Posts Tagged ‘ghost

05
Apr
09

Dead Snow: The Next Great Zombie Film

The Next big thing in Undead Cinema.

The Next big thing in Undead Cinema.

For those of you who may not know, I have a serious love for anything involving the use of zombies or the undead.  From movies to video games to literature, I am fascinated by how versatile they are in any storytelling medium.  So imagine how excited I was when I first heard about a foreign zombie flick, taking place in the snowy mountains, that feature…(drum roll please)…Nazi Zombies.

Oh yes kids, it’s true.  And you know what is even better?  It is a superb horror flick.

Now, a little history.  There have been some exploitation style movies, back in the 60’s, 70’s and I think even up until the 80’s, that have tackled the idea of having undead nazi soldiers, but most were completely and utterly terrible.  I’m not talking “funny Ha-Ha get drunk with your friends and watch it” terrible.  I’m talking bad to the point of nausea.  For evidence of this, please see (read: download illegally for free) Zombie Lake. /End history lesson.

But enough wasted time establishing the immense uphill battle that Dead Snow faced, and let’s get on with the review.  The plot of Dead snow is a simple one, but simple doesn’t imply that it isn’t well utilized and perfectly solid.  Some 20 somethings are going on vacation, and decide to go up to a cabin in the snowy mountain woods.  The “old crazy story teller guy” warns them of some old wives tale about soldiers who died in these woods surrounding the cabin.  Of course, our 20 somethings, including a great “movie geek guy”, cast him off as a crazy local, and shortly there after, all hell breaks lose in the form, you guessed it, Nazi Zombies.

Fantastic make up on the Nazi Zombies

Fantastic make up on the Nazi Zombies

The magic of Dead Snow isn’t it’s plot though, it’s in the characters and the fantastically rewarding pace.  The group of friends aren’t typical zombie fodder, there isn’t a clear cut stereotypical “slut”, nor is there the guy who is hopelessly in love with a girl he can never get, and there isn’t a clear “dick” character, who is rude and crass but painfully funny and accurate in his social observations.  Instead, everyone character feels a bit more three-dimensional, they all seem to have a good, general sense of wit, and while they each have unique personality traits, like a knack for humor or a knowledge of movies, they come on as more than just TV sitcom characters who are helping to strengthen rigid stereotyping.  Also, characters evolve, something rarely seen in horror today.

The pace is the second most important piece to the Dead Snow puzzle.  From the opening scene, we are treated to classical music as a Jane Doe gets hunted down by our ruthless zombies at night.  This is a great way to introduce people to the movie antagonists without spoiling there appearance, and combining it with a classic misdirection “boo” scare makes it all the more fun.  There is no notion that in order to create good characters, that we the audience can relate to and invest in, we have to stare at them doing mundane things for 45 minutes.  Dead Snow introduces everyone quickly, letting you adapt to their personal behavior and traits on the fly, all the while keeping the tension high by inventing some new and resurrecting some old classic boo scares.  And when the well dries up on tension and suspense, the movie goes into absolute overdrive, providing the kind of kick ass orgy of violence only true horror can deliver.

Sometimes, you just gotta fight back the undead horde with garden tools.

Sometimes, you just gotta fight back the undead horde with garden tools.

The last thing I would like to touch on is the special effects.  Minimal CGI means that lots of fake blood, limbs, and intestines get strewn all over the place, and the choreographing of the fight scenes is so tight and visceral, that it really helps bring you into the struggle.  It’s a scrappy, survivor type of fighting, nothing fancy or cool about it.  It’s a nice contrast to the modern day practice  of ridiculously complicated and illogical battles between good and evil in horror movies, when instead you would just be reduced to dirty tactics and savagery in the case you were ever attacked by the undead.

So, in the interest of keeping this one short and sweet (just how I like my women) I will wrap this up by saying that Dead Snow has all the earmarks of the next big independent horror film, especially in the flooded sub-division of Zombie films.  It shows an intimate knowledge and respect of its’ ancestors, most notably Raimi and Romero, but it also comes packing a slew of original ideas, as well as innovative implementations of standard tricks of the horror movie trade.   It is  unpredictable, direct, funny, unapologetic, and wholly satisfying.

