Attack of the Franchise Sequels: Hellraiser VIII: Hellworld

Like the previous three films in the Hellraiser franchise, Hellraiser VIII: Hellworld, did not begin life as a Hellraiser story. Unlike the previous three, however, Hellworld was not a rewritten spec screenplay, but an adaptation of the short story Dark Can’t Breathe by Joel Soisson, with screenwriter Carl V. Dupré shoving in all the necessary Hellraiser bits, in the form of the puzzle box and Pinhead (Doug Bradley). So, even though the source material was different, the process was relatively the same. What’s most surprising about this flick, though, is that it feels much more like a natural Hellraiser story, rather than a cut and paste job, than any of the last three flicks. Nice job, Dupré. Continue readingAttack of the Franchise Sequels: Hellraiser VIII: Hellworld”

Attack of the Franchise Sequels: Hellraiser VII: Deader

Hellraiser VII: Deader began life as a spec script called Deader, from screenwriter Neal Marshall Stevens, purchased by Miramax when every production company in Hollywood was still looking for the next Seven. Like with the two previous films in the Hellraiser series, the script was reworked into a Hellraiser movie, by adding the iconic puzzle box and Pinhead (Doug Bradley, as always) to scenes here and there. It’s rarely a good sign when it is obvious to viewers that a movie is a rework. Miramax, the company that owns Hellraiser, has been a poor steward for the property, shunting it off to direct-to-video releases utilizing reworked red-headed stepchild screenplays and miniscule budgets. All atmosphere and nuance from the first film have been totally excised, leaving the series anonymous and dull. What a shame. Continue readingAttack of the Franchise Sequels: Hellraiser VII: Deader”

October Horrorshow: Constantine, Rhymes with Tangerine

Back in 1993, DC Comics, under the direction of editor Karen Berger, took six of its mature readers titles and placed them under a new imprint — Vertigo. The Sandman, Swamp Thing, Doom Patrol (after a legendary run by writer Grant Morrison), Animal Man, Shade the Changing Man, and Hellblazer (featuring John Constantine, rhymes with clementine) were titles that had grown beyond the core superhero titles of DC’s lineup. Berger had been responsible for much of this, bringing aboard creative talent which would have been wasted penning yet another year-long superhero crossover designed to simplify DC’s bloated continuity, or spending day after day drawing just the right amount of ripples in Superman’s abs. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Constantine, Rhymes with Tangerine”

October Horrorshow: The Amityville Horror (2005), or, Jump Scare: The Movie

I didn’t find the original Amityville Horror all that memorable of a horror flick, but it had more than its fair share of iconic moments, what with the bleeding walls, fly attacks, and exterior look of the house. It was based on a book that was a supposedly true telling of events the Lutz family experienced after moving into a house on Long Island in the 1970s. The whole story has since been shown to be bunk, part of the Ed and Lorraine Warren hoax industry, but some real awful events did occur in the house prior to the Lutz’s arrival that were used as a precursor to what was supposed to have occurred with the Lutz family. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: The Amityville Horror (2005), or, Jump Scare: The Movie”

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 readingOctober Horrorshow: Saw II”

October Horrorshow: Urban Legends: Bloody Mary

I love seeing famous people in early roles. It’s a reminder that even the most successful of us have to start somewhere, even if grandpa owns a football team. Before she played a conniving investigative reporter in House of Cards, Kate Mara was slumming it as the star of the direct to video horror flick, Urban Legends: Bloody Mary. I’m reminded of Philip Seymour Hoffman in Twister, Paul Rudd in the sixth Halloween movie, Matthew McConaughey and Renee Zellweger in that awful Texas Chainsaw flick, and, the pièce de résistance, George Clooney in Return of the Killer Tomatoes. It seems that horror is fertile ground for the stars of tomorrow. I wonder which young, struggling talent will emerge from today’s shitty horror flicks? Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Urban Legends: Bloody Mary”

October Horrorshow: Return of the Living Dead: Rave to the Grave

“Ugh. I hope this isn’t a waste of my fucking time.” So said I before I hit ‘play.’ I’m not kidding. Those were the words that came out of my mouth. Considering how much time I spend watching shitty movies, I really have to have low expectations going into a film if I’m worried about whether it will constitute a waste of said time. Oh, God. I’ve wasted my life. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Return of the Living Dead: Rave to the Grave”

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”

The Empty Balcony: Jarhead & Generation Kill

Marines can be grossly immature. In point of fact, that’s a generalization which can be made about members of all the four services, but especially Marines. A young grunt’s slang and mannerisms are by design repugnant, frequently homophobic or faux homoerotic, and sometimes racist. The young Marine is the very personification of testosterone run wild, machismo fueled by hormones thrown all out of whack by age, temperament, and environment. The young can be crazed and inelegant all on their own, but military training hones these traits to a fine edge, a bizarre side effect of turning what was a boy into a highly efficient killing machine. Continue readingThe Empty Balcony: Jarhead & Generation Kill”