Author Topic: Shocktober Group Marathon 2017  (Read 13678 times)


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Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2017
« Reply #240 on: November 01, 2017, 04:05:51 AM »
Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer

Worth watching?  Seems void of emotion.
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Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2017
« Reply #241 on: November 01, 2017, 04:18:53 AM »
Well, you're literally entering into the mind of a psychopath, so...yeah.
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Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2017
« Reply #242 on: November 01, 2017, 05:07:40 AM »
Night of the Living Dead (George A. Romero, 1968)

Going into this, I was worried about the horror not really working because of the film's production values. As it turns out, the film's age (and limited budget) shows not in the horror scenes, but in the generally poor acting (some exceptions, but still) and the pacing issues: there is a bit of dead center here, lasting about 20 minutes, where the characters keep arguing about the same things over and over and watch the news.

The news segments in particular are unfortunate, as they undercut the film's bold and effective opening, in which we follow Barbara (whom they're definitely going to get) being attacked, having no clue what's going on, freaking out after seeing her brother killed, and then running a lot. She then becomes somewhat annoyingly - though understandably - prostrate, but as an introductory protagonist she works really well. She allows Romero to introduce the menace progressivly: because she's not exactly strong, just one zombie is scary enough. When she finally gets to a semblance of safety and we switch to much more able protagonist, Romero can up the ante and reveal that there's a whole lot more coming.

That the characters are then trying to learn about what's going on certainly makes sense, but it just makes the whole thing less effective, even for an audience who knows what Romero zombies are anyway. The reveal that they're eating humans is the best use of these broadcasts, but even that could have worked better had we just seen it happen without warning later on.

Despite all of that, the horror just works, and unlike Dawn, this is basically all there is. I mean yes, humanity crumbles before an existential menace, even the most likable protagonist ends up shooting a guy just because he's a dick, and then there's the chilling ending... but it's all about the zombies. Anything one might point out to relate this to what America was going through in the 60s, despite the obvious relevance of an African-American main character, is going to be about them, and how they relate to that feeling of dread, that something's going horribly wrong and it's about to come to a head. And they work almost better than their blue-faced brethren from Dawn: perhaps B&W helps in that matter... they're just people acting very strangely, but that makes the threat more concrete, and real. They hold the film together, and the final attack - both from the outside and the inside - is pretty great, especially the daughter's turn. Romero already got that zombie children were horror gold, and he does not shy away from the gore there, quite the contrary.

I suppose it then works better as a pure horror film than its sequel, but those scenes in between the zombie attacks are sometimes really rough, and do weigh it down quite a bit.

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Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2017
« Reply #243 on: November 01, 2017, 10:46:00 AM »
It Comes at Night (2017)
* *
Trey Edward Shults continues to show ability in terms of tone and pervasive dread, but his failure to build to a climax bothers me the more I think about it. There is a final dramatic act and it should leave you reeling or at least be like the breaking of the tension dam, but it just kind of happens and then the film just ends, and it quickly evaporates into a rather mundane story that was dressed up in greater potential right up to the credits rolling.

The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears (2013)
* *
The filmmaking team behind Amer are a niche taste, modernizing giallo style into a collage of light and sound. They're getting really good at what they do, and I hope one day they fold it into a story. I just don't see them interested in narrative.

Saw IV (2007)
* *
I haven't watched a Saw film in a while and this one seems very closely tied to the last one, so I didn't know everything that was going on. I did find this a slight improvement over III. The traps were more clever and not just mechanical torture porn devices. Also, starting with Jigsaw dead breaks the series rut of strangers in a trap house together, though I'm not sure there's an ounce of logic with Jigsaw's victims and their devices here. I also liked getting backstory on how John Kramer became Jigsaw. His first run at "playing a game" with someone is perhaps the most logical scene in the entire series. What doesn't work is reframing Jigsaw as a sympathetic character with a tragic past. There's no excuse for what it leads him to do.
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Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2017
« Reply #244 on: November 01, 2017, 10:51:49 AM »
If I am not mistaken, Saw V is worse and makes less sense.
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Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2017
« Reply #245 on: November 01, 2017, 10:52:57 AM »
My Annual Ranking:

