Thursday, May 31, 2012

What a Strange Week it has Been!!!!!

What a strange week it has been, literally, I never imagined that when I started this week so many crazy and disturbing stories would make the news in North America. I know I have watched and possibly reviewed on here some of the most disturbing flicks out there. In fact, it was just last week where I profiled the true story behind the movie The Afflicted. However, as tragic and disturbing as that story is, it has nothing on the reality of this week. If you missed it, here is a recap of sorts.
Saturday, news broke of the strange cannibalistic attack on a man on the MacArther causeway near Miami Beach, FL.  Not only was this a ghastly attack, the entire thing was captured on a security camera, bringing the entire story to world in full color. Of course, this camera also captured the violent end when the police shot the perpetrator multiple times after he would not stop eating the victims face.

If you are not familiar with the story, Haitian born Rudy Eugene attacked a man by chewing and eating 75 percent of his face while he was passed out. The victim survived and is now in the hospital in serious condition after losing or suffering injuries to his eyes, nose, cheeks and mouth.

Why did Eugene do it? No one knows for sure. However, it was originally reported that he was possibly high on the synthetic drug called Bath Salts, although his girlfriend may have other ideas. The woman, who wanted to remain anonymous, went on record stating she believed that Eugene was the victim of a voodoo curse, and the attack had to have supernatural roots. No matter what, this case will be one that not soon forgotten.

Of course, the week could have ended there with the strange crimes and attacks, but it did not. On Sunday, a report came out about a man in Hackensack, NJ, who allegedly cut out his own intestines and threw them at the police. This bizarre story centers around Wayne Carter, a 43-year old New Jersey man, who barricaded himself into a room in his house and reportedly began to stab himself in the abdomen, neck and legs. The man was in such a place that pepper spray only enraged him and actually prompted him to throw pieces of his flesh and intestines at the police officers that were called to the scene.

Yes, this strange occurrence was not nearly as violent as the attack of the Miami Cannibal, but still, it was one of the strangest stories to be reported in sometime. If I were a true believer, I would definitely start believing that the apocalypse was closer than 203 days away.

Yes, the week could have ended there and it would have been one of the strangest to come about in some time, but no, it did not. Today, the story broke about Luca Rocco Magnotta, and his connection to the body parts discovered in the mail, the disgusting video 1 lunatic 1 ice pick, and the remains of a torso discovered in Montreal.
This may be one of the most disturbing bits of reality I have heard in some time as Magnotta, a gay porn star / necrophiliac / cat killer, apparently recorded the murder, dismemberment and anal rape before entering into some cannibalistic acts with the corpse. Utterly one of the most disturbing things I have witnessed if real.

Unfortunately, this may not be the first violent act on film by the disturbed individual also known as Eric Clinton Newman or Vladimir Romanov. He has actually been in the crosshairs of animal rights activists as he reportedly; video taped the torture and killing of cats over the past few years, not to mention possibly entering into a relationship notorious sex killer Karla Homolka. Seriously, if this is all true, this one is nuts (and I have not touched his blog that talks about necrophilia).
The Canadian authorities have charged Magnotta with the crimes and an international manhunt is underway. In fact, Interpol has become involved as it has been reported that the 29-year old escaped to Paris prior to the discovery of any of the body parts or torso.

With these three stories in the books, it is easy to wonder, what strange stuff is instore for us as time goes on.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Woman in Black (2012)

When I ran to Family Video to take some flicks back, I decided to check and see what was available. For me, this heat has been miserable and even made me suffer inside on my first Memorial Day since I have retired. I did get out early in the morning to go fishing with my dad, catching three amazing trout, but that drained me to the point where I could not function. Luckily, I had something to watch in the 2012 Hammer Films atmospheric ghost story The Woman in Black.

Plot/ A young lawyer, struggling with work after the death of his wife, is sent to a remote village to settle the estate of a deceased eccentric woman who owns an English manor. The village residents want him to leave as they are trying to conceal a deadly secret.

It is not often, where you find a movie, surrounded by hype, which actually hits home. For me, that is exactly what happened with this one. Honestly, it was amazing to see Hammer Films return with this atmospheric gem. The acting was solid, with Daniel Radcliffe successfully carrying a layered character, the cinematography and design fit the storyline perfectly creating a dark and creepy dominion, the mood, atmosphere and feel just worked and there were enough subtle scares to keep it interesting. Yes, some of the pacing seemed a bit off and the cut-in visions added some confusion, but those flaws were minor. In the end, I am somewhat disappointed in myself for not going to see this one in the theatre; it would have been worth it. If you love ghost stories, check this one out!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Death and Cremation (2010)

I wanted to keep watching flicks that centered on serial killers or something from the slasher genre. Of course, there are many choices out there, especially when hitting our local Family Video Store. What did we find this time?  The 2010 romp, Death and Cremation.

