Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Looking an Edgy New Body Horror Short Film? Watch "Painkiller"

So many people nowadays have had their lives touched by addiction, cancer, and other insidious terminal diseases that cause immense misery and pain for loved ones. It's this personal sense of mourning and loss that is the underlying theme of "Painkiller."

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Five Hilarious Things about "Vanishing on 7th Street" that only People from Detroit would Know

Aside from the horrible acting, and over the top melodrama of the plot; there are six things that are absolutely hilarious about "Vanishing on 7th Street" that only people who are from Detroit will understand:

Sunday, September 7, 2014

'As Above So Below' Review

Ahhh, the mysteries of alchemy, the French catacombs, and the dark night of the soul; all of these things are explored in this found footage film. 

I thought that I was going in to watch another "Grave Encounters" rip off. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised with a movie that journeys into the darkness of the human psyche, and uncovers the very personal demons that lie within our very souls.

Overall, "As Above So Below" is a smart, well written horror film. It's very clear to me that whomever was involved in writing the script did their homework. The details surrounding the unobtainable, albeit mythical, Philosopher's Stone; and what it is like traveling through the Parisian Catacombs,  are impeccable.

What really impressed me though, is that the movie is an allegory based on the classic story, "The Inferno" by Dante Alighieri. I have long been a fan of Dante's Inferno. It's a great epic poem, with a ton of gore and horrific images that would make any splatterpunk movie proud.

The movie's sophisticated mirroring of Dante's descent into hell, with that of the adventurers trip down into the bowels of the catacombs is brilliant. I was so impressed with it, I totally geeked out about it the minute I stepped out of the theater. Yes. I am a literature nerd. Deal with it.

Guilt, redemption, and resolution are common themes in "As Above So Below."

I'd tell you more, but that would spoil the movie for you. Look for posts in the future to find out what scenes were inspired by Dante, which ones were taken from images directly in the epic poem, and what all of that mystical alchemical symbolism really means. 

Overall the pacing and character development is fantastic.

Finally! A found footage film that doesn't revolve around a group of jerks that are mean to each other for no good reason whatsoever. (I'm looking at you "Area 407." Dammit Charlie!)

Everything that happens in this movie, happens for a reason. Every plot point is tightly woven together; ensnaring the characters into a situation that is impossible to escape from. They are forced to face not just their greatest fears, but their darkest deeds as well.

The main character, Scarlett (played by Perdita Weeks),  is smart, witty, and fully capable of handling herself when confronted with the threat of physical violence. Oh yeah. She has a black belt in Krav Magra.

Scarlett is like Lara Croft, in that she is a sophisticated British professor that is exceptionally well educated, and obsessed with finding a mythical artifact that her father pursued relentlessly, but never managed to find himself.

All of the characters that she pulls into her little adventure to find the Philosopher's Stone are just as well rounded and three dimensional as she is. And that is a good thing.

"As Above So Below" is one of the best written found footage films I have ever seen. I'm quite impressed with it. 

"As Above So Below" is a haunting, chilling ride that is layered with such vivid symbolism, that it will take you days to unravel it all. And I love it!

Even better, "As Above So Below" only had one jump scare! ONE! It happens during the first sequence of the film, so they got it out of the way, and just kept right on going.

What really surprised me is that the place that it occurs in, makes total sense. Imagine that. Using a loud noise during a scene that requires it.... huh. If only the rest of the horror movie industry could capitalize on such a unique idea... Don't hold your breath on that one guys.

My only complaint is that this movie should've come with a warning label:
Caution, people who suffer from motion sickness should not watch this. Watch at your own risk, and take a barf bag with you into the theater. 

With the advances in handheld video cameras, why is it that found footage movies are still made from the POV of the one person that can't manage to keep his hands still for the life of him? If the POV character is supposed to be a professional camera man (i.e. for a documentary or newscast) wouldn't they know how to hold a camera steady to adjust for that sort of thing? And what about those new fandangled video machines, with their fancy video motion steadying apps that come pre-installed? Do they not exist in found footage land?

