Okay, I had some time and watched The Ritual yesterday. It’s good! It has some interesting parallels to Descent (which I really liked). It’s tense and has some really good photography. Creature design/animation are good! Looks surprisingly high budget. It’s a sneaky good flick.
Surprised nobody’s mentioned Ghostwatch yet. It was a BBC drama special pretending to be an over-the-top investigatory TV show looking into a haunted house (but its really kind of about the gulf war if you can believe it). It’s legendary over here because of how the tabloids reacted to it the day after (extremely poorly) but it’s genuinely great. Special highlight includes Michael Parkinson nailing the role as an increasingly annoyed host.
Modern Horrors often feel very different than older horror titles. I guess the formula changed at some point. That said, there are a ton of great movies both new and old!
Newer Greats: Insidious 1 - 3, The Conjuring 1 & 2, Annabelle Creation, Crimson Peak, Saw, The VVitch, The Babadook, Don’t Breathe, Get Out, It, Split, Cabin in the Woods, The Mist
I love The Thing.
I love love love Ghostwatch. I haven’t seen it in years! I should watch it this Halloween.
Saw The Cloverfield Paradox. Not a horror movie but it tries so hard to be scary. I’m not sure if it’s even a movie. More a collection of ideas you’ve seen better executed in Alien, Event Horizon and erm… Pandorum… I guess. I’ll admit there is a cool idea you’ve seen a hundred times before involving parallel universes that kind of touches on these big existensial questions of the nature of good and bad happening across your life time, but getting there you have to go through several other haplessly lame ideas. This film needed a fire to break out in the script writer’s room.
I think it was written by one article (the guy who originally wrote The God Particle) but it feels as if many writers were involved, one wanted to do a bit about somebody exploding with worms (“ewwww!”), an other guy thought it would be cool to warp a lady into the machinery of a ship and have her spliced in with all the machinery and circuitry (“literally my worst nightmare!”). Another thought it would be funny to take away a guy’s arm but have him act completely normal to it (“Me arm!”). And to cap it all off… an appearance from the Cloverfield monster which was basically the film’s version of Porky Pig going “Shit, I don’t know. That’s all folks”. I was just left stunned how average it all was. Did somebody actually lift the lid of JJ Abrams mystery box? Is this what was in it the whole time? Turns out somebody played Half-Life back in the day and nicked the Resonance Cascade Scenario as something you could hang your vague shared universe upon.
Absolute rubbish, such a shame in so many ways.
- Cloverfield and 10 Cloverfield Lane were generally good movies, the latter was great even.
- Digital distribution means you can literally surprise release a movie out into the wild without a 6 month marketing campaign and 6 months of hype.
- There’s some really good actors involved throughout the film.
- This movie was originally a script called the God Particle. The fact that it was brought under the Cloverfield umbrella made me a little sad that his is the fate of original stories today.
God damn it.
Can’t help but agree that TCP was frustrating to watch because it never felt like it knew what it was. Here’s hoping the criticism it’s receiving will lead to some better curation the next time they decide to make a movie in this franchise. (And, oh, please don’t try to somehow retcon TCP into making sense, thanks)
Just saw The Straners: Prey at Night in theaters, and as someone who enjoyed the first one, other than the bad title and obligatory suspenseful ending scene, I thought it was good. Oh, and I absolutely loved that pool scene, especially the choice of song lol.
Anyone else get a chance to check it out?
Sorry in advance in any of these have been brought up already. But Something tells me they probably haven’t been.
Divisive to say the least. Very love it or hate it. Here’s an excerpt (no spoilers) from an article by someone who definitely got what I got out this very weird movie.
"On the surface, The Neon Demon is overt social commentary, rife with prose and metaphor about narcissism, beauty, and death. And even though it’s more aesthetically macabre than The Cremaster Cycle, The Neon Demon is ultimately aimed at the ways we breed crippling insecurity in not just the fashion industry, but our culture at large. Starting with the unfeasible standards that come from mixed messaging.
The mixed message in this case being both the deification and subjugation of young women. We want them sexually, yet they must be pure. We celebrate them, yet they can never express a desire to be celebrated. We want to be them, yet we revile them. This contradiction is so devastating as a societal expectation because it is subconsciously (and sometimes consciously) used to keep girls powerless. For if there is always some way they are doing something wrong, they are always destined to fail. There is no way to “win” either. And if they are constantly able to be criticized, then they are able to be controlled and subjugated. But Jesse actually embodies a new twist of that contradiction, for instead of the madonna and the whore motif, Refn uses imagery to portray Jesse as both Virgin Mary and… Jesus Christ. A choice that highlights a perhaps unprecedented flipside to the subjugation of mixed messaging, and that is:
Way less divisive, most people seem to enjoy it. Definitely a good, relatively new introduction to French cinema too.
Less divisive than The Neon Demon, but that’s probably just because it never got the level of spotlight TND did. It’s weird, really weird. Just watch it.
Been a while since i’ve posted here!
