Hey, if you’re reading this blog, give us a shout and let us know if these weekly updates are useful to you or not. Quite frankly, they take me awhile to prepare and I could focus more on other articles or reviews if I’m wasting my time. I like to think they’re helpful, but what do you think? Are you getting anything out of this?
Enough chatter, let’s get to the new movies…
Theater Releases, January 28th:
Inspired by true events, “The Rite” follows skeptical seminary student Michael Kovak (Colin O’Donoghue), who reluctantly attends exorcism school at the Vatican. While in Rome, he meets an unorthodox priest, Father Lucas (Anthony Hopkins), who introduces him to the darker side of his faith.
This exorcism thriller directed by Mikael Håfström (1408, Derailed) is inspired by Matt Baglio’s novel, The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist. In addition to the iconic Hopkins and O’Donoghue, the cast also includes Alice Braga (Predators, Repo Men), Ciarán Hinds (the protagonist of The Eclipse, which I loved), Toby Jones (The Mist, the Dream Lord to Doctor Who fans) and genre legend, Rutger Hauer (the upcoming Hobo with a Shotgun, Blade Runner). Although I know the film is screening for critics, reviews are sadly still unavailable. We love a good supernatural thriller and we’re hoping for the best, but fearing the worst.
After Dark Originals
Light gore alert
Building upon the success of Horrorfest®, After Dark Films has developed a second film series, After Dark Originals, comprised of 100% original scripts and not from acquired, previously created films. After Dark takes complete control of the development of the films, from script to post production in partnership with Syfy and Lionsgate. The ADO slate of eight films runs the gamut of the genre, from paranormal phenomena, black magic, space aliens and vengeful ghosts to psychological trauma, murderous psychopaths, vampires and the undead.
Although the quality of the films is often questionable, I look forward to HorrorFest every year. There are always one or two hidden gems in the muck. Some of my favorite horror films, in fact, were discovered through HorrorFest. Usually acquisitions from abroad such as The Abandoned and Lake Mungo.
To my dismay, After Dark is releasing their own films this year. They assure us that this is an additional festival and not a replacement, but I’m skeptical about the future of HorrorFest. News on the Originals films is still suspiciously scarce considering we’re only 3 days out from the theater release and I’m disappointed with what I have seen so far. I will try to post more details later this week as more information becomes available. Until then, the films are: 51, Fertile Ground, Husk, Prowl, Re-Kill, Scream of the Banshee, Seconds Apart and The Task. http://www.afterdarkoriginals.com/
DVD Releases, January 25th
In the tradition of the classic ‘animal revenge’ movies ‘Jaws’ and ‘Piranha,’ comes Sergio Martino’s ‘Alligator,’ a blood-soaked tale of greed. Third World exploration and karmic comeuppance starring Barbara Bach and Claudio Cassinelli. Vampire bats and cobras aren’t the only sentient creatures disturbed by blasting in the steaming jungle of Southeast Asia. When construction for an exclusive Club Med-style resort encroaches onto territory that the Kuma natives hold sacred, their alligator god Kroona takes it personally.
Not to be confused with the American flick from 1980, Alligator (StayFrosty’s review), we’ve got another reissue from Italian schlock master, Sergio Martino here. A blatant Jaws rip-off (one of many!) from 1979 starring Barbara Bach. “He’s a Demon!!!”
A group of filmmakers set out to shoot some scenes in a lodge deep within the woods. They encounter Patti and Henry, two mysterious children who seem to live in the surrounding woodlands. When a member of the group gets viciously attacked, they attempt to escape their “green” prison, only to be picked off one by one.
Mike Nichols’ sophomore film stars Marianne Hagan (Stake land, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers) and pits a porn film’s production team against two murderous teens. In a bold move, Hagan’s Final Girl is a thirty-something porn star, a far cry from the standard young virgin. Even so, Bread Crumbs is prominently advertised as a modern horror adaptation of the Hansel and Gretel tale, but doesn’t appear to relate to the story in any way. There are two kids in the forest. OK. Where’s the candy? Or the witch and the terrifying oven? Based on the reviews I’ve read, I’m betting the original tale is much scarier than this fairly standard slasher.
