Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Seek The Dragon

Peering into the soul and heart of a monster often ends with the innocent doing the searching becoming the very thing they were hunting. So goes the warning, which Will keeps in mind as he desperately pursues a serial killer on the lose, a man who slaughters his victims without warning. This chase could not only cost Will his life, but also his soul, a fact that he keeps in mind despite not abandoning the chase or holding off even though his wife, his friend and colleague, and others warn him. Obsession is sometimes a dangerous and powerful motivator, despite the risks involved. Chasing someone who kills due to it being in their nature is the same as joining the locals on a safari hunt for a tiger that feeds on humans. The animal just might wrap its jaws around your neck and squeeze.

This feeling of paranoia, of searching for a madman is expertly showcased through well shot and lit scenes. The amazing use of color, the framing of shots, all underlying the mind and psyche of the film's characters. The deliciously 80s soundtrack, lush and electronic, only further homes in that point, the rather bleak chase leading Will towards the so called "Tooth Fairy," a man who views himself as more than just a human being consisting of flesh and blood. Hannibal Lecktor is present in this film, yet he serves as a mere vessel for the main killer, who looks to him as a master teacher in the art of inflicting pain upon others. One man only comes to realize too late that he is to be another example of how easy the task of human slaughter comes to certain people.

Buried within all of the chaos is a fine philosophical discussion, particularly in a scene between Hannibal and Will in which Hannibal imparts his so called "Words of Wisdom." The survival of the human race feels at stake here, the battle for its very soul hanging in the balance, boiled down to a cop, a woman, and a killer. That essence drives Manhunter, makes it more than just a typical slasher movie, and is why it is the direct equal to the also excellent Silence of The Lambs. In fact, one could argue that this movie is the better of the two, diving into the bleak heart of human nature. Man is both darkness and light, the two of them coexisting within, and perhaps only in women lies salvation. 95

He Just Wants His Pot of Gold

There's very little that's even remotely scary about this movie, and yet I couldn't stop watching. Horror is successfully molded together with comedy in Leprechaun, a film that is not serious at all and therefore in being endlessly campy achieves, well, some type of halfway decent end result. Just look at that gif of the evil title character rooming the halls of a hospital in a wheelchair. Oh wow. I'm at a loss for words, because how on earth do you respond to something like that? We are talking about a movie that has a character being murdered via pogo stick. POGO. STICK. I have to hand it to the little guy, he's sure creative about his kills. The fact that they made at least five-six movies, or that there was a series at all, might be a little depressing to certain people, but based on what I just watched I have a desire to view them all. Even the second journey to the hood one that I've heard is beyond godawful.

Before Friends came out Jennifer Anston starred in this, and she wants you to forget about this movie. I never will, simply because at one point the leprechaun drives around in a little car, and previously murders some poor slob of a cop simply for the guy stopping him and making fun of his height. Never mess with a leprechaun, take his gold, or poke fun at his appearance. Hell hath no fury like a leprechaun scorned, and he spends the entire movie trying to get back the treasure that was stolen from him. Leprechaun (1993) is the feel good comedy of the 90s, an example of dialing up pure cheese to eleven and never looking back. Oh and I still want a Chucky v. Leprechaun movie, which would be not only hilarious but also completely epic. We're overdue for that one. 75

Fog Clouds The Mind and the Soul

A fog settles over the land, covering everything in its wake and clouding the earth, obscuring people's sight. Hidden within this strange mist are creatures, and where they have come from is anyone's guess, but they are vicious and attack without mercy. One thing comes to mind during all of this, as people begin to cower in fear, lashing out in different ways: "This is how the world ends." No mercy, no quarter given, a menace completely inhuman and uncaring. In this universe, you die in multiple horrible ways, all of them ending with you screaming as your flesh is torn apart by monsters from somewhere unknown. One thing is also certain: when people are cornered in a small area, things will escalate rather quickly no matter how many sane or rational folks are present. This is a rather cynical viewpoint, yet unfortunately as darkly noted by the film's characters in a scene where they acknowledge how easily humanity unravels in a crisis.

Some have made note of how this movie is a post Sept. 11th commentary on America and the lines that divide us. That is certainly notable, particularly since one of the characters brings up race and others mention religion and politics. One would hope that in a situation as presented in The Mist that they would be rational, however too many people would end up freaking out and responding wrongly to the problems at hand. Furthermore other elements of horror movies are at work here, particularly the original 1968 classic Night of the Living Dead, and also John Carpenter's The Fog (1980), and their influences are rather noted, in addition to many past monster movies-since after all that's what The Mist is, a well made modern creature feature.

