Tuesday, April 20, 2010

This Is Not a Remake

According a plot summary on imdb, the new re-envisioning of "A Nightmare on Elm Street" is not a re-make. Director Samuel Bayer's "Nightmare" is a modern retelling of Wes Craven's original with its own twists and turns thrown into the mix. The second trailer of Bayer's film gives the audience a peek at what's in store.

After viewing the trailer a few times, there are several references to both the original "Nightmare" and also "Nightmare" part 2. Freddy's image can be seen pushing through the walls of Nancy's bedroom, Tina (Kris in the new film) is seen in a bloody body bag, and a character falls from the second story of a house at a pool party (seen in the first trailer).

Bayer's "Nightmare" doesn't seem to be forsaking Craven's idea of Freddy Krueger, and that's a really good thing. If these trailers are any indication, he seems to be very respectful and humble towards Craven's Krueger; which die-hard "Nightmare" fans should love. Sure, the new Freddy (played by Watchmen's Jackie Earle Haley) has a more human resemblance and his voice is less computer enhanced, but Haley's Krueger is still just as sinister.

Long-time fans of the "Nightmare" series will complain that Robert Englund will always be Freddy Krueger, and that Michael Bay and Platinum Dunes (who produced the new film), should have used Englund for the role--there will always be people like that. If a true fan can watch these trailers and notice the level of detail put into each scene, and the references and hints taken from Craven's original, it will be apparent that Bayer is on to something. Quite possibly that he shares the same respect for Robert Englund's Freddy as the fans do.

Don't write off this new "Nightmare" as just another way for Hollywood execs to make more money, think of it as a fan making a "Nightmare" flick for fans.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Sci-Fi (I mean SyFy) Channel Needs Some Serious Help

I have fond memories of watching cool sc-fi and scary movies on the Sci-Fi Channel. Their programming consisted of really fun TV shows, like "The Outer Limits," the original spin-off series for "Stargate," and some classic horror and sci-fi movies. The channel was full of imagination and creativity that would inspire any kid to want to write his/her own story with fantastical creatures. The Sc-Fi Channel was full of great material that sci-fi and horror fans alike could enjoy, and then the worst happened...

In 2009, the Sci-Fi Channel decided to change its name to SyFy. They replaced their planetary logo with a simplified (and kindergarten-ish, see picture on left) logo that really doesn't do a good job at representing the programming on the channel. Secondly, they changed the spelling of "sc-fi" to "SyFy." Why the heck would you do such a thing? The universal acronym for "science fiction" is "sci-fi," not "SYFY!" Not only was their logo different, their programming was also changing. SyFy's shows cover a lot of ground (not really a good thing for Sci-Fi or horror fans). The channel's like a TLC for a tiny niche that many people would be embarrassed to admit to being a part of.

I suppose only time will tell if the new SyFy (channel) will be as successful as its predecessor. I don't hate the channel, but I wish that they would have kept their logo and some of their classic programming. I can definitely do without the lazy "Ghost Hunters" show and its many variations. I must admit though, I do enjoy laughing at the SyFy original movies like "Ice Spiders" and "Sharks In Venice." Where else could you watch movies like that? Nowhere else but on SyFy (SIIIIFEEEEE!!)

On the channel's website, they're currently allowing viewers to name the next original movie from SyFy. The movie is about Medieval knights who must fight an evil spirit that had been living in a relic. I figured I'd help them out in the creativity arena (since their well has run dry) and I contributed to the contest. Let's see what happens in March when SyFy choose the title for the movie. The winner gets a camera, a computer, and an amateur's movie-making kit!

Thanks for reading!


Friday, January 22, 2010

Is Masters of Horror Really That Masterful?

I've been familiar with the "Masters of Horror" series for at least a couple years now, but I have yet to watch one of the films. Based on reviews from Flixster and amazon.com I don't think it would be worth my time.

The films in the "Masters of Horror" series are basically low-budget or indie horror movies done by different directors. Directors from different countries, ethnicity, whatever, they all contributed to the series. These aren't some no-name directors either, Tobe Hooper, Dario Argento and John Carpenter have all pitched in to create (apparently) something that is worth the time and effort.

