Sunday, October 31, 2010

Altitude- Squids in Space!-not

Altitude movie poster

When I first saw the trailer for Altitude I was really excited. An airplane full of kids terrorized by a giant squid in the clouds. Dreams of Lovecraft filled my head. Come on, who else but the mighty Cthulhu, may he rise and devour us all, could be behind a giant squid in the sky?

Well apparently none of the filmmakers realized that this tempting trailer would get Lovecraft fans in a tizzy. Or they failed to realize that what really happens in Altitude would royally piss off those loyal Lovecraft fans. Well it pissed me off and left me crying false advertising. Maybe the stars just weren’t right for Altitude.

Apparently having a giant squid in the skies is just too ludicrous. Instead we a emoesque kid who projects his fear of flying (really) into a giant squid that devours his friends. Wow that’s much more plausible. Not only does he bring the sky squid into existence but also manages to force his fellow travelers to recite the dialogue from a comic word for word. A comic where people are being devoured by a giant squid. Yeah much more believable than the rebirth of an ancient god, may he slumber and dream of death.

Altitude has its cast of stereotypical teens, doing all the stupid stuff you expect teens to do. Climb outside a plane while tied to a rope, sure that’s something any teen would do right? It all ends with the revelation that dude has caused all this due to his angst over flying. Damn that makes sense. Also we find out that he probably caused a plane wreck as a baby. He really hates flying apparently. Off course we have to end it with a time travel, twilight zone, paradoxical ending that I wont even try and spoil for you.

It just amazes me that a whiny kid, too afraid to ask out the girl he is crazy about, has apparently never experienced anything worse than flying in his miserable existence. Come on, he was the punching bag amongst his friends on the plane, but he has never before been bullied enough to summon a cephalopod to wreak vengeance? Wasn’t the idea of psychic’s summing a giant squid done in the Watchmen comics? Wasn’t it also considered too out there for the film version? Hint to young filmmakers, if Zack Snyder can’t make it work, odds are you can’t either.

So if you haven’t heard of Altitude, just forget you read this. If you have and you are expecting Lovecraft, like the films wikipedia entry claims, you will be disappointed. If you never heard of Lovecraft or the great Cthulhu, long may he feast on our bones, and you are expecting just a wacky, Snakes on a Plane type monster fest, once again, expect to be let down. If you like PG horror, with pretty kids and a convoluted plot, you might actually like it. My best bet is to wait for it to show up on cable, where you won’t feel bad about the three bucks you spent on a rental.

I was advised to skip this flick, but I didn’t. Now I am passing that advice along to you. Especially the Lovecraft fans who might be reading this. Go watch Dagon again instead. Me, I’m just gonna sit here, drink a beer and wait for the stars to be right.

Victim of abuse by priest takes revenge

No one is surprised anymore to read about a priest allegedly raping young boys. It seems to have become almost a given. Priests molest kids and when they get caught the church pays off the family and relocates the priest. Win, win situation, the family gets money to help cover the therapy, the church limit’s the bad publicity a trial would bring, and the priest gets access to fresh meat.

See how easy it is to laugh about it? Who hasn’t heard or even told a molesting priest joke? Now that Michael is dead, we all feel bad making pedo jokes, but the priest are still around. It’s easy to laugh, but it’s not quite as easy to remember that each joke represents a life ruined. It represents the institution that people look to for guidance and hope stealing the innocence of our children.

We look to the head of the church for a solution or at least for justice and we find nothing but weak words. If these molesters were not priests they would be in jail, but the church protects them, and worse at times seems to be aiding the pedophiles by relocating them, but still allowing them access to kids.

Does the priesthood draw pedophiles, or does the priesthood lead them down the road to sexual predator? Personally I lean to the latter. Priests are forbidden to marry or have sex. However while having sex with a woman is a sin which can see a priest removed from the pulpit, pedophilia is a sickness and needs counseling. In Christianity a sin is wrong, yet sickness is not a sin because it is beyond our control. Thus horny old men, locked in celibacy by their vows to God, may see their only release in the cherubic faces of young boys.

