Okay, so before we get started, I should warn you. I came into the idea of remaking “The Evil Dead” with an absolute hatred for this movie from the get go. I despise…..no, really…..despise remakes. Even though most movies are a remake in some shape form or fashion, I usually cannot stand them.
This movie changed my mind.
Now with the dramatic effects over with, I will continue. When I got the message from a friend today with a post about getting pre-screening passes for “Evil Dead” tonight, I was hesitant at first. But, I thought that if by any means I could convince you into saving your money for the movies, that I would. So I went ahead and called up my sister to see if she wanted to go. I had taken her to see “Warm Bodies” with me a few months back and she seemed to like it. So I ordered our tickets, headed out to see her, and we ventured into Nashville to check it out. We get into the theater and ordered at the concessions, headed to the screen, and stopped at the table to drop off our phones. I usually will get seats towards the middle back of the movie, but I wanted to watch her jump and squirm so we moved 4 rows from the front of the screen. We settled in, let the lights dim, and got prepared for whatever lay ahead.
The movie begins with five friends staying in a cabin out in the middle of nowhere. Some crazy things begin to happen, and they eventually search the cabin until finding a book who’s cover resembles that of sewn together skin. One of them becomes curious about it, opens it, and then reads from it, setting in motion for more things to happen. Demons come out and posses them all one by one until the last remaining person breaks the curse and sends the demon back to hell. Sounds pretty familiar, right?
I’m very happy to report that Evil Dead sticks very close to the original movie, with some major changes. I really want to keep this as spoiler free as possible, but one of the already-obvious ones is that rather than a male lead character being the hero…it is a female as our heroine in this revamp. But there is definitely one thing that I love about this movie. My slasher-loving side was very happy throughout this movie. There is so much blood in the movie. If someone you know is very faint at the sight of blood, or squeamish throughout kill scenes…keep them at home.
I’ve really got to give props to Sam Rami and Bruce Campbell for this. It’s almost restored my faith in some directors doing remakes. I can say with confidence, if the rumor of an Evil Dead 2 by these guys is true, I would 100% be behind them. They’ve, in my opinion, made a truly astounding film that is pretty terrifying, bloody, and scary. It’s well worth the price of paying for a movie ticket. I actually encourage you to watch it in the movies! Also….stay until the end of the credits. You’ll be happy that you did.
“MY NIGHT WAS COOLER THAN YR NIGHT” a review of the new EVIL DEAD
By Derek Jester
Praise the Deadites!
I can’t believe I scored two free passes to see an advance showing of the Evil Dead remake on March 12th! Christmas truly came early this year.
I’ve been waiting for this film to come out since I saw the trailer last October, and almost barfed from excitement when I printed the tickets off and actually held them in my hands. The screening was at Regal Cinema in the Valley River Center in Eugene, Oregon. Tri-Star Pictures has played and are still playing screenings in certain cities across the US. Check the Evil Dead Facebook page and see if there’s possibly a listing for your city.
I took my girlfriend to see it with me. She’s seen Dead by Dawn and Army of Darkness, but not the first Evil Dead, so I wanted her fresh opinion.
We made sure to arrive at the theater an hour early to assure our seats in case the line was too long. Surprisingly there were only like 15 people who actually came. They didn’t show any previews, which was disappointing, but I can’t complain since it was free to begin with.
Well we all basically know what happens after that. I don’t want to give away too much else that was new or done differently, but one by one, they all get taken over in fresh ways that will surely make you cringe a few times. There’s a nail gun, a crow bar, an electric carving knife, some broken mirror, a big needle, and a fucking defibrillator made from a car battery, some wire, and two syringes!
Oh, and of course the shotgun and chainsaw, can’t forget the chainsaw. I was grateful the CGI was kept to a minimum (from what I could tell). Except for a few short scenes, I was totally sold on the execution of the blood and gore, especially the bile vomit scene. I really liked the extra bit of back story added at the beginning, instead of reusing the monologue disguised in a tape recording from the first two films. This time we get to see what happened there, which makes room for more death scenes.
