There’s a lot of phony crap on eBay, but this one is funnier than the time the sexy sax man seduced Michael.
An eBay listing out of Australia has for sale a 19″x14″ poster of the 1987 “American Horror Film Movie” The Lost Boys. Printed on “High Quality Art Canvas”, for only $5.85 (plus $2 shipping!) you can own this gem that depicts, well, I have no fucking idea…
Actually, I do, as this gem was discovered via reddit, where one user recognized his brother and his friends who were dressed in cosplay for the 2014 Comic-Con.
This eBay user clearly had never seen Joel Schumacher’s actual film – featuring Kiefer Sutherland, Brooke McCarter, Alex Winter and company – before he/she stole the image for their own personal use. I can only hope the reddit user purchased one as a gag gift for his bro. All I know is that I’m dying of laughter, especially at the few comments that didn’t understand the goof.
After James Wan’s The Conjuring became one of the highest grossing horror movies ever, Warner Bros./New Line quickly spun off the franchise with Annabelle, which hit theaters one year ago.
Even though Annabelle wasn’t as critically acclaimed as Conjuring, it was a a box office monster ($246 million), so much so that scribe Gary Dauberman is returning for another sinister outing, says this tracking board.
On the other hand, their sources also confirm that Annabelle‘s director John Leonetti is unsurprisingly not returning as the search is on for a new director. The Conjuring helmer James Wan is once again producing, while Dave Neustadter and Walter Hamada oversee for New Line.
Following the superb financial and critical reception to The Conjuring, a spinoff/prequel featuring the film’s creepy mascot – the possessed doll named Annabelle- was quickly rushed into production. Loosely based on a true story, the film follows a a couple who find that their vintage doll becomes the host for a malevolent entity after their house is broken into by a satanic cult.
James Wan is currently filming his The Conjuring sequel, slated for release next summer, which sets Annabelle 2 up for release in 2017. What other demonic tricks do the Warrens have in store for us? How far can New Line push this franchise?
When Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami returned to survival horror with The Evil Within, the game had a somewhat polarizing effect on fans of the genre. Even if you weren’t as enamored with it as I was, there’s no denying that it had a uniquely stylish cast of creatures, every one of which I wouldn’t mind seeing get tackled by talented cosplayers.
This is partly why I love this Leslie Withers cosplay so much, because he’s absolutely the last character I’d expect to see inspire brilliant cosplay like this.
Assuming the role of the mousy Withers is cosplayer Nero Hell, with make-up by Katrin Miralika and photography courtesy of Dokura-chan. You can find more of Nero’s work on his Tumblr.
Something about the 80’s and 90’s brought some really crazy yet awesome toys. In fact, I’m really not seeing toys of the same caliber, the same inventiveness, and the same batshit “What were you even thinking?” quality these days. It’s because of this void that I found myself recalling toys that I grew up with or wanting, the toys that seemingly made no sense and yet, at the same time, made all the sense in the world.
Below are five horror toys from the 80’s and 90’s that really stood out to me as being special. I’d love to see them make a comeback, even if most parents would probably say that they’re traumatizing their children. You know what? Fuck those people and fuck PC culture. I want my toys to scream and ooze! I want them to creep me out even if they’re just sitting on a shelf! I want toys that actually make me go “Wow!” Is that really too much to ask?Blurp Balls
Inception ain’t got NOTHIN’ on Blurp Balls! It’s a ball within a ball that shoots out when the larger ball is squeezed! Look at the above commercial and tell me that you don’t want one! That commercial was probably the bane of every parent’s existence during Saturday Morning Cartoons.Madballs
These things were so crazy and popular that they were turned into a cartoon series AND a video game! Just look at how gross the “sick series” is, especially the one that looks like you’re squeezing its brains out of its head. These are the perfect stress ball for any horror fan!Boglins
God, I remember how popular these were but also how it was damn near impossible to find them! It was like finding the holy grail when you stumbled across one in the toy store. For me, the real deal sealer was the box, which was a faux cage meant to “hold” the boglin in place. Such a nifty idea because that made the packaging part of the toy!Stretch Screamers Blisters
It’s Stretch Armstrong with a horror twist, so how can you go wrong? Look at how colorful the “blisters” get when squeezed! On top of being gruesome, it’s also rather pleasant to look at!My Pet Monster
Who wouldn’t want a large stuffed ogre-esque creature that had breakaway chained cuffs? Plus, it was large enough that you could use to stomp through your Lego towns and couch forts. What a perfect stuffed animal for causing chaos and then culminating in some harmless snuggling!
