Tuesday, January 28, 2014

L.A. Slasher and Possibly the Most Interesting Page on Facebook

Writer director Martin Owen has done something amazing and yes, it involves the stylish character shown above (Thanks to Fangoria for letting me steal the picture). Mr Owen has managed to take a slew of "celebrities" that normally repel people from theaters and turn it into an awesome horror fantasy. 

Mischa Barton, Eric Roberts, Andy Dic, and Dave Bautista are just a few of the names that will appear in this film. And I'm sure you've figured out that the character pictured above isn't a big fan of these people... Oh and I forgot to mention that this slashers heroine is Brooke Hogan.

As if the picture and list of names wasn't enough, I still have my favorite part of this film to share, its Facebook page. Yes, the Facebook page for "L.A. Slasher" had me laughing from pure excitement, let me show you why.

It seems that our androgynous L.A. Slasher actually runs the Facebook and I must say I'm a fan! Here's another post from the L.A. Slasher.

Yes I "Liked" this post and I support the L.A. Slasher, so what?

The dark and insightful posts are just part of the reason the Facebook page got me so excited, the other parts being the articles the Slasher shares and comments on, and the awesome photos he takes with his future victims...

Here is the Slasher with Josh Lucas

Ethan Hawke

And at the Grammy's with Billy Ray.

I think it's time you jumped on Facebook and like L.A. Slasher, it's easily one of the most entertaining pages running right now. And for slasher fans, this is an excellent experiment in developing a new killer before the release of the film.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Jug Face and Why it's the First Artsy Campy Indie-Drama-Horror

5 of 7 viewers "Liked" "Jug Face" (2013, USA)
Here's what the citizens of the Overlook Theatre had to say:

Book Wyrm -  *Spoiler* "Even though many citizens didn't enjoy the film, I liked its stark depiction of reality. I really liked how the main girl really ended up dead and didn't defy death or reality. This was a pretty decent movie." - 3 Stars

Lord Battle - "Divine intervention, moonshine, and ceramics. This film is part indie drama focusing on the perception of life as a human and part campy supernatural horror. "Jug Face" is anything but normal." - 4 Stars

The Impostor - "The film had me intrigued by this mythical pit of doom but ultimately let me down. It's not a horrible movie, the first half of the film was pretty good and actors did a great job. I wish the ending was more exciting. But what can u do "The pit wants what it wants"." - 3 Stars

The Berkeley Blazer - "There's much to like in Jug Face, yet there is also much wasted potential. This supernatural hillbilly horror drama will tantalize your fascination with the morbid by using its demon-pit politics and incestuous liaisons, but like most of its characters, the film goes nowhere." - 2 1/2 Stars

The Great Hornito - "This film was really interesting the first 30 minutes or so... but then it steadily became more and more dull and boring. This movie reminded me of the village and just like the village it didn't deliver." - 2 1/2 Stars

Huntress - "This movie went in a direction I wasn't expecting, but the story was unlike anything I've seen. I had a love/hate relationship with a couple of the characters but they still grew on me." - 3 1/2 Stars

Ice Giant - Fell Asleep - Default 2 Stars

The Overlook Theatre Final Rating*
I once again find myself torn about using a trailer to break up the tagline reviews and the final star rating. On one hand, I think it's aesthetically pleasing and really makes for a more complete review; on the other hand, I rarely enjoy any films trailer. I find them especially revealing to someone leaving this site having read a review and planning on viewing said film. If you wanna make me happy, just skip the damn trailers I guess.

Chad Crawford Kinkle has managed to do something I have always day dreamed about, and that's combining my love of artsy indie-dramas and campy horror into one film. "Jug Face" is also totally misleading in this sense. The film gives you bursts of the best of both worlds but also contains campy cringes and indie tropes. I think the inevitable problem with these two types of cinema colliding into one film is essentially what makes each of the respective genres enjoyable. 

All campy horror films require a few things, like an over-the-top situation which may or may not even be possible, a regular Joe transforming into a kick-ass hero or a kick-ass hero appearing to rise to said challenge and save the day, and of course, cheesy humor accented by gallons of blood (which makes the violence feel more cartoonish and less offensive), all cut together in an inspired low budget fashion. Now in order for the campy horror film to be truly excellent these points need to feel truly authentic.
Indie-dramas on the other hand require the complete opposite, like an often mundane situation that could have or has happened to most people, a regular Joe, and drama. It may sound underwhelming but a good indie is anything but.

