31 Days of Horror! Days 24-27

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Hello dear readers, I apologize for my lack of weekend posts, but not to worry I have them all here in one, bite-sized, chewable package. The first movie I am doing is V/H/S: Viral, which is an anthology so each movie I will talk about separately.

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Vicious Circles Directed by Marcel Sarmiento
Marcel Sarmiento directed some lesser-known stuff and then got noticed when he made the controversial Deadgirl which I have not seen. Then he worked on the first ABCs of Death. He contributed D is for Dogfight which I though was excellent. Like a really messed-up Air Bud. So he provided the sort of wraparound story to this installment of the V/H/S series and boy was it all over the place and confusing! We were mostly following this guy who decided to film a car chase and ignore his girlfriend who disappeared when the car chase went by and he ended up doing something that involvd all the short films from this one and the previous movies and I don’t even really know. All over the place. However, one scene in particular sort of stands alone and that’s when a Latin American (presumably) gang is having a barbecue or something and there’s a fight and the leader’s dog gets stabbed in the head and he just murders everyone.

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Dante the Great directed by Gregg Bishop
Gregg Bishop directed Dance of the Dead and I LOVED that movie. I loved this short less. It’s about this trailer trash magician who gets some magic teleporting cloak that supposedly belonged to Houdini and he got really famous, but he had to feed the cloak women so he went through assistants very quickly.

There’s some really great stuff going on here as far as practical effects and wire-work and stuff, there’s a cool scene where a woman walks backwards up a wall, but the man holding onto the cloak is on the ground still. It was a really cool short, I just wasn’t completely thrilled with the story. It was cool but a little boring, in my opinion.

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Parallel Monsters directed by Nacho Vigalando
Nacho Vigalando directed the well-liked Timecrimes (which I have yet to see) and this year’s Open Windows which I greatly enjoyed. His short here starts off with a guy who basically opened up a mirror universe, with his exact duplicate waving to him from the exact same machine he built in the exact same place. They decide to switch sides and find they have the same – but mirrored – house. Then they get upstairs and find things are not quite as similar as they thought they would be.

This short was fascinating for the first half. Then things got really, really strange. And then they got kind of dumb. And then the ending was SOLID. So overall the beginning and middle were good, the VERY end was good, and the bulk of the 3rd act was weird and sort of a little dumb. Cool ideas, but the execution is definitely pretty questionable.

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Bonestorm directed by Justin Benson and Aaron Moorehead
Justin Benson and Aaron Moorehead are responsible for the film Resolution, which is a movie that I have not yet seen, but may watch for the 31 Days, as I have heard good things. They brought us Bonestorm which was, in my humble opinion, the best entry into this year’s V/H/S movie. Here we have a couple of young skaters making a skate video, their asshole (like SERIOUSLY) camera-man, and a kid the cameraman previously filmed. They go down to Tijuana to find a good skating hole or whatever I don’t know the “lingo.” Anyway they accidentally summon a weird cult and skeletons and stuff. It’s pretty much Lovecraftian fiction meets modern day skaters in Mexico. It’s really cool, features some awesome camera work and has some great make-up and practical effects. This may just be one of my favorites over the entire V/H/S series.

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Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979)
Maaaaaaan I wrote the whole post on this and then lost it because my internet crashed 😥

Anyway this is Werner Herzog’s masterpiece, a remake of the classic silent film. He combines silent film-style filmmaking with more modern ideas, to beautiful effect. How great this is is difficult for me to put into words, so I will focus on my favorite aspect: Klaus Kinski’s take on Dracula.

When Max Schreck played Orlok (Dracula but copyright), he was terrifying. He couldn’t make any sound, but the way he walked, acted, his facial expressions, and just the way he carried himself conveyed so much. Now, in the remake, Klaus Kinski takes over, and plays the character physically as well as Schreck. However, he was able to make sound, and by god, it was amazing. He took the already creepy performance and doubled the creepy by audibly breathing out of his mouth, speaking in almost a whisper, and making this awful little vocalizations as he exhaled. Like subtle moaning. And that moaning begins to put Dracula, as a character, into perspective. You begin to realize he’s a big ‘ol perv! And I know it was always kind of apparent, but Kinski’s performance made me think of this like no other representation of the character before, or after. That I’ve seen anyway.

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Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006)
This movie was so cool. Like it was SO cool. At times it’s a satire of classic iconic paranormal slashers and at times it’s a celebration of them. The style also changes in a really cool way at times as well. Like literally the entire visual style of the film changes at times.

So we start out as a documentary of a man named Leslie Vernon who, like Jason Voorhes, Michael Myers, and Freddy Kreuger before him (yes, they exist in this movie’s context), he plans to go on a very traditional killing spree, which involves choosing the “survivor girl,” learning her way of life, etc., until he’s ready for the final confrontation. He basically has an entire horror movie planned out in his head. So, when parts of his plan go into action, it switches from documentary to a conventionally-shot horror movie, and then back to doc-style. It’s awesome.

Anyway this movie has some great twists, some really nice homages, etc. It takes place in Glen Echo, MD, which is cool because the name of the town just SOUNDS like a horror movie town. Also, Scott Wilson (Herschel Greene from The Walking Dead!) plays his like. Mentor. So that was cool too. It’s just a really unique idea, really well-executed, and some great performances by some really unknown actors.

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Black Sheep (2006)
This New Zealand movie from 2006 is just about the wackiest movie I’ve watched this month, and I have watched some WACKY movies. Also, the creature effects for this movie were done by WETA! They did Lord of the Rings alllllll the way back to I think Dead Alive. I think they did. And they probably weren’t WETA back then but it was Peter Jackson.

Anyway this movie is about a kid who is the son of a farmer and he helped his dad herd sheep. He had a pet sheep, his brother killed it and put on its skin and jumped out and scared his little brother, who develops a deep phobia of sheep. So then the dad dies and the younger son leaves. Few years later he comes back and finds that his brother is now genetically engineering sheep, to the chagrin of two hippies who have broken on to the property. The male hippie finds a test tube sheep and it bites him and he starts to go nuts. So then it bites another sheep and we have an army of man-eating mutant zombie sheep and that’s the movie.

I really think the synopsis speaks for itself.

11/10 would watch again.

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Hatchet II (2010)
Let me tell you, this took the first Hatchet to the NEXT LEVEL. More cameos, more gore, more hilarity. Wonderful.

So the first movie is about a guy whose son was disfigured and some young hooligans sort of lit the house on fire and dad goes back and in trying to chop down the door to save his son, accidentally chops him in the face with a hatchet and kills him. So then cut to modern day, dumb kids need a tour, scam, tour, death. So the girl that survived was trying to find her dad and brother who died. ANYWAY the second one takes place immediately after and she goes and gets a bunch of people and they go back to find Victor Crowley again. The plot is REALLY not the point.

So anyway the gore in this one is great and creative and disgusting and I laughed the whole way through. If you like the Friday the 13th series or just self-aware gore horror then this series is specifically for you.

Anyway that’s the weekend and also today, Monday. My idea is for the rest of the month to try to get one old horror movie (like pre-2000) and one newer horror movie (post-2000) per day. No promises. Bye bye.

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