Horror


Fright Night 2011 PosterAs a huge fan of the original campy horror movie that came out in 1985 I knew I had to see it.  Then I learned David Tennant from Doctor Who was taking the role of Peter Vincent it was a done deal.

It seems like either you love or hate 3D and I have to say that I loved it for Fright Night‘s new remake  — or rather I loved it after I told the theater workers to fix the projection since it was off during the previews.  I firmly believe 3D is best served when used in horror movies.
That said, it isn’t the kind of movie you can only watch in 3D.

The basic plot is the same as the original.  Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin) believes his neighbor Jerry (Colin Farrell) is a vampire.  He seeks out the help of a supposed vampire expert, Peter Vincent, to kill said neighbor.  The humor fell flat for the most part, but I did giggle some (not nearly as much as the original).  That said as funnier as the original was I loved the new direction of this film and was glad they went darker.  It was a heart-pounding adrenaline rush.  I am glad I didn’t watch the trailer for the film.  Do yourself a favor and skip the trailer.

Colin FarrellSeeing Colin Farrell was a happy surprise for me as I didn’t look into the film that much before going.  He could have made or broke this film, but he blew me away.  Having someone that good-looking in the film also a nice change from the original.  Instead of it being campy or cliched Farrell gave one of the best performances of someone truly disturbing that I have ever seen.  He was not so much a vampire as much as he was a serial killer that happened to be a vampire, a thing far more terrifying than any creature alone could be.  Jerry is insanely attractive and charming so knowing what he is doing and that he can still pull off being attractive is frightening in and of itself.

Tony Collette was also amazing as the single mom.  She gave a bit more depth to the story that added a level of terror just due to the believability of her performance.

As always David Tennant was fantastic and brought range to what could have been a pretty static character.  Peter Vincent in the 2011 version is a bit of a Chris-Angel-esk Vegas act.  Tennant brought some humor to what could have been an unfunny movie (although that Ebay line was horrible and forced, I think we all can admit that) and was able to manage to make this role his own.

All in all, I would recommend this movie as long as you expect it to be darker than the original.  While it wasn’t as funny as Zombieland, if you were a fan of that film you should check this out.  And if you haven’t seen the original Fright Night just don’t expect it to actually be frightening…at all.

Fright Night (2011): Official Website

Fright Night (1985): Get it at Your Library!

Psycho

Janet Leigh in the famous shower scene of "Psycho"

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the theatrical release of the classic Alfred Hitchcock horror film Psycho.  This means that for half a century people have been terrified of taking a shower.

I’ll never forget the first time I saw Psycho.  Despite being in a large room of people, I still was affected enough that to this day I tell people that Psycho is the most terrifying movie I have ever seen.

Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) is on the run when she stops at the Bates Motel.  There she meets a handsome and mild-mannered young man named Norman (Anthony Perkins) that owns the motel.  Norman tells Janet that he and his mother live on the property, and he feels trapped.  Feeling trapped herself, Janet feels sorry for Norman, who she feels is being controlled by his mother.

Perkins and Leigh

Norman Bates and Marion Crane

Most of us have probably seen the shower scene, and know that things don’t look good for Marion’s disappearance, but the tension of the film is masterful.  It certainly has stood the test of time, and is a must for any horror fan that enjoys the psychological terror over a gore-fest.

The movie is being re-released in a special Blu-ray 50th Anniversary edition this fall, but you don’t have to wait to enjoy this classic.

Check this item out at a library near you!

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Ah! The air smells of pumpkin and wet leaves.  It is time for Halloween parties!  So, what to watch at these parties.  Well, there are some great choices for movies to watch this weekend.  Specifically some movies led themselves well to being on in the background.  This will be very brief!  Eep!

Black & White Classics

Psycho

This film is easily the scariest movie I have seen…ever.  That is especially impressive considering that the first time I saw it was on a big screen with a bunch of other people.

The Brain That Wouldn’t Die

Doctor take future wife on a trip.  Car wreck.  Severed head.  Saves head.  Doctor looks at strip clubs for new body to attach to head.

Night of the Living Dead

You know the drill.  Zombies, zombies, everywhere!  Assortment of people try to hold off zombies.  Good stuff.  **Watch the Entire Movie Online — Click Here**

Devil’s Night Favorites

The Crow

Eric Draven and his girlfriend Shelley are murdered on Devil’s Night.  Eric comes back a year later to exact revenge/justice.  One of the best movies ever (and surely will get an actual real review soon).

