Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Here's a New Nightmare

Ok, so here I am, realizing that the last blog of new content came out about a month and a half ago and I'm thinking to myself, I really need to get something new out. I've had plenty of things getting in the way the past month and half, two months that they just threw me off my writing track.

But to get back into the swing of things, I'm going to bring you a New Nightmare, which I promise, is not meant as a bad pun. I'm actually going to review Wes Cravin's New Nightmare, an interesting film featuring Freddy Krueger, and the next to last featuring Robert Englund.

Personally, I find this to be the last official Nightmare film, simply because I felt that Freddy vs Jason was just a cheap cash in and kicked off what I thought was going to be an endless series of lame "versus" films (it came out only a year before Alien vs Predator. Thankfully, that trend quickly faded, I almost thought we were going to get a film version of this), and while I didn't necessarily dislike the re-boot of the A Nightmare series, I didn't necessarily think it was awesome, either. And I'll admit right now, even though I own Freddy vs. Jason, I haven't been able to force myself to view it, simply because it was a "Versus" film.

Released in 1994, New Nightmare was written and directed by series creator Wes Craven (which is possibly why the official title of the film is Wes Craven's New Nightmare, but you'll just see me referring to it as simply New Nightmare). This film tries to add something new, by setting the film in the "real world" where all of the A Nightmare on Elm Street films were nothing more than a successful horror film franchise. Heather Langenkamp, Wes Craven, Robert Shaye (the producer of the series, hell I think he's the producer of ALL of the movies New Line Cinema put out) and Robert Englund all play themselves, albeit fictionalized versions.

I know this is from part 1,
but it's the best I could find

The plot centers around a demon, taking the form of Mr. Krueger, haunting the people responsible in making the A Nightmare on Elm Street series, specifically Heather Langenkamp. This demon is attracted to her specifically because it sees her as it's "arch nemesis," as she not only helped in defeating Freddy more than once, but she was also the first teenager to do so. It's later revealed in the film that the reason there have been numerous sequels in the franchise is because the demon has been locked away in the films as a form of purgatory, and as long as the films get made, no real people have to die, therefore the Freddy we see in the films is really this demon.

Honestly, I can say I enjoyed New Nightmare. I almost expected this one to be the "series killer" for me (come on, I actually liked Nightmare 5: The Dream Child, and even enjoyed Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare, and people hated those). Before viewing the film, I expected the move to the "real world" was just going to have an all around negative effect on me and taint my views on the series as a whole, and take away my suspension of belief while viewing the earlier entries in the series.

But really, if anything, this film really celebrates the series. To me, it doesn't feel forced and it's purely meant to be a fun experience, all the while giving you some scares while doing so. Now saying that, does that mean I should actually go and watch Freddy vs. Jason, especially since it's been sitting in my collection literally unwatched and untouched for the past number of years? Pfft, please, I'd rather sit and watch Freddy's Dead with a bowl of popcorn laughing at the powerglove cameo.

So if you're in the mode as I was in regarding this film, curious but not wanting to taint your vision of the series, just watch it. It's interesting and a fun film, especially for fans of the series. And therein I think is the key of this movie. You need to be, without a shadow of a doubt, a fan of the series, and with that, I think you'd enjoy this one.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Stories to Haunt By

Usually, I find it hard to review a TV show, especially one where each episode builds on the episode just before it. Reason being that sometimes, it's hard to pick out episodes that easily represent the series as a whole, and you can't really talk about any one episode in general without discussing the preceding episodes.

So, when I talk about American Horror Story, I'll try and be as spoiler free as possible, all the while giving it an honest review.

Created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk (both of Glee fame), the series debuted on FX in late 2011. Described as an horror themed anthology series, what makes this series different than other anthology's, such as The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits, is that each season tells a single, self contained story instead of a new story every episode. The story being told in season 1 is officially over at the end of the season finale, and season 2 starts anew telling a brand new horror story with a new set of characters and a new setting, and so on.

I like this idea, it helps to expand on the characters and the trials they go through, all the while breathing new life into the show with each new season. While at times, this could be a bit jarring because who knows how much you may or may not like a character by the end of a season, it makes for some new surprises every time a new season starts.

