Archive for April, 2013

Happy Saturday horror fans!

It’s almost 5 months into 2013, but since we were chained up for that year and couldn’t get to a computer, we are getting to this post a little late. Better late then never though!  Today I’m going to tell you about a few of my favorite horror films of 2012. Rebecca will be here next week to tell you what her favorite horror film of 2012 was! (P.S. It’s my favorite as well!)

The Woman in Black (directed by James Watkins)

The Woman in Black

Source: impawards.com

It’s very rare that I actually feel scared when watching a horror film. As much as I love them, I have seen so many that I seem to be immune from the feeling of fear I used to get as a kid. The Woman in Black was the first film in a long time to actually get under my skin. The combination of the huge, crumbling mansion, creepy old woman ghost, really disturbing dolls, dead kids, and the foggy setting on the moors of England, made this a highly enjoyable experience for me. Now I just have to see the original!

Sinister (directed by Scott Derrickson)

Sinister

Source: impawards.com

The second film of 2012 to get under my skin! I guess it wasn’t such a bad year for horror! Ethan Hawke stars as a true crime author who moves into a house where some murders have taken place and stumbles on more than he bargained for! This movie kept me guessing, and I liked where it led to. Like The Woman in Black, creepy children play a part (I just love those little creeps!), and although this took place in a suburban house rather than a run-down mansion, it was still haunting. I loved that this was a different take on the found footage sub-genre- instead of being found footage, its about the discovery of found footage. Pretty unique!

The Collection (directed by Marcus Dunstan)

The Collection

Source: impawards.com

I loved the first film in this series, and had high hopes for its sequel, and luckily it didn’t disappoint. This film primarily takes place in the collector’s lair, and as you’d expect, he’s decked it out with insane traps, including those pesky bear traps. High energy, gory, and never boring, this is a plain old good, bloody time.

The Loved Ones (directed by Sean Byrne)

The Loved Ones

Source: impawards.com

So technically this is not a 2012 film, but rather a 2009 film, but it didn’t get a U.S. release until this year, so in my mind that counts! This tale of a deranged high school girl who decides to kidnap someone to be her date for prom was extremely well made, moving, brutal, and has the best ending of any movie I’ve seen in recent memory.

Rabies (directed by Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado)

Rabies

Source: impawards.com

Another film that did not gain a U.S. release until this year, Rabies is actually the first horror film out of Israel, and it is a great one! Good job Israel! When this movie began I was pretty sure I knew where it was heading as it begins like many horror movies before it, but it quickly veered off in the best of ways, and kept me on my toes throughout the entire movie. It was quite hard to watch at times due to the disturbing nature of certain scenes, and the gruesomeness of it, but there were also some darkly comedic spots throughout which helped to give a little breather. This film is definitely worth a watch!

Seen all of those films already? Here are a few more to check out: The Awakening (directed by Nick Murphy), Citadel (directed by Ciaran Foy), The Hole (directed by Joe Dante), Lovely Molly (directed by Eduardo Sanchez), The Pact (directed by Nicholas McCarthy), Paranormal Activity 4 (directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman), SilentHouse (directed by Chris Kentis and Laura Lau), and Sleep Tight (directed by Jaume Balaguero)

Source: The People's Movies

Source: The People’s Movies

Source: Forces of Geek
Source: Forces of Geek

Evil Dead has come a long way since Sam Raimi’s 1981 cult classic.

The premise is the same: five twenty-somethings travel to a cabin in the woods and unknowingly release an ancient evil. But I’d say that’s about where the similarities stop.

I may offend some people outright by not automatically expressing my allegiance for the original. But in truth, I’d say these two versions are a bit of a toss-up.  There are elements of both that I really enjoyed, and I would say that neither is better than the other. In fact, I think a hybrid of the two would have been best. Here’s what I think horror fans who have seen the original will appreciate versus maybe not appreciate so much.

Evil Dead (2013), Directed by Fede Alvarez

Why you’ll like this one

  • It’s got gore, gore, and more gore. I’ve seen a lot of horror movies and I’d say this is one of the bloodiest, nastiest ones I’ve seen. I think true horror lovers will find it to be a welcome improvement on the original, which had its moments but its special effects certainly couldn’t be called realistic. Alvarez’s rendition, riddled with self-mutilation and oceans of blood, is not for the feint of heart.
  • These demons are pretty freaking scary. Unlike the characters who were possessed in the 1981 classic and were almost comical, these demons are a bit terrifying. They don’t really taunt (except for Mia, on occasion), they attack their targets with a cold, dead persistence, more like a zombie. The suspense factor is elevated in the remake. And on a side note, I have to give props for the casting of Mia. Jane Levy is perfect for this role, which was originally given to Lily Collins. I like Lily and all, but I think casting her in this role would have been a big mistake.
  • There’s a little more to the story line. In the original, the group of friends heads to the cabin for a fun weekend in the woods. In the remake, the motivation for the trip is to rid Mia of her drug habit and support her through her difficult withdrawal. This addition adds to the film.  It gives others reason to doubt Mia’s crazy rants about seeing a girl in the woods and being attacked by trees. They don’t run when they hear this, they simply think the withdrawal is causing her to lose it and she’s looking for any reason to leave.

