Horror

Get Out (2017)

Many of you who have read through this blog probably know my opinions on Blumhouse Productions by now. For those of you who don’t, I have a tumultuous, love-hate relationship with them. They single-handedly shot horror into mainstream culture about a decade ago with low budget, decent quality movies which is awesome, but they’ve been resting on their laurels since, and have begun pandering to the lowest common denominator because they’ve discovered the secret formula to print money (See: Paranormal Activity 5: The Ghost Dimension’s $10 million budget and nearly $80 million box office return).

They seem to be running on a business model of throwing as many low budget horror movies at the wall as possible and seeing which ones stick. Majority of them are kinda shitty movies that bounce off harmlessly, but every once in a while, a real gem will come through, and when it sticks, it sticks. I’m talking non-stop critical acclaim and 4700% returns on it’s budget here, people. This ain’t some Mickey Mouse shit here.

mv5bmjuxmdqwnjcynl5bml5banbnxkftztgwnzcwmzc0mti-_v1_sy1000_cr006751000_al_Get Out is Jordan Peele’s directorial debut, and the fact that the surrealist funnyman (from sketch comedy duo Key & Peele) chose to direct a horror movie is an interesting one.

Get Out is a horror film about Chris and Rose (Daniel Kaluuya and Allison Williams) a young couple who have been going steady for a while. Rose invites Chris to spend a weekend at her rich parents’ (Dean is a neurosurgeon and Missy is a psychologist, played by Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener respectively) house, except there’s one hang up — Rose’s parents, the Armitages, don’t know that Chris is… black. Don’t worry, because Rose assures Chris that her parents might be super-white, but they’ll try their absolute hardest not to offend Chris, no matter how cringe-worthy they might get.

White people, am I right?

When Chris finally gets to spend a weekend with he Armitages and their super old, affluent white friends, he notices things are kind of off  around the house. The two servants happen to be black, and seem to behave from incredibly off kilter to completely hostile. Some awkward phrases are exchanged between family members, their servants, and Chris and our protagonist slowly realizes that something much more sick and twisted is going on than casual, inadvertent racism.

White people, am I right?

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The Bye Bye Man (2017)

Editor’s Note: I started writing this out of pure unadulterated passion when I got home after watching this. After sleeping it off, I continued writing it in a much more calm, cool, and collected fashion. I decided to keep the bits I wrote the night of.

I’m writing this while sipping on a pilsner and riding out a sugar high from too many Mars bar bites. My friends and I made an evening out of this. We assembled with snacks and whiskey and craft beer and watched one of the worst received movies this year. We do this often, bad movie nights, but this feels special. It’s a bittersweet feeling, making a ritual out of consuming somebody else’s art to purposefully make fun of it.

Wait, did I just call The Bye Bye Man art? Fuck me. I’d like to formally apologize to the entirety of human arts and culture.

mv5bmtcxote5nzqwnf5bml5banbnxkftztgwotmzmtc1ode-_v1_sy1000_cr006741000_al_This movie is a piece of trash. On fire. In a dumpster. That’s also on fire. A fucking dumpster trash fire fire. The Bye Bye Man, while being the worst named horror movie ever (maybe even worse than Hellraiser: Deader), feels like it shouldn’t be joked about. It’s too easy. The jokes practically write themselves as the story flashes on screen in front of consistently disbelieving eyes and open jaws.

Elliot, Sasha, and John are moving into a new house, and find a dresser drawer with the words “don’t think it, don’t say it” scribbled on it and then “The Bye Bye Man” scratched into it. Fun fact: this drawer belonged to some dude in the ’60s who committed a mass shooting and suicide because he was spooked by some paranormal entity named the Bye Bye Man. Now, the Bye Bye Man is terrorizing these three teenagers because they read his name. Who’s the Bye Bye Man, you might be asking? Well, that’s a good question, and don’t hold your breath, because you won’t find out. (more…)

Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

Aren’t kids just the worst? I’ve got no segue here, I just hate children.

mv5bmje3nze4nzkynl5bml5banbnxkftztgwntyyodgwnze-_v1_ Rosemary’s Baby is one of the most lauded old school, slow burn horror movies, directed by guy-whose-name-everyone-knows-but-nobody-really-knows-any-of-his-movies Roman Polanski. Rosemary’s Baby is about the titular housewife and her husband Guy, a struggling actor. They move into a New York apartment, and make friends with some of their neighbors, the incredibly polite but somewhat off-kilter and way to into their personal lives Castevets, and Terry, a young woman they have taken in. Guy takes a liking to the Castevets and begins spending more and more time with them. Eventually, Rosemary and Guy decide to have a baby, but her pregnancy comes somewhat abruptly and mysteriously before it slowly begins sapping the life out of her. Afraid that something might happen to her unborn child, Rosemary begins tumbling down a rabbit hole of self-doubt, anger, and paranoia to try and piece together the circumstances of her pregnancy, and what it might mean for her.

