Why Horror? (2014)
Directed by: Nicolas Kleiman, Rob Lindsay
Starring: Tal Zimerman, a host of interview subjects including John Carpenter, Don Coscarelli, Eli Roth, Soska Sisters, and George A. Romero Don Ferguson Productions
Life long horror fan, Tal Zimerman, goes on a mission to document and discover the answer to the age old question; why do we love to be scared? Zimerman travels from Mexico to Japan to investigate different cultures, interviews many authorities on the subject, and has physical tests performed on him to try and understand his own personal obsession with horror, and also mankind’s interest in the macabre.
I was flipping through movies on the television and came across Why Horror?, and since I am also a fan of the genre, decided it would be in my best interest to watch this feature documentary. If you go in expecting a film about horror films, this is not going to satisfy you. What is satisfying about this film is that there was a great amount of work put into it. Art, literature, other culture’s beliefs in death, science, and of course film are all explored. The question being asked is a valid and interesting question; why does horror appeal to see many people, while other people do not care for it? The film flows really well. The quality of interviewees and “experts” is impressive and insightful. The addition of the brain scan during a viewing of a horror movie was a nice and interesting touch. Overall, Why Horror? is a really cool watch. It’s nice to know that there are freaks like me out there. It was stated in the film that while people watch the horrors and atrocities of real life on CNN, I’ll stick to watching my horror in the cinema and reading it in comic books, where it won’t drive me mad.
Redemption of the Devil (2015)
Directed by: Alex Hoffman
Starring: Jesse Hughes Vice Media
This documentary follows a year in the life of charismatic front man for the band Eagles of Death Metal, Jesse Hughes. He is many things; wild-man, political activist, worshiper of women, ordained minister, and father. Leading up to Hughes’, aka Boots Electric, fortieth birthday, he is preparing to record a new album, play solo shows, record his radio shows, and most importantly, trying to reconnect with his son.
As a big fan of EODM, I was looking forward to watching Redemption of the Devil. To me, Jesse Hughes has always come off as a cock-sure and confident rock n’ roller, with a desire to live up to the legend that comes along with that lifestyle. He is that, and so much more. The film is very candid, and of course there are moments that it seems the man called “Boots Electric” is playing it up for the camera. After watching, I don’t believe that is the case. Hughes has a bombastic personality, and his views and opinions mirror that. There is also another side to Jesse Hughes; devoted son who honors his mother’s beliefs by becoming an ordained minister, as he tries to tone down his hedonistic ways. He is also a tortured father, who desperately wants to see his son after being estranged for a year. At some points during the film, I thought to myself how amazing it would be to live this lifestyle, which were counter-balanced by the realization that things can sometimes slip through your fingers and the fun is not all it is cracked up to be. I really enjoyed Redemption of the Devil, and because of this, I see “Boots Electric” as a human being, and not just the charismatic wild-man you see on stage.
After a month of living in an old house in the remote Irish countryside, a couple and their young son come under attack from supernatural forces that haunt the woods surrounding their home. The experience becomes dire as the evil entities target the couples infant boy.
I went into my viewing of The Hallow with zero expectations as I had not read too much about the film. In my opinion, it is a pretty well made homage to the old “don’t go into the woods at night” theme. The beautiful Irish landscape makes for a nice atmospheric setting. I was impressed with the creature design, as the forest demons are well crafted and effective. The heavy lifting as far as the acting goes is carried by Joseph Mawle (TV’s Ripper Street) and Bojana Novakovic (TV’s Shameless), and they do an admirable job. There are a few plot holes, and perhaps the writers gave away too much too soon, but nothing that should deter you from viewing the movie. My main complaint is that the film sputtered in some spots, and lost some momentum. All-in-all, this a very decent spin on an old Irish folklore that should have no problem finding an audience. Not perfect, but solid.
Starring: Chloe Rose, Robert Patrick, Rachel Wilson
Whizbang Films, StoryBook Corporation, DHX Media
It is Halloween, and seventeen year old Dora is stunned and distraught after discovering she is four weeks pregnant. Her night gets worse as she is terrorized by a group ghostly trick-or-treaters who are after more than just candy. Halloween becomes surreal and terrifying for the young mother to be.
I was really excited to watch Hellions simply because it is directed by veteran Canadian filmmaker Bruce McDonald (Hardcore Logo, Pontypool). The first half of the film is very promising, but then things fall apart. The film becomes wishy-washy with too many scenes that left me guessing if what I watching was reality or a fantasy sequence. By the last ten minutes I had lost interest because I wasn’t sure which direction the story went. Not all was lost. There are some very creepy scenes as well as a little bit of tension. Canadian actress Chloe Rose (Degrassi: The Next Generation) is convincing as the tormented protagonist, and Robert Patrick (T2: Judgement Day) is, well, Robert Patrick. It is unfortunate that Hellions did not finish as strong as it started. I really wanted to like it more than I do.
Clutch – X-Ray Vision (from the album Psychic Warfare, 2015 Weathermaker Music) The lead single from these seminal rockers latest studio album, Psychic Warfare, is dynamite. Big riffs and a sing-a-long chorus make this song pure Clutch. Is there a better front man in the business than Neil Fallon? He is cool without trying, and possesses one hell of a beard. Having kept the band together without line-up changes for 20 years, these guys deserve more credit than they get. Psychic Warfare is real, and it is magic.