In August, indie developer Saibot Studios released the fourth chapter in their twisted Doorways series of horror games with the memorably titled Doorways: Holy Mountains of Flesh. That’s the sort of title I’d expect to see embossed on a Clive Barker novella, though I wouldn’t be surprised if the team behind it had drawn at least a modicum of inspiration from Barker’s work with how disturbing these games can often get.
The three acts that make up Holy Mountains of Flesh — The School, The Mansion and The Temple — are all connected by El Chacal, which serves as the game’s hub world. This “group of floating islands over fire and magma, in a desolated world of flames” is now something you can visit.
Doorways: Holy Mountains of Flesh is available now on Steam Early Access for $9.99.
Virtual reality is the future, at least as far as Capcom’s Development Division 1 — their in-house Resident Evil team — is concerned. In an Integrated Report published earlier this week, the company detailed their financial growth strategies and plans for the future, the latter of which will focus heavily on the VR tech that has yet to make its way to consumers.
The report gets interesting when Jun Takeuchi, head of the Resident Evil team, starts getting passionate about the tech.
“At present, we are focusing our energy on challenging the virtual reality (VR) game market,” writes Takeuchi. “In this terrifying world, you can twist and turn as you like, but there’s no escaping the creatures closing in on you…until you remove your VR headset and return to reality, that is.”
Virtual reality gear such as the Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus, which are coming from Oculus VR and Sony, respectively, could have a massive impact on the horror genre. It’s just a matter of time before we see the tech in future Resident Evil games.
The “Kitchen” demo Capcom used to show off their new virtual reality engine at E3 earlier this year traumatized some folks, but that was just the beginning.
“The response [to the “Kitchen” demo] was excellent. Currently, we are building a new game development engine able to support VR, which is the hottest market right now, while simultaneously developing titles for current game consoles. We have just set sail on our latest voyage.”
It’ll be interesting to see where this goes. What do you think?
Find out what happens when these unsuspecting people are invited to an open house, and end up experiencing “The Ghost Dimension”.
Paramount Pictures created the following viral video to promote Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension, in theaters October 23, 2015.
What you’ll see is the original Paranormal Activity house in San Diego that’s been rigged to scare visitors who think they’re attending an open house.
Without any context, it’s not really that funny. I would have loved if the realtors told the guests something along the lines of, “This is the actual house that inspired Paranormal Activity,” so when crazy shit happens people believe it’s the real deal. Oh well, it’s still fun…
The chances of our ever seeing Zelda or Samus kick spectral ghost butt are fairly slim, so we’ll have to do with these unlockable costumes for Miu and Yuri in the upcoming Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water. The game hits the Wii U later this month, and with Halloween just around the corner, it’s fitting that these ladies would dress up as two of gaming’s most iconic heroines, if only to keep their actual clothes from getting ruined. No amount of stain remover can save a tasteful blouse from a smattering of ectoplasm. Or so I’ve heard.
Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water arrives on Oct 22 (NA) / Oct 30 (EU) only for Wii U.
All good things must come to an end. Savor every last drop of “Hemlock Grove, The Final Chapter,” streaming Friday, October 23 at 12:01am PT exclusively on Netflix.
We now have a juicy new clip from the Eli Roth-produced “Hemlock Grove,” a supernatural thriller which explores the strange happenings in a small Pennsylvania town. The show focuses on the unlikely friendship between the founding family’s young heir, Roman Godfrey (Skarsgård), and gypsy newcomer and outsider, Peter Rumancek (Liboiron). Each holds a monstrous secret that has been unleashed.
