Joe Hill

Netflix Releases In The Tall Grass

Today saw the release on Netflix of the Stephen King and Joe Hill film adaptation of the novella In The Tall Grass.

This Netflix adaptation is Directed by Vincenzo Natali. Natali’s fans are familiar with his prior work on films such as Cube, and Splice. Natali also wrote the screenplay, based on the novella.

Screenplay Writer/ Director Vincenzo Natali

The story of In The Tall Grass follows a brother and sister who whilst travelling to San Diego, stop near a mysterious field of extremely tall grass. As they stop they hear a voice crying for help. As they venture into the Tall Grass, the duo realise that all is not as it seems and something lurks within the grass of a sinister nature.

I won’t reveal more, as I really enjoyed it and to aid you in enjoying it I think knowing less is best about the outcome. I will say however that Natali compiles the source material brilliantly, and though the ending differs from the Novella, it’s not disheartening that they changed it.

The film stars Laysla De Oliveira and Avery Whitted as Becky and Cal Demuth.

Laysla De Oliveira as Becky

Laysla De Oliveira is convincing as Becky. She’s expecting her first child and unsure of her future as she travels with her brother to decide the fate of her unborn child (will she keep the baby or put it up for adoption?). As our tormented and exhausted maze runner, Oliveira shows an array of emotions through the film and creates a likeable and engaging character on screen, as Becky. Known for minor television roles, Oliveira is truly coming into her element in In The Tall Grass and her role as Veronica in Guest Of Honor (released last month, and starring David Thewlis and Luke Wilson).

Avery Whitted as Cal

As Becky’s Irish Twin (in the book it’s explained their ages are so close that Becky and Cal are like twins in age), Cal is the more mindful one. Avery Whitted is fresh on the screen, his prior credit only being The Vanishing Of Sidney Hall in 2017. The dramatic mystery starred Elle Fanning, Kyle Chandler, Nathan Lane, And Tim Blake Nelson. As Cal, Whitted gives a notable performance but is still finding his screen presence. We feel for Cal of course but at times I found his performance unconvincing.

Becky’s estranged love interest and baby daddy Travis McKean is played by Harrison Gilbertson. Gilbertson is an Australian actor known for extremely well known prior roles in the recent Picnic at Hanging Rock television series, Leigh Whannel’s Upgrade, Ben Young’s Hounds Of Love, aswell as in films such as Need for Speed, Beneath Hill 60, and Look Away.

Gilbertson is easy to empathise with. When he enters the film, what we are already perplexed by becomes even more elaborate. And it’s Travis who works hard to unravel the Tall grasses mysterious behaviours. Gilbertson does wonderfully to hold certain elements of the film’s encounters together.

Harrison Gilbertson, Laysla De Oliveira, and Avery Whitted

Also starring in In The Tall Grass is Patrick Wilson (who replaced James Marsden after scheduling conflicts) as Ross Humboldt and Will Buie Jr and Rachel Wilson as his son and wife, Tobin and Natalie.

Patrick Wilson as Ross

Wilson is incredibly well known for his roles throughout the last decade in the Insidious, Conjuring, Annabelle and The Nun Films – totalling 7 films (including in the role of Ed Warren, husband of Lorraine Warren the paranormal investigator). Wilson has an impressive body of work over the last two decades and doesn’t let fans down in this film. Stepping away from his usual roles, we get to see a differing side in this performance and he truly makes the film, in a very pivotal role as Ross Humboldt.

Will Buie Jr as Tobin

As Wilson’s son Tobin Humboldt is twelve year old Will Buie Jr. This sharp child actor  has only been acting in films and on television for two years, but his performance in In The Tall Grass is the second most impressive (after only Patrick Wilson’s) in this film. We feel for poor Tobin and we understand his attempts to warn others and avoid the horrors lurking in the Tall Grass. We empathise as the film churns on and we learn more and more about Tobin’s plight, because of Buie’s amazing performance.

Patrick Wilson, Harrison Gilbertson and Laysla De Oliveira

Lastly is Rachel Wilson as Natalie Humboldt. We see less of her in the film than we do of the other five principal cast members, but when she appears she always brings something more about the story with her. This proves her character to be very valuable, and her portrayal as interesting. Wilson is a well known Canadian actress having starred in films such as The Glass House, Saw: The Final Chapter And Hellions.

In the Tall Grass as a whole is a brilliant adaptation of the source material. The creepiness and disillusionment Of each character is strong.

The cinematography is beautiful. Watching each blade of grass wave in the breeze or crane as though listening, reminds one easily of the rows of corn in The Children of the Corn films. The instances of despairing isolation and dizzying bewilderment, cast us back to Kubrick’s take on the Shining in 1980. We get lost in this grassy maze and it’s wonders, both good and bad.

