Archive for the ‘horror’ Category

Second Year Grumpiversary – Resident Evil

April 23, 2009

JohnnyMora: okay then
JohnnyMora: on the count of 3..
JohnnyMora: 1
JohnnyMora: 2
JohnnyMora: 3!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
JohnnyMora: Screen Gems… a presumptuous name!
sirtmagus: Wow, this flick’s off to a great part.
JohnnyMora: OH GOSH
JohnnyMora: and chinese gibberish
sirtmagus: Text AND voiceover! They can’t trust their viewer, can they
JohnnyMora: my dad can’t read shit
JohnnyMora: We started to watch an Oshii film and it was so full of text he had me turn it off.
sirtmagus: That was the most rushed introductory sequence
sirtmagus: LOOK, A TITLE
sirtmagus: OK
sirtmagus: NOW THIS
JohnnyMora: Well
JohnnyMora: At least they know we don’t really give a shit about the background of this story.
JohnnyMora: or the foreground
sirtmagus: yeah but then they do this
sirtmagus: show us in exquisite detail what happens to cause the outbreak, killing the mystery of the entire thing.
JohnnyMora: HEY
JohnnyMora: well
JohnnyMora: it doesn’t kill the WHOLE mystery
JohnnyMora: as we learn later on!
sirtmagus: what mystery is left?!
JohnnyMora: Who did it?!?!?
JohnnyMora: Why?!!??!?
sirtmagus: :VVVVV


(grumplet) Coraline: She’s a Peach, She’s a Doll, She’s a Paaaal O’ Miiiiiiiine

February 18, 2009

Stop-motion animation has always sort of fascinated me. With traditional 2D drawn animation, I’m already impressed with how much focus, dedication and vision it takes to breathe life into a film’s world. Stuff like the Escher scene from The Thief and the Cobbler fill me with a sort of awe that I can’t easily describe. I don’t think I’ve ever been passionate about anything as much as some of these people must’ve been to work on something like that.

So when you get into something like stop-motion animation, it just boggles my mind. PHYSICALLY building everything that you’re going to be using, then meticulously moving it bit by bit as you capture each individual frame… cripes. Stuff that used to be easy in drawn animation, like making a character jump, becomes a mystery I’m not sure I want spoiled when done in stop-motion. It’s not a common or popular art form, however. Like any type of animation, or entertainment for that matter, if the animator gets bogged down in the technical aspects of it and stops paying attention to story and character, you just end up with a technically impressive sleep-aid. I rented a collection of short films by famous stop-motion animators the Brothers Quay that I was eager to watch, but soon found that they had no interest other than just creating atmospheric backdrops for inanimate objects to move around in. It was extremely boring.

Probably the best known stop-motion feature in recent memory was Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, a musical with a distinctively gothic, quirky aesthetic and loads of creativity in its execution. The director, Henry Selick, whom everyone seems to forget, recently released another stop-motion film based on Neil Gaiman’s storybook Coraline. Helllllllll yeah.

psst behind you

(grumplet) The Happiness of the Katakuris: The Sound of Music with Dead Bodies

January 27, 2009

The premise of The Happiness of the Katakuris is like this: A middling patriach of a Japanese family leaves behind his mundane shoe sales job in order to open up a bed-and-breakfast at the foot of Mt. Fuji and drags his whole family along for the ride. However, when they finally get their first guests, each one ends up dying overnight. Desperate to stave off police suspicion and save the family business, they decide to bury the growing number of bodies in the nearby grounds.

Now, this sounds pretty macabre, like some sort of Asian “The Telltale Heart.” A conventional treatment of a plot such as this might be a quiet, haunting horror movie filled with chilling imagery, deadly silences and mounting dread that culminates into a terrifying treatise on guilt and paranoia.

But this movie was made by Takashi Miike, so it’s a musical comedy instead.