The series stars Famke Janssen (X-Men), Bill Skarsgård, Landon Liboiron (“Terra Nova”), Freya Tingley, and Dougray Scott (Mission Impossible II).
You’ll never guess where the blood is coming from…
One of my favorite sub-genres is the one where a military or para-military group encounters a supernatural or otherworldly antagonist and must find a way to survive against something that their training didn’t prepare them for. Films like Aliens, Predator and even Dog Soldiers follow this formula, usually with entertaining results. Wind Walkers is another addition to this roster, albeit not the one we might have hoped for. With his new film, Russell Friedenberg succeeds in creating tension and atmosphere while failing to deliver a memorable experience.
Wind Walkers follows an ensemble cast of friends back from the army after a tour in the middle east. They find normal life hard to adapt to after the horrors witnessed abroad, especially after one of their colleagues is discovered to have gone AWOL. When they depart for a routine hunting trip in the Everglades, it becomes apparent that they are not alone in the wilderness, and that an ancient force is stalking them, possibly a malignant spirit of Native American folklore.
While the mythological elements and atmosphere are amazing, Friedenberg presents us with a muddled script and confusing narrative that almost completely overshadows the meaty subtext and character portrayals. Early scenes do a good job of setting the mood and capturing the viewer’s attention, but soon enough some baffling editing choices and lack of focus derail the experience. This is a film that is at its best when fully embracing supernatural horror and action that it unwisely chooses to leave only implied. The last act does a lot better in keeping you invested, but by then it is too late to save the rest.
Rudy Youngblood (of Apocalypto fame), Zane Holtz (one of the Gecko brothers in the new From Dusk Till Dawn series), J. LaRose Johnny Sequoyah and a few others star in this tense thriller, where it’s apparent from early on that no character is safe. Sadly, almost none of the characters are satisfactorily developed, leaving us with no one to root for. The script does not give the actors much to work with, resulting in hollow performances that could have been much better within a more focused story. LaRose was especially wasted here, having some of the best scenes but also very little to do in the grand scheme of things.
There is an overall lack of energy that permeates most of the film, even though there were some honestly well-directed moments. Native American mythology is ripe for the picking concerning possible movie monsters and thrilling situations, but Wind Walkers doesn’t even come close to using the full potential of these stories, preferring to stick to safe and familiar tropes, leaving us unsatisfied by the end.
Wind Walkers isn’t terrible, but it ends with so much unfulfilled potential that one can’t help but imagine how a few minor tweaks could have resulted in a profoundly improved and memorable experience. Some of the ideas presented here were actually very original, and none of the actors gave a bad performance. Some scenes towards the end were also refreshingly chilling, though the movie could have used more of them. Overall, this is a harmless movie; disappointing, but not a total failure.
Screening as part of the After Dark Film Festival’s “8 Films to Die For.”
If you’re a horror fan you know the name Larry Fessenden. In fact, you’re probably quite familiar. Actor, writer, producer, director, editor, cinematographer, you name it and Fessenden has done it. He’s been a staple in the horror community for as long as I can remember. On October 20, 2015 Scream Factory will honor Fessenden by releasing The Larry Fessenden Collection on Blu-ray.
This set will feature four films (No Telling, Habit, Wendigo, The Last Winer) from the multi-talented Fessenden and comes packed with bonus content.
Four tales of terror from multi-talented filmmaker Larry Fessenden – he’s a writer, a producer, a director and an actor. In this box set, he brings together four of his films, in HD for the first time, along with both brand-new and vintage bonus features including short films and music videos.
Bloody Disgusting has obtained an exclusive clip from the added bonus features. In this clip we get a behind the scenes look at Fessenden directing 1995’s Habit. It’s an interesting look at a true artist at work. This should hold you over until the collection hits shelves next week.
Porthos Films have released a first image from their debut feature Blood Money starring Klariza Clayton (Skins, House of Anubis), Ollie Barber (Skins), Scott Chambers (Chicken), and also introducing Nicholas Bourne and Sabrina Hansen.
