In one of the more interesting press releases we read this week (surpassed only by the “American Horror Story: Freak Show” news), it turns out the sometimes controversial producer Morgan Spurlock pitched a pretty creative idea to Showtime.
Several headlines described the project as “Super-Size Me” meets “Se7en”, which sounds like it has potential to be cool but also borderline-disgusting*, and isn’t entirely accurate (and we don’t know if I’d really want to see that show, see footnote). Turns out it’s closer to “Alfred Hitchcock Presents”, with Spurlock as the host. Spurlock is also exec producing under his Warrior Poets production banner along with producing partner Jeremy Chilnick (they also collaborated on “The Other F-Word”–fatherhood for middle-aged rock stars– and “Knuckleball!,” about retired baseball player Tim Wakefield and Mets pitcher RA Dickey). Here’s how he describes the series and how it came about:
Spurlock: “For years, I’ve wanted to do an ‘Alfred Hitchcock Presents’ style show comprised completely of non-fiction stories …a series just as dark and twisted as anything fiction could imagine, and now I’m thrilled to have that dream come true with ‘Seven Deadly Sins.’ With Showtime as a partner, we’re going to make this as depraved as any scripted program as we dive head first into lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride. You won’t believe it until you see it … and even then, you may not believe it.”
The release also says there will be seven episodes, each based on …well, you get the idea. This high-concept series could, of course, go badly wrong, but so far, we’re in! “Seven Deadly Sins” will premiere on Showtime June 19th. More as it develops!
Not a good combination, but fortunately, the ‘Supersize Me Meets Se7en” concept was just used to make attention-grabbing headlines for the series.
*not to mention, impossible to do as a non-fiction series. What, every day Spurlock will team up with John Doe from Se7en (for the record, Kevin Spacey’s performance as Doe scares the shit out of us to this day) every day for a month to eat somewhere unhealthy, then go murder someone horribly? Guess the documentary crew would have to sign a confidentiality agreement before they started shooting, among other things.
Here’s some notable and recent additions to Fantastic Fest 2013. We weren’t sure we could describe A Field In England (by the director of Kill ListandSightseers,Ben Wheatley) as horror (or even what sub-category under our ‘Cross-Genre’ category to put it under, we settled for a few); watch the trailer and you’ll see what we mean. The poster art is pretty damn cool though, we’ll give it that. Of all three, the David Cronenberg -narrated documentary Tales From the Organ Trade should be the most horrifying and disturbing …and we’re pretty sure we’re not alone in our opinion. Alex de la Iglesia‘s Witching and Bitching sounds like the most entertaining of these (and that title helps it hit the ground running); check the Related Articles below for the trailer.
Here’s the newest theatrical trailer for “Hitchcock” (International version), and it’s even more fun than the debut trailer! I think I saw “Red Foreman” as one of the studio ‘suits’ giving him a hard time. Dead-on (so to speak) casting of Tony Perkins, and while I’m not totally sold yet on ScarJo as Janet Leigh (who wrote a great autobiography that I heartily recommend) resemblance-wise, I’m sure male viewers won’t have a problem!
“It was the knife, that a moment later cut off her scream …and her head.”
Here we have the official international trailer for Hitchcock, starring Anthony Hopkins as Alfred Hitchcock and Helen Mirren as his wife, Alma Reville. This trailer focuses more on the relationship between him and his wife. Everything I see from this film makes me want to see it more and more. It looks amazing. Have a look at the new trailer:
Hitchcock opens in limited release on November 23, 2012. Hopefully they will roll it out wide sooner rather than later.
