black mirror

NIGHTMARE CINEMA: A REVIEW

NIGHTMARE CINEMA: A REVIEW

We don’t get very many all-star horror anthologies these days, in terms of the talent either in front of or behind the camera.  A lot of that might be owed to the fact that we’ve lost quite a few of our icons in the past few years: https://sigma-instruments.com/recreational-viagra-vs-cialis-19825/ how do i create a group to email on my iphone free business plan example format go here https://www.dimensionsdance.org/pack/1543-how-to-tell-fake-cialis.html quem usou levitra good essay topics for the iliad https://caberfaepeaks.com/school/customessayplus-com/27/ argumentative essays for sale romeo and juliet assignment ideas viagra substitute over counter see url viagra cialis levitra differences get link essay eastern graphic organizers for writing essays go site see url viagra and diabetes problem solution outline format paper service viagra nasal spray side effects online essay writer free buy levitra cialis viagra outlining sample real generic viagra online introduction about yourself in interview https://climbingguidesinstitute.org/6493-free-essay-outlines-help/ short essay on christmas festival in hindi can i take two viagra viagra x-ray airport see Romero, Craven, Hooper, Cohen, and besides the beloved Sid Haig, too many great actors to review without things getting painful.  So as a few new opportunities to review these collections arise, how is the sub-genre faring thus far? Let’s take one of the more recently buzzed-about examples and see…

NIGHTMARE CINEMA is the work of a rotating “tag team” of directorial talent, spearheaded by MASTERS OF HORROR creator/showrunner Mick Garris (also director of several Stephen King adaptations, including his celebrated mini-series rendering of King’s beloved epic, THE STAND). The guest helmers include Alejandro Brugues (JUAN OF THE DEAD), Joe Dante (who should require no introduction, but hey: if you haven’t already seen GREMLINS, THE HOWLING or the original PIRANHA about a dozen times each, what the hell are you doing here???), Japanese gore-master Ryuhei Kitamura (VERSUS, NO ONE LIVES and the film version of Clive Barker’s MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN), and David Slade (the unsettling HARD CANDY, 30 DAYS OF NIGHT and the controversial “Bandersnatch” episode of BLACK MIRROR.)

The wraparound story features a mysterious character known as “The Projectionist” in a creeptastic old grindhouse that the subjects of the tales find themselves irresistibly drawn to.  As they’re seated inside, the lights go down and the “movie” begins, not only do they discover that they’re the ‘stars’ of their own shows, but the climaxes reveal what their fates actually were. (Spoiler alert: nobody in this flick “lives happily ever after.” Usually.)

It’s a great format to present the stories in, as done in the old-school Hammer and Amicus traditions, and also as in those collections, the quality of the stories vary from one to the other.

In “The Thing In The Woods”, the opener that kicks things off, a group of friends finds themselves in a “FRIDAY THE 13TH slasher scenario, with each person dying horribly one-by-one at the hands of a masked killer called “The Welder”. But there is what I thought was a very clever twist mid-tale that turns the entire crazed killer trope on its head, as the tried-and-true convention becomes something else entirely. Director Brugues shows a great twisted sense of humor with this one, not unlike the tone James Gunn struck in his loving tribute to genre horror, SLITHER, which makes me curious to see JUAN OF THE DEAD, the movie that put him on the map.

Next, seasoned vet Dante puts a new spin on an old classic in “Mirari,” featuring classic movie and TV legend Richard Chamberlain. He is the ‘Dr. Mirari’ of the title; a renowned plastic surgeon charged with helping improve the looks of a disfigured young lady, whose fiancée is helping her in this endeavor, thanks to the generosity of her well-heeled mother-in-law-to-be. If you’re at all familiar with the original TWILIGHT ZONE, there’s an episode this segment draws from, called “Eye Of The Beholder.” However, it takes the premise of that story into a direction that only dyed-in-the-wool horror buffs will probably see coming.

