October Horrorshow: Villmark 2, aka Villmark Asylum

Villmark 2 is a little bit Session 9, and a little bit Texas Chainsaw Massacre. From Norway comes director Pål Øle’s follow-up to his 2003 film, Villmark, also released under the title Dark Woods. Having not seen the first film, I can’t say how closely this film tracks what came before, but the first film was about a reality TV show in the woods, and this film is about a cleanup crew inside an abandoned asylum. The two films appear related in name only. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Villmark 2, aka Villmark Asylum”

October Horrorshow: What We Become

If a viewer happens to be in the mood for something post-apocalyptic from the horror genre, a good zombie flick can be a fine way to go. But there are so many zombie flicks now that it’s hard to pick out something with enough originality to make it worth one’s while. Even good zombie flicks sometimes only offer token revisions to the subgenre’s many, many tropes. That’s why I enjoy it all the more when I come across something like What We Become. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: What We Become”

Stallone Month: Creed

Here it is — the end of Stallone Month. Sly isn’t in the lead role in this last film, but there isn’t a better set of bookends for this month than Rocky and Creed.

Creed, from 2015, is a spinoff of the successful Rocky series. In a surprising change, Sly did not pen the screenplay for this film. After having seen all the Rocky films, it’s clear that not only is Rocky Sly’s opus, it’s also his most personal character. The lovable meathead aspects of Rocky are pure invention, but all the motivational stuff — the pronouncements about hard work and not expecting any handouts — that’s all Sly. Rocky was the vehicle Sly used to share his worldview. Continue readingStallone Month: Creed”

October Horrorshow: The Hallow

The woods can be a scary place for some people. The strange noises, the closeness, the environment being the antithesis of cities or suburbia — being in the woods can be weird. Maybe that’s what makes the woods a great setting for horror films. That, or the woods is just a convenient setting when budget dictates plot and cast have to be small. Either way, the forest primeval is an oft-used setting in the horror genre, in both good and bad films. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: The Hallow”

October Horrorshow: Intruders

Holy crap! This flick is so obscure that as of this writing (March 2016 — I like to get a head start on the Horrorshow) it has no Wikipedia page. It also has a common title. A quick search in the tubes turned up no less than three films titled Intruders produced from 2014-2016, not including this one. Some more digging has revealed that this Intruders was originally titled Shut In, and under that title there is a Wikipedia page. So all is well with the universe. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Intruders”

The Empty Balcony: High-Rise

High-Rise, director Ben Wheatley’s and screenwriter Amy Jump’s adaption of the novel by J.G. Ballard, sure looks good. The photography is a slick imitation of cinema from the 1960s and ’70s. Cinematographer Laurie Rose muted the palette somewhat. It’s not the type of desaturation made popular for a short time by Saving Private Ryan, but more resembles natural color decay. The blues have been turned down, making the overall color temperature quite warm. Whether this was a stylistic choice only, I cannot say, but a great deal of the mood of this film is established by the way it was shot. It flirts with clinical precision, but falls short, mostly because it’s easy on the eyes. So, like I wrote, High-Rise looks good, but I had a hard time figuring out what was happening on screen. Eventually, I had to set any frustrations aside and just go along for the ride. Continue readingThe Empty Balcony: High-Rise”

The Empty Balcony: Terminator Genisys

Fair warning. This trailer is packed full of spoilers.

It’s incredible how little redundancy is built into Skynet. Not long after Terminator Genisys opens, we see the mythical John Connor leading an assault on Skynet’s time travel facilities. Connor, played by Jason Clarke, has ordered the bulk of his forces to attack Skynet itself, farther north, much to the consternation of Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney), who hasn’t been let in on the Terminator series canon at this point. As the battle rages at the time machine, all of Skynet’s killer robots go inactive, signaling that Skynet has been destroyed, and only the war in the past remains undecided. Continue readingThe Empty Balcony: Terminator Genisys”