Posts Tagged ‘New Zealand’

Media Update 10/12/17

October 12, 2017


What We Do In the Shadows

I had heard over and over how this was a movie worth seeing. Mockumentaries have a rich and varied history in the world of comedy but I had never seen one mixed with the horror/Halloween genre. This is a mockumentary about a group of vampires who share an apartment in New Zealand. In most supernatural stories, the main characters are the only ones in the world dealing with vampires or werewolves or whatever. In more modern tellings, like urban fantasy or young adult literature, there are supernatural creatures everywhere. This is the reality that I like to visit because you get to explore all sorts of personality types reacting to the supernatural. In this, you get vampires based on Interview with a Vampire, Bram Stoker’s Dracula (both Oldman and Lugosi), Nosferatu and The Lost Boys. They are part of a larger community of vampires, witches, zombies, and werewolves. There is a lot of really fun comedy based on the movies and books that I have seen. The script was written by Jemaine Clement (of Flight of the Conchords) and Taika Waititi but that script was never seen by the rest of the cast. Instead, they were given loose directions and they improved the heck out of pretty much every scene. Much of the comedy comes from the fact that the vampires are pretty lame and also they have not adjusted well to the modern world. What I did not expect was that the special effects would be so good. My mind was actually blown by some of the neat camera tricks they were able to pull. I definitely recommend it.

 


Tucker and Dale vs. Evil

A classic horror movie set up is that a bunch of dumb college kids travel out into the wilderness. Along the way, they piss off some psycho hillbillies and those hillbillies pick off the kids one by one. That seems a little one-sided against the hillbillies. What is their story? That is the question posed in this very meta horror/comedy movie. In this, two innocent hillbilly guys get mistaken for psycho killers in a real comedy of errors with each mishap leading to a worse situation. Obviously, the makers of this film have seen a lot of horror movies and they knew just how to pick them apart in a loving way. Movies like Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Wrong Turn, Mother’s Day and others are all parodied or paid homage to. The movie kind of made me think of Cabin in the Woods with its loving parody of a horror subgenre while still being creepy and suspenseful. There are so many well-done beats taken from good and bad horror movies that made the movie really fun to watch even if it was not actually very scary. A really bright spot for me was that one of the stars of the movie is the legendary Alan Tudyk who plays an excellent intelligent hillbilly opposite a big dumb hillbilly played by Tyler Labine. The two play like Abbott and Costello and really help make the movie. However, the college kids are also spot on what they needed to be and the writing is very clever. I definitely recommend it.

 


Grabbers

On my journey through the world of Horror, I keep trying to visit other countries to see what they have to offer. Earlier this week, I visited France. I have also visited Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, Japan, China, and many others. However, I have yet to watch an Irish horror film and I found a recent one. This one is a science-fiction horror movie which is hit and miss for me. This movie involves a shapeless horror falling to Earth near an island just off the coast of Ireland. The tiny community must deal with these creatures who only want to consume and humans are definitely on the memo. It is up to two Garda officers to solve the case and protect the community before the creatures can spread to the rest of the planet. Along the way, the movie confronts and plays with a lot of Irish stereotypes and employs a lot of great Irish humor. It utilizes the wet weather seen a lot in that part of the world but also shows some of the beauty of the Emerald Isle. Some of the movie plays like something out of HP Lovecraft or other stories about a horror coming to a quiet, simple village. However, it is a modern story but some out-of-the-way places are less modern than others. The movie ends up being a lot of fun even if it is a pretty simple and straightforward movie. I definitely recommend it.

Music of the Week:
The Cult – Lil’ Devil

Sir Sly – You Haunt Me

Sunmi – Full Moon

The Pretty Things – Welcome To The Monster Club

Queens of the Stone Age – The Evil Has Landed

 

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Horror Comedies”
– I finished Gotham Season 3
– I finished The Good Place Season 1
– I finished House of Cards Season 2
– I watched more Glitter Force Season 2
– I watched more Santa Clarita Diet Season 1
– I watched more Little Witch Academia Season 1
– I finished Rick and Morty Season 3
– I did not get any Mulan sauce. They ran out.

