First of all, it feels really fucking weird to be writing a new post. To paraphrase Lennon and McCartney, I’ve been away so long I hardly know what I’m doing anymore. But one thing I have always tried to do is to keep my word to people, especially my friends. I didn’t do that with Ryan, my friend and fellow blogger at Rhino’s Horror and I feel bad about that. I’m not going to repeat the same mistake with Tyson Carter and Head in a Vice. Tyson asked me if I would be part of a series that he’s doing where he has two groups discussing one film. One group will defend their reasons for liking the film; while the other group will do their best to cut the film down with their intense vitriol.
The film I’ve been picked to defend, along with Mike from MikesFilmTalk, is Ti West‘s haunted hotel cum ghost story The Innkeepers. I’ve already reviewed the film once before, so I’m not going to re-hash what the film is about. What Tyson wants, and what I will try to give you, is my reasons for liking the movie. For that I will do my best.
I liked The Innkeepers for one solid reason; the film knows when to build up it’s suspense and when to dial it down a notch or two. Instead of giving us jump scare after jump scare after jump scare, director West gives us a film that is slow paced and deliberate and is all the better for it. One of the main complaints I’ve heard about the Paranormal Activity series is that that nothing happens for the first 80 minutes or so and then everything happens for the last ten minutes. I didn’t get that impression with The Innkeepers. I felt like there was a lot happening throughout the movie; it just happened at it’s own pace; leading us down a dark path, sometimes making us jump and sometimes holding back until the moment was just right.
For better or for worse, that’s why I loved The Innkeepers. It’s been a while and I’m a little rusty; so I hope you will be kind to me.
- Former Beatles manager admits to losing sleep over selling the band for £9 (storagebedsdirect.co.uk)
- Tripvillas and Hotelogix – announce a partnership to bring World Class Property Management Solutions to Vacation Communities and Innkeepers (prweb.com)
- Innkeeper (sweettalkinthing.wordpress.com)
- Spook Show Cinema #1: The Innkeepers (backtothepast.tv)
- Best horror film of 2012 (chicagoreader.com)
- Top Five Horror Films of 2012 (killerkalyn.com)
- The 2012 Horror Film Awards (Feature) (popmatters.com)
- Year In Review: The Best Films of 2012 (meetsobsession.com)
- First Image From Ti West and Eli Roth’s ‘The Sacrament’ (2013) (killerkalyn.com)
- Movie review: American Mary (dailyrecord.co.uk)
Written by Simon Barrett, David Bruckner, Nicholas Tecosky, Ti West, Glenn McQuaid, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett
V/H/S opens with a group of friends videotaping their exploits; whether it’s smashing windows in buildings, spray painting graffiti or grabbing random girls and pulling up their shirts to show their breasts; it’s all on film. We find out later that they get paid for their shenanigans and their ‘employer’ has a new, perhaps more simple job for them; to break into a house and steal one video tape in particular. Well, that seems easy enough, right? When they’re in the house, they find the owner dead in his chair in a room with several TV’s and lots of video tapes. The guys begin to watch, and that’s where the anthology genre melds with the found footage genre.
“Amateur Night“, the first video, is about a group of friends (not the same group) out for a night on the town. One of the friends, and this is a good alternative to holding a bulky video camera, is wearing a pair of eyeglasses with a built in camera and microphone. The intent of the guys is to find a girl and then videotape having sex with her. They find two girls and take them back to a motel. One girl passes out and they leave her alone. Yeah, okay, that part I buy hook line and sinker, not. The other girl, well, let’s just say the other girl is very special. This episode is directed by David Bruckner (The Signal) and is a good start for the film in that while it is hardly believable it is never boring. Hannah Fierman is creepy as hell as Lily, the girl with ‘something extra’.
“Second Honeymoon” is about Sam and Stephanie and their titular adventures in an old west town. They videotape their fun and Stephanie gets her fortune read. She will be re-united with a loved one, says Pappy, the mechanical prospector cum prognosticator. At their hotel that night there’s a knock on their door from a girl asking for a ride for the next day. The girl goes away, the door to their room is locked, the camera is turned off and Sam and Stephanie settle down to sleep. The camera turns on and pans to Sam sleeping. It pans to Stephanie sleeping. Wait…what? We see only a glimpse of the third party in the mirror before he (maybe she) have fun with Sam’s toothbrush and the toilet water. Sam and Stephanie continue their fun the next day and then we repeat with the two of them going to sleep and the unknown third party turning on the camera yet again. Only this time there’s a twist and Stephanie re-unites with that loved one that ole Pappy told her all about. “Second Honeymoon” is directed by Ti West (The Innkeepers) and is unfortunately not a good example of his work. He’s done way better than this and I believe he will continue to do better than this. Let’s move on.
