October Programming Notes

tn_michaelmyersesspecialpresentationThe clock just struck midnight here on the west coast, and thus begins the annual outlawvern.com Watching Of More Horror Movies Than Usual season. Try as they might the GOP were not able to shut down this hallowed tradition.

During October it is my official policy to only watch horror movies, excepting only the occasional new release that I feel the need to watch immediately. (You can’t keep me away from GRAVITY, for example.) But I always figure there must be some non-horror watchers who are regular readers (even if they haven’t made themselves known) so for you my friends I have some non-horror reviews on the backburner that I’ll put the finishing touches on and posting throughout the month. So don’t abandon me. I’ll be there for you.

As usual I’ll be conducting a SLASHER SEARCH, looking for slasher gems I haven’t seen before. But this year I feel like going broader and trying to squeeze in more of the other flavors of horror if possible. I already have a longer list than I’m gonna have time for, but I always welcome suggestions. I can’t guarantee anything but I am a man of reason so if you make a strong argument you might convince me.

thanks everybody

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145 Responses to “October Programming Notes”

  1. Did you ever actually review the original WICKER MAN, Vern?

  2. Vern, you should finally review JACOB’S LADDER this year

  3. Hello Vern, four of my favourites come to mind – ‘Let’s Scare Jessica To Death’, ‘Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things’, ‘Kuroneko’ and ‘Onibaba’. I won’t attempt the strong argument because I’d hazard a guess that you’ve seen them before already but I’d be curious about your perspective on any of the above

  4. I know I’ve mentioned it before, but the 1964 Japanese ghost-story anthology KWAIDAN is jaw-droppingly gorgeous.


  5. Based on the trailer you could argue that Gravity is a horror movie. What would be more terrifying than being stranded in space?

  6. Maybe some italian horror, the Lucio Fulci ones, the mario bava ones…
    Anyway, looking forward for your reviews!

  7. Black Sabbath is actually the perfect Halloween movie…

  8. Giallos share enough DNA with slashers to slot into Slasher Search ’13 quite easily.

  9. No suggestions from me (except the ones that I gave over the last few years and what I put in the “suggestions” section of this websight), but I look forward to whatever you dig out. You always come up with some cool shit that I’ve never heard of.

    And I’m going to see GRAVITY tomorrow, so it will be nice to finally be able to discuss a new release with you guys.

  10. RUBBER, the Quentin Dupieux movie about a killer tire, sort of qualifies as horror so I’m going to suggest it again. It’s also sort of jokey, so it might not be your flavor of horror, but it’s also really weird and original, so you might enjoy it anyway.

  11. RUBBER is seriously great, although it is more a arthouse parody of weird storytelling than a horror movie. It does have people exploding, though, so it is at least a little bit appropriate for Halloween.

  12. The Undefeated Gaul

    October 1st, 2013 at 5:46 am

    How about THE COLLECTION, sequel to THE COLLECTOR? It’s like a slasher version of ALIENS and at the end even turns into a slasher version of UNDER SIEGE for a little bit. Admittely, it’s not quite as awesome as that description makes it sound, but it’s still very enjoyable.

  13. Jareth Cutestory

    October 1st, 2013 at 6:52 am

    Vern: I recommend the Mexican film SOMOS LO QUE HAY. Lots of good old fashioned Romero-like social commentary. Also, you’ll gain hip credibility by having seen the original before the watered down American remake is released this autumn under the title WE ARE WHAT WE ARE.

    I’ll also renew my recommendations of Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s KAIRO (PULSE) and CURE, two of the most masterful and unique horror films ever made.

    And the French film CALVAIRE. For the dancing.

    I also like Hélène Cattet and Bruno Foranzi’s homage to Fulci called AMER.

    But even if you don’t watch any of these films, thanks for giving us our yearly opportunity to produce this list of recommendations. I’ve seen a lot of great stuff based on the recommendations produced here.

  14. SUSPIRIA perhaps?

  15. Jareth Cutestory

    October 1st, 2013 at 7:02 am

    Or Nicolas Roeg’s DON’T LOOK NOW?

  16. Berberian Sound Studio.

    It’s one of the most unique takes on horror I’ve ever seen. Part Lynchian, part giallo homage, with a brilliant performance by the always reliable Toby Jones (who played Hitchcock in The Girl recently).

    The fact that the film never really shows any horror but suggests it and its influence through sound and atmosphere is what makes it such a unique and memorable one.

    It’s also a great movie about the making of movies.

  17. Also, I’d like to know what Vern thinks of recent anthology efforts like V/H/S and ABC’s of Death. I found them quite hit and miss (like most anthologies), but certainly worth watching.

    Also, American Mary.

    Also, Lamberto Bava’s Demons.

  18. I second CALVAIRE and THE COLLECTION. CALVAIRE has just the best off-key piano tune ever, set to some fucked up dancing. THE COLLECTION was just entertaining, and I never saw the first film.

    I’ve recommended it before, but try watching RAVENOUS. It’s a period piece, it’s directed by a woman, and Ebert gave it 3 out of 4 stars. Here’s what he said: “Ravenous” is clever in the way it avoids most of the cliches of the vampire movie by using cannibalism, and most of the cliches of the cannibal movie by using vampirism. It serves both dishes with new sauces.”

  19. Some Hammer Horror could be fun, and I second the RAVENOUS rec. God I love that film. Maybe som more Tobe Hooper?

  20. Hellraiser. I’ve never seen the sequels, but the first one’s amazing. The limitations of makeup and latex make the (wildly ambitious) effects feel way more disturbing than they would if they’d been done flawlessly, and the plot is incredibly gross and violating, too.

  21. I can’t recommend any great obscure horror right now to you Vern (my tastes tend to be 1) the popular-and-great stuff, and 2) stuff that’s already been recommended to me on sites like this, which defeats the purpose of recommending it anyway), but I’m going to try and write something up in the forums about “In a World”, which I’ve just seen and which has instantly become a strong contender for my “best film of the year”. Absolutely worth watching if it’s on near you. It’s not normally the kind of film I would usually bring up on this site, but I think it’s good enough to transcend genres.

    Would still love to see what you make of last year’s “Headhunters” though.