A screenplay by 2013 Emmy winner Rosy Deacon, “the film centre’s around five friends living together in France following a botched art heist.”
Blood Money is Luke White’s directorial feature debut and is currently in post production, having shot this summer in on location in Normandy, France.
Porthos Films is a UK based feature film production company headed up by twin brothers Edward and Luke White.
“Is it 4:20? Cause you just got stoned!”
A new promo clip from Paramount’s Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse hits hard as one of the undead attack well-prepared scouts.
Directed by Christopher Landon, “Three scouts and lifelong friends join forces with one badass cocktail waitress to become the world’s most unlikely team of heroes. When their peaceful town is ravaged by a zombie invasion, they’ll fight for the badge of a lifetime and put their scouting skills to the test to save mankind from the undead.”
Tye Sheridan, David Koechner, Cloris Leachman¸ Halston Sage, Logan Miller, Joey Morgan and Sarah Dumont all star.
Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse will open in theaters October 30th, and as part of a new distribution deal, will arrive on home video and VOD within 17 days of the film nearing its theatrical exit.
Bloody Disgusting has a new look at Shut In, the latest horror thriller from team that brought you Delivery: The Beast Within, which will screen Sunday, October 18th at 4:15pm at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival.
In Shut In, “Beth Riesgraf stars as Anna, a woman who suffers from agoraphobia so crippling that when a trio of criminals breaks into her house, she cannot bring herself to flee. But what the intruders don’t realize is that agoraphobia is not her only psychosis.“
The film also stars Rory Culkin (Scream 4), Martin Starr (Dead Snow 2, HBO’s “Silicon Valley”) and Jack Kesy (FX’s “The Strain”).
Shut In is the debut feature from Adam Schindler, one half of LA based film collective Type AB, which was behind last year’s festival favorite Delivery: The Beast Within. That film also World Premiered at the LA Film Festival back in 2013, where it secured US distribution through Salient Media/Tribeca. TJ Cimfel and David White penned the screenplay.
Steven Schneider (WER, Insidious, Paranormal Activity) is producing with Jeff Rice (Lone Survivor), Lati Grobman (The Iceman) and Erik Olsen (The Book of Eli, Orphan). Executive producers are Christa Campbell (Texas Chainsaw 3D, Leatherface), Matthew Lamothe, Tommy Vlahopoulos, Brian Netto and Rob Van Norden.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to grab that gun over there so you can empty it into every demon you see. Just keep shooting until they resemble spilled plates of lasagna with teeth.
Bethesda opened up registrations for the Doom closed multiplayer alpha this week, and you can get in on it so long as you did the right thing and bought a copy of Wolfenstein: The New Order by May 26, 2014. The alpha will offer a taste of the game’s Team Deathmatch mode, in which two teams of six fight on the industrial-themed Heatwave map.
The alpha will feature six different weapons and two equipment items — the Vortex Rifle, Super Shotgun, Repeater, Rocket Launcher, Static Cannon, Plasma Rifle, Personal Teleporter and Frag Grenade — as well as the chance to use the new Demon Rune to transform into the Revenant demon so you can “use your jetpack and dual rocket launchers to hunt down the other team for a limited time to either secure your team’s lead or mount a comeback.”
Just make sure you watch out for the Gauss Cannon, a crazy powerful gun that essentially serves as the anti-Revenant. Head over here to register.
Good, bad, I’m the one with the tickets…
Here’s a groovy promotion that’s going to make a lot of you jealous.
Bloody Disgusting has (1) PAIR of tickets to the red carpet premiere of “Ash vs Evil Dead,” Starz’s 10-episode series based on Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead franchise, which will take place at the famous Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood, CA on October 28th @6:30PM PST.
One lucky Los Angeles-based reader and a guest of their choosing will join the cast and crew of “Ash vs Evil Dead” for a screening of the new series starring Bruce Campbell, and also enjoy a live outdoor performance by Iggy Pop!!
How do you get so lucky? Well, TO ENTER you should either comment with your best Ash one-liner on our Facebook post or you can tweet your best Ash one-liner. Include #AshBash so we can find you! Please only enter if you’re able to attend as no airfare or lodging is provided.