Note: This is not only longer than most of my pieces (highest word count yet) but it’s also the heaviest. It’s not meant as a kind of preachy manifesto; instead I woke up, thinking about a video clip on Yahoo! News that reported on the newest, scariest drug on the streets (it makes PCP look kind of quaint). Experts explained it was probably behind a rash of exceptionally disturbing, gruesome homicides. The clip also helpfully more or less told you how to find it on the internet and what it sold for, plus that it isn’t branded as an illegal narcotic officially yet. I hoped the report–the clips showing what it’s reduced people to (I watched, frozen, as the news report quickly turned into a scene from a found-footage horror movie when it took at least three huge cops to cuff one white kid and wrestle him into the back of a cop car: though his face was blurred out, you could see his mouth open unnaturally wide as he began to scream and roar like a character possessed by a demon during a failed exorcism) –scared most people away. Anyway, I saw that the lungs mentioned above and below hadn’t been identified yet, and that the coroner seemed rather blase about the whole thing. “It seems odd,” one quote read, “that they didn’t have any other body parts attached to them” (yes, I suppose you could call it that). I meant to write a shorter, lighter piece, but it turned into this. I tried to include direct links only to reference sites, instead of a link you just click on and get a gut-punch of material that even I found offensive. If my links aren’t enough and you do decide to scour the internet for more info or photos of any of the events I refer to, don’t do it if you’re feeling even a little off-kilter. You CAN look at that hellish visual documentation, obviously, I’m in no position to judge you. I try to keep the vibe here at Horror Boom relatively positive; I want horror fans to enjoy reading and visiting, and come back and have more fun –not to bum anyone out. I did several re-writes to do my best to ensure that. OK, you have now been warned that the following post isn’t a non-stop feel-good jamboree, and about seeing photos or discovering information you wish you hadn’t. Oh, and I swear even more than usual. So there’s that.
Well well, hasn’t the news been interesting lately! A little more interesting that several of us would like, and you’re taking to a decades-long horror geek. Movies, novels, short stories, TV shows, comic books, whatever I can get my hands on that I know isn’t going to be shitty. The last few weeks, it seems like at least once day I read some headline I glance at, move on and go about my business for a split-second, then say out loud, “Wait, WHAT?” and actually paused a minute before clicking on it, thinking: maybe this is information I don’t really need. So far I’ve clicked on everything, though, unless there’s even a hint of animal abuse involved. In that case I put as much distance between myself and that information as quickly as possible; anyone reading this who has also practically sprained their fingers reaching for the remote to hastily change channels when one of those sad, sad, very sad ASPCA ads calling for donations pops up in a commercial break*.
Five or more years ago, if a friend pointed the crazy-ass headline above out to me, it would have sent me into gales of horrified laughter. Now, not as much. Maybe it has to do with turning forty, maybe it’s due to me reading the headline five minutes or so after I woke up, or that I was home alone when I read it instead of with a friend and some alcohol in me, but I sure as hell didn’t laugh. I also didn’t see any humor in the situation when the whole Miami face-eating story first hit the news. I found it frightening. No, the first thing to leap to mind in association with wasn’t YO, EPIC ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE now f-ckin’ finally HERE, BEE_YOTCH, WHOOO YEAH!** like 90% of the article’s readers racing to be the first to post a comment with the best zombie joke (though in the interest of full disclosure, the horror reference that came to mind for me right away was the comic series Crossed). Just disturbing as hell. Each detail was more disturbing. The fact that it took a much larger amount of bullets than normal to take the guy down, the fact that the number of Facebook ‘likes’ had already reached the mid-five figures (thumbs up! Classy), the fact that they were both naked and had no previous connection, the fact that the homeless man survived and was in the ICU even though his face was ‘gone from the beard up’,*** the fact that the killer growled at the cop when the cop warned him to stand down at gunpoint, that a witness said he still had part of the face in his mouth at the same time and shook his head around like a dog. This… just… no. That was what my brain decided before it moved my attention on to something else to protect my mental health.
Well well, hasn’t the news been interesting lately! A little TOO interesting! You’re taking to a decades-long horror geek (with no shame in admitting it, and no apologies). The last few weeks, it seems like at least once a day I read some headline I glance at, move on and go about my business for a split-second, then say out loud, “Wait, WHAT?”
No-one’s actually said this to me yet, probably because the friends and family members that know me well enough to know how much I dig horror are kind, intelligent people, but I really hope there’s no chance of some idiot online (not anyone reading this blog, of course), or someone who I just met will bring it up–especially to my face when I have a drink in my hand I might be tempted to toss. I don’t want them blurting out something along the lines of, Hey, come on, you’re like seriously into horror movies! How could you not totally love this? Uh, because I have enough common sense to know that movies are fiction? Because I’m well aware there’s already enough scary, batshit, depressing stuff going on in the world without me having to go out of my way to look for more to try to top it? Even though I can’t explain in one articulate, organized sentence (with less than twenty words, anyway) what psychologically draws me in to the horror genre and keeps me there–Jesus, I’m still jotting down basic notes for the About section of this blog– I knew one thing for certain long before I was old enough to drink legally: it was all about escape.