Here's a thought:
Why not just use a GO PRO with a chest harness? It would be hands-free, and still be first person POV, albeit without the jerky movements, or the vomitron-esque effect of whirling about quickly from one person to another, as though the dude with the camera is literally spinning in circles in order to get the reaction shots of the people in the scene.

No more cameras attached to heads, or in the hands of the worst cameramen in the business. Please! 

I go movies to enjoy them, not to be submitted fast whirling visuals that cause intense motion sickness in the viewer. When it gets to the point where I have to close my eyes during the film, and sit there for a few minutes and try to will myself not to throw up, there's a problem with your movie. I honestly thought that I was going to have to run to the restroom at one point, it was that bad.

Thankfully, once they switched from just using a handheld camera to the personal cameras on their headlamps, most of that went away; otherwise I probably wouldn't have been able to watch the ending. And that would've made me sad, because it's really, really good.

All in all, "As Above So Below" is a great found footage film. When the shaky cam is the only complaint I have about a movie, it has to be good. I didn't find it scary per say, but it did have some pretty intense suspenseful moments in it that some people might find terrifying for them to watch. However, if you're like me and suffer from motion sickness, be sure to take some Dramamine before you go to watch the film. You'll be glad that you did.

Overall, I highly recommend it. If you like "Full Metal Alchemist" or "Tomb Raider," you'll love "As Above So Below."

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Monday, August 25, 2014

Top 6 of the Worst Found Footage Movies Ever Made

Seems like everyone is making a found footage movie nowadays. I've seen my fair share of them, and to be clear, I rather enjoy the sub genre of horror. Some of the scariest movies I've ever seen have been found footage movies. Unfortunately, since everyone is jumping on the found footage bandwagon, we've been inundated with cheaply made, horribly edited pieces of crap that leave the audience staring at the screen numbly and asking themselves: What the hell did I just watch? And why did I watch the entire thing when it was clear that it wasn't going to get any better than the first 5 minutes of the movie?

Ubiquitous warning: This post contains movie spoilers, and horrible bad movies that may cause you to lose SANITY points if you watch them. To spare you that fate, I've watched them for you. A word of caution, these movies are so bad, my reviews of them here are super snarky. Like, for reals. 

6. Episode 50 (2011)

"Episode 50" is, wait for it... the 50th episode of a paranormal investigator show where everything goes horribly wrong and lotsa people die.

In this bad found footage movie, paranormal investigators go into an insane asylum (shocking!) to film proof of ghosts but end up running into a demon instead. This demon, is killing people and making ghosts.
Wait... What?
Hold on. Let me check my note.
Yup. It's a ghost making demon.

According to the information given to the investigators, inmates of the asylum died of natural causes when their hearts "literally exploded in their chests."

Man, what? Literally exploded? Like: BOOM? How the hell is that a natural cause of death?

I'm sorry ma'am. Your husband died due to heart explosion. We did everything we could, but since it blew up and shredded his chest, there's nothing we can do to resuscitate him. 

On top of the hilarious fictional medical conditions, there's also a ton of random events in this movie, such as the camera guy running into this window, lifting the curtain to find bees. He totally hates bees. Like for real!

AAAHHH!!!!  The bees! The bees!

Later that night, the investigators come across the window to find dead bees all lined in a row on the sill.

The bees are never spoken of again.

OK... Bees. Got it.

See. Totally random events that make absolutely no sense whatsoever. And the ending comes out of nowhere. The plot never set up for it, and we're left going, WTF! Seriously? That's it?

This movie made me bitter. Why? Because it started out as an interesting spoof on ghost hunting shows, and then quickly unraveled the minute they get to the asylum and start shooting footage. Up until that point, the movie is entertaining, and actually funny at times.

I thought it was going to be about a group of skeptics that went around proving that ghosts weren't real and showing the cause of what witnesses actually saw.

Instead, it goes from being an interesting take on paranormal investigating and it does a complete heel-face turn. Suddenly, ghosts and demons are real, and the main character must battle with a demon to save his soul. Oh yeah, and the main character encountered the very same demon earlier in life, and it burned his hand... Riiiight.

