Sleep Well, Mr. Romero …

Now that I’ve had a bit of time to reflect on it, I wanted to get some thoughts down on George Romero. How I got into his work, what it’s meant to me & why this hits harder than other Director’s deaths have.

I can’t pinpoint the exact moment I got into Horror, but it was a gradual progression from an interest in Science Fiction. I remember taking out Sci-Fi movie books from the library & watching old gems with my Father on Saturday Night at the Movies (Elwy Yost was the Host with the Most), and like most kids, I was into aliens and the idea of life (or afterlife) that we cannot see, but believe in all the same.

I always wanted to impress / please my Father with great gifts for his October birthday (Halloween Month FTW), but he hasn’t always been the easiest to shop for (that said, I’ve been on a roll the past few years). I knew he liked old black and white movies, and we’d enjoyed watching stuff like Bride of Frankenstein & The Creature from the Black Lagoon together, so you can imagine my excitement when I read about a movie called “Night of the Living Dead”. It was apparently a Classic (we always had a Leonard Maltin Movie Guide in the house), it was Old & it was Black and White, how could it fail ??

I bought him a double VHS release, which included a second tape of “Special Features” (what a time to be alive). It even had a fold out cover with an essay on the film itself. Surely I had knocked it out of the park with this gift ! I can imagine what was going through his head when he opened up that gift, seeing my face beaming and excitedly waiting to watch it with him. I remember showing the tape of Features to my friends, and we all enjoyed the original trailer, with it’s over the top narration and classic use of musical cue …

Having been internally convinced that I’d gotten the perfect gift, you can imagine my delight when Mr. Maltin let me know that there was not only one, but TWO sequels to NOTLD ! I immediately hatched a plan to get him the second film for his next birthday, then to complete the trilogy on the birthday after that. Once again, I tracked down a double VHS (with fold out cover) at Music World (RIP), and I was EXTRA excited to give him his gift that year.

Watching him open that gift, I couldn’t help but sense (even at a young age) that he wasn’t nearly as thrilled to receive it as I was to give it. But how ? Surely he had loved the previous film, it was old and in black & white ! Still, I was excited to watch this new film with him, and I bided my time as it sat unopened on or VHS shelf, week after week. Eventually I broke down and became determined to watch the film, with or without him. Even though he hadn’t cracked open the plastic yet, I was determined to find a way …

When I was growing up, we ran a year round campground / resort in cottage country. The year I gave him DOTD, I was probably around 12 or so. My parents very rarely got to go out for non-family dinners, and since I was finally old enough to look after the place (after close) for a few hours, they left me alone on a cold January night, with my dog … and an unguarded VHS copy of Dawn of the Dead ! After I was sure they were gone, I snaked the movie off the shelf (where it had lived for months) and I got a knife and went to work, slooooowly cutting enough of the plastic that would allow for me to slip the main tape out of the box.

I knew what I was doing was wrong, but I’d given him WEEKS to open / watch it with me, and my little heart just couldn’t wait any longer. I popped the tape in and let the movie wash over me. That is, until about halfway through, when I heard the unmistakable “crunch, crunch” sound of two people walking through the snow, in our backyard, in the middle of nowhere, with no family members anywhere nearby, and me alone, watching a scary movie, with no curtains drawn on the back window. I sat there, paralyzed, unsure what to do first. They KNEW someone was home, as I hadn’t closed the curtains. But we lived in the middle of nowhere, in the dead (cough) of winter. Who COULD it be ??

I slowly reached for the remote and shut the movie off, then I heard a slow knock on the sliding glass door on our back deck. Still terrified, I walked over to the back room and turned on the porch light. Standing on our deck were two HUGE men, dressed in large winter jackets and staring at me. I knew they wouldn’t just go away, but I had no weapon, apart from a part Lab / part Border Collie named Bart. I reluctantly walked towards the door, unlocked it and slid it open a few inches. It turned out to be two russian men who had walked across the lake, seen our lights, then come to see if we had any liqour for them, to “warm them up”.