But, despite liking this idea, I'm going to say something that may be going against the regular horror loving crowd. Based of the five episodes I watched, I didn't like it and couldn't go any further into the season. Should I have finished the entire season? Possibly, but could I? No, not really.

Reason being that I couldn't really feel for any of the characters or care for the story being told, even though you're obviously meant to feel for these people. We have the husband that cheated on his wife, using her unwillingness to have sex after a miscarriage as an excuse. The wife seemed to just be "there" for the sake of the plot, and at times, seemed to be a little too forgiving. There's the daughter, who seems to hate everyone but her boyfriend that she just met the day before. And then we had the assortment of ghosts that used the weaknesses of the family against them.

I'm all for having a show full of "bad guy" or "realistic" characters, as long as there's a point behind it. Breaking Bad is an amazing show because while Walter White gets involved and takes part in some pretty terrifying events, you understand exactly why he does them and that theses actions are ultimately done for a better cause. Even shows like Boardwalk Empire and Sons of Anarchy, both of which were full of vicious characters fueled by greed, featured characters that wanted something better from their lives and you truly wanted to see them succeed, but you also see that they were trapped in a life they couldn't escape from.

However, in the case of American Horror Story, you're meant to feel for characters that have little to no redeeming factors. The husband gets himself wound up in a web of lies that makes his life only worse and the only person who seemed like they weren't going to have it was the daughter. While I can understand the wife wanting to be the better person and forgive, I saw her mostly just being "there" in the show and not really helping the plot move forward.

The show had some great atmosphere, though. I must admit that the filming, and even the title sequence, were pretty well done and showed that this season had a lot of potential.

Ultimately, I felt what the show came down to was characters I cared nothing for in plot didn't do anything for me. I wanted to like this show, I truly did. I went in with an open mind, purposefully going into the show knowing next to nothing other than it was a horror based show with a "anthology" concept, and ended up being completely underwhelmed with the plot and characters.

In saying that, however, if you're a fan of horror, give this show a viewing. You may enjoy this show more than I did, who knows, you may find some compelling and redeeming features of the show that I just seemed to overlook for whatever reason. In my opinion, it wasn't good enough to warrant a full viewing, but it seems to be popular enough in the rest of the horror loving crowd that I seem to be in minority in this viewpoint. The series seemed to have plenty of potential, but just fell flat and couldn't keep me engaged in what was going on. Here's hoping that possibly season 2 could do something for me more than the first season did.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Stephen King's The Langoliers

Being a fan of Stephen King's stories (though I must admit, I'm a bigger fan of his stories than I am of his writing style, although I did think that It and The Stand were well written, even if they did drag a bit), I figured it's about time that I actually brought up one of the films based off his work.

The film this time around is going to be a lesser talked about film, The Langoliers, a three hour long miniseries that premiered in 1995. This is one of many in the string of miniseries that was adapted from a King story, the two most famous possibly being It and The Stand.

Sure, the production value of these types of movies may not be as high as your typical big budget blockbuster, and sure, you won't see the typical rape or dismemberment scenes from the books, and at times the acting can be quite a bit shoddy (The Langoliers is probably the worst offender). But really, there's a certain charm to these films that seem to draw me in. I just can't seem to resist the call of these sorts of low budget  horror/suspense movies, and not have a good time while watching.

This film is based off the short story of the same name that appeared in Four Past Midnight, a collection of four short stories that was published in 1990. The story focuses on an airplane heading to Boston from Los Angeles. Half way through the flight, ten people find themselves being the only ones left on this once fully packed flight. We also soon find that each of these people had just woken up from a deep sleep.

Thinking that they possibly slept through a lay over and the other passengers got off, one of the passengers who happens to be an off duty pilot, tries going to the cockpit to talk with the pilots. After having to beat down the door leading to the cockpit, we find that even the pilots are gone and the flight is going by itself.

After making an emergency landing at the Bangor International Airport, we soon find that not only were the other passengers of the plane missing, but so was everyone else in the world.

Although I enjoyed The Langoliers, it's quite possibly the worst of all these made-for-tv type movies based off King's work that I've seen. The production is very low, even by 1995 TV standards. You can tell that the film had a rather low budget, down to just how fake and CG looking the monsters at the end looked. Though, I must say that despite this super low budget, it just added to the fun of the movie.

