DOCUMENTARY REVIEWS

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DOC REVIEW: Boogeymen 2: Masters of Horror

DOC REVIEW: Boogeymen 2: Masters of Horror

Boogeyman 2: Masters of Horror

By Woofer McWooferson

Boogeymen 2-1

 

Director: Mike Mendez, Dave Parker; Writers: Curtis Bowden, Mike Mendez, Dave Parker, Gary Shenk; Stars: Dario Argento, Bruce Campbell, John Carpenter, Wes Craven, Guillermo del Toro, Tobe Hooper, John Landis, George A. Romero; Rating: U; Run Time: 90 min; Genre: Documentary; Country: USA; Language: English; Year: 2002

“Their movies gave you nightmares. Now the most diabolical minds in horror are coming together in the ultimate Halloween horror special – Masters of Horror.”

The 2002 documentary Boogeymen 2: Masters of Horror is hosted by Bruce Campbell (Evil Dead, The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.) and features some of the greatest names in horror movies, from Dario Argento to Guillermo del Toro. Divided into three parts, it asks the great questions all horror fans have:

Part 1: Why Do We Like to be Scared?
Part 2: What Scares Us?
Part 3: (Where Do They Get Their Ideas?)

Parts one and two are rather brief and hop from director to director as each answers why we like to be scared and what scares us. As to why we like to be scared, answers range from “why do some people like to ride roller coasters” to “preparation for our own deaths” and all are equally valid since why we like to be scared is as unique as each of us. When it comes to what scares us, however, most of our fears are the same, from death (of self or loved ones) to the dark (or what lies in it), and this is the bread and butter of these directors.

Wes Craven

Wes Craven

Part three, however, is much longer and divided into six sections with each section focusing on one director. These sections and the featured directors are:

The Reality of Horror (Wes Craven)
The Horror of Innocence (Guillermo del Toro)
The Rebel of Horror (John Carpenter)
The Horror of Society (George A. Romero)
Transforming Horror (John Landis & Rick Baker)
The Beauty of Horror (Dario Argento)
Living the Horror (Tobe Hooper)

Highlights of the documentary include:

• Craven discussing the making of The Serpent and the Rainbow and how The Last House on the Left managed an R rating.

• del Toro recounting his introduction to the supernatural while still in his crib, the influence of Universal monster movies on him, and how he established a special effects company in order to create Cronos.

• Carpenter talking about the change in audience sensibilities and the effect it had on the horror industry in the 70s and 80s.

• Romero revealing his fear of being typecast and his eventual return to the dead films.

• Landis and Rick Baker explaining how they created Schlock and why An American Werewolf in London is a watershed film in special effects work.

• Argento discussing his films as works of art where each shot is framed for both beauty and horror.

• Hooper recounting the horrors behind the scenes of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, including the effects that the gruelling shot had on the cast and crew.

Tobe Hooper

Tobe Hooper

Boogeymen 2: Masters of Horror also includes commentary from Gunnar Hanson, Tom Savini, and KNB Effects and is full of clips from the movies being discussed as well as movies that exemplify the topics being described.

Is this for everyone? No, but it is damn good fun and a must for horror lovers.

7/10 claws

Posted by Woofer McWooferson in DOCUMENTARY REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
DOC REVIEW: The American Scream (2012)

DOC REVIEW: The American Scream (2012)

By John Roisland

American Scream

In 2012, a documentary was released that gets repeated viewing by this guy! The film, The American Scream, was directed by Michael Stephenson and released by Brainstorm Media and Chiller Films.

The film takes place in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, and surrounds the daily life preparations of three local families as they set up for Halloween. For most families, prepping for this holiday simply means hanging a cardboard cutout of a ghost or a black cat in the window, a bag of candy dumped in a bowl for trick-or-treaters, and call it a night! That's not the case for our three families.

You see, our families - the Manny Souza family, the father and son team of Mathew and Richard Brodeur, and the Victor Bariteau family - have a certain love for the holiday that makes them stand out in the community.

Our films shows the in depth preparations they each take making their yards and homes into open haunts for Halloween trick-or-treaters to enjoy. Each of the three families do know of each others work thru the community, but each keeps to themselves while constructing their new haunt.

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Manny Souza’s and the Brodeur's approaches are both very similar in that they reuse a lot of previous props while constructing minor new attractions out of donated and found scrap to make for a pleasant time for all families to enjoy.

However, Mr. Victor Bariteau's approach is much more passionate. His approach is that Halloween is a year round event, and he is constantly designing, constructing, and building new props all the time. His home, garage, attic, and basement are full of Halloween stuff. Victor is a bit of a perfectionist, and it shows in his work and his attitude with those who help him in the final few days of construction - including friends and family. You can see the amount of stress that builds up on Victor as he wants everything to be perfect! Victor’s family sacrifices a lot for his passion, as he openly admits, and they share and support him and his passion. They are all very active parts in this production, from helping with costumes to baking goods for staff members to munch on. They are all very important!

Finally, the big night has arrived, and each family lets loose with what they have all worked so hard for. The enjoyment spills over into the streets, literally, as thousands of combined family members visit the three homes and take in a good Halloween treat that has been selflessly given to them!

The end of our show offers us a glimpse into someone's future. Victor took it upon himself to go professionally as a haunter. His ambition and desire is one that I personally admire, and has been a bit of an inspiration to me. Victor has since opened up Ghoulie Manor Haunted House in Taunton, MA.

I wish Victor all the best in the world in his venture, and hope to one day be able to visit him and see the world he has made! Please feel free to check out Victor's work at WWW.GHOULIEMANOR.COM or visit their Facebook page as well.

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All in all, this is a fun 92 minutes that may not only get you more active on our beloved holiday but may also inspire you in other ways.

