Monday, June 27, 2011

Top Ten Movies that scared the s**t out of me as a child

I have been holding off on this list for a little while now, but I think it is time. I know there are some people out there that have to agree with me on a few of these. I wasn't always the horror loving guy that I am now, and these movies are why. They scared the shit out of me!!! There was just something about the movies of the 80's that were terrifying. They didn't have cheap CGI gimmicks, and they didn't have as many regulations on what they could show to keep a "R or PG13" rating. I won't delay it any longer, but I want to know your thoughts.

10. Alligator (1980) Dir. by Lewis Teague

There is just something about this urban legend that just seems to hold some truth to it, and it only makes this movie scarier. Don't look at me like that! People do flush alligators down the toilet and some have survived. They have proved it!

9. Razorback (1984) Dir. by Russell Mulcahy

Some of you have probably heard me rant and rave about this movie before, but I think it is pretty much the closest things to perfection to ever come out of Australia, and they made a giant scary as hell.

8. An American Werewolf in London (1981) Dir. by John Landis

With some of the best special effects/make-up work ever known to cinema, there is no way this movie didn't scare the crap out of me as a child. Plenty of nightmares came as a result of this legendary film.

7. Cujo (1983) Dir. by Lewis Teague

Thank you again Lewis for once again making my list, and ruining my childhood by not wanting a dog for the fear that it would rip my limbs from my little fragile body.

6. Children of the Corn (1984) Dir. by Fritz Kiersch

I justified my youth thanks to this film. It made me feel like it was ok to not have friends.

5. Gremlins (1984) Dir. by Joe Dante

Yes I know, the movie is hilarious now, but at five years old the movie is pretty much the scariest thing ever. However... I did want to own a mogwai, and I hope they eventually make a third movie.

4. The Twilight Zone (1983) Dir. by four legendary dudes

I can't see how anyone who reads this list can say they weren't scared by this film. I would call you a liar. That damn gremlin on the wing!

3. Critters (1986) Dir. by Stephen Herek

These guys were so frickin terrifying. I used to take my mom's unused hair holder things (I'm a dude, don't know what they are called, but they looked like millions of sharp teeth) and I would put them up by my face and on stuffed animals pretending to be critters. Scary scary little creatures!

2. The Shining (1980) Dir. by Stanley Kubrick

It wasn't even about Jack's character when I was younger. I was just as scared of the little boy and his hallucinations.

1. Child's Play (1988) Dir. by Tom Holland

How could this one not make the list? Come on people! Thanks to this movie I never wanted to get a My Buddy Doll when all my friends had them. Tom Holland you are an asshole, and not just because you made (in my opinion) the worst Stephen King film adaption ever put on film with The Langoliers. You are lucky you made Child's Play and Fright Night, or I would kick your ass for scaring me as a child, and then I would help you up and shake your hand for helping pave me to be the horror loving freak I am today.

I hope you liked the list. Let me know your scary movies that ruined you childhood, but as a result made you the awesome freak of nature you are today.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Green Lantern (2011)

Green Lantern (2011) Dir. by Martin Campbell

A test pilot is granted a mystical green ring that bestows him with otherworldly powers, as well as membership into an intergalactic squadron tasked with keeping peace within the universe.

***Spoiler Alert***

This might honestly be one of my quicker reviews because it is hard to not just go on a rant about all the things that went wrong with this movie. Who am I kidding? Just read on, it may get lengthy, haha. Fortunately I have narrowed it down to just being the fault of the Director and the Writers. Everything else seemed to fit really well. Reynolds was an awesome Hal Jordan, just misused. Blake was just there for eye candy, so they didn't give her much character to work with, so I don't blame that on her. She did well when she had a few seconds to.

All of the characters were spot on to how they appeared in the comic, but its not that difficult to do when 90% of the cast is CGI. Don't get me wrong, they did a great job with the CGI, and it didn't distract from the film at all. There were, however, two actors that really stuck out in my mind as why did they do this film; Peter Sarsgaard and Tim Robbins. Tim's character was in the movie for a total of ten minutes of on screen time, and it was pretty much pointless. Peter had a tough character to play, but I don't think his director really knew much about the comic. So he replaced all the chances for solid dialogue with screaming, heavy breathing, and awkward moaning. To me it was a slap in the face to a method actor like Peter, who could have been used to really flush out the character of Hector Hammond.