That is in no way meant to absolve those pedophile priests. There are plenty of other men of God who never walk down that path, or at least I hope there are plenty of them. These men are sick and they are criminals. They deserve to be in jail, just as the dirty old men who don’t have the protection of the Vatican are in jail. We don’t move them to a new neighborhood, we lock them up and even that seems too little, too late.

With the pedophile priests, we get no satisfaction. We get nothing but horror stories. Priest accused, priest denies, church denies, priest gets moved, new accusations arise, rinse and repeat. How long before the bubble bursts and people start taking the law into their own hands?

In California that has just happened. William Lynch was reportedly abused as a child three decades ago. On Friday he was arrested for viciously beat the priest accused of molesting him. The alleged molester, Rev. Jerold Lindner, was accused of molesting Lynch and his younger brother. He of course denies the accusations. The church had so much faith in his innocence that they paid Lynch and his brother 625,000 to settle in 1998.

There may be some who question a victim who takes a cash settlement. There have been times I have questioned why someone would drop the charges. Well half a million dollars is a lot of money. The alternative is a long drawn out trial, that may last for years.

Now consider that you were raped when you were seven years old, forced to have sex with your five year old brother. I’m betting your life has been pretty shitty, you can take the half million, try to salvage it, try to repress it or else go to trial, against the churches lawyers. You expose everything that happened and have the lawyers call you liars. All in the hopes of justice. A justice that would probably see him spend a very little amount of time behind bars. Hell, I’d probably take the damn money myself. It’s easy to judge them when you aren’t in their shoes.

Lynch took the money but apparently couldn’t forget about the past. Cash can’t buy back innocence apparently. So he took the matters into his own hands. This is the point where I should say that violence is not the answer. Two wrongs don’t make a right. What happened to Lynch doesn’t justify him beating an old man nearly to death. Well I am not going to say that.

What Lynch did to Lindner was no worse than what happened to him. If the allegations were true, than Lindner attacked a helpless child and scarred him for life. Yet he has never been charged or spent time in jail for it. Lynch attacked a helpless old man, beat him severely, but he is back at work.

His blood is on the church’s hands.

The blood of the innocents who suffered at the hands of Lindner also rest squarely on the church. They chose to look the other way, even when they knew they had repeat offenders. How can anyone have faith in a church that protects and possibly even breeds monsters. Monsters like Lindner, who belongs behind bars

Counting Lynch, Lindner was accused in three separate lawsuits for molesting children between 1973 and 1985. He was part of the over $600 million settlement struck between the church and over 500 accusers in 2007. He remained behind the pulpit till 2001, when he was assigned to the Los Gatos retirement home.

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Let Me In

Let Me In

Let Me In
Poster for Let Me In

This weekend I gave in and saw Let Me In, the American remake of Let the Right One In. Let the Right One In is probably one of the best horror films in the last ten years. The idea of a remake just did not sit well with me and I had mixed emotions about seeing this film.

Anyone who has talked to me about movies for any length of time knows how I feel about remakes. To clarify, remakes are never necessary, there are plenty of original projects that never get made, or never get funded. Art and creativity take second place to profits. That said I have to admit there have been some good remakes, some like John Carpenter’s The Thing are arguably better than the original. Let Me In while not a horrible film does not manage to surpass the original. It actually came close to being a great film but was hindered by some major flaws.

One thing I have to credit director Matt Reeves with is that he didn’t Americanize it too much. In fact I think this actually may have hurt the film at the box office. The trailers and previews made this appear to be your standard American horror film. Likewise I think many upon hearing it was a vampire love story expected the sparkly emo vampires of Twilight. Instead Reeves gave us a bloody, disturbing tale very similar to the original.

Let Me In does simplify the relationship between Abby and her human protector. At first this bothered me as the relationship between Hakan and Eli was much darker and disturbing, and most of it was left up to the viewers own imagination. Those who have read the book know the true relationship, but it is never revealed in the film.

Let Me In takes a simpler approach and through a few subtle hints establishes a relationship that Abby’s guardian was once her boyfriend. At first this didn’t sit well but after viewing the entire film, I actually like this decision. It makes Abby a more tragic character, as well as adding a feeling of hopelessness to her relationship with Owen. Romeo and Juliet is referenced several times in the film and Anny and Owen truly are star crossed lovers with little hope for happiness.

