October Horrorshow: The Green Inferno (2013)

Eli Roth isn’t just a filmmaker. He’s a student of film, with a well-known passion for horror films — Italian horror in particular. One of his favorites happens to be Cannibal Holocaust, which is amongst the most difficult of films to sit through, with its depictions of cannibalism and real animal slaughter. Of course it would only be a matter of time before Roth, the director of two supremely gory and unsettling Hostel movies, would turn his twisted eye to subject matter like that, sans killing animals.

From 2013, and written by Roth and Guillermo Amoedo, The Green Inferno (the title is a nod to Cannibal Holocaust, as ‘The Green Inferno’ was the title of the film-within-a-film that characters were shooting) follows a group of student protesters who travel to the Peruvian jungle to stop a gas company from bulldozing the village of an isolated tribe. As the protesters are heading home, their small plane crashes shortly after takeoff, and the survivors find themselves prisoners of the very tribe they were trying to save. If one has not guessed it by now, the tribe are headhunting cannibals, and waste no time preparing dinner in grisly fashion. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: The Green Inferno (2013)”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Alien Rising, aka Gemini Rising

What a bottom-feeding pile of garbage. This reviewer has seen many bad movies — enough bad movies that I’ve ruined any arthouse bona fides I may have had — yet, sometimes, I’m still surprised that something so amateurish manages to get made. This is one of those shitty movies where no one involved, even the professionals, seemed able to capitalize on their work.

Alien Rising, from 2013, is a direct-to-video shitfest brought to viewers by screenwriters Michael Todd and Kenny Yakkel, and director Dana Schroeder. This was Schroeder’s second directing effort, and, if his IMDb page is any indication, it will be his last. Thank goodness. We shitty movie fans may be into flagellation, but everyone has limits. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Alien Rising, aka Gemini Rising”

October Horrorshow: Devil’s Pass

Renny Harlin has had a long career directing films. So long, in fact, that he has been nominated for a golden raspberry award for worst director an astounding five times over the course of three decades. I’m honestly impressed. How many other filmmakers would have been afforded the opportunity to spread such cinematic misery over such a long time? And I do mean misery. It is a miserable experience to watch Cutthroat Island or Driven. But, to be fair, it’s not all bad. Harlin made Deep Blue Sea, after all, which is one of the most sublime shitty movies one will ever see. What to make of Devil’s Pass, then, his found footage horror film from 2013? Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Devil’s Pass”

October Horrorshow: Hatchet III

I had high hopes for this flick. Admittedly, those hopes were unrealistic. But, Hatchet II was last year’s official film of the Horrorshow, one I had a lot of fun watching, and I was looking forward to more cartoonish gore and general silliness. All the ingredients were there. Same writer/director, same stars, what looks to be the exact same sets, but this time around, the results are not the same. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Hatchet III”

October Horrorshow: Ragnarok

Ragnarok, the 2013 film from Norway, is not a horror movie. At first glance, it has all the makings. There’s a small cast, a remote locale, an abandoned Soviet military bunker, and there’s a monster. So this is a monster movie, then? Well, yes, but not so much. As it turns out, Ragnarok is a family adventure movie. What has the October Horrorshow come to? Have I exhausted my options to such an extent that I have to dip into other genres just to fill out a month? No, I do not. But I feel I have been deceived, and have to share. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Ragnarok”

October Horrorshow: Blood Glacier

One of the reasons I like films in other languages is the subtitles force a viewer to pay attention. I’m just as bad as anyone else at juggling their technological experiences in the 21st century. I’ve been conditioned by products and my own indulgences to never be satisfied with just sitting still and watching one single thing. While watching football games or movies in English, I can keep up the pretense that multi-tasking is possible, as my attention wanders to whatever device is at hand. I can convince myself that listening provides the same experience as watching, even while my attention shifts completely to a website or messaging app. But not with a movie that has subtitles. If I want to have any sort of understanding of events on screen, I have to read those little lines of translated dialogue or I’m completely lost. Idea: watch movies in English with the sound down so low I have to use captioning. That should keep me interested, right? Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Blood Glacier”

October Horrorshow: Willow Creek

Oh, no. Not another found footage horror flick featuring amateur filmmakers traipsing around the woods. A big part of me, bigger than I would like to admit, wishes that filmmakers would just stop with this nonsense. Found footage is a grossly overdone gimmick in horror films. Consequently, the bar for success has been raised so high that only the most talented of filmmakers can hope to produce a film that adds anything to this tired method of storytelling. So, sorry in advance, Bobcat, but I did not go into your film with the highest expectations. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Willow Creek”

October Horrorshow: Odd Thomas

Odd Thomas is the anti-Cole Sear — he’s a youth untroubled by his ability to see dead people. Thomas (Anton Yelchin) is a psychic hero for the comic book age of American cinema. He rolls with the punches with endless optimism. Without flinching, he uses his gifts for the betterment of the fictional desert town in which he lives, Pico Mundo. Like any good comic book hero, he has a support network of people who are aware of his gift, and its import. Thomas is a flawed human being, capable of very weird behavior, yet he is universally liked by all those who meet him. Were it not for all the murder happening in town, what a utopia it would be. Thomas is indeed odd, yet never shunned or avoided. He even has a hot girlfriend. Thomas’s life is almost annoyingly good for someone so strange, but, this is fiction, after all. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Odd Thomas”

October Horrorshow: Haunter

The lore surrounding ghosts is no less extensive and esoteric than in any other fantasy that human beings engage in. Googling “ghost types” garners about 30 million hits for me, but only because Google thinks I was looking for something about Pokemon. Going a bit more formal with the language and googling “types of ghosts” leads to about 11 million hits. Hardly any more manageable, but at least this time Google hasn’t confused my search with a video game. Many pages detail the physical characteristics, categorizing spectral apparitions as orbs, vapors, mists, shadows, rods of light, even corkscrews. There are lists which deal with animal ghosts. Strangely appealing are object ghosts, like ships or cars, supposedly manifestations of intense energy emitted by their passengers. There is a lot of information out there in the real world for anyone curious enough to look. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Haunter”

October Horrorshow: Oculus

Of late I have been becoming more and more worried that stories hold no more surprises for me. Books, film, television shows, video games...no matter the delivery method, at some point during the story everything seems so familiar that it can feel as if plot and dialogue are being sprung from my own mind and brought to mediocre life before me. After decades on this earth, it seems that there is nothing new to behold. Rather, it’s the same stories told over and over again, just with new packaging. In fact, this observation of mine is nothing new. Even the bible has something to say. In the first chapter of Ecclesiastes, there is this: “All things are wearisome; Man is not able to tell it. The eye is not satisfied with seeing, Nor is the ear filled with hearing. That which has been is that which will be, And that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which one might say, ‘See this, it is new’? Already it has existed for ages Which were before us.” Man, if a two-thousand year old bible verse laments lack of originality, what hope do I have in watching horror movies? Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Oculus”