Maybe I should back up a little.
I was reading about the exceptionally brutal, grisly murder of Chinese student Lin Jun a few days ago. Recent details emerging consistently state that the soul-less piece of…of… there’s not a nasty enough word in the English language I can think of right now to call the killer, so I’ll have to go with ‘the monster’ who took the life of Mr. Jun –and countless animals– did it for the possibly the most skin-crawling motive: a craving for attention and media fame in a way that makes the media whore referred to (bletcch)as The Octomom look almost tasteful. So, I’d rather refer to the crime and the victim, the human being, the beloved man whose loving and father, mother, sister and uncle – had to fly from China for his remains, the collected parts of his body they’ve been able to recover thus far. They still have not found his head. The only comment from the family released to the media so far is his mother’s heart-wrenching quote: We come to take you home now. She’s also reportedly in so much grief and pain she can barely stand.
Since I began this piece, I discovered Huffington Post has a thoughtful article you can read discussing this very aspect of the whole media frenzy surrounding the case that enrages me the most: this monster, who everyone surveyed heartily agrees should suffer and be executed as fast as possible, wants: as much attention and media coverage as he can get. I recommend it (unless you feel that any article about the crime is twisting you into emotional time-bomb), and it focuses more on the tragedy while deliberately keeping gruesome descriptions to a minimum (I don’t know whether or not that’s the case for the several ‘related links’ given, though). It does have a photo or two of the evil bastard posing for a head-shot (he seems to have a very high opinion of his looks, though he resembles a constipated weasel with at least one STD) and his mug shot. In both, the monster has the same dead, inhuman, cold eyes. Lights on, nobody home. There’s a gallery you can click on, but I don’t know the contents, because I didn’t want to give the little shit what he wants: any further attention. I don’t recommend the gallery for the same reason.****
So, I’d rather refer to the crime and not give the monster who did it what he wants: any attention. When I was going through the comment section –in which every once in a while, someone would have the motherfucking nerve to complain about the video being taken down and how they couldn’t see it– a memory came to me.
Hell, I don’t know. You know what, though? Either way, I probably wouldn’t change a thing, because I saw some got-damn AMAZING movies!
Last Sunday evening, I went to our pantry because I needed a decent flashlight to look for a spider that may or may not have been in my walk-in closet. Thinking– the second that I arrived in there and thumbed the ON switch– well, this is where I shine my flashlight on a Thai ghost’s hovering, dead feet or on a homicidal maniac’s face.
The day after that, I dropped a Vitamin D tablet on a hardwood floor, walked a few steps over to where it had skittered and bounced, bent down to pick it up, then right before I stood up, thought if this were a horror movie, when the camera follows me as I lean down then slowly straighten up again, there’d be a reveal right now where someone or some thing scary is now standing/hanging behind me for a cheap ‘jump scene’.
…the week of Friday May 25th to Friday June 1st, I had a little downtime. Headaches, temporary technical difficulties with my laptop, and insomnia –the kind where about all I could focus on was a movie. I ended up seeing seventeen entire genre movies in seven days.
Five minutes after I’d finished watching one of the last supernatural movies (I’m not saying which one, it’d be a huge spoiler), and was following my daily routine, I had a half-formed idea about my life being a version of ‘maybe I’m dead and don’t know it’. Uh, please note that I didn’t actually believe this or find this plausible at all for a second, but I felt like if I really focused, I could shake out an idea for a short horror story (which, if I write now, will have to be under a pen name, since anyone that reads it would probably be same ten or so that follow this blog).
So, yeah. This might not happen again for a while– I’d probably have to really apply myself– but the week of Friday May 25th to Friday June 1st, I had a little downtime. Headaches, temporary technical difficulties with my laptop, and insomnia* –the kind where about all I could focus on was a movie. Long story a little shorter, I ended up seeing 17 entire genre movies in seven days. At some point after I started watching, things picked up momentum, and I watched a couple back-to-back. Hey, they were there in the house, except for one case where my very thoughtful husband offered to look for one of three movies on my ‘want list’ while he stopped at Scarecrow Video while he was out, I went for it and thanks to him, watched one of the 10/10-rated on my list, The Loved Ones. Some I (finally) found on You Tube for the first time, some had showed up from Netflix after a wait**, some were On Demand. I only actually purchased one, a $7.99 rental charge for the HD (and 2D) version of Piranha 3DD. Some blew me away enough that I watched them twice …especially one with the kind of twist/reveal ending that makes you want to see the entire movie again as soon as the credits roll.