Another thing to point out is the films acting. I actually rather liked Dean Stockwell, and in fact, I even liked David Morse and Bronson Pinchot (the guy is so crazy here, it's hard not to like him). But as for the rest of the major cast, if it wasn't one thing bad about their acting, it was another. The guy who played the British secret agent tried way too hard to be charming that it came off as fake, and the clarinetist and the "punker" girl ( I guess that's what they were trying to go for) both seemed like they had no idea what they were doing. Plus I found it sad that the one guy whose only purpose was to wander around looking for a sandwich and a beer felt more believable than the teacher and blind girl.

The story was something I very much enjoyed though, as I do with much of King's stories. The forced isolation of a small group of people, with seemingly no way to improve their predicament but are still trying to set things right, even if it seemed pointless is a great concept. I very much liked the sense of emptiness in this movie, which is sort of why I feel the low budget added to it. It's supposed to feel sparse, music included, and in some areas, it just felt right,

Maybe I'm just a sucker for low budget films, but I enjoyed this one. Like I've said, it is in fact the worst of all the miniseries' based off Stephen King that I've seen, but by no means is it "unwatchable," even with it's hammy acting and poor monster design. It's a fun movie and a worth a viewing if you're into b-grade films and have three hours to kill. For those of you who have Netflix, it is available on the watch now service, for those you who do not, you can find it bundled together with a couple other King films for cheap at stores like Wal-mart and I think even at Target.

Side note: The collection Four Past Midnight also included Secret Window, Secret Garden, which was later adapted to the silver screen, which many may know as simply Secret Window, with Johnny Depp as the lead.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Silent Hill Revelation

Since how I just recently reviewed the first Silent Hill film, I feel that a good way to wrap things up on the Silent Hill front to do the films sequel, Silent Hill Revelation. Currently, I have no plans to write on any of the other games in the series. Simply because, like I stated in my previous post, gaming has started to dwindle out of my entertainment needs, therefore I feel as though they wouldn't be getting a fair and honest review if I do so.

Revelation was released on October 26th 2012, just in time for Halloween. The film was written and directed by British director Michael J. Bassett, and stars Adelaid Clemens, Kit Harington, Carrie-Ann
Moss, and Sean Bean, with minor appearances by Malcolm McDowell and Radha Mitchell. The music was by Jeff Danna, who this time around composed some original pieces in addition to some of Akira Yamaoka's work from the game series.

The plot follows an older Sharon Da Silva, who while still at a young age, was able to be released from the netherworld that she and her mother were trapped in at the end of the first film. We learn that Rose was able to send Sharon through to our reality using a piece of a medallion called the Seal of Metatron. However, since it was only a piece of this medallion, Rose was forced to stay behind in the netherworld, leaving Sharon in the care of solely her father, Chris.

On the eve of her eighteenth birthday, we learn that Sharon and Chris have been living under assumed names of Heather and Harry Mason, and been moving from town to town to prevent any remaining cult members from finding them.

However, due to a detective hired to find Sharon, the cult was able to track the both of them down. The cult then abducts Chris with the hopes of Sharon following and entering the town by her own free will.

I'll admit that I am in the minority for enjoying this film. Many people felt this movie was terrible, either from the idea of plot was lacking, or they thought the acting was unbearable. While yes, there were some changes to some plot elements, personally, I didn't mind these changes and I honestly felt that they worked here. And truthfully, I even enjoyed the acting, especially that of Adelaid Clemens.

One change made in the film, which was the most prominent, were motivations of the cult. In my Silent Hill review, I stated that the cult was comprised of nothing more than witch burning puritans who killed Alessa, and then eventually tried killing Sharon, in order to "cleanse" the world of her wickedness. Revelation built on that, stating that cleansing the world of Alessa and her "evilness" through fire would give birth to their God, and bring forth a new world. I felt that this felt a slight more depth than just the typical story of witch burners that everyone grew up learning about in school.

In a lot of ways, I prefer this film over the first. I rather enjoyed the plot, and found it to be a great adaption of the third game in the series. Much like the first film, not once did it ever feel as though it was a persons play through, however there are many elements (and even a few Easter eggs) that appear in this film that would be instantly recognized by a fan of the games. I even liked the slight change in tone over the first, this one having a slight bit more grittiness to it over the original.