Plot/ In a typical American suburb filled with middle class morals, a lonely 59-year-old, Stan, contributes to society by offering cremation services from his basement. In fact, Stan murders neighbors he perceives to be social bullies. Jarod, a fatherless 17-year-old high school outcast, lands an after-school job in Stan's cremation house and the two develop an unusual working relationship that quickly evolves into a partnership. As detective Matt Fairchild puts together clues from local disappearances, Stan must decide if protecting his newfound trainee is worth killing for.

This was an interesting little flick. Then again, usually anything with Brad Dourif can be at least a little creepy. The acting was decent, the storyline (while a bit light) was creative, and some of it was truly believable. Yes, there was no characterization, the script was a bit flawed and the direction could have been tighter. In the end, this one is far from perfect, but it was somewhat entertaining. Sure, it has some slow moments, but it is still worth watching.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Fields (2011)

I had hoped to continue my string of serial killer based horror with something a bit different. As a horror fan, that is the great thing that we get to experience, there are so many sub-genre’s that we can watch similar themed flicks that are totally different. When I saw that this next flick mentioned Charles Manson, I had to watch it. The Manson story has so many layers and is always a great source of information. Unfortunately, I fell to the box art demon and the flick, The Fields, was not the flick I expected, but…

Plot/ Tells the story of a young boy and his family who are terrorized by an unseen presence.

More of a thriller / drama than horror flick, this one does have a heavy atmosphere and a sense of foreboding that lasts throughout. Loosely based on true events, and memories writer Harrison Smith about the days of Charles Manson, his family, the murders and the media circus that followed as viewed from afar in rural Pennsylvania. This film is an interesting story driven, character study, with a lot of dialogue, mystery and creepiness. Unfortunately, it is not the horror film that the box art would indicate and that will definitely turn off some horror fans. In the end, it is a good film with solid acting, a layered storyline and some solid atmosphere. Yes, it is slow at times, but for a drama, it fits the bill. If you like character driven drama with some atmosphere, check it out.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Filth to Ashes, Flesh to Dust (2011)

So, after a week spent in the depths of religion on here, this week seems centered around serial killers and slashers. Of course, that is always a somewhat fun genre to watch, as those flicks can be all over the place. The next one up for review is the 2011 indie entry from Brain Damage Films and Midnight Releasing, Filth to Ashes Flesh to Dust.

Plot/ “Filth to Ashes, Flesh to Dust,” that was the motto the serial killer known as "Purge" lived by: A schizophrenic, driven by voices to delete the unworthy, the unpure from the human landscape. Nevertheless, if no one is perfect, and we all have flaws, virtually no one is safe. A group of college bound friends find that out the hard way as a trip to the thought dead killers lair turns into a nightmare. The killer Purge is alive and well. Trapped beneath the ground where no one can hear or help, the six teenagers must face each of their own weaknesses and fight Purge with everything they have, if they want to see daylight again. From start to finish, the action does not let up, keeping you on the edge of your seat until the shocking conclusion.

The low-budget indie slasher genre is one that can be enjoyable, and this flick fits right in. Yes, it is not perfect or memorable, as some of the flashback scenes do not fit, some of the storyline jumps around, and some of the pacing was off. However, for a low budget entry, the cinematography was solid and created a decent atmosphere (especially inside the killers hideaway), the acting holds up pretty well throughout, and the killer (Purge) is violent and fitting for a slasher. Sure, there could always be more blood, death and gore, but for a modern slasher, it works. In the end, this is a decently entertaining flick and if you love low budget horror like I do, you should at least find it watchable, but be warned when the movie is over it will probably run into the abyss of horror movies in your mind.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Serial Killer Theresa Knorr: The Disturbing Truth Behind The Afflicted

There are times when you watch a movie that is based on a true story, that you scratch your head and just say no way. Some of the depraved, disgusting and violent acts depicted in movies just cannot be true. One such film that left me feeling this way was The Afflicted from Midnight Releasing. However, after a couple emails with them on another subject, the passed on the name of the actual person and case which the movie was based. Yes, it seems, as some of the flick was fictional (the ending), but the majority of the story was indeed based on fact.