This movie is so bad, it's rather funny. So unlike the other movies here, at least it's entertaining to watch.

5. Paranormal Activity (2007)

I know, I know, there's a ton of fan boys out there that absolute LOVE this movie.

I'm not one of them.

Why? Because the movie is boring as hell. It's so boring, I found myself yelling at the characters to do something other than sitting around knitting or doing beads all freaking day. (Watching this movie gave me flashbacks to high school, and when I was forced to read "Anna Karenina" by Tolstoy. There were six pages dedicated to how the peasants cut the grass! Six pages of dense text. Six! Ugh!)

On top of that, the movie is internally inconsistent, with the psychic investigator constantly flip-flopping about what is haunting what's her face. (Yeah, the movie was so boring, I forgot the character's names. And I don't care!) Is it a demon, a ghost? Do you take care of demons, or don't you? Tell me mister! What do you do? What is your purpose in this film? Oh yeah, that's right. Padding to make it longer than it should be.

"Paranormal Activity" may have been a decent short horror film, but as a feature length movie, it's a total snooze fest.

But, the ending Cassie! The ending is so good!

Really? Is it really that good? Let's watch it again shall we?

What's her face paces around the bed. Takes off her hubby's sheets, wanders down stairs, then starts screaming. There's a struggle OFF SCREEN between hubby and the possessed wifie poo- then a long pause. A very loooong pause, and then a jump scare as hubby is thrown into the camera. AAAAHHHHH!!! After that, chickie who may or may not be possessed by a demon or a ghost, walks in, all bloody, then approaches the camera and smiles,"spookily."

No, strike that, her look is spoopy, not spooky.

You want to tell me again why you think that's a scary movie? Please, indulge me. Tell me how I'm wrong in the comments section. I'll be nice and hear you out. Promise! I'd love to know your thoughts on this.

4. Area 407 (2012)

"Area 407" is a found footage movie about plane crash survivors that are attacked by dinosaurs. Yup. Dinosaurs.

The airplane crashing scene is the scariest part of the movie. After that, it quickly falls apart thanks to unlikable characters and their inability to act (not the actors not being able to act, but the characters not knowing what to do for most of the freaking movie).

I watched "Area 407" because it had an interesting premise. A plane crashes in the desert and then the surviving passengers are attacked by a pack of velociraptors.

RAWR! I'm a dinosaur!

We'll get back to the dinosaurs in a sec. Let's talk about the characters first:

This is Charlie.

Charlie is an asshole. He's so much of an asshole that he goes out of his way to make both the characters and the audience pissed off at him. Every time he speaks, you'll find yourself screaming at the TV for him to shut the eff up already. Trust me.

This is Trish. She's the one holding the camera and narrating for most of the movie.

She's just as annoying as Charlie, but in that "I'm a 13 year old girl and nosy as hell so I'm going to bother everybody" kind of way. She'll make you yell at the TV too, because she's an airhead and whines a lot. Like, all the time.

There's only one main character that's likable (and interesting); the photo journalist. He has an interesting back story, his reason for being on the plane makes sense, as does the reason why he has cameras and lights to use in the dark desert landscape. Unfortunately, and he gets the least amount of screen time.

The worst part about this movie is that more than half of it is made up of the characters arguing with each other about what do to after the plane crashes. They're literally screaming at each other at one point. And yes, I mean literally. Not like the heart explosion thing in the previous movie. This time, it actually happens.

The movie is about dinosaurs, right? Awesome! Dinosaurs attacking people! But do we get to see any of that on-screen. Not really. There's only two shots of the dinosaurs attacking the camera holder. That's it.

Throughout most of the movie, all we get are people shouting and arguing and getting mad at Charlie. Charlie argues so much, that he almost has a second heart attack in the process.

Trish and her sister would've been more sympathetic characters if they weren't so poorly portrayed. I'm not sure if it's the actors or the dialogue they were given, but damn are they shallow and annoying.

I watch movies to be entertained, not annoyed to the point where I'm about to turn it off because I can't stand watching it any more. The characters are trite and obnoxious, and the plot is so thread bare, that it would blow away in a light breeze if it were a rug.

