Scary Movie – 28 DAYS LATER (!!!)

Okay, I purposely avoided information about this movie so that I would receive it in the purest possible form. And I WAS NOT disappointed. :D

Since everyone in the world has seen it besides me, I’m going to go ahead and talk about ~everything~ (SPOILER ALERT).

Firstly, I have to say that 28 Days Later did not leave me *scared* the way I thought it might. I’m not sure if I’m getting desensitized or what, but I just haven’t seen anything lately that has made me want to sleep with the light on. There were certainly *scary moments* – mostly just places where I was startled – but I DON’T want to give the impression that I didn’t enjoy this movie because I really ~*LOVED*~ it!!!

Why did I love it? The cinematography was fantastic. The story was intriguing – the STUPID animal rights activists (this is EXACTLY why I dislike PETA) at the beginning, and especially poor Jim waking up from a coma all alone in London. THAT gave me chills.

Best moments: The "infected" priest: YES!!! – Selena hacking up the guy she was with in the beginning – The flat tire in the tunnel.
(And BTW, can I just ask who else ever saw the 90s version of THE TOMORROW PEOPLE on Nickelodeon? Because that had a HUGE effect on me and the MS I just finished and Naomie Harris was IN THAT *and* 28 Days Later and I used to have a HUGE crush on Christian Tessier, and I just had a HUGE OMG moment).

Biggest shockers: Finding out that Christopher Eccleston was a bad guy (Nooooooo!!!!!!!). Also, is it wrong of me to be much more deeply disturbed by the fact that the military guys fully intended to lure, trap, and rape women (AND A &*$%#@*&! BARELY PUBESCENT GIRL) than by all of England being *infected*?? Cuz the way that went down made me far sicker than any seething venomous zombie-thing. I’m kind of guessing that was the idea…

…Which leads me to Goriest Moment Ever: Jim gouging out needs-to-die-military-boy’s eyes out by hand. As satisfying as this finally was, I totally had to look away – the ONLY time I did in the entire movie! And S pointed out how interesting it was that (at least to me) the most offensive violence in the movie was done MAN vs MAN, and ~not~ INFECTED vs MAN. Hmmmm.

So really, what was there not to love? :) I’ll admit, there were some places where you just had to suspend belief a bit…such as the 30-second virus gestation…and the fact that when you stab people at close range, blood spray is likely to enter your eyes/lungs…and you probably shouldn’t kiss someone covered in blood of unknown origin…

Also, the ending was brilliantly vague. Early in the movie you hear that the virus has spread globally…but then there are hints that maybe it is limited to Great Britain, which may just be quarantined. By the very end, it is clear that other humans are alive and well, and flying planes around, but you’re still not sure exactly what the damage is. Although the 30-second gestation seems like it would be prohibitive as far as global infection. A seething venomous zombie-thing would NEVER make it through airport security…I think. But also, if the rest of the world was okay, wouldn’t they have tried to make radio broadcasts or something into Britain for survivors?

Anyway, I give it: A+++++ (YAYNESS!) Well done all around, but I guess what else can you expect from Danny Boyle? And it DOES make you stop to consider PLAN B…what would YOU do in a zombie-infection apocalypse??

Up Next: Maybe Argento’s OPERA, or DEMONS, IDK yet!!

Scary Movie – PHENOMENA

YES! YES! YES!

(Ignore the stupid American title, PHENOMENA is best!!)

OMG, let me first say that I came to this movie QUITE reluctantly. All I knew about it was that INSECTS played a major role, and that ~creeped~ me out!! I assumed they would be horrific killer-insects that murdered people in disgusting devouring ways.

I WAS WRONG.

The insects were BENEVOLENT!!

And this was probably my favorite role ever for Jennifer Connelly. WIN! So here’s the set-up (typical a la Dario Argento): Young girls are being MURDERED around a not-so-friendly girls boarding school. A gentle old wheelchair-bound entomologist is trying to help the police solve the murders. MEANWHILE, Jennifer Connelly (who couldn’t have been more than 15) is sent to said ~scary~ boarding school by her father who is some kind of rich rock star you never see. She has episodes of sleep-walking and sleep-walks right into a (particularly marvelous Argento-style) murder. She flees in the night, and somehow finds herself at the home of the wheelchair-bound entomologist, which is WEIRD because she can SPEAK TO INSECTS TELEPATHICALLY. (o_O)

I really, REALLY don’t want to give the ending of this one away for those who have not seen it! I will say that I was left asking, "So what the hell happened?" but in the BEST possible way, AND there were in this movie: 1 insane mutant child, 1 vengeful school marm, 2 decapitations, 1 vengeful chimpanzee, 1 cesspool of rotting things and *floating* skulls (YES, they FLOATED), 1 not-believable boat explosion, and SEVERAL endearing insect communcations. Awwwwwwwwww.

So my rating: A++++

Next Up: 28 Days Later, dammit! Finally confronted S on his queue-tamperings. Caught him red-handed!!