Dead Space: Aftermath
The year is 2509 and not only has Earth lost contact with the Ishimura and Isaac Clarke, but now also the USG O’Bannon, the first responder ship sent to rescue them. Four crew members of the O’Bannon have survived. But what happened to the rest of the crew? What were they doing? What secrets are they keeping? All to be revealed…in the Aftermath! Dead Space: Aftermath is a fast paced, horrifying thrill ride told through the perspective of the four survivors by several renowned international directors.
Crowbait and I are ridiculously excited about the release of the Dead Space 2 video game today. The world needs more space horror. Oh, dear readers… the limb slicing that will happen in our house tonight! But this follow-up to Dead Space: Downfall? Not excited. It looks just terrible and the reviews confirm it. Although I’m certain many of the shorts are competently animated, the embarrassing 90’s-level quality of the 3d animation that ties the story together makes me want to claw my eyes out. They should be ashamed. Avoid. Just play the game.
Implied kitty murder alert!
Winner of the Un Certain Regard prize at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, Dogtooth is a darkly surreal look at three teenagers confined to an isolated country estate and kept under strict rule and regimen by their parents – an alternately hilarious and nightmarish experiment of manipulation and oppression. Dogtooth has been selected by Greece as their countrys official submission to the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences as their sole entry for consideration for a nomination for Best Foreign Language Film for the 2011 Oscars.
Poor kitty. He was framed! Framed! Although we had a chance to see many excellent films, I regret that we skipped Dogtooth at a recent festival. Especially now that it’s been Oscar-Nominated for Best Foreign Film! It’s exceptionally well-reviewed by critics and I’m planning to arrange a FGSG viewing soon. Easily done, since it’s on Netflix Watch Instantly already!
Most of the dialogue is in Hindi, but there is very little. English-speakers should have no problem understanding the trailer.
Someone else’s past can change the course of your life. A spate of unexpected events jolted Rahul as soon as he landed from U.S. to pacify his lost love Preeti. First, the mysterious death of his dad when he visited the flat. Followed by the baffling disappearance of Preeti. And Now suddenly Rahul finds himself trapped in his own Flat. Completely cut off from the world. The only companion he has is a Ghost. A ghost that will not let go of him. The Flat becomes Rahul’s soul searching journey. Is it a trap or is it a figment of his imagination. Soon he realizes that he was not fair with his own soul-mate Preeti. The fact that someone else’s past can actually change the course of your life gives him the shudders. He must find the solution if he has to come out of this quagmire. Or the ghost will not spare him.
I have seen and know almost nothing of Indian horror. I would love to be educated on the subject, though, if anyone has recommendations? This looks like an Indian spin on classic J-horror to me and a little research tells me this is a common trend. The few reviews I can find aren’t favorable, but I’m willing to give this a shot.
Director Isreal Luna weaves this hair-raising tale of a low-budget film crew being stalked by a vicious slasher. The director is a hack who’s obsessed with the lead actress, the producer is forced to swallow his pride instead of getting credit where credit is due, and the supporting actress is jealous that she didn’t land the lead. It seems that virtually everyone on the crew has something to be upset about, and as tensions begin to mount on-set one person in particular allows their anger to erupt into a murderous rage. They say that life in the entertainment industry can be murder, and it seems that someone on this film crew has taken that old adage as inspiration.
A slasher satire film from the director and some of the cast of Ticked off Trannies with Knives. (An exploitation-style revenge flick causing a bit of controversy within the LGBT community) It takes something special for me to be interested in yet another slasher (or even a slasher satire!) and I’m just not seeing that here. But it is fun to see Chad Allen, the kid from weird 80’s monster movie, TerrorVision, in the cast list. Holy Tomato.