I think the director of the new Evil Dead, Fede Alvarez, puts it in the best way possible… “The way I personally like to see Evil Dead(2013), it’s a story that takes place 30 years after The Evil Dead ended. The car is there, the cabin is there (a family bought it and did some work on it more than 20 years ago) and the book has found its way back to the cabin… New kids will encounter it and suffer its wrath. Is Evil Dead a sequel then? Maybe. But the problem with the sequel theory would be that there are too many coincidences between the events on The Evil Dead and the ones on Evil Dead to have happened on a continuous story line […] But if you believe the Naturom Demonto can force these things to happen… then it could be a sequel… and I do believe in coincidences.”
For all the folks out there who blindly hate remakes, here’s a list of ten films (eleven actually) made based off of other films that you probably love and maybe forgot or didn’t know was a remake, or should re-watch pretending as if they’re the first of their name.
10. Friday the 13th (2009) – Okay, I admit, bad choice for a first example of good remakes. Producer Michael Bay is the cocksucker piece of shit that I hold responsible for the ruin of the Nightmare on Elm Street remake. Nobody could possibly mistake this film for the original. Everyone and their mom know it’s a remake, but I still think it kinda kicked ass (it does seem hard to fuck up a Jason flick), so it gets last place on this list. Come on guys, it was no different than any other Jason movie. They shoulda just called it Part XI, if you’re not counting Freddy vs. Jason.
9.5 Let Me In(2010) – I didn’t like that I picked the next one over this one so I added it anyway. This movie was great. I think of it as an American translation of the 2008 Swedish original. You guys like The Ring, right? Same concept.
9. Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) – it’s debatable that this is actually a re-telling of the novel, and not a remake of the Bela Lugosi classic. Regardless, it’s not the first attempt with the same title, but I think it’s the best one of its name.
8. The Blob (1988) – Way way way fucking better than that Steve McQueen piece of shit. If you haven’t seen this, shame on you.
7. Funny Games (2007) – This remake was written and directed by the guy who wrote and directed the original in 1997, so that makes it okay to like! That, and the fact that it’s pretty fuckin’ good. It’s torture for the sake of torture. There’s even a rewind scene that I think is meant to torture the audience. It takes away our control and gives it to the characters in the film.
6. The Hills Have Eyes (2006) – Wes Craven’s classic was redone by the awesome French duo that brought us the great ultraviolent film High Tension, Alexandre Aja and Grégory Levasseur. It is brutal.
5. The Crazies (2010) – I think this remake was underrated. It is to the original what the Dawn of the Dead remake was to its, right down to the Johnny Cash songs. If you haven’t seen it, see it. If you haven’t seen George Romero’s original, I’m surprised you’ve made it so far thru this review.
4. Dawn of the Dead (2004) – I believe that this was the film that woke the zombies from their graves and caused the wave of undead fandom that’s become one of America’s biggest commodities. Everybody saw this fuckin’ thing, which means that it was good. 28 Days Later didn’t count, because they weren’t zombies.
3. Night of the Living Dead (1990) – Tom Savini’s version of Romero’s first zombie flick. This used to come on Joe Bob’s Drive-In theater on TMC late at night back when I was a kid. Highly recommend it. Tony Todd (Candyman) and Tom Towles (House of a 1000 Corpses) argue a bunch in it, and Bill Moseley is in it for a few minutes too!
2. The Fly (1986) – David Cronenberg’s awesome and superior version of the Vincent Price classic, starring the Hollywood super-couple Jeff Goldblum and Gena Davis, who gives birth to a giant maggot! Acid vomit rules! This movie is actually creepy.
1. The Thing (1982) – John Carpenter and Kurt Russell always make such a great pair. This is Rob Bottin’s masterpiece. It’s one of my top five favorite films of all time. I really couldn’t say enough good things about it. The exploding chest-mouth scene is just perfect. I expect you all have seen it. If not, do your homework.
This week’s tasty visual treat is the movie “Cool As Hell“, a film by the awesome James Balsamo. I was lucky enough to have snagged this movie at Days of the Dead Atlanta last month and checked it out earlier today.
The movie begins with Rich, a comic book shop owner and his room mate, Benny. They’re trying to score chicks, but aren’t having much luck…especially Rich with his cheetah print hair and loud Hawaiian button up. After being kicked out of a strip club for smoking, Rich turns the corner and encounters a demon, with whom he burns with his cigarette. Little does Rich know that now the demon from the third and a half level of Hell, Az, is now indebted to him until he can collect a soul to fill his quota.