Set to premiere on October 31st, in the 10-episode “Ash vs Evil Dead”, “Bruce Campbell will be reprising his role as Ash, the stock boy, aging lothario and chainsaw-handed monster hunter who has spent the last 30 years avoiding responsibility, maturity and the terrors of the Evil Dead. When a Deadite plague threatens to destroy all of mankind, Ash is finally forced to face his demons –personal and literal. Destiny, it turns out, has no plans to release the unlikely hero from its “Evil” grip.”
Ash’s Value Stop co-workers are Pablo (Ray Santiago) and Kelly (Dana Delorenzo), with the great Lucy Lawless appearing as Ruby.
Sam Raimi directed the “Ash vs Evil Dead” pilot that following the events of his The Evil Dead franchise, including Army of Darkness.
There’s so much more “Ash vs Evil Dead” goodies that can be found at this link.
Gothic horror films were hallmarks of 1930s-era Hollywood, but they’re not quite as common in recent years. Guillermo del Toro is hoping to bring Gothic horror (and romance) back in a big way with his new film Crimson Peak (my review), so we thought we’d take a look back at some of the best Gothic horror films Hollywood has put out recently (and by recently we mean the last 25 years).
“Please! Haven’t you ever made a mistake?”
The above line is pleaded by Evan Webber (Keanu Reeves) to his gleeful tormentors, and you can’t help but be reminded of how many other home invasion films—an increasingly bloated genre—begin that way. And even though the trappings of Knock Knock make it feel like this one might be different, it still succumbs to a lot the same pitfalls that previous entries in the genre have. Even though the film might feel like director Eli Roth’s most accomplished picture yet, a number of issues hold it back from being the great definitive genre piece that it wants to be.
With a plot that very much resembles a Penthouse letter, two soaking wet damsels in distress, Genesis (Lorenza Izzo, fresh off of her role in Roth’s The Green Inferno) and Bel (Ana de Armas), come upon Evan’s house and beg him for help. Evan acquiesces, but as time goes on his peaceful, humble life begins to be dismantled apart in front of him, with him never going to be the same. The film seems to be so entrenched in Roth’s usual sensibilities that you’d be surprised to learn that this is actually a remake of Peter Traynor’s 1977 exploitation film, Death Game.
Before all of the chaos breaks loose, Roth takes him time, movingly slowly to help establish a tone. It’s also appreciated that in this prelude to everything you actually get to meet Evan’s family and see him interacting with them. Instantly they have more weight and the stakes feel higher when they are at risk because they’re not just names or random photos. We’ve met them. In spite of this beginning section taking its time, you know pretty much exactly where all of this is heading. Just like how Evan is constantly moving his position in the room or switching chairs as Genesis and Bel get closer to him, we too are never fully lulled into a sense of security through this narrative. Genesis and Bel pepper Evan with compliments, playing coy, and exuding uninhibitedness with every flirty touch and smile, and yet, the hanging guillotine is always present and Evan is nearly as aware of it as we are.
Knock Knock operates how a lot of Roth’s films do where it appears that characterization it not the priority and you might not be left caring about these people (especially in the case of Genesis and Bel where most of what they say is a lie anyway). In fact, you’ll likely resent Genesis and Bel as you essentially just see them act privileged and selfish before the danger sets in. The difference here comes in the form of Reeves’ Evan who is out of the age bracket that Roth is typically playing in, adding a little more dimension and “real worldliness” that his characters can often lack.
As Genesis and Bel carry on their wanton destruction there’s a bunch of veiled dialogue between them that hints at something more from their past. Their sexual behavior is also so often steeped in heavy daddy issues and infantilization that feels symptomatic of sexual abuse in their childhood that has stunted them psychologically and manifested as mental illness. This film is not interested in being torture porn, with it instead being more messed up on an internal level, which feels like an important distinction to make.
