Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

the-blob-film-1988There is one film in my vault of horrors that I watch every Halloween, regardless of what my yearly theme may be. It’s a film I associate with the holiday, (despite having nothing to do with it) starting way back to when I was fresh out of diapers, and stumbled across it for the first time on cable. Now I’m sure many purists out there will scream blaspheme when they discover it’s a remake, but it’s one of the best, and a prime example of how they should be done. Taking what worked from the original, and building upon it while omitting the kitschy bits that kept it from achieving greatness.

The film in question is a mortifying one, responsible for my outright abhorrence of a certain Cosby marketed gelatinous treat that makes me gag just thinking about it. The crusty film that spreads across its surface if left to fester in the fridge for too long. The way it jiggles upon a spoon as it creeps toward your mouth, and how it slurps, and slithers down your throat like an edible slug. I’m of course talking about Jell-O, and its amorphous acidic older brother, The Blob.blob-4

Released in 1988, The Blob is director Chuck Russell, (known for A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors) and writer Frank Darabont’s, (of Shawshank Redemption, The Mist, and spawning the now beloved Walking Dead series) loving remake of the Steve McQueen led 1958 classic.

The film follows the citizens of Arborville, California as they’re attacked by an organism that devours, and dissolves anything unfortunate enough to cross its path, while growing to astronomical proportions in the process.

blobThe major divergence from the original was making the creature a biological weapon, rather than an extraterrestrial organism, which provides a terrifying political subtext that’s much more effective than the outer space craze so rampant in films from the fifties, and sixties.

The gruesome special effects, provided by the legendary Tony Gardner, (Army of Darkness, Michael Jackson’s Thriller) are extraordinary for the time the film was released, and hold up exceptionally when compared to what we see today.
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The Blob, is hands down one of the top three best remakes of all time, the other two being Carpenter’s Thing, and Cronenberg’s The Fly. It’s gory, it’s scary, and it’s a hell of a good way to kill an hour and change.

A fun fact to end on, Tony Gardner has been investigated two times by authorities. The first, by the FBI, then again by the Arizona State Police, and Missing Persons Bureau for his work on .

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houseofthedevilThere’s something entrancing about 70’s horror movies. Without the advancements in practical effects, and animatronics perfected during the eighties or digital imaging we have access to today filmmakers were forced to rely on storytelling, and atmosphere to evoke terror, and that’s why so many films from that era remain effective today, titles like The Amityville Horror, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Exorcist, and Suspiria to name a handful.

Ti West is a modern filmmaker responsible for a quasi-renaissance of 70’s style horror, with films like The Innkeepers, The Sacrament, and the subject of today’s post, The House of the Devil.
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House of the Devil follows college sophomore Samantha Hughes, who, desperate to make some quick cash for a deposit on an apartment takes a job babysitting for a wealthy family in the countryside. Samantha soon discovers that the seemingly polite owners are hiding a sinister secret, and that there’s no so thing as easy money.

Ti West is an artist behind the camera, and as with most of his filmography the frights come from his sweeping shots, crawling pace, and reliance on atmosphere to unsettle the audience. Credit must also be given to Jocelin Donahue’s performance as she creates a charming heroine you can’t help but root for, and the always enjoyable Tom Noonan, (who house3most gore-mongers will recognize as Francis Dolarhyde from Manhunter) as Mr. Ulman.

As with most 70’s inspired horror films, The House of the Devil is a slow-burner, but stick with it. I promise, you won’t be disappointed.

dogsoldiersA good werewolf film is hard to come by these days. Aside from the obvious Universal monsters, Wolfman there have been arguably three effectively scary films featuring the furry bastards throughout film history, An American Werewolf in London, The Howling, and the subject of today’s post, Dog Soldiers.

Directed by Neil Marshall, (also responsible for the stellar, The Descent) Dog Soldiers follows six British Army soldiers on a training mission in the Scottish Highlands who face off against a family of ravenous werewolves.dogsoldiers2

The special effects are amazing, the werewolves themselves some of the best ever created for the screen, and the cast, including everyone’s favourite Onion Knight, Liam Cunningham are fantastic as well.

If there’s one complaint I have, it would be that I’ve been waiting since 2004, for its sequel Fresh Meat!

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Rusty Cundieff is not a name you’d associate with horror as he’s a man primarily known for his work on Chappelle’s Show, but in 1995, Cundieff directed a delightful horror anthology entitled, Tales From the Hood.

Tales From the Hood contains four segments centred around racism, police-brutality, gang violence, and domestic abuse presented in a wraparound story by an eccentric funeral parlour director to three drug-dealers looking to, “score some shit.”
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Despite containing some mature subject matter, Tales From the Hood is a lot of fun, and unlike many of the films we’ve taken a look at this month it delivers its scares via the harsh truths that surround us in society, rather than the things that go bump in the night.

It’s not a particularly easy film to find considering the HBO, DVD has been out of print for years, and Universal Pictures who currently holds the distribution rights has no plans of re-releasing it.

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It’s no secret that I’m a Stephen King fanatic. It, was the first adult book I read at the tender age of seven, and I’ve been hooked on his work ever since. Until that point the darkest stories I’d come across were Hans Christian Andersen’s grimm fairy tales, and the collected works of Roald Dahl, and I hungered for more. As luck would have it, (or fate if you’d prefer, I know I would) my cravings for the bleak would soon be satiated after I found a copy of It tucked between the alarm clock, and lamp on my uncle’s nightstand. I stealthily scooped the encyclopedia sized tome, glancing over my shoulders to ensure I wasn’t caught, and proceeded to devour it over a two week period, reading its terrifying passages whilst hidden beneath the sun-deck of my childhood home. It changed me, sparked my desire to write, and lured me into the dark side of fiction where I’ve spent the better part of my thirty years trying to craft something as equally horrifying.

