Tuesday, October 21, 2014

31 Days of Horror: Day 5 "Halloween" the Rob Zombie one

Oh Rob Zombie... what am I going to DO with you? I love your movies and I can tell you really get it. You love horror, you make horror, but you dress like a douchebag and I hate White Zombie. I'm so conflicted. No. I'm not going to be that superficial."Halloween" does a stellar job of creating a plausible and horrifying Myers origin story and I love that it completely ignores pretty much every movie after Carpenter's original. Just like most notable horror movies, the film slutshames, in this case showing gratuitous boobs and not even a hint of man-ass as well as pretty much blaming Mike's mom for his first homicidal outburst. It also features what I am realizing is a Zombie-staple, a very graphic and disturbing rape scene that should make any decent person's stomach turn. That being said, this movie was a delight for any film fan, if only for the cameos and their subsequent deaths.

31 Days of Horror: Day 4 "You're Next"

Smart, strong female lead who never plays the victim and actually works to save the group. I was shocked. I'm excited to see their next film "The Guest."

Also a completely plausible monster: greed
Maybe the best part: easy costume for halloween

Saturday, October 11, 2014

31 Days of Horror: Day 3 "Dumplings"

Keeping with my theme of horror and pregnancy and babies, we have this gem from Hong Kong. Originally part of a set of three short horror films, Dumplings was expanded into a feature film in 2004 and premiered at the Berlin Film Fest. At first you might dismiss the film and another over-the-top freaky Asian gross-out pic but it's themes of ever-lasting youth lust, woman-on-woman cruelty, and government controlled family planning bring depth and make a lasting impression.

Yes, the premise is disturbing and disgusting. I don't think I'm revealing too much to tell you that the secret ingredient in these magical, youth-preserving dumplings is fetuses and that some fetuses (the older, developed ones) are more effective than others. But in this film, we can't just dismiss the cook as an evil witch going out in the night to steal unborn babies directly from their mothers' wombs, we find out that she stocks her kitchen with the discarded babies from China's "one-child policy." In her heart, Aunt Mei (the cook) is an opportunist. Where other's see tragedy, she sees surplus and unaddressed demand. She's intelligent and charming, a former doctor, far more complex than your average horror villain.

The connection of cannibalism and prolonged youth is nothing new, we've seen in it countless movies  and ancient cultures but rarely are fetuses or babies consumed. Also, the Asian culture's obsession with youth has also been well established. Putting the two together is a natural fit. More compelling to me was seeing how this film reflects women and their attitudes toward one another. Women seem to have a more sinister foe than Satan or serial killers or the men who try to suppress them: other women. This film unflinchingly shows the callus, but real relationships between women who are unable to see how much they have in common because they feel they are in competition with each other for men's (or a man's) approval. To me, the female characters' treatment of one another is far more disturbing than the suggestive crunch of a fetus dumpling.

31 Days of Horror: Day 2 "Scanners"

A haiku:

Cronenberg's Scanners
silent vinegar stroke fights
right into the lens

Monday, October 6, 2014

31 Days of Horror: Day 1 "The Brood"

David Cronenberg is convinced that something is living inside us. In the worlds he creates, our inner rage and desire can manifest into reality with terrible consequences. The Brood is an amazing example of Cronenberg's perennial theme, complete with demon-face child clones who are continually dressed in 80s snow suits and the scene pictured above where a mother licks the blood from her "newborn's" face.

Cronenberg tries to ruin the film with some flaky Baby Boomer age-regression therapy bullshit, but I can't help but get sucked in by the underlying story: SPOILER A woman reproducing via rage tumors, releasing her parasitic offspring into the world to serve her emotional bidding. Adding to this is the presence of killer children, which I always find a genius horror twist because #1 children are evil #2 we act like they're not #3 we hesitate to kill them.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

31 Days of Horror: Day 4 "Last House on the Left"

I can suffer through most things that cinema conjures, but graphic rape scenes nearly always force me to look away. I've even refused to watch movies that have notoriously brutal portrayals of non-consensual sex. I have no idea why I decided to re-watch this film, but I'm not terribly sorry that I did. Maybe I'm just in a good mood, every Halloween movie seems to please me these days. This one had the saturated cinematography and synthy Gothic-style soundtrack of a low-budet Giallo and ending reminiscent of 60's Japanese horror films like Kuroneko... but unmistakably sadistic American undertones. Even better, it was populated by actors fairly new to the power of cinema, unencumbered and willing to do what it took to make this movie as real as possible.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

31 Days of Horror" Day 3 "Slither"

Summary: After being rejected by his young wife (Elizabeth Banks), a pretty buff older man is infected by an alien being while attempting a tryst in the woods. He goes on to infect others, giving them truly disgusting symptoms such as an insatiable need for meat and a desire to  physically meld themselves into one super creature.  The beings are spread through slug-like creatures that are all controlled by their host, who is obsessed with reuniting with his wife. The film is very gory. I think a Youtube commenter offered-up some sage words of advice:

"This movie seriously traumatized me when I was little. I puked watching. Reccomandation: have a strong stomach. Don't eat before the movie. During the movie. Or after. #nuff'said"
                                                                                                                       - mcmappleturnover 

This film is also very entertaining and a great re-imagining of the classic body snatchers genre.