Pictured above are Benny, Az, and Rich at the bar. It’s a non-stop party until a more evil demon inhabits the streets of New York and starts killing girls and sucking out their souls. Then, the three begin their quest to banish back the evil demon. I’m not gonna spoil the rest of the movie though, because this is actually a good movie and I want you to watch it. It has several guest spots throughout the movie that gave me the giggles, like Tom Savini, Andrew W. K., the band Three Inches of Blood, my buddy Shaun May from Customs From The Crypt, and so many more. Oh, and boobs…..there are a LOT of boobs in the movie, an awesome fight scene, and not to mention a few demon sex scenes. (Yes James, I am waiting for the demon porn )
Oh and in case I forgot to mention it, “Cool As Hell” just got the green light with Netflix and you can now watch the movie there, as well as rent it from Blockbuster, or just go to their Facebook page and find out how to order the movie.
I don’t believe it is a spoiler to say that you get exactly what you are expecting from a film called Hate Crime. For fuck’s sake, this is the official synopsis :
“A family is held hostage by sadistic home intruders.”
And that is the film, in a nutshell. A lot of screaming and whimpering, barked orders, panicky pleading, and horrible acts of sickening violence and perversion. Obviously, it is an uncomfortable experience, which I assume is the goal.
The film seems to want us to believe they are holding a mirror up to society, at the same time asking us to get some kind of pleasure from the events we are watching.
A text scroll at the end exists as a way for the film-makers to claim they are trying to bring awareness to the many similar real-life hate crimes that happen every day, but I have to admit it feels a bit like a cop-out after sitting through an hour or so of unflinching brutality.
It’s as if they want us to be ashamed of ourselves for just watching their film.
I can’t help but wonder who is the intended audience for this film. What characters are we meant to relate to?
In the brief few minutes of the pre-invasion opening scenes, some delicate character work is quickly established only to be drowned out by the next hour of sadistic torture and unimaginative curses.
I can’t, in good conscience, recommend this movie to the average movie-goer, unless you want your whole day to be ruined…
However, those of you who seek out the extreme films might find some guilty pleasure in the gleefully chaotic and unpredictable nature of this project, but I think most audiences will be turned off by the events we are forced to stand by passively and witness.
If this film doesn’t make you squirm, you can finally be pronounced dead (or extremely racist).
The director, James Cullen Bressack, is young and talented, and if you look at Hate Crime as a testimonial to his technical talent and fearlessness as a film-maker, it shows great promise for the future.
About his film, he says :
“Hate Crime is a labor of love from a dedicated group of people looking to make something different. Hate Crime is a violent, realistic portrayal of one of our worst nightmares, being attacked in our home. Despite being extremely well received by the horror community, this film has fought a lot of controversy due to its extreme content, almost being banned in the UK; has been pulled off the screens at festivals before even showing due to content and theatre management not willing to show the movie the festival booked; and has faced some trouble finding distribution since the shooting in Connecticut. We actually lost a distribution deal that was on the table due to that horrible tragedy.”
In fact, his next project was recently announced, and sounds innovative and fantastic! “To Jennifer” will be the first feature film to be shot, edited, and distributed all on the iPhone 5.
Here is the official press release and synopsis :
James Cullen Bressack makes a surprising return to the found footage sub-genre after his last film, Hate Crime, also a found footage film that has received critical acclaim and won several awards. He promises this new film, To Jennifer, will offer something different for the genre.
Details at this point are scarce, but Bressack promises the entire film will be available directly on your phone and will be one that you want to make sure you see EVERY second of and don’t ruin for others. “We are working in conjunction with some great companies to deliver the first film directly tailored to mobile devices,” Bressack states.
To Jennifer stars Chuck Pappas, Jody Barton (Hate Crime), and Bressack and features a cameo from American Mary’s Tristan Risk. The film is being produced by Bressack, Pappas, and Jarret Cohen under the Psykik Junky Pictures umbrella.
Synopsis: Joey suspects his girlfriend of two years, Jennifer, is cheating on him. He is so convinced that he enlists the help of his cousin Steven to create a video diary of his attempt to catch her in the act as well as to document the heartbreak she is putting him through. He intends to give this tape to her after catching her in an attempt to make her feel guilty.
