The Babadook – Horror Movie

The Babadook

The Babadook (2014) was written and directed by Jennifer Kent. Starring Essie Davis (Game of Thrones), Noah Wiseman, and Daniel Henshall.

MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS.

The Babadook is a tale grief and being able to control and understand what is going on with it. The story stays pretty closely around Sam and Amelia. Sam is the son of Amelia and Oskar, in which Oskar died. Amelia is left picking up the pieces and holding her tiny family together. This film was an excruciatingly slow-burn, starting with the emotional drainage of Amelia and displaying the outburst of the tyrannically disturbed child Samuel.

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Unfortunately the way that this film was created if I were to ever meet the poor child, Noah Wiseman in person I would punch him in the face. He’s entirely too annoying, whether that is his acting style or merely him showing through, I cannot tell. His constant screaming and yelling at his mother, makes me want to beat this child relentlessly and I’m not that kind of person. He definitely makes it easy to see why Amelia wants to pull out her hair and never get out of bed ever again.

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Samuel after getting kicked out of school for being destructive and non-cooperative, decides that his mother must read to him. He pulls out a seemingly childish fairy-tale pop-up book called Mister Babadook. As she reads the tale she notices that the story is way more adult then it’s led to believe. Mister Babadook is a monster that if you are aware of him, he will engulf/eat you take over your body and kill everyone in the vicinity. Yay! That seems reasonable.

So, Amelia now away that Babadook is a monster starts to lose her mind even more than what the viewers thought possible. I have to say here that so far an hour of my life has been sucked away by a screaming, annoying child and now I’m watching as the mother of said child completely loses it. I want to join her. I really do. The child eventually calms down enough that you start to actually care if he lives and you watch as the Babadook takes over Amelia.

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Samuel in his annoying little way has created monster killing weapons, that doesn’t kill the monster at all but annoys it. THERE IS AN UNNECESSARY ANIMAL DEATH in the film that almost made me turn off the film. It was a long, hard watch, but I finally reached the end and you realize ****SPOILER**** that Babadook is just the emotion grief that Amelia was never able to feel because she was trying to be strong for Samuel. She locks it up in the basement after a tedious battle, she keeps it there with her husbands items and feeds it.

I may not have liked this film for the content, but the story, acting, and even the visuals were really well-done. It did not deserve the title of best horror film to come out in 2014 but it can be called a great Arthouse horror film. I feel like the slow-burn, annoying kid, and the monsters not well-hidden personification was a kink in the film.

I give this film 5.5 slowly opening closet doors out of 10.

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil – Horror Movie

Tucker and Dale

Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (2010) was directed by Eli Craig. Written by Eli Craig and Morgan Jurgenson.  Starring Tyler Labine (Reaper), Alan Tudyk (Firefly), Katrina Bowden, and Jesse Moss (The Uninvited, Ginger Snaps, Final Destination 3).

MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS.

Ever want to know what a reverse of a horror film would be like. The most hilarious as hell comedy horror to have been ever created. There are amazing accidentally comedy horrors out there like Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2 which were meant to be serious with hints of comedy that turned almost all comedy and then there is this masterpiece.

Tucker and Dale are two rednecks that are finally getting some time to go out to their “fishing cabin” and get a vacation. On the way to their cabin they stop at a gas station, in which also a group of suburbanite teenagers also have stopped at. Dale develops an instant connection to Allison, but it appears to be mostly one-sided. The teenage girls offer their disdain to their male co-campers about the “hill-billies” that was staring at them.

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From this point it is seriously one confused mixed-up step after another to create the ultimate laugh that is well deserved. After Tucker and Dale go fishing at night, they are caught watching Allison change and as she jumps into the same lake, she hits her head and almost drowns. The teenagers only see Tucker and Dale pulling what appears to be her lifeless body into their boat and drive off.

The teenagers then one by one accidentally as they are attempting to get Allison’s body back, kill themselves. But with each death, Tucker and Dale attempt to stop them only making it look more and more like they were the ones killing the kids.