It is at this point in time where you should be googling your ass off trying to find this flick.

BRAINS!!!!!!!!!!

BRAINS!!!!!!!!!!

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05
Mar
09

INK: The movie you haven’t heard about and can’t afford not to.

Movies come and movies go, for the most part.  We may see an awesome trailer, an awesome movie, tell all our friends about it, say it’s your favorite movie the season, month, year or all time, but usually, once the next big thing comes along, we forget about what we loved yesterday, and feverishly care about whats coming next.  Sometimes though, movies come along, and either with a bang or a whisper, they shape what’s next through innovation and imagination.

So, without further delay, here’s what’s next.

Having spoken with the Director, Writer, Editor, and music composer Jamin Winans, I can tell you that this movie is coming from the heart and soul of a true fellow movie geek, and if The Wachowski Brothers, the Coens, Zack Snyder, and a slew of other directors have taught us anything, it’s that the underdogs are shaping where this industry is headed next, and that the money, respect, and credulity is coming mostly from those personally in touch with the fans from their experience of being a fan.

We all know the Watchmen is coming out, as well as the other big budget movies like G.I. Joe and Transformers.  But take a minute to check this little flick out, because you’ll probably see its style, among other things, duplicated for years to come.
And for good measure, a very slick short he made.




11
Feb
09

Internet Oddities – Feburary Edition

While I put the finishing touches on my Friday the 13th retrospective in anticipation of what be the most hyped up and possible disastrous remake of all time, I will share with you my recent Internet video findings.  This will be a mix of both upcoming horror trailers, along with some funny stuff.  Enjoy!

YEAH I KNOW YOU ALL HAVE SEEN THIS TRAILER BUT I DON’T CARE.  I CAN’T FUCKING WAIT FOR WATCHMEN!

GET PUMPED KIDS.  FRIDAY THE 13TH IN 2 DAYS, QUICKLY FOLLOWED BY THE WATCHMEN MARCH 6TH!


09
Jan
09

Internet Oddities January 2009

It may be a new year, but there is no shortage of viral lunacy circulating the Internet.  So, while we cook up some new original material behind the scenes, have a gander and kill some brain cells from this garbage, and I mean that in the most flattering way possible.


P.S. I also included some trailers for upcoming flicks I think we should have on our collective radar.




06
Jan
09

The Substitute 2007 (a.k.a. Vikaren)

This trite cover does nothing to convey the genuine charm of this film.

This trite cover does nothing to convey the genuine charm of this film.

First off, let me commend the fine job Ghost House Underground has done collecting and distributing indie horror films in their first year in existence.  So far, I’ve only seen Dance of the Dead and The Substitute, which makes up for 2 of the 8 total films released through Ghost House in 2008, but they have both been dynamite little films.  And even if they wind up being the only 2 good ones out of the bunch (8), it’s still an impressive batting average for a company in it’s rookie year.

Now, onto to the review.

What happens when you combine The Faculty, The Goonies, The Witches and Monster Squad?

If you answered ” a big pile of mish mash poo poo” I totally would’ve agreed with you.

The “young kids vs. a real “monster” their parents don’t believe is real” genre has been around for almost 30 years now, yet it really hasn’t had a shot in the arm in quite some time, and has been done both very well and very poorly in the past.  It has laid fairly dormant for a while.  That is until now.

Leave it to a writer/director from Denmark, Ole Bornedal to breathe new life into a genre that Americans pioneered.

Our story concerns a small 6th grade class that gets the best news a 6th grade class can hope for.  There main teacher has been struck ill, and they will be getting a substitute.  For those of us who remember school, you probably know how exciting this can be.  Little did the kids know however, that there new teacher isn’t some lenient push over they can run rampant over, but instead a woman of immense power and inhuman abilities, who seems to be not of this world.  While there is a little more to the story than simply the young class matching wits with the nefarious new teacher, I’ll leave the details and subplots for you to explore on your own viewing.

