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Jan. 22nd, 2030 12:00 am
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Horror october #19

Oct. 19th, 2017 11:38 pm
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[personal profile] beer_good_foamy
Sweet, Sweet Lonely Girl, whose name is Adele, moves to small town to help care for her agoraphobic aunt who won't leave her room, befriends and then falls for local girl Beth who suggests she shouldn't spend her life locked inside an old mansion taking care of a relative she doesn't even like, and so she starts to neglect her duties and skimp on the shopping and medicine for the ungrateful old bag...

Very short at 76 minutes, especially since the ending comes very abruptly and I'm not sure it works. But up until then it's got a really nice gothic mood, washed-out New England winter and smelly shuttered rooms, lots of little details that makes me want to rewatch and look for clues, and a growing sense of unease and unreliability that seems to be going somewhere really good until it... doesn't. A pity. 15 more minutes and this could have been really neat.

Horror october #18

Oct. 19th, 2017 12:54 pm
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[personal profile] beer_good_foamy
(Somewhat belated due to AWESOME Nick Cave concert yesterday)

Another classic: Sleepaway Camp is one of those movies I have to rewatch regularly, because it's just so fucking weird. I'm still not sure if it's in a good way or a bad way.

I'm pretty sure you couldn't make this movie today, which is probably a good thing. The actual young teens (star Felissa Rose was 14) playing actual young teens in not-very-appropriate situations, the camp staff who openly lust after their charges without anyone raising an eyebrow, the wild overacting, the queerness that's so overt that everyone missed it in 1983, THAT twist at the end ... And at the same time, the twist works (maybe just once, but that one time it's brilliant), the kills are inventive, and the sheer oddness of it does create a pretty disturbing atmosphere.

There are a couple of sequels which actually aren't half-bad, starring Bruce Springsteen's little sister if you'll believe that. But the original ... it's something else entirely.

Horror october #17

Oct. 17th, 2017 07:33 pm
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[personal profile] beer_good_foamy
For some reason I felt like watching something about creepy young Austrians. So it was either this or re-watch Funny Games, and I'm not doing that to myself.

Goodnight Mommy has twin brothers, about 10 years old, living alone in a remote country house with a mother who's evidently had some sort of surgery to her face since her whole head is bandaged. Also, something is different about her since the surgery, at least that's what the boys tell each other. And who can you trust if not twins in a horror movie? They just want everything to go back to the way it was, after all.

Where is our real Mommy?

This is the sort of movie that spends a long time not letting you in on what's going on except that there's something very wrong. Against a mountain backdrop straight out of the Austrian Tourist Board the house has walls covered in blurry photos, skulls in the picturesque root cellar, and of course the cockroaches. It's a slow burn to a rather disturbing finale that's not necessarily for the weak-stomached, and there's one or two twists that are telegraphed way too early, but I like it. There's something dark at the heart of every pastoral scene of the gallant south.

jerusha: magnus with drink (magnus with drink)
[personal profile] jerusha
I finished up season 2 of Shadowhunters today, and I love that silly show. And I think you all might, too, so here's a non-exhaustive list for why you might want to give it a try!

1. There are a number of people of color, both in the cast and on the show, and about the most stereotypical thing that happens is one of the Latino characters makes tamales. (Although tamales are delicious, so 100% approve on that front.)

2. There is a canonically Jewish character who celebrates at least one High Holy Day on screen. (This shouldn't be as rare as it is, but there you go.)

3. Of the two main pairings, one is canonically queer. (And more adorable than a basket of kittens.) Also, there are other queer relationships and pretty much everybody is nbd about them.

4. There is a canonically bisexual character who is unapologetic about liking both men and women and frequently name-drops famous people, which is hysterical.

5. There is a canonically asexual character. (Although it's early days, and who knows if they will stay that way, but signs are good.) Also, they form strong platonic bonds with others, and it's not considered a problem or a result of damage.

6. The show deals with addiction in a realistic way and seems to get it right.

7. Magnus Bane is simply fabulous. (And rocks the guyliner.)

8. There are strong platonic relationships between men, and between women, and between men and women, and other than the villain and his cohort, there isn't a sign of toxic masculinity in the guys. Quite the contrary, in fact!

9. Sexual experience is treated as just that--experience. Both men and women get it on, and no one gets slut-shamed for it. Or virgin-shamed, actually.

10. There are some really nice themes around blood relations, chosen family, and friendship.

Now, don't get me wrong. The show has some issues (and a rather loose concept of time), and I wouldn't nominate it for an Emmy. But the character building is really strong, and if you're watching it for the relationships (which I do), I think it does a pretty good job, even when it rushes things a bit. Plus, the characters are layered (well, other than the villain, but I think he's supposed to be a fucking sociopath.)

