Monthly Archives: October 2011

SHARK NIGHT 3-D (or 2-D for those of us too cheap to pay extra for 3-D glasses)

SHARK NIGHT 3-D-United States-90 Mins. 2011

Sara Paxton as Sara

Directed by David R. Ellis

Written by Will Hayes and Jesse Studenberg

So tell me; what’s not to like about Shark Night? Look at all the things it has going for it. It has sharks, lots and lots of them, in all shapes and sizes. It has pretty girls in teeny-weeny bikinis. It has the beautiful Katharine McPhee tapping in to her inner bad girl and making my crush on her all the more inflamed. It’s got flying sharks and gore. Did I mention that it has Katharine McPhee?

Okay, all kidding aside; except for the fact that Shark Night has Katharine McPhee in it there is absolutely nothing I can really recommend about this film. The storyline, if you can call it that, is ludicrous. A group of randy college students retreat to a lake house in the Louisiana Gulf and are then picked off one by one by a variety of man-eating sharks. There’s a little more to it than that, but I will refrain from saying anything more just in case you want to  waste your hard earned money to go see it.

Aside from the storyline, the acting is on the level of a SyFy original movie. In other words, a sixth grade play is an Oscar contender compared to this. Even the beauty of Miss Mcphee cannot save this film. But it was certainly a joy to watch her give it her best. Alas, though, the best thing about Shark Night was the popcorn.

By the way, no sharks were harmed in the making of this film. However, they will be talking to their agents regarding a defamation of character lawsuit.

Trivia

Director David R. Ellis wanted to release the film under the title, “Untitled 3D Shark Thriller”.

Not screened in advance for critics.
½

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Thank You and Oh, Yeah! What Scares You?

This is a two part post. First of all I want to say thank you to everyone who has ever taken the time to visit Written in Blood. When I started this blog a little under a year ago I had no idea that anyone would even like it, much less want to look at it. But today I have just reached 300 page views for the first time. So, to every one of you that has looked at my blog, even if it just for a fraction of a second, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

For the second part; do you remember the post I wrote entitled “What’s Scary??” I want to hear from you about what scares you. What gets your heart racing and causes the hairs to stand up on the back of your neck. Don’t be afraid to write in and tell me, not unless that’s what you’re afraid of. But if you are, maybe it’s time you conquered that fear. I’ll start off by telling you what scares me: wasps. I don’t know what it is about them, but I just cringe when I see one buzzing around my head. I always thought of them as the delinquents of the insect world; buzzing around all bad-ass with their leather jackets and their switchblade stingers. They just give me the creeps.

Now, I want to hear from you. What scares you?

THE HITCHER

THE HITCHER-United States-97 Mins. 1986

Rutger Hauer as John Ryder

C. Thomas Howell as Jim Halsey

Jennifer Jason Leigh as Nash

Directed by Robert Harmon

Written by Eric Red

Was there ever an actor more bad-ass than Rutger Hauer in the 1980’s? I for one believe that the man had merely to gaze in your direction and you’d be pissing in your pants. That’s why I can’t think of any other actor for the role of John Ryder, the murderous hitchhiker who plays cat to Thomas Howell’s mouse in The Hitcher. Hauer has more intensity in his little finger than a dozen other stars have in their entire bodies.

For me, this has to be the tenth time that I’ve watched this film. First I watched it on VHS, and then I’d watch bits and pieces of it on late night TV. The Hitcher, like Hellraiser, is one of those movies that, when you’re flipping channels late at night and suddenly it flashes onto your screen, you stop. It may be just beginning, it may be halfway through but you just stop and watch the rest of it.

The film never explains why Hauer is obsessed with Howell, or why he wants Howell to stop him. There is never a moment in the film where Hauer shows any sign of remorse. This man makes Schwarzenegger’s soulless Terminator seem like Mister Rogers in comparison. So why does he want Howell to stop him? Maybe it’s for the better that we don’t know.