Four mates share a flat in NewZealand. They try to get along, share chores and have fun together. Except they are Vampires that are hundreds of years old. Viago, Deacon, Vladislav, and Petyr struggle to fit into modern times but struggle with everyday things; fashion, housework, nightlife, and love. Run-ins with werewolves, police, and other vampires all make for a charming, intelligent, and absolutely hilarious mockumentary. To be honest, this has been the most enjoyable film for me so far in 2015. The writing, physical comedy, and performances are all top notch, with horror elements splattered throughout to compliment the laughs perfectly. Writer/directors Clement (Flight of the Concords) and Waititi (Eagle Vs. Shark) make the characters very engaging and lovable while scoring big laughs. Original and hysterical. If you love cheeky comedy, you will love What We Do In The Shadows.
Rookie police officer Jessica Loren is assigned to guard, on her first shift, an old precinct during the building’s last night open. Informed that all she has to do is wait for a clean-up crew to arrive sometime during the night, her maiden shift should be a breeze. During the night, supernatural occurrences happen, which lead Loren to discover the real reason the precinct is being abandoned. Last Shift starts of fairly well, but quickly lost my attention. There are no real scares, some gross out effects, but a few creepy images. A pretty weak and predictable finish left me feeling that the film lost it’s identity. Decent acting from Juliana Harkavy (TV’s The Walking Dead) with the material she is given to work with. For me, Last Shift quickly became Lost Shift.
Kyuss – Un Sandpiper (from the B-side of the Gardenia single, 1995 Elektra) In my opinion, this song features the quintessential Kyuss line up of John Garcia (vocals), JoshuaHomme (guitar), ScottReeder (bass), and BrantBjork (drums). Un Sandpiper is a great example of the sound these guys created in the California desert. If this song does not have your head bobbing two seconds after the drums kick in, you are probably hearing impaired. The impact this band has had in my personal listening habits can not be measured. Kyuss has spawned many amazing bands, and their influence is undeniable.
In honor of Friday the 13th, and Jason’s birthday, I give to you my ranking of the movies starring the birthday boy. After 35 years, 200 kills, and severe mommy issues, Jason Voorhees has done it all. Here are is my ranking, from worst to first.
12. Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday – What the hell went wrong here? Jason is basically a snake demon that jumps from body to body; he can only be killed by a sacred Voorhees family dagger, and shaves his victim’s mustaches off. This movie has no redeeming qualities. I think I hate this film.
11. Friday the 13th VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan – This could have easily been my least favorite of the bunch, but the rooftop boxing match between Jason and Julius saves it from being last. The movie has so many holes in it, the boat taking Jason to New York should have sank before it left harbor.
10. Friday the 13th VII: The New Blood – Maybe the most menacing Jason, played by Kane Hodder. Not even that can make up for a terrible story and terrible characters. The only character I like is the biggest jerk in the film; Tina’s doctor. Hard to sit through this one.
9. Friday the 13th (2009) – A pretty lame attempt at rebooting a franchise that needed some life breathed into it. Jason lives in an underground network of tunnels. Pretty weird. Jared Padalecki was alright as the lead. My only question; was that Jason’s crop of marijuana that the characters in the opening scene are searching for?
8. Freddy Vs. Jason: A pretty cool story line which could have been way darker and more like a horror film than a teen comedy. It was nice to see these horror gods finally share some screen time. Lacks veteran Jason actor Kane Hodder, who was the best actor to put on the mask.
7. Friday the 13th: Jason Lives – Pretty sweet soundtrack provided by the iconic Alice Cooper. This sixth film would be a much better film if they left the Tommy Jarvis story line behind. Jason bends a cop in half, the way a human should not bend.
6. Jason X – So silly, but so awesome. Overall, a pretty terrible film. Contains two or three amazing death sequences. Jason as a futuristic looking cyborg is not as terrifying as it sounds. Features a cameo by The Fly (1986) director DavidCronenberg, who agreed to be in the movie only if he got killed on screen.
5. Friday the 13th – A true classic horror film. I would love it more if I didn’t find the lead actresses as annoying. Mongoloid boy Jason coming out of the lake is my favorite bit. Kevin Bacon is also a victim to Jason’s insane mother.
4. Friday the 13th Part II – The first appearance of Jason as an adult, and a bad ass killing machine. Runs around Camp Crystal Lake wearing a sack over his head and is dressed like a hillbilly.What’s not to like?
3. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter – In my opinion, the best produced and best acting of the saga. An effective horror movie, and Tom Savini’s make-up effects are amazing. Plus a young Corey Feldman and his bald head defeats Jason.
2. Friday the 13th Part III: 3D – Probably the one I have watched the most, and the first one I saw when I was a Kid. Jason acquires his mask from a guy named Shelley. Great music score. Will always be a special movie for me.
1. Friday the 13th: A New Beginning – I can’t really explain why the fifth movie of the series is my favorite. It just is. Sweet deaths, humorous, and cheesy all rolled into one. Jason only appears in dream sequences, but I still love it. Number one because of sentimental value. The outhouse scene is one that will will always make me laugh. Reggie the Reckless is my best-loved character that lives through any of the films. “It’s those damn Enchiladas!”
3 Inches Of Blood – Battles and Brotherhood (from the album Here Waits Thy Doom, CenturyMedia Records, 2009) Sadly, 3IOB played their final show this past weekend in their home town of Vancouver. For the past ten years, these guys were the premier Canadian metal band. They have shared the stage with some of the biggest heavy metal acts in the world, and I was fortunate enough to see them on play on three occasions. I would love to dedicate Battles and Brotherhood to 3 Inches Of Blood. Thank you for the years of keeping metal strong in Canada and beyond. Thanks boys! Crank this son-of-a-bitch up.