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Soon the police get involved and even that doesn’t go right. All the while Tucker and Dale unwittingly try to help prevent the deaths of everyone. Finally one of the teens displays a vicious nature (you learn that he is “part hill-billy”) in which he wants to kill Allison, Tucker, and Dale.   There is final battle that ensues in a lumberyard, the graphics, practical and CG are beautifully done. The story is brilliant and the acting is incredibly masterful. Not only are you able to relate to the characters, but you root for Dale, Tucker, his dog, and Allison to win out.

Cabin in the woods, dark humor, hillbilly rednecks, guns, wood-chippers, gore, unintentional violence, and well deserved beers; this movie was so well done that a sequel is not required but desperately wanted.

I give this film 9.5 “well deserved beers” because it should have only the finest.

Teeth – Horror Movie

Teeth

Teeth (2007) was written and directed by Mitchell Lichtenstein. Starring Jess Weixler (nothing), John Hensley (Shutter, Hostel part III), and Josh Pais (also nothing).

MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS.

I don’t know what to say about this. It’s really a movie about rape and how when a woman says no it means no. The basic plot is Dawn is a good girl and goes to a school that has an abstinence class. She is president of this class and meets a boy that she wants to have relations with but only after she marries. She goes out on a date with him and he tries to rape her. She happens to have sentient teeth in her vagina that respond to her panicking. Dawn’s vagina eats the dicks/fingers/hands off of men that violate her. (Every rape victims dream.)

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The movie attempts to give a girl a power to take away the pain of being a victim and then uses it to switch the story around so that she is the perpetrator instead. I feel like this movie didn’t hit the comedic points that it could and it stressed too much that a woman can use her sexuality as a weapon. I personally didn’t like this film, though it was meant to make women feel powerful, it felt stupid and childish(despite all the sex).

I give this film 2 false teeth out of 10. It just didn’t do it for me.

Pontypool – Horror Movie

Pontypool

Pontypool (2008) was directed by Bruce McDonald. Written by Tony Burgess and starring Stephen McHattie (The Strain, Hellmouth, The Lizzy Borden Chronicles, 12 Monkeys, etc), Lisa Houle (no name actor), and Georgina Reilly (also not really in anything).

MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS.

I watched this film years ago, maybe about 6 or so months after it’s release. It’s my go-to film when telling people about amazing horror that have come out. Pontypool is original for a “zombie” film. In that I’m not sure that they are even zombies persay. It is a beautifully written and well-acted allegory for how words can spread. The plot seems to be mostly contained in a radio station in Ontario, but soon after the virus spreads we are taken to the suburbs and outskirts to see how it affects the locals.

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Stephen McHattie plays Grant Mazzie, the local radio DJ. He’s definitely got the persona of a shock-jock and really takes to irritating his co-workers in that style. The entire film focuses on him and the radio station. In this case the station looks to be a sound room in the middle of a warehouse, but strangely it works. Pontypool is named after the town in Ontario that the film is set in. The uniqueness of this film is in Bruce McDonald, the director of the film, has said that the victims of the virus are to be called “conversationalists,” as opposed to “zombies”.  There appears to be three stages to this virus, which are displayed in the film. The first stage is the conversationalists might begin to repeat a word. The word gets stuck and usually it’s words that are terms of endearment, like sweetheart or honey. The second stage is their language becomes scrambled and they stop expressing themselves properly. The third stage is that the conversationalists become so distraught at their own condition that the only way out of the situation is to try and chew their way through the mouth of another person.

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This is a powerful movie and surprisingly it deserves to be up there with the likes of Night of the Living Dead and other classics, because it sets a stage. In the film, when it is realized that the virus is spread through words, the act of silence because paramount. The film isolates the main character away from his co-workers and slowly engulfs everything around him, leaving nothing in its wake but the conversationalists.

I believe that this film is a story more about our society and our needs to express ourselves no matter the outcome. Despite our freedom of speech, sometimes we don’t realize that words can be poison and can eat through a person into their very being(soul). This film also displays how “rumors” are like viruses and can spread. To think that now with the internet and all the other means that we have available with YouTube, Tumblr, Podcasts, Vimeo, and so much more, society offers an infinite amount of options for communicating with others. If there was a virus that would spread through words, would/could it be transferred through these mediums? I surely think that it could.