The Exorcist

Did these people on The Paranormal Hour learn nothing from The Exorcist.  Little girl plays with a talking board and becomes possessed.  Priest tries to save girl.  Apparently, a guy I know was an extra sitting under one of the trees.

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So, I am horrible and am sending this out far too late, but to be fair I had plans with actual real live people and so I figured you wouldn’t mind me having a social life.  I am happy to report that this month I’ve had 1,666 blog views.  Maybe that isn’t a lot, or maybe it is, but either way I love it!  Almost Halloween and I have reached 1,666 for the month of October.  Brilliant.  So, tomorrow, I will write for both 2 days and for 1 day to Halloween!  Then I think we all should enjoy Halloween!!!  Brilliant.

Tim Burton clearly is one of the kings of Halloween. So, for the 3 Days to Halloween blog I have selected a few Tim Burton movies.

Sleepy Hollow

One of my favorite movies is Tim Burton’s retelling The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. It is one of the most visually stunning and scariest Halloween films and certainly showcases Burton’s talents. Ichabod Crane (Johnny Depp) is an investigator sent from the city to investigate the mysterious murders that have taken place in the small town of Sleepy Hollow. There he not only finds murder and mystery, but the love of Katrina Van Tassel (Christina Ricci). The special effects and general mood of the film are an absolute must for Halloween. Ichabod’s contraptions are fantastic and the gore in this movie is not over the top, but exactly right (as long as you like blood and guts in your movies). Christopher Walken’s teeth alone are the stuff of nightmares…and that tree! If you have seen the movie, you know I’m right. It is a perfect tale for Halloween and certainly not for the faint of heart.

The Nightmare Before Christmas (2-Disk Collector’s Edition)

Getting this edition of the film is a smart choice. Not only does it feature the movie and a few others (see below), it also has special features of deleted scenes, behind the scenes, and trailers. The movie itself is about Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King. Jack is sad and then he comes across the land of Christmas. He decides that all the ghouls and goblins should be in charge of Christmas this year. Of course they get it all wrong, because they just don’t understand holidays other than Halloween. Music, creepy fun, and even a little bit of romance are all part of this story about a skeleton that has good intentions, but gets it all wrong.

Vincent

Vincent is a short film about a boy who dreams of being Vincent Price. It is one of the many extras on The Nightmare Before Christmas 2-disk collector’s edition DVD. It is a clever little poem and stop motion animation piece that I find a delight to watch again and again. Also in the extra features, the original poem is read by Christopher Lee. If you like Vincent, you should also check out illustrator Edward Gorey’s Gashlycrumb Tinies, as I feel you would also get a kick out of his twisted alphabet.

Frankenweenie

Frankenweenie

Frankenweenie

This short film is also featured on this edition of The Nightmare Before Christmas and will eventually be done as a feature length film. The story is about a young boy who brings back a beloved pet, but of course the creation is misunderstood by the neighbors. I was a bit unsure about the story when I was younger, but I gave it a go again once I was older and watched the whole thing and found it to be excellent as long as you watch the entire movie.

Tomorrow: 2 Days to Halloween, Halloween Black and White Classics


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After a long day of shooting video at the library and wishing I was sleeping, I’m finally home and drinking a cup of tea and watching some of my favorite Halloween DVDs.  The Halloween Video Countdown continues! Now it is only 4 Days to Halloween! Today is all about Halloween episodes on television series. It is like candy corn for the soul.

Supernatural

Supernatural is my current television addiction.  The show is about two brothers, Sam and Dean Winchester, that travel across the country in a 1967 Chevy Impala (to a classic rock soundtrack) hunting demons.  Could it be any better?  Did I mention they are really sexy?  For those already hooked on the show, don’t forget season 4, episode 3, in which the boys roll into a classic horror movie!

Buffy the Vampire Slayer
**SPOILER ALERT– Don’t watch this video unless you’ve already seen these episodes**

Like Supernatural, clearly watching just about any Buffy episode is going to be good times for Halloween (or any time, hello!).  However there are two episodes you need to watch for Halloween. The first is season 2, episode 6, in which Buffy and the Scoobies turn into their costumes.  It also should be noted that we get a bit of Oz noticing Willow!  Eep! The next must see episode for Halloween comes in season 4, episode 4, (“Fear Itself”) in which the gang gets locked up in a real house of horrors.  Now, if you are going for creepy, watch the critically acclaimed “Hush” (season 4, episode 10).