I am looking forward to seeing what this interesting young director comes up with in the future, but in the meantime you can keep up with Hate Crime on their official Facebook page, if you are in to that sort of thing…
Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
“…the dark things lurking in the night don’t haunt old houses or abandoned ships. They haunt minds.”
— from the novel, John Dies At The End.
The book John Dies at the End is a great delicate balance of clever writing, delirious insanity and straight-faced absurdity. Clearly written in some kind of fugue-state by long time Cracked editor David Wong, the book began in 2001 as a webserial, then released as a paperback in 2007.
Who could possibly have the balls to direct this virtually un-filmable fever dream of “mindfuck fiction”?
Fearless director Don Coscarelli, best known for Phantasm and Bubba Ho-Tep, stepped up to the challenge. A true artist that has forged his own decades-long carreer path, Mr. Coscarelli brings the same manic intensity to the film as the author did with the novel.
The film starts off with a straight shot of weirdness, and the audience knows almost immediately what kind of film experience they are in for. We are introduced to the protagonists, John and Dave, and quickly learn that they have some kind of supernatural powers, and we are pulled instantly along for the ride.
In the opening sequences, John and Dave are enlisted to help a young girl whose dead boyfriend has been reportedly harassing her. Being the helpful (and horny) young gentlemen that they are, they agree to help the girl, and minutes later she turns into snakes, and this frozen meat monster materializes to challenge them.
So yeah, either you get it, or you don’t…
The framework of the film involves David telling his insane story to a shady reporter played by the great Paul Giamatti. A new street drug, nick-named “Soy Sauce” is spreading through the town of [Undisclosed] and it reportedly “opens doors, mon” and/or makes the user explode.
How could they resist it?
John incites the end of the world somehow through his use of the drug, and David is dragged along for the wild ride. After accidentally ingesting the drug, he begins enjoying his new powers and blatant weirdness. I have to admit, if such a drug actually existed, I would be as curious as the main characters.
With its non-lethal side effects like enhanced sensory perception and clairvoyance, and including the ability to go all Rain Man on your friends and interpret dreams, the drug seems ideal for college-aged men and party tricks.
Unfortunately, it can never be that simple with any drug, and this thing has a very dark side. While it grants you all of those cool powers, it turns out that the soy sauce is in reality a gateway drug that allows them to travel between alternate realities, including one that is under attack by by a Lovecraftian god named Korrok, whose godhood has not saved him from being totally retarded.
The film is great fun from start to finish, just the kind of refreshing original material that we, as horror fans, need to get out and support. Stop bitching about the latest remake, and seek out this film.
Let Hollywood know that THIS is what we want, not another generic rehash of a decades-old slasher franchise.
If you can’t find a theater near you playing it, RIOT in the streets!
Just kidding, it is available On Demand through whatever streaming service you prefer, and downloadable from Amazon here.
Whatever you have to do (legally), see this movie!
Grade : B+
Post Script :
I have not had a better time at the movies in quite a while, and was lucky enough to be at a screening where the director and majority of the cast were in attendance, including “The Tall Man” himself, Angus Scrimm (!).
The quick Q&A after the screening was fun and informative, and the cast seems to have great fond memories of the making of this film. The best part was when Coscarelli asked the girl how exactly she turned into snakes!
Sadly, I did not get to ask my burning question : When the hell are we getting Bubba Nosferatu???
Mr. Coscarelli, if you are out there…we need to see the sequel to Bubba Ho-Tep. Thanks in advance.
After the show, we attempted to got to the Star Wars art show but were told there were too many people there, so we had a few beers at Jumbo’s Clown Room and called it a night…
All in all, a great way to spend a Friday night in LA.
So who has two thumbs and went to an early screening of “Warm Bodies” last night?
I won’t even lie, I was excited to see this movie and jumped at the chance to get the ticket. I took my two younger sisters and a friend with me as well so that I could get their takes on the movie. Let me tell you, they wanted nothing about this movie to leak out and with good cause. So after we all took our phones back to the car, we went inside and grabbed over-sized popcorn bags and drinks and stood in line to take our seats.