Here's the recap:

Kids get on plane, annoy passengers by filming them. Plane crashes for some unknown reason after suffering turbulence. Survivors of plane crash attempt to regroup and spend 30 minutes arguing about what do to while one of the kids is about to bleed to death because they made a crappy tourniquet on her arm with a belt and never bothered to wrap up her gushing wound. Then one dude goes to find the other half of the plane. He dies off screen. Another dude goes to find him, comes back, says there's a road, and then proceeds to get eaten off screen.

The group runs away from dinosaurs, finds an abandoned shack, holes up there for a while and then proceeds to argue. They find a walkie talkie, and attempt contact. A car shows up, someone gets out of it, asks a question and then drives away. The group makes a run for it and ends up in a ghost town. They find a military grade radio, are contacted by military, told to return to the plane and fire some flares.

Seriously? They didn't bother to check for flares when they went to find the first aid kit? UGH!

They go back, fire flares, more people are eaten by dinosaurs. Kids escape with CHARLIE (did I forget to mention that I hate him?) and eventually find help.

But, guess what the evil military man does to them once he finds them and says that he's going to help them? I won't spoil it for you.

Needless to say, "Area 407" suffers from the military is evil cliche. Because we so need more of that in our lives... Oh wait. We don't.

3. Diary of the Dead

This movie is so lame; I don't even know where to start. The main characters are boring, probably because most of the time, the actors sound bored. Lines are said without voice inflection, as though they're reading them from queue cards or a teleprompter.

The zombie actors are uninspired and comical. Hell, even the random survivors that the kids run into are a joke. Check out this deaf Amish man who keeps dynamite in his barn. Yes. That's right. He keeps explosives in his barn.
Hoo boy.

The movie has cut scenes from webcams of people across the globe talking about the zombies and totally freaking out about them. In one laughably silly video, a Japanese woman tells the audience "Don't bury dead. Shoot in head."

OK... Got it.

The worst part of Diary of the Dead is that it retreads over everything that has been established in all of the other Romero zombie movies: gotta shoot zombies in the head to kill them, someone freaking out telling everyone else that zombies are reanimated dead people, a main character is bit by a zombie in a stupid way that wouldn't have happened if anyone (themselves included) had been paying attention to their surroundings.

Diary of the Dead also includes such zombie cliches as:
  • Ninja zombies
  • Zombies playing dead
  • Guts spilling out of a disemboweled zombie
  • Crazy dude keeping zombies of dead loved ones in his home and lying about it so that when the zombies are discovered, they kill everyone in the main cast.
  • Thinly veiled social commentary about how quickly our infrastructure would fall apart because none of it really matters

Much like "Area 407," the main characters in "Diary of the Dead" are unlikable jerks. I for one, was happy when the zombies finally got them and turned them into lunch. I'd say more about this one, but I think I've made my point.

2. Greystone Park (2012)

Three friends go explore the haunted Greystone Park psychiatric hospital to see if they can find proof that ghosts exist. Spooky things happen. People die. The end.

Seriously. That's all this movie is about.

"Greystone Park" is yet another ghost hunter/paranormal investigator found footage movie that is supposedly based on true events, or is real footage of the people being attacked and murdered by ghosts (in this instance, they take the form of shadow people and crazy people that they've possessed).

SHADOW PEOPLE! Ooooo!!! Spooky cookies! 

Instead of sticking with a very easy to do ghost story where all you would need is a big guy to throw shadows on the walls while the main character run around screaming and dying, they decide to go with a ghost that's obsessed with dolls. In particular, a giant Raggedy Ann doll that keeps popping up in random places. Speaking of Raggedy Ann dolls, did you know that Annabelle (the creepy doll in "The Conjuring") was based on a cursed Raggedy Ann doll of the same name? Yeah, I think they were trying to use that in this film, but it totally fell flat.

For instance, there's a random scene in the middle where they find the hospital's chapel and there's a ton of creepy dolls in it, and, surprise, surprise, they get attacked by a female ghost. Yep. The old crazy chick that's into dolls cliche. Woo...