With films such as "Unearthed," "Jenifer," and "Pro-life" it seems the series is quite a mixed bag. "Unearthed" is your basic "Tremors" story about ancient creatures that come up from the ground to eat people, "Jenifer" seems semi original, but pretty strange if you ask me. Finally, "Pro-Life" sounds to me like a weak attempt to argue with abortion rights. Sure I'm just picking on the ones I've heard of, but what do you want from me?

"Masters of Horror" came into my mind because I was flipping through the Instant Watch movies on my Netflix and I caught a glimpse of them. Judging by the ratings other viewers gave it, I have to say that maybe Masters of Horror isn't that great. I'm not entirely sure though.

What do you guys think? Have you seen any of the Masters of Horror movies? If so, which ones are good ones?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Shockumentary: The Latest Face of Horror

This year, horror has been turning over a new leaf, and I think it's for the better. Films such as the low-budget "Paranormal Activity" which was made for $15,000, was very successful at the box office. When I had heard about this, I was curious of what all the fuss was about, so I eventually checked out "Paranormal."

After I had experienced the supernatural thriller, I realized that horror is changing these days. Gone are the cartoony and over-the-top humor and in its place comes utterly terrifying images and situations. Our culture has become comfortable with Freddy Kreuger, Jason, and even watching people being tortured. Films like "Paranormal Activity" dive straight to the root of what scares us, 1. What happens when we sleep 2. Ghosts and evil spirits (the supernatural). "Paranormal" is effective and really surprised me.

Secondly, the torture porn film is being renovated as well. Instead of having half a dozen characters strapped into a torture device and watching them get diced one by one, audiences can just sit through spliced scenes of gruesome killings. A good example of this is "The Poughkeepsie Tapes." I'm not entirely sure if this film was even released, due to its disturbing content (the clip in the link is DISTURBING), but I have stumbled upon some videos of it on YouTube. Needless to say, I got freaked out.

"Poughkeepsie" is about a serial killer who videotaped his victims, as he was stalking them, capturing them, and torturing/killing them. The cops find the tapes (which number to at least 800) and sift through them looking for clues of the killer's identity. This concept seems really wrong to me, but that's where horror is going, and humans being human, we're drawn to that kind of stuff! I have not watched the film, but from what the videos I've seen... it's genuinely creepy.

If these kind of shockumentary films keep being made in 2010 that will be a sure sign that horror is evolving into something that is much more real and terrifying. Let's just hope people don't start copying what they see on the screen... even though that's been done before already, I'm sure.

Thanks for reading.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

"I Can't Come Up With a Story... Oh, I Know! Let's Put a Killer Fish In Our Movie!"

The sub-genre of horror film known as the "creature feature" has had a good run in the history of film making. "Creature feature"s were really the first horror movies ("Them!", "The Creature from the Black Lagoon," and one could argue that the old Universal horror flicks such as "Wolfman" and "Frankenstein" could be categorized as "creature features").

When Hollywood decides to go back to the humble beginnings of horror, they usually choose to revive the "creature feature." Consequently, this means that audiences will have to sit through an hour and a half of giant mosquitoes sucking the life out of victims or a giant alligator eating hobos in the sewer. Hollywood loves "creature features" because it banks on the viewer's lust of blood and awkward-looking puppet trying to be a scary monster (I admit, I do enjoy these movies).

Most "creature features" follow the same story line: There is a signal coming from outer space, a couple of people go around telling the authorities, but no one believes them, and then the creatures attack. It's either that or some random animal has been mutated by some ooze in the swamp. They don't veer too far from those lines.

You're probably wondering what my point is, well, shocktillyoudrop.com has mentioned that there is a remake of "Piranha" happening... yes... "Piranha" (in 3-D I might add). "PIRANHA"!!! IN 3-D!!! Are you kidding? You might as well make a movie called "Guppy" and have it eat peoples' faces off while it flops around gasping for air, at least it would be funny. Of course Hollywood's going to try to make "Piranha" a serious horror film, and that's just WRONG!

