Sunday, April 6, 2014

Torture Chamber (2013)

A family struggles to end the evil reign of their youngest son, Jimmy, who they believe to be possessed by the devil, but is Jimmy's condition a result of his oppressive religious upbringing, or something far more sinister? Cult director Dante Tomaselli returns with another ambitious and highly original approach to hallucinatory horror in TORTURE CHAMBER, his fourth and most recent film. As always, Tomaselli instills a personal approach to the writing and directing of this low-budget shocker, drawing once more from a deeply-religious background that seems to condemn the dogmatic practices of the Catholic church. We are the ones that are left to decide whether Jimmy's twisted appearance and demonic powers are a result of nature or nurture, or whether the events portrayed in the film are even real to begin with. Jimmy's fiery vengeance can just as easily be an expression of his inner anguish and psychological turmoil as it could be an outward expression of true horror. Tomaselli sets the mood with a stellar score, which draws us deep into the bowels of hell portrayed on screen. For all of its strengths, however, TORTURE CHAMBER may prove to be too challenging for most audiences. It is laid out through a series of flashbacks and hallucinations which defy linear structure. The result is a living, breathing nightmare that conforms solely to the director's unique vision of horror. Those fringe film fans that are seeking a breakaway from the standard conventions of the genre will find TORTURE CHAMBER to be a refreshing release.

Rating: 6/10.

Movies like TORTURE CHAMBER:
PURIFICATION, HORROR, THE ANTICHRIST, THE MANSON FAMILY.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Top Ten Reasons Why 'Jaws: The Revenge' Is the Best Movie Ever Made

1. This shark is out for REVENGE! Because, naturally, sharks are cognizant beings that seek revenge against their transgressors. This was a key factor that was missing from the previous films. Before, the sharks would just eat for food or out of boredom. Now, its motives are much more brooding and calculated.

2. The shark roars like a dinosaur. Another fact that was overlooked in each of the other sequels. Lead scientists in the field of underwater research have proven that the great white has an impressive vocal range that sounds very similar to several large species of dinosaur. This makes Jaws 4 the most accurate portrayal of the great white in film.

3. Lance Guest. Lance Guest's award-winning performance as Mike Brody is intense and sincere. It is the introspective moments in the film that truly define his character, where we find him staring at himself in the mirror, contemplating whether or not he should keep tagging sea snails for a living. He outshines even the great Roy Scheider in the series.

4. Banana Boat. Need I say more?? I'll be damned if I ever ride another banana boat in the Caribbean after seeing this movie. Honestly, what did you think was going to happen? The ratio between Women Riding Banana Boats in a Horror Film and Dying is 1:1. Want to save money before your next vacation? Show your kids the banana boat scene.

5. It built Michael Caine's house. And what a fine house it is! Michael Caine has been quoted as saying this about Jaws - The Revenge: "I have never seen it, but by all accounts it is terrible. However, I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific."

6. They made a Nintendo game out it. Yeah, that's right. It may have just been called Jaws for brevity's sake, but we all know it was about Jaws - The Revenge. The fast-paced action and suspense has you assume the role of Mike Brody as you shoot helpless sea creatures with your monstrous harpoon gun. If you're lucky, Jaws will randomly show up and float aimlessly around the screen for a few minutes. And if you're REALLY lucky, you may accidentally be able to align the boat properly in the final showdown against the killer shark.

7. The tracking device. Who needs John Williams' tired old score when you have the electronic bleeping of a tracking device on hand to warn you when the shark is preparing to strike? Nothing strikes terror in the heart of men like modified fishing equipment.

8. The giant swing that overlooks the water. This is a parent's best friend. Before, you had to worry about your kid flying off of the swing and breaking a limb. Now, children are afforded the luxury of landing safely in a shark's mouth, or dying a horrible and tragic death after landing in the water and drowning while their irresponsible-ass parents are off drinking cool island cocktails. Kudos, giant swing that overlooks the water designer!

9. The shark is real. Budgeting constraints forced director Joseph Sargent to use real sharks in the filming of Jaws - The Revenge. This is clearly evidenced in one of the underwater scenes where Mike is attacked by the shark in his little yellow submarine. The giant metal arm that can be seen beneath the shark was a tethering device used to control these beautiful creatures in nature, providing for some of the most realistic-looking attack sequences in the series.

10. Random acts of Sharksplosion. Getting back to the science behind Jaws - The Revenge, another little know fact is that the great white naturally explodes when hit with even the slightest amount of force, as we have seen in the film's climactic ending.
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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Movie Monsters: Meridian (1990)

The elegant werewolf costume seen here may look familiar, as it was later used in Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula. Meridian is a stylish and atmospheric Gothic tale that director Charles Band had fashioned after the Harlequin novels of love and romance. Why is the beast from Meridian your favorite movie monster? Read The Full Post HERE!

