blumhouse

Horror and the Oscars?

The history of genre cinema (horror, fantasy, science fiction) and the Oscars have been a spotty one at best. For example, in 1931 Fredric March took home the golden statue for his masterful duel role in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (and my personal favorite adaptation). It wouldn’t be until Anthony Hopkins portrayed the cannibal Hannibal in 1991’s Silence of the Lambs that another actor would win for a horror movie in that category. The Oscars have always looked down on genre films, most specifically horror and science fiction, with most of the awards going to dramas or indie darlings. However, it seems of late that maybe this is a trend that is slowly changing and voting members are finally taking the horror genre seriously. It’s not totally unheard of for the genre to get some love though. On the technical side, films like for example Alien and Aliens won both Oscars for visual effects. The Fly, An American Werewolf in London, and Bram Stoker’s Dracula and won Best Makeup (just to name a few). In addition, Sleepy Hollow won for Best Art Direction, and Ruth Gordon and Kathy Bates won Best Actress awards.

Daniel Kaluuya in Jordan Peele’s Get Out

he Shape of Water poster

Guillermo Del Toro’s The Shape of Water

However, when you realize The Exorcist never won Best Picture but did win for Best Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium. Get Out the psychological satire horror film kicked down some doors not only in its frank and sobering commentary on race relations but proves that a genre film can be smart, meaningful, and scary as hell. The 90th Oscars were very genre forward in many ways. Guillermo Del Toro mentioned The Creature from the Black Lagoon and Julie Adams, and on the red carpet, clips from various horror films were shown in a montage including most surprisingly a chainsaw swinging Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. And of course, the break out horror hit Get Out from Blumhouse won for Best Screenplay. In addition, trailblazing filmmaker George A. Romero was paid tribute at the Oscars in Memoriam, though sadly Tobe Hooper was left off for some baffling reason. It’s no shock that a lot of people in the horror community don’t like the Oscars, and I totally get that. When I look back at the countless great horror films to get snubbed, it’s hard not to be bitter. But this year proved that a perhaps a new attitude is emerging within the Academy, after all, this year also saw a greatly diverse group of nominees and winners. Sure we are unlikely to see a Halloween film win any golden statues, but I really feel like Get Out and The Shape of Water are great starts in showcasing the importance of genre cinema.

Mad Monster welcomes George Romero

George Romero

Horror and the Oscars

Horror and the Oscars

Horror and the Oscars?

The history of genre cinema (horror, fantasy, science fiction) and the Oscars have been a spotty one at best. For example, in 1931 Fredric March took home the golden statue for his masterful duel role in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (and my personal favorite adaptation). It wouldn’t be until Anthony Hopkins portrayed the cannibal Hannibal in 1991’s Silence of the Lambs that another actor would win for a horror movie in that category. The Oscars have always looked down on genre films, most specifically horror and science fiction, with most of the awards going to dramas or indie darlings. However, it seems of late that maybe this is a trend that is slowly changing and voting members are finally taking the horror genre seriously. It’s not totally unheard of for the genre to get some love though. On the technical side, films like for example Alien and Aliens won both Oscars for visual effects. The Fly, An American Werewolf in London, and Bram Stoker’s Dracula and won Best Makeup (just to name a few). In addition, Sleepy Hollow won for Best Art Direction, and Ruth Gordon and Kathy Bates won Best Actress awards.

Daniel Kaluuya in Jordan Peele’s Get Out

he Shape of Water poster

Guillermo Del Toro’s The Shape of Water

However, when you realize The Exorcist never won Best Picture but did win for Best Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium. Get Out the psychological satire horror film kicked down some doors not only in its frank and sobering commentary on race relations but proves that a genre film can be smart, meaningful, and scary as hell. The 90th Oscars were very genre forward in many ways. Guillermo Del Toro mentioned The Creature from the Black Lagoon and Julie Adams, and on the red carpet, clips from various horror films were shown in a montage including most surprisingly a chainsaw swinging Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. And of course, the break out horror hit Get Out from Blumhouse won for Best Screenplay. In addition, trailblazing filmmaker George A. Romero was paid tribute at the Oscars in Memoriam, though sadly Tobe Hooper was left off for some baffling reason. It’s no shock that a lot of people in the horror community don’t like the Oscars, and I totally get that. When I look back at the countless great horror films to get snubbed, it’s hard not to be bitter. But this year proved that a perhaps a new attitude is emerging within the Academy, after all, this year also saw a greatly diverse group of nominees and winners. Sure we are unlikely to see a Halloween film win any golden statues, but I really feel like Get Out and The Shape of Water are great starts in showcasing the importance of genre cinema.

Mad Monster welcomes George Romero

George Romero




Posted by Mike Vaughn in EVENT REVIEWS, HORROR NEWS, REVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Mockingbird (2014)

MOVIE REVIEW: Mockingbird (2014)

mock

By Nick Durham

What? Another micro-budgeted found footage movie from Blumhouse Productions that features actors you've actually seen once or twice before? Well, here we are. Mockingbird comes from writer/director Bryan Bertino, whom we haven't gotten anything from since his solid 2008 debut The Strangers. That film was a home invasion thriller that didn't offer much up in terms of the motivations of our assailants, where as Mockingbird...is more or less a quasi-home invasion thriller that offers no explanations of the motivations of our little-seen assailants. 

Bryan Bertino is a weird fucking guy.