This lady, Theresa Knorr, was that immoral and evil. Born in 1946, Knorr was convicted of torturing and murdering two of her children and was sentenced to two-consecutive life sentences after pleading guilty to save herself from the Death Penalty. Incredibly, some of the most intense parts of movie are in fact true. The story arc of the mother shooting her daughter, leaving her to rot in the bath tub handcuffed to the soap dish, nursing her back to health before torturing her by performing surgery to remove the bullet with alcohol and a box cutter, you guessed it, true, as was burning her body along the roadside. The same can be said of the death of another daughter, who was forced into prostitution by her mother, tortured, locked in a closet until her death by dehydration and starvation some days later.

As a fan of horror, stories like this that are mostly true are much more disturbing than the slasher films I grew up on. In a weird twist, it seems like religious fanaticism lay at the heart of these and other torturous crimes that are too hard to even imagine. Unfortunately, these tales are truly the mantra behind the statement that sometimes truth is stranger than fiction, especially when you consider she is eligible for parole in 2027. The Afflicted is a disturbing movie that honestly captures the darkness in this story. I definitely applaud Midnight Releasing for pushing the boundaries with films that stay true to the brutal depths of human darkness.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Darker Reality (2008)

Whenever you go to a video store, there is always that film that you look at and in the end decide against. Finally, after some time, you break down and pick it up, hoping you made the right decision. In my case, with the terrible streak I am on, I am sure that it would never be what I was hoping for. The flick that backed me into this corner was A Darker Reality from 2008.

Plot/ Detective Alex Belasco and his assistant a media savvy personality named Jesse Metcalfe are searching for a serial killer who targets women known only as “The Ghost”. As they dive deeper into his mind and inch closer to finding him, they discover something dark, depraved and disturbing.

I had passed on this one a few times before grabbing it, and I am glad I finally grabbed it. First off, Daniel Baldwin does a great job at playing a psychopath; he was extremely believable and intense throughout. While there were some flaws, mostly centered around the police / detective characters and characterizations; they just seemed forced and very clichéd. The storyline was interesting (even with a few holes), the atmosphere was heavy and dark, and the violence and gore was equal to the strong performances of the tortured souls. Yes, the ending was a bit of a twist (although somewhat predictable), but that just adds to the darkness. In the end, this blood-soaked and ultra-violent journey with a psychopath is definitely not for everyone; If you like that kind of thing, definitely check it out. Now, I have to find A Dark Reality to see what it has in store.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Requiem for the Damned (2012)

I was going to did out The Wicker Man, instead, I decided to venture into the darkness that is Edgar Allan Poe. I love Poe and the deep stories he created. He was truly a genius and he was lost before his time. While The Raven is all the rage, I decided to venture into something different, the 2012 Indie entry, Requiem for the Damned.

Plot/ For nearly two hundred years his stories of the macabre have shocked and terrified audiences. And now, inspired by five of Poe's most terrifying tales, five filmmakers have banded together to create the ultimate tribute to the master: Edgar Allan Poe's Requiem For The Damned - featuring adaptations of : The Fall of the House of Usher, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Black Cat, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Murders in the Rue Morgue.

I will have to admit, as a Poe fanatic, I hate watching failed interpretations of his works. While, I personally enjoy some of the modern twists, they have to be done right, and that is often a tall order. In this flick, Allegheny Image Factory did their best to apply modern twists to his works, some worked, while some did not (The Tell-Tale Heart was bad, very bad). For me, the flick was uneven, scripting off and acting all over the place. Honestly, it had an extremely low budget almost student film type quality. I did like the surreal feel of The Black Cat (although, it was too over the top) and The Pit and the Pendulum was intriguing in what seemed like a post-apocalyptic world. Unfortunately, as a whole, this flick is flawed and definitely will not appeal to everyone, watch at your own risk!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Wicker Tree (2010)

After watching 11-11-11, I decided to venture back to the Family Video Store to see if I could find something of a religious nature to continue my unplanned religion week here on the site. While there was a ton of selections, one film caught my eye, The Wicker Tree. This sequel (30 some years later) is one I had hoped would someday be made, as the original flick The Wicker Man, is one of the greatest flicks I have seen. How did it stack up? Well…

Plot/ Charmed by the residents of Tressock, Scotland, two young missionaries accept the invitation to participate in a local festival, fully unaware of the consequences of their decision.

I probably should not review this one. As a huge fan of the original classic The Wicker Man, I knew that there was no way a sequel (or remake) could ever duplicate the intricacies and depth of the original. This film is very different from that great work. Full of cliché, dark humor, and stereotype, it seemed forced and failed to create the atmosphere or curiosity of the first one. The script was flat, acting uneven, and some of it made absolutely no sense. There were some positives in it (like seeing Christopher Lee in a cameo) and there was definitely some potential there, but much of the film left me blah. Maybe in a few years I would rewatch it without thinking of the classic, but until then, I guess it is time to dust off my copy of the Lee classic and watch a true journey into the depths of paganism, religion and sacrifice.

