Author Topic: Shocktober Group Marathon 2018  (Read 857 times)

Bondo

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Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2018
« Reply #90 on: October 13, 2018, 08:30:42 PM »
Truth or Dare (2017)

Not to be confused with Truth or Dare (2018), this version (available on Netflix) was made for Syfy television. I suppose as a horror film based on the game, it was inevitable there would be quite a bit of overlap. It's going to have happened before, it is going to strike college kids who are partying, and they will have to find the lone survivor of the previous iteration, though let's be honest, these demons never lose.

They could have saved us a lot of confusion by just calling it Dare for all the truth it tells. With the choice of truth or dare stripped from the players in this version (they each wrote out possible truths or dares on cards and drew randomly, so this isn't specifically a function of the demon), truth only comes up once. Admittedly dares are more cinematic, and you'd have to have writing talent to pull off making a truth dramatically compelling. The Blumhouse version may have left me a little dissatisfied, but that's because it did a lot of good work without reaching that next level. This one just feels like a grind. There is no moral quandary, just an evil and sadistic presence. Even the Saw films tried to justify the bloodshed more than this. Just taxing and dumb.

FLYmeatwad

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Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2018
« Reply #91 on: October 13, 2018, 09:28:21 PM »
Halloween

Hey! Back again with these franchise things, baby! Somehow, figuring that it's unlikely I get to Alien before the festival begins, I saved what I've heard to be the worst (Friday the 13th) for last, but I'm pretty glad I did get to this, and not just because DGG's version is on the horizon. Not super familiar with Carpenter's filmography, but damn if this isn't a nice introduction to things. It's very much in line with the genre, and a good primer for other slashers, though what stood out to me about this compared to the other things that I've watched for the marathon thus far is that this one is genuinely scary. Pretty much throughout. The moments where the camera puts us in Michael's eyes, the way he's framed lurking, and the score all work to create a sense of unease that rarely lets up right to when the credits roll.

Going back to the idea of 'real' vs. supernatural, Michael strikes this nice balance. He's very much a person, but having him never talk gives him this eerie quality that makes his resilience when he does take a number of shots more believable. Unsure if this goes off the rails at some point as the franchise progresses, but in the initial installment it's a delicate balance. There are more jump scares than I tend to like, though they're effectively used and don't feel cheap most of the time, which was appreciated. Still think that, as a whole, Hellraiser is more up my alley, but very impressed with this one. It's understandable why this, Nightmare and HR spawned so many sequels. That small town vibe too, really loved that.

Been hard finding the right books for the past few, but we can get back to the good stuff now. On a scary scale, Mr. Austin Powers gets a...

1SO

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Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2018
« Reply #92 on: October 13, 2018, 09:37:25 PM »
Not super familiar with Carpenter's filmography, but damn if this isn't a nice introduction to things. It's very much in line with the genre, and a good primer for other slashers, though what stood out to me about this compared to the other things that I've watched for the marathon thus far is that this one is genuinely scary. Pretty much throughout. The moments where the camera puts us in Michael's eyes, the way he's framed lurking, and the score all work to create a sense of unease that rarely lets up right to when the credits roll.
Yes. Even with what most people can kind of figure on going in, Carpenter is still able to give small spooky moments (the body in the hay) and entire unexpected scenes of sheer terror (the grounds of the asylum at night).

The series heads south almost immediately and continues downward even though there are 9 films between the original and the DGG version, which wouldn't have to try hard to be #2 in the franchise.

FLYmeatwad

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Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2018
« Reply #93 on: October 13, 2018, 09:47:42 PM »
There's a bit towards the end when JLC stabs him through while in the closet and obviously you know he's going to get up, but the way the camera's positioned and how he does like an Undertaker rise is just so great.

EDIT: Bummer to hear that they go down fast.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2018, 09:49:36 PM by FLYmeatwad »

1SO

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Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2018
« Reply #94 on: October 14, 2018, 12:22:33 AM »
Apostle
Still processing.
I think I'm a big fan of Folk Horror. Probably because it's a relatively small sub-genre.
Dan Stevens is criminally talented.
It's very slow but intriguing enough for a very long time. I'm not sure how you would cut it down without ruining the tone. The back half is full of good stuff, but it doesn't have the escalating chaos of Safe Haven. More a series of scenes where Stevens is about to get brutalized only to get the chance to turn on his attackers and give them far worse.
I do love that final exchange, story beat and shot.
★ ★ ★ - Okay

Even though it's my favorite Gareth Evans feature, I was hoping for something a bit more extraordinary. This had the potential to be better than A Quiet Place, but in the end I have to say Krasinski's simplicity plays better than Evans' ambition.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2018, 09:58:46 AM by 1SO »

Junior

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Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2018
« Reply #95 on: October 14, 2018, 07:00:10 AM »
Pretty much with you there. I was expecting Safe Haven levels of crazy and it almost got there with the penultimate fight scene, but then it doesn't quite deliver in a way that would elevate it to classic territory. Still good and fun, though!
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Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2018
« Reply #96 on: October 14, 2018, 07:47:22 PM »

My Cousin Rachel (1952)
"There beside his grave I made a vow. I swore that
whatever it had cost Ambrose in pain and suffering,
I would return it in full measure."