If you’re familiar with his work at all, you know Kitamura for three things: lots of action, a dark and twisted perspective on the world and the ‘human condition’, and blood…lots and lots of blood.  And with “Mashit”, he doesn’t disappoint, in this gore-dripping saga of a priest and a nun at a Catholic boarding school, who must deal with a demonic threat that will engulf and destroy them and the kids, if they fail in their mission to vanquish it. Kitamura gives his usual bloodletting a bit of a Fulci-esque kind of twist, with the inclusion of religious iconography, so the episode does have that bit of giallo horror flavor going for it.

 

Slade gets what’s probably the most disturbingly mind-bending story of the bunch, “This Way To Egress”. At the office of a therapist she’s visiting, a woman finds that one of two things is happening: the therapy obviously isn’t working, as her grip on reality continues to slip into chaos, and she watches the people and the very walls of the building around her rot and decay. Or: she’s somehow begun to see that nothing in the world is as it seems, and she’s being driven mad by the realization of what lies underneath the veil.

The final story, “Dead”, pretty much gives itself away in the title. A young piano prodigy is the sole survivor of a carjacking-gone-wrong that results in the death of his parents. His own near-death brush leaves him open to seeing and communicating with the spirits of those who have passed over, in the hospital where he ends up. It’s a weird and unsettling ‘gift’ straight out of similar stories like GHOST, and just like in that movie, not only are some ghosts not ‘Casper-friendly’, but there are specific ones who have an agenda for the boy…and it’s not a good one. Director Garris uses this last story to bring the entire film full circle.

Let’s talk quality first. As the stories go, it’s my opinion that Brugues’ episode is the most clever, with its Eighties direct-to-video throwback vibe and darkly funny ending; “Egress” is the most imaginative, with its nods to Lovecraft, David Cronenberg and SILENT HILL (both the movie and the games).  You’re never quite sure what’s going to happen next, or what horrible oozing visual you’re going to be subjected to at any given time, which shouldn’t bother a “hardened” horror vet like myself…and yet it does, thanks especially to the strong psychological horror bent of the story, a stunning performance by Elizabeth Reaser, and makeup/visual effects that are far above in their quality what appears in the other episodes. So for me, “Egress” definitely takes the top spot, with “The Thing…” coming in a close second.

It’s no surprise at all that Kitamura’s vignette is the one that will satisfy gorehounds the most. Once upon a time, it was considered an almost unbreakable taboo to put kids in any kind of dire peril in any film let alone a horror film, and this is a convention he takes a mad glee in slashing through (literally), as the demon known as “Mashit” wreaks unholy havoc upon the school and all who live – and die there. I want to avoid as many spoilers as possible, but the bottom line of the tale is this: even the secrets you think you can keep from yourself will be revealed sooner or later, and the outcome is never good.

However, where “Mashit” fails is the under-development of the characters. It’s not a good sign when you aren’t really rooting for anyone, and it’s worse still when the “heroes” are members of the clergy…and you still don’t care all that much what happens to them.  I suppose this may have been intentional, considering the turn the story takes as it nears its gruesome climax.  Where that is unsuccessful, though, “Dead” manages to instill nothing but empathy in the audience, thanks in huge part to the performances of newcomer Faly Rakotohavana as Riley, the child prodigy, and Annabeth Gish as his late mom, Charity.  Lexy Panterra also gives a great supporting turn as Riley’s smart-assed next-door “roommate”, Casey. The chemistry between the actors, and Garris’s touch as a director with ensembles is what elevates it to third place over “Mashit.”

Surprisingly, Dante’s “Mirari” is the one that comes in last. An episode that wouldn’t be at all out of place as an episode of HBO’s TALES FROM THE CRYPT, though it boasts a reliable performance from Chamberlain, it still plays as somewhat derivative. The same could be said of “Dead” as well, but it’s the handling of the stories that determine their effectiveness. Even with the clever twist at the end, Dante can’t avoid the curse of “been there, seen that” in this particular story, while the emotional heft of “Dead” is the main thing it has going for it, helping it overcome the familiarity “hump.”