I did not include these titles I've seen:
Dead Again
The Man They Could Not Hang
Something Wicked This Way Comes

Also, special mention to the short film Where Is It

1.   Afflicted
2.   Happy Death Day
3.   Kong: Skull Island
4.   The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror XXVIII
5.   The Autopsy of Jane Doe
6.   Over Your Dead Body
7.   Buried
8.   A Cure For Wellness
9.   The Limehouse Golem
10.   Nina Forever
11.   Gerald's Game
12.   A Taste of Evil
13.   The Walking Dead (1936)
14.   23 Paces to Baker Street
15.   The Mad Magician
16.   Godzilla (1954)
17.   Exam

18.   Maggie
19.   Shin Godzilla
20.   The Blackcoat's Daughter
21.   We Are Still Here
22.   The Belko Experiment
23.   Life
24.   The Mummy
25.   Kotoko
26.   Spring
27.   Pooh's Heffalump Halloween Movie
28.   Something Evil
29.   The Bat
30.   Turkey Shoot
31.   The Clairvoyant
32.   Colossal
33.   The Eyes of My Mother
34.   It Comes at Night
35.   Raw
36.   Dracula Untold
37.   Lights Out
38.   Kiss of the Damned
39.   The Wolfman
40.   Saw IV
41.   The Gorgon
42.   Gamera: Guardian of the Universe
43.   Supernatural (1933)
44.   The House That Would Not Die
45.   Boo! A Madea Halloween
46.   Julie
47.   The Strange Color of Your Bodys Tears

48.   Killer Snakes
49.   Godzilla Raids Again
50.   Dr. Cook's Garden
51.   The Voices
52.   Prevenge
53.   Bewitched
54.   Cooties
55.   Sadako vs. Kayako
56.   The Swarm
57.   The Wicker Tree
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Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2017
« Reply #246 on: November 01, 2017, 01:52:15 PM »
Impressive as always. Here's my end of month dump.

Picnic at Hanging Rock from the Top 100 Club


Do you like Alien? If so, you might also like Life. It's practically the same movie except most of the choices are a shade worse. Instead of the lived-in blue collar workers and ship of Alien we get a glossy space-ship inhabited with uber-smart scientists. Instead of the slow-burn horror of the first 45 minutes or so of Alien, we get a pretty boring setup that leads to the film's one great scene, an extended version of the chest-burster scene. There's no cat either!

What there is, though, is a pretty cool alien design. It has a kind of supreme plasticity and various incarnations and it moves really interestingly. The CGI isn't perfect, unfortunately, but damn is it fun to see at work. If only its victims were as interesting. There's not a whole ton going on with the human characters, and that means that any scene not featuring the alien becomes just a waiting game, and not a fun one. When the alien shows up, there's a pretty good body horror thing to be had, although the pleasures run out of juice before the film does. The end is fine, but not the rollercoaster it wants to be. A swing and a near miss.


Stranger Things S2

If season 1 was an Alien riff, this one is Aliens. Bigger, more fun, and with a little more heart. Stranger Things had a better setup, though, because the first season already was part-action, already cared more about developing the relationships between many of the characters, and already built much of the foundation that this season took full advantage of. Almost all the additions to the cast are wonderful. Max both brings something new to the kids and fits in very well. Paul Reiser is here too! He cleverly straddles the line between good and bad guy, especially early on, and feels both referential to his Aliens role and like his own thing. But the MVP of the newbies is Bob, played by Sean Astin. I'll admit I wasn't super excited to see him show up. I've never really liked him, I think he plays a notch or two too big in pretty much everything he does. But damn if he isn't superb as Bob. His character is a version of the doofy stepfather we've seen a million times in things like this. He's supremely uncool, totally out of the loop, but also very into Wynona Rider, and surprisingly effective in his lane. He is emblematic of why the show as a whole works so well. There's always a twist to a character, something that turns them from cliche into a real human being. It's fantastic.