Why you may not like this one

  • It doesn’t have Bruce Campbell in it. I mean come on– Bruce Campbell is pretty much synonymous with the Evil Dead franchise. It’s hard to envision the movie without him. Shiloh Fernandez, the lead male character in the 2013 version is cute and all, but he doesn’t have the presence that Campbell does. In fact, he’s pretty boring.
  • The “summoning” scene is totally lame. Now, I know this is a matter of opinion, but I think the original did a much better job with the incantation of the demons. The premise of the original is that some friends drive to a remote cabin whose previous owner was a professor, and stumble upon the Necromicon (Book of the Dead) and the professor’s recordings. On the recordings it becomes clear that the professor was working to translate passages from the book, and in speaking the translated words, he unwittingly released total evil. In the remake, Eric, who finds the book, reads the words out loud even though it’s completely obvious that he should not! I think the original definitely gets kudos for creativity, and the remake falls short here.
  • The movie oversells itself. Case in point: the tagline. Here are both below:

             1981 tagline: They got up on the wrongs side of the grave.

             2013 tagline: The most terrifying film you will ever experience.

I don’t think anyone who sees the remake will agree with the preview tagline–this is NOT the most terrifying film you will ever experience. Putting it out there like that so confidently gave me high expectations and I wouldn’t call this movie “scary” at all. Gross? Yes. Suspenseful? Yes. Freaky? Yes. Scary, no.

Anyway, that’s my two cents. Both movies are awesome in their own right and up there on my list of favorites. Which one did YOU prefer? Let us know!

R

Interesting Facts

  • In the 2013 remake, the first letters of the five characters’ names (David, Eric, Mia, Olivia, and Natalie) spell out DEMON.
  • The original budget was an estimated $375,000, while the remake budget was an estimated $17,000,000. Slight difference, huh?

 

 

Chances are, if you are a college student, your spring break has already passed, and hopefully you have survived…

But, if by any chance you have not gone away yet, or need some guidance for next year, we wanted to give you a warning about some places you should avoid if you want to come back intact!

australia

Source: australiaadventures.com

1. Australia- Definitely avoid Australia! Sure, it’s beautiful. There are plenty of beaches, surfing, beautiful people, and awesome accents, but there are many dangers lurking in this country that spell disaster for all you spring-breakers. If you plan on taking a road trip across the continent you might be kidnapped and tortured by a sick and twisted man, like in Wolf Creek, or you may end up stalked by a crazy truck driving serial killer a la Road Games. If you decide to avoid the road and explore the water instead, you might become the victim of an angry crocodile as in Black Water and Rogue. Or if you take your chances in the outback you’ll want to avoid the vicious wild boars (Razorback), and even Mother Nature herself (Long Weekend). Danger lurks around every corner.

Shark Fin

Source: surfersvillage.com

2. Any Body of Water- Going somewhere warm and close to the water is a very popular spring break destination. Don’t do it!!!! Oceans, lakes, pools…. these are all terrible places to vacation! Want to be a victim of a shark attack (Jaws, Open Water, The Reef)? Or a victim of other man-eating water-dwelling creatures (Piranha, Lake Placid)? Well. okay then, if that’s your cup of tea…go for it! Think you’ll be safer in a pool? Think again. You might be sucked to the bottom, and have your intestines pulled out of your body (The Final Destination), or end up swimming with a pile of skeletons (Poltergeist)!  Water=danger!

mexico

Source: worldexpeditions.com

3. Mexico- Mexico seems like another warm and tropical place to go! There are all sorts of interesting things to do, but again- don’t do it!!! Seeing ancient Mayan ruins may seem like an exciting adventure, until you become the victim of man-eating plants whose curse turns the locals against you (The Ruins). If you decide to avoid visiting ancient ruins, and instead hang out in town, beware, as you may get kidnapped, tortured, and sacrified by a crazy cult (Borderland).  Mexico not only has man-eating plants and cults, but you’d also want to avoid the cannibals (We Are What We Are) and even aliens (Monsters) if you want to make it home alive!

