Saturday, December 26, 2009

A Bloody Good Christmas

As many of you are recovering from the holidays, I thought I would share with you just what I got from my lovely girlfriend for Christmas. The backstory is that we watched Psycho together a while ago. She loved the movie (and I have always loved it), and had a sudden thought: Psycho bathroom. She was going to make a bloody shower curtain and then hang some stills from the movie up in the bathroom to make a nice, Psycho-themed bathroom for us. Well, that idea came and went and never came to fruition. We talked about it and thought it was a neat idea, but never really acted on it.

Until now.

Ladies and Gentlemen, my Christmas present (a favorite of all time for me), the Psycho bathroom.

We don't have all of the pictures hung up because it's a small room and we are still deciding on where to put what, but it's looking good so far! The pictures were taken with my cell phone because we lost the memory card for our digital camera, but I will try to post some better pictures later.

Also I should point out I have 2 cats that got a little jungle gym thing from my girlfriend's parents. Not that you really care about that, but I should mention the names. One is Phoenix. He's gray and I said we should name him "Jean Grey". My mom said no, but didn't Jean Grey turn into something? Hence, Phoenix. However, the better name is my little Calico cat, Pazuzu. That's right, I have a cat named after the demon that possessed Linda Blair in The Exorcist. Oh, horror movies!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The 5 Creepiest Horror Movie Children

My girlfriend brought up a good question to me the other day: why are kids so inherently creepy in horror movies? I thought about it for a while and I couldn't really come up with a good answer. Is it because of how they represent innocence? Is it because you see yourself at that age? Is it because seeing a child do certain things is so much scarier than an adult doing it? Or is it just because they are so small?

I think it has something to do with the idea of the loss of innocence. Little kids are these pure versions of humans, free of corruption and full of potential. And if you see them turning evil, there's something inherently creepy about them. It's going against the norm of the cute little kid that just wants to play. Suddenly it's something that has become malevolent for whatever reason. And because of people not wanting to see bad things happen to children, they are harder to defend against. It's an odd juxtaposition of this incorruptible, angelic state of children that has suddenly turned violent.

In any event, whatever the reason for kids being creepy in horror movies, they fucking are. So I am going count down the 5 creepiest horror movie kids to me:

5. Jake Witzky, Stir of Echoes (1999):

Yeah, that picture says it all. The little kid seems to know what is up with Kevin Bacon, but can't really express it. When Kevin Bacon tries to coax any sort of information out of him, the kid clams up and tells his mom about the ghosts he sees. The kid is strangely sympathetic and a little jerk all at the same time.
Scariest Moment: When his voice suddenly drops about 5 octaves as he talks to Kevin Bacon. Kevin Bacon then tries to get him to repeat it and all he says is, "I don't wanna talk about it." A greatly underrated movie.

4. Paulie, The Children (2009):

This movie is one of the Ghost House pictures most recent releases and it is actually quite impressive. Now, it revolves around 4 demonic children, but Paulie is probably the creepiest of them all. A consummate mama's boy, he is always crying and whining, never more than a couple feet from his mother's side. He's the little whiny bastard you hate from the beginning. And as the movie wears on, he doesn't get any better, especially once he turns into the little hellspawn we all knew he was from the beginning. And any kid that just sits there and bangs on a toy xylophone for hours on end without saying a word is just downright schizo.
Scariest Moment: A sled careens down a hill and injures one of the adults and Paulie is seen at the top of the sled run, looking distant and cold. You can see it in the trailer briefly. But look a the rest of the scenes with the kid with a little afro and tell me that's not creepy.

3. Regan, The Exorcist (1973)

Yeah, this one's a no-brainer. Any child possessed by the devil is going to be scary as shit. Throw in some crucifix defiling, sprinkle a dash of spider-walking, and top it off with some Pea-soup spewing, you can't deny this little girl is just plain insane, not to mention pants-shittingly scary.
Scariest Moment: Anytime the priests are in the room with her.

2. Gage Creed, Pet Sematary (1989):

He's such a cute little lovable kid in the beginning, making it all the more horrifying when he turns murderous in the end. He is the only kid on this list that makes such a terrifyingly sharp transformation, and that's what makes him so scary. Sure, Regan was supposed to be cute and likable, but Linda Blair just wasn't as cute as poor little Gage. Plus, he's demonic because his father was too grief stricken to listen to instructions, making him all the more tragic.
Scariest Moment: Little Gage, you're the reason I jumped into and out of bed for years as a kid.

