Some Capsule Reviews, MORE HORROR!


The Unborn (David S. Goyer, 2009)

The guy who brought this movie said the first half hour was the scariest film he’s ever seen, and he had to turn it off. He brought it in hopes of inflicting the same terror onto us, unsuspecting strangers (Well, he knew everyone, I knew no one, he was a stranger to me, so it sticks). Alas! The movie is neither frightening nor the “blank” of anything anyone has ever seen. Perhaps the most awkward integration of the Holocaust ever to be commited to screen? Maybe that works, but even so, I’m sure there are worse instances. We cannot blame this poor child though, he was colour blind, and the box art was no doubt monochromatic, he could have simply confused this with a different film with upside down dog faces. I don’t recommend this film under any circumstance, especially if you can see the full colour spectrum.

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Dementia 13 (Francis Coppola, 1963)

This is a film by an unknown talent called Francis Coppola. The one known as Francis Ford Coppola came later and was the born from the former, when he crashed into a model T. Not the other way around, because as a man of the twentieth century, he was far more hardy and probably moved far quicker than the model black. This film was something of a dream, faded in between beers, a mirage of unrestored black and white carnage. There were dreams, reflections in the water… and axe murders. I could pretend that I saw something in it, that if I were to watch this when it was released that I could have been the one who would say “this kid is going places”. I don’t think I would have been that person, I don’t think I could have predicted the rise and fall of Ford.

Trick ‘r Treat (Michael Dougherty, 2009)

Already like an old friend, we’ve met before, but not long ago. I feel as though I’ve known you forever, but it’s been but a few months. Things were not quite as sweet as they were that first time, but what is? I suppose some things improve with practise and time, but at least this does not depreciate. Anna Paquin as a brunette is enchanting, and I wish my own problems were so simple. I could engage in her breed of carnage if it were necessary and compulsive, but actual interpersonal interactions; never. That segment always affects me, because they allow me to empathise so deeply with her, to feel her extreme social anxiety and pain, and then they strip it away. I find it satisfying and yet, so infuriating.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Tobe Hopper, 1974)

We meet yet again, and this time… it is much sweeter. We were innocent when we last met, and now, I feel like we understand each other far better. You’re more beautiful and nuanced, your colours pop, and your low angle butt shots have far more elegance than they ought to. What a tease, you make everything seem so effortless and easy. I can’t believe you don’t know what you’re saying and what you’re doing with me. Every action is so elaborate, and yet, so fluid. I feel the sun shining in my eyes, and I’m all cut up inside. It’s terrible, and gratifying. I don’t want to hear the words, only revel in the carnage. I wish I were so long and thin and beautiful, but it was never meant to be, at least I’m in one piece (physically, that is), it’s more than I could say for you.


The Dead Zone (Cronenberg, 1983)

Why didn’t anyone tell me Martin Sheen was in this? Walken is great and all, but I ADORE Sheen. This film should be watched with the West Wing in mind. Though I can’t say I ever really watched the show, I imagine it would be somehow subversive. Though this film has the very familiar machine meets humanity aspect, notably in keeping Johnny alive against all odds. The effect it has on him, the gift that it inspires is almost a curse, an example of transferring the qualities of God to man. The film also extends the extension of machine, beyond mechanics and medicine as in the previous film, moving into wider and less concrete institution of human “ingenuity” like the political machine. The film is remarkably well made, and the visions are among the best I’ve seen committed to film. They’re all very striking and intensely beautiful and disturbing. One of Cronenberg’s best.

9 responses to “Some Capsule Reviews, MORE HORROR!

  1. A lot of charming, extended socializing metaphors here; but it sounds as it you were babysitting the hoi polloi in the first instance? Yes, there is much pain and awkwardness to be found in encountering strangers with film “enthusiasms”!–

    I haven’t seen Dementia 13 or The Dead Zone in *forever*, but I like to imagine I would still enjoy them. I remember watching The Dead Zone as a kid and thinking the whole movie was the hunt for the serial killer, and when that was over I was like, ‘why is the movie still going?’

    I wonder if that whole suicide-by-scissors-up-the-throat thing was in King? I was probably vaguely precociously aware of something called “Cronenbergian” at the time, so I suppose that scene would be my first big gulp of that particular quality . . .

  2. I actually wrote most of them RIGHT after pulling an all nighter, which explains the weirdness. Heh, the first one is mean, but I was really out of it. I enjoyed myself, great company, great movies.

    I haven’t read any King, so I couldn’t say. I barely remember Dementia 13 myself, and it’s been like two days. I’ll have to see it again, it was at least interesting.

    The part following the hunt is very Manchurian Candidate.

  3. I love the Dead Zone. It’s one of my favourite horror movies and one of the best Stephen King adaptations. I think Cronenburg really got the religious theme in the novel.

  4. King seems as though he is difficult to adapt, so many attempts end in failure, it’s strange though because he strikes me as a man who at the core has very strong stories… Cronenberg has a great talent though, and he does integrate the religious aspects extremely well, without ever being kitschy or forced. It all feels natural and is only ever absurd, never mocking or condescending.

  5. I just bought the 2-Disc Special Edition of TCM for a friend of mine. BUt when it showed up in the mail…I decided to keep it for myself. It’s too good.

    Trick ‘r Treat, despite the few lackluster reviews I read so far, is one of my most anticipated films of the year.

  6. The new one released with the Blu-ray? That’s the one I saw, and I’m not really a person obsessed with transfers, but this transfer was truly remarkable. I’ve seen it on dvd before, but this latest edition is truly incredible, the film looked more beautiful than I ever remember it.

    Having seen it twice, I have to say, there is nothing lackluster about it.

  7. I thought it might be fun to share that at the end of a “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (BluRay) screening at my house a few weeks ago, seven people who had never seen the movie before applauded.

  8. Yeah, they really loved it.
    They’ve all been talking about it, specifically how much artistry went into what they had always thought of as a low-budget grindhouse horror.
    The movie is unflinching and unrelenting in a way that even it’s copycats (except for perhaps Zombie’s films) don’t have the stones for.

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