Anyway, Mockingbird takes place in the magical year of 1995, where things like cell phones weren't widespread, people still had landline phones with easily cut wires, and finding a mysterious camcorder at your front door is the gift that keeps on giving (fun fact: 1995 was the year I discovered my infantile schlong was made for more than just peeing, which is why this year is so special to me). A handful of seemingly unconnected people all find mysterious camcorders at their doorsteps. This includes a husband and wife, a college student, and a mama's boy loser that ends up donning clown makeup. It doesn't take long to realize that there is some bad shit afoot, and it's more than likely that no one is coming out of this intact.

One thing I can definitely praise Mockingbird for is its opening scene. If that doesn't grab you by the throat, nothing will. Sadly though, the rest of the film is pretty much downhill from there, which is massively disappointing because that opening scene will kick you straight in the gut. The creepy moments that unfold drag on and kill a lot of the film's momentum. The suspense never really ramps back up except towards the film's climax, but by that point things become a tad predictable...except for the end reveal of the masterminds behind this whole thing. It is pretty well-acted though, but the setting of the film seems to only make sense so Bertino wouldn't have to worry about today's technology getting in the way of the film's leaps in logic.

So yeah, Mockingbird is a fairly predictable found footage dirge that has a lot of wasted potential. It's disappointing considering this film actually has a lot going for it, but it doesn't deliver on it at all. Still though, that opening scene man...holy shit. It's currently on Netflix, so check it out for that alone.

Rating: 2.5/5

 

Posted by Nick Durham in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
COMING SOON: Martyrs Remake (2015)

COMING SOON: Martyrs Remake (2015)

By Nick Durham

martyrs_poster_large

So this is happening...

We are getting an Americanized remake of Martyrs, whether we want it or not. Now if you've never heard of Martyrs in the first place, I'm going to break it down for you. It goes without saying that you should strap yourselves in because I'm going to tell you really all you need to know in just one sentence.

Martyrs is a 2008 French film that will break your fucking soul.

Written and directed by Pascal Laugier, the original Martyrs tells the story of Lucie, who along with her friend Anna, embark on a mission of revenge against those who kidnapped and tortured her as a child. Things, of course, don't go too well for either of our heroines, and it isn't long before the shit really hits the goddamn fan. There's much, much more to Martyrs than that brief description. I don't want to give much, if anything else, away for anyone who hasn't seen the original film because you really fucking should. All else that I will say is that this film is brutal, both physically and psychologically. I'm not exaggerating when I say that it will break your fucking soul into pieces. It garnered a shitload of acclaim from critics and audiences, and is recognized as one of the pioneering films of the French new wave of extreme horror.

So yeah, we're getting an Americanized remake from Blumhouse of this film, and it's going to be distributed by Anchor Bay (who has been behind the remakes and sequels to I Spit on Your Grave among many other films) and directed by Goetz Brothers. Apparently this remake was filmed rather quickly and is going to be unleashed upon us very soon as well. That's a good sign right? That a movie gets filmed that quickly for a fast release? Well, what do you guys think?

Anyway, I could bitch and moan all day about having another needless, Americanized remake of a startlingly original genre film that can never hold a candle to the original and will need to be dumbed down for mainstream American audiences (hello Oldboy), but here's the funny thing that most people don't know: we almost got a very different remake of Martyrs a couple years ago. The producers behind the Twilight movies (yes, you read that right) were looking to produce an American remake, with possibly Kristen Stewart (yes, you read that right, too) as one of the leads, and with a much "lighter" ending as well. This story has been passed around the horror doldrums for a while now, and it's only when the plug was pulled on the whole thing that Blumhouse and Anchor Bay jumped in instead, reducing the budget and (hopefully) turning away any kind of "lighter" shit as well.

So yeah, we could have had a Twilight-esque take on Martyrs...let that sink in guys.

The Martyrs remake premiered at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. Current release date is unknown. My hunch is that it gets released straight to VOD/DVD, etc.

Stay tuned.

Posted by Nick Durham in COMING SOON, HORROR NEWS, 0 comments
COMING SOON: Hellevator (2015)

COMING SOON: Hellevator (2015)

By Stephanie Roisland

maxresdefault3Hellevator
From the twisted and warped minds that brought you the Paranormal Activity franchise, we present to you Hellevator. The show dares a team of three friends to ride a spooky, haunted type elevator into the deeps of an abandoned warehouse. At each floor the elevator stops and one friend must get off and conquer a fear filled challenge in order to earn money. The catch is if they do not return in time, the elevator moves on without them. So we will see in the end who makes it back to the top with the money (a potential $50,000) and who will be trapped in the warehouse of terror.

Hellevator is produced by Matador and Blumhouse Productions associated with Lionsgate Television. Executive producers are Jason Blum (Paranormal Activity, The Purge, Sinister, and Insidious) who won a 2014 Emmy Award for The Normal Heart, Jay Peterson and Todd Lubin of Matador (Lip Sync Battle) and Shye Sutherland (Wipeout, Bullseye).

hellevator-tv-show

This terrifying eight episode season is sure to fuel the passion of horror enthusiasts everywhere. Hosted by horror film screen writers, producers, directors and actors Jen and Sylvia Soska aka "Twisted Twins". These two beauties will be behind the scenes as the evil masterminds, pulling all the strings throughout the entire game. Jen and Sylvia will be represented by APA and Zero Gravity. Hellevator premiers Wednesday October 21, 2015, at 8E/7C on The Game Show Network (GSN).

elevator

Posted by Stephanie Roisland in HORROR NEWS, 0 comments