  22. Jareth:

    “I’ll also renew my recommendations of Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s KAIRO (PULSE) and CURE, two of the most masterful and unique horror films ever made.”

    I haven’t seen “Cure” (I will now though) but I absolutely 1000% agree with “Kairo”. I’ve enunciated before on this very forum my theory that almost all of the greatest horror movies ever made, at least the ones I’ve seen or read about, depend on the principle that you have to convince the audience that what is normally safe and familiar is actually strange and threatening. (This is why I think the bodyshock horror sub-genre has given us probably the greatest proportion of truly “great” horror movies: “The Thing”, “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”, “Rosemary’s Baby”, even “Alien”.) “Kairo” does this magnificently. It evokes the fear of being truly alone in the world perhaps better than any other movie I’ve ever seen.

  23. Oh, and “Prisoners” has had some great reviews so far. I’ll probably be seeing it as my second/third film of the week (yes, it’s a busy week). Might be worth checking out Vern.

  24. Joseph Dougherty’s Lovecraft meets Chandler HBO mushups
    Cast a Deadly Spell (Martin Campbell with Fred Ward!)
    Witch Hunt (Semi-sequel from Paul Schrader with Dennis Hopper?)

  25. Cast a Deadly Spell! I’ve been wanting to see that for years

  26. C.H.U.D. Haven’t seen it, but the local library has a copy, so I plan on watching it soon.

  27. Hey Vern, I have 2 suggestions for you, “The Pact” with Casper Van Dien and “Lovely Molly”. Both are relatively new movies.

  28. Hey Vern, maybe you oughtta just post your list so we can see if we’re wasting your time telling you things you already know.

    On a different subject, I will this year, as with every year, agree with my colleagues Jareth and Paul and point out that KAIRO is an absolute must. And you also oughtta listen to Brian D, THE PACT is a fine microbudget modern horror gem. If you’re into microbudgets, also check out the phenomenal kickstarter-funded ABSENTIA, which was without a doubt one of my favorite horror films last year, period.

  29. One word of suggestion: STITCHES

    Perhaps not the greatest, bestest killer clown movie of all time, but it does have its own unique, twisted charm. Starring Irish comedian Russ Noble as the titular chucklehead.

  30. Basket Case 1 or 2. Part 2 has most of the best parts of the original included in an extended flashback (ala Silent Night, Deadly Night, but better integrated). Also, it’s just fucking insane. And Frank Helenlotter (Basket Case 1-3, Brain Damage, Frankenhooker, Bad Biology) might not be the best writer or director…but man, he is good with *concepts* and making shit crazy.

    Basket Case 2. Without even seeing part 1, might be your best option.

  31. Hey Vern. I reckon I’m the one that fits the bill of regular reader who doesn’t watch horror, although I’ve never been a big commenter.

    Nice to hear you’re looking out for us but, if truth be told, I still enjoy your reviews. Even though I’ve no interest in the genre, it’s clear you approach it in the same way and with the same enthusiasm as the action and sci-fi stuff I do like.

    Maybe it’s my imagination but you seem to have been watching a bit less leftfield or arthouse stuff lately and those are sometimes some of your best pieces. Somebody mentioned Berberian Sound Studio up there. A film which I found immensely disappointing after how good Strickland’s first film – Agnes Varga – was. I’d love to see your take on that but I’m happy to wait till November.

  32. Slasher Search: BLOODY BIRTHDAY

    A few months ago it was on youtube in full. It featured prominent pre-MTV Julie Brown nudity (non-downtown variety). Now it’s gone. Someone must’ve told.

    Solid direction. Great kills. Remarkable performance by this little creep:


  33. billydeethrilliams

    October 1st, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    Vern, have you considered watching Italian horror? Argento, both Bava’s, Fulci, you know the gang. I especially want to see your take on Argento’s films(his classic stuff anyway).

  34. Oh, more Carpenter is always welcome. New BDs of PRINCE OF DARKNESS and IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS just out, neither of which I think have been reviewed on this site. They’re both top 5 Carpenters too, IMO.

  35. Forrest -Good goddamn picks my man!

  36. Did you do Frailty yet? I can’t find it on the search. I bet you’d like it.

  37. I recently saw Passion, Brian De Palmas new one, and I thought it was great. Classic BDP visual storytelling. Not technically a horror, more along the lines of Body Double, Femme Fatale, Dressed To Kill(Slasher alert) and Obsession in terms of identity themes and lurid content. There’s a moment two thirds of the way in when the picture goes into split screen, which we all know and expect from BDP, and it made me realise how much I love this director. To me he is a master film-maker who knows what he’s good at, and does it well.

    So I’ve been going back and re-watching his stuff, Carlitos Way, Raising Cain and the ones I mentioned above. So Vern, my horror recommendation would have to be Carrie. And Dressed To Kill for the Slasher genre.

  38. That Michael Myers halloween mask round-up is still one of the funniest things you’ve ever posted.

    SOMOS LO QUE HAY, AMER, THE PACT and BERBARIAN SOUND STUDIO are all solid picks. Nice one, guys.

    Some older stuff. LET SLEEPING CORPSES LIE (1974) (aka THE LIVING DEAD AT MANCHESTER MORGUE), an early zombie film that I think is unfairly overlooked. Richard “ROAD GAMES” Franklin’s PATRICK (1978) has a lot of that Hitchcockian suspense he’s so good at. The unofficial Italian sequel/knock-off PATRICK STILL LIVES (1980) doesn’t have that, but it’s highly enjoyable sleaze like only the Italians can do.

  39. How about The Last Horror Film which reunites Joe Spinell and Caroline Munro from Maniac?

  40. Just watched Dressed to Kill the other week, and I second that.

  41. AMER is one of the most beautifully shot films I’ve ever seen. You could frame some of those images and put ’em up in a gallery.

    Also, RAVENOUS.

    Criterion is releasing an old classic this month, THE UNINVITED. B&W ghost story, really good, really classy.

  42. Oh yeah, and if yer looking for a left field slasher pic, then look no further than Jodorowsky’s SANTE SANGRE. It’s pretty amazing.

