Author Topic: Horror: The Final Chapter  (Read 14418 times)

1SO

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Re: Horror: The Final Chapter
« Reply #290 on: August 12, 2017, 10:20:51 PM »

Final Destination 5 (2011)
* * Ĺ
The FD series is officially formula with all the emphasis on the kills and no attention paid to character. Luckily, the kill sequences are pretty well orchestrated. The effects are from a period where the CG isnít completely terrible, but itís easy to spot, giving the highlights a cartoony look. Best thing about the film is the coda, which is brilliant.


Grave Encounters (2011)
* * * - Okay
More formula found footage/webcam horror. Itís interesting to make the people a bunch of jerks who deserve to get whatís coming to them, but that also works against the film because I didnít care if any of them made it to the end. What makes the film worth recommending is the very high scare factor. What starts as quiet-BANG cinema goes into high terror thanks to excellent and startling effects and creature design that takes ghastly zombies and incorporates the hightened facial features that make clowns so scary.


The Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence (2011)
Ĺ
I have a friend who likes the first two HC films. Iíve listened to him defend the movies on artistic grounds, and I see where heís coming from, but it doesnít explain the button-pushing, race-baiting in the dialogue and other non-centipede details. The perverse fascination of someone making a film with a 12-person centipede as the centerpiece, the feeling that itís carnival entertainment and manages to never sink below that, is all that keeps this from being 0 Stars. Plus it gives me some comparison room for Human Centipede 3, which even my friend despises.


Juan of the Dead (2012)
* *
The tipping point where Iím saying there are too many zombie movies. Uninspired zom-com has a plot as thin as a youtube video, as well as the cinematic qualities and effects budget. Certainly well-meaning, but setting it in Havana adds nothing.


Gyo: Tokyo Fish Attack (2012)
* *
I did not expect the title to be so literal. Anime about marine life suddenly moving on legs and emitting a noxious gas. Expected Japanese weirdness (and sexism) doesnít play much different from a silly Sci-fi channel creature feature until it starts explaining the sudden evolution with some really bizarre revelations that invite any sound logic to abandon ship.
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Junior

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Re: Horror: The Final Chapter
« Reply #291 on: August 12, 2017, 11:06:23 PM »
Yeah, Grave Encounters is pretty scary. Give the sequel a miss, though, cuz those characters are somehow even worse.
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oldkid

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Re: Horror: The Final Chapter
« Reply #292 on: August 13, 2017, 12:17:51 AM »
I enjoyed Juan of the Dead as a silly zombie flick, but I admit that I don't remember much and there are other low-level zombie flicks I enjoyed more, like Warm Bodies.
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Re: Horror: The Final Chapter
« Reply #293 on: August 17, 2017, 01:59:34 AM »

Lovely Molly (2012)
* *
Itís tricky portraying mental illness through the horror lens without being offensive. Some films make it look effortless Ė Black Swan, Angst Ė while others, like this one, canít marry the style to the substance. Also, director Eduardo Sanchez (Blair Witch Project) uses the found footage technique until it doesnít suit him, making the film even more uneven. Still, there are some effective moments, including the nicely subtle climax, which is has the same quiet power as the ending of The Witch.


The Pact (2012)
* *
I donít think this story makes sense, with the paranormal bits not fitting in with the serial killer bits. Itís like two scripts mashed together, or more like two short films that still required a lot of silent contemplation to pad out the running time. (I wonder if the genre switch works better in the original short form.) Caity Lotz is a new face to me, but she comes ready to make her mark.


Cockneys vs. Zombies (2012)
* *
Third recent zombie comedy in this marathon. Iíd put this slightly above Doghouse and Juan of the Dead, but all three are aiming for the broadside of the barn and only hit occasionally. Makes me appreciate Shaun of the Dead even more. That was a film with fully-dimensional characters and smart ideas, two things that donít come within miles of these films.


Byzantium (2012)
* *
I knew thereíd be worse films in this Marathon, but there were few I was a disinterested in as Byzantium because Neil Jordan is rarely a good filmmaker. He has style, and a sense of color, but his films often get lost in an artsy-fartsy fog and you canít expect him to provide an ending that makes the journey worthwhile. Thatís what happens here despite a strong performance by Gemma Arterton and Saoirse Ronan, an actress I have yet to see make a bad choice, in the lead.