And speaking of that, since CINEMA is intentionally paying homage to past horror anthologies, the music clearly reflects this, provided by several different composers. Kyle Newmaster tips his hat to John Harrison’s great theme for the immortal CREEPSHOW with a very familiar-sounding riff on it, followed by some good Marco Beltrami-type flourishes in the score for “Woods.” Fan favorite Richard Band does his thing on “Dead” and really has a lot of fun with “Mirari” as he “mirrors” some leit-motifs of his own, cribbing from Alan Silvestri’s wonderful DEATH BECOMES HER score.  Composer J.G. Thirlwell goes for creepy Trent Reznor/Atticus Ross-like discordance and ambiance on “Egress”, while Aldo Shllaku goes full-on Simon Boswell/Claudio Simonetti/GOBLIN with the score for “Mashit”, which does help with its gonzo giallo touches. (And by the way – the sound design on “Egress” really ramps up the skeevy feel of the visual effects, so kudos to that team.)

And finally, the glue that binds this all together: the wraparound sequences. Handled by Garris in addition to the “Dead” episode, they feature Mickey Rourke, having a blast as “The Projectionist.” As with any classic anthology, you need a strong premise to hold it all together, and barring that, a narrator like “The Crypt-Keeper” or “The Creep” with a strong enough presence to keep viewers engaged. Rourke’s performance – which for me is one of the best he’s given in a while – has been debatable among fans to say the least, but I find less fault in his acting, or Garris’s direction, than I do in the scripting of the “binder.”

It’s pretty obvious what purpose The Projectionist serves, but I would’ve liked to have seen the ultimate fates of the doomed characters made more clear. And the gorier their demises, the better, even with what happens in the climax of each tale. But as the disclaimer always states, this is just how things resonated with me…Your ‘mileage’ may vary.

I don’t think a NIGHTMARE CINEMA series would be all that bad an idea. It was fun enough that a weekly two-story installment (similar to Shudder’s CREEPSHOW revival) would be something I’d welcome into my schedule, if they decided to go with it.  Overall, I give CINEMA three-and-a-half out of five stars!

Posted by Samuel Glass in Categories, GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, MOVIE REVIEWS, PARANORMAL, REVIEWS, SATANIC/DEMONIC, SCI-FI HORROR, 0 comments

HELLABRATION DELUXE! Thirty-One Days of SHOCKTOBER: DAY THIRTY-ONE – 10/31/18…HALLOWEEN!!!

HALLOWEEN – 2017: GET OUT

And here we are at last, friends and fiends (and both combined)! We’ve arrived at our entry from last year’s Halloween, and it was a game-changer. GET OUT was the brilliantly dark commentary on race relations in America that we thought we never needed. But writer/director JORDAN PEELE begged to differ, and thankfully, gave us a take on modern horror we never even considered.

 

Chris Washington, superbly underplayed by DANIEL KALUUYA (BLACK PANTHER, the BLACK MIRROR episode “Five Million Merits”) is more nervous than a black pizza delivery guy taking pies to a KKK rally. His beautiful girlfriend, Rose Armitage, (ALISON WILLIAMS, daughter of newscaster BRIAN) is taking him home for the weekend to meet her parents, and as he’s suspected, she hasn’t told them yet that he’s black. Strange and not-so-strange things happen on that trip out to the Armitage’s country home, including a stop by a local policeman. Whatever you think would happen in this case does go there, and gets shut down just as quickly by Rose; something we’d hope more ‘non-African-American’ people would do.

Chris and Rose make it to the house, where her parents are waiting. And Dean and Missy Armitage (BRADLEY WHITFORD and CATHERINE KEENER) aren’t just welcoming, they are accommodating to Chris almost to a fault, in that way that liberal, “color-blind” people sometimes have, that can border on the embarrassing. And Chris responds positively to them, even if they appear to be trying way too hard.

 

But certain indicators are present, that there’s a whole lot more to things than Chris is really being allowed to see.  Like the strange behavior of the Armitage “help”: their maid, Georgina, (wonderfully portrayed by BETTY GABRIEL), and the groundskeeper, Walter, (MARCUS HENDERSON).

