November 19, 2017

Movie Review: Jigsaw (2017)

Truth be told, I’ve never been the biggest fan of the Saw series. I don’t hate it, but I feel it deserves the mix of love and hate it gets from its audience at large. I am happy about the blood in horror renaissance it sort of brought in the wake of the wake of the PG-13 copycats that flooded the market in the self-aware post-Scream horror landscape. The problem was that the more it went on, it became more about messing with the audience and developing a labyrinthian reality than about about giving us a compelling story and characters. I was kind of glad they ended it after the seventh, but I guess it was just a matter of time before they brought it back. Enter Jigsaw.

November 10, 2017

Movie Review: Hana-Bi (aka Fireworks)

Hana-Bi, or HANA-BI, or Fireworks, if you prefer, was a fascinating viewing experience. I am not saying it was great, although it was certainly very good, it was just something that that I was completely not expecting. It is not so much a movie as it is an existential bi-polar examination of a man who seems to be so disconnected as to not care anymore, although if there is one thing that he does, it is care. It might help that I am not that familiar with the films of Takeshi Kitano, and what I do know makes it a complete surprise to know that he is famous as a comedian. I didn't see that one coming.

November 9, 2017

Movie Review: Red Christmas

What is it about Christmas and horror that blends so well? It is a strange mixture that, while not always perfect, often yields entertaining results. Now, outside of Halloween and summer camps, Christmas may be the best pairing with everyone’s favorite film genre. Just look at some of the classics we have already, there is the family friendly horror of Gremlins, the antics of Silent Night Deadly Night, the somewhat sad Christmas Evil, and even the recent iteration of the Krampus tale. That doesn’t even get to international offerings like Rare Exports and Sint. Now we have an offering from Australia, Red Christmas. Does it have what it takes to join the pantheon of classic Christmas horror hybrids? Perhaps.

November 8, 2017

Movie Review: Blade of the Immortal (2017)

There are some movies that don’t grab me on the surface. There are times that I see a title and it just doesn’t sound like it would be that interesting to me. This is generally very early on, usually before I know who made it, starred in it, and even before I see a trailer. I doesn’t mean I won’t see it or won’t like it, just that i am not sure I would go out of my way to find out anything about it. Of course, some movies do not like being ignored like that, as it turns out, Blade of the Immortal is one those that refuses to be ignored. I was at the theater to see a 35mm screening of the crazy Hausu and one of the pre show trailers was, you guessed it, Blade of the Immortal. The trailer told me everything I needed to know and it was now on my must see list.

November 7, 2017

Go to Church: Examining La Chiesa as Demons 3

Beware of Spoilers....

In 1985, Lamberto Bava and Dario Argento introduced the world to the reality of Demons. That film delivered fun and frights in an overly gory film that has become a cult favorite. They wasted no time in following that success with the equally crazy and perhaps even more unglued sequel in 1986 with Demons 2. Clearly they did not want to let up the momentum but also did not have a unified creative direction as to where to take the series, so in 1989 The Church (aka La Chiesa) was released and is often considered Demons 3, despite the lack of direct connection. Of course, it is one of three films to be referred to as Demons 3. If there is one thing fun about Italian horror, it is navigating the web of alternate titles.

November 6, 2017

A Night at the Metropol - Examining Demons 1 and 2

Beware of spoilers…..

In 1985 a movie exploded out of Italy that provided genuine frights and genuine fun at the same time. It is that rare movie that succeeds at all turns. The sort of movie that you can watch over and over again and not get sick of. That movie is none other than Demons. It is a blend of action, horror, and (unintentional) comedy that just tantalizes the senses. It churns the stomach as it causes a giant grin on your face. Filled with memorable characters and some of the best practical gore effects this side of The Thing, it is easy to get into, yet it is not exactly a simple movie. Demons gives you the beginnings of a new world while not bogging you down in the details. It sets up a horrific world full of possibilities waiting to be filled in by your imagination.

November 5, 2017

Top 5 Horror Films..... As of This Writing

(Originally written for Mangled Matters)
Recently, my girlfriend and I got into a little game of “Top 5.” You know, top 5 Wes Craven films or top 5 Full Moon movies. As fate would have it, it was about this time that Justin Hamelin asked me to contribute to a Top 5 project of his own for Mangled Matters. Of course, the topic was top 5 horror movies. Not only that, we have to give a reason why. This is not an easy list to make. I could make a top 5 list using the movies of a single director, quite easily. The thing is, while that may be pretty close to true, it does not tell the full story. It is not an easy thing to do when you love so many horror films, not to mention the variety of horror films that are out there. With a list that can change with mood and time of day, do I pick a representation of the different horror sub genres? Do I pick multiple films from the same director? Ask me another time, I may give you different titles than what you see below.

November 4, 2017

Concert Review: Fabio Frizzi, Brooklyn, NY (10/30/17)

It was just over two years ago that I first had the pleasure of witnessing the genius of Fabio Frizzi live and in person. It was one of those transcendental, bucket list moments that I never thought I would ever get to experience. I am fast learning that those “I never thought” thoughts are never a lock. I mean, this came after I saw Iron Maiden (four times now), a band I never thought I’d get the chance to see live and after I saw Goblin (at the same venue as Frizzi, no less). Since that time I have seen another “I never thought” in the person of John Carpenter. I have pulled off a horror trifecta. Now, I have had the absolute pleasure of seeing Fabio Frizzi a second time (and in another week will be able to say the same for Goblin).

Photo Recap: Chiller Theatre Convention, Halloween 2017

It has been a week since the latest Chiller Theatre convention concluded and I am still buzzing about it. As always, it was an electric experience, chaotic, crowded, fun, and totally exhausting. I used to just go for a day, and that was enough, but now I have been going for a weekend and this allows me time to not have to rush around, but it triples the exhaustion level. No, I am not complaining, the exhaustion I experience after a convention weekend is a good one. It represents an escape from reality and spending time with friends, extended family, and meeting some awesome folks.