Sadly, his adaptations have been a mixed bag, ranging from the fantastic Shawshank Redemption, and Misery to the mediocre, Pet Semetary, and virtually everything by Mick Garris, (fret not Mr. Garris, I respect your work, and I’ll be honouring it tomorrow, but Stephen King adaptations are not on the list) to the abysmal Silver Bullet, and Cell.

Perhaps there’s something about King’s work that makes it difficult to adapt. Maybe it’s because his brand of horror is far more effective played out in our heads than it is on a screen, or maybe the studios behind them are more concerned with the money that comes from his name, rather than making an adequate film. Whatever the case, many of King’s stories deserve better.

Next year, It will be making its way to the big screen for a second try, this time with a much needed R rating attached to it, and Pet Sematary soon after. From what I’ve seen, and heard about both films they appear to be faithful adaptations, made by filmmakers who respect, and adore the source material. Hopefully, should they be successful, it’ll start a trend of other less than savoury works being re-adapted, but we’ll have to wait and see.

In the meantime, I figured we’d take a look at an oft overlooked adaptation- or rather anthology of adaptations in TNT’s, Nightmares and Dreamscapes.

Released in 2006, Nightmares and Dreamscapes sees a number of King’s stories from the aforementioned novel brought to life for the small screen, as well as a couple exceptions, namely The Road Virus Heads North, and Autopsy Room Four from Everything’s Eventual, and Battleground from the Skeleton Crew. The stories chosen from Nightmares are, Umney’s Last Case, The End of the Whole Mess, You Know They Got a Hell of a Band, The Fifth Quarter, and Crouch End.

To put it bluntly, Nightmares and Dreamscapes does everything the typical Hollywood Stephen King adaptation doesn’t, and that’s not a slam. The creators went to great lengths to do justice to the source material, and the special effects provided by the Jim Henson Creature Shop are excellent by network standards. Brian Henson, son of everyone’s favourite muppet manufacturer even directed the pilot, and standout episode of the series Battleground.

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Normally I’d pick a few of my favourite episodes, and summarize their plots in as few words as possible, but every episode of the series is worth watching, and vary just enough from one another to each stand out. This is more of a case of which was my least favourite, and if forced to pick from the lot I’d have to go with Crouch End, but that’s more so because I’ve never been a fan of the story, and not due to any fault of its own.

Nightmares and Dreamscapes ran for just one season, eight paltry episodes, and it’s a damn shame we never got a second considering Haven just wrapped up its fifth, and final season this past December. Not that I have anything against Haven, I’m actually quite fond of its campy charm, but it simply doesn’t carry the same chill factor, and level of prestige found in Nightmares.

If you haven’t seen this series, I implore you to track down a copy, they sell for relatively cheap on amazon, I think I forked out fifteen bucks for mine brand new, and I’d have gladly paid double.

That’s all for today my dearest darklings. Do come back tomorrow for the final course of my Thankskilling extravaganza. I saved the best for last, a nice bloody slice of dessert for all you gore-mongers out there.

Until then, stay scared!

Many people know me as primarily a writer of all things nasty and grotesque, but few may remember the days when I spent most of my time writing lyrics for my band, and endless notebooks of melancholic poetry. It was all undoubtedly bad, but we all have start somewhere right? Might as well get the awful stuff out first. Ah, high school, such a glorious time for inspiring the misunderstood rejects who paraded through its halls. I have fond memories of those days, despite being trapped within the thrall of yowling hormones, matriarchal abandonment, and a posse of shapeshifting characters I called my friends.

I hope you enjoy it, it’s short so please have a read, and remember my dearest darklings, stay scared.

 

Twenty-Five By The Lake.. Dean Sexton

The Twenty-Five from the Lake.

Here is the story, from me to you,
Of the ones who plagued me so.
It would seem their tale,
Of plight and sorrow,
Began not long ago.

I write this now, grim lullaby,
Before I come to pass,
For the Twenty-Five, now Twenty-Six,
Whose story demand be passed.

At first they haunted my deepest dreams,
My slumber disturbed by endless screams,
And prodding fingers cold and blue,
Their eyes were a glistening, hateful void

With a paleness alike the moon.

Their fog-like skin fuelled terror within,
I bark from me to you,
Their voices were shrill, ghost reveries,
Telling tales of vicious sin.

But beneath their icy, watery gaze,
I noted a sadness deep within,
These wretched ghostly, drowned souls,
Desired something stolen from their kin.

Although they spoke, but not a word,
Their voice was true as day,
They spoke of deceit, of murder, and betrayal,
Of vengeance for their dismay.

This cottage of mine, of my inheritance,
The one beside the lake,
Was once their land, was once their home,
And not for us to take.

We burned their village, we raped their women,
Their children were enslaved,
And so the planks of evil came,
Erecting a monolith of pain.

The Twenty-Five,

The red skinned clan,

The ones who loved the lake,
The murdered souls, thrown deep beneath,
Thrown deep within the lake.

These tortured souls, these hateful ghouls,
Had found me at long last,
The last born son, the next of kin,
The name my father passed.

And so this story, from me to you,
This tale I’ve come to pass,
The Twenty-Five, now Twenty-Six,
For I’ve become the last.

Copyright Dean Sexton 2006-Present.