New Theatrical Trailer for Grave Encounters 2 (Electric Boogaloo)

 

OK, so that’s not the actual end of the title. Sorry, for some reason if the syllables are right, I can’t stop myself from typing that after the name of a sequel ending in “two”.  Actually, there’s a point in the trailer where some poor guy appears to be doing some kind of sick electric boogaloo (it looks like ECT gone horribly wrong—you’ll know it when you see it). Anyway, I’ve been psyched about Grave Encounters 2  since I discovered it was in production!

Damn! What the fuck  was  that thing climbing out into the hallway from, well, whatever hole in the wall it came out of? I couldn’t even tell it’s gender (not that I am complaining,  that creature is grotesque enough without having to see its junk)

I raved previously about Grave Encounters when I put it on the list of Ten Trailers to Keep You Awake.  I think it might be one of, if not THE, scariest found-footage movies to come out of the US and Canada.  I’m probably in the minority here, but it scared me a hell of a lot more than Blair Witch. Spain’s [REC] is probably the most terrifying found-footage movie I’ve ever seen, and might even make my list of the top ten scariest horror movies, period- -if not the top ten, then it would definitely earn a place in the top twenty. But I digress. In the interest of full disclosure,  The Vicious Brothers wrote and directed the first film; this time they wrote the script, but handed the directing reigns to John Pollquin, making this his full-length directing début. I still have plenty of faith in The Vicious Brothers to deliver the goods. The one thing I would have liked to see, though, is a ‘viral site’ marketing the movie campaign. Especially since the movie is so ‘meta’, and involves ‘a mysterious blogger,’ (see the official plot description after the jump) they could have come up with a GREAT marketing campaign and had some fun with it. I LOVE  IT when genre films go the extra mile when it comes to promotion …and it’s clear they’re having as much fun playing with it as the fans were. Links to great, entertaining, and just plain fun promo sites will be coming soon in a feature piece, by the way, and there’s some serious must-sees in there.

Here’s the official plot description for Grave Encounters 2…

In 2011, GRAVE ENCOUNTERS was a found-footage horror phenomenon from the Vicious Brothers, with a trailer garnering over 20 million views on YouTube. Many people believed it was just a movie. They were wrong, and film student Alex Wright is out to prove it in GRAVE ENCOUNTERS 2.

While researching the events depicted in the original film and the subsequent disappearance of its lead ”actor” Sean Rogerson, Alex Wright received a bizarre video from a mysterious blogger named “DeathAwaits666.” Appearing to show Rogerson still alive but trapped inside the Collingwood Psychiatric Hospital from GRAVE ENCOUNTERS, Alex and his friends agree to meet the blogger at the infamous hospital in hopes of learning what really happened.*  To their horror, they quickly find themselves face-to-face with unspeakable evil. Realizing that they must be smarter and faster than Rogerson and his crew to avoid suffering the same fate, they use their knowledge of the original film to do whatever it takes to survive the sequel.

Yeah… I don’t think that last part’s gonna happen. Take a look at the first theatrical trailer for Grave Encounters 2 below!

Damn! What the fuck was  that thing climbing out into the hallway from, well, whatever hole in the wall it came out of? I couldn’t even tell its gender (not that I am complaining,  that creature is grotesque enough without having to see its junk). Bringing back the main character (and possible sole survivor) from the first movie has potential.  Thinking back, I can’t even say for sure who got the worst death in the first movie. Many times after whatever monster/demon/ghost combo got ahold of someone (causing the other characters present to scream “WHAT THE FUCK?” “SHIT!” “FUCKING RUN!”  at the top of their lungs while the footage got blurry or digitized as they either dropped the camera to come back for later or blunder quickly away from the scene) the poor bastard just …vanished.  I don’t think vanishing after being suddenly yanked into a bathtub filled to the brim with blood means they got an easy death. So, that leads me to think…

(SPOILER ALERT FOR THE ORIGINAL GRAVE ENCOUNTERS – highlight the text below to reveal and read). Who knows if they’re in some kind of hell-dimension, or just dead? I think the guy who fell down the elevator shaft and died when he hit the ground probably had it the easiest. OK, now I’m getting too spoiler-y as far as the original. Anyway, we never saw him die… his character was the biggest douchebag in the movie, but he ended up having to catch and eat live rats, then got a lobotomy. The horrible old-school ice pick kind. OK, now I’m getting too spoiler-y as far as the original and wanting to veer off topic.

