Halloween playlist

October 19, 2009

Some obscure music for you this Halloween season, Diane:

Rose Kemp, “The Unholy.” Good lord, Ms. Kemp can sing.  And this song is creepy, eerie, yet gorgeous as all get out.  (Sorry about the “butt art” – people who make YouTube videos are weird.)

Fred Myrow, “Phantasm Theme.” Wouldn’t be Halloween without a spooky horror theme from the 80s; this is one of my favorites that isn’t the overplayed (but still classic) John Carpenter stuff.

Roky Erickson, “Two Headed Dog.” Roky was a nut who spent time in a mental institution, and wrote songs about demons and zombies and two-headed dogs.  And a lot of his stuff sounded like this: completely perfect rock ‘n roll.  (Albums like this are why I have emusic; occasionally you unearth a real gem.)

The Devil’s Blood “The Heavens Cry Out for the Devil’s Blood.” In an alternate universe, Heart and Iron Maiden formed a supergroup that sounded like this.  Weird band – too weird (and diabolical) to get any mainstream love, but their songs are amazingly catchy.

Fantomas, “Rosemary’s Baby.” On the “Director’s Cut” album, Mike Patton’s crew of weirdos in Fantomas did a bunch of horror soundtrack covers.  This is one of my favorites.

Aghast, “Enter the Hall of Ice.” A pioneering “dark ambient” album from the wives of famous Norwegian black metallers.  If you like spooky ambient stuff, don’t let the description keep you away – this is truly good, honestly disturbing music.

And finally, no Halloween music post would be complete without this slice of terror:

Remake on Elm Street

September 30, 2009

Here’s the new “Nightmare on Elm Street” trailer.

Though I’m on record as hating the idea of, and avoiding spending one red cent on, basically every horror remake ever with just a couple of exceptions* – I think this looks kind of/maybe/hopefully/for the love of jeebus… decent?  I like that they’re not playing up Freddy’s wisecracking to the detriment of his scariness (a mistake made by the majority of the original series).  I like the iconic shots of the little girls and the claw in the bathtub.  I like the casting of “Watchmen” freak Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy – not only is he a good and scary actor, but his name actually sounds like it belongs to a serial killer.  And I like that there’s no Jessica Biel, Megan Fox, or the next one of those actressbots to roll off the assembly line.  This could be OK.  Time will tell.

* Carpenter’s version of “The Thing”; the 70s “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.”

Polanski arrested

September 28, 2009

I don’t have a lot to say about this.  He’s a brilliant director, a complicated man, and a scumbag.  He probably deserves whatever he gets in this case (unless he gets nothing) – even his own account of the rape in his self-titled autobiography doesn’t make him seem all that sympathetic, or excuse the crime.  And yet I’m still planning on my fifth (I think?) viewing of “Rosemary’s Baby” this October.

David Cronenberg to remake his own remake of “The Fly”

September 24, 2009

Heeeeellllllllp meeeeee!  Heeeeeelllllllllllllllp meeeeeeeeeee!

“Paranormal Activity” trailer

September 16, 2009


The trailer for this buzz-accumulating ultra-indie horror flick has just come out, and here it is. It’s not getting a wide release any time soon, so we may as well talk out of our asses for a while, eh?

My thoughts:

– Interesting idea for a trailer, showing the audience at the screening almost as much as the movie.  They are focusing on the immersive theater experience and building on the “scariest movie in years” hype they were already getting.  Good marketing for horror buffs.

– The faux-documentary, faux-real gimmick has been done to death.  It may work here and it may not (little hard to tell from this amount of footage), but I have to say, I’m getting bored with it in general.  If we’re striving for gritty and a more realistic feeling to absorb the viewer, what’s wrong with the 70s approach – flat lighting, low-key performances, long shots – that have worked so well for many a classic movie (horror and otherwise)?  Or how about emulating the “Children of Men” approach, which somehow merged the documentary idea with the old school, pure-cinema rollercoaster ride?  Of course it’s harder to do either of those things on the cheap.  Still, I don’t feel like I need to see many more movies where every camera shot is coming out of a camcorder held or set up by one of the characters in the movie.  Maybe I’m being too curmudgeonly though.