Already in line, I could hear the buzz from some of the other movie-goers comparing “Warm Bodies” to that one crappy movie based on books. Let me clear up one misconception before we continue. There are some similar parts, but “Warm Bodies” I could stomach, no pun intended of course. Sure, it is a bit of a chick flick, but it has a much clearer plot line than “Twilight” did, and this cast could actually act unlike whiny Bella and her creepy Edward.
So the setting of this story is in a world where zombies walk the earth and uninfected humans have created a settlement. You know, the typical kind of thing. Julie is our heroine of the movie, and her father built the wall that surrounds their settlement of what could be the last remaining humans on the planet. Our hero of the movie, a zombie simply known as R, resides outside of the walls and roams the airport. Julie and R have a chance meeting while Julie’s team is out scouting for medical supplies, and he saves her life from the other zombies with him. He takes her back to the airport and keeps her safe on a plane where he shows her his collection of items and they begin to talk. Yes, zombies can somewhat talk in this movie.
After convincing Julie that she must stay for a few days, she decides to try and run away to return back to the human settlement. Which was a big mistake because the Boneys, which are another form of zombie, discover her. So R decides to go with her to keep her safe while the other zombies fight off the Boneys. Julie and R decide to stop in an evacuated neighborhood to let her get food and dry off. R somehow gets a guilty conscience and confesses to Julie that he was the one who killed her boyfriend and ate his brains. In the morning, Julie is gone and R decides to go back to his normal life. As R comes back to the airport, he finds that a group of zombies warn him that they Boneys are after them all, and that they must warn Julie that they are coming.
If you feel like I’m telling you too much, trust me, there is a ton of stuff I have not revealed in hopes that you will actually go watch the movie. It’s more than just a chick flick, which is part of the reason my boyfriend wouldn’t go with me. Guys, if you want to score with your girl….take her to see this damn movie. There’s a ton of funny parts that had me laughing throughout the film, as well as some scary parts as well. Well, not scary for me….I laughed as I watched my sister jump and scream at them. I even have to give “Warm Bodies” a prop for this little scene as well, even though I was probably the only person in the movie theater to do a small “YES!” at it.I won’t lie, I really enjoyed this movie. I think it is a funny date night movie that mixes in a horror subject with a little bit of romance and a ton of funny moments. I highly recommend that you go check it out when it comes out February 1st.
After failing at Death itself, Ian wakes up on his bathroom floor, and has a quick conversation with the grime in the corner of the bathroom. Disregarding the talking mold as an after effect of his failed suicide attempt, Ian returns to the all-important task of repairing his old friend Kent.
He wakes up in the tub, gaining inspiration from his new “friend” The Mold, and begins to clean up his life and apartment. He shaves, bathes, and takes advice from the smooth-talking fungus, blissfully unaware that he is being used as a pawn in some strange fungal situation.
He begins watching his neighbor, a cute and sweet young lady named Leah (pronounced “Leia”, for us geeks!), through his peep-hole, and tries to work up the courage to speak to her. At the urging of the Mold, Ian attempts to kick-start his life, and his whole world-view begins to change. A parade of off-the-wall characters begins to barge into Ian’s world, from the hilarious landlord, to an assortment of oddball TV repairmen and a chatty delivery girl.
It all begins to spiral out of control, and the climactic scenes are a surprising mix of comedy and horror, all flavored with a loving touch of the strange and unusual.
With all the constant gripes us horror fans always have about the glut of remakes, prequels and re-imaginings that currently flood the market in an endless cycle, it is great to see an original film that is not afraid to be too weird for the mainstream.
Motivational Growth is a fun, bizarre mix of horror, humor, and subversive style that we need to see more of!
Grade : B+
In my opinion, this is the main problem with these remakes and prequels and re-imaginings that flood the current horror market. This generation is convinced that they want to understand the motivations of the monster, rather than just watching them be the monster. A note to film-makers : we don’t need to humanize the monsters, just let them be fucking monsters!
That is why the original film is such a success : it is about nothing. That’s right. No motivations, no back-story; just an unlucky group of kids that meet up with some crazy lunatics and try to survive. No frills, no explanations, only madness.
When we try to explain the monster, he ceases to be frightening.