I can’t find anything bad to say about the two lead actors. Both Kodi Smit-McPhee as Owen and Chloe Moretz played their part well and made the roles their own. While it is impossible to watch Let Me In without comparing it to Let The Right One In, it I think it is a disservice to compare the actors too closely. The two young actors did a wonderful job and were probably the brightest thing about the film.

Probably the biggest, and honestly only real problem with the film was the CGI. I had been warned the CGI was bad but I was in no way prepared for how bad. Without the CGI, which was entirely unneeded, I would have easily rated this film four stars out of five. The effects were so bad, and in my opinion, so damaging to the film I can’t give it four and even three seems generous.

Why did the filmmakers feel it was necessary to turn Abby into a monster when she attacked? Wouldn’t it have been even more disturbing to see the innocent looking child viciously attacking a victim? While we do need to see her as a bloodthirsty killer, I think it would have been more powerful and better for the story to have seen her still looking mostly human during the attacks.

The other CGI that I noticed was in the hospital fire scene. While I can’t attack them for using CGI in this instance instead of setting someone on fire, I can attack them for using such obviously fake CGI. This is the 21st century, if your effects team can’t visually trick me into believing a person is on fire, you need to hire a new team.

Other than the CGI, I really thought Let Me In was a beautiful film. There were some other small things I wasn’t crazy about such as the length of the pool scene. I really liked the less violent version in Let The Right One In. The shock of seeing the aftermath was more than enough, all the extra carnage really wasn’t needed, but wasn’t a game killer.

The subject of Abby’s sexuality was avoided in Let Me In and I can only assume this was done so as not to offend American sensibilities. They did leave in several of the lines that allude to her true nature, but the one pivotal scene that reinforces the truth is left out. In all defense, the original only hints to it with the exception of the one “nude” scene.

So should you see Let Me In? My advice would be to only see it after you see Let The Right One In. While you might enjoy it better without having the original, you are doing yourself, and cinema, an injustice if you don’t see the original. Let The Right One In is truly one of the best “horror” films in recent years. I think it will go down as one of the top fifty horror films of all time. Run to the video shop to rent Let The Right One In and then stroll leisurely down to the theater and catch Let Me In. While it comes nowhere near the first film, it is still a decent attempt at a remake.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Horror hottie Bobbi Sue Luther

Bobbi Sue Luther showing mega cleavageBobbi first came to my attention a few years back when she was doing promo for Laid to Rest.  I didn't know anything about her or the film, but it had good buzz so when it was released I decided to check it out.  I was pleasantly surprised by the film and her performance.  Not only that but damn was she easy on the eyes.

Bobbi Sue Luther in a white see thru top

Now Bobbi Sue is starring in the remake of the classic Night of the Demons.  Now I hate remakes but just from an eye candy point of view I had to check it out.  The remake is good gory fun, and Bobbi Sue Luther looks better than ever.

Check out Laid to Rest, check out Night of the Demons, but mostly check out Bobbi Sue Luther.
Bobbi Sue Lutherhot Bobbi Sue Luther in a bikini from Maxim

John Carpenter's original Halloween on the big screen

So last night I got the opportunity to see the original classic Halloween on the big screen. I am definitely not the biggest fan around but Halloween is one of the movies that terrified me as a youth (along with Orca for some strange reason). I was too young to see it on it’s initial release but just the promo poster at the local one screen theater gave me the creeps. The Halloween theme music in commercials terrified me. When I finally got a chance to see Halloween, it was on network TV, edited of course. It was many, many years before I finally saw it uncut on VHS, and PJ Soles nipples were just as awesome as I had imagined, and Michael Myers was just as terrifying.

Still even the edited version of Halloween gave me nightmares. Especially the Halloween theme. I remember having on particularly bad nightmare where Michael Myers was chasing me. I could hear the theme music, and hear his breathing behind me. Finally I woke up in a cold sweat, and the music was still playing! Talk about scared, brother I was scared. Then I realized my mom was cooking breakfast and had set off the fire alarm. That’s my fondest Halloween memory.