Why does Hollywood always choose to sacrifice plot for silly and odd rubber puppets that do a horrible "acting" job? Don't get me wrong, funny-looking rubber puppets trying to be a dinosaur that flails intestines around definitely has its place--but it doesn't deserve a big budget. Keep the blood-soaked, wacky B movie antics in the "low budget box" where they belong ("Carnosaur," and "Mosquito"). These movies have a charm all their own, and I actually suggest you check them out if you're into cheesy B horror.

Check out the articles about the "Piranha" remake.
For a good time, watch this clip from Roger Corman's "Carnosaur 2"... enjoy!


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Would You Like a Side of Laughs with Your Torture Scene?

I watched Eli Roth's "Hostel pt. II" last night on fearnet.com and it inspired me to draw some comparisons between the realistic "torture porn" horror flick and the cheesy 80s B movie horror flick. I feel like this is a relevant topic in the horror genre and it is definitely one that has heroes on both sides. Who is right and who is wrong on this debate? Well, much like anything else, it's all a matter of opinion.

Allow me to draw some lines, the more recent horror films (Saw, Hostel, [the new] Texas Chainsaw Massacre) all fall into a newly created sub-genre known as "torture porn." These films--according to mostly non-horror fans-- are void of plot lines, structure and character development entirely. The "torture porn" horror flick focuses mostly on shocking the audience and finding new and gruesome ways to kill characters.

This is really nothing new, there has always been a genre for gorehounds, but most of those movies are hardly worth mentioning because they're so low budget (Toxic Avenger). What films like "Saw," and "Hostel" have done is infused the gory and gruesome aspects of horror movies with smart and interesting plots. Unfortunately, this is something that non-horror fans don't notice because they don't watch horror films!

On the contrary, 80s cheese-ball horror flicks like "Return of the Living Dead," "Evil Dead" and "Terrorvision" throw out intelligence in favor of slap-happy humor. Instead of deep themes of betrayal and evil scheming, 80s horror films had wacky monsters and bizarre sound effects. These cheesy horror films didn't skimp out on the gore though-- most of them were quite extreme when it came to depicting death scenes. The difference in the scenes is that they were too far-fetched and weird to be realistic.

Personally, I tend to enjoy the more funny horror flicks with crazy monsters and villains. For instance my favorite is "A Nightmare on Elm Street" and its sequels because Freddy can be both sinister and funny at the same time.

I am not opposed to the "torture porn" genre, but I feel like I have a little more to grasp onto with the off-the-wall humor and comic relief of the cheesy horror flicks. I mentioned at the beginning of my post, I watched "Hostel pt. II," and wasn't too impressed. I'm not a big fan of Eli Roth, mostly because of it seems like he's trying too hard to shock people. I must say that some of the "Saw" movies are well done and smart.

Choosing sides is definitely tough, but if I had to pick, I would side with the 80s slashers/comedy films. If you can laugh, scream and hide while watching a horror flick... that's a good one!


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Be Afraid... Be Very Afraid

I may be behind in my news, but I must recommend a great horror movie site to everyone reading this. Check out fearnet.com. Not only does it provide some great news on what's going on in the horror film arena, but you can always watch free flicks right on the site! I have yet to try it out, but I do remember when my cable service had free horror movies from Fearnet.com on demand (If Fearnet.com gets 50,000 friends on Facebook, Time Warner Cable will add the free movies to it's "On Demand" programming), so DO IT.

Fearnet.com has been around for a while but it is still one of the best places to go for a gore/scare fix. Some of the free movies featured on the site right now include: "Nine Lives," with uh... Paris Hilton, Rob Zombie's "House of 1000 Corpses," and the cult classic "Killer Clowns from Outer Space" (I may have to check that one out). If you like more gore than jumpy scares in your horror flick, I suggest checking out "Wishmaster," the special effects are great--also featured in the "free movies" section.

There's a lot of really cool stuff that you can do on fearnet.com. You can even get involved in the community, post your opinion up on the message boards, create a profile and even write your own blog.

Oh! If you're a Robert Englund fan (as I am) you should check out the Fearnet.com original series "Fear Clinic," starring Fred Krueger himself!

This site is a lot of fun! So check it out!