Thinking quickly (and having seen many PSA’s, thanks Bert and Gert !), I told them my Father was in the shower, but that I would go and check with him. My dog was growling the entire time, which was honestly my only consolation for the intense fear of the situation. I closed the door, went to the kitchen and considered my options. I ended up waiting a few minutes, then going back and telling them that my Father doesn’t drink … but that I was pretty sure that the (rival) resort down the road had plenty of alcohol (I’m not proud, but it worked). I closed and locked the door, shut off the light and waited. They didn’t move for a minute, but gradually the “crunch, crunch” of them walking away put me at ease, and 10 minutes later, I resumed the film.

In watching that film, I soon came to realize that my Father had NEVER been a fan of Horror, and most likely never knew how to let me down easy. I had been able to slip the tape back into it’s case, and “skillfully” add some scotch tape to the cut area (genius), and shockingly, it NEVER came up. Almost as if he never touched that movie again after setting it up on it’s shelf, where it beckoned to me all those months. This revelation lead to me purchasing the third film, Day of the Dead, but not for my Father this time … but for myself.

It pleases me that my love of the Father of Zombies will always be linked to my own Father, even if he was never a fan of the man’s films himself. He always respected my love of Horror, even if it’s not a genre he could ever love himself. As I grew older and discovered other Romero gems like Martin, Creepshow & The Crazies, I grew to appreciate what an indelible mark he had left on the genre. Not dissimilar to the way my Father had helped shape me into the man that now types these very words.

In the years that have passed since that fateful NOTLD gift, I have seen literally countless Horror films, but my absolute favourite is (and always will be) Creepshow. As a huge fan of 50’s Horror Comics, Romero (and King) absolutely nailed the tone, and I love everything about that film. I’m pleased to have seen it on the big screen, though dismayed to say I passed on a chance to see it again on the big screen this year, with Romero in attendance. That said, I did see Night of the Living Dead on the big screen for the first time this year, and it was a surreal mix of emotions, almost equal to those I’m experiencing now.

It’s been said of Romero that he was unbelievably kind and humble, grateful to have touched so many souls with an oeuvre that is the envy of the average filmmaker. He shaped a genre that still thrills us today, with ideas and films that will live forever, even if the man himself could not. I’m sad I never got to meet him, but through a love for his films and his spirit, and through the eyes of so many others, I feel like I knew him very well.

The outpouring of grief and kind words seen in the past 24 hours is truly inspiring, and speaks well to the imprint left by this man. George was larger than life, larger than the afterlife even. As a fan of the Remakes of NOTLD, DOTD and The Crazies, it’s astounding to me that even re-imaginings of his work can work on different levels, another testament to his genius. While he never got all that was coming to him, financially AND credit wise, his legend will only grow from here on out, and I look forward to remembering the man and his work.

To George A Romero, the creator of the best birthday presents a boy could want …

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The 25 Slays of Christmas

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Well, it’s that time of year again ! No, not the October Horrorthon. Similar, but better and different ! Alright, maybe not better, but anyway, it’s time for my Holiday themed “25 Slays of Christmas” !! That’s right, 1 holiday themed horror flick for each day of December, capping off on Christmas Day with timeless horror (and Canadian !) classic “Black Christmas”.

I’ve made rough goes of this in years past. I started out by doing “The 12 Slays of Christmas”, but now there are far more holiday “classics” to choose from, including the impending remake of the classic “Silent Night Deadly Night”. Oddly enough, some of these 25 films are legit quality titles. Others …. Not so much. That said, I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen “Gremlins” (I know, I know) so that’s something, right ?

Anyway, without further adieu, I present to you,

THE 25 SLAYS OF CHRISTMAS

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1) Silent Night (2012)
http://youtu.be/RhLw3GmHQqA

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Finally a remake that could actually improve upon the original ! Hilariously, many people prefer the sequel for its classic “Garbage Day !” bit (and the fact that it shows 90% of the original via flashback anyway), so I don’t think there’ll be too many people complaining about this one, even if it sucks. Thankfully “The Mayfair” is doing a screening of it the night of the first, so that should be a fun way to kick off our festivities !

