A Father’s Influence: RIP Wes Craven

wesJust this week, an incredibly influential man in my life passed away. This man pushed my creative depths and made me see the world in a different light when I was in high school. Maybe even JR high. I was kind of popular, but just weird enough that I wasn’t really invited to the in-crowd’s parties.

I liked horror. I enjoyed movies that were based around a monstrous being terrorizing a group of teenagers. I wasn’t Goth by any means, but my obsession with blood and guts made me just odd enough that I was labeled as a freak. But I didn’t care about any of that. Because neither did either of my fathers.

My Father and I

My Father and I

Now let me explain when I say fathers. Plural. I was part of a nuclear family. One mom, one dad, a brother and a dog. But my curiosity and passion for movies and Halloween were deep. I dressed up as a countess, a witch, and a devil when I was younger, I think the only time I was a princess was in the 3rd grade because I felt the pressure of my peers baring down on me.

But my Dad taught me at a very young age to not care what others thought of me, because honestly, my Dad was the weirdest guy I knew. Out there and opinionated every day of my life. He adored Halloween and his love was passed down to me. Through the womb, because I’m told I came out looking like a monkey. Happy Halloween Mom and Dad! In the middle of May.

I carried around a little ugly deformed baby doll, and it was my favorite. Snot hanging out of its’ nose and the most contorted face of what must have been a dirty diaper. I think my dad actually had it before I was even born and at the age of 3 I fell in love with it.

Even though my Dad was really into Halloween. I mean, this guy turned our home into a haunted house for all the kiddies and adults every year for Trick or Treat night. He insisted that regardless of what night the 31st of October fell on, that would be the Town’s Halloween. Oh, he was also totally the Mayor of my small town for nearly my entire life, since I was the age of 2. But he wasn’t into Horror movies.

freddyA foreign concept, I know! I didn’t get that quirk from my real father. I got it from the late great Wes Craven. Master of horror and the meta. My brother showed my A Nightmare on Elm Street when I was like 8. And Freddy didn’t even phase me. It was then I knew my passion of horror. Wes created my high school career; I can’t even begin to explain how he influenced my perspective of life at one of the most influential ages of a young teenager.

On Sunday, he passed in the comforts of his home after losing a battle to brain cancer. This news rocked me to the bone, because this man who made my high school career, who influenced the “freak” in me, passed from the same illness as my father.

My Dad died in October 2013, one month after his diagnosis of brain cancer. My Father didn’t even get a chance to battle it, I saw him wither away in front of my eyes. The man who taught me to read. This six foot plus guy who dressed up as Frankenstein’s monster the year I wanted to be the Bride of Frankenstein.

I lost myself at the age of 23, two years ago. I finished graduate school on time. A feat that many were surprised by. But I stopped blogging as much. I didn’t analyze movies like I used to. I would vedge out in front of Netflix and pity myself because my dad would never walk me down the aisle. Now, my media father has passed. A man I always dreamed of meeting. Some day and shake his hand and tell him how he shaped my life. Shaped me.

But with the sadness of his death, my life has re-awoken. Losing both my “dads” to the same illness 2 years apart. Fuck that! I mean it! I’m done feeling sad for myself. I have a talent. Writing. Story telling. Pop culture. Using pop culture to my advantage while writing my stories.

I’m not going to hide it any more. I’m going to hit that keyboard hard this weekend. And I am going to write something that both Wes and my Father would be proud of. Because a Father’s influence …. It will never fade.

The Quiet Ones (2014)

"INSPIRED BY ACTUAL EVENTS"

“INSPIRED BY ACTUAL EVENTS”

The Quiet Ones is a supernatural, demonic horror film with a slow build and a fizzle of a climax. It is yet another “inspired by actual events” story of a young girl possessed by an inexpiable personality. It takes place during the 70s (typical) and follows a professor (Jared Harris), two of this doting students (Erin Richards and Rory Fleck-Byrne), and a young camera-man (Sam Claflin) looking to gain some experience and a bit of knowledge about a young, disturbed girl (Olivia Cooke, Emma of Bates Hotel) and her “medical treatment.”