Footnote: Have also recently watched Silent Hill (B-) and What Have You Done to Solange? (A-) which were both good, but the latter was better, OF COURSE. Like Black Christmas, it had a (more disturbing) abortion sub-plot. And in wonderful giallo style, some really, really disturbing murders.

Scary Movie – THE HAUNTING (1963)

Ohhhh yeah, some real SUSPENSE, finally!!

THE HAUNTING

So, this was a CLASSIC example of a movie that could never live up to the book it was based on. But it was an EXCELLENT attempt! I listened to The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson <3 on audio last week, and Sunday we settled in for the movie to compare.

Perhaps I should warn that I didn’t find the book all that scary (SPOILER ALERT) until mental illness hit the scene. Yep, WAY scarier than ghosts! Eeeek. The movie poster above does an amazingly accurate portrayal of poor Eleanor’s mind. Although…in the movie, it wasn’t clear whether Eleanor was really nuts, or if THE HOUSE WAS MAKING HER NUTS. In the book, I kind of assumed it was all her. Heh.

So, freakiest things about the movie: EVERYTHING UNSEEN. There were voices, and noises, and you NEVER saw where they were coming from. LOVE that kind of scary movie! All suggestion, nothing shoved down your throat! It’s a lost art, we all know. Weirdest thing about the movie: A young Russ Tamblyn (Dr. Jacoby from TWIN PEAKS) in the role of Luke. Weird. Worst departure from the book: Dr. Markway and Eleanor’s sexual tension, Theodora being a byotch, Mrs. Markway’s character getting *ruined* (she went from oujia-board wielding nincompoop (sp?) to dry, uninteresting skeptic. :-P Character most TRUE to the book: Mrs. Dudley. "I set out breakfast at nine. I clear up at ten." ROFL.

Scary Movie Rating: B+. Not sweating-screaming-hiding-under-blankets scary, but definitely caused a few jumps! And in 1963, probably caused more than a few NIGHTMARES. :) Overall, a MUST for the classic scary catalogue.

Ok, so we’ve worked our way up to THE REAL THING! Next movie up: Phenomena by Dario Argento. OH GOD /INSECTS\ I DON’T KNOW IF I CAN TAKE IT. *SHUDDER*

Scary Movie(s) – The Others AND Mothman Prophecies

This is going to be a two-fer. This week we’ve watched:

            THE OTHERS                       THE MOTHMAN PROPHECIES
           

Okay, so these were both kind of concessions to S, who still needs a night-light. ;) BUT I was pleasantly surprised to find that BOTH movies were SCARIER than I anticipated!! I didn’t even think MOTHMAN was supposed to be scary at all, but trust me – it WAS. In like, the best kind of X-Files way. And there was a moment in THE OTHERS when I screamed DIRECTLY in S’s ear – at about the decible I used to use for swim meets back in the day - and I haven’t done that since we had our first movie date at ID4. Oh god, don’t think about when that came out…

THE OTHERS:
Wow, ok I’ve always thought Nicole Kidman was nice to look at, but I was never that impressed with her skills as an actor (see Far and Away…or actually, don’t). But she was GREAT in this movie! It had everything a classical ghost story has – big spooky house (extra points for being an old manor), shifty servants, slamming doors/furniture, mysterious pianos that play themselves, beautiful dark scenes edited for maximum TENSION, and GHOSTS. Should I ruin the twist? I think I’ll resist…but in full disclosure, I already kind of had an inkling as to what it was before we started the movie, and it STILL snuck up on me and was very intriguing to see how they pulled it off! Wonderful ambivalent ending. Oh yeah, and Christopher Eccleston was in it!! Reason enough to rent!! B+

THE MOTHMAN PROPHECIES
I do not like Richard Gere, for completely irrational reasons involving my sister and PRETTY WOMAN, but he was watchable in this movie. Did not make it or break it. I was trying to superimpose David Duchovny’s face on his, but he kept moving… ANYWAY, S just finished reading this book, so I indulged him. He listens to a lot of Coast to Coast AM podcasts. Most of them are whacked-the-hell-out, but some (particularly ones about EVPs *shiver*) can be strangely compelling. According to S, this movie only faintly resembled the goings-on in the book, but it was FREAK-Y without ever even showing a MOTHMAN. Eeek. Basic plot: Richard Gere’s tragically endearing wife (Debra Messing) dies in the beginning and he experiences strange phenomena that lead him to this little town in W. Virginia called Point Pleasant (true story!). All the people in this town have been experiences strange things, and some have even SEEN the MOTHMAN, who is described as being 8ft tall and scary as shite with wings and an insectal voice and his name is Indrid Cold. EEEK! So Richard never resolves anything about the Mothman, even after being lured with glimpses of his dead wife, but he does find LURVE with a lady cop played by Laura Linney that I found only *slightly* unbelievable as a rural W. Virginia cop, but what are you going to do? Much of the FREAKY events in the book/movie ACTUALLY TOOK PLACE, which gives this movie even further scariness cred. I give it a B.