I was also happy with the music appearing in this film. I was pleased to hear the new pieces of music fit in perfectly with the film, and to hear them interlaced with the pieces from the game. Jeff Danna did a great job at creating a atmospheric blend of sounds to create an awesome soundtrack.

In closing, this is one that I would suggest to anyone who is into horror. I know that the film was not well received by critics and fans, but honestly it wasn't half bad at all. Like the original film, there is plenty of blood and gore, but here it actually works. This may not be for the Paranormal Activity crowd out there, but the Evil Dead or Hellraiser fans may be more inclined to give this one a go.

Monday, July 29, 2013

A random thought

As I'm sitting here, adding the final touches to my Silent Hill Revelation post, I find myself compelled to write something that is not review related. Not about anything in particular really, other than the fact that I want to write some and not have to worry too much about why I did or didn't like something.

In the past few weeks, I found myself in somewhat of a mental position that may cause a rather slight shift in how I'll be planning on what I'll review in the coming weeks and months. That is, I find myself playing video games far less than before. Before, video games, in addition to my love of music and film, were a typical form of entertainment for me. However, now I find myself shifting away from that due to nothing more than just a general lack of interest in the medium of video games.

Because of this, you will see less reviews on video games (not that I had to any other than my review on the original Silent Hill). Instead of seeing a review on Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, for example, you may get a review (a legitimate one, at that) of Resident Evil Apocalypse.

Another random thought: I am ready for summer to be done with. I have a rather low tolerance for heat, but that may have been said by every other person who, like me, chooses black as their preferred color of head-to-toe clothing. I am not your typical Californian, as in I am not a beach goer and I don't like being fried in the sun. Rather, I am a person who enjoys a cool day, watching the gray clouds absorb the sky, all the while enjoying a good horror or dark thriller novel or film.

I know this sort of post is almost routine for me now. Last October, I had a post praising the end of summer and looking forward to the coming of fall, which I may even do this year, who knows.

Anyways, I plan on having the post on Silent Hill Revelation finished and posted in the next day or two. After that, I may not be doing that many Silent Hill related posts unless I find that a third film is in production or in the very off chance I decide to review the second and third games (but don't hold your breath, sorry guys).

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Silent Hill, a Film Review

I will tell you right now, this review has been, for a lack of a better term, cursed for me. Way back when, before I initially deleted the blog (and before realizing how much of a mistake that was), this was the review that I was working on. After reviving the blog, and after writing about the game, I started the review of the movie with intent of creating a small series of blogs focusing on the game-to-big-screen aspects. It obviously never got finished. For some reason, I just find this movie to be very difficult to review. Not that it was bad, quite the opposite in fact, this movie was fantastic.

I'm not quite sure why I found this review hard. It's possible that it was because in many ways, it's very faithful to the game it's based off of. It's also possible that it was because of the changes that were made, as well. I was fine with many of the changes, but I just found it hard to go in depth of those changes without turning it into another game review or even a "Nostalgia Critic Old vs. New" type of review (Oh God, I can't believe I actually referenced that guy, ugh. I won't do that again). I wanted to give the film a legitimate review based off it's own merits.

But now, after months and months, I'm going to just write it and let the review play out however it plays out. I'll be happy to finally get it out, and please go easy on me on this one, I present Silent Hill.

Coming out in 2006 (wow, I hadn't realized that it came out that long ago until I started writing this, and I actually saw it in the theater), this film was directed by Christophe Gans, written by Pulp Fiction co-writer Roger Avery (and no, I have no intentions of reviewing Pulp Fiction), and starring Radha Mitchell, Sean Bean, Jodelle Ferland, Kim Coates, Alice Krige and Laurie Holden.

 The story is loosely based off the first game (hence why I chose that game in particular, all those months ago). Being rather faithful to the game, the story doesn't completely rip it off either. You won't think you're watching someones play through, all the while you will recognize many aspects if you played it.

The main difference is the role of the parent.Instead of the father, Harry Mason, looking for his lost daughter Cheryl after passing through the town of Silent Hill; it is the mother, Rose Da Silva (Mitchell) looking for her daughter, Sharon (Ferland), after taking her to Silent Hill after Sharon repeatedly having dreams of the town.

