Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Horrorella's 31 Days of Halloween: Danse Macabre

I saw this short a few years ago when it played at the Seattle International Film Festival, and the imagery has always stuck with me. Directed by Pedro Pires, the film is something of an unconventional ballet, examining our final moments of existence and the preparation we go through for our final rest.

I always loved the weight of the woman's body as it hovers above the embalming table, and the way she moves as she is slowly lowered down.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Horrorella's 31 Days of Halloween: Halloween Horror

"Halloween Horror" is a fun little short, following a young woman whose car stalls out on a deserted road. She begins walking, and is soon being pursued by an unseen creature. Yes, the ending is kind of ridiculous and not in keeping with the tone of the rest of the film, but I like it anyway thanks to some wonderfully creepy sound effects that enhance the chase sequence (I actually recommend headphones here - they can be easy to miss).

Halloween Horror from mike wavrecan on Vimeo.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Review: Horns

Horns is an interesting genre entry, bringing a lot of solid components to the table with it - The new film from director Alexandre Aja, Daniel Radcliffe in the lead role, and the script is based off of a book by the great Joe Hill, plus devil horns!

As the film opens, Ig Parrish (Radcliffe) is suffering the recent loss of his longtime girlfriend, Merrin (Juno Temple), who was violently murdered several weeks prior. No witnesses or additional suspects, plus a recent fight between the couple leaves Ig the prime suspect in the investigation, and as our story begins, he is dealing not only with loss, but also with being the most hated man in their small town.

The community is completely against him, having already decided his guilt. The police don't have enough evidence to arrest him, but everyone assumes that it is a forgone conclusion, and he will eventually be punished for his crime, one way or another. Everywhere he goes, he is ostracized and met with accusations, while all he wants to do is find Merrin's true killer and bring that person to justice. Not to clear his name or to emerge the hero, but to punish the person responsible for tearing his world apart and to find some sort of closure in the wake of her death.

One morning, he wakes to find that he has sprouted a strange set of horns in the middle of the night. He discovers that these horns compel those in his presence to tell him the truth. This sounds pretty fortuitous for a guy trying to conduct a murder investigation, but the powers of the horns are not as simple as they seem. The people he encounters are not compelled to simply answer questions truthfully - they reveal their innermost secrets to him without a second thought.

Horrorella's 31 Days of Halloween: The Ritual

Written and directed by Will Wright, "The Ritual" tells the short story of an occultist performing a ritual to summon a demon. It also is a sometimes necessary cautionary tale, warning that no matter how many books you read, horror movies you watch and how many devotional tattoos you might get, you should still never fuck with demons. They are crafty and clever and give no shits and are always smarter than you. Just don't mess with them.

The Ritual (2011) from Rev Wright on Vimeo.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Horrorella's 31 Days of Halloween: The Study of Fear

This film is a bit more on the abstract side. "The Study of Fear" is an experiment of sorts, from director Erick Flores Garnelo. The film is comprised of a series of images, and really comes together as sort of a combination of the video from The Ring and something out of Rob Zombie's brain. The score lends it a sense of unsettling eeriness, and really brings it all together.

The study of fear from Erick Flores Garnelo on Vimeo.

Review: The Town that Dreaded Sundown

The Town that Dreaded Sundown is a solid slasher, which is particularly refreshing in a time when we aren't seeing too many slasher films being made. Horror is cyclical, with the wheel reaching every subgenre in due course, and allowing it to have its day in the sun, before something else springs up to take its place in the minds of the populace. For a while now, slashers have been on the dark end of that cycle, which is why the release of this film is so exciting.

One of the aspects that makes it work so well is the way it incorporates both the historical incidents and the previous film. If you aren't aware, back in the 1940's, a serial killer, known simple as the Phantom stalked the streets of Texarcana, a small town on the Texas-Arkansas border. Several people were viciously murdered before the killings stopped, as suddenly as they  had begun. The police have their theories and their suspects, but ultimately, the crimes remained unsolved. In 1976, director Charles B. Pierce made a film about the events. That film, The Town that Dreaded Sundown, was something of a horror/documentary crossover, basing the film on the true circumstances surrounding the events, incorporating a traditional narrative approach and combining it with a doc-style narration.

This new film is equally innovative in its approach. It tells a contemporary story set in Texarcana, referencing both the horrific events of the 1940's and the filming and release of Pierce's 1976 movie. Here, more than 60 years have passed since the original murders. Every year (to the delight of some and the dismay of others), the film is shown somewhere in town, reminding everyone of the events that once took place. But outside of that, the murders have faded into history and life has resumed as normal. This year, however, the Phantom returns. In the opening scene, he attacks a young couple on Lover's Lane, leaving the girl, Jami (Addison Timlin) alive to spread the word of his return. Jami then finds herself embroiled in the investigation with the local police, led by a Texas Ranger (Anthony Anderson).Who could have reason to take up the mantle of the Phantom? Did they miss something during the first investigation? Or could it be possible that the Phantom himself has actually returned?

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Horrorella's 31 Days of Halloween: Don't Move

Welcome back! Today's short is "Don't Move," from director Anthony Melton and writer David Scullion. The film joins a group of friends in the aftermath of a seance, having just let something sinister out into the world with them.

This one is very dark, and very bloody. I recommend lights out viewing, and try to keep as still as possible...

DON'T MOVE - Short Horror from on Vimeo.