Can't we have, just once, a guy ghost that's obsessed with dolls? Please? 

Anyways, back to the craptastic movie...

There are several things about this movie that are just... stupid.

This also movie features:

  • Nepotism: The first is the introductory scene, in which Oliver Stone (that's right, THE Oliver Stone) joins the cast at the dinner table and they talk about ghosts and shadow people. You see, Oliver Stone's son, Sean Stone, is the one that wanted to do this movie. However, unlike his dad, Jr. can't make a good movie to save his life. He may be a decent actor, but as a writer and a movie director, he just doesn't have the chops. He may have the pedigree, but he has no grasp on what makes a movie good, and what doesn't. And that is seriously disappointing. He uses his family's name to make crappy movies. Nepotism at it's finest.
  • Random events happening randomly. They throw in ghost sequences for no particular reason other than an attempt to try and shock the audience. The jump scares didn't even make me jump. I always jump at them because the sounds get loud suddenly. It's not the action on the screen, but the loud noise that makes me drop my popcorn. Every. Single. Time. Well, except for in this movie. The jump scares did not work. AT ALL. 
  • Some killer's ghost that murdered a whole bunch of patients while he worked there or something that is trying to kill them, or get them to kill each other, depending on the scene.
  • Sean and Alex's friends break in to the haunted asylum, dress up in animal masks and robes, and wait for them to come down a stairwell, where they jump out and scare the crap out of them. The strange thing is, those people are completely untouched by the paranormal, right up until they meet up with Sean and Alex. Then they get killed by the ghosts. It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.
  • Alex becomes obsessed with exploring the building and starts acting weird, and by acting weird I mean, being a total douche bag to his friends even they're scared and want to go home before a hobo kills them for their shoes. 
  • Alex and Sean attacking each other with pipes and hand tools and trying to kill each other
  • A shadow man that isn't in 1/3 of the movie
  • Dolls! Spoopy dolls everywhere! According to this urban explorer, those creepy dolls have been in Greystone Park for years. Someone hangs them up and moves them around. So this part of the film is based on that, and quite possibly, they used some of the actual dolls they found there in the movie. So it was life inspiring art in this case. But they could've worked a little harder to get the doll aspect to work better within the context of the actual plot of the movie. Wait... is there a plot in this movie?
  •  Shallow, trite characters. (This seems to be a running theme with these really bad found footage films.)

The main characters are so annoying and unsympathetic, I cheered when they started trying to kill each other.

Alex in particular, was a total douche, and ever time he opened his mouth I wanted him to just shut up. Seriously. Shut up already! He is a know-it-all who believes in the supernatural wholeheartedly; so much so that he calls himself Alexander Wraith.

A wraith, for those of you who don't know, is another word for a ghost. Genius huh?

Here's another compilation clip from the movie. It pretty much contains all of the good stuff from the film. There's just one problem with this; it's only 2 minutes long.

 A movie that's one hour and twenty three minutes in length boils down to 2 minutes of actual good footage. Ouch!

Remember kids, when entering an abandoned, potentially haunted insane asylum, always bring your trusty maglight, and your super awesome camera that you got from your dad!

1. Crowsnest

"Crowsnest" is a found footage film about a group of college kids that are going to spend the weekend at their friend's cabin in the woods. Unfortunately, their friend doesn't exactly remember where it is, because it's his uncle's cabin and they get lost. And, of course, one of the college kids, Justin, is a wannabe film maker, so he brings his camera with him EVERYWHERE.