The husband, Chris Da Silva (Bean), still plays a role here. While not the central character of the film, he still plays an important part as he finds that Sharon, whom of which was adopted as a baby, came from mysterious circumstances.

Other than that, and one major plot point, the story is more or less the same as the first game in the series.

The main thing that initially bothered me (but I later learned to accept and liked) is the major plot point they changed. The following, as usual, contains SPOILERS.

In my game review, I stated that seven years prior to the main story, Dahlia Gillespie had a daughter named Alessa, who had the powers of a god. When Alessa refused to help her mother birth the god of the local cult, Sameal, Dahlia tried to have Alessa killed in a house fire that ended up decimating much of the town. While Alessa survived, she was in pain from her wounds, and Dahlia used this to once again try and force the birth of Sameal while keeping her locked away in the basement of the local hospital.

Because of this, Alessa split her self into two forms, a physical form that eventually gets adopted by the main character Harry Mason and named Cheryl, and another stuck in a horrific nightmare type realm that retains the full identity of Alessa.

Well, the fact that Alessa having the powers of a god and splitting herself into two is still intact here, but the reason of her burining is completely different.  In the film, Alessa was killed against her mothers will by witch burning puritans. They thought of Alessa as evil since she had such a gift, and wanted to cleanse the world of what they thought would happen if she lived.

And much like the game, Alessa survives the attempted witch burning, and is kept in the basement of the hospital, left in the care of a nurse in a red sweater (many fans of the game know who this is). The plot then plays out much like the game from there.


In Silent Hill Revelations, however, they actually went in and made some additions to the story in order to make it a little more in line with the plot of the games, without actually destroying the credibility of plot of the first film. But I'll get to how Revelations did this in my review of that film.

I will admit that one thing that I enjoyed was the inclusion of many of the little things in the series. Such things like a police officer appearing on screen who was only mentioned in easily overlooked note in the game, to the inclusion of certain camera angles that were also present in the original Silent Hill (the best example being when Rose walks down an alleyway, and turns a corner, the camera sits in a top corner of the buildings closely following her movements).

Also another interesting thing I found was that the majority of the music is taken directly from the games, with maybe one slight remix and a Johnny Cash song. Instead of being an entirely new soundtrack with a different composer, the music is Akira Yamaoka's moody atmosphere educing sounds from the game and I found myself picking out the individual pieces as the film went on.

 I was even impressed with the acting. For a cast that is made up of mostly non-horror veterans (with the exception of Laurie Holden, who fans of The X-Files might recognize), they make for a great cast. Also, it's kinda interesting to see Kim Coates not being a total slime ball pervert as I've seen him in other roles. I didn't recognize him in this one, and it took a few viewings before I realized it was actually him that played Tig in Sons of Anarchy (he also played a bit of a crazy dude in Resident Evil Afterlife as well, but I think I recognized him right away in there).

All in all, this film was a great adaption and a truly great way to bring the series to the silver screen. I never felt cheated nor did I feel like anything was forced on me here. I know movie adaptions of video games tend to get blasted, but this one deserves a chance. Personally, in the case of Silent Hill, and even the Resident Evil movies, I find myself preferring the films over the games, simply because I always played the games for their atmosphere and stories, and never for the puzzles and challenges they posed.

Silent Hill is one I highly recommend to those who are into atmospheric and psychological type of horror movies. There is plenty of blood, especially towards the end, but I still recommend it to those who don't normally go for the bloody kind.

Side thought: The first Silent Hill game is probably what really got me into liking stuff on the darker side. I find myself enjoying the movies more than the games now, not because they were "bad games" but rather, simply because I'd rather experience their atmosphere with a bowl of popcorn, not with a controller hoping not to die.

Thursday, June 20, 2013


Well, I figured one of the best movies to watch on the new TV would be one of my favorite detective films. This is one that I actually hadn't seen until I was in my very late teens, mostly because of how dark and disturbing it is. But luckily, the dark is what gets covered here, and this is a great piece of work.

That movie is Seven, a 1995 film directed by David Fincher and starring Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow. A dark thriller focusing on a series of murders based off the seven deadly sins. I had a family member who had the film on VHS but was never allowed to watch it, until I got older.

