My Thoughts On…The Lords Of Salem

#Shocktober

A really interesting premise, and starts off well enough, but it never really does anything. It’s dull, with no real thrust. Zombie is clearly a fan of horror, but he doesn’t seem to be a fan of film generally speaking.

Was interesting to watch this having heard him on the Bret Easton Ellis podcast recently. I was expecting more. 

Also, anybody that wastes both Dee Wallace AND Patricia Quinn needs his head examined.

My Thoughts On…Re-Animator

#Shocktober

What a blast! One of the Shocktober highlights so far (along with Teeth and Maniac for those keeping up and staying interested). A deranged, funny, gory, thrilling movie with great performances and not a wasted moment in sight. Exhilaratingly constructed with love and care, a tongue in a cheek and a lighting rod up the backside. Brilliant movie.

My Thoughts On…Stake Land

#Shocktober

Vampire cum Zombie cum Post-Apocalypse cum Western cum Road Movie cum Religious Satire.

It over-reaches and is heavy handed in parts but it’s really well performed and the tone is perfectly pitched. The Road Movie / Western elements perfectly played putting it squarely in Walking Dead territory while remaining its own beast.

The need for a big finale is a little dispiriting but overall an enjoyable genre movie.

My Thoughts On…Twixt

#Shocktober

Weird, weird movie. It clearly doesn’t take itself seriously. From the start it sets a real B/TV movie tone. I mean Val Kilmer’s character is called Hall Baltimore and there are scenes where he argues with his wife, played by Joanne Whalley (ex Whalley-Kilmer).

It’s playful and defiant but that doesn’t mean it always works. It has a Jesse Stone feel to much of it but when it goes into Green Screen / CGI territory it falls apart. The languid pace comes off as laziness or worse, scorn from the very actors who have to make the illusion work.

Strange and odd and messy but not without charm. A major backwards step following Tetro though.

My Thoughts On…Misery

#Shocktober

The Reiner/Goldman factors mean this plays less like a standard horror movie and more like a psychological thriller with the horror coming from the horrible situation and punctuated moments of danger which build to the gruesome climax where a more traditional horror score becomes pervasive.

There are some blackly comic moments, the performance chemistry is superb and you can’t beat Richard Farnsworth and Frances Sternhagen as a feisty and flirty sheriff and wife team. 

My Thoughts On…Teeth

#Shocktober

What a delight. Part B-Movie, part Teen Movie, part Horror Movie, part Social Satire. Would make an interesting counterpart double bill with Maniac with its similarly engaged but oppositional perspective on male entitlement and patriarchal society’s bloodlust to create an idea of women to serve its ends. It’s a superb distillation of male ego and conditioning with a superb central performance from Jess Weixler. Funny and stylish and refreshing. 

My Thoughts On…Kiss Of The Damned

#Shocktober

This is the kind of film where not being a horror aficionado causes problems. I really liked some of the stuff here. The visual and sonic elements that channel 60s and early 70s horror stuff, akin to Amer and The Strange Color Of Your Body’s Tears that I watched recently is ace, and the modern vampire tale is interesting. It has a clear lineage to Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive in many ways and is on the whole a decent satire and commentary.

The trouble is, it’s not very sexy despite eroticism and sex being a central element and the dialogue is atrocious. It’s wooden banality and poor delivery at odds with the modern style and that relationship to horror history.

And I don’t know if that is intentional, or just bad.

My Thoughts On…Maniac (2012)

#Shocktober

Man this is a good movie. A really creepy and unsettling POV serial killer film with Elijah Wood channelling that Sin City creep thing he does so well. Icky.

It’s stylish, violent, with a killer score and it makes the skin crawl through the subjectivity of the camera.

Full of up-cycled retro stylings it never feels derivative despite being a remake and that’s because it feels like there is more at play. The subjectivity and story combine to deliver a fascinating treatise on male entitlement and watching in the wake of the rise of MRAs and recent atrocities it feels timely and frank and on the money. A real gem of a genre movie.