Check out the first teaser poster below—the tagline struck me as kind of lackluster, but the image sure as hell got my attention!

YEEEEK

Some people are worried the movie is going to get too “meta”, which was a concern to me for the first 20 seconds or so of the trailer, when fans are recommending Grave Encounters as a great, scary movie to pick up a copy of and see, bla de-blah. After that, though, it starts to get interesting. Even though this trailer swears Grave Encounters 2 contains 2 X THE FEAR, 2 X THE INTENSITY, and  2 X THE ENCOUNTERS, I’ll just be happy if it’s up to par with the original. Also, I have a suspicion that I don’t really WANT to see a sequel twice as frightening as the original,  since the first one already was scary enough to shoot my nerves to shit!

Fuck Everything And RUN!

Most people (including me) seem to agree that if the sequel is as good as the first movie–or even a notch down– they’ll be in for a great, scary ride. Lucky Uncle Creepy, from my favorite horror news site Dread Central, has seen it and said it “could very well be the perfect sequel”.  I pretty much trust him 100% – besides being just as passionate a horror fan as I am (probably more, since he devotes so much of his time to Dread Central he seems to be on it 24/7, unlike me)  has yet to steer me wrong with a review of, well, anything as of this writing.  Oh, and they also gave us a look at a second poster that’s hard not to get a big grin looking at:

This Ain't Mark Zuckerberg

Looks like we’ll get to find out for ourselves when Grave Encounters 2 is available On Demand on October 2nd (with a theatrical release and midnight screenings beginning on October 12 … right, like I have the willpower to wait for that**). Only weeks away; time for a new “Milestone” countdown widget!  Now that I think of it, the release date is great timing for those of us who have been jonses-ing for American Horror Story: Asylum to start already, goddamnit! on October 17th. So, we’ll have GE2 to look forward to two weeks before the premiere, which should hold us over a bit longer.

Also, that buys me a little extra time on my article featuring a trilogy of my current favorite–and most terrifying– insane asylum-set horror movies (Session Nine, Asylum Blackout (nothing supernatural in that one, but JESUS it was terrifying) and of course, the original Grave Encounters). I’m also writing a piece that is in danger of growing to a novella-length essay on the history of the Danvers Asylum, which I’m fairly convinced was haunted, and I sure as hell want nothing to do with the Luxury Apartments built on the property after the Asylum was torn down. Fuck that!  Would YOU want to live there?

Oh, and the “Collinswood Hospital/Sanitorium”  (the setting for both Grave Encounters movies) is —unlike the aforementioned Danvers in Session Nine— is, thank God, completely fictional. But looking at this (fictional) atmospheric image of the exterior, you could have fooled me. Feast your eyes on the below…

Well lissen, I gotta go.

It’s not often you see an image so spooky, yet almost breathtakingly beautiful. Now THAT takes some finesse from the production design team.

*visiting the ‘real psychiatric hospital from the original’ film: Bad Fucking Idea, or Big Fucking Mistake?

**I’ll end up being just about as patient as I was with REC 3: Genesis, Asylum Blackout, Piranha 3DD  (and boy, was seeing THAT one in 2-D for less than ten bucks at home one of the best judgement calls I’ve made in the last couple of years) and V/H/S when they popped up in the “Just In” section On Demand before the official VOD date.  Let’s see, here. So I can watch it starting in less than two minutes at home for $9.99 (sometimes less than that)  instead of waiting several more weeks to see it in the theater for $12.50? Especially Though there’s nothing, and I mean nothing  like the high of seeing a Midnight Preview or an opening night showing in a packed theater full of fans just as excited to see the movie as you are …DEAL! When I have a choice between INSTANT gratification or waiting (unless I know for sure it’s going to be showing here in the Emerald City –not in a theater that’s an area code or two away– and guaranteed a lively crowd, with the date less than two, three weeks tops from now) all my willpower instantly goes down the drain when it comes to a horror movie I’ve been all hopped up to see for months.