  • Chekhov's Night vision! The main character (Justin) gets a video camera for a birthday present and then plays around with the night vision for a good 10 minutes or so, all the while going on about how cool the night vision is on his brand new camera. Said night vision capabilities of the camera are then used later on in the film. Who would've thought that he'd use it later? 
  • Magical RV syndrome- HOOOOOOONK! The redneck cannibal killers drive a magical RV that can teleport. Sometimes its behind you, sometimes it's in front of you. And every time it shows up time, the driver is laying on the horn and running someone over. There's also a scene where the RV rams the car the college kids are driving. There's no damage done to the RV whatsoever, and yet, the car looks like it was rear ended by a truck going 70 miles per hour. To see the magical RV in action, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gshS6FIPRH4#t=1840
  • Inbred Redneck cannibals
  • A Ghost Town (sort of) that is ran by said Inbred Redneck Cannibals 
  • Random people getting run over the magically teleporting RV, at random!
  • Road Rage: I think that this was supposed to be a cautionary tale. You know, don't get pissed off at people that want to drive past you and play games with them because they'll hunt you down, and eat you. 
  • Dude's getting lost in the woods because they don't know how to read a road map or want to stop and ask for directions
  • Cell phones that don't work because there's no signal in the wooded mountains. So no one can call for help when the crazy redneck cannibals start chasing them with an RV. 
  • Did I forget to mention that the RV can do tight turns, and turn completely around in a narrow dirt road on the wooded hillsides of the mountains in a mere matter of seconds? Because it can. 

See? Justin is just so in love with his camera, it turns him into a complete and total jerk. Also, there's no beer.

No BEER?! On a college camping trip? Noooooo!!!!

The inbred redneck cannibals, or whatever you want to call them, drive a huge RV which never runs out of gas. They're driving around with a license plate covered in duct tape so that you can't read the numbers (which is totally illegal by the way. They'd be forced to pay several fines and take the vehicle off the road if a cop ever caught them driving it). Oh yeah, and the inside of the RV has been gutted and transformed into a torture chamber where they slowly cut off people's limbs so that they can eat them. When the main character goes to rescue one of his remaining friends, instead of camping out inside the RV and waiting for the two cannibal killers to walk through the door and sucker punch them and tie them up or just plain old kill them, the dude runs away when he hears them coming, leaves his friend to die, and after running through the woods for several minutes, he's found by the killers and knocked unconscious without so much as a whimper.

That's when I turned the movie off. I couldn't take it any more. This movie was so bad, I couldn't finish watching it. It was so frustrating to watch, I was getting road rage; and I wasn't even driving while I was watching it!

To spare yourself of any further pain, I created a list of other bad found footage films that you shouldn't watch unless you really are a masochist.

Dishonorable Mentions:
Paranormal Activity 2
The Bucks County Massacre
The Apparition
Paranormal Activity 3
The Banshee Chapter
[Rec] 3: Genesis
The Last Broadcast
The Poughkeepsie Tapes
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Monday, August 4, 2014

Play as Your Favorite Horror Icons in 'Terrordrome: Rise of the Boogeyman!'

"Terrordrome: Rise of the Boogeyman" is a work of love. This fan-made 2D fighting game (also known as a MUGEN) pays tribute to the old school fighters like Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat, while allowing horror fans to play as their favorite horror icons. Whether they are villains or anti-heroes, these bad boys know how to make a killing!

Monday, June 9, 2014

More Attacks tied to a Child's Belief in Slender Man?

This is the second weekend in a row where there has been reports of a girl stabbing someone for Slender Man. Instead of being 12 year old girls, this time it was a 13 year old girl who attacked her mother.

She was wearing a white mask (probably similar to Masky in Marble Hornets if I am to hazard a guess) and waited in the kitchen for her mother to come home. When her mother walked in, the girl attacked her with a knife.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Slenderman is Invading our Reality: Kids Killing Kids to become Proxies?

Shared delusions, mass hysteria, and crazy 12 year old girls strike again. This time however, instead of the girls going nuts over One Direction, they are cray-cray for ol' Slendy himself.

According to Huffington Post, the Wisconsin girls wanted to kill their friend so that they could become Proxies of Slenderman and go live in his mansion in the Nicolet National Forest. They decided to kill her at night so that they wouldn't have to look her in the eyes, all so that they could go and live with Slenderman and be his Proxies. For those of you that don't know, the Proxies are considered agents of Slenderman, they go out and do things for him, or they enact his will in reality. Proxies are victims of the now infamous Internet urban legend, and his tools in the waking world of man. They really aren't something to desire being. Really, they're not. To be a Proxie is to live in suffering with no relief in sight.

I really begin to wonder what went wrong. What triggered these delusions? What drove two girls to wish so badly to escape their lives that they'd be willing to kill in order to do so?