Here they are, in no particular order, and I’ll write at the very least, a capsule (100-word) review. For now, I’m going with the IMDB grading scale of 1-10 stars, though I may change it to the Entertainment Weekly (A+ to F) grading system, and maybe a 1-10 star scare level, and gore level (because gory doesn’t always mean scary, does it, Saw: The Final Chapter)? I added will add links to the IMDB pages, in case anyone who knows it’ll take me more than a couple of weeks to get reviews posted for all of them and just has to know more. Plus, I’ll post trailers along the way for a few (trailers that don’t give too much away, because plenty of them did). My review for the creepy Korean movie on the list, Cinderella will probably be up first, so keep an eye out! An asterisk means I’d seen them before and had an urge for a re-watch, a possible exception being Natural Born Killers, since I hadn’t seen the Director’s Cut yet. I also put the year of release down if there’s been a remake, or more than one version of the movie, to clarify which one I watched last week…
Screen at Kamchanod 5/10 The Road 6.5/10 The Woman in Black (2011) 9/10 The Eye* (2002) 9/10 Rabies 9/10 The Unseeable 10/10 Devil 8.5/10 Phobia 2* 8/10 (Final segment is a rock-solid 10/10) The Loved Ones 10/10 Shutter* (2004) 10/10 Piranha 3DD 5.5/10 Colic 6/10 Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory (2011) 10/10 The Haunted Drum 5/10 Natural Born Killers – Extended Director’s Cut* 7.5/10 Cinderella* 7/10 Ghost Mother 5/10
Until I have more time (and before I forget) here’s a dozen random facts that I learned via watching the above movies:
No matter how many times you watch Shutter, it never gets any less scary. You may even notice subtle details you missed before that freak you out even more.
The animated version of the new Hammer Production logo before The Woman in Black* is one of the coolest goddamned logos I’ve ever seen (kind of like the Marvel logo, but with painted/comic-book images for horror fans)!
“Pee” in Thai (with a special accent mark over the first “e” that is not available on my keyboard) means “spirit” or “ghost” in English
Tommy Lee Jones had to have a head cast made for the scene in Natural Born Killers when the rioting inmates put his head on a stick and wave it around like a trophy
M. Night Shyamalan did not write or direct Devil, only his production company was involved (and if I’d been clear on that, I wouldn’t have waited this long to see it)
A TV movie of The Woman in Black (from the 1980s) ended with a giant tree suddenly falling on a boat and killing all the surviving characters
Piranha 3DD has a listed running time of 82 minutes (theatrical/VOD release). The actual movie runs approximately 10 minutes less than the running time (possibly more than 10 minutes). The remaining time consists of what IMDB calls “crazy credits’.***
The male lead in Colic strongly resembles the male lead in Shutter, but they are in fact two different actors
Rabies is a Israeli horror movie re-titledfor the US release. The title is actually Kalalvet. It means “rage” (and sometimes, “rabid)” in Hebrew. which would have been a more appropriate title, but I suppose they figured there’s already more than one US horror movie titled Rage, and Rabid is the (awesome) Cronenberg movie from the 70s.
The Unseeable takes place in Siam in the 1930s
A little of David Hasselhoff playing himself and winking at the audience goes a long, long way
One of the more seasoned, unflappable lead actors in the Aussie shocker/drama/horror movie The Loved Ones began to have nightmares during the shooting for the first time in his acting career.
So that’s seventeen total, sixteen if you don’t count the documentary in the list because it’s not fictional (though show me one person who doesn’t agree there are strong elements of horror in Paradise Lost, and I’ll show you either a liar, someone who was confused and thought you were discussing a different movie, or a stone-cold sociopath), and twelve if you also don’t count the ones that weren’t first viewings. I haven’t sat through the entire original version of the Pang brother’s The Eye since 2008, though, only re-watched a couple of clips –mainly to post here.
A whopping eight are from Thailand (even for me, that’s a lot of Thai ghost movies to see in a week). Hell, only five of them are officially US productions (four of them if you don’t count The Woman in Black, shot in the UK with a mainly UK cast, director, and writer).
Step right up!