My summary is very generalized and obviously doesn't apply to all films of these genres but when describing "Jug Face" it's appropriate, since big chucks of the film felt like the campy horror I described above and then switch to an artsy indie-drama. The effect this has on the audience is jarring and disappointing. Just when you are getting into the supernatural aspect of the film it gets very "slice of life" on you.
- Lord Battle

*Based on the star ratings turned in by character reviewers, others viewed and got to "Dislike" or "Like" but that does not effect the rating.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Devil's Due or a Retelling of Paranormal Activity

5 of 5 viewers "Liked" "Devil's Due" (2014, USA)
Here's what the citizens of the Overlook Theatre had to say:

The Great Hornito - "Devils Due a really sold paranormal found footage film the only problem I have with it is that it is generic and the ending was boring. The acting and story were really good but I feel like I've seen movies just like this many times over the last 5 years or so." 3 1/2 Stars

Lord Battle - "Pretty much a retelling of "Paranormal Activity" with nothing new to offer to the found footage genre." 3 Stars

The Berkeley Blazer - "I'm liking this movie, but strictly as a popcorn exercise. The beautifully simple performances of the two protagonists, the solidly crafted tension-building, and the Manichean cosmology are assets for most of the film, yet the ending frazzles and slumps so limply, failing on every possible level, and those assets are poisoned by this dreadfully unimaginative conclusion, which fails to address neither the religious narrative nor the domestic narrative in any satisfactory way." - 2 1/2 Stars

The Impostor - "Overall, Devils Due is an entertaining film. It begins very promising and the two main actors did a great job, but for me the finally was a bit of a disappointment. Nothing new was brought to the table. Devils Due is your typical found footage/supernatural horror combo we have seen before." - 3 1/2 Stars

Huntress - "After such an entertaining beginning and strong ground work I was hoping for more from the second half of the movie. The anti-climatic ending wasted a lot of potential." - 3 Stars

The Overlook Theatre Final Rating*
"Devil's Due" has helped me understand why people call found footage the worst genre in horror. I originally thought people disliked the genre because of it's attempt to seem real, which never made sense to me since all movies try to suspend disbelieve and found footage simply had an advantage. I now understand that this advantage draws in lesser talents or is a crutch for a lack of ideas.


This film suffered from the latter, the last couple of scenes were by far the worst of the film, not only were they dumb but they weakened the story as a whole. I'm of course referring to the 2 police officers that were either cult members playing a really cruel joke for no reason or real police that are comically bad at their job. The Berkeley Blazer said it best "They couldn't tell that their house was exploded?". The other scene that was lazy and stupid is the last one showing the next newly wed couple. Here are 3 reasons why I hated this scene: 1 The cab driver, why did it have to be the exact same guy? It would have been a lot scarier if it wasn't him. It also would have implied a lot more people are out there. 2 Imagery of the Eiffel Tower is not scary and France does not give off the same tourist lost in a foreign land vibe. But if they really felt the need to keep this scene they should have at least shown the driver taking them to the catacombs or something. 3 The addition of this scene only leaves you with questions that ultimately poke holes in the story, like "So how do they know about newly weds and the duration of their honeymoons?" or "Are all the girls "Born from death" or was that a coincidences?" or "How many of these babies do they need, if in the womb they can psychic slam people?".

The other problem with this film is it basically just retells the "Paranormal Activity" story. I mean we even ended up referring to the girls after the film as the marked ones. I could write about all the similarities between the paranormal series and this film but I'd rather people see it for them selves. I also went on a rant above when the movie wasn't terrible it just did nothing for the found footage genre, or horror in general. The Great Hornito put it best when he said, "If this was the first found footage movie I ever saw I would have loved it but since I have seen better ones it's just okay."
- Lord Battle

*Based on the star ratings turned in by character reviewers, others viewed and got to "Dislike" or "Like" but that does not effect the rating.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Bad Milo and One Rad Movie Poster!