Now thanks to the wonderful people at Premiere Eastern Shore Cinema in Spanish Fort, I got to finally see John Carpenter’s classic Halloween on the big screen. Not only did we get to see the film but that had arranged it to be hosted by Bryan Andrews and Tony Moran, two stars of the original film. There was a short Q and A session before the film, door prizes and the stars signed autographs. I only found out about it last minute so I had nothing to sign but got a photo with Bryan who played little Tommy Doyle in the original Halloween.

Hopefully we will have more opportunities like this in the future. With all the remakes being churned out its nice that people get to see the original, on the big screen like intended. Halloween is such a well known classic, that I can’t imagine that there are many people who have not seen the original in some form. It plays regularly on cable and is available on DVD. There are a lot of horror classics that are not as well known such as the original The Hills Have Eyes and Last House on the Left. Maybe someday we can have them playing on the big screen again.

If they do will the horror community support them? I was pleasantly surprised at the turn out for Halloween. The theater was almost completely full. This for a midnight showing of a film over thirty years old. True it is Halloween season, and we did have two celebrities in attendance, but that could be done with other films as well. It would be great to have the choice to see a really great, classic film instead of the Hollywood, big budget garbage that is churned out with assembly line speed. It is up to us, the fans of classic horror, and classic film in general to support the theaters willing to take a chance, willing to buck the trend. Keep your eyes open, support independent film, support classic film and support those people going out on a limb to bring it to us.

Cheers to Premiere Eastern Shore and their staff and management. If you were at the Halloween showing go to ( no www.) and post a comment in their guest section.

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Haunted New Orleans Road Trip

Another pic or two, aint I a stinker
Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop
Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop one of the oldest operating bars in the Western  Hemisphere, haunted by several apparitions
Blogger is acting up so only one picture for now

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

New Orleans road trip

Just a few pictures from my trip to New Orleans.  We stayed in the Bourbon Orleans, which is haunted, but no paranormal activity as far as we noticed.  Honestly all of New Orleans is haunted, but thats another story.

Jackson Square, New Orleans
requisite shot of Jackson Square
 Went on a haunted history tour.  If you are in town you should take the tour

Lalaurie Mansion in New Orleans
Lalaurie Mansion, the most cursed building in New Orleans

Monday, October 11, 2010

Top Ten Horror Movies For Posers

So, you call yourself a horror fan? You dress up on Halloween, you got your Team Jacob gear and have even seen Rob Zombie in concert. You tell everyone how much you love horror. However, you don't have a clue who George Romero is and you think Bram Stoker is the dude who played Dracula in the movie with Keanu Reeves. You my friend, might just be a horror poser. Here is a list of movies that just might be for you. Before you get angry this list is all in fun and some of the movies are actually pretty good. Don't expect to earn a lot of horror credibility from them though.

House of the Dead

Here they are from ten to one.

10. The Fog (remake)- The original was directed by the legendary John Carpenter, the remake was directed by, um, someone else. Not the worst remake to be made in recent years, it still is bad. Gone are the like able cast and the creepy, disturbing un-dead lepers from the first. Instead we get cheap CGI and half hearted acting from a cast that seems like they had rather be somewhere else. It did not do well at the box office but I am amazed that so many young horror fans love this film. Posers love CGI apparently.

9. House of the Dead- Some consider this to be Uwe Boll's worst film. I prefer Alone in the Dark for that honor, still House of the Dead, runs a close second. Many people, like myself got suckered in by the MTV style commercials featuring DMX's blaring music. It really looked good. Live and learn, I guess. Up until the recent Day of the Dead remake this was the worst zombie film EVER. That includes Plan 9 From Outer Space, which at least you can laugh at. That is why I am so shocked when every so often it shows up on a list of favorite zombie movies. I blame their parents.

Page two at Associated Content

I need to post

But damn I'm tired.  Update coming soon.  Just gpt back from New Orleans, will post some pictures of some real haunted houses and my drop dead gorgeous friend Jenn who accompanied me on the trip.  Also have some content, not 100 % original but still fresh.  Hopefully in a couple days, just worn out and have to wrk tonight