2) Black Xmas (2007)
http://youtu.be/-SODLknaAHs

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This is one remake that kind of gets a bad rap. Now, I’m not saying its great or anywhere near as good as the classic original, but the unrated version is actually pretty gory and entertaining (for a modern remake). I had extremely low expectations for it last year, but I certainly didn’t hate it. Plus I think the killer makes cookies out of someone’s back, so that’s something, right ?

3) Elves (1989)
http://youtu.be/GLo795JFfpg

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I’ve never seen this one, but vengeful elves wrecking havoc and being pursued by a chain smoking drunk sounds like a pretty fantastic storyline to me. Then again, I’ve been tricked before …

4) Inside (2007)
http://youtu.be/5FKVN4JxvlE

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Legit recent horror gem (that luckily happens to take place on Christmas Eve. Loophole !) making its first appearance on this marathon. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen it, but it’s arguably the best of the French Nu Wave horror flicks that blew up awhile back (Martyrs, Frontiers, High Tension, etc).

5) Saint (2010)
http://youtu.be/lYCBKgzuNak

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Another recent foreign entry that I have yet to see, this one is from the Netherlands and portrays St Nicholas as a murderous monster who kidnaps and kills children. Funny stuff !!

6) Gremlins (1984)
http://youtu.be/NvU1P46tvsE

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As I said, I’ve never actually seen this entire movie before. Maybe when I was a kid, but I feel like my parents might have thought it would warp my mind and turn me into some horror loving freak. Thank god that didn’t happen. Cough.

7) To All a Goodnight (1980)
http://youtu.be/GUbyXVfer4k

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Okay, this one has the rare distinction of being directed by genre vet David Hess (Last House on the Left, Smash Cut) and not even having a trailer (that I could find). It has a “Prom Night”-esque plot of an initiation prank gone wrong leading to deaths years later. Probably terrible, but I’ll give it a go.

8) Rare Exports (2010)
http://youtu.be/T5woAOEvuNI

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I still haven’t seen this one, but I’ve consistently heard great things about it. It’s a Finnish film about Santa Claus being unearthed by an archeological dig and escaping to cause havoc. Sounds pretty amazing, no ?

9) Home for the Holidays (1972)
http://youtu.be/USwu1PJmVOs

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This was a made for TV movie about an ailing father who summons his 4 daughters to come and murder his wife who he suspects is trying to murder him. The best part is that it stars Sally Field and Jessica Walter. Yay ! Bluth Family !

10) Silent Night Deadly Night 2 (1987)
http://youtu.be/xS4G67yiwY0

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In some ways this is the better known of the SNDN series, largely due to the hilarious “Garbage Day” bit. I picked this one over the original due to its increased comedy and the fact that it shows most of the first movie in flashbacks anyway.

11) Don’t Open Till’ Christmas (1984)
http://youtu.be/GAWTX-2ahSg

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This one is a surprisingly grisly UK gem about a guy wandering around London murdering people who are dressed as Santa Claus. Kind of a neat twist on the usual “Killer Santa” genre, though its a bit of a mess (much like the bodies of his victims).

12) Silent Night Bloody Night (1972)
http://youtu.be/OOXx7Q0UfH4

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Another that I haven’t gotten around to seeing, this one actually sounds pretty cool. A guy is left a house that was formerly an insane asylum. A killer from another asylum escapes and hides in the house, killing people and making menacing phone calls. Actually, that sounds kind of weird now that I see it typed out. Anyway, a remake of this one is coming out this year, but it isn’t out yet. Maybe next year …

13) Jack Frost (1997)
http://youtu.be/5JpO7iLAohQ

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This one is a modern cult Christmas horror classic, pre-dating the (presumably) crappy Micheal Keaton one by a few years. A serial killer becomes a snowman and keeps killing people. Good stuff.