Itís an important distinction that I have seen a couple of films from Jordan, while I have yet to see one by Rob Zombie that even rises to mediocre. However, Zombie is always someone Iím willing to indulge because I believe his heart is in the right place. He just isnít as skilled as he needs to be. Jordan is frustrating, sometimes laughable, and his few successes seem either accidental or the result of a studio keeping him on a tight leash.


The Lords of Salem (2012)
* Ĺ 
3 by Rob Zombie. I regret watching more than one. I just think he's terrible... but I'll probably get bored one day and watch Lords of Salem.
I knew what I was getting into. I saw the trailer before the Evil Dead reboot earlier this year and I looked over to my friend and said, "No way will I see that." But when plans go wrong and you find yourself with some free time there's no telling what will happen. Rob Zombie hasn't made a movie I've liked yet, and this is sure to be the worst of the year for me.

This comes off as Rob Zombieís most personal film. Gone is the colorful comic book aesthetic and blatant aping of better filmmakers, while still having a particular look and feel that shows no concern for commercial success. (I canít tell if the low budget is by choice or a necessity from Zombieís lack of financial success.) There are plenty of pieces and if someone was inclined they could put them together to form of defense of Zombieís artistic vision, but this isnít an art house enigma. Itís a nearly incomprehensible, formless brain dump.
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1SO

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Re: Horror: The Final Chapter
« Reply #294 on: August 20, 2017, 02:41:40 PM »
My final count by the end of this Marathon is 399 titles. I'm slightly OCD tempted to make it an even 400, but I'm actually fine with 399.

Two titles left to watch. I can feel the train pulling into the station.
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smirnoff

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Re: Horror: The Final Chapter
« Reply #295 on: August 20, 2017, 04:49:13 PM »
399 films is a helluva a lot of content. Countless scenes, countless monsters, countless ghosts, countless approaches to the genre itself... it must be dizzying. Here at the end of it all though, has it begun to crystallize at all? Any maxims you can share with us? :)

1SO

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Re: Horror: The Final Chapter
« Reply #296 on: August 20, 2017, 10:44:26 PM »
This project began on August 1st. I had no idea this had been going on for over a year. There are 399 reviews posted or linked here, but I actually don't have an exact number because I forgot that last Shocktober I started watching titles from the most recent backwards, mixed in with other Shocktober selections.

I didn't do this to be the Horror guy around here or one of "those horror freaks". I was perfectly happy being the Pixar/Disney guy. Horror creates a certain portrait of the person, because who can watch this many of that type of film. Of course, now that I've watched so many horror films it's a part of my intellect, as if I took a course on the subject. I hope I'm not too obnoxious or snooty when it comes to comments and recommendations for the genre. Also, I like the contrast of being well-versed in both Disney and horror.

I'm still not a big fan of horror from the 30s and 40s, but the great period of discovery is the late 50s and 60s when horror was more confident, but there were still restrictions on blood, sex and sadism. The largest section of discovery comes from here.

I always knew Asian horror was nutty, but I've learned Mexican horror is equally bonkers, though in a completely different way.

I still don't like Italian horror, where Dario Argento is the master by default. They care about story as much as they care about recording the sound. Can't recommend a single film by Mario Bava. Lucio Fulci made a couple that were better and a few that were far worse.

Hammer Horror isn't for everyone, but it strikes a wonderful balance of sleaze and class. Plus, Peter Cushing is simply an incredible actor, perhaps the greatest artist in front of or behind the lens to work steadily in the genre.

There are some great TV Movies - Ghostwatch, Dying Room Only, Someone's Watching Me (directed by John Carpenter) - but none of them escape the restrictions of TV to pass off as cinema, much like how the best college baseball team would likely get destroyed by a below-average major league club.

It's amazing how often I would watch two films that were thematically similar (like mental illness horror or the two about killer crocs in Australia). For example I just watched Evolution and The Lure, which both involved sexual awakenings, ancient mythologies involving beasts and lots of watery dream imagery.