The Quiet Ones has a decent enough plot that drives enough interest to keep you watching, but the scares are few and far between to really consider is a decent horror film, even if you decide it to be categorized more as a psychological horror film. The movie unfortunately doesn’t get good until about ten minutes before the climax, when things really start to get good. The final scenes are the best though, so does that make up for the movement of a snail? Perhaps. If you have an interest in demonic movies, go ahead, give this movie a shot, currently available on Netflix.

Nightmare On Elm Street 1984 vs. 2010

2014’s 13 Days of Horror: Days 05 and 06 of BoOctober

1984 Original vs. 2010 Remake

The Nightmare on Elm Street franchise has the gory privilege of being the most fun horror series out of the top slasher films. Not only are they fun, but they are also capable of delivering some real scares (in the earlier years). None of this would be possible without Freddy, the man of your dreams. Well… I suppose the man of horror fan’s dreams and the nightmares of a person that doesn’t devour each and every installment once every few years. We Fred Heads have a bit of a problem. The same problem that we Crystal Campers and Babysitters all have. We watch, we rewatch, we make our friends watch, all to the point that most people wouldn’t find the films interesting or entertaining any more, but we scoff at those sane people. For we know a real good time, and we find others like us. Others who know that there is only one Fred Kruger, and that Kruger will be the focus point of number 1 of the  10 comparisons and contrasts of A Nightmare on Elm Street.  Continue reading

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 1974 vs. 2003

2014’s 13 Days of Horror: Days 03 and 04 of BoOctober

1974 Original vs. 2003 Remake

Tobe Hooper scared the pants off of me when I was little. I was a bit young to be watching The Poltergeist before puberty, but alas, that was my up-bringing. Let’s keep in mind that the movie about the house filled with spooky sectors was actually rated PG though, because God knows what the hell the MPAA was thinking. A few years before we got suburbia built on top of a graveyard, we had Hooper direct and write the “supposedly” true story of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Which is an odd title for the 1974 film that started off the slasher genre and ushered in the horror tropes we now know and love. A.) Because the story it is supposedly based on actually took place in Wisconsin and B.) not only did the real “Leatherface” not have the weapon of choice be a chainsaw, but our original film hardly uses a chainsaw! Anyways, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is in my personal bottom slot of the slasher genre’s top four killers: Jason Vorhees, Michael Myers, Leatherface, and Freddy Krueger. The films have never really resonated at all with me, and the lack of enthusiasm that you read below is why. So sorry about my 10 comparisons and contrasts being short, and a bit lack-luster. But Hey! Day 05 and 06 will be on the Nightmare franchise, and I fucking love Freddy.  Continue reading

Halloween 1978 vs 2007

2014’s 13 Days of Horror: Days 01 and 02 of BoOctober

 1978 Original vs. 2007 Remake

Some say that Michael Myers was the leader in slasher films. He began what was to be known as the golden age… um excuse me, the bloody age of slasher that would blossom in the 80s become a joke in the 90s and a satirical ploy by the time the new century was rolling in. But if we look chronologically, we see that Leatherface actually began this age of slash, back in 1974, but we’ll focus on that franchise tomorrow. Today we will talk about the influential silent killer, the boy that turned into PURE EVIL and made the night of Halloween frightening for adults and horny teenagers, not just little tykes afraid of the boogeyman in their closet. Below are 10 comparisons and contrasts of John Carpenter’s indie film Halloween and Rob Zombie’s high-budgeted Halloween. And you will come to see that more money, doesn’t always mean the audience will get a better movie. Continue reading

The-Purge-Anarchy-English-Movie

The Purge: Anarchy

A very creative Poster. I approve.

Okay, so I wasn’t the biggest fan of 2013’s The Purge, it had the potential to be great and turned into just another home invasion horror flick. I think I recall stating how awesome the opening and closing credits were as well, claiming that the credits had more potential than the entire plotted script.

What is really interesting about this soon to be franchise, is that they have the opportunity to bring in new actors, writers, directors, and editors to give the audience what it really wants. It is almost the new-age Jason or Mike Myers franchise, the threat and location remains the same, but everything else can change film to film. And that’s why these types of movies can get so many sequels; they are loved for years to follow because of the threat. Because of Jason or Michael, because of the silly; oddball ways they find to kill the teenagers on screen.