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The Void (2017)

Practical effects hold a very special place in my heart. Among my first horror movie experiences were John Carpenter’s The Thing, the 80’s remake of The Fly (mmmm, Jeff Goldblum), and The Evil Dead, and their outstanding effects work have eaten their way into my brain and have never left. I’m a firm believer that when practical and make-up effects are done right, they surpass anything you can do with a computer and a green screen.

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The Void is a Canadian (woo!) body horror/ cosmic horror/ throwback horror flick from Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski, who are responsible for the purposefully-bad movies Manborg and Father’s Day. They know their way around ’80s schlock and are adept at creating throwbacks and homages to the movies and scenes they love.

This movie takes place in an unnamed small rural town, where local cop Daniel comes across a bloody man stumbling through the country roads while on patrol. After bringing him to the local, semi-defunct hospital, Daniel’s problems start multiplying like deranged rabbits. A pregnant teenager coming to the end of her term in the waiting room. Two manic men brandishing guns storm into the hospital looking to kill the man Daniel just brought in, spewing nonsense about monsters and occult magic. Multiple hooded figures, possibly cultists, begin surrounding the hospital en masse, clearly waiting for something. Pretty soon, one of the hospital’s nurses begins acting completely deranged, killing a bedridden patient and then clipping her skin face off before erupting into the bubbling bulbous monstrosity of flesh, appendages, and orifices.

And then things get bad.

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Hellraiser VI: Hellseeker (2002)

Aaaaaaaaand we’re back to your regular programming. For those out of the loop on my self-imposed suffering: Hellraiser (1987), Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988), Hellraiser III: Hell On Earth (1992), Hellraiser IV: Bloodline (1996), Hellraiser V: Inferno (2000).

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Hellraiser IV: Hellseeker is the sixth and worst installment (so far) in the Hellraiser franchise. It follows Trevor, a total douche who is married to Kirsty Cotton from the first two Hellraiser films. While driving, they almost get in to an accident and swerve off the road into a river. Trevor is able to escape the car, but Kirsty ends up drowning to her death in the sinking car. He eventually wakes up in the hospital, and then a bunch of stupid bullshit hallucinations start happening, and Trevor is unable to discern what is real and what isn’t.

As he tumbles further down in his own mind, he begins to see visions including the Lament Configuration, the puzzle box that calls Pinhead and the Cenobites into our world and some strange, disfigured people that are lurking around in the corners of his eyes. It slowly becomes apparent that Trevor is a suspect in the investigation surrounding his deceased wife.

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Hellraiser V: Inferno (2000)

For the uninitiated: Hellraiser (1987), Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988), Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth (1992), Hellraiser IV: Bloodline (1996).

mv5bztjkyzi4zgqtytu3yy00mwu1lwe3njutzji5zjc2zgi0mjc5xkeyxkfqcgdeqxvymtqxnzmzndi-_v1_We’ve crossed the threshold now. Currently there are nine Hellraiser films (although a tenth is allegedly on its way), so we’re over fifty percent through the franchise. Too bad we can’t just round it up and call the whole thing done.

Hellraiser V: Inferno is the first direct-to-DVD Hellraiser sequel, and a big departure from the previous films. Inferno follows Joseph Thorne, a crooked detective who discovers the Lament Configuration at the scene of a brutal crime, and after solving the puzzle box begins to have vivid and disturbing hallucinations all while more ritualistic and sadistic murders begin happening to people he knows. Thorne finds out that someone or something known as The Engineer is behind the killings and that he has kidnapped a child, leaving a severed finger at the scene of every murder. (more…)

Hellraiser IV: Bloodline (1996)

Fuck. I just finished Hellraiser IV, and I already spent the joke about pain surpassing pleasure writing about Hellraiser III. If you want to read my thoughts about the first three (read: the best three) Hellraiser films you can find them here for Hellraiser, Hellbound: Hellraiser II, and the link for Hellraiser III is above.

mv5bmzm1njvhnguty2fhny00mtq4ltkyndatzwe2ywzhywq2yzdmxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvymtqxnzmzndi-_v1_Hellraiser IV: Bloodline is directed by Alan Smithee. That’s all I need to tell you. Turn off your computer, go outside and do something productive. For those of you who don’t know, Alan Smithee is the pseudonym a director uses when they don’t want to be associated with a film, typically because of studio interference. It traditionally means the film is hot garbage.

Hellraiser IV is Hellraiser in space. Hellraiser. In. Space. Sounds awesome right? Like, Event Horizon but not as good, which is still pretty good. But, unfortunately for us, Bloodlines is an origin story for the Lament Configuration, the puzzle box that opens a gate to Hell and summons Pinhead and his Cenobites when solved. This film follows three different generations of a family known as the Merchants: an 18th century French toy maker, a 20th century architect, and a 22nd century space…man? It’s not really clear what he does for a living. Anyways, Hellraiser IV follows the Merchants across space and time, showing how the Lament Configuration has been intertwined in their lives since its inception. (more…)