me towards this film was the lighting. I couldn't grab the suspense that I wanted to feel because I couldn't see anything going on. The sets were lighted so poorly that it was hard to tell what was going on in the film. Franklin, a major character who was a subject to his wheelchair, hurt himself somehow once the kids reached the house but I'm not sure what really happened cause the area he was at was almost black. I am for certain that the reason this film was not lighted properly was because of the budget they lacked, but because it was not lighted correctly I did not enjoy as I know I should have.

So far in this semester I have come to realize that there is a fine line for making a good horror film and it is very difficult walking this line. Too much blood and gore and the film becomes distasteful and disgusting (which I know some directors want that). Not enough substance in the plot and the film becomes boring and predictable. It is hard constructing a good horror film that everyone will appreciate. I guess that is why the "classics" are so few and rare.


Next week: Creatures--> The Blob and Lake Placid 


P.S. I CANT BELIEVE THEY LIED TO ME!! I trusted them and they betrayed me!! :)

Friday, February 11, 2011

"Hello Sydney......"

film: Scream (1996) Directed by Wes Craven. 

This is the first film this semester that has freaked me out! And I liked it! :) 

And it all started one night with a simple phone call........

Wes Craven, one of the masters of horror, has created a film that had me on the edge of my seat and peeking through my fingers. He takes no time to throw the viewer into the terror and gore. Seconds after the intro plays the first kill comes into play. The tension of knowing what is to come builds over a lengthy time and then continues through the rest of the film. There aren't any moments in the film where the viewer would feel comfortable.

This "monster" is very different from the others I have seen so far this semester. Here we don't know the identity of the killer till the end. And for me, it wasn't who I expected it to be. The killers of the past films were creatures with an uncontrolled "natural instinct". This film has a human killer with out any "natural instincts" to kill people, but yet he does. This killer twisted the film entirely for the characters and made the viewers questioned who was innocent and who really was killing those people. I found myself constantly saying, "Who is this guy?" The suspense of not knowing who it is helps to increase the tension of the film. For until now I knew who the killer is in the past films and there is a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach because I didn't know who this masked man was. I did not like it.

The storyline for this film was hilarious. The whole thing is based off horror films using the same rules described in the film. Randy, a extreme horror movie buff, continually tells the viewer what is going to happen throughout the film. Though because of the personality the character has, that cause the viewer to not take him seriously and dismiss everything he tells you. It's like the writer did the old saying of "hiding in plain sight". The writer of the film basically ruins the film for you by telling you all the important details, but wrote it in such a way that no one would realize it until the end.

Favorite part of Scream. Especially at time 0:40-1:18 with an extreme liking at time 1:08-1:18.

Questions I have about the film:
1. Why was Tatum not killed like the others who Ghostface killed?
2. Who actually killed her? Her boyfriend or Billy?
3. How did Ghostface get into that bathroom where Sydney was without her or those other two girls noticing? Even if he came through the ceiling tiles 1 of those 3 should have noticed.

Something I have been thinking about with this film is that: If these two boys could watch a few horror films and then decide to go on a killing spree for no apparent reason, what does that say about the horror genre? Is it likely that a portion of the violent murder crimes are influenced by watching horror films? From this the question also brings up the debate on violent video games as well. The killers in Scream saw some stuff on T.V. and decided to try it for themselves, though it did not turn out the way they had planned it. Especially for those who experience the same events as Billy did (his mom left his father because his father cheated on her), one might believe that they could do what Billy did.

Well I have ZERO intentions of ever going on a killing spree so there is not worry there. :)

I enjoyed this movie a lot-a lot-a lot....

Next up: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) to catch up on the book "The Monster Show"

Saturday, February 5, 2011

"Terrible things Lawrence, you've done terrible things. "

Film: The Wolfman (2009) Directed by Joe Johnston.

So far this has been my favorite out of the films I have watched this semester. It had a fairly good storyline, the suspense was intense, and the special effects were great! 

The storyline was a more interesting than most of the films I have seen so far. The family entanglement was intriguing to me with all it dynamics. The story contains a man so scarred from a tragic family past that he spent years in an institution trying to rid his mind of what he had seen. He was sent there as a boy by his father who is a creepy old man. He lives in a castle type mansion with his son and the son's fiance'. So within the plot there is; the man returning for his brother's funeral, the fiance' who falls in love with the man, and the father who has a mysterious side that no one can seem to figure out. Of course the fiance' is going to try and save the Wolfman because she loves him, and ends up really setting him "free". 