In the last few years The Hitcher could come to be known as a ‘what goes around comes around’ film. In the 2009 season of TV’s Criminal Minds, C. Thomas Howell played George Foyet, a killer as cold and remorseless as Hauer’s John Ryder. What goes around, indeed?

TRIVIA

Eric Red, (writer), said that the film was inspired by the Doors song, “Riders on the Storm”.

C. Thomas Howell admitted that he was actually afraid of Rutger Hauer on and off the set because of the actor’s general intensity.

Sam Elliott and Terence Stamp were offered the role of John Ryder.

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PARANORMAL 3 ACTIVITY

PARANORMAL 3 ACTIVITY-United States-83 Mins. 2011

Chloe Csengery and Jessica Tyler Brown as Katie and Kristi

Also starring Christopher Nicholas Smith, Lauren Bittner and Katie Featherston

Directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman

Written by Christopher Landon and Oren Peli (characters)

Remember how I said that although people still get scared at horror movies, but they just don’t get scared as a collective whole? Yeah, well, you can throw that sh*t right out the window. That is, at least in the case of Paranormal Activity 3. The theatre was packed tonight when I went to see it and I could swear that there were several moments that people were going to end up in each other’s laps. Is the film good? I believe it is. I enjoyed the first two films and was a little weary that there would be a third. Without giving anything away I can safely tell you that Paranormal Activity 3 not only answers a lot of questions; it also opens up the door for a possible fourth film in the series. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing depends entirely on your point of view. The film once again uses the ‘found footage’ technique of telling the story and this time takes us back to when Katie was a child and when it all began and that is all I am going to say about it.

If you measure how good a horror film is by audience reaction then I would have to say that Paranormal Activity 3 is a masterpiece. It’s probably not; I’ll eventually buy the film and watch it alone, and the scenes that made everyone jump out of their skins will not seem that scary anymore. Then again, it could turn out to be like the first film and be even more frightening within the confines of home (not so) sweet home.

TRIVIA

Towards the beginning of the film, Julie takes a picture of young Kristi standing in the driveway shortly before a group picture is taken. The photo being taken appears in bothParanormal Activity and Paranormal Activity 2 as an indication that the demon has started haunting them.

Mark Fredrichs previous played the Psychic in the first Paranormal Activity, which took place nearly two decades after the events in this film.

As with Paranormal Activity and Paranormal Activity 2, Paramount Studios once again utilized paranormal investigator/researcher, Christopher Chacon, who is recognized as one of the world’s foremost authorities on paranormal phenomena, to internationally promote and publicize this third installment. Chacon also works in the entertainment industry as a writer, director and producer.

What’s Scary?

Jame Gumb

Ted Levine as Jame Gumb in ‘The Silence of The Lambs”

   WHAT’S SCARY?

What scares you? I can ask a hundred people that question and the answers will all be different. Is it horror movies? How about death or disease? Do you fear being alone with no one to share your life and your dreams with? Are you afraid of that black widow spider that’s settled in under your bathroom sink? Maybe you’re scared of big dogs or bees or have a deep seated fear of snakes and lizards. What scares you?

With horror films it’s getting harder and harder to scare people nowadays. It makes sense that it should be that way. How can the filmmakers expect us to be scared by make believe monsters when all we have to do is turn on our TV‘s and see real-life horror each and every day. Wake up at a quarter to nine and see planes crash into towers filled with people. Log on to Yahoo and see footage of a catastrophic auto race crash that cut the thread of one man’s life very short in the blink of an eye. There are sites online that allow us to see all kinds of horrors such as dismemberments and beheadings.  This world is filled with real life horror that makes the stuff of imagination very pale in comparison.

I’m not saying that horror films don’t scare people. I’m saying that they don’t scare people as a collective whole the way they used to. I’ve gone to see films like Paranormal Activity and The Last Exorcism and have yet to see the audience recoil in fear at either of those films. Are the films scary? Yes…and no. I found Paranormal Activity to be scarier within the confines of my own home than I did at the theater. With The Last Exorcism, a film that deals with that most ancient of villains, Satan, there were intense moments in which I found the hair standing on the back of my neck. Did they scare anyone else? I don’t know; you’ll have to ask each individual person that question.