Oh Sandy!

I believe a jury of any size would find it tough to say this counts for Shocktober, though it does have some good Gothic atmosphere and an occasionally tense murder mystery with a twist, from the novel by Daphne du Maurier. It starts as a tale of revenge when Philip (a young Richard Burton) receives some letters from his cousin who was his entire world, begging for help to get away from his wife Rachel. Philip arrives too late and vows to bring Rachel to justice. But then we meet her.


Had Bette Davis stepped out of the carriage, you could see where the rest of the story was going. Philip would be powerless in the vixen's presence and Davis would crush him in the ensuing battle of wits. Olivia de Havilland isn't that kind of actress, and as far as I know she's only played a bad person once. (The Dark Mirror, where she plays twins, so technically she's only half bad.) I had an interesting conversation with my wife about this casting because I'd be much more willing to give up my inheritance to Olivia, knowing her to usually be a kind and gentle person.

Casting her (almost 10 years older than Burton) makes the rest of the film more intense and harder to scrutinize. Suspicions and revelations are still about what you'd expect, but they take on a different context, much like how interesting it is to see Burton play a man so smitten and egoless. There's also a really nice conclusion to the story, with a small twist that will keep this one from blending in with similar gothic romances. It may not be the best Horror film I see this month, but it has a good shot at being the best film. A Discovery.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ - Good

- Safe for Sandy

Junior

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Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2018
« Reply #97 on: October 15, 2018, 12:57:04 PM »
The Howling

This came out right around when An American Werewolf in London did and I understand why the latter film gets all the attention while this one feels like a completionists' choice. There's so much going on in AAWiL where The Howling has some nice creature design and an admittedly fun atmosphere but not much in the way of scares or even tension. I wonder how much of the failing comes from Rob Bottin's not-great werewolf transformation effects. There's nothing like the impeccable sequence in AAWiL and it instead feels like a dry run for Bottin's incredible work on The Thing a year later. But what works for the Thing doesn't work for werewolves. There are pulsating sacs and that's about it. Pulsating sacs work for an alien creature with no set body structure, but as a vehicle for transformation between man and beast, they fall short. Most of the changes happen between cuts, too. It's a shame, because the kooky cult thing that is going on here storywise is a fun take on the wolf pack concept and, although it stretches plausibility, it does provide for some funny scenes. A nice effort, but not a favorite by any means.

B, C for scares


The Thing

Not much to say here, obviously a classic. I saw it on the big screen and that made the all-white sequences more blinding while also showing off the Norwegian base in a little more detail. I always zoned out during that sequence but this time I was enthralled. I still think the climax is weak compared to the stuff in the middle, but damn if that last scene isn't pretty much perfect.

A, A for scares


Revenge

When an American woman is raped by her lovers' friend while another friend lets it happen and then is left for dead, she goes on a revenge quest against all three of the men with the help of some drugs and a beer can. It's not exactly the most complicated story, but the direction gives it a vivacity and propulsion that I couldn't help but get into. Matilda Lutz plays the woman who almost becomes a force of nature by the time the movie comes to an incredibly bloody end. Not for the squeamish, but it pushes all the right buttons for me, even though I have come to dislike revenge stories.

A-, B for scares


The Bay

A rewatch that reminded me how much bugs crawling inside people freaks me out. Thanks, The Bay. If only the acting was better!

B, B for scares


Dead Ringers

I was hoping for Cronenberg to take this in the direction of The Fly but instead he indulges in his love of psychological mumbo jumbo. Luckily you get two Jeremy Ironses for the price of one and he does a great job, even when awkward camera angles and body poses must be used to cut down on costs or whatever. He plays twin gynecologists who push the limits of their field while crossing all kinds of boundaries. Maybe the most realistic horror film I've seen this year so far, but I don't really come to horror for realism, so it fell a little flatter than it might have had I watched it outside the Shocktober context.