A man is forced to make a choice, and this decision will haunt him forever. A people give into a fanatic who ends up almost destroying them all, leaving them to wonder how they could ever let someone like that brainwash them. The skeptic doesn't get beyond the parking lot, making the audience wonder about said person's fate in addition to what happened to the group that was foolish enough to follow that person into the white murkiness that has enveloped the area. All drawn together by a situation appearing to be really outlandish yet oddly believable, existing in the realm of the possible however impossible it may be. This is really the magic of Stephen King, melding reality with fantasy, fact with fiction. The best adaptations of his work, such as this one, meet that requirement head on. 95

Everyone Needs Somebody To Love

Casting George Wendt as a friendly neighborhood serial killer was an easy choice, yet he fits into the role surprisingly well in Masters of Horror: Family. This movie to a slight degree feeds into the notion that you never quite know your neighbors as well as you think you do, although the classic paranoid notion of fearing people you know as well as people you don't know is old as suburbia itself. The similar houses, the mailboxes that never change, driveways all looking alike. That freaky conformity in a way enables a man such as Wendt's charming man with a dark secret to hide in plan site amongst the sane and normal people of an urban setting.

How this movie plays out I cannot reveal, yet its ending is perhaps more fascinating and worthy of discussion than the rest of the movie itself. Luckily this only lasted an hour, as the material would be stretched thin in a longer movie, although the level of victims would have been much higher. I could foresee a 90 minute picture where Wendt not only gathers his regular "family," but then proceeds to kill numerous others to give himself an entire clan. Maybe that would be amusing, yet I'm glad that Masters of Horror enabled John Landis to keep it short and sweet. 80

Ancient Stories In An Ancient Land

Ghost stories are as old as time itself, endlessly being spun by different peoples and handed down throughout the ages. Kwaidan (1964) is a collection of such tales, sporting gorgeous cinematography and being relatively creepy throughout. The reason why all of this is eerie is that in some twisted way the ghosts are using people, making them into puppets. Fate and destiny take hold in ways that neither us nor those involved can remotely understand. The intelligent do not believe in ghosts and the supernatural, yet it is the simple minded that realize the true dangers the spirit world and the great beyond can possess, however even they are not well equipped to deal with the perils before them.

Which story is the best is irrelevant, although some are better than others. However a common thread through all of them seems to be treating the dead with respect, and being rather careful in people approach the spiritual. You cannot kill a ghost, as too many in these stories find out, and really there are very few ways to deal with a supernatural entity that has no flesh to attack, no soul to damn. In the end though what truly separates Kwaidan from other ghost story movies that there are no fine lines between reality and fantasy. The ghosts are accepted as real, and are presented as such, a fascinating aspect that I have perhaps only found in a handful of other ghost movies. We are always being haunted, it seems. 92

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Piece By Piece

Carefully the masked killer stalks his prey, waiting to strike in a sudden burst of ferocity. The kill is not the end of his plan of terror, for he then proceeds to mutilate the corpse with a sharp knife, cutting into the flesh. Who he is remains unknown, and the police are baffled. What I've described is common among most giallos, yet Torso (1973) is absolutely brutal and goes beyond the pale at times. It is a psycho-sexual film, driven by strong impulses and completely unflinching in its display of raw, unnerving violence. None of the film is particularly campy, and despite a few lame attempts at humor the film is mostly about a strange murderer lurking in the shadows. Nothing is supernatural here, and Torso actually obscures the mystery by turning all of its male characters save for maybe one into creepy perverts, most who could be the killer. There is even a mostly even ratio of male to woman deaths, which is different from many other slasher/giallos.

What's further examined here is certain rules being established, ones that many proceeding slashers would observe. Vehicular sex is followed by death, a woman who gets high wanders off and is brutally slain in what is the most creepiest part of the movie, and someone opens a door when they and the audience know they shouldn't, which leads to really bad things happening to say the least. Torso is well constructed, almost way too neatly made for a giallo film, and its far more intelligent and suspenseful than most American slasher movies. Especially concerning the last 25 minutes, which is the equivalent of walking a type wire without a safety net.