 

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Authorities investigate lungs found on L.A. sidewa–wait, WHAT? (Edited Version)

Note: This piece is edited down from the original “uncut” post – if you want to read the original, longer, darker version, it’s posted here.
Even this shorter version is not only longer than most of my pieces (highest word count yet) it’s also the heaviest. It’s not meant as a kind of preachy manifesto; instead I woke up one day, thinking out of the blue about a video clip on Yahoo! News that reported on the newest, scariest drug on the streets  (it makes PCP look almost tame). Experts explained it was probably behind a rash of exceptionally disturbing, gruesome homicides.  The same clip also helpfully more or less told you how to find it on the internet and what it sold for, even adding that it isn’t branded as an illegal narcotic officially yet.

When you’re online, you read a Yahoo News story about bath salts. When you read a Yahoo News story about bath salts, they tell you how easy it is to score bath salts. When you score bath salts, you turn into a psychotic cannibal, get naked, and eat a homeless man’s face. Don’t get naked and eat a homeless man’s face. Call your local cable provider today.

I hoped the blood-curdling report and the clips showing what it’s reduced people to (I’ve never seen a man being arrested  on the news screaming in utter terror so long and so loud that he blew his voice out, and I’d like to compartmentalize it, but so far, no luck) scared most people away. Anyway, I saw that the lungs mentioned above and below hadn’t been identified yet, and that the coroner seemed a mite casual about the whole thing. “It seems odd,” one quote read, “that they didn’t have any other body parts attached to them” Yes, odd. I suppose you could call it that.   I tried to limit links to reference sites, and also be careful not to use links you just click on and walk into a buzzsaw of deeply disturbing info and photos.  I try to keep the vibes here at Horror Boom relatively positive; I want horror lovers to enjoy reading and visiting, and come back and have more fun –not to bum anyone out or ruin their day/night. 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. Oh, and I swear even more than usual. So there’s that. If you’d like to read the original, longer unrated director’s cut  extended version of this piece, which is also a shade or two darker, click here.  I worked hard on it, but the consensus was the first version was 30% longer than it needed to be, and could use some trimming. If you have a little extra time, you may want to read the long-ass version  after you read the “abridged version” contained below.

Well well, hasn’t the news been interesting lately! A little too fucking interesting than many 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 several weeks, it seems like at least once a day, I read some headline I would glance at, move on and go about my business for a split-second, then say out loud, “Wait, WHAT?” after it registered.  Each time, I actually paused a minute before clicking on it, thinking: maybe this is information I don’t really need in my head. 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, I would have burst into horrified laughter. Now, not so much. Maybe it has to do with turning forty, thirty-seven, 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. Nor did I see much humor in the situation when the whole Miami face-eating story first hit the news. When the next Real Time With Bill Maher aired and John Waters was on the panel, HE didn’t joke about it (though he didn’t take a crack at it in the first place), but I guess I’ll wait and see. I found it frightening. No, the first horror reference to leap to mind in association wasn’t YO, EPIC ZOMBIE APOCALIPS  is finally HERE, so fuckin’ strap in BIAYOTCH, WOOOOH YEAH!!!  like 90% of the article’s readers racing to be the first to post a comment with the “best” zombie joke. OK, the horror reference that came to mind for me right away was the comic series Crossed, but I didn’t celebrate it (and if you’re familiar with Crossed, you know if THAT shit ever did break loose, the last thing you’d do was celebrate)** .  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 within hours of hitting the news (Click ‘thumbs up’! Classy way to show concern for a fellow human being.) The fact that victim and attacker 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 warned to stand down at gunpoint, that it took three shots to take down the attacker, the fact that a witness (the one I saw seemed excited and a little too enthusiastic that he might be on the nightly news) 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 (to protect my mental health) right before it yanked my attention on to something else.


No-one’s actually said this to me yet, and I hope to God it never comes up. I don’t want anyone 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 psychological need draws me in to the horror genre and keeps me there–I mean, six goddamn months and I’m still stalled at the stage of 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.  The piece of shit that stole Lin Jun’s life, as well as the lives of many small animals,  has a craving for attention and media fame that makes the media whore known as (sigh) The Octomom look classy in comparison.  So, I’d rather refer to the crime and the victim, the human being, the beloved man whose 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. His head is still missing at the time of this writing.. 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 reportedly so devastated with grief and pain she can barely stand up.  You can look it up on Wikipedia, but I since I began this piece, I discovered that the Huffington Post had an exceptionally thoughtful article on remembering the victim, and not giving the killer the 15 minutes of fame he’s admitted motivated his crimes. 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. 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, dead 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 evil, toxic little piece of shit what he wants: any further attention.*****

Think twice before unlocking...
Deep breath. Anyway, when I was going through the comment section in one of the more graphic features –in which every once in a while, someone would have the motherfucking nerve to complain about the video being taken down and even offer to pay a few bucks through PayPal if anyone who had burned a copy could send them an email — a memory came to me.