I think the one type of horror film that still scares people are those in which the killer is all too human. For instance, look at the killer Jame Gumb in the film The Silence of the Lambs. This is a man, who if he were real, could be your next door neighbor and you would have no suspicion of the atrocities he commits. On the other hand, look at a villain like Lord Voldemort from the Harry Potter series. If this guy were your neighbor you’d do one of two things; move away or get yourself a Harry Potter costume and go role-play with him. Perhaps even a Hermione costume if you’re kinky like that, nudge nudge wink wink.

What scares you? The answer is very simple. Nothing, everything and all areas in between. Thank you for letting me vent. Take care and stay scared…maybe.

THE THING (2011)

THE THING-United States and Canada-103 Mins. 2011

Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Kate Lloyd

Directed by Matthijs van Heijningen, Jr.

Screenplay by Eric Heisserer

Based on the novella “Who Goes There?” by John W. Campbell, Jr.

You may notice that this is a first for me. For those of you who don’t, then I will tell you. This is the first time that I have ever reviewed a film while it is still in theatres. I usually wait until a film is released for home viewing before writing it up. However, there was no way I was going to let this one go for that long.

As you may already know, John Carpenter‘s 1982 version of “The Thing” is arguably my all time favorite horror film. I have always believed that it is the perfect horror film. It is a combination of mystery, suspense, gore and amazing special effects that has stood the test of time for almost 30 years. To remake this film would be the same as repainting the Sistine Chapel using painters you hired off the streets. Better yet, it would be like taking a brand new engine out of a car and replacing it with a brand new engine. In other words, it would be pointless. Thankfully, with the 2011 version of this masterpiece, that is not the case.

The Thing 2011 is not a remake, but a prequel, of the 1982 original. It tells the story of what happened before this mysterious creature wreaked havoc on the men of U.S. Outpost No. 31. It shows us the things that came before; like who was the man frozen to the chair with wrists sliced and throat cut, a straight razor frozen in his hand? What about the two burned up bodies that appeared to have melded together, who were they before that tragedy and how did they end up like that? What about that dog? The Thing 2011 answers all these questions while at the same time maintaining a level of ambiguity that comes very close to the original. The most important point is that it shows the utmost respect for the material and for Carpenter’s masterpiece. This is more than a remake or a prequel; this is a love letter to a classic.

The cast, headed by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, is as talented an ensemble as you could hope for. Winstead in no way tries to step into the shoes of Kurt Russell; but instead brings her strengths and vulnerabilities to the role. She doesn’t suddenly turn from scientist to action heroine; she is merely an intelligent woman who is forced to think on her feet to survive.

The only complaint I have about this film, and it is a small one, is with the CGI. It’s great for the most part; but there were times that I found myself longing for the original make-up effects of Rob Bottin from the 1982 flick.

The Thing 2011 is an excellent film that follows one very simple rule: You don’t f**k with a classic.

Trivia

The producers convinced Universal Studios to allow them to create a prequel to John Carpenter’s The Thing instead of a remake, as they felt Carpenter’s film was already perfect, so making a remake would be like “painting a mustache on the Mona Lisa”. However, the prequel still has the title of the original film, because they couldn’t think of a subtitle (for example, “The Thing: Begins”) that sounded good.

The song Kate is listening to on her headphones is “Who Can It Be Now?”, a song by Australian band Men at Work from their 1981 debut album, “Business as Usual”. The lyrics tell of a paranoid man who hears knocking at his house door and wishes to be left in solitude. This foreshadows the paranoia of the scientists later in the film.
The red axe that ‘Joel Edgerton’ uses and eventually sticks into the wall can be seen still stuck in the wall when the Americans visit the Norwegian camp in the original John Carpenter version.
½
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Boredom at Point Zero

CSI would have determined that Humpty Dumpty was indeed pushed. They would also made sure that no one moved the body (i.e. tried to put Humpty together again) until a full forensic investigation could be made.