Horror Quotes: Nosferatu (1922)

Graf Orlok: Is this your wife? What a lovely throat. Read The Full Post HERE!

Names in Horror: Amy Irving

Amy Irving's earliest contributions to the genre included Brian De Palma's two telekinetic Horror films, Carrie and The Fury. She would return as Sue Snell for The Rage: Carrie 2, and would appear in the suspense thriller, Hide and Seek, alongside Robert De Niro. Read The Full Post HERE!

The Awakening (2011)

Set in 1920s England, THE AWAKENING follows Florence Cathcart, a skeptic who has set out to disprove the existence of ghosts using modern scientific techniques. Florence is called upon to settle the rumors of a haunting that has been plaguing a local boarding school, but her beliefs are soon shaken by a number of unexplainable events. Director Nick Murphy delivers a great deal of supernatural suspense in his chilling ghost story, THE AWAKENING, from 2011. The film has been beautifully dressed to fit the period, with a cool color palette and somber mood that are used to reflect a grief-stricken England following the First World War. Rebecca Hall and each of her surrounding cast members are quite good in their respective roles. Hall brings a sharp wit and authoritative sense of control to the character of Florence, before fear and self-doubt begin to sink in towards the end. The same subtle approach that was taken in THE DEVIL'S BACKBONE and THE OTHERS is exhibited here once again, which gives way to sudden shocks that are rightfully earned due to the well-crafted suspense. It is a Modern Classic in a sense, drawing from more traditional frights from a bygone era.

Rating: 8/10.

Movies like THE AWAKENING:
THE ORPHANAGE, 23:59, DORM, THE DEVIL'S BACKBONE, THE OTHERS, THE INNOCENTS, THE WOMAN IN BLACK.

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Horror Posters: Wes Craven's New Nightmare (1994)

We are not given much information here for Wes Craven's New Nightmare, but there is something dark and evil that comes through in this poster that just seems fitting to the film. Do you prefer this over the more colorful posters from earlier in the series? Read The Full Post HERE!

Behind the Scenes: Metropolis (1927)

Brigitte Helm takes a moment to herself during the filming of Fritz Lang's Metropolis, in which she has several integral parts. The film is considered to be the forefather of the Science Fiction genre, and a masterpiece of the Silent Film Era. Read The Full Post HERE!

Great Moments: Peeping Tom (1960)

An intense moment from Michael Powell's classic thriller, Peeping Tom! Although the film was violently criticized at the time of its original release, it has since been hailed as one of the most daring and provocative thrillers of its time, and a film classic. What are your favorite moments from the film? Read The Full Post HERE!

Horror Haiku: Deep Red (1975)

Think. What did I miss?
Was a picture out of place?
I need to reflect.
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Villains of Horror: The Stepfather (1987)

Who am I? Jerry Blake moves in with his new wife in the hopes of finding the perfect family, but when things don't work out quite like he planned, he decides it's time to cut ties, and necks! Terry O'Quinn stars in 1987's terrifying suspense thriller, The Stepfather. Why is Jerry Blake your favorite Villain of Horror? Read The Full Post HERE!

Mama (2013)

Two feral children are discovered years after their father abandoned them in the woods, but they bring along an unexpected guest when they are taken in by their uncle in the supernatural thriller MAMA, from 2013. MAMA is a chilling and frightful ghost story whose most horrific moments come out of the children's eerie performances, rather than the sudden appearances of the spindly apparition. Victoria and Lilly have regressed in to an animal-like state, which causes them to run around on all fours and lash out aggressively. Their discovery within the dilapidated cabin makes for a truly unnerving experience. Director Andrés Muschietti drowns each scene with oppressive feelings of tension and dread, and creates a number of disturbing images along the way. Where he falters most is in the storytelling, itself. MAMA is a simple rehash of so many other similar tales of ghostly revenge, with a familiar structure that rarely deviates from the status quo. The film's subtler moments are infinitely more effective than the outright shocks, due to the heavy reliance on computerized imaging that dispels all feelings of suspended disbelief. If it were to be rated solely on atmosphere and mood, however, MAMA would surely top the charts.

Rating: 8/10.

Movies like MAMA:
THE WOMAN IN BLACK, DEAD SILENCE, DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK, A HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT, THE ORPHANAGE, THE DEVIL'S BACKBONE.

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Terror Trivia: Snakes on a Plane (2006)

When the male flight attendant puts the snake in the microwave, he can be seen hitting the 'snake' preset button on the microwave. Read The Full Post HERE!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Movie Monsters: The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953)

From the Arctic depths comes The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, on a collision course for New York City! This monstrous beast was brought to life by the great Ray Harryhausen in one of his earliest works. Why is the Beast one of your favorite movie monsters? Read The Full Post HERE!

Horror Quotes: Stir of Echoes (1999)

Lisa: It doesn't surprise me that there's another woman. Of course, the fact that she's dead gives one pause. Read The Full Post HERE!