Empty Balcony: The Raid

A million bucks must go a long way in Indonesia. That’s all the money writer/director Gareth Evans had on hand to film The Raid (released in the U.S. as The Raid: Redemption). Despite that tiny budget, Evans constructed a spectacular action flick, packed so full of visual and auditory stimuli that just watching it can make a viewer feel a little drained by the end. Continue readingEmpty Balcony: The Raid”

October Horrorshow: You’re Next

Right now, here in New York City, the sky is overcast and the air is a crisp 60 degrees (that’s 16 degrees for you Loyal Seven from points far and wide). It’s a typical fall day, and that sucks. On days like this, I worry the sun won’t make another appearance until it’s too cold out for clouds to form. But, I shouldn’t worry, because it’s October, and that means it’s time for the Sixth Annual October Horrorshow here on Missile Test, where I watch and review horror films for an entire month. The good, the bad, the putrid...it doesn’t matter, so long as there’s blood. Today’s film has buckets of the stuff. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: You’re Next”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Doggie B

[Normally, I’d have a trailer for a movie here. Not this time. You want to see a trailer for Doggie B, you find it without my help.]


Netflix continues to impress me with its selection of terrible movies to stream. Thanks to an unsustainable subscription model, the site is packed full with the dregs of Hollywood. Once, many years ago, I gave the local ABC affiliate here in New York shit for purchasing cheap movies to show late at night. Well, whoever that poor programming director happened to be at the time, I have to apologize. You brought me such gems as The Hillz and Theodore Rex, but as bad as those movies are, they are Oscar contenders compared to Doggie B.

Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Doggie B”

The Empty Balcony: Kill List

Kill List, Ben Wheatley’s intense film from 2011, is impossible to classify. After having seen it, it continues to exist in my memory as an attack on convention, and an attack on my innate need to shove a film into this or that genre. It would be easy to just write that the film is a British crime drama, but nothing about this film is easy. Continue readingThe Empty Balcony: Kill List”

October Horrorshow: The Awakening

The AwakeningThe Awakening, from 2011, is better than most horror films I’ve seen. It’s also one of those films featuring the supernatural that doesn’t quite fit all that well into the surprisingly rigid definitions of the genre. Films like The Shining, The Sixth Sense, and others, are horror films by default, when in actuality, they rise above such rote classifications. The Awakening is not in the class of the two films cited above, but it has the same aspirations to break away from the bonds of genre.

Directed by Nick Murphy, and written by Stephen Volk and Mr. Murphy, The Awakening follows Florence Cathcart (Rebecca Hall), a young woman in England a few years after the end of World War I. She’s Cambridge-educated and has fiercely-held beliefs. Among these are the equal status of women and the ridiculousness of belief in the supernatural, including belief in God. She’s the author of a widely-read book that purports to debunk the supernatural, and the viewer’s first experience with Florence is her doing just that. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: The Awakening”

October Horrorshow: Paranormal Activity 3

The only way to kill a movie franchise is to look away. The business model of the film industry necessarily requires that films display a certain amount of histrionic personality disorder (after all, if it ain’t worth looking at, it ain’t gonna make money), but eventually all franchises end up wearing out their welcomes. Narcissism, egocentricity, etc.; a person could have a field day going through the DSM looking up conditions that apply to the film industry, but it all gets back to money. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Paranormal Activity 3″

October Horrorshow: Grave Encounters

Zombie flicks are my favorite horror film. Not only are they a subgenre of horror, they are a subgenre of post-apocalyptic fiction, which is a subgenre of sci-fi. That’s a lot of genre-ing going on. I like the post-apocalyptic stuff. Civilization on the brink or going down in a ring of fire. It’s fascinating. It gets the gears turning, but it’s not all that scary. That is, seeing society break down and enter a new dark age, no matter the cause (zombie horde, plague, nuclear war, etc.), is unsettling, but when I think of something being frightening in film, I’m not just talking existentially. I’m thinking of actually being scared of looking at the screen. For that, there’s nothing better than the first half of a ghost film. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Grave Encounters”