So controversial that it was actually butchered by the censors, I was happy to find a copy of this movie that was uncensored (yet dubbed) in my local public library. According to there was supposed to be a different ending, and I would have liked to have seen that ending, but I'm perfectly fine with having been able to view the movie in the first place. This of course is going to be just another giallo in an endless long list of giallos, because no one could make slasher movies quite like the Italians. 93

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Insects Buzzing Around Your Mind

When viewing horror movies, we often forget that monsters can be very real. In the case of Bug (2006) there is more than one creature, inhabiting real actual people. William Friedkin, the film's director, skillfully uses post September 11 paranoia and filters that through the lives of broken and tragic people. A love triangle of sorts exists, only two of the participants drive out the third person, an abusive ex-boyfriend who despite being told to leave numerous times refuses to give up someone who he still loves despite being cruel to them. Yet the most dangerous human monster is a man convinced that he is being spied upon, even bugged and tagged, by the government. His departure from reality is unfortunately projected onto a battered and broken woman, who still morns a loved one and who might just be as crazy as he is.

This film plays out as a tragedy, slowly building up to a fevered and disturbing pitch which then explodes rather horrifyingly. Despite the efforts of others to the contrary, these two people choose to fence themselves off from everyone and anything, going inward into both each other and a world that blends fact and fiction. Whether or not these events are really happening never becomes clear, and in some regards that makes some of the film's actual blunt effects on the viewer exist on rather shaky ground, although perhaps that is the point. The changing of the main environment, a roach motel in the middle of Oklahoma, from ugly brown to shinny blue clearly showcases the shift in the characters' mindsets, and perhaps gives a clue as to what is really going on.

Existing among some of the best claustrophobic based horror and thriller movies, Bug is a rather creepy and unnerving horror movie that reflects our most basic fears. Loss changes people, often for the worse, and the monster within takes advantage of these fears and warps them into something nasty and terrifying. Sometimes being wary of actual real life dangers is more important than watching out for imaginary ones, as some argue that paranoia is a heightened state of awareness. Maybe though is such a thing as being too aware, being fearful of non-existent threats. Fear is the most powerful drug in existence. 90

In the 1950s They Can Hear You Scream

Tightly paced and rather to the point, It! The Terror From Beyond Space (1958) was clearly one of the influences on the 1979 classic Alien. Some aspects of this movie were definitively used in Ridley Scott's movie, particularly a scene where someone goes into an air duct to hunt down an alien creature. The idea of a killer stowaway on a ship flying through outer space isn't new, however back in the 1950s it was particularly original. The poor captain accused of murder has to spend a third of the movie convincing the crew that rescued him that he is innocent of killing his crew, and this is finally borne out by the ugly and strangely hostile monster that proceeds to start taking out people in rapid fashion.

Due to being smartly made and also quite entertaining, this is one of the best of the 1950s sci-fi/horror hybrids. The horror genre was forced to go underground, and films such as this one were the norm until Hammer Studios revived the classic style of horror, giving it a more modern twist and featuring more violence and gore. It! The Terror From Beyond Space actually does feature a few shocking moments, and has the astronauts being forced to use all means at their disposal to try and best a creature not of this world, born of the desolate planet known as Mars. Furthermore, this film started the now famous trend of space based horror movies where random planets harbor terrible and harmful secrets. Unfortunately for those who venture outside of Earth, on the big screen our universe is more scary than wonderful. 86

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Lost Films Always Lead To Screaming. Lots of Screaming

Over the years there have been horror movies covering "Lost films," films so terrifying and nasty that they have been banned. This of course stemming from the fact that so many horror movies have been actually banned in other countries, and that too many have been censored by the MPAA. So naturally horror filmmakers have decided that the search for something that has been reportedly buried is the basis for a quality horror film, and they've been right.

With The Hills Run Red, you have a very likable group of people going into the deep woods to find a movie titled, well, The Hills Run Red, which was in fact a gory and completely disturbing horror movie. This journey into the heart of darkness results in them becoming part of the movie, so to speak, and is rather unflinching. Really this is not a Jason in Friday the 13th style slasher film, or one of the more fun and campy 80s slashers. This is brutal, mostly unrelenting once they encounter the killer, style of serial killer movie. Babyface is actually a pretty creepy villain, and the main hero of the movie, a young man named Tyler, fails too late to realize that his quest is one gigantic mistake.

Without reveling too much, let's just say that he gets his wish. Chilling, to be sure, but the payoff wouldn't have been as satisfying had the rest of the film been so straightforward, refusing to pull any punches. The hills run red with blood, are full of screams, and contain endless terrors. 84

Forever. FOR-EV-ER.