6 of 6 viewers "Liked" "Bad Milo" (2013, USA)
Here's what the citizens of the Overlook Theatre had to say:

Book Wyrm - "I love movies with puppet like creatures so this was right up my ally. Milo is endearing even though he likes killing people and I really want him on a shirt." - 5 Stars

The Impostor - "A great old school "creature" horror/comedy and a great throwback to Gremlins and Critters yet more adult. Bad Milo is a cult classic in the making." - 4 Stars

The Berkeley Blazer - "Who knew a malevolent ass-monster and id-manifestation could be so cute and cuddly? Peals of tearful laughter were regularly given by this poignant comedy drama about one man coming to grips with who he really is and the dark secret that literally lurks (and burps) within him." - 3 1/2 Stars

The Great Hornito - Spoiler - "This movie reminded me of some eighties movies that I really liked. It had the feeling of Gremlins, Goonies, and Beetle Juice. Milo is basically a hairless Gizmo that lives in his masters butt and only comes out to murder people that his master has some kind of conflict with." - 4 Stars

Huntress - "This felt like a modern day Basket Case but with a much cuter critter." - 5 Stars

Lord Battle - "It's awesome when a films inception is rooted so deeply in the genre you love, since watching it becomes a familiar exploration of nostalgia, if that makes sense. Basically Bad Milo is just F'n rad." - 4 1/2 Stars

The Overlook Theatre Final Rating*
"Bad Milo" is a throwback film to the fun loving decade of the 80's, obviously made by fans of genre. I for one think Milo gives Gizmo a run for his money in the cuteness department but is more impressive because he actually looks like a little demon monster.

Learning to deal with your problems is the underlined theme of the movie, which must seem very obvious after reading the synopsis but the film actually plays this idea out in a tremendously entertaining fashion. The rest of the film is 3/4 dark comedy and 1/4 cute horror, it's really something you just have to see for yourself. I feel like the poster I used for the review pretty much sums up the feel of the movie perfectly, so what are you waiting for, go check it out!

*Based on the star ratings turned in by character reviewers, others viewed and got to "Dislike" or "Like" but that does not effect the rating.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

A Serbian Film and Thoughts from The Berkeley Blazer

2 of 5 viewers "Liked" "A Serbian Film" (2010, Serbia)
Here's what the citizens of the Overlook Theatre had to say:

Huntress - "This movie made me cringe, a lot. But the surreal, surprising story kept me watching." - 3 Stars

The Berkeley Blazer - "If this is about Serbia, it's awful. If this is about voyeurism and pornography, it's awful. If it's about existential nothingness, it's awful. The worst thing to come out of Serbia since Slobodon Milosevic." - 1 Star

Lord Battle - " This film is definitely not what you think it is but with a hero that's a porn star turned family man you can expect the story to be anything but boring." - 3 1/2 Stars

The Great Hornito - "The story was pretty cool but it was very unbelievable also there were way to many sex violence scenes for my taste. It seems like the director was trying to hard to offend the audience instead of trying to make a good, watchable movie." - 2 Stars

Ice Giant - "It went for shock value and it got it but was not nearly as shocking as it was made out to be. It kept me entertained but I was expecting a lot more." - 2 Stars

The Overlook Theatre Final Rating*
A person who reads my reviews might rightly glean that I have an obvious penchant for that which is, or attempts to be, lofty or precious in cinema.  A film that honestly attempts to comment on or create a challenging cosmology, or delineate a complex set of ideas or philosophical points, even if it fails utterly, wins brownie points from me as long as I get the impression that the attempt was genuine and not just a vain attempt at “art”.  Conversely, while I am not a connoisseur of exploitation and genre films, I certainly enjoy the hell out of them on a regular basis.   Even the blatantly pornographic celebration of morbid sexual violence that was The Sinful Dwarf did not evoke any sort or moral indignation, only amused enjoyment of it’s black humor, cartoonish extremes and attempts to provoke revulsion.  Writing the very words “moral indignation” in an article about a movie seems awkward and alien to me.

That preamble out of the way, I can attest that A Serbian Film is an artistically and ethically bankrupt piece of trash, whose pseudo-intellectual attempts to justify it’s own ceaseless train of amateurishly shot scenes banally celebrating the sexual and physical violence directed at  woman, children, and men only further justify it’s condemnation.  This film, as any film that doesn’t actually hurt anyone, should not be censored or banned from distribution. It should, however, be derided and dammed by any thoughtful person who watches it.  

And yet, no one scene on its own ever bothered me.  During some of the most particularly taboo or brutal scenes I even chucked.  What is disturbing here is the relentlessness and meaninglessness of the later part of the movie that neither the narrative structure nor the filmmakers cinematic language bother to address.  This film would have worked perhaps as an over the top exploitation movie; instead it is a cynical attempt by subpar filmmakers to get attention using snuff-mimikry while simultaneously trying to justify this with their flaccid overtures toward some type of intellectual substance and/or social commentary.  