Back in college, probably 1988 or 89, I was driving home after a night class. I turned a corner to discover that an area (of a few blocks) had been blocked off by the police, EMTs, and even a news van or two …with plenty of rubberneckers standing around. Being the responsible, mature undergrad that I was, I blew off studying, parked, and wandered over to see what had happened. One of my first thoughts was they were shooting a movie. Then I heard some middle-class white kids I’m guessing were ages 12-15 talking, complaining about not being able to see anything. I asked someone who looked official, but non-threatening, what had happened. She told me there was a homicide: a shooting. I backed off and didn’t ask any more.  It turned out that the kids were mad because a make-shift yellow tarp had been stretched out between two police cars, and now  they couldn’t see the body (oh, boo-fucking-hoo for them). Two women, probably about the age I am now, were pretty sick of hearing them complain. Clear as if it were last week, I remember one of them finally saying, “OK. Look, if you want to see a dead body so much, why don’t you go watch a Friday the 13th movie or something?” They all responded, almost in unison, “Yeah, but that’s fake. This is real!” I thought, OK,  just … just fuck this whole thing, walked back to my car, and went home.
Even back then, when I could act like a self-involved little bitch without realizing it, I didn’t want to see “real”. If I wanted to see someone’s head explode, I’d watch Scanners. I wanted to see a dead body (not that I was desperately wishing to), I had plenty of Italian slasher flicks on VHS that my good friend George, who had started his own rental place called Scarecrow Video, had recommended to me. If I wanted to be shocked (and feel slightly ashamed of myself for not turning off the TV) I could watch one of the uncut (rare at the time) Ilsa movies.


What’s my point?  I like to think everyone can tell the difference between a horror movie and real life. “It’s getting weird,” was one of the quotes from the L.A. Sheriff working on the case of the missing (or found, to be more accurate) pair of lungs. Good. Kind of an understatement, but still, good. That all this crazy shit is happening is bad enough but somehow it’s reassuring that at least people are pointing our how horrifying and exceptionally grisly these events are. Right now, when people walk down the street and seeing a pair of lungs on the sidewalk while they’re checking Facebook updates, they don’t just casually steer clear of them, then go back to their Blackberry.

I sometimes think of those bloodthirsty kids so excited to see ‘the real thing’ every time I’m reminded how easy it is to see ‘the real thing’ on the internet. If they never grew out of that phase (eek), they must be satisfied now. As it stands currently, if you have a computer and don’t care about whoever sees your browser history, and are semi-savvy about doing a search, within minutes you can watch horrifying drug cartel murders filmed and purposely leaked by Mexican drug lord’s henchman (AKA Narco Sicarios. Boom, just learned something), American contractors beheaded by batshit terrorists, and perhaps the most vile out there up until the Lin Jun murder, actual murder footage filmed by three bored, shitty rich kids in the Ukraine (dubbed the ‘Dnepropetrovsk Maniacs’ by the media). I don’t even want to go into the evil shit depicted in the video, and am glad to this day that I didn’t do more than read what the video consisted of. No wonder kids are growing up WAY faster than they did–well, than we were at that age.
I have found that fellow horror fans (especially ones from my generation) have two things in common when it comes to documented, borderline “snuff” media: 1. they/we cannot stomach and/or tolerate any animal abuse or harm in any form-most of us don’t even want to read or hear about it- and 2. they/we have no interest in seeing non-fictional footage of anyone killed on camera, whether it’s a someone being hit by a vehicle, a suicide, or worst of all, a homicide deliberately captured on film.
The response is almost always the same regardless of age, culture, or gender: No, I don’t need to see that.  We don’t need to watch a video of a fellow human being getting shot in the face during a robbery. We don’t need to see the graphic autopsy of a car-crash victim. You want to see an autopsy that’s intense, from what is agreed to be one of the best genre films ever? Just watch or re-watch John Carpenter’s The Thing. There’s at least two bizarre, nasty, absolutely unique , and really fucking awesome autopsies (performed on some THING, not some ONE) you’ll ever see, and there’s no danger they’ll take a tiny part of your soul with you when you watch them. You want to see something very bleak, depressing, graphic and brutal that one human does to another? We’ve already seen that in Martyrs, Inside, and A Serbian Film. You’re probably familiar with the kind of film you really only need to see once. They’re actually scary, because they’re horror movies that did exactly what they set out to do: horrify and disturb you. Two out of three of them–the French ones– gave me nightmares, even though I watched the ‘making of’ features and commentary for the purpose of trying to get a little emotional distance. You won’t exactly be feeling festive for a while after you see them, but at least you know, when it comes down to it,  they’re just movies. They aren’t reality. We’re smart enough to know the difference– and that’s the point I wanted to make.

