Monday, July 3, 2017

THE VOID is coming to Netflix. You need to watch it.


One of, if not the, best horror films I've seen all damn year, is coming to Netflix on July 6th. Below is my original review for DEATH & GIGGLES and you need to drop what you're doing on that day and watch the fucking thing.

More often than not, when I hear about a heap of praise being levied on a horror movie at any time from any kind of critics, I tend to approach it with caution. Remember when everyone said "The Babadook" was the greatest thing since sliced bread and it turned out to be the equivalent of a frozen dog turd with sprinkles? Yeah, when it comes to praise, I usually tend to feel the opposite way. That's why when I was going into The Void, I honestly wasn't expecting too much from it, even though I went into it knowing practically nothing about what the film was about. Coming out of it...well, all I can say is that this may in fact be the best horror film I've seen in a long fucking time. This film is equally inventive and unpredictable, and saying it made a lasting impression on me is saying it lightly.

The Void picks up with a small town sheriff named Daniel (Aaron Poole) picking up a disheveled man he finds bloodied and disoriented. Transporting him to a local, understaffed hospital inhabited by his ex (Kathleen Munroe), a veteran surgeon (Twin Peaks vet Kenneth Welsh), and a handful of others; Daniel soon learns that something very sinister is going on when mysterious hooded figures start surrounding the hospital. Things go from bad to worse when bodies start dropping, but that's only a taste of the unrelenting horror that unfolds as the film goes on, and gets legitimately totally fucking shocking.

I really don't want to spoil much more about the plot of The Void, because I really do feel that the less you know about this film going in, the more you'll enjoy it. Granted there are some plot elements that come out of left field, but the end result is a genuine shocker of a film that will leave you with plenty of lasting impressions. Not to mention the fact that this film is loaded with wonderful practical effects work and some ridiculously grotesque sequences that gorehounds will undoubtedly adore. I've often heard people labeling the film as being Lovecraftian and also making comparisons to John Carpenter's The Thing, and I agree with both sentiments wholeheartedly. There is an aura of unpredictability and flat out "what the fuck" moments peppered throughout the film, along a feeling of isolation and hopelessness that are perfectly orchestrated here. I've also heard comparisons to the work of Lucio Fulci quite a bit as well, but I think these are more aimed towards the fact the film's ending shot may be a bit of a head scratcher for some and leave you wondering what the fuck you just watched. Regardless of that, this is a modern day horror film that is truly one of a kind.

I can praise The Void day and night and keep going on, but I won't. This is a film that you flat out need to see right fucking now. I myself may love it more than most, and it goes without saying that The Void isn't a film for everyone or all tastes either, but this is truly an unforgettable achievement in practical effects work and being able to orchestrate an overwhelming sense of dread that most modern horror films couldn't do if they tried. Co-directors Steven Kostanski and Father's Day co-helmer Jeremy Gillespie really crafted something special here, and The Void is something that I'll be happily revisiting for years to come.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

REAL THOUGHTS ON NEW HALLOWEEN MOVIE DEVELOPMENTS



A while ago it was announced that John Carpenter himself was returning to the HALLOWEEN franchise to inject some life back into it. The idea in itself is more than intriguing, and while I normally beg for long running franchises to come to an end instead of sequel after sequel and reboot after reboot, I'm surprisingly okay with this. Since it was announced though, things have been relatively quiet in terms of developments, until recently.

Carpenter announced on social media that David Gordon Green (director of PINEAPPLE EXPRESS, YOUR HIGHNESS, JOE, and more) will be directing the new HALLOWEEN film, which will be produced by Carpenter, Green, and...Danny McBride (the comedic actor best known for PINEAPPLE EXPRESS, EASTBOUND AND DOWN, and many more). Green and McBride will also be co-writing the film which is...odd. Is this seriously really happening?

At first, I really didn't know how to take this news. I was surprisingly all for a direct sequel to the original HALLOWEEN II with Carpenter back in some capacity, I just never expected to hear the names David Gordon Green and Danny fucking McBride attached to it. And shockingly...I'm okay with it. I have faith that these two won't turn the film into a laughing stock or self-aware mess. Green has made some really good and even thought provoking films (watch JOE starring Nicolas Cage...yes I'm serious) and I think he and McBride both really get what a HALLOWEEN film should be, so I'm actually really looking forward to seeing this happen.

And no matter what, it can't be as bad as the Rob Zombie-directed HALLOWEEN movies right?