Friday, May 18, 2012

11-11-11:The Prophecy (2011)

In looking at the blog this week, it seems like a strange religious theme started to permeate the pages. Incredibly, there was not plan to this and there was no rhyme or reason for it to take place, especially considering the movies were selected at random. The next film that came in was the Darren Lynn Bousman religious thriller 11-11-11: The Prophecy.

Plot/ After the death of his wife and child, an author travels to Barcelona to see his estranged brother and dying father, where he learns that his life is plagued by events that occur on 11-11-11.

I think I may be in the minority on this one, but I enjoyed it. The character driven tension with the religious overtones seem to create an interesting feel. Yes, it was not really the apocalyptic flick that some of the advertisements portrayed, and yes, the ending left a lot to be desired, but it was somewhat effective. The acting was ok, the scripting decent, and pace solid. There were some flaws as the effects seemed forced and the ending truly was not needed. In the end, as a religious thriller, it is watchable and somewhat enjoyable, but as a straight apocalyptic horror, it does not hit the spot. If you like dark religious themes, check it out, if not…

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Devil Inside (2012)

After watching a twisted religious piece in The Afflicted, I wanted to keep the strange religious themes going this week. I mean, honestly, is there anything better than demons running amuck or seeing an exorcism? I do not think so. My selection for the evening is the 2012 docudrama / horror The Devil Inside.

Plot/ In Italy, a woman becomes involved in a series of unauthorized exorcisms during her mission to discover what happened to her mother, who allegedly murdered three people during her own exorcism.

Was this a perfect movie? Absolutely not, but there was actually a lot more to like about it than I expected. The storyline was interesting and quite dark, it was actually one of the more eerie flicks I have seen lately (and the contortionist creeped me out…ugh). The acting was solid, and honestly, the atmosphere really worked. Yes, there were some plot holes, there was no gore and the hand cam / mockumentary style has been over done recently, but overall, it was an intriguing flick. In the end, it is somewhat flawed, but it was an entertaining flick. Sure, it is not the best in the exorcism genre, but it is worth watching at least once as a rental.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Afflicted (2010)

After an interesting day at work, and a unfruitful trip to the lake, I decided to kick back and watch something a bit different. This one was more of a drama or thriller than clear-cut horror entry, but who cares. It is always good to change things up. The selection from 2010 is The Afflicted from Midnight Releasing.  

Plot/ This is a  story of incomprehensible abuse delivered by an explosively violent mother of four and a journey through the mind of a child that experiences a living hell, defined and defended by the twisted religious beliefs of her mother.

Let me start by saying this was a dark, twisted and unsettling journey into a disturbing topic. As a parent, I could never imagine falling into the trappings of abuse in any way, and was quite disturbed. This was a interesting flick, with solid cinematography, good acting and a dark storyline. More of a thriller or drama than horror, it definitely seems to cross genres and may not have a true target audience. It is truly unbelievable (especially if it was a true story). Kane Hodder did have a bit part, but was underutilized in his cameo. Yes, it had its flaws and some of it was extremely disturbing, which makes it not for everyone. To me, if you can handle a dark and disturbing flick with realism, check it out.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Creature (2011)

If you have read my blog, you know that I love creature features and cheesy low budget flicks. Honestly, is there anything better than a schlockfest with a man in a rubber suit? Well, I am sure there is, but whenever the flick is based on a reptilian Bigfoot like Lock Jaw, it cannot be all bad, can it? Hmmm, I guess it can. What movie am I talking about, Creature from 2011.

Plot/ In the back country of Louisiana, a group of friends unearth a terrible secret that unleashes a monster from the depths of the swamp.

A creature feature with Sid Haig, could you ask for anything more? Well, yes, but as a low budget (relatively speaking) flick with a man in a rubber suit, I have seen much worse.  This one has everything one could imagine from a cheap creature feature, it has all the cheesiness, violence, nudity, and blood splatter that make these tolerable. Yes, it is full of cliché, the acting is uneven, the scripting predictable, and the creature effects were laughable, but hey, it was a cheesy schlockfest that was at least good for a laugh. Sure, it is not up to classic B-Movie creature feature standards, but it has a few interesting moments and some awesome scenery (and boobs). I may not run out a buy it, but it is far from the worst flick I have seen.