Oh, fuck it, never mind...

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go watch Deep Rising for probably the fifteenth time since I bought the DVD 10 years ago, featuring a REALLY fucking cool sea monster, plenty of giant tentacles with teeth, fun, slime and gore leading up to the final scene where you see the awesome Lovecraft-ian leviathan in all its glory. Check out the trailer below. Not exactly HD, but you don’t need it to see how fun it is.

I have a review, just not posted yet (plus IMDB edited it really heavily, so I’ll re-do it and post it, promise). By halfway through, you’ll agree that being eaten by ‘Jaws’ would be preferable any day over THIS thing making a meal of you. If you’ve seen the movie, you know exactly why, and will probably recall the first very memorable scene that reveals what happens if this monster gets hungry and you’ve there (“Oh God! It’s Billy!”).  As for the creature effects for the movie? I think this may have been one of the last films Rob Bottin, the genius responsible for the awesome monsters in John Carpenter’s The Thing, worked on, and the monster effects exceeded my high expectations. In my review, I proclaimed that it was the second best sea monster movie ever made, (#1 was and will probably always be Jaws). Between that review and now, I saw The Host (whose monster qualifies if you don’t count the fact that it’s easily able to dive out of the water and survive while crashing around on land, barreling directly towards humans to eat them-it likes to swim around, but unlike Jaws and Deep Rising, you’re not safe just because you’re not in the water or even in a small land-level building). So, Deep Rising remains in the top three on my list …no small feat! I’m happy to say I was lucky enough to see all three of them in the theater, back in the day when they still had cinemas consisting of one giant theater and one screen. Yes, only one movie could play at a time! I may change the subject when someone asks my age, but I’d rather be on the other side of forty and have had the varied rip-roaring, kick-ass movie-going experiences I did.
*the comedian Patrice O’Neal, who passed much too young in 2011, did a really funny routine about how much he hated seeing the ads. His specials are worth seeking out if you dig stand-up and aren’t easily offended (if Chris Rock’s HBO specials don’t offend you, this probably won’t). If you have Netflix, Patrice O’Neal – Elephant in the Room is available on streaming. Update: Hey! After I wrote this, but before I posted this, I found the clip with the whole routine about sad animal commercials. It’s bleeped, but just as funny. If you love animals and hate those ads, you’ll appreciate this. The embedded clip is on the fritz so for now, just click this link to watch the bit directly on You Tube.
Man, I really miss that big guy.
**Unless you were already infected and turned into one of the Crossed. If you don’t read it and aren’t familiar with it, you don’t want to know what the infected do for fun. Oh, OK. If you are feeling brave and want to skim the Wikipedia page on the Crossed series, it explains the premise ( just beware of plot spoilers).
***also disturbing: the fact that, like a complete fucking moron, I viewed a color photo confirming this …not to mention the additional disturbing fact that it only took me a few minutes to find that pic. Not my proudest moment,  and though I only looked at it for less than ten seconds (which seemed like ten minutes) I’ll probably be able to call it up MUCH too easily for years.
**** the Huff Post article gives this information, but I feel it’s worth repeating and spreading around: Various community efforts are being organized to help raise money for the devastated Lin family. It’s possible to donate to the Concordia University Chinese Students Association’s Jun Lin Rest in Peace Foundation at any RBC branch. To learn other ways to donate, contact Yan Shi at 514-848-2424.

Authorities investigate lungs found on L.A. sidewa–wait, WHAT? (Original Uncut Version)

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.

Continue reading

Normally I try to keep things on topic (though I *do* discuss Spartacus quite a bit), but am making an exception in this case. Wish I could donate as much as they need to finish the film. -Mrs.HB

Did I Watch Too Many Scary Movies Last Week?

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-titled for the US release.  The title is actually  Kalalvet. It meansrage(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”).