14) Silent Night Zombie Night (2009)
http://youtu.be/TiSPvVsjtC0

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Never got around to watching this one last year, but with a title like that how could it be bad ?! Pretty easily I’d guess. Anyway, this one sees the residents of Los Angeles becoming zombies. Just like in real life. Cough.

15) The Day of the Beast (1995)
http://youtu.be/hA2FjEOyl9I

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This was originally on my “October Horrorthon” list, but I decided to bump it to this one since it takes place on Christmas Eve. It concerns a priest trying to track down and kill the antichrist. Supposedly a pretty sweet flick. Looking forward to it.

16) Two Front Teeth (2006)
http://youtu.be/TQamFU-UL6A

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This will probably suck, but sounds pretty neat. A tabloid writer is trying to expose a cover up that may have been perpetrated by Santa Claus. Now an army of zombie elves and a vampire Santa Claus are after him ! Man I hope this is as good as it sounds.

17) Sheitan (2006)
http://youtu.be/XJ75UJ_v7fM

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This is a French film (translated to “Satan”) about a group of friends who leave a Christmas disco party to go to a remote farm and party with some (seemingly) cool people. Except it goes terribly wrong for them, as I assume you’d guessed.

18) Satan Claus (1996)
http://youtu.be/mfZf5hiJrIE

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Great title for a probably absolute garbage direct to video killer Santa flick. I figure I need to watch it at least once, largely based on the title. I apologize to myself on advance.

19) Jack Frost 2 (2000)
http://youtu.be/uX7YigAcGdM

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How about another dose of killer snowman ?! No ? Well, he’s back anyway, this time with a lower budget ! How could it be bad ? Well, I’ll let you know I guess.

20) Wind Chill (2007)
http://youtu.be/mKSrDoW0WGI

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This was a late addition, but I was intrigued enough (and tired of the other garbage options) to add it to the list. 2 students are driving home for the holidays and are inexplicably attacked by the ghosts of people who have died on that stretch of road. Sounds ridiculous, but Emily Blunt is cute, so that’s something.

21) Santa Claws (1996)
http://youtu.be/YXle9DcJp10

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Another classic title for another (supposedly) shitty flick. On the plus side, this one is written and directed by the co-writer of the original “Night of the Living Dead” !! It involves a b-horror actress being stalked by a crazed fan who thinks he’s Santa Claus. How could it fail ?

22) Santas Slay (2005)
http://youtu.be/camndOJGmSM

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This one is about a murderous Santa Claus (catching the theme yet ?) played by wrestler Bill Goldberg, hamming it up with many pun-sational catchphrases. I watched it last year, but I only remember not hating it. Hopefully this year I’ll find a way to completely hate it.

23) Pranks (1982)
http://youtu.be/1R6NVxLroK4

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Aka – “The Dorm that Dripped Blood”, this one is about a group of teens who are closing down a dorm over the holidays. Little do they know they’ll be murdered one by one by a mysterious … Murderer !! Oh, when will the lethal prancing end ?!

24) Christmas Evil (1980)
http://youtu.be/_uAMtjDXXhs

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Aka – “You Better Watch Out”, this one is about a man who loves Christmas and keeps a “Naughty” and “Nice” list with all the neighbourhood children on it. Hope you don’t make his “Naughty” list …. !!!

25) Black Christmas (1974)
http://youtu.be/08U_JOv-6_Y

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An absolute classic that I take pleasure in saving till Christmas day. If you haven’t seen this one, I highly recommend it. Brutal, well acted, great ending. One of the best horror films of all time, and certainly the best Christmas horror.

Well, there you have it ! 25 Slays for 25 Days ! It all starts tomorrow, ad I can’t wait to see a modern take on an old “classic” in the company of other likeminded monsters at the best theater in town, The Mayfair !

I’ll be posting daily reviews as I wade through the filth. I look forward to sharing the fun throughout the holidays. Have fun, and watch out for Santa !!!

