October Horrorshow: Dance of the Dead

It’s October, which means it’s time for the October Horrorshow, when Missile Test devotes the entire month to watching and reviewing horror films. All are welcome: the good, the bad, and the putrid. Today’s review is of the zombie comedy Dance of the Dead, written by Joe Ballarini and directed by Gregg Bishop, a pair of relative unknowns in the movie world. The only people even more anonymous than those who made Dance of the Dead are the actors and actresses who starred in it. But if there were such a thing as a little movie that could, Dance of the Dead up and did. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Dance of the Dead”

October Horrorshow: House of the Dead

House of the DeadThere are two things every person should know before viewing House of the Dead. One: the film is based on a video game. Two: the film is directed by Uwe Boll, who is the object of an online petition calling for his retirement from filmmaking. At one time, Boll vowed to adhere to its conditions if the petition reached one million signatures. Of course, no one forces the public to watch his films. But it is an indication of the type of vitriol Boll engenders.

House of the Dead, without any sort of qualification and without my devoting any amount of unnecessary time in analyzing it, is one of the worst films I have ever seen. It represents just about everything that could go wrong with a film, horror or otherwise. The acting is bad, the screenplay is atrocious, and the directing is just awful. That’s 3 for 3. I’m digging, but the only redeeming quality I can find in House of the Dead is that it was filmed in color.

So what is the film about? It’s about an hour and a half long. Your life is too valuable to waste watching this crap. Stay away. You’ve been warned.

House of the Dead is far worse than Alien: Resurrection.

October Horrorshow: Night of the Living Dead

Night of the Living DeadOctober has arrived. The leaves are changing, the air is cool and crisp after a brutal summer, and blood is in the air. October is the best time of the year to watch horror films, for obvious reasons. With that in mind, it is time, once again, for the October Horrorshow, when Missile Test devotes the entire month to watching and reviewing horror films. The good, the bad, the putrid, it doesn’t matter. Missile Test never met a movie it wouldn’t watch, for at least fifteen minutes, anyway. But that’s not a problem today, for today’s review is of the horror classic Night of the Living Dead, from iconic filmmaker George Romero.

Before watching for this review, I hadn’t seen Night of the Living Dead since I was a teenager, possibly even as long as twenty years ago. It didn’t scare me then, and it doesn’t scare me now, but that doesn’t mean Night of the Living Dead is a bland horror film. It just means that it came from a different era. It is only after being long inured to anything less than mercilessly graphic horror that old horror films lose some punch. Luckily for the viewer, Night of the Living Dead isn’t all scares. It’s a well-crafted film, still very taut throughout, and well worth the watch. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Night of the Living Dead”

October Horrorshow: Halloween

Halloween, the granddaddy of all slasher flicks. Not the first, to be sure, but a film whose formula worked so well it is still being followed to this day in countless horror films, thirty years after it was produced. It also doesn’t hurt that, unlike many of the films it birthed and inspired, Halloween is well made. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Halloween”

October Horrorshow: Freddy vs. Jason

Is there anything that can save a movie with subpar acting and a weak story? Yes. Yes, there is. And that thing is outlandish and cartoonish gore. In 2003’s Freddy vs. Jason, the two principal antagonists of the Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th horror franchises, Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees, come together in a crossover feat of mayhem and blood. The simple prospect of having such characters duke it out in a fanboy orgy surrounded by teenage cannon fodder is enough for any casual horror fan to take a look. Quite frankly, there is nothing surprising about the film, and nothing disappointing, either. The idea behind Freddy vs. Jason is the thing, the spectacular deaths of innocent bystanders is the charm, and everything else, acting and story, is just filler. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Freddy vs. Jason”

October Horrorshow: Land of the Dead

Cracked.com recently featured an article about surviving a zombie apocalypse. It concluded that all we know and all we’ve learned about surviving from zombie horror films is wrong. Tactics such as raiding the local gun store and fleeing from cities have become so imprinted on our psyches, Cracked argues, that everyone will have the same ideas, and those ideas will serve to create nothing but the world’s largest smorgasbord for the undead. They have a point. Well, they would, if the danger of a zombie apocalypse were real. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Land of the Dead”

October Horrorshow: Vampires

The year 2010 will be a treat. In this coming year, a new John Carpenter film, The Ward, will be released. It will be his first film since Ghosts of Mars, from way back in the far distant days of 2001. This has been a long layoff for the director — the longest in his career. One could easily have concluded that Carpenter had retired, maybe not completely with his own consent. The backend of Carpenter’s directorial career has been one box office bomb after another, none of the films able to capture or build upon the mastery of schlock, and horror, that he showed in his peak days three decades ago. His professional tale is one of the inevitable slide that all creative people who live long enough go through eventually. Depressing? It shouldn’t be, because even though his films have kept getting shittier and shittier, he still had the skill to crank out something like Vampires, a film that just reeks John Carpenter from start to finish. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Vampires”

October Horrorshow: Maximum Overdrive

“Stephen King’s masterpiece of terror directed by the master himself.” That’s how Maximum Overdrive was billed, right at the top of the poster. There’s an image of a bearded King peaking through a jagged rip in the side of what looks like a horse trailer manipulating characters and events in the movie marionette-style. There they are at the end of his strings, right above the chrome and lightning bolt logo for the film, slave to his every command and victim to every twisted whimsy. The poster implies quite explicitly that every other King adaptation to make it to the big screen was shit. But never fear, the master of horror has blessed this film with his presence — total creative control — ensuring that Maximum Overdrive is the quintessential Stephen King film. Suck on that, Stanley Kubrick. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Maximum Overdrive”

October Horrorshow: Dawn of the Dead (2004)

The canon of the zombie genre is not set in stone, but it generally follows that George Romero’s films are the authority from which all subsequent variations derive. Not being based in fact, those variations are many. For instance, we all know that in order to kill a zombie, one must destroy the brain. That is, unless the film in question is Return of the Living Dead (a film that prides itself on being zombie apocrypha, as it were), where nothing short of total incineration can kill a zombie. Or 28 Days Later and it’s sequel, where the zombies (not zombies, according to the filmmakers) are not undead but still living, and can thus be killed by anything that’s lethal to a normal person. Or The Last Man on Earth, from before the genre had a rulebook, where a stake through the heart was used to dispatch the hordes. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Dawn of the Dead (2004)”