This film was a mess, and not really what I wanted to see last night, but a few beers and a buzz at the Drive-In made for a good time. And the second half of the double feature was the surprisingly good “Jack Reacher”, so it was worth my seven bucks…
I just read that it unseated The Hobbit at the top of the box office this weekend, so I am sure we can look forward to more re-imagined sequels in the near future, probably featuring Heather and her good old “cuz” Leatherface teaming up to cause some good-natured tag-team chainsaw action.
If the “sting” after the credits is any evidence, that is what we have to look forward to next : “The Sawyer Family Vacation”. Ugh.
This film was another disappointment to me. I love the Silent Hill games, and even really enjoyed the first film, but this thing was just poorly-done on every level. The acting, even from Ned Stark/Boromir himself was clunky and wooden and unconvincing. The plot didn’t even exist, and the over-all look of them film was such a computer-generated mess, that turned out to be not very satisfying, in my opinion.
Oh, that is, aside from this scene :
Now available on DVD here, but for a much better experience, check out the remastered original games, right here!
Finally, one I liked!
This list was starting to really depress me…
Although it is definitely not perfect, and the opening scenes and characters of the “wrap-around” story were a big turn-off at first, I thought that each of the short films included in this anthology each had their own merits. Read my full review here, and pick up the flick on DVD here, if you still have not seen this one!
A very creepy and well-done flick starring Ethan Hawke!
Some interesting things about the production :
Writer C. Robert Cargill’s inspiration for the movie came from a nightmare he experienced after seeing The Ring, in which he discovered a film in his attic depicting the hanging of an entire family. This scenario became the setup for the plot of Sinister. In creating a villain for the film, Cargill conceptualized a new take on the Bogeyman, calling the entity “Mr. Boogie”. Cargill’s idea was that the creature would be both terrifying and seductive to children, luring them to their dooms as a sinister Willy Wonka-like figure. Cargill and co-writer Scott Derickson ultimately decided to downplay the creature’s alluring nature, only intimating how it manipulates the children into murder. In further developing “Mr. Boogie,” the pair had lengthy discussions about its’ nature, deciding not to make it a demon but rather a Pagan deity, in order to place it outside the conceptual scope of any one particular religion. Consequently, the villain was given the proper name Bughuul, with only the child characters in the film referring to it as “Mr. Boogie.”
At this point, all hell breaks loose, since it turns out that the “fool” has fooled them all, and survived. He makes his way with Dana (the “virgin”) into an elevator beneath the grave of the inbred hillbilly zombie family that they unwittingly chose as their killers.
They descend into darkness, revealing the tools of this sacrifice, a ritual that has apparently been going on for a very long time. Here is where the film is at it’s most brutal fun, with all manners of monsters being gleefully unleashed upon the staff of the control room, as Marty and Dana fight for their lives. Writer Joss Whedon and director Drew Goddard are clearly having a blast here, and tons of monsters are on display for our enjoyment, and chaos truly ensues.
There are literally hundreds of different creatures that were created for these scenes of madness, some barely glimpsed, some right in the audience’s faces. There is something for everyone here if you don’t blink, including nods to classics like The Shining and Hellraiser, to creepy clowns and a jarringly-bad giant CGI snake, all the way to a real live Merman!
After all of this bloody good fun winds down, we are left with an ending so bleak and unforgiving, I can’t help but wonder if it was part of the reason this great flick went un-distrubuted for so long. Sigourney Weaver explains it all, since she is (of course) the Director of this whole operation that is set on keeping the Old Gods satiated with the blood of the young and innocent.
I mentioned the levels apparent here before, and this is a great example. The film is not literally about “Old Gods” demanding sacrifice.
We, the people who enjoy this type of film, are the old gods in question, and the very desire to watch horror films is being called into question by this fun-filled gore flick.
All in all, Cabin is a great, fun and clever addition to modern horror flicks. Smart and funny, with references to the classics and a ton of blood and boobies, along with something to think about.
They have satisfied me, for now…
Well, that is it for the top ten list of 2012, as chosen by you, the students of Horror Homework. A few glaring omissions here are The Loved Ones (released in Australia in 2009 and finally in the US last year), Paranormal Activity 4, Beyond The Black Rainbow, and Antiviral.
And, just so you know, Django Unchained was my favorite film all year.
See you next year, freaks and geeks!