FAME! I wanna live forevaaaaaaaaaaa


(grumplet) Jacob’s Ladder

October 31, 2008

Something that we haven’t done a very good job with and I’d like to correct is the lack of holiday-themed articles here on Grump Factory. I attempted to make a horror-themed article for Halloween last year, but it ended up being posted quite late. That simply will not DO. So here I am, presenting a movie that deserves to have its place among modern horror staples: Jacob’s Ladder. So strap yourself to a gurney and come along with me!

squeak squeak squeak

(grumplet) IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS – Lost Gem

October 29, 2008

In the Mouth of Madness sneaks under the radar as one of John Carpenter’s lesser known exploits but it has Sam Neill going crazy, something that’s always fun, so it definitely warrants your attention if you’re looking for a rental these few days before Halloween. It’s a horror-comedy-mystery mash-up with plenty of nods to Stephen King and H.P. Lovecraft. The title itself is based on one of Lovecraft’s works, “At the Mountain of Madness.”

Sam Neill plays an insurance investigator looking for Sutter Cane, a popular Stephen King-like author who hermits himself away in a creepy New England town. His readers across the world take his novels so seriously they go on murderous rampages while extolling Cane’s apocalyptic prose about long-dead monster gods coming to life. Sam Neill, peculiarly accented when no one else is, refuses to believe the written word can have such an impact on people so he ventures off to see whether it’s all a huge publicity stunt or the real deal. And things just get crazier and crazier from there.

The movie’s filmed in 1995 though you wouldn’t guess that at all. The hair, the costumes, the sets, the special effects, who’s in it – it’s all straight out of the 80s. It’s like Carpenter never left the decade behind. The woman who tags along with Sam Neill has a bird’s nest style typical of the era and everything looks cheap as hell. True budget filmmaking, made even more evident by the bizarro cameos. Charleton Heston shows up as Sutter Cane’s publisher, reading cue cards off-camera in an office he never leaves, and David Warner – star of Quest of the Delta Knights, Time After Time and Titanic – appears far too briefly as a psychiatrist. The most disappointing thing about the movie is there’s not enough David Warner. John Carpenter had a chance to use him and he barely does. Augh.

But Sam Neill going crazy is enough to entertain, especially when he arrives at Cane’s town and meets the residents. The suspense piles up as the town’s oddities slowly reveal themselves. It’s hilarious how Sam brushes off the more grotesque and unexplainable mysteries as elaborate hoaxes, and even funnier when he tries to leave but can’t no matter how hard he tries, and still insists on some sort of logical explanation. When Cane himself shows up, played by Jurgen Prochnow of all people, and rubbery beasts in the fashion of The Thing and Possession appear, the writing’s on the wall. Quite literally. Then the wall bursts open and unleashes unspeakable horror, and the fourth wall takes a hit or two. I see how the winking, self-deprecating humor could betray viewers looking for a more serious horror outing in In the Mouth of Madness, but it’s the kind of surreal, playful shot in the arm the genre needs every once in a while. By poking fun at authorship, creativity, suspension of disbelief and the effect fiction has on people Carpenter almost reaches They Live levels of his own goofy, brand of brilliance.

So, like, check it out.


The Stepford Wives: Makes Me Wanna Kill Someone

August 2, 2008

I’ve seen bad movies. They usually inspire nothing more than indifference or boredom. But sometimes. Sometimes a bad movie is so awful, so offensive to my sensibilities as a film-goer that it transcends being merely “bad” and metamorphoses into some kind of nightmarish object of pure spite aimed directly at me. Rarely have I encountered something that seems to beg for me to hate it.

But until a few days ago, I hadn’t seen the remake of The Stepford Wives.

Shhh dont tell anyone how shitty this movie is

Shhh don't tell anyone how shitty this movie is



May 26, 2008

Where's my mandolin?

Me and The Orphanage… we’ve had an interesting ride together. It’s not often a movie takes me on a rollercoaster of opposite emotions and thoughts, but this horror movie managed to do it. I originally saw it back in January when it was in limited release in theaters. I plopped myself down one weeknight because of the positive press and cheap ticket prices. While I started warming up to the movie, part of the way through I began getting more and more disenfranchised and annoyed by the movie’s message. Then the climax happened and it completely changed my opinion. What kind of movie can DO that to me?