Friday, October 31, 2014

Month of Horror continues with Dawn of the Dead (1978)

I'm wrapping up the nearly month long horror movie feature with my top horror flick of all time, George A. Romero's 1978 masterpiece Dawn of the Dead. I can't say enough great things about this movie. From the characters to the special effects to the movie's setting. Everything about this movie is just freakin' awesome.

As the zombie epidemic continues to spread across the country and television executive and her boyfriend take a news copter and try to flee Pittsburgh. Around the same time they meet up with 2 SWAT team members (one of which is actor Ken Foree!) and the 4 set off to find somewhere safe. During their escape they start to run low on fuel and need to land. They notice a large mall just outside the city limits and decide to land on the roof as there should be plenty of needed supplies inside. What they find is the mall has been overrun by zombies. As the movie unfolds we get to see this newly formed team try to survive not only the zombies, but living together as well. They eventually make a makeshift shelter in the mall while trying to figure out their next move.

Dawn of the Dead is actually the 2nd movie in Romero's zombie trilogy and easily the best in my opinion. Some may argue that the pace of the movie is too slow or that the characters are stupid. I tend to disagree. One of the things that makes this movie unique if you will is the setting. Taking place inside the Monroeville Mall located just outside of Pittsburg, PA offers up a different vibe when compared to other horror movies. One of the things I found charming about the mall is that it's a real mall - not just a cobbled movie set. Check out this site for an interesting "now and then" look at the mall.

I will give the 2004 remake honorable mention as director Zack Synder did a great job with the re-envisioning of this classic tale. I still prefer the original, but you can't go wrong with the modern film either as it has a new take on the now classic "mall formula".

If I had started this horror movie feature at the beginning of the month I would've showcased a few more films. I guess I'll have to save them for next year. Of those movies honorable mention goes to:

Dawn of the Dead (2004), Diary of the Dead, Feast, Grindhouse, Jeeper's Creepers, Pulse, REC, The Ring, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), Vacancy

Month of Horror continues with Halloween (2007)

I never was a big fan of John Carpenter's Halloween franchise. I've seen most of the movies, but the Michael Myers character just never appealed to me in the way other horror villains have. When I heard Rob Zombie was releasing his own version of Halloween I didn't know what to expect, but I eventually saw it anyway. Wow. What an intense ride.

So there was this big debate over John Carpenter versus Rob Zombie and which version of the movie and or Michael Myers is more terrifying.  Who cares.  I read that John told Rob to make the movie "his own" and that's what Rob did.  Both are great movies and you can't go wrong with either.  I just found Rob's version of the movie a little more, well, violent.

In the original you don't get to see Michael's family much so you really don't know why he turns out as he does.  In Rob's version you get a more in depth look at Michael in his early years and his dysfunctional family.  For me this helped set up the movie a little bit more.  I get the whole argument of we the movie viewer isn't supposed to feel compassion for the killer (who felt sorry for Freddy Kruger?) and not knowing what sets off someone and turns them into a killer is far more scary.  I get all that.  Valid points.  Remakes aren't for everyone, but if you can be subjective enough and separate the two movies and take them for what they are I think you'll see that both movies stand on their own as fantastic additions to the slasher genre.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Month of Horror continues with You're Next

Long before the WWE's Erick Rowan wore the now iconic plastic sheep mask, the mask first made it's debut in You're Next.

The Davison family assembled for a family reunion weekend. Mom and Dad were happy to have all of their family reunited, but who invited the axe wielding maniacs?

You're Next is another entry into the home invasion genre of horror. I knew little to nothing about this film when it was released in 2011, but the trailer alone got me into the theater. I was one the edge of my seat through out the entire movie. Its a well written and slick movie. There are so many turns and twists to the story that I can't say much more without giving everything away. It's not an overly gory film, but it's got just enough horror type violence that will satisfy most fans. Some reviewers love the film for all the same reasons I do, while others criticized some of the story elements. Watch the movie for yourself before casting your vote of yeah or nay.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Month of Horror continues with Friday the 13th Part VII - The New Blood

Are you surprised that a Friday the 13th movie didn't make an appearance before now? While I love the first film it's been showcased all over the place so I wanted to pick another movie in the series. While I'm partial to part 3 (long before 3D special effects were used in just about every new movie), but for some reason I chose part 7 instead (Kane Hodder?). As a whole most of the Friday movies are pretty good, heck even Jason X has it's moments. The tag line for part VII: The New Blood is "Jason is back, but this time someone is waiting for him!"

Tommy Jarvis chained Jason Voorhees to the bottom of Camp Crystal Lake where he has laid dormant for many years. That is until a young telekinetic girl, Tina Shepperd inadvertently awakes him from his long slumber.

I guess what I remember most about this movie was how Jason himself had a nemesis of sorts. In the previous movies there really is no adversary for Jason as he just hacks away at his helpless victims. Not so much in this movie. I love the scene towards the end of the movie when Jason and Tina go head to toe. Tina throws (literally) a lot at Jason and he takes the abuse and keeps getting up for more. Kudos to Kane Hodder here as his acting is great. In my opinion Kane was the best actor ever to wear the iconic hockey mask. During the fight scene Jason truly looks puzzled over what is happening to him. There is this sense of disbelieve that he is having someone stand up against him. Take a look if you don't remember the scene:

I don't know about you, but this was an entertaining film thanks to the big fight scene. All of the Friday the 13th movies have their moments. Some are better than others, but part VII will always stand out in my memory. As a bonus treat here is another video I found compiling Jason's kills.

Month of Horror continues with Rubber (2010)

"Are you tired of the expected?"