Natali has created an almost perfect film with In The Tall Grass, fans will be impressed by the way it evolves smoothly. As we transition through each scene into the next, until we reach the climax. As I said this differed from the source material. It’s okay. It’s not great but it fits for the film, that’s really all I can say.

Posted by Michelle MIDI Peifer in Categories, 0 comments

What’s Coming and Going on Netflix in October?

Many are already enjoying the delights of Netflix and gearing up for their horror fix through the Halloween month. I won’t be listing everything available through October, but I’m here to let you know some of the most intriguing and fun movies and shows that will be coming and going throughout October on Netflix.

Leaving Netflix in October will be Casper, Cloverfield, Deliverance, Gremlins, Obsessed and The Nightmare. So be sure to get your chance to view them one last time in the next 48hrs.

 

OCTOBER 4th

On October 4th Netflix will be adding Creeped Out season 2, a British/Canadian Horror Anthology tv series focused on creepy stories. This is a great chance to binge watch both seasons, if you haven’t acquainted yourself with it yet.

Also on October 4th comes the release of the adaptation of the Stephen King/ Joe Hill Novella In The Tall Grass. Directed by Vincenzo Natali (Cube, Splice) and starring Patrick Wilson, this is a dramatic mystery sure to thrill fans.

OCTOBER 11th

Japanese Director Sion Sono (Tag) newest film will debut on Netflix on October 11th. Forest of Love is a crime, thriller about a con man serial killer who meets his match.

Also on October 11th we will see the release of Fractured. An American thriller , by director Brad Anderson and starring Australian actor Sam Worthington (Avatar, Terminator Salvation) and Lily Rabe (American Horror Story). The film is a Hitchcockian style thriller, about a man searching for his wife and daughter.

Season two of Haunted appears on Netflix to chill you through October. Season one featured Filmmaker Jason Hawkins (The Blair Witch Legacy) in one episode. It was also the cause of much controversy over an episode of two sisters, claiming their father was a serial killer (Slaughterhouse Episode). Most of us will be curious of what stories will be told this season and will there be more controversial episodes?

OCTOBER 18th

October 18th provides us with Eli. Starring Lili Taylor (The Conjuring, The Haunting) and Directed by  Ciaran Foy (Citadel, Sinister 2) , the plot revolves around a boy who becomes trapped in a house while undergoing treatment for a rare disease.

OCTOBER 24th

Less scary, more humorous comes Daybreak on October 24th. This ten episode dramatic comedy focuses on a Mad Max style apocalyptic scenario and zombies. Starring Matthew Broderick (Ladyhawke, The Cable Guy), this series was adapted from the Brian Ralph graphic novel.

Also on the 24th comes Revenge of Pontianak. This Singaporean/ Malayan language romantic horror uses the south Asian folklore of the Pontianak (a woman who dies with child or during childbirth without a proper funeral, that returns as a vampire). In this film a woman and her village are terrorised by a Pontianaks arrival, as it seeks to take revenge on the guy she loves.

 

OCTOBER 25th

Lastly on the 25th Rattlesnake will be available on Netflix. This psychological thriller is about a woman who saves her daughter after being bitten by a rattlesnake, by taking on the “debt” of killing a total stranger. It is directed by Zac Hilditch (The Final Hours, 1922).

 

For the Younger Viewers this month:

Yes there’s a little spooky fun for the younger crowd within your homes (or even those young at heart),  including some additions to the animated Spooky Monsters with season 3 and Vida’s 1st Halloween Special, On October 4th.

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On the 5th comes the Spooky Tale Of Captain Underpants Hack-O-Ween. Many kids love the adventures of this Underpants clad animated superhero and this instalment is just in time for Halloween.

And finally October 17th introduces The Unlisted, an Australian teen series focused on twelve year old twin boys, who discover that the government is secretly tracking and manipulating the youth via electronic tracking devices.

 

Many horror films and shows already are available on Netflix, so don’t forget during the Spooky season about them too. Happy Halloween viewings. Time for some real Netflix and Chills.

Posted by Michelle MIDI Peifer in Categories, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW (RETRO): Revisiting Creepshow (1982), Pt. 1

MOVIE REVIEW (RETRO): Revisiting Creepshow (1982), Pt. 1

REVISITING CREEPSHOW

Part I: That's Why God Made Fathers


Hello there, kiddies! Thanks for stopping by and welcome to my monstrous multi-part series! A repulsive and revolting retrospect to that fiendish fright-fest, Creepshow...