Saturday, February 4, 2017

REMEMBERING THE WII-U



With the looming launch of Nintendo's latest console (or is it a handheld?) the Switch, I want to take some time to look back at the Wii-U. Nintendo's would-be successor to the insanely high selling Wii was an absolute failure in terms of sales and third-party support; mostly due to the fact Nintendo fucked it up from before the launch onward. Released in 2012 to little fanfare (and some really bad marketing), the Wii-U was pretty much dead on arrival, thanks to a weak launch lineup, a really dumb name, and a confusing interface. The required touchscreen/gamepad is cumbersome to use, and games that require using it can be a chore. "Star Fox Zero" in particular is one game that requires the gamepad and even tacks motion controls on top of it, killing what could have otherwise been an awesome experience.

Things like the cumbersome gamepad and incoherent marketing are what limited sales of the Wii-U. The original Wii was a smash hit in terms of sales thanks to the fact that it was marketed to appeal to everyone young and old, regardless of experience playing video games. That approach helped alienate most hardcore gamers who now saw Nintendo hardware as gimmicky and unappealing. Not to mention the fact that naming the fucking thing the Wii-U didn't help matters either. Because of the lack of marketing direction, a lot of people thought the Wii-U was some kind of add-on or enhancement for the original Wii, not realizing that it was its own console with its own library of games. Any online capabilities, especially with multiplayer, were pretty spotty as well.

All of this combined turned most gamers off, but those of us that stuck around were treated to probably the best exclusive first-party games of any of the consoles released this generation. Games like "Super Mario 3D World", "Super Smash Bros. for Wii-U", "Bayonetta 2", "Mario Kart 8", "Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze", "The Wonderful 101", "New Super Mario Bros. U", "Splatoon", "Pikmin 3", "Pokken Tournament", and "Xenoblade Chronicles X" are seriously fucking amazing. Not to mention the fact that the Wii-U is backwards compatible with just about all Wii games and the original Wii Virtual Console still functions within as well. The console itself is powerful and Nintendo's first party games always functioned at launch (something that many triple-A titles like "Assassin's Creed" or "Call of Duty" can never claim), so there is a lot to admire here with the console. Additional features like being able to play the game on the gamepad while someone else is watching TV or vice-versa was a nice little addition as well.

Because of the low sales, I expect the Wii-U to become a pretty big collector's piece somewhere down the road. Copies of "Bayonetta 2" (which includes a port of the first game), "Devil's Third", and "Game & Wario" are already commanding some hefty prices, and as the years go on, the console will probably gain more of an appreciation than it ever got before. For me personally, the good outweighs the bad of the console, mostly due to the software library (as small as it may be), backwards compatibility, and the fact that a lot of these games you'll never be able to play anywhere else (probably).

Hopefully Nintendo learned their lesson with the Wii-U, and the Switch will be glorious and everyone will love it.

Wait, that's not gonna happen, who are we kidding?

Monday, January 2, 2017

FUCK OFF 2016



2016 was a cunt of a year.

I don't mean just because of all the celebrity deaths or Trump somehow getting into office, but in general the whole year was one big clusterfuck. I'm saying this more on a personal level than anything else, as I found myself burned out and beaten down. In November of this past year, my grandmother passed away on Thanksgiving day (which just so happened to be a day after her 89th birthday). It was something we had expected for a while, but no matter how prepared you think you are for someone's death, it doesn't really make a difference when the time finally comes. For those that don't know me all that well, my grandmother raised me from the time I was 7 years old on more or less. I had gotten ditched by both parents when I was young, so she was all I had. And no, I'm not looking for pity or sympathy either, that's just the way things were. Her death capped off a year where I made a number of stupid decisions and burned a lot of bridges, pretty much fucking myself royally in some regards. I got abandoned by some long time friends in a moment of need, which is fine now that I think about it, because for the most part they've always been self-absorbed cunts to begin with, and I'm probably better off.

Despite all that though, my 2016 was filled with a few bright spots here and there. They were few and far between, but they were there. I'm hoping to get my shit together in 2017 at some point, and maybe possibly finish TAPES as well as Death & Giggles continues to grow. Until then, I'm not planning on being here much, but I'll be back around eventually.

Happy New Year you fucks.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

WHY I'M GOING TO MISS UWE BOLL



Uwe Boll is a unique man. As a director, he is singlehandedly responsible for some of the absolute worst video game adaptations known to man. These films aren't just terrible video game adaptations though, they're terrible movies in general. Go down the list and see for yourself:

House of the Dead
Alone in the Dark
Bloodrayne (three fucking films!)
In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (again, three fucking films!)
Far Cry
Postal (though I kind of dig it)

Not to mention the fact that he's helmed some terrible flicks not based on video games, like Seed, Assault on Wall Street, Rampage, Blubberella, Tunnel Rats, and more besides. I can sit here all day and shit on Uwe Boll like everyone else does, but you know what? I'm not doing that. We all know what kind of movies he makes, but goddammit, you kind of have to admire him for going out there and making these pieces of shit. Plus, in all honesty, some of his flicks really aren't anywhere near as bad as many make them out to be. Boll suffers from the fact that when his name is on something, it automatically gets hated on. Is the hate justified? Well, kind of...but it really isn't more often than you may think.