The moments of Genesis and Bel acting out behavior that shows them stunted mentally are the ones that hit the hardest and tease a somewhat original movie, even. Home invasion scenarios have certainly been done to death at this point and the mere subversion of swapping the gender roles is hardly enough to make a film feel fresh, but the idea of two victimizers who have psychologically regressed and have no way to be logically reasoned with is something different.
The villains in Roth’s other films have been driven by things like money and power in Hostel or instinct and tradition in the case of The Green Inferno, but this is the first film of his where the antagonizers feel like they might be this way because of something that’s happened to them and shattering who they are. That they are almost just as much as victims as Evan is, and it’s in that respect that Knock Knock is fascinating to me and becomes a much deeper picture than it lets on to be. The problem is that this dimension of the film isn’t explored nearly as much as it could be, which results in more scenes of Genesis and Bel seeming like they’re putting on an act, have no history of abuse, and are in control (there are lines referring to a larger organization and clean up crew at hand, and that they have done this many times before), as opposed to two unhinged victims that are acting out of psychosis, which I think is the much more interesting (and frightening) of the two scenarios. This feels like the film that the survivors of Roth’s other films would end up making due to the trauma they’ve been through.
Bel and Genesis’ sadistic chemistry with one another is very strong and probably the best part of this film. As these two sync up together and become increasingly intimidating, you can’t help but feel frightened and outnumbered like Evan does. There’s a sly line in the first half of the film where Evan mentions not being too scared of their physical prowess and that he could comfortably take the two of them. When the shoe is finally on the other foot though, it’s not their physical strength that matters, but their mental manipulation of Evan and how they team up on him in that respect. Him being outnumbered here isn’t dangerous because it means a second set of fists to pummel him, but rather another voice to play out his insecurities and feed the lies that have been wearing him down.
In a similar vein, there’s a through line of sexual violence that the film wallows in as much as it can. One piece of Genesis and Bel’s torture to Evan is framed like a pedophile-themed game show for instance, with the punishments being like-minded accordingly. This is the right sort of idea and the focus that the film should take more often. Like a more damaged version of Hard Candy. Like if Hard Candy had two Velociraptors on the loose in the house. Even the final act is more or less turned into a big game of hide and seek. Intense violence is often being married with juvenility in what seems like the perfect representation of Genesis and Bel’s mental states.
In such a minimalistic film, obviously a lot of it is going to hinge upon Keanu Reeves’ performances, and unfortunately he’s really terribly here, which is puzzle stuff since it almost felt like the actor was having a renaissance lately with stuff like John Wick. It’s very difficult to take him seriously as he screams out lines while tied to a chair, churning out a very Nicolas Cage-like performance. Because of how restricted he is for the second half of the film, so much is dependent on Reeves’ vocal performance and he just sounds downright wooden. Major moments where he’s yelling about being concerned over going deaf or calling the police to help his friend completely fall flat. It’s painful to see Reeves delivering pivotal dialogue life, “You killed him! You killed him!” or “I’m a good father!” and it not at all being taken seriously, as you’re left thinking of the wasted opportunity on what someone else could have done with the part. In the right hands this could actually be a great role—and someone like Dan Stevens from The Guest or even Bruce Campbell would have delivered a much more interesting take on this—but instead you’re sort of left mocking Reeves, which is not at all helpful to the character. You need to be endlessly empathetic to him and want to see him escape, not get further humiliated.
There’s a moment towards the end of the film that’s Evan’s huge scene. It’s a transformative monologue that makes nothing but good points and is a staunch reminder that Evan is the hero in all of this. It’s the sort of speech that the audience should applaud at afterwards but instead I guarantee you that people are just going to laugh, or even cheer when Genesis and Bel respond how they do. I don’t mean to be harping endlessly on Reeves here, but it’s a distracting performance that he puts out, even if he does just go for broke with it all. By the time he’s barking about taking “free pizza,” it’s already too late for him.
