In 50 Words…Scouts Guide To The Zombie Apocalypse

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Scouts Guide To The Zombie Apocalypse (2015)

Directed by: Christopher Landon

Starring: Tye Sheridan, Logan Miller, Joey Morgan, Sarah Dumont

Broken Road Productions, Paramount Pictures

Three friends, and fellow Scouts, get set to go on their last camping trip. Plans are also in effect to ditch the camp out after dark and go to the biggest secret location party of the year. Much to the surprise of the friends, they walk right into the middle of a full-blown zombie outbreak upon their return to town. After enlisting the help of a stripper, the group races to find the secret location of the party to save their high school friends. Scouts are always prepared, but are they prepared for this?

Horror-comedy can be really good if done right. I went into this film with no expectations. I had not heard much about it besides seeing a couple teaser trailers. I must admit. I enjoyed Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse. The film knows it is a comedy and never tries to be serious. They follow the formula very well, and throw in some blood and guts for good measure. I found this movie very reminiscent of another good horror-comedy; Idle Hands (1999). Week after week, T.V.’s The Walking Dead slams us with an intense, end of the world zombie drama. Once in a while it’s nice to relax and laugh at hordes of undead. You won’t need your brain for this one, and that’s not a bad thing now and then.

3.5 Bloody Moons  3.5 /5 Bloody Moons

T.

 

In 50 Words… KRAMPUS (2015)

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Krampus (2015)

Directed by: Michael Dougherty

Starring: Adam Scott, Toni Collette, David Koechner, Allison Tolman

Legendary Pictures, Universal Pictures.

Max, a young boy who is tired of his family not taking Christmas seriously, swears of the holiday, and in the process, he accidentally summons an evil spirit. Krampus and his army of demonic elves are coming to town, and they are not in a festive mood. Max and his family must try and survive the Christmas Eve from hell, and hopefully their X-Mas spirit can overcome Santa’s shadow; Krampus.

Being a fan of Michael Dougherty’s brilliant Halloween film Trick r Treat, I was really looking forward Krampus. Both films share a common theme; people disrespecting holidays, in this case Halloween and Christmas, and they are paid a visit by not-so-nice entities representing their respective night. They also share bad ass villains. Just like pumpkin goblin Sam (Trick r Treat), Krampus is a half beast half man Christmas creep. The effects design for the creature, as well as his army of elves, toys, and gingerbread men are great. The acting is decent, and the majority of the story is adequate. Those are things I liked. What I did not like was the lack of blood and violence. I image that Christmas demons would not be as relenting as these ones are. They could have been much more brutal. In spots, the film seemed lost to the fact that it is a horror movie. Unfortunately the ending of the film seemed pretty wishy-washy until the very last scene, which made the attempt to straighten out which was an unsatisfying payoff. If you go in expecting the brilliance of Trick r Treat, you will be disappointed. If you go in with low expectations, you might have a good time. Merry Krampus!

3 bloody moons 3 / 5 Bloody Moons

T.

In 50 Words… Sinister 2 (2015)

In 50 (or so) Words…

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Sinister 2 (2015)

Directed by:  Ciarán Foy
Starring:  James Ransone, Shannyn Sossamon
Automatik Entertainment, Blumhouse Productions

A mother and her two sons move into secluded rural house to escape a domestic situation. There is only one problem; the house has been marked by the demon Bhughul. Using a series of “snuff” films and a gang of ghostly children, Bhughul continues his evil work, and wants this family to join him in hell. Ex-deputy So & So, who is investigating the events from the first film (Sinister, 2012) must uncover the truth and race to save the Collins family from certain death.

The first Sinister film was a good surprise for me, as I thought it was pretty creepy and had some original ideas. I enjoyed how the old home movies were incorporated into the film, and the method in which the families were chosen for death. It was obvious that a sequel would be made, as the first film was good, and turned a decent profit. For the most part, this is just a rehash of the first film with a different target family. James Ransone does return to reprise his character, Deputy So & So. Unfortunately, the character lacks the hero quality and just blends in. Where the first film had great eerie atmosphere, Sinister 2 goes for the jump scares more so than suspense. I felt as if the story showed its hand too early and too often for this sequel to be as effective as the predecessor. The “snuff” movies within the film were good, but the film itself was just not sinister enough for this guy. Hopefully the third installment can reinvent Bhughul. He seems to have lost his demon game.

2 Bloody Moons   2/5 Bloody Moons

T.

In 50 Words… Redemption of the Devil (2015)

In 50 (or so) Words

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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.

4 Bloody Moons

4/5 Bloody Moons

T.

In 50 Words…The Hallow (2015)

In 50 (or so) Words…

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The Hallow (2015)

Directed By: Corin Hardy

Starring: Joseph Mawle, Bojana Novakovic

Occupant Entertainment, IFC Midnight

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.

3 bloody moons 3 /5 Bloody Moons

T.

 

 

Friday the 13th – A Quick Ranking of Jason Films

Happy Birthday Jason!

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 David Cronenberg, 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!”

T.