See, the tricky thing about vampires is that they promise you eternal life but at a truly heavy price. In the case of The Hunger, the vampire Miriam turns women and men into creatures of the night and then gets rid of them when they start to age and she's finished with them. She is more of a succubus than a vampire, although there are no hard and fast rules with these creatures (which is despite Twilight sucking that franchise can have sparkly lame vampires) and therefore David Bowie's John is able to venture out into the daytime to seek help when he starts to fall apart. Much of this movie is rather tragic, showcasing the sad consequences of having a lengthy existence while people that you love die or fade away slowly. Even though she is a vile creature, you almost feel pity for Miriam and also for John, despite a scene where they murder two people for their blood. 

Tony Scott frames this movie in lush, haunted tones, with none of the more frantic quick camerawork that he so relied on heavily in his later movies. In fact this really doesn't have the feel of a Tony Scott movie, which was a surprise. I was completely drawn in by the rest of the story, which features a young Susan Sarandon being sucked into this darker underworld, captivated by Miriam even though she is quite dangerous. When vampires are concerned there is no ability to trust them, even though she falls under Miriam's spell and considers becoming another one of her slaves. There is even a famous sex scene that is rather tender, and another example of how the vampire genre deals with sexuality and humanity all too well.  

After this movie, Tony Scott went out and become more of a commercial director with a fairly unique and obvious style of his own. While I enjoy some of his other movies I think this film is the best out of the ones I've seen from him. Scott actually made a good, eerie horror movie, and its a shame that he never made another one, one that could have featured more of his actual style. I think he could have given us a good, crazy zombie or ghost movie actually, but we'll never know. 91 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Rock 'n' Roll, Baby

Aimlessly wandering the New York City streets during the year 1979, he selects his victims at random, slaughtering with them a ferocity unmatched by many. His weapon of choice: a cordless power drill that he jams into his victims, causing a spray of blood to fly as he baptizes himself in the gore and horror of his actions. He is The Driller Killer and he has decided to create new art out of human suffering, crafting new masterpieces of carriage unseen before and worthy of serial killers such as The Son of Sam and The Night Stalker. This is a gritty and ugly vision of New York, less stylish than the similarly bleak urban landscape of Taxi Driver, fueled by rock and roll, desperate people, and one man who goes over the edge and into the realm of insanity. No matter what, there is no escape from this nightmare, yet the film's anti-hero never comes to an actualization of why he's doing this or what goal he hopes to accomplish. There is only blood and more blood, death and dying, the eye of the buffalo through which he peers through and envisions the tragic fact that many of his victims were already walking ghouls before he penetrated them graphically with cold steel. Hope for humanity does not exist, only a world haunted by a person capable of stabbing through your flesh at will. Now it it is dark. 81

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Many Tales of Terror

One of the earliest known anthologies, Dead Of Night (1945) slowly builds up to a fevered pitch, containing many great short tales that range from humorous to incredibly creepy. Naturally they are linked together by both coincidence and the circumstances that bring a group of people together in a room. This is usually the basis for most horror anthologies, and a twist normally happens at the end. Unlike some of the other ones I've viewed this collection's finale was something I failed to guess, which made it all the more surprising. Yet the strongest and most terrifying piece ended up being the one with the dummy, although that can be attributed to dummies having that particular look of evil on their wooden faces. The idea of a non-living entity controlling a person is usually a nightmare that many people have, and that device has been used for many horror movies, most famously Magic starring Anthony Hopkins.

What I loved the most about Dead of Night though was the little things it did so particular well, bits that cause the film to be highly memorable. The first tale uses the seemingly innocent appearance of a hearse driven by carriage to be death channeling the driver, telling a man that "There is room for one more inside." Or a girl running into a ghost unknowingly, caring for a restless spirit. Wonders and mysteries abound in a world full of dreams and nightmares, an endless land that knows no boundaries. Horror movies merely cross that threshold, inviting the viewer along for the ride. Most of us always say yes. 95

This Old House

Made in 1944, The Uninvited set up many cliches for the haunted house subgenre of horror films. From the slow yet careful build up that leaves hints of ghosts being present, to an eerie seance that aids the characters in uncovering the mysteries of the house they've bought, this movie became the standard by which other supernatural movies were judged. Some comedy and even a love story are also thrown into the mix, although they are largely cast aside when the spirits of the dead pop up and make a visit. There is very little special effects involved, too, which is a nice touch, which gives the movie an additional touch of eerie atmosphere. The movie also lacks jump scares, something that ghost movies have abused way too much over the years, although in this case a jump scare would have heavily frightened the movie's audience seeing it was the 1940s. In fact, this is a film that would have been at home in the Val Lewton collection.