– Hard to get a bead on the acting, but that is often a weak spot in these kinds of movies.  Cast unknowns in this specific type of movie and you REALLY need realistic, believable performances for it to work.  Unfortunately they are often stilted and over-emotive instead.  “Blair Witch” suffered from it, as did “Cloverfield” at times.  The gold standard for me is “Alien” – the cast weren’t unknowns but weren’t A-listers either, and the movie wasn’t documentary-style, but nonetheless it really felt like a gang of real people, working away at a tedious, dirty job in the middle of (literally) nowhere.  Until the screaming started, and that also felt very real.  It’s a high bar for indie filmmakers to have to clear, but they bring it on themselves with their choice of aesthetic; I think viewers (myself included) are much more forgiving of bad acting in a campy slasher movie than in a “Blair Witch” type of movie.

– The two concerns out of the way, there’s some very good stuff here.  Parts of it do look very scary.  My favorite bit (and clearly the trailer editor’s favorite, as well) is the sheet billowing up as the couple sleeps, like some invisible thing is crawling underneath it.  I hope for a lot more of that.

New trailers for “Wolfman” and “Avatar”

August 20, 2009

How are we feeling about these?  Benicio del Toro gives us furry wolfman action here.  And over here, Apple has the first trailer for James Cameron’s mega-hyped, long-anticipated, titularly-conflicted “Avatar.”

I wasn’t exactly slobbering with impatience for either of these, and after seeing the trailers, I’m still not.  Judge for yourselves though.

Regarding “Avatar,” the internet is resounding with cries of “Looks like a video game!” and “I thought this was supposed to be all realistic and whatnot!”  Cameron had promised a “game changer” and some kind of next-level FX, but… Playstation 3 vs. Playstation original this is not.  Many have rightly pointed out that the effects for Davy Jones (two years ago) and Gollum (EIGHT years ago) were more convincing – not to mention, better-designed.  Apart from the effects, I’m getting a serious FernGully-meets-Dark Crystal feeling from the whole thing, and though I still harbor some affection for the latter, I don’t see how that’s a good vibe for an enormously expensive summer blockbuster that probably needs to clear well over $300 million before it breaks even (the production budget alone, not including predictably huge advertising costs, is rumored to be around $200 million).  Is 3-D the sales pitch on this movie?  If so, Cameron should mail 3-D glasses to the fanboys before posting his next trailer online; in 2-D it’s just not that impressive.

And “The Wolfman”: well, it hardly looks bad, but I was waiting for something to jump out and grab me, maybe sink its teeth into me lycan-style.  Instead I found that del Toro looks a bit out of place with all those Brits and period details, and visually the thing is pretty in exactly the way you’d expect – lots of blue filter for night scenes, lots of sweeping CGI-enhanced sky, and lots of computer effects for the wolf (and they even had access to Rick Baker, who was responsible for the best wolf transformation ever committed to celluloid).  I’m an easy mark for this kind of movie – just don’t have the wolf doing kung fu in bullet time and I’ll probably want to see it – but this trailer makes me think, “Eh… maybe throw it in the Netflix queue.”  Hmm.  Will have to re-evaluate when round 2 comes along.

Universal plans to remake “Videodrome”

April 27, 2009

The story is here on Ain’t It Cool News.  All I can say to this is… give me a fucking break.  Some movies are so distinctive and bizarre that there is no reason to ever remake them – they stand outside of time; they can’t be dated, exactly, because they were utterly anomalous to begin with.  “Carnival of Souls,” for example (can’t you see that Michael Bay-ed up with Scarlett Johannson as the buxom young dead lass, and modern rock hits of 2002 replacing the original lame-o organ score?  oh yes!); or “Blue Velvet” (what “Blue Velvet” needs is less Dennis Hopper acting like a freak and more Jessica Biel in her underpants, am I right, people?  …no, I am not.)  “Videodrome” is another such a movie, as are most by Cronenberg.  Universal: do the right thing and leave this in development hell.