October Horrorthon 2012 – 31 – “Halloween II”

Aka – Halloween II – The Horror Continues, Halloween II – The Nightmare isn’t Over!

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzOdUKVD8Ac

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Well, how else could I end the Horrorthon than with one of the Halloween flicks ? Specifically the newly released Shout Factory blu ray of “Halloween II”. You know, the GOOD Halloween II. I’d bought the Universal release of it on Blu last year, but I hadn’t opened it yet and heard this new one was much better in every respect. I sold mine and upgraded to this one for about a 5$ difference. What a deal !!

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This is one of those rare examples of a sequel picking up seconds after the first one had ended. Personally I love it when they do that, but it’s actually quite rare. In some ways the first two Halloween films are one long movie, in a good way. True, Carpenter didn’t direct this one, but he did write/produce/direct some re-shoots, so the tone is consistent. It may sound blasphemous, but I actually prefer this one to the original. Yeah, that’s right, I’m not un-saying it either !

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The cast from the original all return in this one, though Jamie Lee Curtis had to wear a wig as she had cut her hair between movies. The only exception to the original cast was Dick Warlock (great name) stepping in as Micheal Myers (aka – “The Shape”). He does a fine job (not that there were any lines) and the principal cast does a good job with the material.

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I really enjoy this movie. Obviously it couldn’t exist without the original, a certified classic, but it ups the ante in the gore department, not unlike the jump between Texas Chainsaw Massacre 1 and 2. That’s not to say that gore makes a movie good, but it’s nice to have a similar looking sequel that develops on the first and sets itself apart by adding additional violence to the proceedings. I mean, he IS a murderer after all.

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The movie was fairly harshly reviewed upon release, not too surprising for a follow up to a classic. Much like other underrated sequels like “Psycho 2”, “Sleepaway Camp 2”, “TCM 2”, “Jaws 2” and “Blood Feast 2” it is more bloody but has found it’s audience over the years. Are these sequels “better” than their classic counterparts ? Not necessarily, but they all add new elements and more extreme content, a sign of the times and a welcome addition to the genre (for the most part).

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Shout Factory has indeed done a great job with this release. Not only is there newly released cover art (see bottom pic) but it also reverses to show the original poster art as well. The transfer is great, it includes deleted scenes, 2 commentary tracks, a documentary and probably the coolest addition – a second (DVD) disc of the TV cut of the film. This version takes out much of the gore and adds in many alternate scenes. Certainly not a “better” film, it’s an interesting curio and the first time it has ever been released legitimately.

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Director Rick Rosenthal was quite upset at Carpenters’ reshoots of his film. Carpenter found his initial cut to be “boring” and felt they needed to step up the gore to compete with modern films (released that same year were “Friday the 13th 3D”, “The Howling”, “The Omen 3” and “The Evil Dead”). As I said, I personally enjoy the amped up murders in the film, but I can see people being thrown off by the slight shift in tone.

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I was surprised at how much I dug this film upon re-watching it last year. It’s a very underrated slasher film, especially among sequels in long winded franchises. Had they just ended the Myers storyline after this film (as Carpenter intended) I think it works just fine. Then everyone hated (the underrated) “Halloween 3” and they inexplicably brought back Myers for parts 4-8 (+2 more).

Interestingly (for someone who seemingly got screwed over while shooting this) Rosenthal came back years later to shoot Halloween 8, which … frankly sucked ass. Also interesting is that Halloween 7 (aka – H20), which is considered a sequel to 2 and end of the storyline, was directed by Steve Miner, director of Friday the 13th 2+3. He went from directing a movie that went up against Halloween 2 to completing its story 17 years later. I guess it really is a small world after all.

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October Horrorthon 2012 – 28 – “Halloween 2 (RZ)”

Aka – H2, Halloween 2 – The Devil Walks Among Us

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http://youtu.be/cHslouUNi00

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So much has been said about Rob Zombies entries in the Halloween series. For a franchise with many low points (but 2 classics, a misunderstood gem and a well received return to form) it was to be expected that a remake would receive a backlash from fans of the classic original. Zombies’ remake wasn’t terrible, it was just unnecessary, like most remakes. After the amount of bile that was spewed over the sequel, I figured I owed it to myself to give it a look. After all, I’d seen every other Halloween flick, so why not ?