I thought the second season was stronger than the first, but I think that's usually true, and I believe that both seasons are available on Netflix outside the US. I'm not sure about inside the US, but if you get the chance to check it out, and you weren't sure if it was your cup of tea, I thought I'd make this list.

Or maybe I've just warned you off, but now you know!

Horror october #16

Oct. 16th, 2017 09:15 pm
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[personal profile] beer_good_foamy
Better Watch Out. Another babysitter movie, but this time done right. I've heard good things about this for months, and it definitely lives up to the hype.

I'm the Harry Houdini of getting away with it. I know how tonight plays out. We get out clean. You just gotta do what I say, OK?

Again, bratty 12-year-old kid with hot babysitter, home invasion by armed creeps, but played a lot smarter, because every rich kid raised on video games knows that fighting off invaders is easy ... up until people start dying for real. This one has twists coming every few minutes, a good sense of humour that doesn't devolve into silliness, and a pretty creepy villain as well. That's about as much as I feel comfortable saying without spoiling anything. Oh, and it's one of very few Christmas-themed horror movies that actually work. Better watch.

Horror october #15

Oct. 15th, 2017 01:14 pm
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[personal profile] beer_good_foamy
About halfway, so maybe it's time to dig up some more indepth discussion.

Since watching It (2017) a few weeks ago, I've had this perhaps not entirely rational urge to rewatch It (1990) again. I remembered it as pretty goddamn awful, and even if I wasn't entirely blown away by the remake, surely it would look even worse now?

And you know, I'm not sure it does. Spoilers for both movies )

Horror october #14

Oct. 14th, 2017 09:11 am
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[personal profile] beer_good_foamy
The Babysitter: Another brand-new Netflix original, directed by... geez, McG still has a career? Well, I guess he knows his strengths, and goes completely over the top blood-and-action-wise rather than try for any sort of actual tension or realism. And this mashup of Home Alone and Hand That Rocks The Cradle is actually pretty fun. 12-year-old crushing on his hot 20-something babysitter finds out she's in a Satanic cult who are sacrificing people in his house when his parents are away, so now he has to survive somehow. Not a great movie by any stretch, but it knows what it is, Samara Weaving (you know, the allegedly beat-up Trump supporter) has a blast playing evil, and the child actor manages to not be completely annoying. Ridiculous, but enjoyable.

Horror october #13

Oct. 13th, 2017 07:14 pm
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[personal profile] beer_good_foamy
Look at the date. I couldn't not.

I'd never seen the Friday the 13th remake before, and probably for good reason. Not all remakes suck (The Thing, The Fly, 12 Monkeys...) but most modern remakes of 70s/80s horror movies do. But let's face it, the Friday the 13th movies were never all that good to begin with. Yeah, Jason Voorhees is an iconic movie monster with his hockey mask and machete, but the actual movies he starred in? Sadistic, by-the-numbers slashers nowhere near as scary as the first two Halloween, as fun as the first few Terror On Elm St, or as subversive as Sleepaway Camp. So a remake that straightens the whole mess out isn't necessarily a bad idea.

It's just a pity that Friday the 13th (2009) doesn't really try. Rather than turn it into an actual horror movie, they just condense the first three F13 movies into one with no added suspense or character or anything except an even more unstoppable Jason running around the woods in a hockey mask killing teenagers in various inventive (though not as inventive as in the original movies) ways, except now he's also occasionally kidnapping them and keeping them alive for... some reason. Having never watched Supernatural I don't know if Jared Padalecki has more acting range than he shows here, but I certainly hope so.

Horror october #12

Oct. 12th, 2017 10:25 pm
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[personal profile] beer_good_foamy
From A House On Willow Street. This, in a word, is shit. The nicest thing I can think to say about it is that it takes some sort of talent to take a setup this simple - criminals with chequered pasts kidnap a young heiress only to find out she's possessed by the devil - and make it this confusing and boring. I've seen far worse horror movies than this, but at least they're occasionally fun.

Horror october #11

Oct. 11th, 2017 09:27 pm
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[personal profile] beer_good_foamy
Pumpkinhead was recommended to me by [personal profile] killerweasel and I'm really grateful. They don't make 'em like this anymore. Based on the title and the opening scene I was expecting something a lot trashier, and if it'd been made in the early 80s instead of 1988 it might have been, but of course by now both Stan Winston and Lance Henriksen were fresh off The Terminator and Aliens (and Near Dark in Henriksen's case) and it shows. This movie may look kinda shlocky at first, but it means business when it takes the ol' obnoxious college kids vs vengeful rednecks plot to a place it doesn't usually go.