Posted by John Roisland in DOCUMENTARY REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
DOC REVIEW: I Am No One (2013)

DOC REVIEW: I Am No One (2013)

By Travis Love

I AM NO ONE
Tonight's film is none other than JABB Pictures' I Am No One. This 2013 release was written and directed by Jason Hoover. The film is shot entirely documentary style in Chicago Illinois and follows the everyday life of Charles Lake, a man obsessed with gambling scratch offs and a gnawing need to engage in murderous endeavors by night.

The beginning narration sets the tone for the film, the short tale of how the Documentarian came to meet Charles Lake. With that tiny snippet of discussion that took place before filming, "If you think that's scary, you should follow me around for a while", you get that twinge of foreboding wash over you and the dark downward spiral of a journey begins.

During the film, you are witness to multiple series of interviews between the filmmaker and Charles Lake. The interviews are casual, relaxed, and normal. The subject matter of these interviews, however, finds Charles reminiscing over his past endeavors as far back as childhood. Morbid tales ranging from almost beating his childhood baseball team catcher to death with a baseball bat to murdering a middle school child 3 to 4 years prior to the interview. Morbid moments like this engross you in the story that much more.

During the journey, things quickly spiral out of control as you go from watching Charles disassemble random Barbie dolls to the first recorded confrontation of him engaging his victim. I don't want to spoil this scene. so let's just say the brutal moment that occurs is vicious and merciless - to say the least. When the filmmaker tries to capture the aftermath on film, things become immediately hostile and without warning the flood gates are opened as the filmmaker realizes that he's plunged into a darkness that is both terrifying and gruesome.

While I won't ruin the ending scene because it's best left to first time viewers to see with virgin eyes, I will say that the tension in the end scene is so thick that it makes you feel almost claustrophobic. This isn't a gore soaked film, but what it is, though, is a film that proves that you don't need buckets of blood if your story writing is this enthralling and immerses you in it completely.

7/10 for this amazing JABB Pictures feature.

Posted by Travis Love in DOCUMENTARY REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
DOC REVIEW: Room 237 (2012)

DOC REVIEW: Room 237 (2012)

Room 237 or Stanley Kubrick's Shining Vision of the US?

By Woofer McWooferson

Writer and Director: Rodney Ascher; Stars: Bill Blakemore, Geoffrey Cocks, Juli Kearns, John Fell Ryan, Jay Weidner; Rating: NR; Run Time: 102 min; Genre: Documentary; Country: UK; Language: English; Year: 2012

Room 237 begins with a lengthy disclaimer about the expressed opinions not being those of the filmmakers, and it's not difficult to see why this disclaimer was added. Stanley Kubrick was a master filmmaker, a director whose every scene is packed with clues and symbols that may not be evident on a first or fifth viewing. This documentary examines possible interpretations of many aspects of Kubrick's adaptation of The Shining, a masterful examination of life and death, the natural and supernatural, the real and unreal, penned by the king of horror Stephen King. Because there are multiple interpretations presented, Room 237 seems, at times, haphazardly put together. We move back and forth through The Shining as each theory addresses various aspects of the film that supports that specific interpretation.

Room 237 feels stilted and sometimes forced, but the overall documentary is an interesting examination of Kubrick's reinvisioning of The Shining as well as the minds of the participants. Indeed, we cannot help but bring our own experiences into our interpretations, but the key is to remember that we must look at the larger picture – something some of these critics seem to neglect. Theories range from the plausible to the confusing and finally to the downright comical. Since Kubrick's films are layered with detail and significance, not all theories can be dismissed, but how can we tell which is right? Kubrick may have included aspects of all of these theories, but I'm not entirely convinced. It will take many more viewings for me to weigh in on those.

5/10 claws – the pace is uneven, but it is worth at least one viewing

Posted by Woofer McWooferson in DOCUMENTARY REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments

DOC REVIEW: Doc of the Dead (2014)

Doc of the Dead

The Definitive Zombie Culture Documentary

By Machete Von Kill

Doc of the Dead Poster

Writers: Chad Herschberger and Alexandre O. Philippe

Director: Alexandre O. Philippe

Cast: Bruce Campbell, George A. Romero, Max Brooks, Robert Kirkman, Simon Pegg, Greg Nicotero, Tom Savini, Sid Haig, Howard Sherman, Matt Mogk and more.

Genre: Documentary Runtime: 1 hr 20 min

Rating: NR Release Date: 2014

Zombies are everywhere these days. Television, movies, books, video games, toys and even pornography. You name it and there is a zombie take on it. No matter which way you turn, zombies ARE everywhere. You can't escape. But do you really want to?

Doc of the Dead presents the history of the zombie in film. From it's earliest inception in 1932's White Zombie and the Haitian Voodoo lore, to 1968's Night of the Living Dead and George A. Romero's rewriting of zombie lore, to the modern zombie in films like Shaun of the Dead, World War Z and the highly successful television series The Walking Dead, Philippe covers them all.

Philippe uses film clips, zombie themed music (seriously, the soundtrack alone makes my zombie lovin' soul happy), hilariously cheesy segment introduction scenes and an impressive interview list to give us the history of the flesh eating undead. He also sets out to explain why they have become such a huge part of popular culture and answer some of the biggest questions about the zombie apocalypse: What is a zombie? What causes people to turn into zombies? Slow zombies versus fast zombies, can one survive the zombie apocalypse, and would you even want to survive?

Doc of the Dead is a MUST for anyone who loves the zombie genre. By no means is this the be all, end all Zombie Documentary, but rather a smart, funny, entertaining primer on all things Zombie.

Final Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars. It wasn't perfect, but it was pretty rad!

Posted by Machete Von Kill in DOCUMENTARY REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments