Thursday, December 29, 2011

From My DVD Shelf: Chillerama

I acquired Chillerama a couple of weeks ago, and now that the Holiday madness has settled, finally got the chance to sit down and watch it earlier this week. It took me awhile to write this because I was very busy watching that Paul Christoforo douchebag get his ass handed to him by the entire gaming community. Stupid asshole.

Anyway, I've been a fan of Adam Green since I first watched Hatchet (and loved it), so when I heard that he was teaming up with some friends to bring a grindhouse-homaging-anthology film to us, I was excited. The final product isn't perfect, but it still manages to be a hell of a good time.

Chillerama is framed within the story of the final showing at a classic drive-in theater. Corporate assholes will be bulldozing it to the ground the next morning, so the owner (Richard Riehle) decides to giver her a massive send-off with an all-night splatterfest.

First up is Wadzilla, written and directed by Adam Riffkin (who also plays the role of our main character, Miles). Miles is given pills by his doctor (Ray Wise) to help him with his lackluster sperm count. This medication is in the experimental stages, and rather than upping his sperm count, it has an adverse effect, making the few sperm he does have bigger, meaner and more aggressive. The doctor advises Miles to discontinue the medication, and should he become aroused, to immediately masturbate and get the sperm out of his body before it has the chance to become any bigger (logical, right?). Unfortunately for Miles (and everyone else, for that matter), this tactic fails when the already way-too-big-and-scary sperm manages to escape and continues growing, running amok all over New York and growing larger and larger. A send-up of 1950's creature features, Wadzilla injects enough absurdity and mayhem into the concept to make it ridiculously entertaining.

The second story was Tim Sullivan's I Was a Teenage Werebear. Everything anthology film has a weak link, and unfortunately, this is Chillereama's. The story is simple enough - Ricky (Sean Paul Lockhart) is a little confused and has been battling the "urges" that he gets when he is around other guys - particularly another student named Talon (Anton Troy) and his greaser squad. Then, during a gym-class wrestling match, Talon bites Ricky on the ass and everything changes. As Lin Shaye, genre favorite, as well as the story's gypsy nurse explains, he has been cursed - from now on, every time Ricky becomes aroused, he will transform into a beefy, hairy, leather-clad werebear. The concept is sound enough (though silly, but I'm not deducting points for silly), but Werebear struggles with its influences - there are simply too many. Part 1950's chiller, part 1960's beach party flick, part musical, Werebear just has too much going on, and the pieces don't play well together. Each influence distracts from the others, and ultimately, from the final product. Stripped down and simplified, it may have been more successful.

The third story (and my personal favorite) was Adam Green's The Diary of Anne Frankenstein. This story supposes that Anne Frank's family had shortened their name from Frankenstein to hide their stained past, and that the journal of the infamous Doctor Frankenstein was discovered by the Nazis during the family's capture. It was turned over to Hitler (Joel David Moore), who goes about creating a monster (Kane Hodder) to do his bidding. This piece is hilarious - all of the cast is speaking German, with Moore just shouting gibberish with a lot of hard consonants (I caught Boba Fett and Han Solo among his lines of dialogue). It's fantastic. I don't know how he managed to get through it without cracking up, but I'm guessing it probably took about 2,000 takes to get it done. He does it with a tremendous level of conviction, which makes it even better.

The final segment is Zom-B-Movie, written and directed by Joe Lynch. It continues the story set forth in the framing device, and shows us what has been going on in our drive-in during the features. A massive zombie outbreak has arisen, resulting in a horde of mindless undead, hungry for human flesh - not for eating it, but for fucking it (because why not?). So a group of teenagers must defend themselves from a mass of horny zombies. It's visceral, violent, and gooey. Very very gooey.

Chillerama is the kind of fun you want to have with a few friends, a couch and some beers. It's not the "so bad it's good" kind of fun - it does stand on its own and accomplishes what it sets off to do. It's a fun bled of horror and comedy that leaves your saying "What the fuck?" more times than you can count, and sitting mouth agape when you see where they're willing to go next. Not to be missed or taken too seriously.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Jaws Blu-ray on the Horizon!

Universal Home Entertainment has announced that they are planning to bestow upon us a Blu-ray release of Jaws on August 14, 2012.

The most classic of awesome films will finally be getting the HD treatment and Bruce is going to look AMAZING.

And just imagine how much more epic Quint's Indianapolis speech will be in glorious high definition!

I am so excited; Jaws is one of my all-time favorite films, and I can't wait to see it get the visual treatment that it deserves. August can't come soon enough. Join me in cheering!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Friday, December 16, 2011

Lollipop Chainsaw Artwork Released

Dear Santa,

Please bring me Lollipop Chainsaw for Christmas. I realize that this game isn't due to be released until some time in 2012, but Miracle on 34th street taught me that if I double dog dare you with a threat of non-belief, then you cave and grant impossible wishes.

Please restore my childlike wonder and faith in magic by leaving a cheerleader chainsawing the shit out of hordes of the living dead in my stocking.

Love, Horrorella

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Kill List Trailer Premiers

Much buzz has been building around Ben Wheatley's upcoming Kill List since it first premiered at SXSW earlier this year. It looks like it will be getting a VOD release starting January 4th, and a small theatrical run on February 3rd.

Start watching the trailer and commence getting excited.

Synopsis: Eight months after a botched job in Kiev, Jay (Neil Maskell) is an out-of-work hitman with no job, money, health insurance and a wife constantly on his case. But when his business partner Gal (Michael Smiley) comes over for dinner and pressures Jay into taking a new assignment, Jay quickly finds himself back in the game with the promise of a big payoff after three assassinations. Although the hits start off without incident, soon things begin to unravel and Jay's paranoia reveals itself  as he is plunged into the heart of darkness.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Woman Coming to DVD January 24th

Bloody Disgusting Selects will be making Lucky McKee's The Woman available on DVD, Bluray and digital download/rental for your viewing pleasure on January 24th.

If you haven't yet seen the film, you may have caught wind of it last year when it aired at the Sundance Film Festival and some douchebag (who must have had his hair blown back when the entire subtext of the film went RIGHT over his head) threw a tantrum during a Q&A session, decrying the film for being misogynistic and degrading to women, calling for it to be burned and was subsequently kicked out of of the theater to thunderous applause from fellow audience members.

I caught this film during its theatrical run in October, and really enjoyed it. I am huge fan of McKee's 2002 film, May, and it's great to see him bringing the same energy to The Woman. While not as sweet as May, it still taps the same "slightly left of reality" vein, though The Woman takes it to a much darker place. It is not your typical horror film, but he clearly put a great deal of thought into it, and the film definitely has something to say.

Synopsis: A domineering, upper-middle class father abducts a feral woman while out on a day-long hunting trip. With his twisted set of ideals, he decides to embark upon a deranged project – to "civilize" her – a decision that he and his family will soon regret. Tearing apart the image of the all-American family, director Lucky McKee and writer Jack Ketchum unleash a savage depiction of the war of the sexes and nature versus civilization. Labeled one of the most controversial films of the year, The Woman is a must for all fans of horror.

[REC] 3 Genesis Trailer

The trailer for [REC] 3 Genesis has finally hit, courtesy of Bloody Disgusting, and it promises blood-soaked good times.

[REC] 3 continues the story set up in the first two installments, taking the infection to a wedding. And let's be honest - don't all girls dream of mowing down crazy zombie-creatures with a chainsaw on their wedding day? I know I did. Sadly, it didn't come to fruition. But check out the trailer and live out the awesome fantasy with me.

The first two films were nothing short of brilliant, and my fingers are tightly crossed that [REC] 3 will bring us more of the same genius. It appears that they are breaking out of the found footage genre with this one, which will be an interesting change from the first two (where it worked extremely well).

The Innkeepers Gets a Release Date

The Innkeepers, the newest (and highly anticipated) film from Ti West (The House of the Devil) will be available on demand starting December 30th, and will have a limited theatrical run on February 3rd.