  43. shit, its SANTA SANGRE. Oops

  44. How about some non-zombie Romero? The Crazies, Martin, Creepshow, Monkey Shines, Two Evil Eyes, The Dark Half, Bruiser. Take your pick.

  45. NIGHT TRAIN MURDERS is pretty interesting. It’s the best of the (many) Italian LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT knock-offs, and even better that the original in some regards. There’s none of the cornball cops stuff, and it has a more elaborate statement on class conflict and inequality. It’s got roughly the same level of unpleasantness, but it’s more professionally shot.

    I’d second the recommendation for Lamberto Bava’s DEMONS or DEMONS 2, as they are both batshit crazy in the way you can only get from ’80s Italian horror.

  46. Oh, and HOUSE (the 1977 Japanese one, not the William Kat one) is pretty fucking bizarre, too.

  47. William Katt, apologizes to the Greatest American Hero. His HOUSE is pretty good, too.

  48. HOUSE 2: SECOND STORY is good too

  49. Vern, to be frankly honest, it’s getting to be embarrassing that a person who

    -loves Tarantino,
    -names KILL BILL one of his island films,
    -operates a web sight dedicated to Badass Cinema,
    -is a horror cinema Fangor[man]iac,
    -and surely has access to this

    has yet to view & review “Grave Danger,” directed & co-written by QT.

    I’ve recommended it before, and I don’t want to overhype it, but you’re gonna enjoy that 90 minutes.

  50. HOUSE (1977) is great. There’s no review, but I’d be surprised if Vern hasn’t seen SANTA SANGRE considering how big a Jodorowsky fan he is. So many awesome recommendations here, makes me want to go and rewatch them all.

  51. This is where I re-suggest my suggestions for AEROBICIDE (1987) and BOARDINGHOUSE (1982), as previously suggested in “Suggestions”

  52. Suggestion nr 2: RE-ANIMATOR

  53. No suggestions from me but:

    Ti West has a new film called THE SACRAMENT. It is found footage and I have accidentally not heard good things about it, although I have avoided actually reading anything about it and will continue to do so.

    And Lucky McKee has a new film called ALL CHEERLEADERS DIE. Here is a still that will, 100% guaranteed, make you want to see the film:

  54. There’s a whole range of horror westerns that might be interesting, Vern.

  55. I’ll second, Ravenous. It has elements of dark comedy, but its horror/western aspects are definitely in the foreground. It’s a clever film that uses cannibalism as a metaphor for manifest destiny. It’s definitely one of those films where you wonder how it got made, because it has so many strange elements. It doesn’t quite fit a single genre.

  56. Talking of westerns. Sad to hear that Guiliano Gemma has died. He was one of the greats.

  57. He was in DAY OF ANGER wasn´t he?

  58. You know what sucks? All these critics gushing over Gravity is making me want to reject it.

  59. Jareth Cutestory

    October 2nd, 2013 at 6:47 am

    anaru: The title of AEROBICIDE alone has put it at the top of my list of films to check out.

    Nick: AMER owes as much to Antonioni as it does Fulce. It’s hypnotic. And the short films included on the DVD are really good too. Apparently Cattet and Foranzi’s new film screened at the Toronto Film Festival to good reviews.

    Also, add me to the list of people who’d love to read Vern’s take on the HELLRAISER and BASKET CASE sagas.

  60. Pegsman % McKay: On top of my pile of unwatched discs is a BD of DAY OF ANGER. Guess I know what I’ll be watching this evening…

  61. That was of course supposed to be &, not %. Sorry for the double post and for going off topic. RIP Guiliano Gemma.

  62. Jareth Cutestory

    October 2nd, 2013 at 7:00 am

    Sternshein: The review in the local paper here after GRAVITY screened at the Toronto Film Festival was lukewarm at best. The reviewer compared it unfavoarbly to MOON and CHILDREN OF MEN. The reviewer was pretty harsh about the performances of Clooney and Bullock.

  63. Jareth: AEROBICIDE never quite has the technical resources to be as absurd and hilarious as its title promises, but it’s another enjoyable time-waster from the reliably shoddy David A. Prior, who’s been alternating between ludicrous but heartfelt action films dealing with PTSD to somehow less ludicrous horror films about novelty slashers. It’s a weird and kind of wonderful body of work.

    As for my recommendation, I’m gonna recommend BLOOD BEACH (1980), starring the great John Saxon, once again typecast as a smirking authority type lackadaisically dealing with some inexplicable horror shit. In this case, it’s an underground monster who sucks people under the sand and does some horrible things to them. (Tagline: “Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water…you can’t get to it!”) It’s got a breezy, offhand charm that stops just shy of being too smartass. It’s like a west coast Larry Cohen movie.

  64. DAY OF ANGER would be a good way to remember Gemma. Or if we stick with the horror genre, TENEBRAE.

  65. Jaume Balaguerós SLEEP TIGHT was the most memorable horror thriller I’ve seen in the last years. It’s the story of a concierge whose only joy in life is ruining the life of others, something he can do very easily because he has access to the rooms and therefore the lifes of the residents.

    I second AMER, classic Argento, everything from De Palma and RAVENOUS.

  66. i think you should do a series where you re-review entries in previous slasher search serieses.

  67. Tetsuo, because you can’t beat some J-Body Horror.

    If you’re more adventurous, An American Hippie in Israel. The subtext alone would have to make it a no-brainer, plus it has cardboard sharks.

  68. It’s definitely time for Vern’s John Carpenter’s Prince Of Darkness review. The Blu-ray is fab.

    Seconded also on Mario Bava, who created some beautiful and bizarre horror fables in the 60s. If you want to look at the roots of slasher films, watch Bava’s Blood & Black Lace and Bay Of Blood (aka Twitch Of The Death Nerve).

    And if you’re in for more old school, I’d love to read your take on some of the Peter Cushing Frankenstein films made by Hammer.

  69. Whoops. I was talking about Katalin Varga earlier.

  70. I just saw GRAVITY and will wait for Vern’s review to talk about it. Just one thing: Even if you decide to hate it without having seen it, because everybody seems to love it, just see it anyway. Seriously, you’ve never seen anything like that before. This is some serious next level filmatism and I hope the home video release contains extensive making ofs or even a rough cut version, without any FX. I really wanna know how they achieved so many things in that movie.

