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Showing posts from January, 2014

Sleepy Hollow, Dracula, AHS Coven: Season Wrap-Up

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Three big genre shows all ended in the last couple of weeks: Sleepy Hollow, Dracula, and American Horror Story: Coven . So how did it all pan out? Sleepy Hollow turned out to be a very fun and entertaining show week after week. It fell in to a customary "monster-of-the-week" show for a while but with only 13 episodes, the main mythology quickly regained focus. The two leads, Tom Mison as Ichabod Crane and Nicole Neharie as Abbie Mills, were incredibly charismatic and harken back to the days of Scully and Mulder. The incredibly satisfying season finale was rich with revelations and callbacks from the entire season – and left us with a doozy of cliffhanger for all the leads. THAT is how you do a season finale! Dracula was a beautiful show with a unfortunate casting, muddled plot, and a languid pace. Even though this was only 10 episodes long, it dragged on and on. I admired that it was a period piece (in theory) and the steampunk sensibilities, but all the set dressing

Favorite Scary Movies of 2013

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With 2013 firmly behind us, it's about time to list my favorite Scary Movies of 2013. As usual there's an assortment of mainstream, indie, drama, comedy and sci-fi. I've rewatched most of these films and it's surprising how much a second viewing improves my overall experience ( Insidious 2, Evil Dead ) or ruins it further (sorry World War Z, Room 237 ). Second viewings allow you to really study the film without the expectations, internet chatter, or misleading trailers that can impact the initial enjoyment. 1. The Conjuring This is the scariest film of 2013. The actors are fully committed. There is no trace of satire, comedy or other distractions that keep horror movies from achieving a full impact. And best of all, it's an original story not a sequel, remake, reboot or reimagining.  Read my review 2. You’re Next It's almost as funny as it thrilling and clever. As someone who doesn't like home invasion themed movies, I found this one to be almost enjoy

Devil's Due ~ Good vs. Bad Marketing

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The new movie Devil's Due opens in theaters this weekend and reviews have been fairly negative from general film go-ers ( 36% on the Tomatometer ) and fairly positive from the horror websites Bloody Disgusting , Dread Central and FearNet . On the plus side it's from an indie filmmaking duo called Radio Silence who directed my favorite segment ("10/31/98") of V/H/S. On the negative side, it's a found footage movie, an overused gimmick that is limiting narratively and mostly unbelievable in practice. The Good As part of their marketing plan, the studio put out two attention-getting publicity stunts. Over the last week they released a hilarious prank video featuring a runaway baby stroller which must be seen. This was definitely marketing at it's best since it captured so many views already, and pranks like these are always fun to watch. Everyone loves a good startle scare! The Bad On a more questionable note, the Devil's Due website features a

Helix: Review

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SyFy’s new sci-fi/horror show Helix has created a startling first impression. It’s incredibly well-made, tense and briskly paced. A CDC team is called into an unregulated research facility in the Arctic after a group of shifty scientists unwittingly unleash a strange and deadly virus that threatens the entire base (and possibly the world). The cold, isolated and claustrophobic setting is reminiscent of The Thing , the slowly unravelling mystery echoes the rich mythology of Lost , and the enraged virus-controlled victims feel like something out of 28 Days Later . The production values are remarkable for the the Sharknado -network. It’s beautifully shot with sweeping cameras, the out-of-focus slow-mo, and artistic close-ups. The soundtrack is pulsing with muted electronica that creates moody and ethereal soundscapes (juxtaposed with eerie spells of cheerful elevator music). The top-notch cast, lead by the always affable Billy Campbell, is committed, tuned-in, and believable as scien

Stoker: Review

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Korean director Park Chan-wook has made some unsettling films including Oldboy, Three...Extremes, and Thirst , but for his English-language debut he choose the very adult-oriented Stoker . Written by actor Wentworth Miller and produced by Ridley Scott, this deeply disturbing and atmospheric film starts with very stylized shots and odd angles lingering on a dreamy summer day and India Stoker (played with mysterious aplomb by Mia Wasikowska). There's a jarring cut to funeral scene where Nicole Kidman is already worked up into a full lather of mourning. At once you know this will be some sort of unsettling ride but the pace is agonizingly sluggish letting every unnerving and awkward moment settle on a the screen like a feather wafting onto a sticky floor. Little by little the plot gurgles and thickens as India's enigmatic uncle – an astonishing performance by Matthew Goode – makes good a promise to his now dead brother. You never quite know where it's going, but the turns ar

Exploring the Paranormal: Astral Projection

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20 Myths About Astral Projection We all dream, and at one time or another we've experienced flying or falling sensations. In rare cases, parapsychologists believe , that some people may be having more than a lucid dream – they may be experiencing an episode of astral projection. This out-of-body experience happens when your conscious awareness (or soul) leaves your physical body to travel about your house, city, continent or even other planes of existence. Some believe it's a hereditary trait, while others believe you can train yourself. WikiHow has put together a nifty guide to explain the process:  How to Perform Astral Projection  – but do so at your own risk. Some believe there are inherent dangers to astral projection  and contend that a growing awareness of other planes of existence lures malevolent entities to you. One of the major concerns is possession, but experts in the field say that's impossible. Whenever your consciousness travels it is connected to yo

2014 Horror Movie Preview

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Bloody Disgusting posted their 2014 Horror Movie Preview  last week. These are the scary films I'm most looking forward to: Nurse (2/7) - Sex, blood, and one crazy nurse with access to surgical equipment Oculus (4/18) - A haunted mirror terrorizes a family - no, really. The Quiet Ones (4/25) - inspired by true events of a paranormal scientific experiment gone wrong.  Godzilla (5/16) - He's a big green mother from... where is Godzilla from? Maleficent (5/30) - Disney's darker take on Sleeping Beauty Deliver Us From Evil (7/2) - A renegade priest & a police officer team up on a demonic case Jessabelle (8/29) - after an accident a girl returns to her childhood home to face ghosts The Boxtrolls (10/17) - The latest stop animation film from the makers of Coraline & ParaNorman The Book of Life  (10/17) - Guillermo Del Toro produced Dia de los Muertos animated film Dracula Untold (10/17) - Luke Evans stars as the man who wou

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones ~ Review

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A new year and a new batch of scary movies to review. January has become the dumping ground for horror movies that are not quite good enough to hold their own during the more appropriate months of September/October. First up is the latest Paranormal Activity film. The Marked Ones is a supposedly a spin-off from the series but really it's just more of the same with a Latino cast. It is a vast improvement over part 4 but the same formula that runs through all these films remains painfully intact. I was hoping the new setting would lend itself to better storytelling but until the series ditches the "found footage" angle, the plot will remain tied to the unbelievable conceit that someone – even in peril – will continue to point the camera at a horrific event. The action has moved from the lily-white, rich homes and into the barrios of Southern California. The cast is superb and makes this the most entertaining, fun and watchable entry of the series. And the humble sett