I honestly don't know the best way to describe this movie. It's so odd, yet so entertaining. Just check out the trailer and you'll see what I'm talking about.

If this intrigued you enough, you can find the movie available on Amazon Instant Video.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Month of Horror continues with Night of the Creeps

" If you're dead. "

I like to think of this movie as the precursor to Slither (2006). Part sci-fi, part horror and all 80's. I remember catching this movie back in my high school days on USA's Up All Night television program. I recently found that this movie is currently streaming on Crackle. Whether you're a fan of 80's horror, zombies, sci-fi or whatever I think you may find this movie enjoyable.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Transformers G1: Action Master Kick-Off

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To open or not to open. That is today's question. It's rare these days that I acquire a G1 TF, let alone one with it's packaging. Finding a sealed G1 TF is down right rare for me. However Action Masters can come fairly cheap on the secondary market if you look in the right places.

I picked up this MOSC Kick-Off sometime last year for less than $20. I almost immediately hung this in my closet in my collection room and went on about things. It wasn't until recently that I pulled it out again.

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I've run into a few hardcore G1 collectors that don't care for Action Masters. Period. I for one don't mind them. Then again I grew up w/ G.I. Joe so I'm kind of partial to the 3 3/4" scale action figure. I will say that I've always gravitated to the new, original Action Master characters over the pre-existing characters such as Prowl.

I also prefer the characters that had weapons or accessories that transformed versus the animal partners that transformed. By the time their hand gun was placed on the transformed animal partner, the combined weapon would be bigger than the figure! Kick-Off comes with the Turbo-Pack - a jet pack that also converts into an extra weapon. To me this just seems more functional and makes for a better play patter in my opinion.

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Kick-Off looks great. First of all I love the orange, black and white colors. I don't mind the red as it helps break up the white and black, but part of me wishes Hasbro would have used more orange instead of red.

Now the story behind the Action Masters is that they ingested a type of Energon, Nucleon, that effectively froze them in robot mode. With their alternate forms locked, these action figures only have a few hints at what that alternate form was. Looking at Kick-Off's chest you can see the slop of a car, headlights and a front bumper. His legs also show signs of car wheels. I've always been under the impression that his alt mode was a Porsche of some type. Perhaps a 911 like Jazz?

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Kick-Off's accessory is the Turbo-Pack. It transforms by simply deploying wings on each side with an optional spring loaded cannon that can extend up and over Kick-Off's shoulder. He also comes with his orange Sonic Blaster hand gun. This gun can also be attached to the shoulder cannon to give him more firepower.

In the end I was glad I decided to open up this guy as I had a lot of fun with the toy. The best thing about buying a brand new Action Master is that you don't have to worry about flopping joints! The construction of the Action Master shares a lot with a common G.I. Joe figure - the rubber O-Ring in the waist. For a non-transforming Transformer I think the guy is pretty cool and he puts me one figure closer to finishing off my complete G1 collection.

Month of Horror continues with Frozen (2010)

I've never actually been skiing or snow boarding before and I can tell you after watching this movie I never will!  More of a survival horror this moving is probably more terrifying than all of the other slasher and zombie flicks combined.

Three friends bride the ski lift operator for a lift ticket on a Sunday afternoon. Wanting to get in one last run for the night the three friends hop in the ski lift and make their way to the mountain's peak. All the while back at the ski resort there is some miscommunication and the worker stops the lift...stranding the three. What happens next is the survival of the three and their attempts to get off the lift and back down the mountain.  One of the quotes on the poster is "Terrifying. Will do for skiing what Jaws did for swimming.". I couldn't agree more.

My wife has often said she won't watch horror movies with me that could really happen. I blame it on taking her to see the uncut version of the original Exorcist when it was re-released to theaters. She will not watch this movie. Period. I guess the most frightening part of the movie is it's realism. The cast is really good, Shawn Ashmore (X-Men), Emma Bell (The Walking Dead)The film is directed by Adam Green (Hatchet) and the stunts are coordinated by Kane Hodder (Jason Voorhees, Friday the 13th). It's a very intense and fun ride once the terror sets in.  Highly recommended.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Month of Horror continues with The Strangers

Dating couple (Liv Tyler & Scott Speedman) stop off at the family's remote summer home after attending a wedding only to be terrorized by 3 individuals.

I don't know about you, but these movies where the events could really happen in real life freak me out just a little. I originally saw this one in theaters and I can still see and hear all the women jump and scream. It seemed at the time of it's release in 2008 there weren't many of these "home invasion" type horror movies. Even with some competition out there with the likes of You're Next, the Strangers still holds up very well to date.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Month of Horror continues with The Descent

I hate this movie poster, but I love the film.  This is a keep you on your edge of the seat and bite your nails until your fingers hurt kind of movie.  If you are claustrophobic then I highly suggest you don't watch this movie!

The movie takes place one year after a woman vacationing with her family suffers a horrible traffic accident.  Her friends encourage her to go on a caving expedition in the mountains of North Carolina.  During their adventure they suffer one horrible thing after another.  Trapped inside a dark cave with no real sense of direction and running low on supplies should be enough to scare you.  Throw in some sort of cave dwelling underground predators and you've got the perfect mix of fear to make an excellent movie.

From the opening traffic accident scene I knew I was in for a good ride (no pun intended).  Most of this movie takes place in a dark cave and the lack of lighting really helps the overall creepy atmosphere of this movie.  I've never been much of an outdoors adventurous type of person and after seeing this movie I don't ever intend to be.  I found this movie a refreshing change of pace from the typical horror movie.  You may classify this as more of a thriller, but either way its a great movie.