islands

Source: tripadvisor.com

4. Islands around the world- Sure, the seclusion of an island sounds ideal for a lot of people. You can get away from it all, and not be connected to the craziness of the mainland, but that peaceful seclusion could quickly turn to dangerous isolation! Killer kids (Who Can Kill a Child?), insane religious cults (The Wicker Man), crazy scientists (Island of Lost Souls, The Island of Dr. Moreau), and deranged rednecks (Storm Warning), are just some of the horrific situations that may await you. You won’t appreciate the secluded surroundings for long!

Source: discoveramerica.com

5. Louisiana- Sure, there are many places in the US to avoid (i.e. Texas and West Virginia), but I think Louisiana is the one to avoid. Sure, you may go want to go for the delicious food, parade-like atmosphere, fun music scene or historic architecture, but not only do you have the threat of voodoo and hoodoo going against you (The Skeleton Key), but you also have Satanic cults to avoid (The Last Exorcism), more rednecks and hungry crocodiles (Eaten Alive), and deformed creatures looking for revenge (Hatchet).

So there you have it! Five places to avoid on spring break. So where are you going to go? Might I suggest Montana, or Canada, or Holland… you might be safer there….maybe….

Yes. We had!

For a moment we just stood there in wonder, in utter disbelief that we were free. We looked around us; no wonder no one had ever come to our aid. We appeared to be literally in the middle of nowhere.

But I won’t bore you with the unexciting details of how we made it back home.  I’ll just say that it was slow, painful (considering that we were missing some parts), and seemed to take forever. We did finally make it back home again though, and we’ve resolved to implement some serious security measures so no psycho-creepy-cannibalistic-freaks can ever get to us again.

We know we’re really lucky that we made it. Because let’s face it. What percentage of characters in horror movies usually “make it”? The survival rate is pretty pathetic.

And this brings me to a movie about some pretty unlucky ghost hunters trying to escape a haunted asylum. Unlike us, they don’t succeed very well, though not for lack of trying.

We had a significant advantage, though. At least our abductor was human. You’re pretty screwed when you’re dealing with the already dead.

Grave Encounters (2011)

Source: Fantasmo Cult Cinema Explosion

Source: Fantasmo Cult Cinema Explosion

Grave Encounters is a Canadian film by the Vicious Brothers about a group of ghost hunters who make a living embarking on otherworldly expeditions and filming their so-called “encounters” with the paranormal.

The movie is shot in found footage style, like The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity, and in my opinion the Vicious Brothers do a pretty good job filming the movie so that it appears to be authentic footage.

The team, led by Lance Preston, decide to visit an abandoned asylum that is rumored be haunted by the patients and maniacal doctor who resided there years ago. However, they don’t just want to explore the place, they want themselves locked inside until dawn to see if anything goes bump in the night.

The plot isn’t a new one—several movies like House on Haunted Hill, The Haunting, 1408, and Rose Red tell the story of what happens when disbelievers spend the night locked in a supposed haunted house. In this case, though, Grave Encounters combines the foreboding haunted house theme with the crazy, deserted asylum theme, and films it as found footage, making it quite an interesting hybrid.

The haunted house story is quite overdone and the asylum haunted by crazies isn’t new either, but this movie brings something fresh to the table. The documentary-esque filming adds to the suspense of the movie. You only see what the cameraman is filming. And the camera captures the scenes of darkness in a truly terrifying light.

But back to the story.

It can come of no surprise that the team ignores all signs of impending doom, including the fact that the door they enter to get into the asylum is spray painted with the words “Death Awaits”. They’re also told by the caretaker that strange things happen inexplicably—like locked windows opening of their own accord.  But they choose to ignore these revelations.

At sunset, they are bolted inside, and they immediately start provoking the ghosts they don’t believe in in a haughty, disparaging manner. As you can imagine the ghosts don’t react well, and all hell breaks loose. What’s worse is that they end up completely turned around in an asylum-turned-labyrinth that they can’t seem to escape, try as they might.

I don’t want to give away too many details for those of you who haven’t seen the movie, which I do recommend as worth a watch. Not the scariest ghost movie I’ve ever seen, but definitely gripping. Stupid as the ghost hunters may initially be for undertaking such a crazy expedition, they do get creative with their escape tactics. But they are no match for the paranormal.

Check it out, and let us know what you think! If you like it, there’s a sequel (Grave Encounters 2) that was released in 2012.