October 31, 2011

Horror-A-Day: Maniac

There was a time when New York City was not really a safe place to visit. It was dirty and had a high crime rate. Sure, it was one of the biggest cities in America, but it was a place that most on the outside looking in would prefer it say that way. Then the big clean up happened and the perception of the city was fundamentally changed, probably forever. It became a cleaner, safer, more inviting tourist destination. Times Square went from a row of adult movie theaters to a tourist spot with upscale restaurants and shops.

October 30, 2011

Horror-A-Day: Beyond the Darkness - Buio Omega

What is a horror marathon without a little bit of trashy Italian horror. There is just something about the way that Italians trashed up their cinema that is unlike anyone else. Just look to the works of such directors as Antonio Margheriti, Umberto Lenzi, Ruggero Deodato, Bruno Mattei, Lamberto Bava, Lucio Fulci, and the director of this movie, Joe D'Amato, and you will see films unlike those produced by any other nation in the world. Sleaze, violence, gore, perversions, and some undoubtedly questionable filmmaking techniques are in abundance. You could probably make a career out of watching and studying these films.

Horror-A-Day: Behind the Mask - The Rise of Leslie Vernon

My Halloween horror marathon is marching on. It has been full of new viewings and revisits and has covered multiple sub-genres and decades. No matter how many I get to, there are always that many more that I want to watch. It seems like horror, and to a lesser extent science fiction, has the most longevity in terms of awesome films that I can watch over and over again. This stop on the road to Halloween brings me to the slasher genre. It is a genre that was kicked off in the 1970's and reached its fever pitch in the 1980's. However, even when it is not the go to style of horror, there are always new ones being made.

Horror-A-Day: The Girl Next Door (2007)

Every once in a while I come across a movie whose effect is akin to getting hit in the solar plexus. It takes the air right out of you and pins you breathless to your seat. The sort of movie that captivates your attention and repulses you at the same time. The kind of movie that subtly sneaks up on you before throwing you to the wolves. This horror season has delivered just that sort of movie. It is not as blatant as something like Cannibal Holocaust or A Serbian Film, not even like Irreversible. It is the sort of tale that you never see coming.

Horror-A-Day: Stake Land

I think this Halloween season has brought the most horror watching I have had ever. Of course, I have never tried to watch at least one horror a day before. I am definitely doing this again. Today is the first day of my weekend marathon and so far I have had three first time viewings and they have all, thankfully, been positive experiences. The latest one has proven to be a pretty awesome one. It is something different, yet awfully familiar. It is a bit of a gene mash up that works in the best possible way.

October 29, 2011

Horror-A-Day: Dr. Giggles

Of all the holidays, I have to say that Halloween has the best. For one thing, there are a ton of them. Literally. Another reason is that the horror movie can play well all year long, just try watching The Santa Clause in July. It doesn't work. In any case, the horror movie covers a lot of ground, and I feel I have covered a few different areas over the past month. During my full weekend marathon I have decided to revisit a film from the questionable era of the 1990s. What a strange time for horror that was. I do not have the full knowledge to explain it, but I do know it was not the best of times.

Horror-A-Day: Embodiment of Evil

The pre-Halloween weekend is here and with it the Northeast has been hit with a rare October snowstorm. So, here I am, locked in my room watching a weekends worth of horror movies. I have chosen a selection from my shelf of Blu-ray horror to view. Among them are a handful of movies that I have never seen. Yes, it is true that I own films I have never watched. Well, it did not take me long to find a pretty messed up movie. It is one that I had no idea what to expect. In that sense, it mus be said to be better than I expected.

Horror-A-Day: Cabin Fever 2 - Spring Fever

The month is just about over and my thoughts are turning towards future marathons. I am not sure I will do another month long for awhile, but perhaps a run of a film and its sequels or other genre related fare. In any case, I decided to go a bit more recent with one of my final choices. My last few films have not exactly been recent releases, unless you count that remix of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Well, I just found myself wanting for something of a more recent vintage and style, be that for better or worse. I kind of wanted something perhaps a bit silly and definitely a bit bloody. I think I succeeded.