Paprika Steen, who plays Ulla, the new mysterious teacher, really steals the show here, alongside the rag-tag, but never annoying, class.  Her performance is a bit of a combination of Famke Janssen’s role in the Faculty, mixed in with The Terminator.  Robotic motions and piercing eyes combine with a forbidden sexy charm and aloofness to make her a villain your never really sure you want to hate, because the “mission” she is here to perform is actually fairly noble.  Her class, led by Carl (Jonas Wandschneider) are also impressive, each filling out roles like the bully, the computer genius (an obvious nod to Data from the Goonies complete with the nerdy specs) the pretty girls, and the love interest for Carl, and so on.

They teach rope bondage in Denmark in the 6th grade.  Awesome.

They teach rope bondage in Denmark in the 6th grade now a days. Awesome.

Aiding the the solid performances by the main and supporting cast, is Ole Bornedal’s competitent directing.  He never gets in his own way in the pacing department, and when he has to use CGI in order to create a specific effect, he always hides it well, meaning you’ll see no “effects” in broad daylight where you can easily spot, and the make fun of, the lower budget computer animations.  Along side this knowledge, he creates a great auditory mood and visual atmosphere, and while he could have used some colors other than black, grey, white and blue, the style of the film matches the tone and subject matter, while never becoming the main focus.  Something more horror film makers should note, just because a of a scene looks good (well lit and etc.) doesn’t mean it’s a good scene.

Ulla (Paprika Steen) says Stop! In the name of love.  You'll think that joke is hilarious once you see the movie.

Ulla (Paprika Steen) says Stop! In the name of love. You'll think that joke is hilarious once you see the movie.

My only complaint is a bit of an unexplained hiccup torwards the finale, by which no means ruins the film, but feels kinda like getting a rug burn from a classmate for no reason.  Other than that small, but completely noticeable wrinkle, the only hump to get over is how willing are you to watch an R-rated kids vs. monster movie with no gore to speak of, that is driven by clever cat and mouse games, unique takes on the war of wits, and easily loved characters.  The answer to that question should be a deafening yes.

Charm, heart, and originality can all be debated, considering that a film like this couldn’t possible exist without the its obvious predecessors, but I feel this gem has those intangible qualities in spades.  With every flick trying to be the next Saw, the next big souless “Boo Scare” hit, or the next big money remake, The Substitute quietly walks into the fray, sits down, and and nearly aces the test without having to cheat off the smarter students.

I told you the kids in the class were cool.

I told you the kids in the class were cool.

Don’t be shocked when this is remade in 2 years.  The picture above expresses my feelings towards that inevitability.

31
Oct
08

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!

Halloween, and Autumn in particular, has always been a very special time for me.  From a young age, I was introduced to the really special vibe that comes from this time of year, especially since I’ve been fortunate enough to live in states where there are, for the most part, 4 distinct seasons.  Leaves begin changing colours (that’s for you Ronnie), a little bite comes along with the breezy air, and the night begins to go bump more often.

So instead of doing another review, I’ve decided to just post some of the most unnerving videos I can find on the Internet, and hopefully make you feel a little uncomfortable as you rest your head tonight.






Hopefully that tightened you up a bit. Sleep tight. Enjoy your Halloween.


19
Oct
08

Top5 Posters for Halloween

These are in no particular order, and were chosen for their oddness…

Invasion Of The Saucer-Men

Invasion Of The Saucer-Men

I just love the over-dramatic posters of the 50’s

SEE – DISEMBODIED HAND THAT CRAWLS…!

SEE – TEENAGERS vs THE SAUCER-MEN!

(yes, they are genuinely taken from the poster, click it and see)

From good ol’ IMDb:

“A teenage couple making out in the woods accidentally runs over an alien creature with their car. The creature’s hand falls off, but it comes alive, and, with an eye growing out of it, begins to stalk the teens. Meanwhile, Joe the town drunk wants to store the body in his refrigerator, but some of the alien’s buddies inject alcohol into his system, and Joe dies of an overdose.”