News broke recently that Boll is allegedly retiring from filmmaking. If in fact true, many of the neck bearded trolls of the internet will be cumming in their pants over the news...until they realize they have one less filmmaker to bitch about.

I for one will miss Uwe Boll and his "talents". You can say whatever you want about Boll and his films, i.e. that he's an asshole and his films are garbage (and that's not false either), but I will personally miss the fact that I'll get to see whatever new trainwreck of a flick he manages to scoop out of his ass. Nine times out of ten, no matter how bad his films are, they wind up being somewhat entertaining in spite of their awfulness...mostly because you never know what the fuck is going to happen next.

So long Uwe, we hardly knew ye.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

REST IN PEACE STEVE DILLON



News broke yesterday that British comic book artist Steve Dillon passed away suddenly at the age of 54 in New York City. The news certainly came as a shock to the comic world, and definitely came as a major shock to me personally. The artwork of Steve Dillon has meant a lot to me over the years, and it wouldn't be out of line to call his work iconic.

I first got a taste of Dillon's artwork when I discovered the Vertigo books Hellblazer and in particular Preacher. I had taken a lot of time away from comics in my teens, mostly because I was sick of superheroes and the same old shit issue after issue. I discovered Preacher first, and thanks to Garth Ennis' maniacal storytelling combined with Dillon's blend of gritty realism and cartoonish mayhem helped make Preacher one of my all time favorite comic books in the history of fucking ever.

His earlier work on Hellblazer, also with Ennis (who was a frequent collaborator), was just as special. I knew about the series and John Constantine previously, but I had never paid it much mind until I got my hands on Ennis and Dillon's work. So I guess I have Dillon to thank for getting me into what turned out to be probably my all time favorite comic book character as well now that I think about it.

I stuck with Ennis and Dillon when they rebooted The Punisher for Marvel years later, a character that Dillon would often find himself drawing and working on even if Ennis wouldn't be involved in it in a number of various series'. Over the years, Dillon would do a lot of Marvel work, including Wolverine Origins, Bullseye: Greatest Hits, Daredevil VS Bullseye, Ultimate X-Men, Thunderbolts, and more. Before that, Dillon cut his teeth on a number of well-known British comics, most notably Doctor Who Magazine and 2000 A.D. (the Judge Dredd-starring magazine), as well as Warrior and Rogue Trooper.

Rest in peace Steve Dillon, you will be missed.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

35 YEARS OF THE EVIL DEAD



Back in the late 70s, Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell, and their merry crew of misfits journeyed into the woods to make a movie that wasn't a porno. The end result was the original Evil Dead, which would have its original premiere in 1981; a ferocious and unrelenting horror film that came out of nowhere and took the world by storm. Unlike most films of its ilk, the original Evil Dead wasn't just a commercial success, but a critical one as well. As we all know, the surprise success of the film led to a whole franchise being born, with Evil Dead 2 in 1987, Army of the Darkness in 1992, a remake in 2013, the Ash VS Evil Dead TV show that debuted last year, and tons of merchandise, comics, video games, and more besides.

Looking back on it, that's 35 years of Evil Dead, and honestly who would have thought that the film would have resonated the way it did, let alone become a massive cult phenomenon. It's funny watching the original Evil Dead nowadays, mostly because the film itself is so damn brutal compared to everything that would come in the future. The Evil Dead franchise is known for being nasty, but pretty damn funny too (mostly thanks to the slapstick silliness of Army of Darkness). What a lot of people seem to forget is that the original Evil Dead is an unforgivably nasty little horror film that grabs you by the balls and doesn't let go. We got a slight reminder of this when the 2013 remake came out, which also pulled no punches and packed on even more gore than the original. The original film though was made on a bare-bones budget in horrid conditions, and the pure unforgiving ferocity that it displays would never be matched by any sequel or remake.

Evil Dead the film, and the franchise as a whole, has managed to say relevant 35 years later because of the unforgettable impact it had upon the horror world when it was first released. Even from 1992 on when the franchise was dormant, it still retained a more than solid following. In the late 90s/early 2000s with the advent of DVD, Anchor Bay re-released the film for new generations to discover, and that's exactly what happened.

Let's all be thankful to Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell, and everyone else involved in bringing Evil Dead to life. The world is a better place with Ash and the Deadites in it.