I remember what it was like being 12 and living in a fantasy world with my friends. We'd make up stories and play around, but we all knew that it was imaginary. It wasn't real, and we didn't want it to be real. It was easy to lift the veil and discard the fictional stories we were imagining, because they were just that. Stories. We grew out of it, and that was that.

Unfortunately, this wasn't the case for these two Wisconsinites. Those girls got into such a horrible frame of mind that they could no longer discern reality from fiction. They honestly think that things like "Marble Hornets" and "EverymanHYBRID" are real. And that's just sad.

I hate to break to you folks, but every single thing ever written or filmed that involves Slenderman, no matter what people say or how badly they wish it to be real, is nothing more than a work of fiction. It's a modern horror story that inspired two girls to create their own version of a slasher movie.

Pretty much everyone that enjoys the Slenderman stories know that they are just horror stories. They are meant to scare and thrill us. They serve as a means of catharsis, and nothing more.

According to the San Jose Mercury, the girls plotted killing their friend, starting in December of last year, while NBC News states it was February. Either way, several months after they started plotting how to kill their friend and become Slenderman proxies,  they walked her out to the woods after a slumber party on Friday night and stabbed her repeatedly. Fortunately, their attempted murder failed, and the victim survived. The girls have been arrested and are facing being charged as adults in the Waukesha County Circuit Court, with up to 60 years in jail time.

While this sort of kid killers thing has been known to occur in the past, this is the first time that Slenderman has been used as a motive by pre-teens for killing someone.

I honestly hope that those girls get the psychiatric help that they need, and that their victim can find a way to heal the physical and spiritual wounds that were left in the wake of such a heinous, and vicious attack by two people that she trusted.

Poor kid. What a horrible way to learn that your friends don't like you.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Godzilla (2014) Review

With the advent of the Summer Movie Blockbuster season of 2014; Godzilla is back, rampaging his way into the hearts of adult and child alike.

"Up from the depths, thirty stories high, breathes fire, his head in the sky, Godzilla! Godzilla!"

I have to say, this is the best Godzilla movie I have ever seen. And I'm pretty sure that I've watched them all by now.

Here's six reasons why Godzilla is such a good movie:

1. Character Driven

Father and son return to their home in Japan to retrieve precious data that was saved on some hard disks, and pick up their old mixed tapes, because they were awesome! 

While there have been a lot of complaints that there are "too many characters" in this movie, and that it focuses on people far too much, I think that this is one of its strongest traits. Everything happens in this movie for a reason, there is foreshadowing going on all over the place. Everything that occurs in the plot is something that personally happens to the main characters, which gets the audience emotionally involved in the plot, and allows them to really cheer Godzilla on when he shows up to save the day. The clever set up of the film's main antagonists, and the horrible losses they suffer, are expounded upon tenfold when it is revealed that giant monsters from before the Time of Man have resurrected and are wreaking havoc in the modern world.

Sure, there were a couple of fight scenes between Godzilla and the MUTO's that were seen specifically from the POV of the main character, so that we don't get to watch the entire fight, but I think that was done on purpose. I wouldn't be surprised if they had to edit the monster fights down to keep the movie a reasonable length, and that there will be Extended Editions and Director's cut DVDs and Blu-Rays in our future that will provide the monster fights in their entirety.

2. Someone Did their Science Homework, and I Give them an A!

There was a lot of thought and theoretical science going on in this movie. From the seismic waves and the EMP blasts of the MUTOs, down to what effect the weight and mass of the giant monsters would have on the environment.

For instance, they figured out that something the weight and size of Godzilla would cause a Tsunami when it walked from the deep depths of the ocean onto the shore and added it to a crucial scene when the titular monster first walks upon the shores of Hawaii.

Water Science! Woo!

On a side note, I really wish that the people involved in the filming of Prometheus had done the same amount of research regarding science prior to making their movie, because then it would've been a good film. Sigh...

3. Did I mention that there are Monsters that Devour Nuclear Radiation? Because there are.

That funny hooked shape thing that is all lit up, yeah, that's the chrysalis of a MUTO that has attached itself to a nuclear reactor in Japan.