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The sequel picks up a year after the events in the first film. Micheal Myers had (seemingly) been killed and his sister (unbeknownst to her yet) Laurie Strode has become a shell of her former self, emotionally ruined by her ordeal. She’s moved in with her friend (and co-survivor) Annie and her Sheriff father (played by Childs Play’s Brad Dourif) but the events of the first film have put a strain on her and Annie’s friendship. As Halloween approaches, Laurie worries that Micheal isn’t dead after all, and is coming back to finish the job.

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Most of the principal actors return in this sequel, and even if she hadn’t been in the first one you knew Zombies’ wife Sheri Moon would be in it. Malcolm McDowell adds some layers to his Dr Loomis character, Tyler Mane does a good job as Micheal (for a lumbering monster that is) and Scout Taylor Compton is … Okay as Laurie. I mean, I know the character has been through a lot, but she was really kind of bitchy and irritating at times, I’m just saying. Not terrible, but kind of shrill and shrewish.

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Watching this movie was a lot like watching the remake of “A Nightmare on Elm Street”. I’d heard such terrible things about them, both essentially remakes of classic genre films that apparently dropped the ball big time. It’s really hard to be let down by a movie that has already let everyone down for a few years prior, but I like Zombie as a director and still wanted to hope this was a good attempt. At this point he may never top the (nearly) universally lauded “Devil’s Rejects” (itself a sequel to a RZ film), but how bad could H2 really be ?

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The thing is, it’s not terrible. There have been several terrible Halloween films (no, part 3 isn’t one of them. I don’t care that MM isn’t in it, it’s a cool flick !) and its easy to make a “by the numbers” MM flick and be bored to tears throughout. H2 definitely isn’t a “great” film, but it’s very much a Rob Zombie film. It’s surreal, esoteric, out there, violent, etc, but it’s as interesting a Halloween flick as we’re likely to get. Unless you count the whole “Thorn Cult” thing in Part 6 with Paul Rudd, but that’s not so great either.

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Now, make no mistake, I’m not saying this is a good movie or that I’m recommending it or will ever watch it again. I will say that I watched the Directors Cut which is apparently a much better version of the story. It’s dreamlike and strange, but it attempts things other Halloween films won’t / haven’t, and for being the 10th Halloween film, that’s something at least.

Halloween 3D has stopped and started a few times, and who knows what the next film will look like and who will shepard it’s story. A lot of the reason I didn’t hate this movie was how little I expected from it based on the onslaught of reviews condemning it. It isn’t great, but it did its own thing and Zombie won’t be back, so I guess I’m saying it’s not great, but I’ve seen much worse.

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October Horrorthon 2012 – 22 – “The Horde”

Aka – La Horde

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gY4ui929TiE

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I’ve been hearing a lot of hype about this one for awhile now. Zombie flicks have been pretty done to death at this point (no pun intended) but there have been some recent gems that continue to give me hope (The Dead, Dawn of the Dead remake, The Walking Dead series). Having enjoyed a few recent French horror films as well (Inside, Martyrs, High Tension (until the ending)) I was looking forward to this one.

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The plot concerns some rogue police officers who are out to avenge the death of one of their own. They bust into a highrise run by local gangsters and are quickly taken out. As the villains decide what to do next, a zombie busts in and devours one of them. After punching, kicking and shooting him, they finally go for the headshot, bringing him down. As the group realizes there is a (cough) horde of the undead outside, they band together to try to escape with their lives.

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The cast does a pretty good job for the kind of movie that it is. Lots of yelling, overreacting, screaming, punching, shooting, screaming, etc. I decided to watch the dubbed version because it was late and I was feeling lazy. On the plus side the voices weren’t too irritating, but some of the characters actions sure were.