The movie has all three of the biggest villains of Green Lantern in one movie. Parallax, who looked awesome, and is one of the most powerful villains Green Lantern has ever faced. I mean he killed the "Best Green Lantern" of all time in Abin Sur, which is fine, but all this stuff about him destroying civilizations and killing everyone builds up for the entire movie, only to end with a 10 minute fight sequence in which he is destroyed. DESTROYED, as in killed. We are talking about a villain who once took over Green Lantern and Sinestro. A demon who embodied them in large story arcs, and is not destroyed in one movie. That brings me to my next point, Hector Hammond. Hector Hammond is to Green Lantern as Lex Luther is to Superman, as Green Goblin is to Spider-man, and you get my point. He is so misused in this film and it is upsetting. Aside from the lack of dialogue coming from him, and all the grunts, screeches, and moans, they really had a change to start off with a beginning villain story. Instead they kill Hector Hammond!!!! Kill him! Some people might say there is a chance he survived, and I have seen people bring villains back from worse, but he was turned in to a frickin skeleton in a matter of seconds. Two of the three biggest Green Lantern Villains killed in the biggest anti-climatic ways possible. A total flop in not only writing, but also directing. Campbell should have known better. He is a veteran director who has made such awesome movies as Casino Royale. So with two villains down, I knew who they would turn to next... Sinestro. He wasn't a villain in this film as he was still part of the Green Lantern Corp, but I knew his little sneak peak at the end was coming.

The movie was cool looking, and entertaining at times, but not enough to warrant even a second viewing. I don't know that I'll buy the DVD either. The Green Lanterns powers were wicked cool, but underused. All of the character were sweet to see on the screen, but once again underused. I don't know if it will make enough money to make up for the $300,000,000 budget (including marketing, advertising, and such), but I know they will try. Especially if they are planning a Justice League movie like they say they are. Thor was made for half this budget and was ten times as awesome, so maybe they should start calling Marvel for tips on how to make successful comic book movies.

Entertainment Value: 6/10 Forged Green Rings
Cinematic Value: 3/10 Forged Green Rings

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010)

Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010) Dir. by Paul W.S. Anderson

While still out to destroy the evil Umbrella Corporation, Alice joins a group of survivors who want to relocate to the mysterious but supposedly unharmed safe haven known only as Arcadia.

Paul W.S. Anderson is really a hit or miss Director. He has done plenty of movies that are absolutely ridiculous that I still enjoy watching, like: Mortal Kombat, Event Horizon (Which I love!!!), Soldier, Resident Evil (the first one), Death Race, and his upcoming remake The Three Musketeers looks amazing. Unfortunately for Paul, his return to the series he started is less the stellar. I tried watching this movie the last four nights in a row and fell asleep three times. I DON'T fall asleep during movies. It isn't my style, and I must admit I have been really tired lately, but that shouldn't be an excuse.

The acting was atrocious. I can't think of a single performance other than Milla's that was even memorable. All she had to do was do the same thing she had done for the previous three films.

There were two scenes of the film that I really enjoyed though. One of them was the opening sequence, and the other was the last action sequence near the end. The thing is there was just so much boring stuff in the movie, and usually it is used to tell a story. This film didn't have a story. All of a sudden there was just random types of zombies. There was a giant guy that was never in the video games. He looked like Pyramid Head from Silent Hill, only instead of carrying a giant knife he was carrying some sort of meat tenderizer with a blade attached to it. The zombies from Resident Evil games 4 & 5 all of a sudden showed up with no explanation. They just popped up a few times in the film and La Plaga was never explained. The Redfield characters where underused. They had such a huge presence in the games, but in the movies they are just pointless. Claire has memory loss, but it is never resolved, so that subplot just dies out through the film. Wesker a.k.a. the most important villain in every single one of the video games, is even more underused, and kind of a pussy. Even the fact that they gave him the T-Virus and barely use that is horrible. It has been a long time since I had seen a film this bad, but it just seemed like they tried to film some cool scenes to use 3D, but didn't care about anything else in the film. I really hope they just stop now. Although, I wouldn't mind seeing someone else pick up the franchise, and tell the real video game story of Leon. Now that would be badass. Time will tell, but until then just don't waste your time with this film.

Entertainment Value: 3 out of 4 pointless characters in a film
Cinematic Value: 2 out of 4 pointless characters in a film

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Super 8 (2011)

Super 8 (2011) Dir. by J.J. Abrams

After witnessing a mysterious train crash, a group of friends in the summer of 1979 begin noticing strange happenings going around in their small town, and begin to investigate into the creepy phenomenon.

If you ask me... there is no director out there today who does as well of a job building up a movie as Abrams. The fact that he can announce a movie a year early, and hide EVERY little detail until the night of its release is unbelievable. According to there are few theories behind this.

1. Abrams is well trained in the Dark Arts
2. In Super 8's case, Spielberg threatened to bring back the aliens for another Indiana Jones movie.
3. Abrams sold his soul to the devil after co-writing "Gone Fishin'"
4. Ball Gags instead of Gag orders
5. The Smoke Monster from "Lost" is on his payroll.
6. All joking aside. He will sue the crap out of you if you say a word.

The little things he manages to put in to the movies are quite cool as well. Utilizing the timeline he is able to throw nods towards his films from growing up, and he does it with a brilliant mind. He has to be one of my favorite directors out there.

The cast of this film is so well casted, but I think the one who absolutely steals the show is Elle Fanning. I am pretty sure the Fanning family is actually just a farm where they grow great actors. She is able to keep the youth of her character while acting like a girl who is mature for her age. She walks the line beautifully and it helps drive the story. All of the boys were awesome and hilarious. Such a diverse group of characters that fit together so well.