OK, so maybe creaturemaster Winston is a bit too fond of showing off his monster, and maybe most of the college kids don't get nearly the same character depth that Henriksen's character does, but this is still a very watchable movie from that brief period in the late 80s where horror was sort of trying to put on some muscles again before the 90s came along and, well, we know what happened then. Pumpkinhead. Salutations.

Horror october #10

Oct. 10th, 2017 08:59 pm
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[personal profile] beer_good_foamy
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is another one of those I should have watched years ago, especially since I love both the novel and the classic adaptations (well, the first three, at least). I think it was Ken Branagh who put me off it.

And yes, Branagh overacts his black heart out, to the extent that even John Fucking Cleese comes across as a master of quiet dignity and restraint next to him. Though it's a tough competition, with just about everyone constantly chewing ham all over the movie.

Everyone: [at some point in the movie] NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

There are things here that work; De Niro (!!!) is a surprisingly effective Creature, and I appreciate the effort to make a real, proper adaptation of the book, but I'm not entirely sure books are always best served by a word-for-word adaptation; Mary Shelley's philosophical meanderings simply don't jibe with Branagh's over-the-top WILL SOMEONE TURN OFF THOSE FUCKING STRINGS style. As a horror movie, it's toothless. As a period drama, it's fun enough, though not in the way Branagh intended. But still, I'm glad it exists - if nothing else, as a warning for what happens when bearded men tamper in the Goddess' domain.

Horror october #9

Oct. 9th, 2017 09:56 pm
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[personal profile] beer_good_foamy
Killing Ground: An Australian couple goes out into the woods to camp out over New Year's Eve, and are dumb enough to take directions from a local redneck. Stop me if you've heard this one before.

Actually don't, because Killing Ground makes the most of a simple concept to take us somewhere rather nasty and disturbing. It soon becomes obvious that there are two different timelines here - something already happened just hours or days ago, and there's still fallout from it to come. Fair warning: this gets very violent, and not of the comic-book or hockey-mask slasher version. It's not miles from Eden Lake or The Strangers, though Eden Lake had something to say with it whereas this just seems to want to make the audience sick. I'm not sure I like this, it's thoroughly unpleasant, but there's something to be said for how unrelentingly bleak and matter-of-fact it is.

Horror october #8

Oct. 8th, 2017 11:10 am
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[personal profile] beer_good_foamy
Shriek of the Mutilated is a ... well, it's a movie. I feel fairly confident saying that much, though at 86 heavily padded minutes it's only barely even that. A college professor takes his students to upstate New York to investigate reports of an abominable snowman (yes, in upstate New York) terrorising the neighborhood, if by "terrorising" you mean "puzzling". Soon, they start seeing something that looks suspiciously like a drunk stuntman in a hairy onesie running around the woods, and they also start getting killed off one by one. And just because it's the 70s, there's a twist coming too!

No, this is not a good movie. It is, however, painfully hilarious, and if nothing else, contains one of the most contrived death-by-household-appliance scenes I've ever seen.

Horror october #7

Oct. 7th, 2017 05:58 pm
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[personal profile] beer_good_foamy
A Dark Song kept me absolutely transfixed for most of it. I love to see a modern horror movie that does entirely its own thing. A very simple story: A woman hires an expert in the occult to do a ritual to let her speak to her dead son. And when I say "occult", I don't mean a ouija board and holding hands around a table with cheap CGI: I mean locking themselves in a house in the middle of nowhere for months doing some serious metaphysical self-searching black magic OCCULT. At least that's what he tells her they're doing, but of course they may just be two not-entirely-stable people driving each other mad... Very simple, and very intense. The ending could probably have been better, but damn, the trip there is worth it.

Horror october #6

Oct. 6th, 2017 06:14 pm
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[personal profile] beer_good_foamy
OK, a real classic this time. I hadn't watched Freaks in ages. The movie that killed Tod Browning's (Dracula) career is a bit of a mess, surely partly thanks to being edited down by a third by the studio, and it's safe to say that the movie would never in a million years be made today. Yes, having actual disabled people portraying circus freaks was exploitative even by 1932 standards (though I'm guessing a fair bit of the outrage then came from having to look at them and empathize with them). And whether it's due to the cuts (more on that here) or just poor pacing, if you aren't horrified by the mere existence of the cast, the whole thing feels a bit like a 55-minute drama that suddenly becomes a horror movie in the last 10 minutes.

That said, those ten minutes are incredible, and the human drama, where the "ugly" ones are the good people and the "beautiful" ones turn out to be monsters, works rather well too. Gabba gabba hey.

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