Love Letters of a Portuguese Nun

Love Letters of a Portuguese Nun

I really don’t give a rats ass what the film is about, you really can’t go wrong with a chick dressed as a nun with her boobs out. WIN!

From IMDb (should anyone be remotely interested):

“16-year-old Maria is forced into Serra D’Aires convent, secretly run by Satanists. Her confessor is in collusion with the Mother Superior. Maria is tortured, forced into sex with men, women, and the horned Devil, and told that it’s all a bad dream. She writes a letter to God, and a Knight rescues her, only to fall into the hands of the Inquisition, put on the rack, and condemned to death like Joan of Arc.”

SUCH a good poster going to waste… I cry…  😥

Ghost In The Invisible Bikini

Ghost In The Invisible Bikini

There’s just so much going on in this poster that I couldn’t NOT post it!

Some highlights: the green (witch faced) chick in the top left corner. The chick in the purple bent over. Oh wait, there’s nothing suspect in that, that was my imagination, sorry!

Now this might be me just trying to be sensible but: surely a ghost (invisible) in an invisible bikini should be… a blank poster?…

From IMDb:

“Hiram Stokley is a recently desased corpse who learns that he has 24 hours to mastermind and perform one good deed in order to get into Heaven, so he enlists the help of his long deceased girlfriend Cecily, a ghost, to stop his greedy lawyer, Reginald Ripper and his henchman J. Sinister Hulk from claiming his estate for themselves and protecting his eligible heirs, Chuck, Lili, Hiram’s cousin Myrtle, and her son who brings his beach party friends up at the mansion for a pool party while Reginald Ripper also employs his daughter Sinistra, and J. Sinister Hulk’s slow-witted associates Chicken Feather and Yolanda to help them terrorize the teens, while dopey biker Eric Von Zipper and his Malibu Rat Pack bikers also get involved in pursuing Yolanda for a share of the estate.”

Well, I’m glad that cleared things up…  :/

Frogs

Frogs

I HAD to pick Frogs, it’s just such a bizarre yet funny poster!

I hope that the people of 1972 didn’t take this film seriously…

IMDb says:

“Ray Milland plays an aging, grumpy, physically disabled millionaire who invites his family to his island estate for his birthday celebration. Sam Elliot plays a free-lance photographer who is doing a pollution layout for an ecology magazine. Jason Crokett (Milland) hates nature, poisoning anything that crawls on his property. On the night of his birthday the frogs and other members of nature begin to pay Milland back.”

I wish I hadn’t read that summary, it kinda spoils the humour I get from the poster.

Damn you IMDb!

And my last one is also an odd one:

Werewolves On Wheels

Werewolves On Wheels

Three words: WHAT… THE… FUCK…

The ‘story’ according to IMDb is that:

“A biker gang visits a monastery where they encounter black-robed monks engaged in worshipping Satan. When the monks try to persuade one of the female bikers, Helen, to become a satanic sacrifice the bikers smash up the monastery and leave. The monks have the last laugh, though, as Helen, as a result of the satanic rituals, is now possessed and at night changes into a werewolf, with dire results for the biker gang.”

That’s about as clear as mud. That doesn’t look like a female werewolf on that motorbike. If it is, it’s a lesbo werewolf (how good a film would that make?! I’m a genius!) as it’s carrying a female. Or is it a shemale/tranny biker?

Oh God, I have to go now. I have a script running riot in my brain!

Honourable mention goes to:

High School Dropouts

High School Drop-outs

Not only is it, quite possibly, the worst poster ever scratched, but it also makes no sense.

“They wanted tools that didn’t come in schools”

That tagline alone has at least two innuendos.

Even the almighty IMDb has trouble with its title.

Either way, God awful poster and I’m quite glad I can’t get a synopsis for it. Last time I got a synopsis it spoiled the poster! (see cool topless nun poster (above)).

.

OK Alex, your turn, beat that lot!