And we couldn’t leave out Rose’s weirdly antagonistic brother, Jeremy, (the always-reliable CALEB LANDRY JONES), whose challenging demeanor towards Chris shifts uneasily between barely suppressed racism and an almost sexual fetishization of the power and strength he attributes to Chris.

But just when the weekend couldn’t seem to get any weirder, Chris has arrived at the same time the Armitages are throwing a ‘party’ for their closest friends, and when he’s introduced to them, the ROSEMARY’S BABY similarities start to come fast and furious, culminating in an unsettling encounter with one black man who looks strangely familiar, Andre Logan King (LAKEITH STANFIELD of SORRY TO BOTHER YOU) and his wife, Philomena, (GERALDINE SINGER). Chris, a photographer, takes Andre’s picture, and he immediately snaps, going into some kind of fugue state, in which he tells Chris to “get out!”

If you’ve seen this about ten times like I have, you know what happens next. If you haven’t, all I can say is this: get ready for the strangest and creepiest “game of bingo” you ever saw, a McGuffin of a twist involving overtones of Baron Frankenstein and more than just overtones of bigotry, and also to swear off of drinking tea for the rest of your life!

I can’t say too much more about the outstanding cast without really spoiling things, except to say that they’re all on-point, and some special kudos need to go to STEPHEN ROOT (OFFICE SPACE) as an important character at the Armitage’s ‘party’, and LIL REL HOWERY in a hysterical but all-too-relatable role as Rod, Chris’s best buddy who works as a TSI agent, and who doesn’t like the whole idea of going to visit Rose’s parents from the word ‘go’.

I found it pretty humorous when the conservative types bashed this movie as being “anti-white”, when it was just as pointed in its commentary regarding taking “ultra-liberals” to task as well. But what put GET OUT above most other horror films is that even without the politics simmering just beneath the surface, it’s still an out-and-out well-done psychological horror thriller, period.

POST-MORTEM SCRYPT: Horror just a year ago delved into even more artfully unsettling territory, giving us the likes of HAPPY DEATH DAY, MOTHER!, IT COMES AT NIGHT, ALIEN: COVENANT, ANNABELLE: CREATION, LIFE, GERALD’S GAME, the movie version of King’s IT and THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER.

And that about wraps it up for this year, poison ghouls! I hope you enjoyed this shambling stroll down Memory Lane as much as I did bringing it to you, and that you have some great plans for the holiday! As they said at the end of CREEPSHOW, “Until next time…”

Posted by Samuel Glass in EDITORIALS, FAMILY HORROR, FEATURED CONTENT, HALLOWEEN, OPINION, SCI-FI HORROR, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, THRILLER, TRIBUTE, 1 comment
What’s Hot on the Indie and Straight to DVD/VOD Scene?

What’s Hot on the Indie and Straight to DVD/VOD Scene?

Here’s a quick look at what’s hot in the Indie horror and more lesser known horror scene in the coming months, as it is set to erupt with DVD, Blu-ray, and VOD releases for fans.

American Guinea Pig: The Song of Solomon (2018)On August 7th we have already seen the releases of films like the dramatic horror film MARROWBONE with Charlie Heaton (Stranger Things), a Bluray release of Dante Tomescelli’s 1999 film DESECRATION, the dramatic fantasy thriller WILDING (starring Liv Tyler), FLORA a thrilling sci-fi film about the discovery of a deadly bacteria, Canada’s own occultist gem PYEWACKET (starring The Walking Dead’s Laurie Holden), a film called DEADSHACK (starring Lauren Holly), and the creepy looking GEHENNA: WHERE DEATH LIVES (featuring both Doug Jones and Lance Henriksen). Finally, yesterday we got the long-anticipated new piece of Stephen Biro’s series of horror films – AMERICAN GUINEA PIG: THE SONG OF SOLOMON – starring the likes of horror alumni such as Jessica Cameron and Jim Van Bebber.