Horror-A-Day: Dead and Buried

Where has the month gone? It feels like it was just yesterday I was taking some cues from a few fine twitter folk to watch horror movies all month. Well, I am doing it, and surprisingly writing about all, or very close to, of them. It is hard to believe it is almost over. I think i am going to have to think of some other marathons to do, perhaps some film series? In any case, here I am, ready to share with you my latest viewing. It is one of the last ones before my big weekend marathon.

October 27, 2011

Horror-A-Day: Raw Meat

Just two more nights until my two day marathon, that means only two more daily movies to go (after this one, of course). That may only be one as I may start early on the weekend with a late friday viewing, supplanting that day's choice. Also, Halloween's film has been selected, it is and will likely always be Trick 'r Treat. A movie awesome in its pure Halloween spirit. Anyway, back to the matter at hand, we do still have a movie to talk about today.

Music Review: Feersum Ennjin - Feersum Ennjin

The band name is not unlike an illiterate person attempting to sound out the words he wants to spell. The thing of it is that thought is not terribly far off from the truth, you see, it takes its inspiration from the novel Feersum Enndjin from author Iain M. Banks. It is a science fiction story set in a future where ancients have left the Earth and those who remain are complacent and surrounded by technology they don't understand. One of the characters is written in phonetic English, leading to odd spellings such as the band name. What influence this has on the music, I am not sure, but it is an interesting basis for the band name (I may need to check out that book).

October 26, 2011

Horror-A-Day: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (2005)

The home stretch is here. There are only a few days left. My impending weekend marathon is starting to take shape and I am frantically searching for those final few movies for the daily watching. The last film I chose was a pseudo-true crime film, a rather aged but effective look at the atrocities committed by the one and only Ed Gein, only here he was called Ezra Cobb. This time around I went in a different direction, one that is an attempt at more of an arty sort of film and somewhat achieving said goal.

Blu-ray Review: A Serbian Film

So, I just watched A Serbian Film. Such feelings it stirs up. On one hand I want to say "That's It?" But then another, louder part of me says That is one of the most messed up things I have seen. I cannot even begin to scratch the surface of the intentions, but it is a movie that will leave a mark on your psyche. This movie makes Human Centipede look like Winnie the Pooh. It plays out with a cumulative effect akin to Oldboy and Cannibal Holocaust. It is a film that will cause a reaction, positive or negative. If you want to see a film made for a reason by passionate filmmakers, this is it. Just please don't ask me to explain what it all is meant to mean.

October 25, 2011

Horror-A-Day: Deranged

So, we getting down to the wire, Halloween is a week away and I am getting ever closer to my recently started tradition of watching horror movies all of Halloween weekend, or in this case the weekend enforce the holiday. Last night I went with a film that I had been wanting to revisit that was well worth the time spent on it, despite it's humble schlock roots. For my next choice I was scanning the horror entries in Netflix and stumbled across an obscure title that looked perfect for the evening. As an added bonus it was not terribly long meaning I should be able to sleep at a reasonable hour.

October 24, 2011

Horror- A-Day: Subspecies

The October Halloween marathon marches on. Sure, it has been mostly mediocre to poor, but it is still horror and there is nothing wrong with watching horror movies, even the bad ones have their fans, right? My last choice was a borderline horror film, more of a splatter gore film. I think it counts, I mean you aren't exactly going to call it comedy or drama, no matter if the elements are there. This time I picked a movie based on wanting to revisit it after a long time away. That and I found it on Netflix, plus forgetting if I actually own it or not. For he record, I think I do.

Reviews in Retrograde: Apt Pupil

Critical Outcast isn't my first attempt at a website, I had a few stutter steps in the late 1990's and early 2000's. These attempts generated a whole bunch of poorly written, often very short and spoilerific reviews. I recently stumbled upon them in my archives and thought you may be interested in seeing some of these early attempts at writing. They are as they were then, I make no apologies for how bad or how short they are. Feel free to have at them with reckless abandon! I present to you: Reviews in Retrograde.