  71. I’m seeing GRAVITY Saturday and I can’t wait

  72. One Guy From Andromeda

    October 2nd, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    Hey Vern! Having seen that picture of Jodorowsky in the article i realized that a review of “Santa Sangre” would be awesome. It even fits in the them of the month, as it is basically a horror movie and produced by Dario Argento’s brother.

  73. Mr. M – I love BLOOD BEACH! I saw the trailer when I was a wee small child of very young age (cause I’m not really that old), and the shot of the woman being sucked down into the sand haunted me my entire life (and seriously fucked up my early family beach vacations). I only recently figured out what the movie was and tracked it down a year ago. I was not disappointed. It’s kind of like a less sleazy version of Corman’s HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP, which I was also obsessed with because my parents saw it in the theater and said it was disgusting.

  74. And speaking of HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP, that movie must have left a big impression on Jim Cameron, who was just starting in the Corman camp around that time. I noticed at least three shots that were mirrored almost identically in ALIENS, and both movies share the same composer, James Horner, and very similar music cues.

  75. Jareth Cutestory

    October 3rd, 2013 at 6:49 am

    Majestyk: Thanks for the details. Speaking of “enjoyable time wasters,” based on various comments you’ve made over the years, I’ve decided to start watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In your opinion, does the show get significantly better after the first season, or should I expect more modest improvements?

    I just finished the episode with the pervy puppet. I’m not a Whedon fan (I hated AVENGERS and barely tolerated Doll House), but so far, his style isn’t irritating me too much, though it’s going to be painful to watch any attempts that this show makes at throwing real drama at these loose collections of quips they call characters. In fairness, the cast has a really good handle on the tone of the show (though it boggles my mind that they made a five season series around that Angel dude; I think a spin-off series about Scruffy the Janitor’s mop bucket would have more charisma).

    But Monster Mash Guy who lives in the sewer is a hoot. And the Librarian holds the whole thing together well. Having Quark show up as an antagonist seems to suggest that they have a good idea of the kind of cast that it takes to make a show like this work (something the Sarah Connor Show got mostly wrong).

  76. In comparison to the seasons immediately following it, the first season of BUFFY is a chore to sit through. The production values are shit, and it’s way too monster-of-the-week to build up much of an ongoing story arc or mythology. The rise in quality from Season 1 to Season 2 is astounding, and the show’s improved grasp on its dramatic moments is the main reason. And Season 3 is even better. If by the end of that season you’re still calling these characters “loose collections of quips” you should probably just give up. They all turn out to be some of the most well rounded characters in the history of the medium. And you haven’t even met my favorite members of the supporting cast yet!

    Angel gets WAAAAAAAAAY cooler when he gets his own show. He has a deadpan quality that works much better as the center of a show than as a supporting character. That show had a longer period of growing pains than BUFFY, but it eventually found its groove and developed its own memorable supporting cast of oddballs. It also wasn’t afraid to go completely insane. The plot of the fourth season defies all description, but it’s a lightning-paced and operatic trainwreck that’s absolutely engrossing. Also, the fifth and final season is one of the finest things Whedon has ever done, right up to the best last line a series finale ever had.

  77. Seriously, no love for Frailty? Or am I the only one here who’s seen it?

    And is it possible Verb’s never reviewed the Shining? Is that one too obviously great and epic that a Vern review would be superfluous? Perish the thought. In a hedge maze.

  78. I second FRAILTY, although I have the suspicion that Vern already talked about it in a column.

    And man, BUFFY…still haven’t tried to watch it again. I gave up after the first episode (which seems to be normal for Joss Whedon shows, considering how I gave up after the pilot of FIREFLY and didn’t try again until years later).

  79. I feel bad for people who can’t like Buffy or Ghostbusters.

  80. Thanks, Majestyk. My earlier post sounds more harsh than I intended. The first season is mostly very nimble, and I’m not finding it difficult to sit through. It’s not riveting, but it has its charms. Sometimes while watching an episode I find myself imagining a better show – Scruffy the Vampire Slayer: Shank or Be Shanked – but I can think of loads of prestige cable shows that I liked far less than this (fuckin’ True Blood among them – I couldn’t finish the first season of that crap).

    Assuming your assessment is correct, it’s going to be fun watching Geek Girl and Dork Boy turn into actual characters. And it’s nice to know even at this early point in the series that they cast an appropriate actor for the lead role. Gellar is surprisingly good.

    I actually really like the crappy production values. And for a 1990s network show, the long term story arcs, though laughably transparent, are still reasonably compelling, especially Monster Mash and his little child prodigy. I like that they killed off Dexter’s girlfriend and went with an idea with less of a familiar henchman dynamic.

  81. Thanks for the suggestions, everybody. A few responses about ones I’ve already seen:

    FRAILTY – didn’t like it at the time, but maybe try it again some time.

    THE SHINING – I watched it last year and I guess I didn’t feel up to the challenge of finding something new to say about it. Maybe next time I watch it. I’ll have to watch ROOM 237 too.

    Same goes for SUSPIRIA. I don’t know why I didn’t write about that when I watched it last year. I’m in an Argento mood though so I’ll watch something by him.

    GRAVE DANGER – I watched it on TV but I’ve never watched any other episodes of CSI so it’s kinda hard to write about knowledgeably. But I liked it.

    HOUSE/HAUSU – It’s entirely unique and would be the most amazing thing ever to discover on tv at 2 am, but for me the goofy appeal wore off after about 5-10 minutes. I didn’t review it because I know everybody loves it and I didn’t want to be the asshole to piss on their parade without having anything substantial to say about it. So don’t expect me to review that unless I unexpectedly watch it again and decide I love it or something.

    RUBBER is great. I remember trying to write about that one but I didn’t know how to explain its appeal without ruining the surprises of what it was. It’s more of a playful deconstruction of storytelling than a Halloween movie but yes, I recommend everybody check out that one.

    KAIRO I also liked, not sure why I didn’t write about it.

    DON’T LOOK NOW I actually did write about: https://outlawvern.com/2009/11/03/dont-look-now/

    Lots of good suggestions, at least a couple I will look for. Thanks again.

