It was a dark and stormy night in early October, 1968. Like, really stormy. So stormy that, according to radio broadcasts, the entirety of North America, and possibly the world, was enveloped in cloud and heavy rain. At a bus station a few hours drive from Mexico City, a man, Ulises (Gustavo Sánchez Parra), is frantic as he awaits the delayed bus into the city. He’s anxious because his wife has gone into a difficult labor, and he wants to be by her side. But, the rain has made travel impossible.
When a filmmaker is given a budget of around a million pounds, certain ruthless decisions have to be made when it comes to the production. Where possible, things have to be kept to a minimum, and that can span all the way from sets, to the film’s plot.
Director Paul Hyett had only a million pounds to work with in making Howl, the 2015 werewolf flick from across the pond. Luckily, the screenplay from Mark Huckerby and Nick Ostler is just as sparse as the budget (not surprising, as the two are also credited as associate producers — they were in a position to know they couldn’t write Gone with the Wind). Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Howl (2015)”
The Asylum is shameless. When they’re not churning out giant monster flicks starring washed-up TV stars for SyFy, they’re taking advantage of blockbuster movies, attaching themselves like remora and feeding off scraps. They have taken the idea of the mockbuster, cinema’s short con, and elevated it. Not to art, but it’s definitely something they’ve honed.
I like that The Asylum has no shame. It’s different than what a filmmaker like Roger Corman has done throughout his career. Corman was a filmmaker with talent, and he threw it all away to chase the cheap buck. The Asylum, by contrast, has always been a house of shit.
Road Wars was in the can and ready to release direct-to-video early in May of 2015, timed to match the upcoming release of Mad Max: Fury Road. That’s the film Road Wars is ripping off. From the mishmash black leather outfits and shoulder pads (my favorite accoutrement was a bicycle reflector attached to an epaulette), to old muscle cars with all sorts of metal shit welded on to them, to the desert setting (California City, take a bow), to the derivative title, this is almost enough of a ripoff for the rights holders of Mad Max to sue. That makes this shitty flick a proper mockbuster. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Road Wars”
Leigh Whannell has had one of the most impressive runs in horror films so far this century. He’s responsible, with James Wan, for the Saw and Insidious franchises, and has even managed to amass over thirty acting credits. Insidious: Chapter 3, from 2015, is his first time in the director’s chair. A prequel to the first two Insidious films, the film doesn’t feature the Lambert family this time around, but Lin Shaye, Angus Sampson, and Whannell all reprise the characters they played. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Insidious: Chapter 3″
Villmark 2 is a little bit Session 9, and a little bit Texas Chainsaw Massacre. From Norway comes director Pål Øle’s follow-up to his 2003 film, Villmark, also released under the title Dark Woods. Having not seen the first film, I can’t say how closely this film tracks what came before, but the first film was about a reality TV show in the woods, and this film is about a cleanup crew inside an abandoned asylum. The two films appear related in name only. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Villmark 2, aka Villmark Asylum”
Yet another found footage horror flick. I suppose they’ll stop making them when we stop watching them. But, while most found footage horror flicks have little to offer beyond a gimmick, sometimes the filmmakers get it right.
Hell House LLC comes from way back in 2015. It was written and directed by Stephen Cognetti, and judging from the names listed as producers, was financed with a lot of loans from family members. This is Cognetti’s first feature, and it will be recognizable to horror fans as a first time filmmaker’s magnum opus. Horror is the genre, after all, most open to new filmmakers. No one wants to see a romcom that cost a buck and a half to film. But we viewers have a much higher tolerance for low budget flicks if they do a decent job of frightening us. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Hell House LLC”
If a viewer happens to be in the mood for something post-apocalyptic from the horror genre, a good zombie flick can be a fine way to go. But there are so many zombie flicks now that it’s hard to pick out something with enough originality to make it worth one’s while. Even good zombie flicks sometimes only offer token revisions to the subgenre’s many, many tropes. That’s why I enjoy it all the more when I come across something like What We Become.Continue reading “October Horrorshow: What We Become”
Here it is — the end of Stallone Month. Sly isn’t in the lead role in this last film, but there isn’t a better set of bookends for this month than Rocky and Creed.
Creed, from 2015, is a spinoff of the successful Rocky series. In a surprising change, Sly did not pen the screenplay for this film. After having seen all the Rocky films, it’s clear that not only is Rocky Sly’s opus, it’s also his most personal character. The lovable meathead aspects of Rocky are pure invention, but all the motivational stuff — the pronouncements about hard work and not expecting any handouts — that’s all Sly. Rocky was the vehicle Sly used to share his worldview. Continue reading “Stallone Month: Creed”
As Into the Forest began, I knew little about the film. Was the feature from writer/director Patricia Rozema, adapting the novel by Jean Hegland, a YA film? Sci-fi? Horror? Chick flick? Post-apocalyptic? Dystopian? All signs pointed to it being a little bit of all these genres, and more. Continue reading “Empty Balcony: Into the Forest”
The Witch, the 2015 film from first-time writer/director Robert Eggers, floored film aristocracy when it premiered at Sundance. And for good reason. The Witch is an incredible film — far above what viewers should normally expect from a filmmaker’s first feature. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: The Witch”