Posts Tagged ‘Tobe Hooper’

Media Update 10/3/19

October 3, 2019


Marianne

I was attracted to this show for two reasons. The first was that Stephen King publicly endorsed it and the second is that it contains one of my favorite tropes which is stories entering the real world. The show is about a horror novel writer (extremely prolific like King) who is about to retire her extremely popular franchise when she discovers that they just might be real. The show does horror in a very psychological way. The show has such good anticipation and dread that when the horror happens it is almost a relief for a split second. There is plenty of blood but not much gore. The show is made in France and is entirely in French. Victoire Du Bois plays the lead role and I love her kind of punk rock aesthetic. For a writer, she is not extremely bright but she is backed up by her charming assistant played by Lucie Boujenah. She is also supported by her hometown friends with which she will have to explore her own dark past. Finally, we have the brilliant Mireille Herbstmeyer who is so brilliant as the title character, absolutely terrifying. I am only three episodes in but I know the mystery goes deeper and I am ready for it. I definitely recommend it.


Dark Night of the Scarecrow

I have seen this movie on a lot of top ten lists of sleeper hits and added it to my list directly off of a Bloody Disgusting list of television horror movies. This is a good old fashioned, regular horror movie which is fun to watch every so often. The story of this one is that a mentally handicapped man is murdered for a crime he did not commit and months later a scarecrow starts stalking the men who committed his murder. The good thing about movies like this is that they make the upcoming victims utterly unlikable. Much of the movie is watching them squirm as they are stalked and killed. There are no real surprises, nothing really for me to spoil. The highlight of the movie is the young girl played by Tonya Crowe who was the friend of the murdered innocent soul. The movie also features the legendary Charles Durning who apparently did all of his stunts for this. The movie has good editing and good pacing and is just a solid horror movie. I recommend it as a relaxing break in your Halloween routine.


Body Bags

This is a movie that I have seen everywhere as well and for good reason because it is co-directed by horror legends Tobe Hooper and John Carpenter. I had considered it two years ago when I was doing a post on horror anthologies. This is a horror/comedy anthology movie with three parts. Each part is bookended by scenes from a morgue where a technician does a little epilogue and introduction for each story. John Carpenter plays our host and he is very funny and good at resetting the mood between each story. The segments are called “The Gas Station”, “Hair”, and “Eye” and each are very different horror-flavored stories with different tones and themes. Tobe Hooper also appears along with famous horror directors Wes Craven, Sam Raimi, Greg Nicotero, and Roger Corman all as cameos. The actual actors are no slouches either with great appearances from David Warner, Robert Carradine, Alex Datcher, Debbie Harry, Stacy Keach, Sheena Easton, Mark Hamill (!), Twiggy, and Charles Napier. The movie is good hokey fun, especially with the Carpenter scenes. I definitely recommend it.

 

Music of the Week:
Shakira – She-Wolf

Poppy – Scary Mask ft. FEVER 333

Panic! At The Disco – It’s Almost Halloween

FREDDY KRUEGER – OFFICIAL “SLASH ‘EM UP”

LEATHERFACE – “Friends with no Faces…”

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Television Horror”
– I watched the Rifftrax versions of “Ice Cream Man” and “Birdemic”
– I started watching Gotham Season 5
– I started watching The Blacklist Season 6
– I watched more Marvel’s Agents of Shield Season 6
– I watched more How to Get Away with Murder Season 1
– I watched more Supergirl Season 4
– I watched more Charmed Season 1
– I finished Lucha Underground Season 4

Media Update 10/11/18

October 11, 2018


Killjoy 2 (2002) and Killjoy 3 (2010)

These movies were so short (an hour and 15 minutes) that I decided to watch both of them. Killjoy 2 was similar to the original in that it was a cast of black people being stalked by a vengeance demon in the form of a clown. This time, he is stalking a group of juvenile delinquents out in the middle of nowhere. Some of the deaths were really creative and Killjoy was once again charismatic. The movie was hastily made and it shows but it was charming in its own way. Killjoy 3, on the other hand, was completely different. The movie adds to the lore of Killjoy and ups the production values tenfold (which is not saying much). The movie recasts Killjoy and Trent Haaga does a really good job. He feels like he is one part Beetlejuice, one part Heath Ledger’s Joker, and one part Hannibal Lecter. He is joined this time by three henchdemons chief among them is Victoria De Mare playing Batty Boop who is basically Harley Quinn in demon form. This time around he is mostly hunting dumb white college kids. I guess this is a sign of letting the franchise stretch but it felt a little like Candyman: Into the Suburbs at first. Still, I am excited about the snappier scripts and better effects going forward. There is also a lot more gore as the often bloodless deaths of the first two movies are long forgotten. I definitely recommend the third movie as it is campy and fun and you can give two a pass for the most part.


Bedeviled

I was drawn to this movie because the image on Netflix looked so interesting. The plot here is that a bunch of college kids is haunted by a demonic phone application that uses their worst fears against them. While it sounds lame on paper, I appreciated that the attempts at making the lore sound interesting. I also really appreciated the production values. Like I said, the Netflix image of Mr. Bedevil is as interesting in the actual movie and pretty creepy. I also really liked the feeling of helplessness in the movie. The acting was pretty typical on the victim side, as they were all the usual archetypes in these films. Except that they were all pretty likable and I feel like that makes horror movies scarier. Jordan Essoe as Mr. Bedevil was the clear standout of the movie. His sadistic, sarcastic yet cheerful voice was the thread that strung the whole movie together. He was entertaining and frightening at the same time which is obviously a combination that I really love. Also, using the victims’ worst fears is a tried and true mechanic that is usually a hit. It allows the writer/director to add various threats so the victims are not stalked by the main villain over and over. The movie is mostly bloodless so if that is an issue for you, this might be the movie for you. I recommend this one as well.