  82. Jareth: Don’t expect too much out of Xander. He grows as a person and he goes through some tough times but he’s still pretty much just Quip Boy the whole way through. I’m glad you like Giles, because he gets continually more badass as the show progresses. As for Willow…let’s just say she goes on a journey.

    I get legitimately excited every time someone I know experiences BUFFY for the first time. I am a huge nerd about it. I can’t wait for you to meet Spike!

  83. Dude, who doesn’t like GHOSTBUSTERS?

  84. Also since we will probably never get a RUBBER review, I thought I just put this video of an early directorial work of Quentin Dupieux in here. (No, it’s not FLAT BEAT.)


  85. Who doesn’t like GHOSTBUSTERS? This sad, deluded person who will never be allowed to forget how wrong she was: http://www.avclub.com/articles/ghostbusters,35378/

  86. It’s the AV Club. They don’t count. Even The Simpsons recently dissed their habit of hating everything.

  87. Actually, it’s just that one writer. Everyone else on the site, writers and commentariat alike, love GHOSTBUSTERS, as all people with even a soupçon of joy in their hearts do. She was soundly torn apart in the comments, and the article remains a running joke to this day.

  88. Nah, I think the rest of the writers hate it too, but decide to not cross that line in public. Yet on every Friday the 13th they meet on a cemetary, to discuss their hate for this movies while eating fried babies.

  89. A strange meeting of an obscure occult group that both hates Ghostbusters and loves Jonathan Swift. Their next meeting is in December.

  90. Apart from the great choices already mentioned I’d just like to add THE BROKEN (2008), THE CHILDREN (2008) and fuck it QUARANTINE 2 which I guess I’ll keep pimping as much as possible even though I haven’t seen it for a while now and have no idea how it would play based on a positive recommendation because I went into it thinking it was going to be the worst piece of shit of all time.

    CC – LET’S SCARE JESSICA TO DEATH is amazing. It doesn’t entirely nail the landing but holy shit what a movie. The atmosphere created in that thing is incredible. A few other movies with a similar vibe which I also think deserve some love are GHOSTKEEPER, MOUNTAINTOP MOTEL MASSACRE and THE SLAYER (1982).

    Also I could have sworn that Vern reviewed NIGHTMARE IN A DAMAGED BRAIN at some point but now I can’t seem to find it anywhere.

  91. Good call on THE CHILDREN. That is one freaky movie.

  92. I just saw GRAVITY.

    Holy fuck.

  93. Jareth Cutestory

    October 4th, 2013 at 7:21 am

    Majestyk: I’m glad to hear that the Librarian gets badass. He’s the one character so far that I really like. I think the show would be unbearably coy without his goofy brand of sobriety.

    I also really liked Sophie from Carnivale showing up as an invisible assassin, not so much for the story (which was fine) but for the continued attention to fantastic supporting actors to do much of the heavy lifting.

    I watched the season one finale last night. Although I’m disappointed that Monster Mash was killed (and that much of the episode was dragged into Angel’s lovelorn charisma void), the emotional development that you mentioned earlier is beginning to become more apparent. The scene where Buffy is confronted with the prediction of her imminent death is really well done. Also, the bit of traumatized dialogue that Nerd Girl gives about the monster world corrupting the human world after she saw the corpses of her friends was nicely written; the actor was almost up to the task of performing it too.

    I still think there’s too much CLUELESS in the show’s DNA, but they seem to be drawing Mean Girl into the center of things, setting her up for potentially interesting shit. Maybe they’ll also give the Cyber Wiccan something to do as well at some point, or write her out.

    The show has a reputation for killing characters and bringing them back from the dead, which the finale certainly did with surprisingly little fanfare. Hopefully they don’t rely on this trope too much; it could get absurd really quick (like the whole Where Is Mulder? crap that ruined the X-Files).

  94. There are so many things that I want to say, but you’ve somehow managed to remain so massively unspoiled on the big events of the show that to give even the slightest hint of what’s coming would be a crime against storytelling.

    Please keep me posted about your progress. I’m thoroughly enjoying it.

  95. Thanks to Brian D for the recommendation of THE PACT. I’ve just watched it and I’m very impressed. Great movie, clever and extremely suspenseful. This is the kind of horror movie I love. And it has Casper van Dien!

  96. I partially withdraw my recommendation for “Prisoners”. It’s definitely worth a watch, but don’t go in expecting a masterpiece. There are some major, major structural problems in that movie.

    I said I’d write something about “In A World” and I haven’t yet. Apologies. Honestly I think that film probably deserves a better write-up than someone of my talents can give it; but I will try.

  97. Majestyk: Part of the appeal of watching Buffy is how completely oblivious I am to the details of the series going in; it’s pretty much a blank slate for me (apart from all the rough trade and spanking that you promised I’d see at some point). It’s certainly fun watching guest stars that I know from other shows pop up. Maybe the Bunk will be in there somewhere.

    From this limited perspective I don’t feel Buffy has quite attained the easy profundity and pithy observational wit of Dead Like Me at its best, though obviously I know that Buffy’s reputation far exceeds Dead Like Me’s. It’s going to be interesting to watch how they pull together a show that more successfully braids together its comedy, horror and teen angst.

    It’s also very refreshing how economical the show is. I figured it would be full of moping around like TWILIGHT. Nope. And none of the lurid, purple prose of True Blood. Thankfully.

    I hope Monster Mash comes back.

    I’m not going to derail this thread or future threads with too many comments, but I’m sure I’ll check in with you at the end of each season. Thanks for taking the time to respond.

  98. Vern, if you are doing an Argento other than SUSPIRIA (my favourite horror movie!), I hope for DEEP RED (PROFONDO ROSSO for all pretentious film snobs out there) or INFERNO. Please no PHANTOM OF THE OPERA.