Synopsis: After over one hundred years of service, The Yankee Pedlar Inn is shutting its doors for good. The last remaining employees -Claire (Sara Paxton) and Luke (Pat Healy) - are determined to uncover proof of what many believe to be one of New England's most haunted hotels. As the Inn’s final days draw near, odd guests check in as the pair of minimum wage “ghost hunters” begin to experience strange and alarming events that may ultimately cause them to be mere footnotes in the hotel’s long unexplained history.

Monday, December 12, 2011

From My DVD Shelf: It

So, I'm about 25% through latest Stephen King book, 11/22/63 (and am enjoying myself). The book is about a high school English teacher who goes back in time to stop the Kennedy assassination. Before doing that, however, he heads to Derry, Maine to test out this whole changing the past notion by setting some wrong things right.

Naturally, being in Derry, in the late '50s, there is a lot of cross-over with the events, themes and characters presented in King's 1986 novel, It. As is the way (when you're me), it got me thinking about King's earlier book, but moreso, the mini-series that it was the basis of. Last weekend, I decided to pull the dvd off the shelf and revisit it.

Stephen King's work has long been the backbone of the American TV mini-series, and it makes a lot of sense - while many of his books and stories have made tremendously successful and effective film adaptations, his work does tend to be rather long and involved, so allowing it a 4 or 6 hour runtime allows the story to be told in its entirety. And sure, that story is then subject to the rules of Standards and Practices, but that doesn't mean that the scares are completely squashed. It, for example, is a story that I could never envision being told anywhere than on television. In my mind, it's the quintessential Stephen King TV movie.

The story of It splits its time between Derry, Maine in 1960, and in present day (in this case, 1990, when the film aired). Back in 1960, a dark force was making its presence known in Derry. Local children were going missing and turning up dead and mutilated, or sometimes not turning up at all. A group of local kids each had run-ins with the killer, a strange force known as Pennywise the Dancing Clown (Tim Curry), who also had the power to shape-shift into whatever form his victims find the most terrifying. Together, they manage to defeat the Evil, but make a solemn vow that, if It should ever rise again, they would come back and destroy the creature. Fast Forward to 1990. Mike (Tim Reid) is the only one out of the group remained in Derry into adulthood. After a string of child murders that bear a striking resemblance to the events that occurred in 1960, he calls the group back to do the needful. The story jumps back and forth between past and present, layering plot points as it goes.

The story has everything that you could ask for in a Stephen King tale: an ancient evil, a group of people defined and bound together by their friendship, and some really freaking scary scenes. It is the reason that 95% of my generation is afraid of clowns. If you were between the ages of 8 and 15 when it aired in 1990, you or someone you know is probably scared shitless of clowns.

And who wouldn't be?

And I was among them. I didn't watch the film when it first aired because my parents sucked, but I did see it at a slumber party when I was 14, and Tim Curry scared the crap out of me. I was petrified of clowns until a couple of years ago when I decided to cowboy up, stop being a pussy and conquer the fear. So I watched It again. And while they can still be creepy as fuck, I am no longer crippled into tears when I see them. So there is my success story.

I am of the opinion that It is still successful to this day. Yes, the effects can be a little cheesy, but they aren't used to abundance, so you don't even really notice. And yes, it was shot for like $3.75 (which may have been a lot of TV money in 1990, I don't really remember), but the concept works, the actors carry it fairly well (definitely better than you would expect for a late '80s television cast), and Tim Curry is AWESOME. He is intimidating, he is Evil, and he even manages to yuck it up in his role as Pennywise the Dancing Clown. He is one of the few actors that would have been able to play not only the scary-ass clown, but also the darker, eternal creature that hides underneath the white paint, and that is what gives Pennywise his gravity.

If you've never seen It, now is the time to pick it up. And if you have seen it, now might be a good time to be reintroduced. It's easy to forgive the cheapness of the film because the dark heart of the story manages to rise above its lowly ABC television stage and elevate it to a timeless story of fate, friendship and bravery. And also killer clowns.

They all float down here....

New ParaNorman Trailer

The second trailer for the upcoming animated film, ParaNorman, hit the web today, curteous of MSN. This film looks great - like a big bag of sweet and kind of creepy and lots of awesome all stop-motioned together.