Bad Taste (1987)

October 19, 2016

Today’s selection is from now legendary director, Peter Jackson. You may remember Peter Jackson from the impressive Lord of the Rings movies and the less impressive Hobbit movies. For the record, I don’t fully blame Jackson for the Hobbit movies being less satisfying. Splitting into three movies was a good idea when you had Del Toro on board to direct the first part. Anyway, enough about another project that horror master Del Toro got pulled off of. This movie was made fourteen years before the Fellowship of the Rings. The movie that convinced me to watch Peter Jackson’s first full-length film is actually The Frighteners. I think I’ve talked briefly about the film but it is a mix of comedy, horror and fantasy that is definitely worth checking out. Michael J Fox is great at being terrorized and put upon in equal measures. That made me decide to see what Peter Jackson could do on a shoestring budget with his friends out in nowhere New Zealand.

Today I was looking at an article that says that we are unlikely to encounter sentient extraterrestrial life. The reason is because any beings that are smart enough to develop interstellar travel will most likely kill itself first much like we’re doing. Is there a word for experiencing both sadness and relief? When I was a preteen, I was terrified of aliens. It had little to do with any movie I saw but more with a movie called Fire in the Sky which I still have not seen. Every time I saw the poster, I would be paralyzed with fear. Every time I went camping with my friends, every shooting star was a reason for a silent panic attack. I was terrified of being abducted and then who knows what would happen? Worse, nobody would ever know what happened to me because aliens were so elusive and there were so many conspiracies. I feared the unknown from beyond long before I developed my mental muscles for critical thinking. Still, I hold those fearful memories forever.

This is probably the cheapest film that I will review this year as it was largely filmed by Jackson and his friends over the series of several weekends. We start this movie in the thick of things, a full-scale alien invasion. Of course, that is not much of a spoiler since that’s what the IMDB description says. We are not sure what the exact threat it is but we know it’s aliens. We are in New Zealand and they take advantage of the beautiful seaside mountains for this fictional town. The sound and picture quality are about what you would expect from a bunch of weekend warriors in the eighties. Like Horror Express, most of the dialogue is dubbed in later and a lot of it does in cartoon voiceover style. The actors were all unknowns to me but they did a good job with the two different tones this movie bounces back and forth between. Although, Peter Jackson himself plays two of the biggest roles and he is great at both a hero and a villain.

The whole movie is very cartoony but it is also very creepy too. Aliens that look like humans is a horror/science fiction device that has been used well many times over to great effect. It is an obvious thing to use if you are working with a limited budget. In this, we have aliens who seem to have turned humans into their slaves. One of the creepiest parts to me was how casual the gore is. One minute a body might be fine but the next half of a person’s head might be gone. That kind of thing freaked me out since it felt like there was not a lot of buildup to it. Also, the gore effects are some of the best I have seen in any horror movie. The special effects are practical and that makes sense as this film is listed as the first film Weta Workshop ever worked on. In a lot of ways, this movie reminds me of the making of Evil Dead and El Mariachi which were obviously cheap but still look great. Also, like the Evil Dead franchise, there is a lot to be creeped out by and a lot to laugh at too. In fact, its comedy makes the horror parts even scarier.

Overall, I think this is actually a must-see movie for any horror enthusiast. Sure it’s cheap and goofy but it’s also still really scary once you get into it. There is kind of a classic rock and roll feel to the movie mixed with the weirdness that permeated the Seventies and Eighties. The aliens look silly but by the time they appear, I was conditioned by the back and forth tone and the excellent synth score to be afraid of them anyway. There is also a whole extended action movie sequence but they do a good job of keeping the tension throughout. This movie was really enjoyable and it clearly shows how Jackson would become so widely regarded in film. I definitely recommend it to anybody out there and you can probably find it for free on Youtube like I did.


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