October 23, 2011

Blu-ray Review: The Howling - Reborn

Was it as bad as I was expecting? No, but again, I was expecting pretty bad so that is faint praise delivered with a backhand. The Howling: Reborn is an obvious cash grab based on market research and a desire to get in on the Twilight craze. This is not a horror movie, it is not a werewolf movie. It is a mopey teen romance wearing the guise of what someone deemed hip and cool. If you are part of the Twilight crowd, you would be better served revisiting one of your beloved movies, or for something different go watch the Buffy the Vampure Slayer television series. If you are looking for a werewolf movie, check out Dog Soldiers or Ginger Snaps, or revisit the original The Howling.

Horror-A-Day: Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl

My target for horror has been a bit of a moving target. Aside from my general inability to pick movies based on quality, my chosen style of horror has been jumping around on a seemingly daily basis. Two days ago I went with the low-rent B-movie to pass some time. The day before I went with an interesting synopsis. My last choice was based on a star name, and he turned out to only be in it for a scant few minutes. This time around I have chosen a known quantity, a movie I have seen before. I decided I wanted something over the top bloody. Not necessarily scary, but I wanted blood.

Movie Review: Paranormal Activity 3

I guess it was inevitable. Two years ago the first Paranormal Activity movie arrived with a great deal of hype and fanfare with a wonderfully slow theatrical roll out that did nothing but fan the flames of hype. Fortunately, the movie lived up to my expectations, and it left me shaken and disturbed. Then, last year the sequel came and actually proved to be one of the rare sequels that is actually an improvement on the original. Now, I am not sure I was as shaken, but the jumps were effective and it successfully built the mythology. With two successful films under their belt, it was inevitable that a third would come, especially so now that Saw is out of the way and a new Halloween horror franchise is needed.

October 22, 2011

Horror-A-Day: Exorcismus

My last movie choice was based on finding some low grade B-type movie to pass some horror time. I was successful in that endeavor with the surprisingly decent, but still bad Pinocchio's Revenge. It had a couple of decent ideas and a fun child performance, but it is not one to go running back to any time soon. For this choice I decided to go with star power. Well, the star power of one. As I scanned my Netflix queue until I came across one with a star I was interested in seeing and clicked play. I was hoping I made a good choice. Well, my choice was neither good nor bad, it was just sort of there. Far from the worst I have sat through this month, but not exactly one to rave about.

DVD Review: KungFu Joe

The world of low, super low, and no budget films can be a scary place. This is a realm where bad acting, poor production values, and bad stories run rampant. Sure, there is the rare good film, rarer still is that film that gets picked up and makes waves on a national scale (like El Mariachi and Paranormal Activity), but that is far and away the exception. Generally speaking, I just hope that I can make it through in one sitting. That brings me to Kung Fu Joe. This looks like a super low to no-budget production, it looks cheap, but I think that plays into the style of the movie. Yes, the movie has style and is actually quite fun.

October 21, 2011

Horror-A-Day: Pinocchio's Revenge

I have once again sunk into the doldrums of lame horror films, well, maybe not entirely lame, but shamefully lazy copycat horror. In any case I still have no one to blame but myself, and I am still pretty much all right with that. This time around I was just looking for some lowly b-movie to whittle away some time and fulfill my horror movie a day commitment for this month. I should be going for quality but being my first shot at this, it is a learning experience. The bottom line is that I am still having a blast. It is horror after all.

October 20, 2011

Horror-A-Day: Evil Ed

With yesterday's successful discovery of an apparently well liked and known Tobe Hooper movie, to all but me it seems, I have decided to just just scan the horror titles waiting in my queue and hope for the best. This ,ethos has not gone well for me most of the days I have tried I this month, but there is always hope that I might stumble upon something worthy. I did not expect anything as good as The Funhouse, but I felt reasonably sure that I would not end up with something like Oasis of the Zombies.