I wish some plot things weren't done the way they were, mostly to do with Eleven, but other than that, this is an improvement almost all around. I'm impressed, and even more excited to see S3.



I read your reviews and decided this weekend to keep this for my final movie of the month. Maybe this just hit a sore spot for me, but damn, I spent the majority of my time uncomfortably writhing in my seat. I've got food hangups, so this cannibal film really hit all my squirmy buttons. Whether it was going in or out of our heroine's mouth, every body part consumed added to my icky feelings. It's just profoundly unsettling. It's also pretty great.

Like most great horror films, there's more going on than meets (meats?) the eye. There are larger ideas at play here. At one point one character says to another that when a dog bites a human the dog must be put down because it might have developed a taste for our fleshy goodness. From there on the movie demonstrates the concept, but with a person instead of a dog. But it's also a rape metaphor. Justine, a lifelong vegetarian, is forced to eat raw animal meat as part of her hazing at a new veterinary college. From that trauma (and it is very clearly depicted as a trauma), she displays versions of certain reactions to getting raped that are both strange and somewhat understandable, especially within the context of the original trauma. Her further meat consumption is sometimes fueled by lust and sometimes by anger. It's maybe the first film that has made me feel even a fraction of how horrible it must be to be raped. A great deal of that power comes from the fearless plunge into viscera and amazing sound design. Because rape is a profound invasion of the body, the cannibalism metaphor works as a very close parallel.

The problem with metaphor movies, though, is that they need to really nail the landing. At this point, I'm still undecided about the end of this film. In some ways I think it runs off the tracks a bit and gets caught up in the metaphor a bit too much. In other ways I think the ending does a pretty great job of pointing at the larger implications of the way rape often gets normalized, especially on college campuses. It's the best version I've seen of rape culture on film. I think there's something both satisfying and unsatisfying about the end of this movie, and that's going to keep me thinking and reading about it for a while to come. It's a modern classic even if you just want to watch it as a cannibal movie. Anything that gets me so unnerved must be some kind of great.


I'm gonna try to come back later to respond to things I missed.
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Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2017
« Reply #247 on: November 01, 2017, 02:02:03 PM »
For a brief moment, I was going to watch Raw last night but I crashed at 7pm and slept for 11 hours instead.  :-\
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Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2017
« Reply #248 on: November 02, 2017, 07:42:59 AM »
Shaun of the Dead
Edgar Wright (2004)

The internet seems bent on convincing me that Shaun of the Dead is the bullocks and it always felt to me that there must have been something wrong about the first time I watched it because I couldn't muster that kind of excitement for the movie. There is nothing wrong with it but it is hardly one of the best movies of all time.

It is a less funny movie than Wright's other work. The characters are generally less likeable. Frost is too sleazy, to a point where it becomes viscerally off putting. I am not one for fart jokes. Pegg is too much of a loser for me to care about his problems. The mother is somehow dumber than everyone and the friend couple, well, blah. The girlfriend is nice though, and Bill Nighy is always a delight.

That doesn't mean the car death scene doesn't work, because there is an emotional impact there, but it should have been much stronger. Ditto for the mother.

You can see Wright's burgeoning stylistic idiosyncrasies all over the movie but the humour is not quite there yet. I think the idea of what happens is actually funnier than how it plays out. There are not so much jokes as silly thing that happen.

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Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2017
« Reply #249 on: November 02, 2017, 07:05:28 PM »
A trio of witch movies:
I tried to man up and re-watch Hocus Pocus for my wife. Couldn't do it. She can return to that one by herself.

I should probably re-watch The Craft. It just always felt stuck in its time, even back in '96. It was dated before it was released.

Woefully underselling Eastwick. I can see the seduction scenes being a problem, but along with the leads what about some mention of George Miller's visual pizzazz?

Wow, Hocus Pocus is really not that bad. The Craft is stuck in its time, which was a strong point for me. I honestly didn't find much visual pizzazz in Eastwick. The star-wattage is really all that stood out to me.