31 Days of Halloween Day 21 – The Cabin in the Woods

Cabin in the Woods

31 Days of Halloween – Day 21

The Cabin in the Woods (directed by Drew Goddard, 2012) Once in a while, you come across a movie that thinks outside the box. Horror movies seem to go in genre waves. Whatever is in vogue that particular cycle seems to get beaten to death by Hollywood. Found footage was popular for a while. Vampires have their turn. Slashers get a go. Anything that movie producers throw against the wall, and sticks, is the new flavor of the month. The Cabin in the Woods starts off like any ordinary horror, but takes some big swerves of course through out, and the results are one of the most original films of the genre. I will not go into plot details, because if you have not seen the film, I do not want to spoil it. Five friends set off to spend the weekend in a family cabin. Sound familiar? That’s where the familiarity end. Drew Goddard (writer for World War Z and Cloverfield) and Joss Whedon (TV’s Firefly and Marvel’s The Avengers) wrote the story, while Goddard directed. What they have created is a highly entertaining film, which blends horror and comedy, with enough plot twists to keep you engaged from start to finish. The most recognizable faces are Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Bradley Whitford (TV’s Transparent), and the brilliant Richard Jenkins (Step Brothers). The interaction between Whitford and Jenkins is witty and one of the best parts of the film. I was recommended to see this by a friend, and I am glad I took his advice. The Cabin in the Woods is one of my favorites from the last five years. It reminds me of how great I thought the original Evil Dead was when I first saw it. If you want some Halloween scares with substance, watch The Cabin in the Woods. You will not be disappointed.

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Recap

  • Day 1 – The Conjuring
  • Day 2 – You’re Next
  • Day 3 – Rob Zombie’s Halloween
  • Day 4 – Dog Soldiers
  • Day 5 – Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
  • Day 6 – Psycho (1960)
  • Day 7 – John Carpenter’s The Thing
  • Day 8 – The Prowler
  • Day 9 – Pet Sematary
  • Day 10 – The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Day 11 – Near Dark
  • Day 12 – The Lost Boys
  • Day 13 – Child’s Play
  • Day 14 – Sleepy Hollow
  • Day 15 – House of 1,000 Corpses
  • Day 16 – The Devil’s Rejects
  • Day 17 – Night of the Living Dead
  • Day 18 – Dawn of the Dead (’78)
  • Day 19 – Friday the 13th: A New Beginning
  • Day 20 – Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
  • Day 21 – The Cabin In The Woods

T.

31 Days of Halloween Day 12 – THE LOST BOYS

31 Days of Halloween – Day 12

Lost Boys (directed by Joel Schumacher, 1987) If you are looking for a film that represents the 1980’s, look not further than The Lost Boys. The movie plays like a ninety minute music video, with enough sizzle worthy of its MTV era audience. Although, this stylistic tale of vampires is not only flashy, it has some good substance. During the 80’s, the cinema was chalk-full of teen coming of age melodrama. These included Breakfast Club (John Hughes) and Fast Times at Ridgemont High (Amy Heckerling). So hey, why not take this idea and translate it over to the horror genre? Michael (Jason Patric) and Sam (Corey Haim), along with their mother, move to Santa Carla, California to live with their grandfather. The boys soon discover that there is something unnatural and strange about the sunny coastal town. Besides being the murder capital per capita of North America, and having an abnormal amount of missing persons, Santa Carla is also home to clan of teenage vampires. Older brother Michael falls into league with this clan, and Sam has to race against time to save his brother and destroy the vampires. There are many memorable characters in The Lost Boys. Kiefer Sutherland is David, the charismatic leader of the fang gang. Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander are the Frog Brothers, vampire hunters and the only residents of the town that believe in Sam enough to help him on his mission. The film also stars Edward Hermann (Gilmore Girls), Diane Wiest (Parenthood), Alex Winter (Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure), and Bernard Shaw (as the eccentric grandfather). From the cast, to the soundtrack, to the overall feel of the movie, this is the archetypical 80’s popcorn movie. I think The Lost Boys also had a lot to do with the renaissance of the vampire in pop culture. Director Joel Schumacher made this gang of vampires look young, and hip. They were the town bad boys, and not just the local ghouls that murdered the residents. Along with Goonies and Ghost Busters, The Lost Boys is at the top of my list for essential 80’s viewing. The last entry to my 31 Days of Halloween, I recommended Near Dark for viewing. Why not add The Lost Boys, and make it back to back blood-suckers for you Halloween festivities. If you still are not convinced, just watch it for the sweet saxophone solo during the concert scene during the first part of the movie. You will not be disappointed.

Sorry, couldn’t help myself…

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Recap

  • Day 1 – The Conjuring
  • Day 2 – You’re Next
  • Day 3 – Rob Zombie’s Halloween
  • Day 4 – Dog Soldiers
  • Day 5 – Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
  • Day 6 – Psycho (1960)
  • Day 7 – John Carpenter’s The Thing
  • Day 8 – The Prowler
  • Day 9 – Pet Sematary
  • Day 10 – The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Day 11 – Near Dark
  • Day 12 – The Lost Boys

T.