B+, C- for scares


Demons

Dario Argento wrote the screenplay for Lamberto Bava's (son of Mario) wild, meta horror film. A bunch of randos get offered tickets to a special showing at a movie theater displaying props from the film in the lobby. One patron gets cut when she tries on a mask and then watches in horror as the same thing happens to a character within the film who quickly turns into a demon. Guess what happens to her. This has gore, puss, and screams coming out of every orifice and while that's fun for a while, it quickly starts to lose some steam. I'd love to see a remake of this that treats it with some degree of seriousness and restraint, because a tighter story and proper scare-building could make this into something really special. This version, however, is a fun enough time at the movies. Just don't mess with the decorations.

B, B for scares


Terrified

This Argentinian movie has a really great premise and an exciting build to a third act that doesn't exist. A semi-suburban city block experiences an infestation of ghosts and ghoulies that manifest differently for three different neighbors. The first act covers each house one-by-one and introduces new characters while freaking me the CINECAST! out. The next act sees paranormal investigators and a cop on the verge of retirement come to the neighborhood and set up shop in the houses. Even more scary stuff happens. Then it ends. What? Where's the climax? There are some great creature designs and the movie opens with a really great, shocking scene of supernatural violence. But then the whole thing just ends with a modicum of closure. I don't demand explanations, but I would like to see a movie end conclusively. This one feels like they ran out of time or money. It's still worth a watch, just don't get your hopes up.

B, A- for scares


Halloween

I saw this was playing at a movie theater near campus and was excited to see a favorite of mine on the big screen, especially given the wonderful experience I had at the same place a few weeks earlier with The Thing. Here's a word of warning, don't go to a movie theater near a college campus for a late showing of a horror movie on Friday night. The audience laughed every time Michael showed up on screen and howled through the kill sequences. It was the worst. The movie was still great, though.

A, F for audience


The Endless

From the writer-director duo who made Resolution and Spring, The Endless is another fantastic indie horror-ish movie. Two brothers who escaped from an UFO death cult at a young age go back to see them before they kill themselves. At the compound they find an idyllic way of life that doesn't seem so bad, at least as long as you aren't looking too closely. Some supernatural shit starts happening and as the reality of their situation became increasingly apparent I became more and more enthralled with the film. It looks really good for its small budget and they use suggestion and off-screen happenings really well so that I never felt cheated and was always more curious to see what would happen next. This one is definitely worth a watch, especially if you know and like these guys from their earlier works.

A-, B for scares

Apostle

You put Dan Stevens in folk horror movie directed by Gareth Evans and I'm gonna watch the crap out of that. Safe Haven, his segment from VHS2, is one of the best horror things of the past decade and I had high hopes that this full-length effort would expand on that promise. It does and doesn't. There's a greater sense of character and place here, the film's two biggest strengths. But what starts as a more-violent Wicker Man doesn't quite turn into the bat-shit insanity of Safe Haven's wild ending. There are suggestions, hints here and there, that what you are seeing isn't exactly what is happening, but Evans doesn't deliver on that as much as he might have. Instead, we get a satisfying story of familial dedication and the madness of small religious communities. I would have liked to see more, but this is a good enough start on bringing the qualities I loved from Safe Haven to the big time.

A-, B for scares

I'm working my way through Mike Flannigan's The Haunting of Hill House and its the best new thing I've seen this Shocktober so far, but I don't want to write about it until I've seen the whole thing. Same goes for season 2 of Channel Zero, which I'm liking a lot.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2018, 01:02:39 PM by Junior »
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1SO

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Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2018
« Reply #98 on: October 15, 2018, 04:04:18 PM »
I'm gonna need a moment.

I will say you've now watched my least favorite movie of all time... Demons.

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Re: Shocktober Group Marathon 2018
« Reply #99 on: October 15, 2018, 08:09:38 PM »

Rollercoaster (1977)
"I think I should tell you about the bomb. Would you like to know where it is?
You're holding it.
Now, do I have your full attention?"


When I was a boy, I loved this manhunt thriller, and I'm happy that it mostly holds up. Timothy Bottoms plays a domestic terrorist who is staging accidents at various American amusement parks. A Safety Commissioner (George Segal) teams up with an FBI Agent (Richard Widmark) to stop him. That's the simple premise by writers Richard Levinson & William Link. Unlike their more famous Mystery writing (Murder She Wrote and a personal favorite, Vanishing Act) there are no twists. This is a straight ahead game of cat-and-mouse.

Strange thing about the pacing. The film is nearly two-hours long and features lengthy sequences of slowly-building suspense set in amusement parks. It should be a lot less interesting, but because of the setting and the time period there's a documentary fascination to the atmosphere. I enjoyed seeing the clothes, the cheap souvenirs and prizes, the looks on people faces as they ride these decades old coasters. The score by Lalo Schifrin balances a lot of amusement park, carnival music with the ominous theme of the bad guy, Psycho strings set to a relentless Jaws tempo.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ - Okay

- Safe for Sandy