Knock Knock’s conclusion also frustrates as Evan really doesn’t deserve the fate that he’s given. The film treats the final moments as if Evan’s angry, raging side is who he really is, whereas that couldn’t seem to be further from the truth. Evan’s more than justified for his anger. With this blunt conclusion and the film offering up no hint of seeing the lasting psychological damage that Genesis and Bel may or may not be going through, the movie as a whole certainly feels hollow and the commentary that it might have been making about abuse is muddled and lost to Roth’s typically loud style. Instead the takeaway that the film wants us to have is on men being inherently unfaithful and “evil” with these two women in fact being some sort of misunderstood angels in disguise.
While Knock Knock can successfully claim that it does present that perspective to some degree, that’s nothing to be proud of. Countless films brandish this “edgy” theme, and for this one to ride out on that makes it merely feel like another face amongst the crowd as opposed to something unique. In Roth’s defense, this conclusion could have gone down a much worse route but he instead shows restraint. His ending does have a strong impact that arguably “works,” but the problem is that Evan doesn’t seem like the terrible person that needs to learn the lesson that he’s taught.
Knock Knock is far from a good movie, but also far from a bad one, with it more than anything seeming to be an interesting piece in the filmography of Eli Roth. It could act as the turning point as he ushers in a more cerebral, psychological brand of horror as opposed to the visceral variety that he’s been focused on so far. I might have thought I was finished with Roth’s outings in the past, and even if Knock Knock hasn’t gotten me back on board with the director, it has shown me that he perhaps has a little more left to say
I still maintain that American Werewolf in London, Dog Soldiers and Ginger Snaps are the holy trinity of modern werewolf movies, and when a new one comes along, I’ve no choice but to judge it according to these standards. Howl, directed by special effects maestro Paul Hyett (you probably know him from The Descent), already had two strikes in my book once I saw the trailer and noticed the CGI transformations and the reusing of plot elements from Dog Soldiers, but turned out to be an unexpectedly fun experience in the end.
Most of the entire film takes place in and around an overnight train from London travelling through a foggy forest. When the train breaks down for unknown reasons, frustrated ticket-collector Joe, played by Ed Speeler from A Lonely Place to Die, has to man up in order to protect the angry group of passengers from whatever dangers lurk outside. His coworker Ellen, played by Holly Weston, joins him and an ensemble cast of late-night travelers desperate to get home and escape whatever creature is stalking them in the dark.
Plotwise, it’s not anything new, but it’s the execution that makes this film stand out. Like any good thriller, a solid introduction to the characters makes you feel sorry for almost every one of them that meets an untimely end, even though many of them at times seem like cookie-cutter archetypes. The dialogue is believable and so are the reactions to the horror around them, but there were a few inconsistencies and leaps of logic regarding how the werewolf “infection” worked. It’s hinted at this might not be a supernatural phenomenae, and though it makes sense that the passengers wouldn’t exactly know what’s going on, I would like to have learned more about the mythology behind the film.
The atmosphere and stylish direction were the highlights of the film, with a subtle soundtrack emphasizing some of the tenser moments. That’s why even the shoddy CGI can be forgiven (It’s mostly used in full-body shots of the werewolves and thankfully sparse), especially considering the great make-up and practical effects. It’s no surprise that Hyett’s team did their best with the prosthetics considering his effects background, but there are a few close-ups on the digitally enhanced wolves that look simply awful.
Howl may be light on plot, but it’s also entirely worth the price of admission if you’re a fan of character-driven thrillers. The payoff may not be as good as the setup, especially considering the brutal and emotional scenes preceding the ending, but it’s still a satisfying experience. The gory parts are fun and frightening but don’t get in the way of the story and the characters are convincing. After watching this movie, you’ll think twice before taking a train on a full moon.
While there won’t be a Friday the 13th in October until 2017, we can still take this year to share a very cool infographic that was designed by the folk over at BuyCostumes.com that goes through each of the Friday the 13th films and breaks down each type of kill that is seen in that film, a list that amounts to over 200 kills! What’s obviously clear is that while the machete might not be the only weapon Jason Voorhees has used over the years, it’s definitely the one that has accumulated the most notches on his death belt!
Hopefully but the October 2017 Friday the 13th, this list will have to be updated because we’ll have seen our favorite hockey mask wearing mass murdered have another go!