The blood and gore were just enough for me. People's heads flying and blood gushing from everywhere was just enough to send Hailey under her pillow a few times. :) The wolf was a killing creature and that was shown very well in this film. With body parts flying and heads rolling with blood everywhere, the Wolfman made a spectacle of the massacre in London. And the effects crew didn't just throw blood around but made it seem to flow out of the bodies when they were bitten.

This and American Werewolf in London have so far been my favorites this semester. They have brought the elements that I have believed to be elements of horror: high amounts of suspense, blood, killing monster, and a good but tragic story line.

"The wolf's bloodline must be severed; the last remaining werewolf must be destroyed."

Film: American Werewolf in London (1981) Directed by John Landis.

After watching this film for a few minutes, I realized that I had put it under the wrong theme. For future viewers, this funny is so funny! I was laughing through the whole thing. This film was so amazing! 

One of the features that gave me the "WOW" factor, were the animatronics that were used. The transformation that David took from human to werewolf were amazing. It really seemed like he was changing. Instead of modern use of CGI, this film uses robotic masks to make it seem like his body is growing. Using animatronics instead of the computer makes it all seem more real. Doing the animatronics made it easier to actually watch David change, rather than splice together different images of him changing. The director could have one continuous shot.

Even the special effects of Jack's undead look was brilliant as well. Over the course of the film the undead Jack continues to decompose and the make-up was over the top spectacular. His face really did look like some monster scraped half of it off. All of the other characters who were killed by David also looked very dead as well.

I enjoyed the story plot too. Two guys traveling Europe together alone is just asking for trouble, and that's what they got. One died and another became a monster feeding off other people. Tie all that in with the dead walking around (not as zombies) and a love story and you have yourself a bonafide compelling plot. The story was good and interesting and made it fun to watch.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Surving isn't just for the living....

Tonight: Survival of the Dead, directed by George A. Romero (2009)

First I must say: WOW... This film was disgusting!!!! But I also think the writer played it smart too. Zombie films seem to be only be about one day or week where the main characters try to live through that time. Usually everyone dies at some point and that's where it ends. This film changed that. In this film the characters try to find a place where the dead aren't walking around and a place where they continue their lives in peace. Of course that isn't how it works out and the characters have to overcome the obstacles in their way. Romero changed the idea of the zombie film by giving the living a real goal to reach. Instead of just surviving through the night they try to find a peaceful place to live. 

The story gets a little twisted when two families collide on their ideas on the undead and how they should be "treated". While one family wants to just kill them all, the other wants them to be "trained" to be like the living. The head of that family feels that it's his duty to conform brainless dead people to act like smart living people. The feud pulls the story off track a little along with one of the man's daughter. Her twin sister, who is a zombie is the first to conform to the living's ways by biting a horse. A question is brought up of why is it the twins that change what we think zombies should act? There isn't any real background on why she is the one to start the chain of events except that her and her sister are in the middle of the family feud. 

Because this film is low budget of course the effects are not going to be the greatest ever seen and it shows. The spikes of heads is clearly CGI constructed. When a zombie bites part of the face off, the skin around the bite doesn't tug like one would expect it to do. One would also suspect that there would be blood pouring out of the body since the veins are exposed which also does not happen in this film. Instead of making all the effects equally constructed, some parts are extravagant and lots got much less attention. Some of the effects go to the high extreme and many go to the low extreme.

I am so glad that the zombie week is over with, I don't like them at all. 
Next week: Werewolves. 

Friday, January 28, 2011

"They're coming to get you....again!"

Film for tonight: Night of the Living Dead (1968) Directed by George A. Romero.

Though color film was around at this point in time, I'm very pleased with Romero's usage of the black and white film. It gives the film more of a gritty and dirty appearance. This type of filming uses what is already gross (dead people eating people), and takes it to a higher extreme. Night of the Living Dead is completely gross in every way. It's a zombie movie! There are digusting, brainless people eating other people's dead, dismembered body parts. The black and white use for this film fits the story plot very well. The haunting effect of something so hideous walking around outside should be displayed in a dirty, nasty way as well. It would not have been that good if it were in color.