When the original purge first came out, I refused to see it, telling myself in the weeks prior to the release I would not, could not see it. The idea behind America’s humanity devolving into murdering neanderthals frightened me on a different level than a typical horror film. It taps into your inner thoughts and subconscious; would the public really participate in such a “utopia” and take out all of their anger and aggression one night a year, without consequences? It’s a scary concept. At least it should have been. I decided to see the film anyways, and was completely disappointed to see Writer/Director James DeMonaco take that horrific concept and make it into something we’ve all seen a hundred times. 

So I went to the theaters hoping that “Hey, the commercials and trailers actually make it seem like they are going to take the better concept of all Hell breaking lose and showing us different stories happening during the purge.” And well, I wasn’t technically wrong, but again, they only concentrated on one city and what all happened within its’ limits. The Purge: Anarchy wasn’t great by any means, but it was better than it’s predecessor in getting closer to what is really frightening behind the purge. Hell, they even gave it a nice little twist about *semi-spoiler* the government *end semi-spoiler* that makes the message of the film much more scary. But alas, they eventually brought the different story lines together, and they didn’t do it badly, but they could have made the film so much more fun if they incorporated a different type of editing style. Imagine the three separate story lines coming together on the screen at once, but with three different shots of footage? Using screen splitting (as the legendary Quentin Tarantino has done in the past) would have made the ride that much more fun. And horror movies are all about being scared and having fun! Instead, they just use the old point and shoot technique for the film. The acting in the film was actually great (special shout out to new comer Zoë Soul, she was brilliant), and it is such a waste to see the movie lie lifelessly on the cutting room floor because of the lazy Director/writer James DeMonaco coming back for a second shot at the purge. 

The biggest disappointment of Anarchy is that it quite literally, is not anarchy; it is actually more boring than frightening and you sit there and think that the latest Indiana Jones action film had more anarchy than a damn film with the word in the title of it. The killers/kidnappers we see in the movie are more strategic than the aging Jones himself, and the word “anarchy” is defined as confusion and disorder. It also means a state of society without government or law, which technically, purge night has, but again, *spoilers* it kind of doesn’t. As in there is… fuck it, I’m just gonna say it, the government is out there shooting up the poor to control the population because America isn’t killing enough on purge night. Now as fucked up as that is, it technically is still planned and (excuse me for the lack of a better pun) executed. That is not chaos, if anything it is method and order, but I suppose if they named the movie The Purge: Order or Method it would have given away the one really disturbing aspect the film actually portrayed decently. *End spoilers.*

The film’s budget is estimated at $9,000,000 and has already made $29,816,675 in its opening weekend. Safe to say, they will continue pumping out Purge movies, and hopefully the next one will explore more than one home or one city, and follow numerous stories. If anything, maybe the idea behind the purge would do better as a mini series, that way they can explore all the havoc in a season, and binge watching would be best, so really, maybe Netflix should pick up the rights to it.

Also, there might be a small chance that they actually had linear thoughts when writing the previous movies; what if they began on a small scale (the home), went a bit bigger (the city) and already plan on moving statewide or country wide for the next installment? If that is the case, I would love to eventually see a political prequel that tells us how we got to the new “Founding Fathers’ way.”

I will continue to hold out hope on a better Purge movie, the one that we are all craving for, but until then maybe I would wait for DVD release while the movies are helmed by the unimaginative DeMonaco.

Repulsion (Day 09 of 100)

repulsionposterRoman Polanskis 1965 Repulsion is one of the highest rated horror films of all time, the only other horror film on my list of 100ish days of Summer are Eyes Without A FaceAliens, Let the Right One In, Jaws, The Exorcist, Psycho, and depending on who you ask, also Vertigo and Rear Window. Although I must disagree, even as a seasoned movie watcher, from classics to b-rated movies, I appreciate all decent forms of cinematic-art, and I went in with pretty high hopes for Repulsion. I actually had downloaded it months before I decided to do this blogathon, and just hadn’t gotten around to it.