The story centers around two detectives. We have Somerset, portrayed by Morgan Freeman, who is set to retire at the end of the week and is feeling worn out by the job. We also have Mills, portrayed by Brad Pitt, who's still considered to be new on the job despite having some homicide investigation experience. Their first investigation together involves an extremely overweight man, who appears to have been forced food down his throat. Upon further investigation, the word gluttony was written behind the fridge.

As the investigation moves on, we find victims that died under the causes of greed, sloth, lust, then eventually wrath and envy (the last two have a major significance on the plot). However, despite the gruesome way these crimes were committed, we are never shown who our killer is, and not given so much as a hint, since the suspect never leaves any fingerprints behind.

And I feel that is one of the thing that makes this work, was the fact that we as an audience find things out as the detectives do. We aren't shown who the person responsible (until the very near end, at least), or even his actions. The only things shown are outcomes of these brutal murders and horrible acts, not the murders and acts themselves. We as viewers, just like the two detectives in the film, are left to only guess how these events unfolded and we're only shown a piece.

For a film that is not actually a horror, it does a very good job at being dreary and quite scary. The majority of the film is set to the backdrop to an urban setting where it is constantly raining. We don't see the sun until the reveal of the primary suspect, and even in the sunlight it feels dreary. We feel a sense of dread and horror every time a new victim is found.

This is a film where it is impossible to talk too much about plot and not give anything away. The best way thing to say is that if you like detective films, don't mind some disturbing images, and haven't seen this one yet (even though it came out almost 20 years ago, now), then you owe it to yourself to sit down and watch it.

Another note, the films Director, David Fincher, is also the director of Alien 3 (his debut film, which I actually enjoyed very much, even though many people didn't), Fight Club, the American version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and oddly enough, The Social Network.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Got a new TV, therefore making the horror excitement that much more spooky

Recently, I upgraded to a new TV, from an older semi-HD TV to a full out HDTV (it has everything but 3D. The TV that I used to own had a flat screen, but the entire TV itself was actually deep and bulky (The thing was 160lbs!!!!)

Anyways, I plan on doing a review on Seven soon, as well as other random thoughts.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Book updates

Just wanted to make a quick post about a couple books I had recently bought at a Barnes & Nobel not too long ago. I got the hard cover editions of not only Frankenstein by Mary Shelly, but also Dracula by Bram Stoker. These two books are published Barnes & Nobel, however the nice part of these novels is that nowhere on the actual covers do they say this. You do not know that they are publish by the store until you look at the pages and see on one of the pages.

The covers for each of the books are simple, yet very nice and represent each of the novels very well. I will post the respective books covers as I review them.

Now, I will not be reviewing either Dracula or Frankenstein in this particular post, as I haven't read either one and I'm currently reading a Micheal Connelly detective novel. Although I do plan on reviewing the novels in the near future, just know that they are a number of weeks and blogs down the line.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Prospectors Curse

About a year ago, I received an e-mail from from a man named Josh Heisie informing me on a film he wrote and directed, titled The Prospectors Curse. After looking over the press release he attached, I agreed to write a review since The Prospectors Curse looked as though it had potential. However, due to there being unforeseen events, Mr. Heisie was unable to release the film by his Summer 2012 deadline.

Then recently, I've received another e-mail from him. He stated that not only was the trailer finally available for viewing (which you can view here), but so was the film, and that reviewers would get the first chance to take a look at it.

Upon viewing the trailer, I must admit, I wasn't sure what to think. It was almost as if it were a horror/comedy, mostly due to the actors facial expressions. When I first saw the section of the trailer of the prospector writhing on the ground with another guy kneeling beside him, my first thought was that the two were out joking around, not that one was badly injured. Then, the trailer got serious and dark, until the prospector jumped out of the shadows to scare the wits out of his unsuspecting victim, which made me think it was slipping into the comedy section once more.

I then viewed the film right after seeing the trailer. Keep in mind, the following once again contains spoilers.

The film opens with a darkened night, where we see that a man was murdered. Standing over him is the dead mans brother, vowing vengeance against the murderer. According to a young woman named Rosie, who is sitting with a bloody nose beside the dead man, the killer was Theodore Elsworth. She claims that Elsworth would constantly become jealous of any man who who showed any sort of affection towards her, and killed him in the heat of passion.