The Funhouse

Right upfront, I have to say that I picked this movie mostly because of its reputation but I picked it this week because the DVD cover has a clown on it. There are actually no clowns in the movie. However, I feel like it follows the spirit of the theme because it revolves around a carnival. The movie displays the dark side of the sleazier traveling carnivals which are full of workers who have never been vetted or background checked. The main plot involves a carnival freak chasing four teens through a dark ride. The movie was written and directed by Tobe Hooper who I have written about before. He is most famous for creating the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. As I watched this, I feel like that movie was something he wanted to work at improving. The Funhouse is very similar but it feels like it does a better job at being scary and making me care about the victims. Hooper did this movie instead of working on ET and I think he made the right choice. I mean, he worked with Spielberg anyway on a much better film (Poltergeist). Hooper is very creative and even when he ‘fails’, he comes up with something worth watching. What I also found interesting is that there is a B story that feels like something rare in horror. That story follows a little kid who sneaks into the carnival and gets scared out of his mind and kind of has a different moral from the main story. I definitely recommend this one as well as it was different and atmospheric.

Next Week’s Spooky Schedule:
October 15 – Antibirth (2016)

October 17 – Train to Busan (2016)

October 18 – Media Update – Halloween Sequel Week 2018

October 19 – The Innocents (1961)

October 20 – Aftershocks: Playthings Pt. 3

Weekly Halloween Music:

Dorothy – Raise Hell

The Jasons – Ki-Ki-Ki-Kill That Girl

Belzebubs – Blackened Call

Angra – Black Widow’s Web

Stitched Up Heart – Frankenstein

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Killer Clowns”
– I finished Blacklist Season 5
– I watched more Iron Fist Season 2
– I watched more American Vandal Season 1
– I watched more of The Good Place Season 2
– I started Gotham Season 4

Invaders from Mars (1986)

October 1, 2016

In our society, children are pretty powerless. We protect them and we make decisions for them in their best interest to the best of our ability. Children do not have much say in the matter because we reason that they do not have enough experience to know what’s good for them. If we leave them to their own devices they will eat nothing but candy and stay up past their bedtimes. We tend to condescend to children because they cannot possibly be right. We love our children (at least in general) but until they reach a certain age we treat them more like pets than peers. What if all the adults are wrong, though? If the adults are wrong than listening to them would be a big mistake that only the kid might see. The thought of this situation puts a horrible feeling deep in my stomach. This is a feeling that pervades much of this movie.

You may be familiar with the name Tobe Hooper. He’s a deeply respected director and imaginative creator. Tobe Hooper is the man behind The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Salem’s Lot and Poltergeist. He did three movies for a little company I talked about way back in February called Cannon Films. Those three movies were Lifeforce, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 and Invaders from Mars. While I think they’re fun movies, they weren’t remembered as fondly as the previous three I mentioned. His creativity and willingness to explore the boundaries of horror caused a falling out with Cannon Films who felt he was not giving them what they wanted. That was their loss in my opinion.

The first Texas Chainsaw Massacre was kind of bland and straight forward but I respect it as a progenitor to a whole new type of horror movie. It is the type of horror movie where you find yourself suddenly breathing normally when the credits roll and you realize you were practically holding your breath the whole way through. For me, Invaders from Mars has that tension all the way through it. There is a desperate hopelessness to it that comes with the science fiction elements. The movie has a lot of heart but I thought was cheesy at first. That is not to say that is not cheesy. It is cheesy in spades but it also is pretty spooky and tense throughout. There is an otherworldly feel to everything and cheap practical effects only reinforce that atmosphere. Low budget can sometimes be a blessing in disguise.  By the way, a lot of those cheap effects look good thanks to Stan Winston who was working on Aliens at the same time.

The acting is surprisingly good for this type of movie. By necessity, the bulk of the acting falls on the shoulders of an eleven-year-old boy named Hunter Carson. He pulls off the role really well, showing confusion and growing fear and determination as the film goes on. Unlike other roles like this they do not turn the kid into a superhero who can do no wrong and instead he is often foiled at every turn. His co-star is Karen Black (his real-life mother) who plays the school nurse and the only adult to believe him when things go wrong. It was fun to see the reversal of the brave child and the frightened adult and Ms. Black did a great job. They are supported by great actors like Laraine Newman, Timothy Bottoms and Bud Cort. Many of the other actors have to play two roles and they pull it off with eerie precision.

Overall I really liked this movie but keep in mind that I went in with very low expectations. After hearing about the movie during the Electric Boogaloo documentary I was expecting a good laugh at a bad movie. Keep in mind that I am not giving away the third act because I do not want to spoil it for you. While it is not the greatest movie, it’s way better than you might expect. If you like science fiction horror like Invasion of the Bodysnatchers, Killer Klowns from Outer Space or The Faculty then this movie might just be for you.


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