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.