But the film is slow-paced for today’s audience and it relies on jumps far too much to even try to hold your attention between jumps. And you don’t become invested at all with ANY of the characters. And please, don’t think that I’m not a fan of Roman Polanski, because that would be a lie, I truly enjoyed Chinatown and his second installment of his “Horrors of living in an Apartment” trilogy: Rosemary’s Baby, but I also read the novel before hand. But there is just a huge disconnect to what must have been in his head, what main actress Catherine Deneuve was trying to portray, and how it aged over the years, because this film is a dud for this buff. The only part of the movie that held any sort of my interest was when a co-worker found a human heart in Carol’s (Deneuve) purse. And then did nothing about it. 

The movie relies heavily on music, symbolism, hallucinations, and movement, with hardly any dialogue, it expects you to jump to conclusions about the characters and the plot because the acting is terrible. I know Carol is suppose to be aloof and broken, which eventually leads to her *spoiler alert* murdering spree, but I think Catherine just doesn’t deliver. As simple was watching a woman stare blankly all the time.

"Symbolism"

“Symbolism”

Repulsion did nothing for me or my movie resume, aside from the fact that it is the first film to every present a woman having an orgasm, even if it was only audibly. Oh and that it, you know, represents what a woman becomes after being sexually abused, so it does have that going for it. Skip this one over and watch Rosemary’s Baby or even This is the End if you want a horror movie based around men tormenting somebody in someone’s home, because Hell, at least then, we have the Devil as a plausible explanation.

Eyes Without A Face (Day 07 of 100)

eyes3One of the most influential horror movies, Eyes Without a Face, delivers an eeriness with its’ plot that would be considered torture porn if remade/re-imagined for today’s audience. It is a 1960 French film (originally called Les Yeux Sans Visage) that focuses on the classic mad scientist bit, a man torn because he want’s his now inexplicably faceless daughter to have a face again. Docteur Génessier (Pierre Brasseur), with the help of his assistant, Lousie (Alida Valli), kidnaps countless women, all with the same physical appearance as his “missing/dead daughter ” (or so he would like the public to think): brown hair, blue eyes, and a defined, beautiful facial structure. The doctor performs these extreme plastic surgeries where he removes the face of the kidnapped woman and then transplant the face (quiet literally just the skin) onto his daughter.

Did I mention that it’s never explained upon why Christiane Génessier (Edith Scob) doesn’t have a face? Oh I did? Seriously, I would like to know what the fuck happened to her original face, if anyone reads this, and actually knows, please for the love of all that is sane,  tell me why. Not sure if I had missed the explanation because I, being American, had to read the English subtitles and something just went over my head or it was lost in translation. 

Anyways, the actors in the film all do a wonderful job, and the ending of the film is hauntingly beautiful and horrific. On the list that I have compiled for my 100ish Days of Summer it clocks in at number 94, and with good reason. This movie paved the way for classic horror movies, that may not be featured on this list, but would be featured on my own personal top 100 list. The two most important elements of  Georges Franju‘s Eyes Without a Face are by far the musical composition and the mask that cover’s Christiane’s frightening exterior of what is really, a girl misguided by a father whom was tolled by grief. Wouldn’t any loving father do anything to make his daughter stop crying?

 

Eyes Without a Face is certified fresh with 98% and an 88% for users, it went on to inspire pop icon Billy Idol’s Eyes Without a Face. The film can be found on torrent sites but is also on Hulu? So says my internet search. If your big on horror, this is one film every scream queen should get around to watching.

(19 Reasons Why) Carrie (2013) was a B-list movie with an A-list Budget

Carrie Poster

Carrie Poster

The remake Carrie does a pretty good job of updating a movie that was once remade previously in 2002, and my general consensus is that it is a great movie in the fact that it is a campy horror movie, but with a rocketed high budget. The new Carrie, doesn’t outdo the original or the previous remake, but it does vamp it up for today’s horror fans, and pays tribute to King’s original story a bit better, thanks to that bigger budget. The following is a comprised list (from memory) of changes that made the film fun, but also sometimes worse. Continue reading

(13 Reasons Why) Carrie (1976) was nothing like my own High School Experience

1.) That opening Locker scene was filled with so much tits, bush, and ass, I thought I popped in a porno. I distinctly remember everyone trying not to see each others body changing for gym, not to mention we were never given enough time to shower afterwards.

I could not find a better photo, but the movies on Netflix, go hunting.

I could not find a better photo, but the movies on Netflix, go hunting.

Continue reading