Next in queue: THE HAUNTING (FINALLY!!)

Scary Movie – BLACK CHRISTMAS (1974)

As promised, BLACK CHRISTMAS was good horror watching!!

I had never heard of BLACK CHRISTMAS until a few years ago when S and I started really getting into classic horror. And then I found out it was directed by Bob Clark of A Christmas Story (which previously trampled Miracle on 34th Street as my FAVORITE X-MAS MOVIE EVER), which made it all the more intriguing…and even more disturbing. Kinda like if you found out that Mr. Rogers did porn on the side or something (please, I don’t want to know).

So we had a bit of trouble tracking this one down at the local Video Rental. We had it in the Netflix queue, but it wasn’t coming fast enough, so we went down to Video One (or neighborhood seedy movie rental) and managed to find it on VHS (much grumbling from S about how the quality would be so bad he wouldn’t be able to hear – it was FINE, and I thought the crappy VHS added to the effect!)

I won’t spoil anything, but the back of BLACK CHRISTMAS reads like a holiday porno. Hmmm…this keeps coming up. It’s about a group of sorority girls and their wayward house mother who are spending Christmas in their sorority house because no one loves them enough to want them home. They start receiving perverse disturbing/harrassing telephone calls, and what do they do? KEEP LISTENING, and INVITE EVERYONE IN THE HOUSE TO COME LISTEN, which is exactly what you’re supposed to do in that situation, right? LOL. And then the big shock of the movie came (ok screw it, SPOILER ALERT) – the VIRGIN is the first victim!! Srsly, right after I turned to S and said, "she won’t die, she’s the virgin – she gets asphyxiated in her closet! Then the guy in the SCREAM mask leaned over my shoulder and stuck his tongue out at me and said, "Nya-nya."

Anyway, as you can probably guess, the perky sorority sisters are picked off one by one by some unknown figure hiding in their attic. I was glad to see the house mother go – she was a badly dressed cliche. My fave part was the byatch sister who was stabbed with her own crystal unicorn – BRUTAL. But seriously, it was sitting there in the camera foreground screaming "IRONIC WEAPON." On top of all this, the MC (only girl who doesn’t die) informs her handsome turtleneck & shag haircut boyfriend that she’s pregnant, but she’s having an abortion and he gets absolutely no say, and she doesn’t love him and doesn’t know why she even told him about it. He proceeds to morph into SCARAY boyfriend and smashes his beloved piano (ouch). Um, and that’s about it. There’s a big ho-down with the killer stalking the MC, but she gets away and (somehow with a fireplace poker) kills her SCARAY boyfriend instead cuz she thinks he’s the killer.

Two annoying things: They NEVER find the bodies of the virgin or the house mother (in the attic), and who the killer is and his motivation for killing is never revealed other than snippets of his harrassing phone calls when he talks about Billy and Agnes, and "don’t tell them what we did." I had to go to Billy’s wikipedia page afterward to fill in the gaps, but then it all made sense. That must’ve been frustrating in 1974!

Up Next: Possibly The Others, The Haunting, or The Mothman Prophecies (S’s pick – whatevs, I called him out on horror avoidance).

October 1st ~ Scaray Movie Beginnings!

Welcome to the FIRST POST in what I hope will be a series cataloging my October SCARAY MOVIE-watching experience.

But okay, I’ll point out the obvious. We didn’t get off to the greatest start. I had put this in the queue several months back, inspired by a trip to the REAL Stanley Hotel:

You will immediately note that this is NOT the Stanley Kubrick/Jack Nicholson version (which I have seen, and loved). This is a tv miniseries that was filmed ON LOCATION at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, CO – the place that inspired Stephen King to write THE SHINING (which was ~*SO SPARKLY*~ good). The miniseries stars Steven Weber (that guy from WINGS)and Rebecca De Mornay. When we visited The Stanley, both versions were available in the gift shop…along with souvenir keys to Room 217…Eeeeeek! I did not know about this adaptation of the movie until then, but apparently the hotel runs it 24/7 on its own special channel.

ANYWAY, like I said, this was not the greatest kick-off for October SCARAY MOVIE Madness. Firstly….(do not laugh) this thing came from Netflix with two double-sided disks…and we watched all of Part 2 before realizing what we’d missed (I TOLD you not to laugh!). So the whole time I was thinking what a crappy adaptation it was, and how there was no building up to anything, and the characters were not likeable at all. And then we watched Part 1…and all I can say is…the movie was better for having a Part 1. But that’s it. Sigh…Kubrick did better. The dead lady in the tub looked like she got her costume at Wal-Mart. And though I give this version props for using the animal TOPIARIES which were THE MOST TERRIFYING part of the book (IMHO)… they were scarier in my head.

But everything usually is.

S watched the whole thing from behind my head, under a blanket with me ranting in his ear, "This is NOT SCARY."
*sigh* I have more hope for the next in the queue…Black Christmas (1974). (O_O) Stay tuned…we’re working up to the zombies.