October 19, 2011

Horror-A-Day: The Funhouse

I have made a lot of poor decisions when it comes to my movie decisions during this horror-centric month. I understand this and take full responsibility for it. However, there are some lines I will not cross and that is the one where I don't shift some blame. That is right, I am tossing some blame your way. I understand that my viewing experience, across the spectrum, has some massive holes in it and it is a constant work in progress. There is no excuse for not recommending good movies, even those you think I may have seen. The fact is, I may not. Anyway, this particular film is one that I had heard of but had never previously seen. Now, having seen it, I have been told by a couple of friends that this is among their favorites. Thanks for letting me in on the secret.

Music Review: Dub Trio - IV

Let me be right up front with you about two things. The first is that I really don't know what "dub" means in relation to music, although I do know it is something more than just a part of the band's name. The second thing is that without even knowing what it is, I cannot say that dub music is my thing. Of course, my limited experience suggests that it is most commonly used in relation to reggae, rap, and house music, none of which are really in my wheelhouse. By know I am sure you are wondering just why in the world would I purposefully write about Dub Trio if it is something you know so little about? Here is the interesting thing, Dub Trio came to me under the guise of experimental metal. How very interesting.

October 18, 2011

Horror-A-Day: Theater of Blood

I am not sure if I have mentioned it to you, but I love horror. I may have plenty of gaping holes in my horror knowledge and experience, it (along with science fiction) are my go to genres. This is partially why I enjoy this time of year, gives me added excuse to dive into a stack of horror. This year is my first shot at doing a marathon like this and the experience will help me when I do it again next year, potentially. Anyway, the other day I added a solid werewolf to my viewing list and now I have gone a little bit older, perhaps a touch campier, but still a more than worthy entry.

October 17, 2011

Horror-A-Day: The Howling

October marches on and I am somewhat making an effort to increase the quality of the movies I have been watching. I am not sure it will work, I have been known for my poor decision making. Still, it certainly has been a lot of fun plowing through these horror movies this month. I should do it more often. For this particular viewing, I decided my roster needed some more representation from classically inspired monsters. Sure, I did watch the Frankenstein inspired Frankenstein Unbound, but I wanted to add some more to that little quadrant. For some reason, I became fixated on werewolves. Not sure why, as they seem to be notoriously difficult to bring respectably to the screen despite being interesting creatures.

October 16, 2011

Movie Review: The Thing (2011)

In 1982 John Carpenter introduced us to his take on The Thing, the second film to be inspired by John W. Campbell Jr.'s short story "Who Goes There." The first was 1951's The Thing from Another World, starring James Arness as The Thing. Carpenter's film took it to knew heights of atmospheric paranoia and bloody horror. That film received a chilly critical reception and performed only so so at the theater (blamed on the poor reviews and following ET at the theaters by a couple of weeks). Anyway, time has been kind to the film and it is now recognized for how good it really is. Well, I guess it was inevitable in this age of remakes that eyes would eventually turn towards it. Fortunately, it is not a remake, but a prequel. Is it worthy? Time will ultimately tell us.

Horror-A-Day: Halloween - H20

This month has been filled with peaks and valleys when it comes to my horror movie watching. I would like there to be more peaks, but I seem intent on watching as much junk as I can. I don't know at I am saving anything for, but I need to get over that issue right quick. Anyway, I have already taken a trip to Pinhead's realm, so I tout that perhaps I sold journey into the world of another long running franchise. Will it bring another peak or will it create a new valley? Perhaps something in between.

Movie Review: Archie's Final Project

When people asked me what movies I saw recently, I would invariably come to this movie on the list and their eyes would kind of glaze over and give me a look as if I had two heads. I would then go on to say it was about a high school kid who also made movies and that his final project for his media class was going to be his suicide. At this point the look in their face would twist up a little more and they would say something like "Oh, never heard of that one. Why would you want to watch that?" or some other sort of slightly dismissive aside. It is not that they aren't interested, but they don't know they are interested. It is an interesting state that comes from being fed too much recycled Hollywood fare. Not that all indies are great, but there are a lot of good ones.