The film starts out with one of the main characters and her brother in a graveyard visiting her father's site. It is a genius way for the film to start out. For a story that is about the dead coming back to "life", the place where dead people are supposed to be not "living" is an awesome way to begin. Also on the other side, the film ends (spoiler!) with Ben, dead on the floor of the house in which all of the characters believed to be their haven. Beginning with dead people and ending with a dead person is a perfect way to make a zombie movie. Since the film is supposed to be all about death, it should start and end that way.

Parts of this film reminded me of M. Night Shyamalan's directing of Signs (2002). Like Signs, Romero used various methods to make the audience feel confined with the actors in the house. Romero used very close up shots on individual actors to push the audience to feel "too close for comfort". He also had the whole movie (minus the first 15 minutes) take place in a house with seven people staying together, so that there isn't any privacy between the characters and the audience. Another way Romero made the audience feel caged within the house was the camera angle used when Ben was boarding up the house. This is one of the major parts that reminded me of M. Night Shyamalan. The camera was at a low angle and pointed to Ben who was hunched near the middle of the room. Both the camera lense and Ben are surrounded by plywood. It appears as if the viewer is also hunched on the floor with wood around them. Romero places plywood close enough in front of the camera lense so that it constricts the view of the audience. He totally controls the audience so that they only see what he wants them to see.

This film kinda grossed me out and it was great! I will definitely consider buying it used from Hastings one day.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

"...Masquerade! Paper faces on parade! Masquerade....."

Film of the night: "Phantom of the Opera" (1925) Directed by Rupert Julian.

I found this film to be a great more intriging than Nosferatu, for they are both silent films. 

My goal for today's blog to answer the questions left on my "The Fly" blog. I got some of the same feeling about this film as I did for "The Fly", when I was watching it. I could understand how this film was to be a horror film, but I personally would not have categorized it that way. 

Compared to Nosferatu this film had: more compelling storyline, more intriguing characters, and more details in the back part of the film (many more cast members, the backdrops of the places had more detail compared to the bleak, bland places in Nosferatu, and such), etc. 

Like in "The Fly" our "monster" isn't much of a monster at all. He is very much human with human ideas and he just wants to make music and be loved. The reason everyone is so afraid of him is the deformity of his face. Because he is different from average people that gives those people the reason for hatred and fear towards the Phantom. So much so that he lives alone in a dark underground cave of a place to be away from everyone. Making the monster more human like can make the film so much more scary when people watch it. People are much more afraid of evil things when they seem very close to home. To think that there is someone living next door to you who is so different from you, can make people afraid of them. People become anxious when change or difference happens in their life. 'Tis the case for the Phantom. He just wanted to make music and love another but the people of the opera would not accept him for he was different. 

This film is completely about people being accepted for who they are not what they look. Though the Phantom had great talent of writing music, no one wanted to take the time to give him the chance.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

My dinner...

So I'm BA-ROQUE right now and the soup that I took to school today did NOT fill me up..

When I returned home from school and work tonight I decided to try and make something easy that I might like to take to school for lunch. So here it is (sorry no pictures..I ate the food)

Simple Chicken Salad:
1 chicken breast [cut in strips]
a good handle or two of a salad of your choice
1-2 tablespoons of butter
1 tablespoon of sesame oil
1 tablespoon of canola oil [i didn't have any tonight, i used veg oil]
3 tablespoons of soy sauce
2 tablespoons of rice vinegar [didn't have this either, i used reg. white vinegar]

I tossed the chicken strips in the salt and pepper so that they were coated good.

Once the butter was melted in the pan I cooked the chicken in it. [I think I used too much butter in my pan, you just have to judge that for yourself.]

I removed the chicken from the heat and transferred it to a bowl in the fridge.

I laid out my salad in a bowl and made the dressing.

Mix together the vinegar, soy sauce, and oils together. For me the vinegar was a little strong. Not sure if that was because I used the regular vinegar instead. I might next time put maybe half a tablespoon in it. 

When I plated the chicken on the salad I did not use all of the breast [refrigerated it]. I also did not use all of the dressing either [refrigerated it]. But the dressing I did I just drizzled it on top of the chicken and salad.

Then....I ate it!

"...Search for the truth is the most import work in the whole world.."

Tonight's film: "The Fly" (1958), Directed by Kurt Neumann.