The MUTOs are dangerous parasites; prehistoric insects that fed upon Godzilla's species and those like them that ate radiation as a food source. Is this implausible? Probably not. There are extremophiles that we've discovered that survive via chemosynthesis, for instance, so it's not that huge of a leap into the scientific unknown for there to be animals that consume harmful radiation from nuclear reactors as a source of food, right? At the very least, it's far more believable than anything "Prometheus" ever gave us, as there is more weight, and intelligence behind the science of "Godzilla" than then there is in the horrendous "Alien" prequel.

Am I saying that Godzilla, in addition to being a giant monster movie, is quite possibly, a science fiction movie as well? Yes, I guess that I am. Deal with it.

Anyways, I digress. Let's go on to the next reason why "Godzilla" is so freaking awesome.

4. Avoids the "Military is Evil" Cliche

In this movie, the military is there to protect people. The top brass of the NATO military are actually polite and give a very good reason when they tell the scientists whom are warning them of impending doom if they go through with their plan to eliminate the MUTO and Godzilla threat, why they have to go through with it; to save thousands of people's lives. That, my friends, was refreshing.

Maybe I've seen too many zombie movies as of late, but the" evil army does bad stuff to people" seems to be a common plot thread.

The army science as well is correct with one exception; that one line about modern nuclear warheads being more powerful than the one that was dropped on Bikini island way back when during the nuclear testing. That simply is not true. Silly military man. You funny!

5. The right balance of disaster film and giant monster movie (aka daikaiju film)

Godzilla is a force of nature, and an intelligent one at that. Our nuclear submarines woke him up, and he stayed in the depths of the oceans, until the very parasitic creatures that feasted upon his brethren resurrected and started to reproduce, using nuclear power plants as a source of food.

Even after the tanks start pummeling Godzilla with ineffective ordinances, he goes out of his way to swim under aircraft carriers and the like, and does not start to make a lot of damage until he spots his prey, the dreaded MUTO scum.

In the end, all of humanity's weaponry was ineffective, and we had to rely on Godzilla to kill the M.U.T.O.s and stop them before they killed us all. 

6. Monster Design

The "Cloverfield " Controversy

Some people believe that the MUTO's design is a direct rip off of the Cloverfield monster. While there is a slight resemblance, I disagree.

Both the Cloverfield monster and the MUTO's body design is based on insect biology. The legs and body shape in particular were taken from insects like butterflies and beetles. 

Here's a GIF that shows off the body structure of the male MUTO.

Now let's look at the giant beetle "tanker" bug from the movie "Starship Troopers." Check out those legs, the joints bend backwards, in the middle of the leg.

And here's a picture of the female MUTO The knees of the legs bend backwards, and the leg joints attach on the side of the body, just like the beetle above.

Also, the legs of the male MUTO (aka the HokMUTO) are more reminiscent of a butterfly, especially when it unfurls its giant bat-like (or should it pterodactyl-like?) wings and takes flight. 

That is why I believe that it is just a coincidence that there is any sort of resemblance between the Cloverfield monster, and the MUTOs.

Oh yeah, and Godzilla Got a Makeover!

His face is very expressive; right up to his big puppy dog eyes and the movement of his muzzle. Yeah, that's right, I think Godzilla is adorable.

D'awwww! Look at that big ol' lug! I just wanna hug him! 

One of the best parts was the fact that you could visually see the force of the air when Godzilla roared. His throat moved, and his cheeks actually wavered in the wind coming up from his massive lungs. 

Oh, and did I forget to mention that they brought back the atomic fire breath? Because they did, and it is used at just the right moments in the movie to get the audience to cheer for the big old brute during his epic fight scenes with the two MUTO's. 

All in all, "Godzilla" is a solid action/sci-fi/giant monster movie, and I highly recommend it. In fact, I'm so sure that you are going to love it, that I can almost guarantee 100% that by the end of the movie, you will be cheering for Godzilla to win! 

Can't wait to watch "Godzilla"? Here's a compilation video for you to whet your appetite.