At the same scene, we see a group of workers approach and state that all the workers have been conned by a confidence man by the name of Jack Smith, who stole them of their wages by promising fake medicine. The group, as a whole, then plans to hunt down the two fugitives, and hang them both on the same day.

Then cut to Elsworth and Smith, both of which are traveling through the woods. Elsworth states that he goes by the nickname Tubby, and that although he feels bad for leaving his girlfriend behind, it wasn't his fault for what happened and that the victim had it coming. Smith then tries to "cure" him with a whistle and an elixir. They then stumble upon an injured prospector (fake beard and all, sorry guys, I think I saw the glue). The prospector demands that his little bit of gold and his watch gets sent back to his loved ones, to which Smith demands if there was more gold to be had. The prospector then dies, taking the location of more gold with him.

That evening in their small base camp, we see that Elsworth writing a letter to be sent to Rosie (which will be either be sent by carrier pigeon or when they ever enter another town, it was never actually stated how it would be sent). We learn that Elsworth and Smith haven chosen to keep the prospectors gold for themselves. Elsworth also appears to be hearing things coming from outside, and decides to go and check it out, which he sees his beloved Rosie who then kisses him. Upon doing so, he starts choking and coughing stuff up, causing him to turn away from Rosie. As he turns back, he sees the prospector, telling him to burn in hell, then attacks him like a rabid zombie.

Smith runs out to find Elsworth alone and hysterical, who then runs off to bury the prospector. Smith quickly follows, but as he does he is suddenly attacked by the zombie prospector and then drowns in quicksand. As Smith drowns, Elsworth is attacked by the men who sought justice against him, and ask if he has any last words before he hangs in the morning.

We then cut to Elsworth hanging in a noose and the credits begin to roll.

Upon viewing the actual film, it was very clear that this was meant as a horror comedy, but there were moments where the comedy felt forced and a tiny bit awkward. However, for a short film made by up and comers, it's not too bad at all. Upon asking Mr. Hiesie, his inspirations for this film were Evil Dead, Abbot & Castello, and a bit of HBO's Deadwood. He had told me that due to too many cartoons growing up, that he was always attracted to comedy and always wanted to incorporate it in his projects.

My main gripe upon this film was that the film seemed to end abruptly. It ends on a sense of total ambiguity to the point where it feels like it just ends. I don't mind ambiguity in film, I think a good horror film can do a lot with it, but when it comes to feeling as though there's no resolution whatsoever, then I think it just falls flat.

Also, when it came to the actual characters, I found no sympathy in any of them, except for maybe the man who sought justice for his brothers murder. Maybe it was because that the majority of the characters felt like they were bad people who were aware that they were doing bad things, only to not care. But as with many of the short films that I had reviewed, lack of full character development seems to be a common trait, simply because they are in fact short films.

In many short films such as these, there's plenty of focus on making these characters "human" and when I say that, I mean giving them flaws. But it almost feels as though as we don't have enough time to care for these people. If we were to take something like the show Breaking Bad for example, and trim it down to fifteen minutes, we'd miss out on all the times we would sympathize with Mr. White, a man who would go to any lengths to make sure his family is financially well off after he is gone.

I must admit, however, that I very much enjoyed the filming and costuming. Other than the prospectors goofy look, if there is one thing this film does right it's making it feel like was truly set in the gold rush days. This is the very thing that really attracted me to the movie. This film felt very authentic and other than the prospector, felt very believable. I give credit to all these people in making a visually pleasing film.

I also very much enjoyed the films soundtrack. This film certainly had a fitting soundtrack and it never once felt intrusive or out of place. The films composer, John Borra, certainly did his job well on the film, giving an old school banjo feel to put you in the mood.

Upon its official release, I suggest that you would give The Prospectors Curse at least one viewing, for the visual aspect if for nothing else. Keep in mind that it is in fact a horror comedy, to the point where some of the comedy feels forced. If you can handle that, then I think you'd certainly be impressed by this one. If you can wade through some of the minor flaws of the film, then I think The Prospectors Curse would be a fun fifteen minutes spent.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Dark City

Well, readers, here I am, finally getting back into the swing of things. It's taken me forever to actually come out with a legitimate post, and I realize that.