The Adventures of Pete and Pete: Season 2, Episode 7, “Halloweenie”
**In addition to Halloweenie, watch this Pete and Pete short**

Halloween is when “the ghouls and goblins of our souls are set free to roam the night and scarf candy.” So, what is Big Pete’s damage? He thinks Halloween is for Halloweenies. The Pumpkin Eaters, “the dark knights of Halloween,” are looking to recruit Big Pete to smash pumpkins and ruin Halloween for everyone.  Can Little Pete help his brother find his Halloween spirit or will it be destroyed forever?

The Muppet Show: Monster Laughs with Vincent Price (VHS) or Best of the Muppet Show – Alice Cooper/Vincent Price/Marty Feldman (DVD)

Now on this one I’m old school.  I have the VHS, but it appears that the same Halloween themed episode is available on DVD now under a new name.  At any rate, this time Kermit holds auditions to be in a Halloween skit and spooky favorite Vincent Price shows up!  Rocker Alice Cooper gets into the mix, too!  The Muppets are amazing and Halloween is amazing so clearly you need to watch this.  I mean, come on…what could be better than Alice Cooper singing “Welcome to my Nightmare” with Muppets!

Looking for the Slutty Pumpkin

Looking for the Slutty Pumpkin

How I Met Your Mother: Season 1, Episode 6, “The Slutty Pumpkin”

In classic Ted fashion, young Mr. Mosby is attempting to find the love of his life.  He is convinced that he needs to find a girl he met years ago at a Halloween party.  She was dressed as a slutty pumpkin.  He was dressed as a hanging chad.  So, despite the seriously dated costume, he wears it year after year in hopes that one year he will once again find his slutty pumpkin. Meanwhile, Barney tries costume after costume in an attempt to get a hot girl to come home with him.

My So-Called Life: Season 1, Episode 9, “Halloween”

It certainly isn’t the best thing ever, but it is free and is kind of a kick to rewatch it many years removed. You can watch all the teenage angst on Hulu. Actually, the entire series is online, but since it is Halloween…what better than the Halloween episode. It is really strange to watch after so many years.  Angela dresses up in some horned rimmed glasses and a cardigan.  She has the book of Nicky Driskal, a boy that supposedly died in the school.  The kids get themselves locked up in the school after hours.  Ghosty craziness ensues, meanwhile, the parents get wrapped up in their costumes.  Oh, the melodrama of it all!

Tomorrow: 3 Days to Halloween, Halloween through the eyes of Tim Burton

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Zombie Girl: The Movie poster

Zombie Girl: The Movie poster

Emily Hagins is a twelve-year old girl (thirteen by the end of the film).  Emily Hagins is also making a feature length zombie movie.  Zombie Girl: The Movie (2009) (available free to stream from SnagFilms until Thursday, August 20, 2009) is a documentary about the making of that movie that was shown at Comic-Con this year.  Emily reminds me a lot of myself and how I would have been if I had the opportunity to make a movie earlier in my life.

Videographer Emily Hagins

Videographer Emily Hagins

In an industry that still is male-centric behind the lens, Emily makes me proud as a feminist and a videographer.  Here is this little girl that starts out with a dream and she makes it happen.  She is having the opportunity to make her own zombie movie and she makes mistakes, but she also works hard and doesn’t give up.  I am passionate about videography and the power it has as a medium for the people.  This is exactly the kind of movie that I think anyone, kid or adult, that wants to make a movie would benefit from watching, but specifically anyone that wants to build a collection for a media literacy program centered around videography.

Emily shows her mom footage

Emily shows her mom footage

The documentary is about much more than a zombie movie (Pathogen, 2006).  It is about that passion we all hope to have.  It is about a girl with a vision and parents that support her every step of the way, but it isn’t all sunshine and roses.  As with any movie, especially a super-low budget indie, there are problems — including long nights, an overworked mom, re-shoots, and lame-o people that actually turn down the chance to be in a zombie movie.  The documentary is also framed by interviews with not only the people involved in the video, but also people that can put into context the significance of the availability of videography to the masses.

Emily Hagins frustrated with editing "Pathogen"

Emily Hagins frustrated with editing "Pathogen"

The great thing about this film, in terms of adding it to your collection to promote media literacy, is that it does go through the good and the bad. Making a movie sounds fun, and it is, but it also is a lot of hard work (especially for the independent videographer that also has other responsibilities and limitations). The beginning of the film is about how Emily got started and what she has done. As the movie progresses we see the successes and fun as well as the very real stresses for anyone setting out to make a movie.

And as I know, you are all dying to see what Emily came up with.  Here is the trailer to Pathogen, which is available from www.cheesynuggets.com/pathogen.html for purchase for $8.00 plus shipping and handling.  I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to get my copy!

One of the stars of "Pathogen"

One of the stars of "Pathogen"

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