If you are what you eat, what does that make porn stars?

King Solomon had 700 official wives and 300 concubines. Poor guy. That means he had a 1000 mother-in-laws.

Here’s a stolen joke (what joke isn’t?) Why do shepherds wear flowing robes? Because a sheep can hear a zipper a mile away.

I glued a cotton ball and construction paper bunny ears to my guinea pig. I can’t afford both.

Dear PETA, just kidding about the above comment. I would never glue a cotton ball and construction paper bunny ears to my guinea pig.

It was my hamster.

I like to test out the validity of a rumor. So I went into a pet store the other day and stood by the gerbils. I shouted “Look! It’s Richard Gere‘s bottom!” Poor little guys fainted on the spot.

Mary had a little lamb/It’s fleece was white as snow/And everywhere that Mary went/ The lamb was sure to go/Which is why her husband stuck a GPS on it and caught her at the Motel Six with her boyfriend.

The new Tom Waits album will be out very soon. I’m as excited as a homeless man on a talent show.

Bruce Springsteen was right; it does take a red headed woman to get a dirty job done. That’s why I married one. Be jealous!

A friend of mine asked me the other day “If you could have sex with any MILF, who would it be?” I said Miss Piggy. Well, how was I to know the M stood for Mom, not Muppet?

Later, folks! Take care and stay scared!!

HALLOWEEN: THE CURSE OF MICHAEL MYERS

HALLOWEEN: THE CURSE OF MICHAEL MYERS-United States-88 Mins. 1995

Donald Pleasance as Dr, Sam Loomis

 Directed by Joe Chappelle Characters by John Carpenter and Debra Hill Written by Daniel Farrands    I don’t even want to begin to tell you how stupid this movie is. What little plot the film has is completely ludicrous. It seems like every one of these films repeats the same fucking formula every damn time you turn around. Michael returns to kill a member of his family that crawls out of the woodwork of the story or from between the legs of the last relative he tried to kill. The only thing this film has going for it is that it’s the debut of Paul Rudd. But even he can’t save this celluloid anus from splattering shit all over the screen.

For each movie I review I usually try to reserve about three hundred words for the review itself, not including the trivia. I’m not even going to waste that many words on this film. It doesn’t deserve it and you, faithful readers, deserve better.

Trivia

The script went through eleven different drafts. (Wow! Eleven and they still couldn’t get it right!)

Donald Pleasance”s final film. (It just had to be this piece of shit. RIP, Donald.)

Most of the cast and crew disowned this movie. On the 25 years of Terror DVD, they stated that the studio, producers, and director interfered and argued to the point of ridiculousness which resulted in a very poorly directed and edited film.  (So they did have some brains. My question is where the hell were those brains when they were saying yes to starring in and making this film?)

0 BLOOD DROPS

HALLOWEEN 5: THE REVENGE OF MICHAEL MYERS

HALLOWEEN 5: THE CURSE OF MICHAEL MYERS-United States-96 Mins. 1989

Donald Pleasance as Dr. Sam Loomis

Directed byDominique Othenin-Girard
Characters by John Carpenter and Debra Hill
Screenplay by Michael Jacobs,Dominique Othenin-Girard and Shem Bitterman

After watching a bunch of cute little kittens running for their lives from a vacuum cleaner, I decided to write this review for Halloween 5. So what have we learned here today, ladies and gentlemen? Well, first we learn that Dr. Sam Loomis is nuttier than a fruitcake and will break every child endangerment law in the country if that’s what it takes to stop Michael Myers. I’m serious, the dude is freaking insane. Other than that, Halloween 5 is just another in a long line of mediocre sequels to a film that was done better by Rob Zombie. Yeah, I said it!! At least the Michael in the Zombie remake looked big enough to hurt somebody. Where the hell do they get these guys from; Wal-Mart? Don’t even get me started on the kills. The best one was the pitchfork through the guy when he was pitching’ his fork in the girl. News Flash: Friday the 13th Part 2 did it better; Jason achieved double-penetration. How that’s for double entendre?