This film contains a lot of elements that I usually don't suspect to be a "horror" film. I personally would have put this under the genre of drama/suspense. This just goes to show that I don't know anything about horror. :)

This film took me back to the film "Frankenstein" that I had watched last week. The storyline was a long the same line of a doctor's experiment gone wrong. Though in "Frankenstein" when the experiment went wrong for the doctor it wasn't to himself as was the case in "The Fly". In both cases the "going wrong" in the experiments were brought by both doctors' carelessness. One entrusted a hunch back to bring the right brain and the other didn't vacuum seal the door behind him. Lesson to be learned from these two films: do the work yourself and triple check that you are the only one in the box.  :)

Usually when I think about Horror films, I tend to think of some kind of monster; whether human or not, that has violent ways. And when I think of those monsters they usually want to kill anything that gets in their way. Again, not the case with "The Fly". Andre's experiment went screwy and all he wanted to do was go back to his regular self. He didn't feel the need to destroy anything except for his laboratory, so that no one could copy his work again. Andre worked hard,before and after the accident, to keep his family safe from the creature he had become. 

Also when I think of Horror, what comes to my mind is that the "killer" has some kind of troubled background. Sometimes they are beaten as a child, grow up in poverty, come from another planet and want to control humans, or it's their natural instinct to suck the blood of humans, etc. Once more, not like that in "The Fly". The family the film is centered around seem to be very wealthy, during the time. They had one of those large concrete gates, a servant, and very fancy things. There wasn't any "killer" (besides the spider) that wanted to destroy people and living things. There just was a scientist who was in search of the truth.

This film also reminded me of "District 9" that came out last spring. Or maybe it should be the other way around. Both men were careless in what they were doing and from that they began (one even turned) into some other creature.

This film CREEPED me out! I can't wait to watch it again! Maybe I'll try to buy it.....

Next film: "Phantom of the Opera" (1925) *[tis another silent film..blah]

Dialect thingy...

 You should probably watch Ashley Slater's first so that you somewhat know what I am talking about

Friday, January 14, 2011

"Well, he doesn't sparkle like a princess tiara!!"

quote brought to you by: Hailey Swafford
Nostferatu (1929) Directed by F.W. Murnau has to be one of the longest movies I have seen! Though it came out just two years before the Frankenstein film, it does not have any dialogue in it, concluding from that; it's a silent film.

I am pretty sure I would have FREAKED out if I had seen this in 1929. Max Schreck (Nosferatu) was grotesquely horrifying in every way possible. Very much like Cesare from the Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, both Nosferatu and Cesare's look is to the extreme and frightening to anyone who sees them. While Cesare has the dark eye makeup and the dark hair, Murnau took Nosferatu even higher by adding pointed teeth and pointed nails. 

The way Nosferatu walked and carried himself also brought me back to Cesare. The two had an eerie persona. When Nosferatu rises out of the coffin on the boat, it is an extreme use of German Expressionism. German Expressionism is many times over while Nosferatu walks on the ship, appears through his coffin, and casts shadows on the walls, etc. It can be seen in Nosferatu and even in Frankenstein that American film was starting to find their own way. They use what they already know while trying to find their place amongst it all. This film is a good representation of what early American film had to offer to the world. They explored what exactly what they could accomplish by "slight of hand" tricks of moving doors and blankets without anyone seen moving them and making Nosferatu appear "out of thin air" as a ghostly image. These two "tricks" may be extremely easy for us now with the technology we have at our hands, but during this time film itself had just come into play and no one really knew the capabilities of the camera.

Nosferatu is a very important piece of film history and I recommend that every film fanatic watch it atleast once. So much of America's film history is seen in this movie.   

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Off the path....

Since Ashley Slater [] is such a blogger and so crafty, I thought I should blog about my crafty-ness.

So I have two projects going and I thought I would share them with everyone.

1. Ellie the Elephant

Now everyone knows (or atleast now everyone knows) how much I have rebelled against my mother and sister when it comes to knitting. I'm sorry I have failed you all....I knit. I am making me an elephant. It all started when Hailey decided to make a super cute sock monkey. In our household of you want something that can be made, make it yourself. So mom taught me to knit and now I'm making an elephant. At the moment I am only at row 7 so she doesn't quite look like an elephant. [side note- Betsy is sleeping on the couch next to me, making a quiet yipping noise. must be dreaming of something!] Back to the knitting. It's just a grey circle, type thing. When she is done, she will be sooo cute!!