  99. Dear Vern, if you are planning to avoid 3D Gravity because it’s a post conversion, bear in mind that it’s a 90% blue screen movie anyway and almost EVERYTHING is done in post, and that several curmudgeonly critics who always hate 3D are saying it’s the best use of it they’ve seen, and that you basically HAVE to see it in IMAX and it’s hard to see it +imax -3D, etc etc. My $.02. Hopefully you already saw it and are just proofreading the review…

    “My favourite story of the festival is how Cuarón, from the auditorium, instructed the booth to turn up the audio to just less than twice the “acceptable” volume.” filmfreakcentral.net

  100. Shoot: SUSPIRIA, DEEP RED and INFERNO are the only ones I’ve seen multiple times. Maybe I can do one of those and one I haven’t seen.

    renfield: I appreciate the advice. Don’t worry, I wouldn’t miss that one in 3D. Seeing it tonight at 8.

    What I’m trying to determine though is if it is available in real Imax (giant film print) or just digital (two sub-standard projectors for good 3D but poor resolution). From the listings for our local Imax you can’t tell which screen it’s on. If it’s the real one that will be the spot for any potential second viewing.

  101. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

  102. Mother of Tears would be an interesting choice because it’s controversial and some people think it’s shit but others think it’s shockingly good for latter day Argento.

  103. Isn´t Mother Of Tears parts of Argento´s INFERNO?. What I mean is the whole movie centres on three mothers and I remember that being one of them. Any connections?

  104. A few words to the wise re. Gravity: if you must drink the Kool-Aid (as I did, against my first instinct to just skip it), don’t expect some mind-blowing experience or the thrill of what some are calling a game-changer (it isn’t). It’s a perfectly adequate movie given the limitations of its storyline, but that’s all it is.

    Seeing it in IMAX 3D (as I did) is probably the best way to go, but even then the “you too are in outer space along with these astronauts” immersion wears out before long. This isn’t Avatar, where various parts of an entire (remarkably detailed) alien planet are revealed over the course of the movie….. it’s outer space. The only thing that gives outer space its proper perspective are the various cool views of Earth.

    Anyway, youse been warned.

  105. Yeah, going to see a highly anticipated, extremely well reviewed movie by a great director because it looks awesome IS alot like mass cult suicide, now that you point it out. (What?)

  106. Vern: That reference was more (intended to be) a reflection of movie critics as a collective whole. Now that the Internet has made movie reviews ubiquitous (it’s no longer just Siskel & Ebert and [ugh!] Gene Shalit and whatever print media you had access to), it seems like once in awhile a major release will accumulate a huge proportion of positive reviews because a certain number of said reviews got things rolling, then everyone else decided to jump on the same train and try to outdo one another with superlatives and lavish praise. If you want to outshine the competition among Internet movie critics, you won’t get very far by being Negative Nancy. And when the dust settles however long after the theatrical release, one’s left wondering what the hell all the fuss was about (PJ’s King Kong remake being a prime example of this).

    So….. I meant that more in regard to following the herd, not mass suicide.

  107. Mother of Tears is the third film in the Three Witches trilogy, of which Suspiria and Inferno comprise the first two. I’m not sure what you mean by “parts of Inferno”, it is certainly composed of original footage shot exclusively for the film :).

    (I really like it, some of the imagery in it is disturbing to such a ridiculous degree I almost can’t believe I really saw it)

  108. MOTHER OF TEARS is weird because it contains some genuinely shocking moments, excellent ideas, and impressive execution. But it also contains some sequences which are so amateurish it looks like they just used some rehearsal footage taken from a cell phone and said ‘fuck it, good enough.’ It’s a weirdly divided movie in that way. Some parts are brilliant, others out-and-out embarrassing. In general, though, I’m of the opinion that it’s at least more imaginatively depraved than most horror movies today, and that alone shows Argento hustling more than he’s generally been for the last decade or so. Although GIALLO wasn’t quite as terrible as people said.

  109. “But it also contains some sequences which are so amateurish it looks like they just used some rehearsal footage taken from a cell phone and said ‘fuck it, good enough.’ ”

    Are you thinking, for example, the scene where they talk about how darkness and evil will start gathering, and they cut to a bunch of like punk rock chicks walking out of the airport making faces at people?

  110. Vern, if you haven’t already, you should watch WRONG, by the same guy who directed RUBBER. Not a horror movie at all this time, and probably “un-review-able” too, but really good. And I thought William Fichtner was great in it.

  111. Man, Larry, that’s rough. I saw Gravity last night and really like it. It does all the things I thought Avatar was going to do. Seriously one of the best theater experiences in a while.

    It isn’t as meaningful as Children of Men, nor am I going to tell everyone to go see it like I did for that movie. But, it is superb. There may not be anyone as masterful at this while moving pictures thing as Cuaron.

    I really can’t wait to see what Vern had to say about it.

  112. So, to all who saw GRAVITY, was this GODZILLA teaser attached? Just curious. Because it looks pretty awesome on my computer, so I’d wager it’d be tenfold on the big screen.


  113. I did not see it, but I think I missed the first preview.

  114. I saw Gravity the other night and no Godzilla trailer but I’m in Switzerland at the moment so who knows? It’s undeniably technically impressive; as a film it’s good but not great. Vaguely related to the talk of Berberian Sound Studio upthread, I thought it had the most amazing sound design I’ve heard in years.

  115. that GODZILLA “teaser” was the 2013 Comic Con trailer. And yes, its awesome. Who knew Robert Oppenheimer from the grave can sell a blockbuster?

    Also I saw GRAVITY yesterday. Really reminded me of INCEPTION, and I think Vern will bring that up in his inevitable review.

    So yeah I liked it, to say the least. This wipes its ass with MAN OF STEEL, hell all of the summer blockbuster thrillers we got this past summer. (But only a hair over F&TF 6 and IM3. Let’s be fair here.)

  116. Am I the only one who laughed so hard at that Godzilla teaser? From a technical POV it’s very impressive, but it plays like an Adult Swim parody of dark and “realistic” post 9/11 fantasy/horror movies. I think leaving that narration out would have helped a lot.

  117. What am I, chopped liver? You just made a powerful enemy, bucko. I once stabbed Shalit with a salad fork. So watch your ass, Amazing Larry. Or maybe that should be: Not So Amazing Larry. Ha! Still got it.

    This post sponsored by Pepsi and by Smuckers Original: Now Chloroform Free.