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The film had an small budget with only a little over 32 thousand dollars, but it gives the impact of the Blockbusters that appear now a-days. Actually I believe that this film has done way better than most of our main-stream horror that has come out since.

I give this film a full 10 bloody headphones! I truly loved this film and wish everyone would give it a chance. It’s independent and strong.

Hush – Horror Movie

Hush

Hush (2016) was directed by the up and coming horror director Mike Flanagan. Written by Mike Flanagan and Kate Siegel. It stars Kate Siegel (Demon Legacy and Oculus), John Gallagher Jr. (10 Cloverfield Lane), Michael Trucco (Huge TV star and aparently up in Bye Bye Man), and Samantha Sloyan (has not appeared in any horror).

MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS.

Mike Flanagan is getting to be big in the horror industry for whatever reason, I say this because his films: Absentia, Oculus, and Before I Wake, have not even peaked my interest. Well actually that is a lie. I went and watched Oculus in the theater, but that is a review for another time.

I saw some previews for Hush, being marketed entirely as unique. The problem that I see is that it was not unique. This is a home invasion film. Maddie the main character is a woman that lives alone and a “man” (actual name of the character) seriously tries hard to invade the home, torture Maddie and kill her. This is a typical home invasion film. The ONLY uniqueness is that Maddie is deaf in both ears. She was not always deaf. She reads lips, she signs, and apparently she is a writer who lives in the cabin alone in the woods.

I wanted to believe that Hush was the film that would display uniqueness to this particular sub-genre. What this film did was display a fully functional adult acting as a deaf person. I’m not sure what studying was done, though I do know that the sign language that is used is correct for the most part.

Hush the Man

Things that I loved about this film, the man. This character was given no background, no intentions, and the most creative mindset of the whole film. Never given a name, the man sneaks into the unguarded home of Maddie and steals her phone. He goes right back outside. So immediately we know that he isn’t in it for just the kill, he wants the chase, the thrill. Most of the time as a viewer, we want an explanation. We NEVER get it. He tortures Maddie inside her mostly glass home, where he could easily destroy all the glass and make his way in.

The film not so subtly hints at some foreshadowing in the story with a smoke detector that is extremely loud and bright in order to grab the attention of the our deaf Maddie. This plot device is used in an extremely obvious manner, making me want to gag. The computer, phone, and other devices along the way also are super apparent.

I’ve recently made a friend with a deaf person, because my best friend is dating him and I was excited to see his culture represented in my genre. But now, I feel a bit of shame. This film was not as good as promised. The script was too easily written and the characters that were meant to have depth fell flat, while the ONE character with no background was predominately stealing the show.

Out of 10 bloody iPhones, I give this film a mere 3 and 1/2. I really want a better representation of horror and deaf culture coming together.

Celebrity Chef Zombie Apocalypse -Horror Novel

Celebrity Chef Zombie Apocalypse

Celebrity Chef Zombie Apocalypse

By Jack Strange

2016 Kensington Gore Publishing

A review by Aunty Demented

I went into this story completely blind, without even a blurb to tell me what it was about or what it was trying to do.  After reading it in its entirety, I still don’t know what the hell this story was trying to do.

Young Robert Turner, an employee at a crappy TV station, is given the task of revamping the show of long dead celebrity chef Floyd Rampant.  Conveniently enough for him, he has a scientist uncle who just happens to be working on a machine that can raise the dead, appropriately named the Lazarus Engine.

Don’t get attached, we won’t be seeing Robert, his uncle, or the machine for very long.

Robert runs over the neighbor’s cat, Henderson, and they decide to test the machine out.  They successfully bring him back, albeit a bit squashed around the middle, not that it matters since every single character who sees a cat with a flattened body walking around alive in this book shows only mild interest in the fact.

Inspired, Robert comes up with the brilliant plan of bringing Mr. Floyd Rampant back to life.  Most unfortunately, it works.  Rampant wakes as a zombie, hungry, horny, and ready to use an upcoming ChefCon to make himself an army of celebrity chef zombies.

So, here’s the thing, darlings.  This novel has some very good off the cuff satire here and there and some seriously good gems.  Rapey prisoner vs zombie lady (hint: it does NOT end well for his genitals), Kat De Vine zombie and just horny zombies in general filled your Aunty D with unending delight.