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And therein lies my issue with this movie. Granted, it’s extremely stylish, well shot, ambitious, good story, etcetera. Unfortunately the overly stupid actions of the characters left me completely unsympathetic to them. I was basically rooting for the zombies by the end of it actually. Not that it was easy to choose between the murderers or the cops (aka – justifiable murderers) but still.

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The biggest cardinal sin of the movie is the fact that after emptying 40 rounds into the first zombie they manage to bring him down with a headshot. Great ! Like most characters in zombie flicks you’re just waiting for them to realize that this is the way to finally kill them. Except they don’t go for a headshot again for the rest of the movie !!! Really ?! Come on !! No no, you have unlimited ammo ! Keep firing at their chests ! It worked before right ? No wait, it was a fucking headshot that worked you morons ! You’re cops ! Ever tried a headshot ?! Good lord !!

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If that weren’t irritating enough, okay, I’m about to head into potential spoiler territory here. Okay, so the group finally makes it down to the basement, but then they realize they need to get to the parking garage. The Tom Savini-looking main guy tells them he’ll stay behind to “hold off” the zombie horde while they escape. Really ?! You have plenty of time to leave WITH them !! Why the fuck are you committing suicide for NO reason ?! Oh well, at least he’ll go for headshots ! Wait, no !! He has 2 pistols and just fires into the zombie crowd till they swarm him !! Sweet plan bud !

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I realize that during times of crisis people probably don’t make the most rational choices, but half of these people are already murderous assholes, the other half are murderous rogue cops. The characters are already fairly unlikable, now they’re also ignoring the only thing that actually killed a zombie in the first place ? Fuck !!

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Anyway, it’s not a “bad” movie, and maybe the subtitled version is somehow kind of a bit better in a way. That said, there are far too many retarded decisions by these people, to the point that I wanted them all dead by the end anyway. I’m sorry, but I can’t overlook completely ignoring headshots after it was the only way to kill them off. That’s just bullshit stupidity at that point.

Anyway, it looks nice, starts well, angers greatly and fizzles out. Still, not the worst zombie flick I’ve seen. Not sure what is actually. Maybe “House of the Dead”. Yikes

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October Horrorthon 2012 – 13 – “The Dead Pit”

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Aka – Re-animator Hospital

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRSG4y-gc1A

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“The Dead Pit” has all the makings of a classic cult movie. Mad Doctor, Zombies, Mental Hospital, Over the Top Gore, etc. I’d tried watching it last year, but I couldn’t remember too much about it. Not a great sign, but still, with a pedigree like that I knew I needed to give it another shot.

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The movie is about a mad doctor who has been experimenting on his patients in a local mental hospital. Another doctor manages to overpower, kill and seal him him in the basement of the hospital. 20 years later Jane Doe (seriously) is sent to the same hospital the same day that an earthquake releases the mad doctor and his zombie creations. Jane tries to alert the head psychiatrist, but nobody will believe her. Until it’s too late !

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The acting is pretty run of the mill for a late 80s b-horror flick, which is to say, not great. The mad doctor is okay, but not overly memorable. Ditto for Jane Doe actually. There was a British mental patient sidekick type guy that was pretty good, but apart from that the acting is pretty iffy.

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I really wanted to like this movie. Like I said, it has so much going for it. The effects are pretty good, and the premise, while somewhat hackneyed, is also good. It’s hard to screw up a movie with this much promise, but something about it just feels hollow.

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This is another of those horror flicks with a “Crazy girl keeps seeing stuff that other people don’t, so she looks crazier, but really that stuff is actually happening and people keep dying until theres a predictable “twist” ending” thing going on. Much as I love movies set in mental hospitals, this one was a bit tedious.

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In the end, I can’t really recommend this film. It’s got some good effects and a great premise, but it just doesn’t live up to its ambitions. It’s pretty much a blueprint of stuff I enjoy in a horror flick, and yet it drops the ball pretty badly. I suppose they should have called it “The Dud Pit”, but that’s just mean.

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