When I was a kid, Saturdays were a special day relegated to staring at my television all day long. The mornings were full of cartoons. Late morning to early afternoon, we watched wrestling, 70s kung-fu, or giant monster films. But, later in the day came the horror movies. This was the best time to be glued to that screen. One of my favorite films, which they ran quite often, was Creepshow. I was too young to remember this film’s theatrical release, but I can imagine that the combination of George A. Romero and Stephen King was enough to make most horror fans' hearts thump erratically. In fact, this was one of the first horror films I can remember watching, along with Psycho and Night of The Living Dead. It was also one of the films that jump started my love for Stephen King and soon afterwards I was begging my mother to buy me one of his books. She purchased Night Shift (an anthology of short stories) from a flea market for 50 cents.

As an obsessive fan of horror and comic books, this was the perfect film for me. It brought together two of my favorite things that, at the time, was not easy for a young boy to find. To Romero and King, it was an homage to the comic books they loved as kids, EC horror comics like Tales From The Crypt, The Vault of Horror, and The Haunt of Fear. Comic books were all but exclusively about superheroes by the time I was old enough to enjoy them and I didn't even know that horror-themed comic books had ever existed. In fact, by the time the Tales From The Crypt television series first aired, I thought they were ripping off Creepshow! Boy was I wrong.

The year was 1982 and Warner Brothers was trying to decide when was the best time to release this strangely-toned R-rated film. Summer is usually the time most people go to the movies, but horror films do better closer to Halloween. They knew they couldn't release it before October 31st as the Halloween film series was dominating ticket sales for their last two releases. Michael Myers was becoming a household name and Creepshow would definitely be overshadowed by it. In an unusual move, they decided to give it a limited summer release in the Boston area. They gave it a four-week trial run, and it was met with great sales and high praise. Upon hearing that Halloween III: Season of The Witch would not feature Michael Myers, much to the lament of the fans of the series, they predicted that tickets sales for the film would dry up quickly. They were correct. Creepshow was released in theaters worldwide on November 12, 1982. It grossed well over $5 million in its opening weekend and knocked First Blood off of the number one spot. The first and only George A. Romero film to open at number one at the weekend box office. By the end of its run, the film grossed over $21 million in the US, becoming Warner Brothers’ biggest horror hit of the year.

Creepshow consists of five terrifying tales written by Stephen King. This is the only time George A. Romero directed a film that he didn't write. Three stories were written specifically for the film, while the other two were adaptations of short stories previously released in magazines. Most of the tales follow the stereotypical Tales of The Crypt formula. Someone commits a horrific act and it eventually comes back to haunt them, usually in the form of a murdered individual returning from the dead with a horrifying visage. Karma...

The film begins with a wraparound story about a boy who loves to read horror comics, but his father sees it as trash and refuses to allow his son to read it. I think this is an ever relevant topic, especially to 80s kids who listened to Heavy Metal and played Dungeons & Dragons. There was a huge push back against them at the time as they were thought to be teaching kids Satanism. To Romero and King, this was a callback to the similar attack on comic books in the 50s, which led to the self-regulating organization, Comics Code Authority and eventually the fall of horror comics.

The Creepshow comic book props and artwork seen in this story and the rest of the film were drawn and inked by Jack Kamen, a legendary artist in a variety of genres for EC Comics. He also drew the comic book cover-style movie poster. Originally, King wanted Graham Ingels (famous for his work on The Haunt of Fear and Tales from The Crypt) for the artwork. If you've ever read King’s non-fiction book about horror in film, radio, print, and comics, Danse Macabre, or the short story, The Boogeyman, then you know Stephen King thinks highly of Ingels' artwork. Unfortunately, Ingels was not interested. So, William M. Gaines (publisher and co-editor of EC Comics) recommended Kamen.

Playing the father Stan in this story is a non-mustachioed Tom Atkins (The Fog, Escape From New York, Night of the Creeps), who also starred in Halloween III which was released two weeks prior and was in direct competition. He also worked with Romero later on in Two Evil Eyes and Bruiser. Playing the horror comic reading son, Billy, is Stephen King's eldest son, Joseph King, who eventually grew up to become a best-selling author in his own right, under the pseudonym, Joe Hill (Horns, The Fireman). During a break, Stephen took Joe out to McDonald's, he had the make-up crew put scars and cuts and bruises on Joe as a joke. After leaving the drive-thru, the girl working the register called the police. Stephen had to explain to the police that they were making a movie and it was all a gag.

The scene ends with Stan smacking Billy for talking back and then throwing the comic in the trash. Afterwards, Billy is visited by The Creep, hovering outside his window heralding the upcoming horrors. Billy smiles at The Creep, knowing full-well that his revenge against his strict father is at hand. Although it is quite an evil notion, and should not be seen as good, this is an emotion most children have felt at one point. A concept that we can all relate to. This is followed by an animated intro with drawn images of all of the stories encompassing the film. I also loved this as a kid and I would be lying if I said, I didn't love it now.

Well, that concludes part one of my retrospect. I hope you enjoyed it. Join me next time kiddies, when we take a look at the first terrifying tale of the bunch — Father's Day...

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 1 comment