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
The Unseeable 10/10
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
Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory (2011) 10/10
The Haunted Drum 5/10
Natural Born Killers – Extended Director’s Cut* 7.5/10
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 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”).