31 Days of Halloween Day 11 – NEAR DARK

31 Days of Halloween – Day 11

Near Dark (directed by Kathryn Bigelow, 1987) Country boy Caleb (Adrian Pasdar, Top Gun, Heroes) meets a pretty, young stranger, May, which he has an instant connection with. What Caleb does not realize is that May is a “vampire” (although the term is never mentioned in the movie). After being turned into a creature of the night, Caleb also discovers that May comes with some baggage; a marauding “family” of blood thirsty maniacs who have no regard for human life. Caleb is not reading to accept his new way of life and crosses the gang, which results in a violent game of life and death. There are many similarities between Near Dark and Lost Boys, which I think are purely coincidental because they were released within months of each other. Where Lost Boys had a comedic element and has a more “Hollywood”, Near Dark is more dramatic and has an independent feel. This does not mean the film lacks style, because it does not. Near Dark takes itself more seriously. If you are looking for scares, Near Dark is probably not going to satisfy you. But if you are looking for a cool spin on the vampire genre, with some good gore, violence, and atmosphere, Near Dark is a safe bet. Veteran horror mainstay Lance Henriksen (Aliens, Pumpkinhead) plays Jesse, the leader of the “family”. Bill Paxton (Weird Science, True Lies) is Severen, a psychotic vampire, with a quick wit, and a desire to watch people suffer. Paxton’s dialog is worth the price of admission alone. Kathryn Bigelow (Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty) is an academy award winner and an amazing writer/director. This is only her second full-length feature, and you can see why she has gone on to an incredible career. She gets a lot out of the actors in Near Dark, which makes it believable and entertaining. The film fires on a cylinders; action, violence, characters, and even has an element of love story. It may not be the typical Halloween film, but typical can get boring, and Halloween should not be boring.

Cool Fact – In the background of one of the early scenes, you can see a movie theater marquee with “Aliens” now playing. Near Dark stars Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton and Jenette Goldstein are also stars in Aliens (1986). Director Kathryn Bigelow is also married to Aliens director James Cameron.

Recap

  • Day 1 – The Conjuring
  • Day 2 – You’re Next
  • Day 3 – Rob Zombie’s Halloween
  • Day 4 – Dog Soldiers
  • Day 5 – Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
  • Day 6 – Psycho (1960)
  • Day 7 – John Carpenter’s The Thing
  • Day 8 – The Prowler
  • Day 9 – Pet Sematary
  • Day 10 – The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Day 11 – Near Dark

T.

31 Days of Halloween Day 10 -THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS

31 Days of Halloween – Day 10

The Nightmare Before Christmas (Henry Selick, 1993) The fact that this film is twenty-two years old blows my mind. After two plus decades, this wonderful animation has not lost any steam. The characters are still as cool, the soundtrack is still one of the best ever, and the merchandise is everywhere. I think I know why. The Nightmare Before Christmas is one hell of a film. Not only is by far my favorite animated feature, but probably in my top ten loved movies of all-time. The Tim Burton written story is fun, emotional, creepy, and lovely all at the same time. The stop-motion animation is whimsical, and endearingly imperfect. All of the voice work fits the characters, and the songs, written by Danny Elfman, make the film complete. Halloween Town is celebrating another Halloween, anchored by the Pumpkin King, Jack Skellington. Jack is to Halloween as Santa Clause is to Christmas. He runs the show. But the Pumpkin King is becoming bored with the same old routine. He wants to do something fresh. While Jack and his “dog” Zero are out lamenting Skellington’s complacency one evening, they stumble across a place in the forest with strange doors built into the trees. Jack decides to venture through one of these doors, and discovers something that takes his breath away; Christmas! Jack falls in love with Christmas, and hatches a plan to bring Christmas to Halloween town. The venture goes wrong, and Christmas is in real danger of being destroyed by the over-zealous Jack and fellow misfits, which include a trio of devilish kidnappers, a much feared entity called Mr. Oogie Boogie, a senile old mad scientist, and a cast of other assorted ghouls, vampires, zombies and werewolves. The only person who can see that this will go wrong is Sally, Jack’s sweetheart. Nightmare can also be categorized as a Christmas movie, but it feels more like a Halloween treat because of the Tim Burton factor. It is twisted and dark, but in a fun way. The whole family can take something away from this film. This soundtrack always makes me happy when I hear it. Danny Elfman is brilliant, and this is some of his best work. He even does the singing parts for Jack, and the voice bits for a few other characters. Director Henry Selick (James and the Giant Peach, Coraline) does a fine job putting it all together, and like Burton, has an eye for the bizarre. Whenever I hear someone say “I’ve never seen that movie”, it almost baffles me as much as hearing someone say the same words regarding Star Wars. Viewing this film will make you happy, and make you fall in love with Halloween. Watch The Nightmare Before Christmas, for Halloween, because it will make you a better person.

Recap

  • Day 1 – The Conjuring
  • Day 2 – You’re Next
  • Day 3 – Rob Zombie’s Halloween
  • Day 4 – Dog Soldiers
  • Day 5 – Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
  • Day 6 – Psycho (1960)
  • Day 7 – John Carpenter’s The Thing
  • Day 8 – The Prowler
  • Day 9 – Pet Sematary
  • Day 10 – The Nightmare Before Christmas

T.