Horror. Worldview. Faith.

Last 2 Days to Enter the September DVD Giveaway

Last 2 Days to Enter the September DVD Giveaway

Sep 29, 2010

If you have not already submitted your question to be eligble to win a FREE special 2-disk edition of The Shining, then what are you waiting for?  Click here to read about September’s contest and get your name in the drawing.  As always, participation is completely free and fun.

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Body Count Podcast #1015

Body Count Podcast #1015

Sep 28, 2010

Hallo and Danny discuss the upcoming Orlando, FL horror convention called Spooky Empire and then evaluate Robert Kirkman’s bold statement that Day of the Dead is “by far” the best zombie movie of all time.

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The Town that Dreaded Sundown – Review

The Town that Dreaded Sundown – Review

Sep 26, 2010

reviewed by hallo
directed by Charles B. Pierce, 1976
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The Town that Dreaded Sundown had one of those classic VHS tape box covers that made you want to grab it instantly in the old movie rental locations – before the Blockbusters of the world drove all the small town rental stores out of business (interestingly, Blockbuster is now being driven out of business by Netflix and others).   After viewing the film from my “Movie Station” location in east TN, I actually ended up purchasing the movie several years later on VHS.  Not so much because it was a great movie, but because I just simply could not believe it was on sale!  I’m glad I did as the movie has still not been released on DVD and VHS copies are in the $50 range to purchase.

Having said that, the film has all the elements of a great horror movie but poorly delivers on almost all of them.  There is the hooded serial killer, the unsolved mystery of the murders, the Texas Ranger who is brought in to solve the crimes, and the teenagers who meet their doom in some rather bizarre ways.  The movie follows the feel of an old western documentary, complete with the super cheesy voice-over narration of what is happening in the small, blue-collar town of Texarcana in the year 1946.  Unfortunately, the acting is over the top, the comedic element is overly and annoyingly used, and some of the kill scenes leave you scratching your head.  For example, at one point the “phantom” attaches a knife to the end of a trombone and plays a little tune while stabbing his helpless victim.

On the other hand, The Town that Dreaded Sundown has some positive aspects as well, not the least of which is one super awesome movie title.  The phantom does spook you out in more than one scene and his appearance in the hood is rather creepy; so much so that I believe Steve Miner ripped off the look for Jason Vorhees in Friday the 13th part 2.  And it is hard not to like veteran actor Ben Johnson playing the determined Texas Ranger J.D. Morales, which is a Texas name if I ever heard of one.  So, this movie is one I recommended for its somewhat unique approach and feel, but I can’t give it high marks on quality and longevity.  The movie certainly does belong back in its own time.

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Teeth – Review

Teeth – Review

Sep 21, 2010

reviewed by hallo
directed by Mitchell Lichtenstein, 2007
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Teeth is a 2007 Sundance Film Festival release written and directed by Mitchell Lichtenstein that operates successfully on multiple levels. Although it most noticeably sits very nicely in the sub-genre of horror-black comedy, Teeth also works equally well in the arena of satire and even gore. It is quite possible that this movie has more to say than even the film realizes. It was one of the rare viewing experiences where you are expecting something fairly decent and walk away with something very good.

Dawn O’Keefe is a high school teenage girl who has the rare conviction that sex is designed to be solely the act of a husband and wife. She is one of the lead spokespersons for an organization called “The Promise” that advocates abstaining from sex until marriage and symbolizes the commitment by the wearing of a ring on the left hand, only to be replaced with a wedding ring when that day arrives. During a sexual assault from a fellow Promise member, Dawn becomes aware that she has a rather powerful biological deterrent to any would-be sexual predator- a condition called “vagina dentata.” As the movie progresses, Dawn moves through a range of emotions, beginning with fear and disgust and culminating with the perception that she enjoys her new-found advantage over the male species.

As a satire, Teeth works about as good as you can get. As would be expected, most of the members of The Promise organization are religious minded folks who reach their convictions based on faith and believe in God. Additionally, as would be expected, Lichtenstein portrays this group as the real scare in the movie, depicting them as a cult whose very existence should send cold chills down our back. At one point in the film, the group is meeting for a “rally” and is chanting small sections from Genesis 3 about the serpent and Eve. All these scenarios create a clear satirical commentary on religious groups such as “True Love Waits” that every church youth program in the country has promoted at one time or another. Interestingly, the film actually gets this partly right. That might be surprising to hear coming from a pastor (which I am), but the underlying spiritual development of a group like The Promise more often than not reaches its apex with a signed declaration card and a promise ring, neither of which are bad things, but neither of which will sustain the kind of commitment and conviction that is to be honored. Although I get bored of filmmakers always depicting Christian groups with a cult/freaked-out/extremist point of view, Teeth is correct to say that much of what happens in these organizations may be well intended, but falls short on effectiveness. Even more interesting, whether the movie intended this or not, the film actually supports the message of The Promise by acknowledging the danger involved with using sex for just personal victory or pleasure. Although the male has an initial sense of “victory” upon first initiating the act with Dawn, it doesn’t take long for him to wish that he had made a different decision. Whereas with thousands of teenagers in the real world today, guilt will be the factor involved to bring about regret, for those who become intimate with Dawn, it is physical pain and torment that causes the sudden change of heart.

Teeth also works to create a character in Dawn who develops into a voice for all womanhood – the empowering of the female to take control over the male in the one area where she has historically been inferior; sexual dominance. Many of us horror fans remember vividly the images from films such as Last House on the Left and I Spit On Your Grave where the female lead is plunged head-first into the world of sexual assault that is male dominated. We see the flip side of that coin in the ultimate way with the character of Dawn and it falls in line nicely with the current trend of movies that give a great weight to the notion of not only female equality, but superiority.

Finally, and perhaps what the filmmakers were most going for, is that Teeth takes the “rules” of horror movies to the ultimate level. If you have sex, you die – that seems to have been the paradigm since Carpenter’s 1978 Halloween.  In this instance, it isn’t the masked serial killer that is waiting to spear the couple who end up with their clothes off, but it is the killer of the human body itself that wreaks havoc. And as we all know, there is no powerful threat to our own well being than the persuasions of our own flesh.

The only real complaint I have with the film is that at times it tried a bit too hard to be a black-comedy. There are a few scenes that should have been left on the cutting room floor, but I think the film wanted to make darn sure we all got the message – they are having fun with this. At other times, one scene in particular when Dawn is researching her condition, the musical score is horrendous. But, those are minor issues and will not interfere with your enjoyment of the movie. This is definitely an “R” rated film and should be viewed with caution. But it does have a message to share.

Click Here to purchase Teeth

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Halloween Horror Nights – Warehouse Exxperience

Halloween Horror Nights – Warehouse Exxperience

Sep 21, 2010

Check out the cool interactive game Universal Studios has set up over at the Halloween Horror Nights website.  Below is the offical “Blacket Eyes” scores.  See if you can beat us.

http://www.halloweenhorrornights.com/orlando/warehouse/index.html

CHAOS – 2 attempts
LEGEND – 3 attempts
DEATH – 2 attempts
SACRIFICE – 1 attempt
VENGEANCE – 1 attempt

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