I know I said that I was going to review the Halloween films for the month of October. But dear God in Heaven I should have my head examined. The Halloween films are the worst damn series in the history of horror films. At least the Friday the 13th films had imaginative kills going for them. Halloween has a wimpy looking dude in a half-finished Captain Kirk mask. If Part 6, H20 and Resurrection aren’t any better I may just be writing my next review from inside the rubber room. Take care and stay scared!

Oh, wait, before I forget. The plot of Halloween 5 is as follows: Michael has a niece, Jamie. Jamie is psychically bonded to Michael. Dr. Loomis knows this and uses Jamie to get to Michael. Stabbings, gunshots, pitchforks, kittens (scary) and dead bodies ensue. Yippee.

Trivia

The bus that the Man in Black gets off of stops outside the exact same store where Jamie and Rachel went to get a Halloween costume in Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers.

Don Shanks revealed in an interview that many of the scenes involving the man in black had him playing the character, because of speculation that he was a blood relative of Michael Myers. He also admitted that even the writers uncertain about the man in black’s identity.

The film was released straight to video outside of North America.

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HALLOWEEN 4: THE RETURN OF MICHAEL MYERS

HALLOWEEN 4: THE RETURN OF MICHAEL MYERS-United States-88 Mins. 1988

Donald Pleasance as Dr. Sam Loomis

Directed by Dwight H. Little Story by Dhani Lipsius, Larry Rattner, Benjamin Ruffner, Alan B. McElroyScreenplay by Alan B. McElroy    How many freaking relatives does Michael Myers have? I mean, for gosh sakes he killed his sister when he was six; then he tried to kill his other sister Laurie, when he grew up. Now with Halloween 4 he’s trying to kill the daughter of Laurie Strode. I tell you what, they should have just showed the old boy a picture of Osama Bin Laden and told him “Alright, Michael, this is your sister, Osama Bin Myers. She’s a bearded lady and she can’t talk right. She lives overseas and she says you’re a pussy and to come and get her if you can. Here’s your plane ticket. Wait until the plane lands before you kill everybody on board. Go get her, boy!” There would have been no need to send any troops over there.

I don’t mean to make light of that whole situation. I’m making fun of the fact that this guy has all these relatives to kill. This is the plot to Halloween 4:

“There’s Michael Myers! Run for your life!”

“Why?”

“He’ll kill you if he catches you!”

“Are we related?”

“Well…no, I don’t think so.”

“Well, alright then. I’m cool.”

“Dang, I never thought of that.”

That, ladies and gentlemen is the plot of Halloween 4. Don’t get me started on the acting. There’s none of that in this movie, either. Well, I take that back. Donald Pleasance is still the king of psycho psychiatrists and Danielle Harris does a pretty darn good job in her first starring role, which means she isn’t too annoying for a screaming 7 year-old kid.

Halloween 4 should have been subtitled “The Myers Family Reunion.” Hell, I think maybe they should have all been called that.

TRIVIA

Series creator John Carpenter wrote a treatment for this film, that was a more ghostly psychological approach to the Michael Myers mythos. It concerned the town of Haddonfield and what effect the events of the first two films have had on the it’s citizens. This concept was later rejected by the producers in favor of the typical slasher fare, at which point in time John Carpernter bailed out of the film, making this the first film in the series to have no participation from him.

The girl who drove Rachel and Jamie to the costume store was named Lindsey and is approximately 17 years old. In Halloween, Jamie Lee Curtis babysat a seven year old named Lindsey.

Mike Lookinland (Bobby Brady) of The Brady Bunch was the production assistant. His wife, Kelly Lookinland, played the dead waitress.

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