Unfortunately, those are only a few gems and you have to dig through clunky writing (Rampant goes from ‘Hey I’m a zombie’ to ‘Take over the world!!!’ awfully quick, for instance.), bad dialogue and a story that seems unable to make up its mind in order to find them.

It seems like it wants to be an over the top horror comedy until you hit Part III when it seems to decide it wants to be hard hitting political satire.  And frankly, it doesn’t work as either.

I think my main bone of contention with this story was that it wasn’t nearly over the top enough.  Granted, that could be a particularly personal gripe of mine.  I’m willing to forgive a lot in a horror comedy if it pushes the boundaries, including characters that are blatantly stupid.  If I’m reading a story about horny zombie chefs, I want copious amounts of sex and gore and Celebrity Chef Zombie Apocalypse didn’t give me anywhere near enough of either to satisfy my twisted little heart.  I wanted celebrity chef groupies gleefully banging the undead and celebrity chef zombies giving an audience details on how to properly prepare a human body in a red wine sauce with liver and onions on the side.  That kind of shit.

Part III gets us involved in the bureaucracy surrounding trying to deal with the zombie army.  Also fine if that had been the tone set from the beginning, but springing it on us in the last part really doesn’t work for the story and slows the pace down even more.  A hardened mercenary actually gives a shit that zombies have lawyers?  Please.

Another main bone of contention is something I mentioned earlier.  We’re introduced to the story through Brian Turner and his uncle, both of whom are killed off almost the second Rampant is brought back to life.  Now if this had been a one time thing, I wouldn’t have a problem with it, but it happens over and over and over until we truly and honestly don’t have a main character to follow.  You can pretty much bet anyone introduced will get three chapters or so giving us their backstory before they’re promptly eaten.  The ones that do survive, like Inspector Jardine, the policewoman investigating the rash of murders, aren’t given enough time or characterization for us to really care about them.  Or Dave Sykes, who is so fucking stupid I was actually disappointed when he didn’t die.

As far as first novels go, this wasn’t the worst I’ve ever read, and Strange has potential to build on in future novels but I just can’t get behind this one.  I can kind of see what it was trying to do, but it didn’t really go far enough in any direction to live up to it.

 

Aunty Demented 6/26/16

The Conjuring 2 – Horror Movie

The Conjuring 2

The Conjuring 2 was directed by James Wan, written by Carey Hayes, Chad Hayes, James Wan, and David Leslie Johnson and starring Patrick Wilson (The Conjuring) and Vera Farmiga (The Conjuring, Bates Motel).

The Conjuring 2 was set up to be a spectacle sequel to the original, I don’t think it lived up to those expectations. The film was able to create some decent jump scares, but it lacked the finesse and creepiness that the original created.  If you have seen the trailers, you have seen this character that the movie appears to be about. A deeply disturbing-looking nun. This character was true to nature, really actually dug into my sense of fear.

Basic plot is that an English family is dealing with a possession. What really got to me about this, was that ALL of the proof that they displayed to prove the possession, THEY, the characters disproved in the film. Then they continued as if to ignore what they just did. It really took me out of the story. I didn’t care about the characters anymore.

Superfluous characters were very well developed at first (the siblings) but they kept getting sent away so that you could not react with them. The plot made you think that certain characters would be key to the story, but then dropped the ball. It definitely acted like most sequels by not standing up to the original.

There also appeared to be less hype, though one article boasted of killing an elderly man that watch the film in India. I wouldn’t personally think this film was entirely that scary. Really it was merely a few jump scares with a little bit of the creepiness we have come to love from James Wan. I have to say personally I was disappointed and may wait to see The Nun (potential spin-off) or The Conjuring 3 (also possible film) on DVD or Netflix instead of in theater. Personal Note: James Wan, I’m so disappointed. I was getting used to your fresh vibrate take on horror, but sequels are not your game.

Out of 10 I give this film a 7.  It was good, not great. It was worth watching at least once, it has some scare, but lacked a focus and understanding. It needs work but potential to watch again isn’t there. Still better than average.