HERE’S A LIST OF WHATS TO COME BY THE NEW YEAR:

AUGUST 14th

What Still Remains (2018) / Fair use doctrine.WHAT STILL REMAINS ― This dramatic thriller stars Mimi Rogers and Colin O’Donoghue as two people who face a world struck with an epidemic that has ravaged their lives and those they love.

AUGUST 17th

Summer of 84 (2018) / Fair use doctrine.POOL PARTY MASSACRE ― a comedic horror romp about a slasher loose in a swimming complex slicing up socialites.

AUGUST 24th

Summer of 84 (2018) / Fair use doctrine.SUMMER OF 84 ― the story of a teenager who begins to suspect his neighbor (a local cop) is a serial killer. He enlists the help of his pals and the game becomes all the more deadly.

AUGUST 28th

Upgrade (2018) / Fair use doctrine.UPGRADE ― a new sci-fi revenge thriller offering from Horror writer /director Leigh Whannell (Saw, Insidious, Dead Silence), and starring Logan Marshall-Green.

AUGUST 31st

Boarding School (2018) / Fair use doctrine.BOARDING SCHOOL ― a horror film set in a boarding school revolving around a strange boy and the mysterious headmaster and his wife.
Blood Fest (2018) / Fair use doctrine.BLOOD FEST ― a horror comedy about a diabolical rock show where attendees start dying and featuring Tate Donovan and Zachary Levi.

SEPTEMBER 28th

Hell Fest (2018) / Fair use doctrine.HELL FEST ― a horror-themed amusement park becomes a serial killer’s joyous hunting grounds one night, featuring iconic horror actor Tony Todd.

OCTOBER 9th

Welcome to Hell (2017) / Fair use doctrine.WELCOME TO HELL ― an anthology horror film about a terrifying coven of tales featuring Felissa Rose (Sleepaway Camp) and Bill Oberst Jr (the amazing Papa Corn from Circus of the Dead).

OCTOBER 23rd

Trauma (2017) / Fair use doctrine.TRAUMALucio A. Rojas writes and directs this action horror film about four Chilean friends who are attacked brutally by a father and son duo. The foursome decides to confront their attackers, only to discover their attackers are part of the darkest period in Chilean history.

OCTOBER 26th

Overlord (2018) / Fair use doctrine.OVERLORD ― rumored to be a possible piece of the Cloverfield film saga, this movie focuses on two American soldiers on D-Day behind enemy lines. With some impressive looking gore, it’s set to have fans of horror interested. Stars Iain De Caestecker (In Fear), Pilou Asbaek (Ghost in the Shell), and Wyatt Russell (Black Mirror).

OCTOBER 31st

American Antichrist (2018) / Fair use doctrine.AMERICAN ANTICHRIST ― the 5th film from Filmmaker Dakota Ray (aka Dakota Bailey) will Feature a post-apocalyptic world inhabited by deviants and plans to take the viewer on a surreal, nihilistic voyage of death, drugs, immorality, and religion.

NOVEMBER 13th

Stirring (2018) / Fair use doctrine.STIRRING ― (aka MRS. CLAUS ― ). – 10 years after a murder/suicide in a sorority, the younger sister of the girl who was murdered joins the same sorority and during a Christmas party, someone begins killing the party goers. This movie pays homage to the 80s style slasher and gives a plot twist or a few. Be sure to read the HoTS official review of Stirring.

DECEMBER 8th

Anna and the Apocalypse (2017) / Fair use doctrine.ANNA AND THE APOCALYPSE ― a comedy horror musical (yes, kiddies, MUSICAL) about a zombie attack on the sleepy town of Little Haven — at Christmas!

HONORABLE MENTION

Klagger (2010) / Fair use doctrine.KLAGGER ― (a feature-length film based on the 2010 short) is directed by Casey Crow and Casey’s brother and producing partner, Gene Crow. The KLAGGER feature will expand the story of Joseph Klagger’s death in 1977 and how his malevolent spirit terrorizes a small demolition crew employed to raze the factory he died in 36 years earlier. Coming to cinemas.
Posted by Michelle MIDI Peifer in COMING SOON, HORROR NEWS, 0 comments