2. Duffle Bag

I was given a VeraBradley-type duffle bag for christmas one year and the zipper broke so I can't close it. My friend Brandy and I found a pattern to make the same type duffle bag at Hobby Lobby with the 99 cent deal going on. This adventure started on Saturday and it definitely was an adventure. It started back at Hobby Lobby to get the fabric to make it. It required fabric for the bag and a contrast color as well. It also requires a whole lotta bias tape and some piping stuff to go around the edge. Neither of which we could find in the colors we wanted there. Off to Wal-Mart. Nothing there either. Then off to some hole-in-the-wall fabric store which had NOTHING we needed. Well off to the house to cut our fabric since that was the first thing we needed to do anyways. Everything was going smoothly UNTIL I cut out my second to last piece. Brandy had already cut out everything and I had one piece left. That's when it all went wrong. The pattern had us cutting out our contrast for part of the bag! We were under the impression that the whole bag would be of one fabric and the contrast would be the contrast! So now we have a problem. The way our contrast is laid out, we are blinded by it and can hardly see the "bag" part of the bag. What to do..What to do.
Brilliance! add another pocket on it. The pattern already called for one pocket on one side of the bag, why not add another! 
So now we have everything cut out including the padding that goes in the middle and added a pocket to the pattern to tone everything down...

Hopefully everything else will go just fine with the bags...  :)

My Bag:

Brandy's Bag:

..And hopefully I won't pick up anymore projects!

"...For now I know what it feels like to be God."

The first of the two films for this week is Frankenstein, directed by James Whale in 1931. 
This classic horror film has what I believe to be underlining themes that are seen in the Horror genre. The main character Dr. Frankenstein is considered to be a lunatic and on the verge of insanity; for anyone who creates such a "monster" must be insane. It has an uncontrollable God-complex and wants to breathe life into such things that no longer have life in them. At one point, when the monster comes to life, Frankenstein states to everyone in the room that he "knows what it feels like to be God". He gives up everything to further persue this experiment, that everyone knows no one should continue. Only trouble can come from trying to awake the dead, for example: vampires. 

From what I can tell, to have a good horror film you have to have some kind of crazy monster. Now the "monster" of the film doesn't have to be some kind of creature from the black lagoon but Frankenstein has one of those types. The Monster, as called in the film, is constructed together by other dead people and a brain from a criminal. If that doesn't just scream out "insane killer", then I don't know what does. Obviously Dr. Frankenstein didn't transfer and vocal cords because, The Monster can't say a single word. It adds suspense and tension when the antagonist of the film never says a single word, it's hard to get a read on what they are thinking in their mind. Boris did a great job of adding that suspense. It was hard to read whether he was really wanting to kill people or just trying to reach out despite the brain he had. Maybe his brain and his heart came from two different people. :) 

Also to make a good horror film, the way you film is important. It either needs to be extra gritty and dirty or extremely dark. Either way it has to be extreme, for the characters themselves are extreme. This film uses the dark extreme aspect. Every place the film takes you is lighted very poorly and abstract. The lab that Frankenstein uses is twisted like his own mind. The whole place is made of brick that spirals around and around, making anyone watching it uneasy. The whole place is as mad as the Doc. 

I also saw throughout Frankenstein the classic film "M". When The Monster meets with Maria everything in that scene yelled out at me. Though we see the antagonist in this film, The Monster walks up to Maria just like how M walked up the little girl. In "M", M gave the little girl a balloon while in Frankenstein was given a flower by Maria. Two arbitrary objects given by/to characters that are represented in other films too. 

I will give this film a 3 out of 5 stars. I enjoyed watching it very much and excited about the other films ill be watching.

Next film: Nosferatu....

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The beginning..

So once again school has started back. But this is the last time that school will start back for me, for I shall graduate in May...I me..

This semester I am taking:
College Geometry
Complex Analysis
Film as Literature and
Horror Film as an Independent Study

I know what you are thinking; there is waaay too much English going on there..Well, what can you do. :)

So this semester, this blog page will serve as my "homework" page for my independent study.
Every week I will post 2 or 3 blogs about the horror films I have watched and the books that I read.

There maybe some references to my Film as Literature class on here as well. Some of the movies will be used and some of the books for my Film as Lit class are on the movies I watch for my Horror class.

So you are welcomed to join me on this adventure I am about to embark upon (for I have never watched a Horror film in my LIFE) and explore the characters, scene, story line, and such that make up the genre called: Horror.