I had no idea how much camcorder horror came out after Blair Witch. It seemed like every batch of five had at least one of these. I prefer it to torture porn and some of my favorite modern horror from this marathon do this, but I'm more appreciative now of a film that doesn't take this approach.
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1SO

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Re: Horror: The Final Chapter
« Reply #297 on: August 20, 2017, 11:41:56 PM »

The Taking of Deborah Logan (2014)
* * * - Okay
My last batch started with a debate over portraying mental illness as horror and this one falls on the positive side of that line. That could be because Alzheimers is soon revealed to be something more paranormal and demonic. Thereís a lot to like here, with a complex plot, solid performances and a feel of true terror as the horror ramps up. I realize my favorite scare in camcorder horror is walking up to somebody with their back to the lens. The turnaround gets me every time. That said, I started regretting this wasnít shot in a more classical style because the climax is some of the worst shaky-cam in the sub-genre and I would like to see director Adam Robitelís ability to generate scares in a regular style.


The Human Centipede 3: Final Sequence (2015)
* *
The first film was surprisingly mild and the sequelís stripped down, minimalist approach was the dark sewer of the trilogy. This is the one that nails the tone, a carnival freakshow with garish colors, exaggerated sounds, unapologetic obsession with gross details and performances that ruin the curve of ďover the topĒ for every other film. Lead Dieter Laser (who played the mad scientist in the first film) is in ďGarbage DayĒ mode all the time, while his assistant Laurence Harvey (the lead of HC2) gives a surprisingly good performance. An excellent meta-decision to have director Tom Six play himself, the front of this centipede is Tiny Lister and Eric Roberts also shows up. For all its weaknesses, this one is the purest in vision in what you would expect from a film centered around a human centipede.


Evolution (2015)
* *
So quiet and open to interpretation, Iím only partially intrigued and far more annoyed. Iím not even sure itís good as an allegorical movie, the male companion piece to Innocence. I can appreciate its beauty and much of the visual poetry, but itís too subdued for me, even with the understanding that itís aiming to be subtle.


The Lure (2015)
* * Ĺ
Killer mermaid sisters in a plot that could easily be about vampires, as they struggle to fit in among the humans. I loved the 80s glitz-pop lighting and the mermaid effects have a smooth naturalism. This is also a full blown musical, with not just musical numbers on a stage but woven into the girlsí lives. The songs convey emotional states, but donít advance the plot, which creates a major setback because what little plot is left seems lifted from The Little Mermaid (the original graphic story, not the Disney film) and there's not nearly enough of it. It ends up too simple and some of the big scenes are silly, like a fight between the sisters that plays like theyíre two cats hissing and circling each other.


The Greasy Strangler (2016)
zero stars
I've been wrestling with Human Centipede 3 since I watched it because there's a purity to its overall vision I admire. I won't argue against the negative reviews, but it's honest about its intentions, building off the first two films like they were the set-up and HC3 is the payoff, everything swirling around one of the most absolutely insane over-the-top lead performances. After watching this film, which is rapidly earning a cult following, I'm confused as to why this gets praised and HC3 is shunned. I won't argue for HC3 but I will debate anyone who believes this pile of garbage is a better movie. Greasy Strangler aims for laughs through body function humor, graphic sexuality, and a Napoleon Dynamite deadpan style. It enjoys repeating the same scenes and dialogue endlessly and still manages to run out of story before the ending, filling in the time with surrealism and leaving any rational explanation open-ended. I'm more confident about what little I did like in Human Centipede III now. It's more sure of itself and certainly more fun.
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1SO

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Horror: The Final Chapter
« Reply #298 on: August 21, 2017, 03:28:31 PM »
Here is the Ranked List on Letterboxd.

156 films, 105 from this Marathon plus 51 from past Shocktobers, which means all of them have a review in the Forum.

The top 111 I can recommend. The rest I'm mixed on but they're interesting and unique enough for a look if you're into Horror.
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Junior

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Re: Horror: The Final Chapter
« Reply #299 on: August 21, 2017, 04:56:57 PM »
Sounds about right for Deborah Logan. And I never understood people who recommended The Greasy Strangler either ironically or enthusiastically. Seems like a total waste of time, but I'm glad you confirmed it for us.
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