  118. Nick: Sadly….. no. Trailers for the IMAX 3D screening I saw were new Jack Ryan movie w/Chris Pine, The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, The Hobbit 2: Smaug Alert, Thor 2, Captain Phillips, and Ender’s Game. Thanks for the link, though. Didn’t even find about this one until just recently, while skimming through Empire Magazine.

    Casey: There’s enough things wrong here to offset the technical mastery of the special effects. Much of the dialogue struck me as being embarrassingly trite. Two other things I can’t mention without going into spoiler territory, except to say that one defuses any real tension the film might have mounted, and the other is how the movie’s “villain” keeps appearing at the most inopportune moments.

    And then there’s George Clooney. Who turns up in Gravity is not the fully-invested guy making a solid effort, as he did in the likes of Out Of Sight, O Brother Where Art Thou, Syriana, and Up In The Air. No, rather in (space)walks the smug, overconfident, trying too hard to be suave guy that I thought he’d moved beyond, but it would seem not. I wish Cuaron had pulled Clooney aside during the beginning of filming and told him something like this:

    “Hey, George?….. I know you’re the handsome guy who goes home to his $10 million mansion and his rotating hot girlfriends, but somewhere between ‘Action!’ and ‘Cut….. Print!’, it would be helpful if you at least showed THE SLIGHTEST HINT OF A MAN IN DISTRESS, so as to give my movie some credibility. Think you can handle that?”.

    (Then he administers a Moe-To-Curly type bitchslap to drive home the point).

    His coasting performance didn’t kill the movie for me, but it did put a big dent in it. For what it’s worth, I thought Sandra Bullock was at the top of her game.

  119. Larry – I’m sorry but I disagree with every single one of those complaints. (Lets be honest, Clooney was playing his OUT OF SIGHT/OCEAN’S 13 persona, the calm/always in control personality…which was the complete 180 of Bullock’s character. There was a point to all that.)

  120. Larry, I really didn’t see that as a problem. The whole point of Clooney’s character is to be the ice cool Apollo 13 dude you want in that situation. Sure, shit is fucked up but you’re not going to fix it by panicking so stay cool.

  121. According to Badass Digest that Godzilla thing was made before they even had a script, and may not even be the tone of what they ended up making.

  122. RRA, The Cosh: No, no….. I *got* that his demeanor was meant to be a counterpoint to Bullock’s nervousness. But to my perception, he came across more as a guy who’s out daysailing, without a care in the world.

    IMO Clooney should have strived for something like what Tom Hanks achieved in Saving Private Ryan: keeping your wits about you, but still acknowledging the (NPI) gravity of the situation. Even while showing those leadership skills, that grace under pressure….. the audience should still see that little tremor lying beneath it. He’s only human.

  123. The sound in GRAVITY is the best part. Actually hurt my ears, like I had landed in a plane and couldn’t get them to pop. I saw it at Dolby Labs though.

    It is the scariest movie I’ve ever seen, and you guys know I don’t get scared by horror movies. Prior to this my scariest movie was THE FIGHTER because that abusive family was some shit. Fuckin Alice Ward.

    That’s not to say I’m on board with this best of the year spiritual experience hype. Maybe sometimes just being a well done effective movie should be enough. But certainly there’s very little it does wrong (many of Larry’s points are valid) so if the world gets behind this, maybe that makes up for them literally turning their backs on CHILDREN OF MEN.

  124. I dunno I wanna throw down on this Gravity beef but I have a feeling we’ll all be regurgitating our comments in the official comments thread.

    But fuck it. For me, Gravity is the ideal of what movies should strive for. The stakes it establishes are incredibly personal but absolutely universal. Their plight is the plight of all of humanity (“Life cannot exist in space”/CUT to life existing in space — humanity’s drive to achieve the impossible*) and at the end of the film, the plight of LIFE ITSELF with its imagery of birth and evolution … but then it’s also just the plight of a couple individuals whose survival are not going to affect anything beyond their own survival.

    It really made my heart sing in just the way I didn’t dare hope it would as someone who waited with baited breath for nearly a decade for a follow up to Children of Men.

    *not to be precious but the “next level filmatism” CJ Holden referenced kinda means that the movie exemplifies that whole “achieving the impossible” thing at the same time as it portrays it, meaning it left me feeling fucking proud to be a human being.

  125. RE: Godzilla’s tone – Yeah, I heard that they screened at the last Comic Con a scene, where Godzi fights a giant Mantis monster, so it might not be 120 minutes of people crying, while shaking the ashes of destroyed skysprapers out of their hair, but seriously, without the knowledge of the movie might be different, that teaser would make me avoid it.

    About GRAVITY: I really don’t want to discuss it until the official review, but it makes me sad that some people are already rejecting the movie, because of its pretty basic script. It’s basic, but not bad. In fact, you can say that what makes it so engaging, is the lack of any unnnecessary fat.

  126. CJ – “rejecting”? Its bullshit, mate. A- Cinemascore in America, It’ll open big this weekend and apparently will have bitchin’ legs in the weeks ahead. I could see GRAVITY becoming an AVATAR or INCEPTION, the new “must see” film event of the moment.

    As for the whineyness about the script, well if they want lots and lots of plot fat in a blockbuster, they can have the recent STAR TREK movie or MOS.

    Its why somewhere I compared GRAVITY with THE WOLVERINE and RIDDICK (and to a degree DREDD and THE GREY from last year), this trend of recent adventure films choosing to back off from the blockbuster slam bang thank you ma’am the-world’s-safety-at-jeopardy stuff, mild down the stakes and cut out the bullshit. Go back andd work with the most basic and oldest of character motivations: Survival. Of course GRAVITY is easily the best film of that bunch.

    renfeld – Well like INCEPTION, at heart GRAVITY is a big budget blockbuster spectacle. I mean let’s not avoid the elephant in the room. It’s just an auteur-driven, arty/smart sort that usually don’t survive the studio development process yet here it is, and its better than most of the big budget blockbusters (most which are cynically-designed) we get.

    Larry – Bleh. How about RDJ in those Flying Robot movies be less cocky and more “serious” during the action scenes? How about Sean Connery when he played James Bond was less comfortable while he was at a SPECTRE fortress kicking ass? Some people deal with pressure gracefully. Others don’t.