October 15, 2011

Horror-A-Day: Hell Night

After taking an excursion into a lesser entry in one of the 80's venerable horror series, I have decided to journey a little further back. I thought it was about time to travel to the early days of the slasher boom. Halloween and Friday the 13th kicked the style off in earnest. He 80's saw a host of one offs, rip offs, and wannabes arrive on the scene. Some of them proved to be memorable, like The Burning, while others showed their true colors right away as has beens destined to be forgotten in short order. Still, even the bad ones can prove to be fun.

Horror-A-Day: Hellraiser - Bloodline

Well, one day of greatness is better than none, I suppose. The Thing helped cleanse me from a steady diet of junk I had been subjecting myself to for the most part this Halloween season. However, the visual joy of John Carpenter's atmospheric and bloody masterpiece was not the start of a trend. Again, no one to blame but myself. The follow up is a movie of great potential that was struck down in the process of production leaving a hollow mess to grace the screen. Better luck next time, I guess.

October 14, 2011

Reviews in Retrograde: Antz

Critical Outcast isn't my first attempt at a website, I had a few stutter steps in the late 1990's and early 2000's. These attempts generated a whole bunch of poorly written, often very short and spoilerific reviews. I recently stumbled upon them in my archives and thought you may be interested in seeing some of these early attempts at writing. They are as they were then, I make no apologies for how bad or how short they are. Feel free to have at them with reckless abandon! I present to you: Reviews in Retrograde.

October 13, 2011

Movie Review: Machine Gun Preacher

This is a movie that I cannot say I was terribly interested in seeing. Somehow I did find myself in the theater waiting to give it a shot. Since this did happen, I was determined to make the best of it. It did seem to be based on an inspiring true life story, features a decent cast, and sports a director of some talent. The problem was that I was not sure quite how interested actually was in seeing it. Oh well, too late now, best to just sit back and enjoy the show.

Horror-A-Day: The Thing

Now this is what I'm talking about. Following days of miniature critters doing nasty things and would be slashers stinking up the joint, after lackluster zombies and cannibalistic Southern ghosts, I have found a worthy movie. After days of complaining about my own bad choices for my decision to watch at least one horror a day for October, I have finally watched one which can be called an all time great, a classic of the genre, not to mention a must watch for any movie fan. Of course, I already knew these things going in, it wasn't a first watch, and I had ulterior motives for watching it.

October 12, 2011

Movie Review: Bunraku

When people were asking me what movies I saw lately and I start going down the list, I would invariably get wide eyed looks of confusion when I got t Bunraku. I cannot say that I blame them, as this is not a wide release film, it is highly stylized, and has not had much of a promotional push. I am actually surprised that I stumbled across it, much less actually had the opportunity to see it. I only needed to figure out what Bunraku meant. Well, not really, but I was curious. The movie itself looked pretty interesting and looked to be in a stylistic vein similar to that of Sin City, The Spirit, and The Warrior's Way. In other words, don't expect much action at the box office (as a side note, about 4-5 walked out on it at my screening of 9 people).

Horror-A-Day: Strangeland

All right, yesterday I said that things needed to turn around with regards to my horror movie watching this month. There has been an extraordinary amount of junk coming across my path. Yes, I know it is no ones fault but my one, I am the one stumbling across these titles and pressing play. Going in I know I am going to regret them. So, again I say things need to turn around. This edition is a marginal step up from the prior, but not terribly substantial. Tomorrow is another day.

October 11, 2011

Movie Review: Tucker and Dale vs. Evil

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil? I am not so sure the title accurately reflects the movie, but I like it and I like the movie a whole lot more. No, it is not perfect, but it's not like any movie ever is actually perfect. This is a movie that looks to have been made for the sheer joy of making it. There is an utterly infectious element to this, especially if you are a horror veteran and like to see the genre flipped on its ear for comedic effect. I feel pretty certain that I have never seen a horror/comedy quite like this. It is a lower budget genre film than the likes of Shawn of the Dead and Zombieland, but taken with those two, you have a trio of fantastic horror/comedies that are each completely different from the other.