This film brought youth back to me. It reminded me of The Goonies, E.T., a touch of Cloverfield, and Stand by Me. So it goes without saying that Spielberg's presence was absolutely felt, and it was basically in honor of films from his youth. It was so great to see a good action movie that could have a ridiculous storyline, and take it so serious. The special effects were near flawless, and the score is what really drove this home for me. It wasn't really a horror film, but when you take in the music, it really feels that way. They took the silent approach that a lot of 70's and 80's films used. Building tension using well timed silence rather than always having a score. It was perfect because you still couldn't tell when something was going to happen, and when it did it made you jump like crazy. It is a film I will talk about for many years, and I look forward to seeing more from Mr. Abrams. Super 8was an amazing film, and I can't stop thinking about it. I plan on seeing it again as soon as I can. I'm sure there are plenty of things from Abrams that I didn't catch in there, like his Slusho Drinks. I love that these drinks have made it in to almost all of the stuff that Abrams works on, and that the product has its own fake back story and website. We will see. It isn't very often, I do this but here they are:

Entertainment Value: 10/10 Hand rolled M80's
Cinematic Value: 10/10 Hand rolled M80's

*************************************************************************************************************SPOILER ALERT ***************************************

Question for my readers.

Don't read if you don't want to know certain things.

Is it me or does the creature in Super 8 look like a small almost exact replica of the creature from Cloverfield. Especially in the facial features. It would not surprise me in the least if this was an "unspoken" prequel to the Cloverfield movies, and as it goes forward I will definitely look to see if there is anything to tie it to. Let me know your thoughts. Google images for Cloverfield monster and tell me they don't look alike.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Final Destination (2000)

Final Destination (2000) Dir. by James Wong

After a teenager has a terrifying vision of him and his friends dying in a plane crash, he prevents the accident only to have Death hunt them down, one by one.

Before James Wong was lending his talents to producing one of the best new shows on television, The Event, he was filming insanely bad films in the 2000's, but that wasn't how his career started off. Before Jet Li's The One, and before that monstrosity of a film Dragonball: Evolution, there was a film that brought true terror to the big screen in a way most had not seen. Final Destination was his feature film debut, and it came like a hurricane sweeping the horror film business by storm. With an all-star ensemble cast, and top notch special effects, it truly was a great film to witness. It is a shame that it has been destroyed by so many sequels that just can't live up to the original, but we all know that is usually the way it happens.

The cast is headed up by late 90's heart throb Devon Sawa (who brought us such amazing films like Night of the Twisters and Idle Hands), and he is on the top of his game with Final Destination. Only in a movie like this can blatant overacting be accepted because of the treacherous circumstances. How would you act if Death was after you? Playing his counterpart, so to speak, is Kerr Smith (My Bloody Valentine, The Forsaken), who until about five or six years ago was just known to me as the guy from Dawson's Creek. Now a well establish actor, with versatile roles, I respect his acting ability. However, when Final Destination came out he WAS the guy from Dawson's Creek, and that is one more thing that brought in the viewers. Who can forget the leading lady, Ali Larter. She has done more extremely entertaining bad movies than I can count, including: House on Haunted Hill, Varsity Blues (guilty pleasure), American Outlaws (AWESOME movie), the last two Resident Evil movies, and of course the best TV show to get cancelled in the last few years, Heroes! She clearly brings that star quality to the screen, and does a really good job in her performance as Clear Rivers. To top it off, you have horror film legend, Tony Todd, the all knowing of all things death character. Then you throw in two more well established actors with Sean William Scott and Amanda Detmer, and you have one hell of a movie.

That is exactly what I get every time I watch Final Destination, One Hell of a Movie. It is a shame that James Wong essential faded away from feature films, but he is doing really well with his show, so he probably isn't complaining. The best part about Final Destination is the overall feel. The movie is insanely creepy, and I remember feeling like death was following me for like a month afterwards. A broomstick hit the floor and I thought it was triggering some elaborate mousetrap of items that would ultimately end in my timely demise. That wasn't the case of course as I type this to you right now, but it was very scary at the time. The death scenes were extremely original, and gory before gory was a lame standard. The best part about the first viewing was you had no clue when someone was going to die, and Wong exploited that by having several scenes where although you were watching death do his dirty work, you didn't know how it was going to end. It was like watching a long chain of dominoes falling. In a way, you are actually told who is going to die next, but just don't know how it is going to happen.

In a couple of decades filled with masked killers with kitchen utensils, Final Destination is a fun, original, sometimes funny, yet scary film that is stand alone among horror films. Just the fact that you get to watch Death do his dirty work is a blast. I will always cherish this film, and revisit it many times.

Entertainment Value: 9 out of 10 untimely deaths for Sean William Scott
Cinematic Value: 9 out of 10 untimely deaths for Sean William Scott