Despite some dull moments, The Uninvited is a carefully made treat of a ghost movie. While there isn't much more to discuss, the horror genre would not have so many great and scary supernatural driven movies over the decades. Apparently there was an attempt at a sequel, but I have little interest in viewing it. Some movies are best left to stand alone. 90

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Don't Go In That Creepy House Stupid People

Part of me wants to find out the how and why of The Nesting (1981). Why the hell it ended up being so terrible, and how did the director and everyone else involved stick it through. Did they just hope for the best, or did they all believe they were making a great ghost/supernatural movie? Because this movie sucked, hard. Actually it was only merely very bad, as The Nesting didn't have the ability to be worse than merely very bad/awful. Maybe terrible comes to mind. All I know is that I only stuck it through because it was a free library rental, and so I could bash it here, on my blog. This movie is the opposite of quality haunted house and ghost movies ever made, and my advice is to skip this movie and rent something good, such as Burnt Offerings (1976) and The Changeling (1980), both which I believe I've reviewed in this blog.

There is a plot, I guess, and this story involves a novelist going out to the country because she's afraid of going crazy, although later on someone tells her she's too crazy to be going crazy. Wonderful. This is followed by strange things happening, and then bizarre deaths which abuse the hell out of slow motion. Those deaths are utterly hilarious, and I don't want to spoiler them here because I'm sure they can be found on YouTube. Or just watch this movie if you are in the mood for a good laugh, I don't care. Considering that most of the time I get lucky and randomly select halfway decent horror movies, I was bound to stumble onto a turkey such as this one. I blame the cool looking cover, the sweet title (The Nesting....its catchy) and the fact that the trailer made this movie look awful in a gloriously entertaining sort of way. Yeah, no. Just no. Say no to this movie. 36

Ax Murders and Madness

Sadly I've only seen one Joan Crawford movie, and this is it. TCM affords me the opportunity to view a few more, but I really should because she clearly had talent as an actress. In fact, this is on display in Strait-Jacket (1964) which ends up being one of William Castle's best movies. The plot may be a little flimsy, and the material thin, yet Crawford carries the film quite well and pulls off the character of a woman endlessly trapped between sanity and insanity. As the film goes on to show, that line is a rather thin one, and its easy to cross over from one side to the other.

Oh yes there are ax murders, and they are well framed and rather brutal. Who is responsible remains a mystery throughout the movie, although I will admit I figured out the riddle earlier on, which is actually not a bad thing. Castle not only avoids an obvious gimmick in this one (he probably did something else to promote the movie) yet also takes time to dive into class warfare and how Lucy's poor daughter is trying to prevent her mother from being locked up again in addition to attempting to marry her boyfriend, who's parents come from money and look down on her.

Things do build up to an exciting climax, but before Castle takes time to (in this case) ape Hitchcock with a sequence that would be at home in one of the Master of Suspense's horror or thriller movies. Despite being made on a lower budget than many films of its era, and some weak aspects aside, Strait-Jacket is an example of what even a schlock director such as William Castle is capable of when coupled with a talented actress and a decent plot idea. 83

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Some People Go A Little Mad Sometimes

Containing a gimmick just like other William Castle movies, Homicidal (1961) was made to cash in on Psycho, made just a year earlier. As such this is a pale ripoff, lacking much of what made Psycho great-but then again Castle wasn't even half the director Alfred Hitchcock was. Still he was able to make semi-entertaining movies, and Homicidal does have its fair share of moments, even if they are fragmented, happening in-between dull scenes. If anything, this movie has more in common with the Friday the 13th series and other slasher movies where the kills are the main focus, and the story takes something of a backseat. However, the killer does not remain a mystery, although events become complicated.

In fact, the movie doesn't truly get moving until near the end, which results in William Castle actually "Pausing" the movie to let the audience catch their breath. I imagine that some people were actually scared by this movie, but what's truly crazy is that there were reviewers who preferred this over Psycho. Still this is middle of the road material for Castle, who did actually make some half-way decent horror movies. Too bad this is is merely a sub par/okay effort. 66

Fear The Brain

 Made during the height of Cold War paranoia and fears of nuclear destruction, Fiend Without a Face is actually rather solid, if a bit campy. Still its noteworthy due to being fairly well made despite its budget limitations, and as far as drive in type fair its more intelligent than most of what was made during the 1950s. Particularly since it combined horror with sci-fi, something that most of its brethren did during that decade. Furthermore, Fiend Without a Face is impressive for having killer brains as the villains and pulling that bit off without being too unintentionally hilarious. I'm sure that the episodes of Futurama with the invading brains from space was inspired by this movie.