‘Tuesday the 17th“ is a home video version of the ‘slasher in the woods that’s killing all your friends and yet no matter how hard you try to kill him you just can’t seem to do it’ entry in the horror genre. Spider, Joey and Samantha accompany their new friend Wendy into the woods to smoke pot and do whatever it is pot smoking teens do in the woods together. Wendy tells them that her friends were murdered here and they laugh it off. Then they start dying at the hands of a killer that the tracking device on the camera just can’t seem to clear up. Is it live, or is Memorex? Directed by Glenn McQuaid (I Sell the Dead), “Tuesday the 17th” is more an example of ‘let’s have fun with the video camera’ than it is a serious attempt at filmmaking. That’s not a bad thing, mind you; it makes it even more fun, in fact.
Emily talks with her boyfriend and doctor-t0-be James via web cam. She tells him all about the strange mark on her arm and then the ghost of a child runs into her room and back out again in “The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger” segment of V/H/S. There is more than meets the eye in this segment directed by Joe Swanberg; but to tell anymore would take us into spoiler country and I hate traveling there. Let’s just say this is a good example of why I think web cam chat is creepy.
A pirate, a marine, a nanny cam and the Unabomber go to a haunted house. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Actually, it’s “10/31/98″ and buddies Chad, Matt, Tyler and Paul go to what they think is a Halloween party, only to find the place deserted. But when they see ghostly figures and hands coming out of the walls they begin to realize that they may not be so alone after all. This final segment, directed by Radio Silence, is easily the best segment of the film and is a clear example of the fun that the filmmakers had with V/H/S. The film as a whole brings nothing new to the table; but by the end you really just don’t care.
Folks, there is nothing to see here. Please move on in an orderly fashion. Thank you.
- VHS: Fillm Review (nopaperpen.wordpress.com)
- Film Review: V/H/S (2012) (ddmboss.wordpress.com)
- AFM 2012: Ti West’s Sacrament Being Accepted in Georgia (dreadcentral.com)
- State man accused of secretly videotaping girl (wvgazette.com)
- Cast Revealed for Ti West’s ‘The Sacrement’ (screenrant.com)
- Ti West’s “The Sacrament” adds Joe Swanberg, Gene Jones to cast (news.yahoo.com)
- REVIEW: V/H/S (Blu-ray) (kdvr.com)
- AICN HORROR talks with director Ti West about V/H/S! Plus a review of the film!!! (aintitcool.com)
- Ambush Bug counts down the best horror films on AICN HORROR since last Halloween – Number 15!!! (aintitcool.com)
- Blu-ray Review: ‘V/H/S’ – Getting Lost In Gory Found Footage (geek-news.mtv.com)
SCREAM QUEEN OF THE MONTH-NOVEMBER 2012-SARA PAXTON
So, why Sara Paxton; why not any other young blonde actress to fill the spot for October Scream Queen of the Month? To tell you the truth I really don’t know; other than she impressed the hell out of me with her frantic, yet subdued performance in Ti West‘s slow burn of a ghost story, The Innkeepers. Or maybe it was the fact that she looked really cute in a bikini in the Sharkstravaganza* SHARK NIGHT 3-D. Then there’s also her role as Mari in the remake of Wes Craven‘s 1970′s shocker THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT. Whether it’s one of those movies, all three or any of the many credits our young Scream Queen has listed on the IMDb, including roles in LIAR LIAR, C.S.I.: Miami and SUPERHERO MOVIE, Miss Paxton had kept quite busy. So, that is why Written in Blood welcomes her as the October 2012 Scream Queen of the Month!!
*Sharkstravaganza-New Word, I claim it!!
- Scream Queen of the Month-august 2012-vampirella (jmountswritteninblood.com)
- Scream Queen of the Month-september 2012-rachel Weisz (jmountswritteninblood.com)
- Lost Linnea Quigley Film Scream Queen to Finally See the Light of Day (dreadcentral.com)
- Sara Paxton Confesses: ‘I Was A Nerd In High School’ (EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW) (celebuzz.com)
- The Scream Queens of Film: Brooke Adams (moviesfilmsandflix.com)
- The Innkeepers (2011): New England Hotel Necromancy (mikesfilmtalk.com)
- Exclusive Interview: Brinke Stevens, Linnea Quigley, and Michelle Bauer – Screaming in High Heels! (dreadcentral.com)
- Movie Review: ‘The Innkeepers’ (houseofgeekery.com)
- The Scream Queens of Film: Jenny Spain (moviesfilmsandflix.com)
- The Scream Queens of Film: Leticia Dolera (moviesfilmsandflix.com)
Written and Directed by Ti West
With a ghost story, it’s all about the pacing. You have to keep the audience at a near breaking point of suspense, or else you will lose them. The tension has to be stretched to that specific point where they want to turn their eyes away from the screen; yet at the same time there is nothing they want more than to see what happens next. The Innkeepers, the latest film from The House of the Devil director Ti West, builds up the suspense and the tension to the point of where you feel that your mind is twisted like rubber. You’re stretched so tightly that just one more thing will send you over the edge.