Here’s the trailer for The Unseeable. It’s all in Thai, but trust me, you don’t need subtitles to be impressed or make the temperature in the room drop 20 degrees (which I swear on every pair of my go-go boots actually seemed to spontaneously occur the first time I watched this same trailer on You Tube in 2008.) . I don’t know what the hell they’re saying, but it could be spoiler-ish, so really, you’re better off this way. This one is definitely going on my upcoming ’10 More Trailers To Keep You Awake’ list. The sound alone is creepy. Oh, here go hell come!
The trailer might look as though it gives too much away. It doesn’t. I saw one that did, an international trailer, but I prefer this one. If you can find a copy of The Unseeable to watch online (which you may need to do because so far, no US Region Two hard copy seems to exist) I recommend it. To do it justice, though, make sure it’s got good picture quality; as I’m sure you can tell from the trailer, the period sets and warm color palette are drop-dead gorgeous (so to speak). I dream of seeing it in a theater with a big fun crowd one day. If you’re feeling brave and are watching it after dark, turn off the lights… yes, I really am daring you!
*The insomnia was not related to any of the movies. It was just that kind of week.
**If you do rent The Woman in Black (I think it’s worth a watch) and have the option for DVD or Blu Ray, go for the Blu Ray. The production design, immaculate attention to detail, and rich color pallets are nothing short of beautiful, and the film-makers took pains to shoot on Yorkshire, Essex, Oxforshire, and even the Osea Island Causeway. It’s kind of sad when shooting on location and production scouts being used are the exception rather than the rule. When I listened to the commentary and found out that almost none of the exteriors are CGI, especially the long shot of the causeway (that had to be painstakingly timed with the tide), that bumped my grade up from an 8.5 to a 9. I’ll gush more when I write a piece on it.
…and this shot doesn’t even do the Causeway and the large surrounding marsh (to the fictional Eel Marsh house) justice. When the tide comes in, it seeps up through the marsh itself–not unlike quicksand– rather than roll in like a regular tide. Would YOU want to take that ride?
***I submitted a “Crazy Credits” description to IMDB for Piranha 3DD, which they are still deciding whether to post or not. My guess is not, because even though I tried to just list what the kar-razy kar-redits consisted of, I couldn’t resist adding that David Hasselhoff “appears to be inebriated.”. I was still being tactful, he was fucking HAMMERED. His lines really aren’t that complex and he flubs the repeated line, “Little moron ginger!” Three words, and I swear there’s 10 takes of him saying, “Little ginger …moron?” (prompted from someone off camera, “It’s ‘little moron ginger’.”) “Oh. Little ginger moron.” (prompted: “Little moron ginger.”) DH: “Little ginger what, now?” Also there’s some out-takes where he’s standing on a bed in his bathrobe with a drink in his hand (to be fair, I’m 99% sure that the drink and bathrobe were scripted, he didn’t just show up in his limo for shooting like that) and you can hear someone tiredly asking him, “Uh, can you come down now? Uh, David?” At first it’s funny, but after a couple of minutes it’s just kind of sad. He looks like he’s getting a big kick out himself, though. OK, here’s my submission, minus spoilers. I couldn’t really get creative, so don’t expect fireworks: The final 10 minutes of the running time consists of more “crazy credits” than actual traditional credits. They include a mock music video of David Hasselhoff on a beach in his red swim trunks singing, “Fish Hunter” a modified version of the song he is ‘composing’ during his first scene in the movie, while dancing around waving a plastic trident. The remaining credits are interspersed with bloopers, out-takes, ‘behind the scenes’ shots being set up, David Koechner improvising quite a bit of alternate dialogue for the water-park commercial scene early in the movie, and black-and-white scenes of Gulager directing the final scene. Most of the blooper footage consists of Hasselhoff flubbing his lines and breaking character. He appears to be inebriated during these clips. Also included are some scenes of female nudity, as well as “gross-out moments” that didn’t make the final cut (as well as a couple of the ‘gross-out moments’ that were in the movie). They also show set-up and prep for some of the gorier scenes. Also included during ‘crazy credits’: when the film has a very gruesome, bloody (Deleted due to spoiler of one of the few really satisfying scenes) title cards come up, there’s quite a bit of black-and-white footage shot of (Deleted, blah spoiler blah-blah) still twitching slightly at intervals. The last ‘crazy credit’ is a short scene included in the TV spots/trailers, but not included of the final cut with Hasslehoff’s comment about “natural selection at its finest”).