ParaNorman will hit theaters in August, 2012 from LAIKA and Focus Features (the studios who brought us Coraline a few years back). 

<a href='' target='_new' title='ParaNorman trailer (MSN Exclusive)'>Video: ParaNorman trailer (MSN Exclusive)</a>

Thursday, December 8, 2011

American Psycho Reboot???

So, in all of their infinite wisdom, Lionsgate seems to have decided that a remake of American Psycho seems like a good place to put their money.

Seriously? What the fuck?

According to the article published on Deadline,  video director Noble Jones has been working on a script that pulls Patrick Bateman out of the cocaine-fueled '80's and plants him in present day New York. You know...just to see what would happen.

I try to keep an open mind, and I have been surprised in the past when concepts that I originally thought to be be total crap were spun in a clever way and the final product was not the shit-bomb that I had originally envisioned. But I really don't see how the hell this can work. Or should, for that matter. I love the film as it stands. Brett Easton Ellis' work is difficult to translate to the screen. Mary Harron did a successful job with the 2000 film version of American Psycho (though The Rules of Attraction still resides just slightly in the lead, in my opinion). The material translated well from page to screen, the performances were all solid (Christian Bale in particular), and text from the book was incorporated into the script gracefully and seamlessly. A remake (particularly when the original is barely a decade old) is just redundant (not to mention stupid). Especially when the source material was a commentary on the rampantly consumerist, disconnected, yuppie-douchebag lifestyle of the 1980's. It doesn't need updating - it speaks just fine the way it is. We don't need to watch Patrick Bateman go up against the 99%.

...I have to go return some videotapes...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Comic-con Doc to be Distributed Next Spring

Morgan Spurlock's (the Supersize Me dude) new documentary, Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope is set to be released sometime next spring, according to the recent press release published on Ain't it Cool News. AICN's own Harry Knowles served as co-producer on the film (along with Stan Lee and Joss Whedon), and early screenings at this fall's Fantastic Fest were quite positive.

I've enjoyed Spurlock's other films, and am excited to see how he comes at the pop culture giant that is Comic-Con.

Here is the press release:

    Los Angeles, CA (December 6, 2011) — Chris Ball, President and CEO of LA-based film production and distribution company Wrekin Hill Entertainment, and Joel Weinshanker, President and CEO of the National Entertainment Collectibles Association (NECA), a movie merchandising powerhouse that has become an essential tastemaker for the all-important Fanboy culture, announced today that they have jointly acquired Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Morgan Spurlock’s fanboy documentary COMIC-CON EPISODE IV – A FAN’S HOPE. The film will be released theatrically in Spring 2012 in conjunction with a multi-city tour of the film with major events for film and merchandising fans across the nation. Additionally, as a supplement to Wrekin Hill and NECA’s plans, the film will screen at various fan gatherings and have an online presence via one of the film’s producers, Thomas Tull, and his Legendary Entertainment.

    “As a young kid growing up in West Virginia, I was obsessed with comic books and horror films so the first time I ever attended Comic-Con in the summer of 2009 was a dream come true for me. I was blown away by the passion and the creativity there — the panels, parades, costumes, crowds and camaraderie that makes Comic-Con one of the largest cultural events in America,” said Spurlock. “As a filmmaker, I felt compelled to show audiences what Comic-Con is all about and I am now excited to have the film in the hands of Wrekin Hill and NECA to help do that.”

    Presented by Stan Lee and Joss Whedon, COMIC-CON EPISODE IV – A FAN’S HOPE takes a behind-the-scenes look at this amazing cultural phenomenon where fans gather by the tens of thousands annually to attend the ultimate geek mecca in San Diego — a fringe comic book convention that has grown into the pop culture event of the year. The film was produced by Spurlock, Jeremy Chilnick, Matthew Galkin, Harry Knowles and Thomas Tull; and written by Spurlock and Chilnick.

    “I have been a Morgan Spurlock fan ever since SUPER SIZE ME, and this film – which wowed audiences at the 2011 Toronto Film Festival – should win over additional fans for Spurlock’s fascinating look at what has become the Superbowl of fanboy events,” says Ball.