The Innkeepers is the story of two hotel clerks, Luke and Claire, and their last weekend at the Yankee Pedlar Inn. The inn is going out of business and with only a small handful of guests the two of them decide it would be a perfect time to find out if the inn is haunted. Did a woman named Madeline O’Malley hang herself at the Yankee Pedlar? Is her ghost doomed to remain there? Will Luke and Claire find the answers they’re looking for? What, are you waiting for me to answer the questions? I mean, seriously, I just review the films. If you want an entire plot synopsis then go to Wikipedia. Better yet, watch the movie.
All joking aside, The Innkeepers is a winner. Sara Paxton and Luke Healy are both very good in their titular roles and Kelly McGillis has a reserved and eerie charm as one the hotel’s final living guests. In my opinion, Ti West is a director to watch. The Innkeepers and the House of the Devil are excellent horror films; but I get the feeling there’s greatness right around the corner. He need only take his time. After all, it’s all about the pacing.
- The InnKeepers On DVD (scifitalk.com)
- In ‘The Innkeepers,’ the inn has the best part (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- THE INNKEEPERS (2012) Review (thebitemagazine.wordpress.com)
- Win an Incredible Innkeepers Prize Package (dreadcentral.com)
- Coolest Innkeepers Viral Yet! (dreadcentral.com)
- Sara Paxton and Director Ti West THE INNKEEPERS Interview (collider.com)
- Boo Askew! Capone talk to THE INNKEEPERS writer-director Ti West and star Sara Paxton about approaching horror from a different angle!!! (aintitcool.com)
- Director Ti West Talks Slow Horror, ‘The Innkeepers’ (npr.org)
- GeekDad Interview: Ti West, Writer/ Director of The Innkeepers (wired.com)
- Contest! Want to win a not-for-sale sweet LP style Blu-Ray package of Ti West’s THE INNKEEPERS? Sure ya’ do! (aintitcool.com)
- Film: Movie Review: The Innkeepers (avclub.com)
- Movie Review: ‘The Innkeepers,’ a Paranormal Film Directed by Ti West (movies.nytimes.com)
- Review: ‘Innkeepers’ offers lean, retro scares (mysanantonio.com)
- ‘The Innkeepers’ Is Smart Horror (Review) (popmatters.com)
- The Innkeepers: More Clerks Than Spooks (entertainment.time.com)
- The Innkeepers (West, 2011) (dcpfilm.wordpress.com)
- The Other Super Bowl This Weekend (tdylf.com)
Written and Directed by Ti West
Jocelin Donahue as Samantha
Tom Noonan as Mr. Ulman
Mary Woronov as Mrs. Ulman
Greta Gerwig as Megan
AJ Bowen as Victor Ulman
Dee Wallace as Landlady
When I watched The House of the Devil my “I have seen this before” brand of spidey-sense kicked in. I asked myself ”Where have I seen this kind of cinematography?” “Where have I seen that opening blurb about the film being based on a true story?” “Why does this movie seem so darn familiar?”
Then I realized the answer to all my questions: 1970′s horror movies. Films like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Amityville Horror used the ‘based on a true story’ blurb. Almost all the made-for-tv movies like Trilogy of Terror, Scream of the Wolf and Curse of the Black Widow used the 16mm camera effect. Was I watching a movie that was a complete rip-off of all those movies that I loved as a young man in the ’70′s? Well…no.
The House of the Devil is not a rip-off but a total homage to all those films. Director Ti West has captured the look and feel of that era so well that you may find yourself checking the DVD or Blu-Ray case to find out exactly what year the film was released.
The film is about a young girl who takes a job as a babysitter at a house owned by a mysterious couple who live out in the country. She soon realizes that it’s not her skills as a babysitter that they are in need of. She is to be a part of a Satanic ritual that the family is a part of. Now, at this point I am pretty sure that most of my readers already realize that I am not going to tell them any more about what happens. What I will tell you is that if you love those old horror films from the 1970′s then this is a film for you. There is some gore in the film, but it is not overbearing and does not interfere with the retro feel that the film so lovingly achieves. The film relies more on thrills and less on the gross-out.
If you want to see a good horror film that doesn’t forget it’s roots then see The House of the Devil. If you don’t, well then, there’s always all those crappy remakes Hollywood shoves down our throats and up our asses every year.