1. Damien, The Omen (1976):

I think The Exorcist may have scarier moments involving Regan, but for my money, Damien just downright fuck-all creepy. I can't get over his little silent, brooding machinations. You never know what he is thinking, but you always know it's not good. And the fact that he never really does anything overwhelmingly evil except for throw a tantrum is really quite disconcerting (sure, he throws the tantrum when they try to take him to church, but what kid didn't do that?). He has a cadre of minions, from his satanic nanny to the rabid rottweiler that follows him, so you just can't get near the damn kid. And he's got 666 as a birthmark. The kid who played Damien in the original (not the craptacular remake) had the best creepy kid stare in the world. I get chills just thinking about him. And the worst part: he lives in the end to infect the world!
Scariest Moment: Well, it might be when you find out that his mother was a jackal, but I think it's probably that final shot of him smiling into the camera that really seals the deal.

There are my picks, what do the rest of you have to say about it?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Deadgirl Review

I watched this via Netflix Instant view this week (is there any greater invention?), so I figured I could throw up a review of it. A quick plot summary first:

Two teenage guys decide to skip school to go drink beer at an abandoned insane asylum (who hasn't done that before?). As they enter the asylum, the come across a naked dead girl under a plastic sheet. They then discover she is alive and one of the boys decides she is hot and seeing as how she is tied down, makes the popular decision to have sex with her. The sensible other boy decides that's rape and leaves, only to have the rapist come find him a day later. The rapist takes him back to the dead girl and tells him how she started to growl and bite at him, so he beat her to death (seems logical). Sensible boy was wondering why the rapist had to show him the aftermath, only to find out the girl isn't dead. She's not alive either. They shoot her, strangle her, and pummel her some more, but she stays alive. As another rapist boy comes to enter the picture, the secret gets out and bad stuff happens (who would have seen that coming). Without revealing too much, a dick gets bitten, intestines are literally shat out, a dog is eaten, and you see some very hairy crotch. Sounds intriguing, no?

Cinematography: The movie is shot on digital cameras and is fairly high quality, but nothing to really be amazed at. The shot scale is ample and pretty simple, but good despite its simplicity. It luckily doesn't fall into any shaky cam moments or anything of that sort, but Deadgirl is definitely the work of an amateur filmmaker. However, it's someone with talent that could very easily develop into someone with a bit more presence. Overall, the movie doesn't have enough originality to establish itself in atmosphere, but it is done well enough that it gets a 3 out of 5 for Cinematography.

Execution: Well, Deadgirl is a whole new concept to me. It does revolve ultimately around moral impacts and making the right decision, but it does so in a way that I have not previously seen or heard of. I mean, finding an unkillable person and using them for sex? Pretty original idea there. It does, however, fall into the random high school stereotypes pretty quickly with some of the characters. The bullies are pretty standard "jock" types (which they even reference), and the losers (main characters) are poor, school-ditching, pot-smoking bastards. The problem is that you only really find one character likable (Rickie), but because he makes such strange decisions, you don't really care all that much for him. On the one hand, I liked the idea, on the other, the characters were cliche, so it gets a fence-straddling 2.5 out of 5 for Execution.

Sub-genre Comparison: Well, Deadgirl is at heart a zombie movie. The girl that can't die but is already dead, she infects people with a bite, and tries to eat some flesh, pretty much makes it a zombie film. However, it's hard to compare Deadgirl to other standard zombie fare because it is not standard zombie fare. It's a nice little breath of fresh air in what has become a pretty stagnant genre. It doesn't compare to Night of the Living Dead or 28 Days Later, but it isn't trying to either. It's not the best zombie movie I have ever seen, but it is plenty original, so Deadgirl is rewarded for originality with a 3.5 out of 5 for Sub-genre Comparison.

Production Value: The movie clearly had no budget (otherwise you may have heard of it), but it does well with what it has. The actors are pretty good, only a couple of times was it even remotely hard to sit through. But even Deadgirl's worst acting is better than other movies' best, so it doesn't suffer. Deadgirl uses pretty good special effects, opting for a lot of make up (always a plus in my mind). There is a lot of blood, but not a whole lot of gore, making the aforementioned intestine shitting scene hit a little harder. It's impressive with the little budget it has, so Deadgirl grabs a 4 out of 5 for Production Value.

Scares: Deadgirl is fairly tense and well done, but not particularly scary. The end scene manages to conjure a few good moments and some nice tension, but the movie has more of an uneasy vibe the entire way through, rather than a sense of dread. Deadgirl does a few jump scares too many for my tastes, but it has a good setting for that (the asylum they are in), so I don't blame the filmmakers for that one. Deadgirl, while not the scariest thing I have ever seen, did make me a bit uneasy at times, so I give it a moderate 2.5 out of 5 for Scares.

Overall, Deadgirl manages a moderate 15.5 out of 25 arbitrary marks on my scale. It's an average horror movie that I enjoyed, but don't really have any desire to watch again. I recommend any horror fan watch it, but I am not going to tell you that you have to go see it right now. I liked the idea and it was very refreshing to see such an original idea in an independent horror from the US, but ultimately I just wasn't that interested in the subject matter or characters to love the movie.

Though there is still some like there.