    “In the spirit of the film, we plan to go out on the road with the filmmakers to cities across the country so that fans and audiences can see the film in large theaters and small arenas, with Q&As, contests, give-aways and all sorts of special cultural presentations,” says Weinshanker.

    The Spurlock acquisition marks the latest joint acquisition by Wrekin Hill and NECA as part of a strategic partnership whereby the two companies will join to distribute four to five titles theatrically each year. Previous titles this year have included Spencer Susser’s HESHER, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Natalie Portman, and Rainn Wilson; Alexandre O. Phillipe’s documentary comedy THE PEOPLE VS GEORGE LUCAS and writer/director J.B. Ghuman Jr’s colorful and foul-mouthed musical comedy SPORK.

    Ball and Rene Cogan negotiated the deal for Wrekin Hill with Weinshanker at NECA, with attorney Gary Hirsch representing both Wrekin Hill and NECA, and CAA handling the deal on behalf of the filmmakers.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Cabin in the Woods Trailer Hits!

Happy Monday, everyone! Just for you, and because you've been good, here is the brand spankin' new Cabin in the Woods trailer. This film has been about a bazillion years in the making, but we will finally get to see in this April.

Check it out!

Friday, December 2, 2011

First Image from Hansel and Gretel: Witchhunters

Entertainment Weekly just scored the first ever still from Paramount's upcoming Hansel and Gretel: Witchhunters. This film comes from Tommy Wirkola, the insane genius who brought us Dead Snow and stars Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton as grown-up brother and sister duo who now make a living as witch bounty hunters.

The trailer will hit the web next week, but for now, check out the still!

Pre-Order The Whisperer in the Darkness on DVD

Just in time for Christmas! You can now pre-order your copy of The Whisperer in the Darkness directly from the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society website!

This film is an adaptation of the classic Lovecraft story. It made the rounds at several festivals earlier this year to positive reception. I was fortunate to be able to catch it in June at the Seattle International Film Festival, and can report that it was a fantastic adaptation.

This is the same team that did The Call of Cthulhu silent film adaptation a few years ago. These guys have a lot of respect and love for the source material, and worked really hard to translate it for the screen, while staying true to the original work. It is shot in black and white, in the style of a classic monster movie from the 1930s, and it works very well. I'm not the only one who thinks so, either:

 ...the most compelling proof to date that there is a way to bring H.P. Lovecraft to cinematic life... It's great fun.
-The Stranger, Seattle

You are about to encounter what very well may be the single most successful H.P. Lovecraft adaptation ever to lick fear across a screen. Whisperer arrives like shadows out of time, a discovered relic from another dimension. A genuinely scary film and a hellishly great time.

The website says that the dvds will ship in mid-December, and should be able to arrive just about anywhere in time for the holiday. The perfect stocking stuffer for the Lovecraft fiend in your life! Pre-order today!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

First Cabin in the Woods Poster!

Ain't it Cool News just premiered the first poster for the long long LONG awaited Cabin in the Woods, the upcoming horror film from Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard.

This film's release has been tied up FOREVER due to MGM's financial woes and sale, but is finally slated for release in April.

Check out the first one-sheet at Ain't it Cool.

Horror Movie Exhibit in Seattle

Attention Northwesterners! If you are in/near Seattle (or plan to be in the near future) be sure to make a stop at the Experience Music Project for their awesome exhibit, Can't Look Away: The Lure of Horror Film.

This is a fantastic exhibit that examines the history of the horror from the silent era through the present. Guest curated by horror gods Roger Corman, John Landis and Eli Roth, it includes iconic props and costumes, as well as interactive aspects that examine the roll that music plays in horror films. There are also mini-theater rooms that show clips from iconic horror films (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Psycho and Ringu, to name a few), as video footage rolls of the three curators discussing and analyzing these films and what makes them pivotal pieces within the genre. I don't know about you, but I could watch these legends talk horror flicks all day long.

I was fortunate to be able to attend Halloween weekend, and I had a blast. Highly recommended if you are nearby, or can make the trip. As an added bonus, the EMP is currently running exhibits on Battlestar Galactica and Avatar, so you can make an entire day out of it.