I missed Annihilation when it was in the theatre, but having watched it on dvd I’d heartily recommend it as horror movie, specifically cosmic horror.
Though to be fair, it is one of those movies thats hard to narrowly define because there’s a lot of beauty here and the spooks don’t take up a lot of screen time.
But god, that bear.
Some themes I picked up were the fear of the uncomprehensible, the tendency towards self destruction in humans, fear of changes to the mind and body.
Oooooooo thanks for the recommendation. I’ve been hearing good things about this one. I’m definitely intrigued!
Anyone going to see Hereditary?
Hearing nothing but good things about it. Latest movie from A24.
Yessssssssssss. I saw the trailer for it a couple months ago and totally wanna see it.
I think this might be the most upsetting horror movie I’ve ever seen? It’s definitely up there. It’s about 2/3 family drama and 1/3 traditional horror, except the family drama is so brutal it’s actually a relief when the blood starts flowing. It reminded me of Don’t Look Now and The VVitch, except it goes for the jugular in a way the latter never quite did. I’m still trying to process it and work out exactly how I feel, but there’s no doubt it’s incredibly potent. There’s one image in particular that I’m probably never going to dislodge from my mind.
Aw yeah. Hereditary was…a lot. I don’t know whether it’s more accurate to say that the film starts slow and takes a while to ramp up, or just that much of the early/mid movie tension and stress comes from the family’s dynamics and struggle to get through a difficult time, and less so from traditional “horror”, but I quite enjoyed it either way. Without revealing too much, there’s one particular mid-movie event that kicks things off in an “ohhh, now I know some stuff is about to go down” kinda way. I really appreciated and was genuinely surprised that it also kind of dashes expectations one may have built up based on watching the preview for this film.
I thought Hereditary was fantastic. Some of the most effective and affecting metaphor / thematic underpinning I’ve seen in a horror movie. I mean, we already know that Toni Collette is an astounding talent, but wow does she ever take it to a new level in this film. I really feel like there should be an Oscar nod here, if for no other reason than that dinner table scene by itself. That shit hurts and is pure familial “horror” that almost feels like it transcends genre and invents its own new space (Todorov-style).
I very rarely rewatch films but I can’t wait to see this one again.
Seen Hereditary now.
Overally I really like it, the actors are all great (especially Toni Collete, but equally the son and Gabriel Byrnne as the father just trying to keep a level head). Some of the visuals were so haunting. but I do think it’s a film of two halves and I think I preferred the first half as it felt more understated and creepier. Once you get into the 2nd half it becomes a little… I’m not sure how to describe it… Sillier? It’s a common problem with sci-fi and horror - the film takes a massive leap and if it has done it’s job correctly, you’ll leap with it. I don’t think I did with Hereditary. Think I need to see it again, as I’m not sure if I truly appreciated the film as a whole, I felt the movie took a turn that felt like ticking the boxes of classic 70s horror movies. If I drop those associations, maybe I’d appreciate the bigger picture of what the film was trying to say about the struggles of one family member been passed on to the other.
Watched Ghost Stories last night. It was fine. It’s an anthology about a skeptic who is tasked with investigating three ghost stories that another skeptic claims he cannot disprove. It’s very well-acted, nicely shot, and generally a pleasure to watch. Unfortunately, the ghost stories themselves were not scary at all to me, and were actually the weakest parts of the movie. They are essentially “happenings” with no real narrative about them, and suffer from being pretty predictable.
It has a unifying theme running through it, that, when revealed, is pretty neat, but I felt it could have gone a little harder on that theme in the final act (theme: “the mind sees what it wants to see”) and the whole experience is, essentially, a less intense, more straightforward version of Mulholland Drive.
I recommend the movie, but it’s not spectacular. I imagine seeing the stage play on which it’s based is a great experience, though. There were several scenes that felt like they would be really fun to do with stagecraft.
I love Pontypool so much. Especially that opening monologue.
Saw it a few months ago. Agree entirely with everything you say - although I thought the first ghost story was quite scary. Not sure what I thought about the ending to be honest. I was kind of caught up in it all and then it gave me an explanation that felt a bit usual suspects
I enjoyed John Kransinki’s A Quiet Place, very well made monster/horror movie. My main criticism is how close it sticks to the monster movie trope, the weakness of the creatures being accidentally discovered at the very end. The creatures design is cool, reminds me of something very much out of a resident evil game
Also watched Demon House, the documentary style movie by Zak Bagans, the guy who made the Ghost adventures show. It’s not good, but definately really weird. Not really familiar with ghost adventures besides watching a few clips of him yelling at ghosts to sack up and come talk to him.
So he buys this haunted house, moves in to “document”, and people start getting really sick, crew members quit, he locks himself in the house for some reason and gets a mysterious eye disease. Then he bulldozes the house, I guess for revenge? Nothing really happens in the movie which makes it wierder. Lots of footage of a guy in a goat head costume, which Bagans said he had visions of prior to moving in the house.