House of Bones
Psychic Heather Burton (Charisma Carpenter, ”Angel”) and a team of TV ghost hunters travel to investigate a haunted house surrounded by rumors of paranormal activity. Upon their arrival they find a foreboding house with a mind of its own, and as darkness falls, the house begins to kill the crew one by one. With time running out, will they be able to outwit this terror and make it out alive?
Well, I DO like haunted house movies, but I’ll pass. Although I hear it’s not as bad as most SyFy originals, this supernatural thriller starring Charisma Carpenter (Buffy, Angel) is poorly reviewed.
Constable Shane Cooper (Ryan Kwanten TRUE BLOOD) arrives in the small town of Red Hill in search of a quieter life but on Cooper s first day with the Red Hill Police Department a convicted murderer escapes from prison and heads straight for Red Hill to kill the men who put him there. One by one the townsmen fall until Cooper discovers the shocking truth about the convict and must challenge everything he believes in order to stop the massacre and bring justice to Red Hill.
This violent Australian thriller crosses an homage to the American Western with a grim horror film. Ryan Kwanten (True Blood, Dead Silence) stars alongside Steve Bisley (Mad Max) and Tommy Lewis. Three men at odds in this brutal story of revenge. Reviews call it dark, action-packed and entertaining.
Sexually suggestive content! Alert!
In the 1970s, his legendary films El Topo and The Holy Mountain redefined movies as both art and entertainment while changing the face of cinema forever. And in 1989, visionary writer/director Alejandro Jodorowsky returned with his modern masterpiece: It is the story of a young circus performer, the crime of passion that shatters his soul, and the macabre journey back to the world of his armless mother, deaf-mute lover, and murder. It is an odyssey of ecstasy and anguish, belief and blasphemy, beauty and madness. It is unlike any movie you have ever seen before…or ever will. Axel Jodorowsky, Blanca Guerra and Guy Stockwell star in this epic of surreal genius, now fully restored and featuring more than five hours of exclusive Extras that reveal the mind behind one of the most provocative and unforgettable motion picture experiences of our time. On DVD for the first time ever in America.
A Mexican-Italian surrealist cult film. Despite quite violent and disturbing content, the film is very well-received critically. I can see some similarities to the film, The Last Circus, here and I wonder if Santa Sangre was an influence. If the reviews can be trusted, this is a must-see.
Saw: The Final Chapter
Previously known as Saw 3D
Witness the last diabolical act of a legend as the final pieces of Jigsaw’s puzzles are revealed! As a deadly battle rages over Jigsaw’s brutal legacy, a group of Jigsaw survivors gathers to seek the support of self-help guru and fellow survivor Bobby Dagen. But Dagen hides his own dark secrets, ones that will unleash a wave of unrelenting terror and suffering in this heart-stopping finale to the most successful horror movie series of all time.
Due to dwindling returns, Kevin Greuert’s Saw: The Final Chapter is the last entry of the Saw series. Even with the long-awaited return of Cary Elwes, this is most poorly received Saw film yet. Probably a good time for franchise fans and forgiving gorehounds, but one to avoid otherwise.
A bloody, gruesome and relentless thriller, THE TRAVELER stars Val Kilmer as a mysterious stranger whose past threatens to haunt the lives of six unsuspecting sheriff’s deputies. The moment he arrives in their small town police station confessing to multiple murders, their lives are forever changed. From the first scene to the shocking conclusion, horror fans will get more than their fair share of torture and bloodshed.
Oh, it’s a Christmas movie! I love Christmas horror, but I’m not sure how I feel about sinister and kind of bloated Val Kilmer terrorizing a police station. I DO enjoy the line, “HE’S KILLING US WITH HIS CONFESSIONS!”
My Pick this Week?
Dogtooth is the ticket if you want to see what earned it that Oscar nom, but my personal pick is Red Hill.