  127. I’m not sure I understand what you are implying RRA. But if you are saying that “summer blockbusters” exist in some separate category that precludes them from attaining the sort of greatness that can be assigned to movies that come out in different seasons or that had a different level of independence from the Hollywood machine, that’s just, like, your opinion man.

  128. I’d suggest Terror Vision but 90% of that suggestion is because the opening credits have an awesome catchy creepy Bond-like song, so if you just watch the credits you get a free win (movie is worth a watch too, but I’m long done suggesting 80’s horror comedies to people):


  129. Brian D and Mr Subtlety – Thanks for recommending The Pact, it was a surprisingly decent horror. I avoided it mainly because it was headlined by Casper Van Dien. Nothing personal against CVD, he’s an OK actor I guess. In this one he seems to have morphed into a Michael Pare look-alike with his middle-aged pretty boy looks. But he’s only a supporting player in this one, the focus is really on the sister.

    What I thought made The Pact effective as a horror was the emphasis on atmosphere and sound effects. The scenes in the house were pretty creepy. It had the same atmosphere of dread that hung over the house in the first half of Lost Highway. A sense that evil was lurking down the hallways and through bedroom doors. Cheers guys.

  130. Hey, I wasn’t saying that everybody hates GRAVITY, but there is already a (still kinda small) backlash for the reason I gave!

  131. GRAVITY was fuckin’ rad. End of story. I don’t give a crap how many boners it gave critics, all I know is that it was one of the most immersive, scariest experiences I’ve ever had at the movies and that it had me gawping at the screen in “how the fuck did he DO that?” amazement from start to finish. It was pure cinema. To criticise it because George Clooney was too awesome is to throw so many babies out with the bathwater that I’m surprised you can derive joy from any movie at all.

  132. I agree with CH.

    Or put it another way, what movie technically had more “plot” than GRAVITY and also 52 minutes longer? MAN OF STEEL. Pass.

    CJ – Bitches gonna Bitch. Or skate uphill. Time old story.

    “But if you are saying that “summer blockbusters” exist in some separate category that precludes them from attaining the sort of greatness that can be assigned to movies that come out in different seasons or that had a different level of independence from the Hollywood machine, that’s just, like, your opinion man.”

    Renfield – I have zero idea where you get this interpretation of my opinions from. So left field. All I’m saying is that people bitch by habit about these blockbusters always based off a book or movie or video game or sequel or reboot or prequel or board game or whatever and how allegedly all the blockbusters are now the same and blah blah, how alot of them are made by committee or made to play safe and make the dough. (Seriously consider the complaints at Abrams for allegedly playing it too safe with STID, or the routine complaints at the process by companies like Pixar and Marvel.)

    Thus I compared GRAVITY with INCEPTION, both that I would consider to be art…even though they are also blockbusters. I dig the fuck out of that. Don’t you?

  133. Just so you know RRA, if you bring up MAN OF STEEL for no reason one more time you’ll tie Asimov’s STAR TREK record. Don’t do it right away, I gotta get the balloons ready.

  134. RRA – I dunno dude if you go back and read what you posted I think you’ll understand how I arrived at the interpretation I did. It sounds like you’re saying the “elephant in the room” is that it’s a big hollywood blockbuster. Why would something be the elephant in the room? Because it’s something to be embarrassed about, something you want to avoid mentioning, something that implies negative things about the movie. It sounded like you were saying “Gravity might be a little bit more auteur-driven than a typical big budget movie but it’s still a big budget movie.”

    And now that you clarify your response, all you’re saying is that you weren’t talking about a perspective that you yourself hold, but a perspective that others might (fallaciously, I take it) hold. Which is fine, but hardly explains why you’re so baffled that I drew the conclusions I did.

  135. I’m going to post this here instead of the Gravity review, because I don’t want to clog up that, but comparing Gravity and Inception (like some have done) just seems to be the worst idea. When I think of Gravity and Inception all I can think of is how Gravity is better in every way to Inception, and that Gravity is an illustrative example of everything wrong with Inception.

  136. I don’t know why they’re being compared, except I guess as big expensive fun movies that are extremely well made and mostly for grownups. And both have zero-g in them. One is a big ensemble while the other is mainly two actors, one is fun because of its extremely complex narrative, the other because it’s so simple, one is based in a very complex fantasy world, the other gives the appearance of realism. I don’t see why they’re similar enough for the comparison to be made. What am I missing?

  137. I have the same gripes with the Avatar comparison that crops up virtually everywhere. One a bloated science fiction reimagining of Pocahontas meets Ferngully, one a stripped down disaster movie. I mean I get it, both are technological landmarks that may or may not be backed up by commensurately awesome plots/characters/dialogue/etc. But then again why not compare it to, like, Roger Rabbit or something (one live action actor against an animated backdrop).

  138. Okay, Vern, the director of RAVENOUS, Antonia Bird, passed away this week just in time for Halloween. Honor her memory by watching her totally sweet little period piece cannibal film. I don’t care if you even review it. I just want to know you’ve seen it.

  139. I saw it long ago, been meaning to rewatch it forever. I don’t think I can get it in before Halloween but I’ll try to do it soon. The main thing I remember is that I thought the score was amazing. And isn’t Neal McDonough the big blond guy in it or am I remembering it wrong? (don’t answer, I should look it up myself)

  140. Yeah, I remember watching RAVENOUS when it came out on home video and thinking “Hey, it’s the red shirt from FIRST CONTACT”! McDonough came a long way.

  141. The score is pretty crazy, one of the few I’ve ever purchased. As far as I know it’s a (kinda/sorta) collaboration between Michael Nyman and Damon Albarn and it is genuinely some of the most off-beat and creepy music ever put to film. The scene where the search party goes to, and creeps inside, the cannibal’s cave is just a perfect example of music heightening an already intense moment.

  142. Not to beat a dead horse, but Scream Factory is releasing RAVENOUS on Blu in June. They’ve done a pretty commendable job with their releases thus far, so I’m hoping for a nice upgrade, as the previous release has a fairly grainy transfer and (I believe) an incorrect aspect ratio.

  143. Yeah, I’ve been meaning to re-watch it forever, even long before Bird’s death, but I just read that in Fangoria and figured I will wait until the blu-ray.

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