October Horrorshow: The Conjuring 2

The Conjuring, the 2013 horror film from director James Wan and screenwriters Chad and Carey Hayes, is among the most frightening horror films I’ve ever seen. It did such an effective job at giving me the heebies that I won’t watch it again for a while. Not because it’s too scary for me to handle, but because I don’t want to become so familiar with the movie that it’s no longer frightening. I want enough of the film to be lost to my memory over time that the next viewing will still catch me off guard. The Conjuring wasn’t a master class in filmmaking, but Wan and company showed that they could use some pretty well worn haunted house tropes and still scare the bejesus out of a viewer who has seen hundreds of horror films. This year’s sequel…not so much. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: The Conjuring 2”

October Horrorshow: Saw III

Here I go again. The absolute worst thing about torture porn is that it’s like driving by a car wreck. I cannot turn away. But, I think that may have something to do with the first two Saw films. They were tamer in comparison to Saw III. The level of physical injuries inflicted on characters in the first two films was gruesome, but this third entry in the series was where my gore threshold was finally crossed. I think it was the moment when a member of the cast almost drowns in shredded putrefied pig that did it for me. This came after seeing a man pull steel hoops from his flesh and a woman have her ribcage ripped from her body. I applaud the effects folks who came up with this stuff. They did a professional job. I just think they did it too well. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Saw III”

October Horrorshow: Saw II

Like the poor characters who populate the Saw franchise, I seem to be a glutton for punishment. I roundly excoriated the first Saw film and the torture porn subgenre of horror in yesterday’s review, yet here I am, writing a review of another Saw flick. I can’t seem to look away, and that’s part of the point of these films, right? During the progression of the series, plot continued to descend further into a convoluted pastiche that existed only to place characters into harm’s way, where they were confronted with machinery designed to maim them and delight us viewers. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Saw II”

October Horrorshow: Saw

I’ve mostly steered clear of torture porn when it comes to watching horror flicks. Grievous physical injury has always been a part of the horror genre, but it’s only in the last couple of decades that depictions have crept closer and closer to reality. Every person out there has a threshold for how much violence they can stomach before a film is no longer enjoyable. Torture porn usually crosses mine. While most of the films in the Saw franchise not only cross that line for me, but go sprinting past it, the first film has far less violence than its reputation would lead one to believe. To be sure, having less violence than its successors leaves it room for still quite a bit, but when it comes to the Saw franchise, less is more. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Saw”

October Horrorshow: Annabelle

The Conjuring was a horror movie that exceeded expectations. With a budget of around 20 million bucks, a combination of good script, good direction, good acting, and good scares pushed what could have been a boilerplate horror experience into something memorable that brought in over a quarter of a billion dollars at the box office. With such a return on investment, it was a certainty that there would a follow-up. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Annabelle”

October Horrorshow: Insidious: Chapter 2

James Wan has had enough of ghost flicks. Insidious: Chapter 2 is the third ghost flick he directed in as many years, following Insidious and The Conjuring. To prove that a person can get sick of doing anything they love, and trying something new can lead a person to extremes, his next movie is going to be Fast & Furious 7. That’s right. James Wan has had enough of horror and decided that the best way to revitalize his interest in film is to direct Jordana Brewster, a woman who is to acting what Michele Bachmann is to reason and logic. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Insidious: Chapter 2”

October Horrorshow: The Conjuring

Filmmaker James Wan has, in the last decade, become horror cinema royalty. He was behind the creation of the Saw franchise, the two Insidious movies, and, from just this past summer, The Conjuring. His bona fides as a horror auteur are unassailable...which must be why he’s currently helming Fast & Furious 7. After directing three straight ghost stories, maybe a change in direction was inevitable. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: The Conjuring”

October Horrorshow: Insidious

InsidiousAccording to the IMDb page for Insidious, Leigh Whannell kept a list of horror movie clichés handy while he was writing the screenplay. He didn’t want his project to slip into the same predictable traps that mar so much horror cinema. With that list staring him in the face day in and day out, presumably, Insidious would turn out to be a film that was totally fresh, one that even audience members with hundreds of hours invested in the genre would find enjoyable. That is a very laudable goal, and a bit of a risk. Just because a film is formulaic does not mean it is a bad film. In its most basic sense, it just means the film will feel familiar to many people watching it. And as we all know, people like the familiar. As much as we like to pretend humanity is a collection of adventurous people, the opposite is in fact true. That’s why tourists eat at the same restaurants they have back home. It’s why popular music at times can sound like the same song done over and over again by a hundred different groups. And that’s why sequels, remakes, and carbon copies of previous successes make money at the box office. It’s just the way things are. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Insidious”