This time around, I'll be discussing a film that I had heard of many times, but never got around to viewing. This is mostly because of the fact that it draws from many surrealist films and I typically don't go for those types of films. However, Dark City is only sort of a surrealist film. I say that because once you get to a certain point in the film, you realize that is not a surrealist film, but rather a cleverly disguised one. Keep in mind, this post will in fact contain spoilers.

Dark City is one of those types of films that I only sort of knew what to expect when I first sat down to watch it. I knew that it was supposed to be a film noir type film mixed with dark and brooding, almost horror inspired visuals, with a slight bit of sci-fi thrown in. But apart from that, I knew nothing of the story, creators, or who even starred in it. I finally sat down and watched the Directors Cut of the film, which according many fans of the film, is the superior version.

Directed by Alex Proyas, who also directed The Crow, the film stars Kiefer Sutherland, Jennifer Connelly, William Hurt, and Rufus Sewell, and was released in 1998. The film was one of those films that can be considered by many as a cult classic, mostly due to the film being as dark as it is (hence one of the reasons it being called Dark City, of course).

The film follows the story of John Murdoch, played by Rufus Sewell, as he wakes up in a darkened apartment bathroom, not knowing how he got there or what is happening. As he stumbles his way into the bedroom and starts finding clothes to put on, he gets a phone call from a doctor, played by Kiefer Sutherland, named Daniel Schreiber. Schreiber tells John to seek him out, and during the conversation, John notices a dead body in his living room. John soon flees, finding himself pursued by not only by the police, but also by a group of pale skinned men wearing all black suits. These men are able to manipulate peoples actions and the things around them with their minds, as shown by being able to put people asleep, defying gravity, as well as the size of the buildings, all on a whim.

As I stated, I've watched the Directors Cut. The main difference is the fact that the theatrical release contained an opening narration from Doctor Schreiber. Supposedly this narration was forced upon the film makers by the studio to clear up any sort of confusion that the film may have caused its viewers. This narration, after doing a quick search on Youtube and watching the opening with it, practically spoils the main plot behind the film, which is not officially revealed until about two thirds of the way in. I was immediately able to see why fans were so overjoyed when this little tiny piece was removed.

In addition to the removal of the narration, from what I read, there's a few scenes that were added for the sake of character development as well.

This movie was actually one of the very few films that can be considered surrealist that I've actually enjoyed. Typically, I don't go for surrealist films, reason being is that I can't seem to enjoy the whole "this is a dream" type of vibe surrealist film makers go for. I enjoy a good fantasy film, because a good fantasy tends to feel as though they are grounded with some sort of logic and structure. Surrealist films, on the other hand, feel more random and disjointed to me, and there never seems to be an concrete reason why something is the way it is.

However, the reason why this particular film caught me was because, like I said, it is a film that it's actually a sci-fi film cleverly disguised as a surrealist. That right there gives the film a good reason why something typically random would happen in the film. I enjoyed the fact that these strangers, who are revealed to be some sort of dying alien race, were using humans as forms of guinea pigs for study. It was interesting that they these strangers would create certain scenarios for people in order to study how the human soul worked, and that they would "reset" peoples memories every time they chose a new scenario.

In this sense, the film seems as though it could have easily inspired films such as the Matrix. It's darkened streets, and the fact that our lives are manipulated by mysterious and malevolent forces, really shows that The Matrix could have easily drawn from this film. The menacing atmosphere from Dark City seemed to have transferred to The Matrix trilogy, and according to IMDB.com, even many of the set pieces from this film were later used in the first Matrix film.

I highly suggest that if you're into any sort of film that's dark, check this film out. Even if you're like me, and absolutely cannot stand surrealist films, I still say check it out, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised with just how good this movie is. It's a sci-fi at heart and is certainly worth watching.

Next time, expect a review of a horror film, this time from a independent film maker named Josh Heisie.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Yeah, well, sorry readers

I know, I know, I said that once December rolled around, I'd be making more regular posts, and yet, here I am, writing this post in February. This comes from just the simple writers block, in a way. I had two Christmas related blog posts to have been posted in December, and had at least one planned for January. However every time I sat down to write them, I just couldn't find the right moment to get the ball rolling, and for many writers like myself, the first paragraph or so is the most difficult, especially for movie reviews.

So I apologize for the lack of any new promised content the last two months.