What's also great about this film is that there is a love subplot/triangle that doesn't wreck the movie, and is handled in typical 50s melodramatic fashion (they had to throw in something for the ladies). The brains are wisely not shown for most of the movie, so instead you have this odd and creepy sound that echoes before they attack. There is even a decently frightening moment where one of the victims stumbles into a room, reduced to a staggering idiot. Even though there are better movies from this era, Fiend Without a Face is still recommended. Always beware of tentacled brain monsters seeking to conquer the world, or at least feed on the living. 81

Needs More Blood

Despite the efforts of the people involved, Dead & Breakfast does come off as a poor man's version of Shaun of the Dead. Actually scratch that-Dead & Breakfast is more of a pale imitation of the gory Peter Jackson films that Jackson made before he went all Lord of the Rings on us. Regardless, this movie does have its moments, and some of the humor works. There is a remarkable amount of blood, so much that the filmmakers must have decided that was the answer. The characters are not particularly likable or memorable, and yet I had fun watching this movie. Its a good way to pass the time, and half of it works as a zombie musical thanks to some local cowboy who ends up telling the story via song. He deserved more screen time: in fact, he should have been the main character. Oh well.

Naturally this is one of those "People unleash the evil, the undead rise up, bad things happen" type of movie. While the campy aspects are rather intentional, they result in a mixed bag since the movie is either trying too hard, or not hard enough. As noted, there are plenty of jokes which means the movie wisely stopped trying to be scary, yet the comedy lacks the notable flow necessarily to make it work all of the time, instead of only part of the time. If you are looking for a movie that is a nice diversion for a crappy weather day, this is your film. However there are far more entertaining and better movies than this one that you could chose from. Tales From The Crypt: Demon Knight (1995) comes to mind. 78

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Haunted Forever By Memories Unknown

Crafted as equal parts nightmare and lucid fantasy, Ganja and Hess is an enigma to a certain degree. Blending the vampire sub-genre with blaxploitation to form an interesting mix, what exactly occurs in the film is unclear. This is irrelevant, for the movie explores so many different topics and issues, from sex to being forced to murder and drain the blood of victims to survive. Blood is present and heavy in this film, the clear red liquid shimmering as its consumed by one Hess, a doctor given the curse of immortality. For he is doomed forever to need and crave blood, the sweet nectar of life that flows within all of us. Thus, Hess becomes a day walker, able to roam the streets hunting desperately for what he so eagerly thirsts for. Believing that his soul is tarnished, he nevertheless feeds off of the living and the dead.

Considering that he forces another to bear this deadly curse with him, it is then strange that while he tarnishes another he decides to vainly desire salvation from his walking nightmare. There are bizarre dreams that give possible insights into tortured minds, revealing the wants and needs of a people suffering from a malady unknown to 20th century mankind. Even as Hess reaches for God, he fails to understand that God is out of reach, possibly due to not existing or being uncaring of his plight. Man's lack of ability to save themselves and those around them is both tragic and horrible, a fate worse than even death itself. 90

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Sometimes Dead Is Better

When people discuss Stephen King adaptions, this one sometimes get unfairly overlooked. Sure some of the special effects are a bit dated (and its a tad cheesy, as well), and the novel itself is better (which is usually the case with film adaptions of the books anyways) yet this is a pretty memorable movie. The evil cat as displayed in that picture isn't the only thing I ended up taking away from this movie, especially since its directed by a woman (a rarity when it comes to horror films) and manages to be downright freaky after a rather slow first 20 minutes. After it gets going, though, all bets are off and events spiral downward into madness.

Death is everywhere, and always among us. We fear death, even those (like myself) who believe there is an afterlife, that death is not the end. For Pet Sematary, death can be the end, yet there is a place where that is not so; it is the beginning. The doorway into a black hole, a darkness that few can imagine and none can truly understand. The local old man, Judd, describes this best when he discusses a man's heart, the rockiness of the soul and secrets and lies hidden within. No shovel or trowel can pierce the stones. "Dead is better" only in this case, as crossing that sacred plain (which the film does numerous times) results in the unnatural, the unholy, even damming the innocents.

That is the crux of this film, which quickly descends into a walking nightmare, barely stopping, constantly relentless. Once you manage to step over the thresh hold, venture into the great beyond, and walk on that formally sacred ground, there is no turning back. Unfortunately for this film's group of people, they fail to realize that until its too late. 83