Horror-A-Day: 2001 Maniacs - Field of Screams

Seriously, something has to change. This month of horror is fast turning into a month of junk. With the likes of Leprechaun in the Hood, Oasis of the Zombies, and Ghoulies already under my belt, I feel as if I am at the wrong end of a very deep hole. I had hoped to turn it around with the latest movie, but that was not to be. I went in hoping for a little splattery fun, but I ended up with a poor excuse for a pile of splatter. Now I ma have to pin my hopes on the pre-Halloween weekend marathon to get some quality, no matter how much I would like to get it going sooner.

Blu-ray Review: Legend of the Millennium Dragon

I am far from a big anime fan, although I must admit to being intrigued by it. It is a great style and leads itself to all manner of stories. That said, it suffers some of the same things that afflict all genres. One of those problems is that it can be incredibly difficult to weed out to quality stuff from the junk. How often have you turned on a movie only to discover that it really isn't that good? I know I have had that happen to me, more often now that I have been using Netflix. In any case, I like anime but am often discouraged by the high volume of stuff that I just flat out don't care for. Now, along comes Legend of the Millennium Dragon, a coming of age story that more often than not delivers.

October 10, 2011

Horror-A-Day: Demented

This is the first time I have attempted any sort of "theme" month and so far, this October marathon of horror has taken me to some strange places. I have seen a leprechaun in the hood, a zombie infested oasis, a time traveling monster, and even mutant were-sheep! Granted, a lot of these movies have been less than stellar, I am assured that things will get better, there is a lot of month left. The next film took me back to an era of explotative cinema where cruelty ran rampant and acting chops were not always required and you would often feel a little dirty when it was all said and done.

Reviews in Retrograde: Armageddon

Critical Outcast isn't my first attempt at a website, I had a few stutter steps in the late 1990's and early 2000's. These attempts generated a whole bunch of poorly written, often very short and spoilerific reviews. I recently stumbled upon them in my archives and thought you may be interested in seeing some of these early attempts at writing. They are as they were then, I make no apologies for how bad or how short they are. Feel free to have at them with reckless abandon! I present to you: Reviews in Retrograde.

October 9, 2011

Movie Review: Take Shelter

I must admit, when I first saw the trailer for Take Shelter, I had a rather different idea of what it was about. Now, having seen it and seeing how off my initial reaction was, I am left trying to decide if that is a good thing or not. On one hand, my initial reaction did give me some thoughts about what the film might be and that I was interested in it. On the flip side, the movie that it is may actually be better than what I thought it was going to be. The actual movie felt more real, tragic, and ultimately more interesting than the modern day Noah thing I had going in my head. The short of it is that Take Shelter is a solid movie that is well worth spending a little time with.

Horror-A-Day: Frankenstein Unbound

Following the Leprechaun in the Hood debacle, I felt the need to get right back on the horse and look to get this October Horror Movie Marathon back on track. I am still unsure where this month will take me, I suspect that quality is not going to be a priority. That is a shame. I'll see what I can do, but I make no promises. This time out I went for a title I had heard of, but had never seen (like so many others), and appeared to be of some quality based on a few simple things. As it turns out, it was a step up from Warwick Davis vehicle, but it was not quite what it could have been.

October 8, 2011

Horror-A-Day: Leprechaun in the Hood

Sometimes when I look for a movie to watch I make rash, uninformed decisions that ultimately do not do me any favors. Such goes my choice from the other night. It was late and I was looking for a light horror movie that I could essentially tune out to while watching. Well, I know I have made some bad choices already this month, and this turned out to e another one. Fortunately, there is still a lot of October left to get things back on track. However, knowing me, I will surely make a few more bad choices down the line.