The film’s beginning presents itself as a promising piece of dark humor:  the protagonist is a male porn idol whose legendary work is known to transcend its genre and “turn porn into art”.  The film throws in various nods to the state of Serbia as a country and gives lip service to some themes of the soul of the country, questions of high art, pornography, and cinema, blah blah blah and the viewer is warned through various context clues that the film will turn macabre, probably disturbingly and graphically so.  Then about halfway through, when the tone becomes “serious”, the viewer is subjected to a train of scenes of murder, torture, and shock tactics that are relentless and serve no purpose.  A woman is beheaded, and while the protagonist is fucking her headless corpse we see blood spurt from the neck wound; uteruses are penetrated while birth is being given; all of this presented without any sort of irony or silliness, but neither are these scenes treated with any seriousness or gravity.  The duration of each of these travesties serve no purpose, and after all the action is over there is no end purpose or insight, not even toward “the banality of evil”. Critiques that the film is exposing the meaninglessness of pornography or illuminating the broken soul of Serbia are nothing but disingenuous drivel that even an angsty 15 year old postmodernist-existentialist wouldn't stoop to.  This film cannot be considered as having artistic merit simply because it is provocative, and I dare anyone to defend it on those grounds.  
- The Berkeley Blazer

*Based on the star ratings turned in by character reviewers, others viewed and got to "Dislike" or "Like" but that does not effect the rating.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Battle Royale - Book Wyrm's Pick

6 of 6 viewers "Liked" "Battle Royale (Director cut)" (2000, Japan)
Here's what the citizens of the Overlook Theatre had to say:

Lord Battle - "Unlike most director cuts this one actually makes the narrative clearer.  A masterpiece in genre film making." - 4 1/2 Stars

Book Wyrm - "I consider this a timeless classic. I've seen it at least six times and it doesn't get old. The directors cut just enhanced the experience & watching it is always refreshing." - 5 Stars

The Berkeley Blazer - "A classic from youth that holds up as highly entertaining & poignant satire. Kitano's deadpan humor is a perfect contrast to the earnest, awkward expression of lore, violence and terror we see from the doomed students." - 3 1/2 Stars

Math Mage - "Strikes a perfect balance between genre camp and tragic drama." - 4 1/2 Stars

The Great Hornito - "I really liked this movie much more the second time and I liked the added scenes from the directors cut. This is a very good example of how I imagined a tyrannical future world government. All the characters and their behavior in this situation is very believable as well." - 4 Stars

Ice Giant - "One of the few movies that have an almost mythical status and has not diminished at all." - 4 1/2 Stars

The Overlook Theatre Final Rating*

I chose this as my first citizens choice pick simply because it's my favorite movie. My first memory of Battle Royale was waiting to get my little sister from her elementary school and sitting in the car with my mom after school while she read the "forbidden book" she found while working at the airport. Like most children, I was dying to get my hands on it simply because I wasn't allowed to read it, and once I did, my life would never be the same. Like I mentioned in my review above, I have seen this film at least six times and I wouldn't be surprised if the count is actually higher than that. I think what I like so much about Battle Royale is that although a lot of it is just mindless killing and gore, there is a story hidden in there. Many people don't give it a chance because it's another one of those "kids forced to kill each other" archetypes. And yes, that is what it is, but it is also much more than that. It's a story of camaraderie between classmates and the horrors they go through as their bitter middle school teacher plunges them into despair by enlisting them in the Battle Royale Survival Program. Something in this story just pulls me in, and the movie did an excellent job of capturing the essence of the novel. The directors cut added the deleted scenes in  and actually made the story even more enjoyable and cohesive for the rest of the citizens and me simply because it filled in a lot of the blanks from the movie and also helps to explain some of the things from the sequel. There is not one person who I have shown this movie to who has not enjoyed it to some extent and I highly recommend you check out this classic piece of Japanese film history.
-Book Wyrm


"Battle Royale" is a masterful genre film. Hidden in the drama and gore are many themes and ideas that contrast beautifully. Childhood and adulthood, chaos and freedom, right and wrong are among the most prevalent and powerful. Another thing that all great genre films do is poke fun at the fact that they are, in fact, genre films. In "Battle Royale" this is most apparent when (Takeshi Kitano) defies all logic and cheats death to answer his phone one last time and eat one last cookie. Despite what many people have said, this scene isn't a bad joke or poor writing, it's a brilliant way to say "This is a movie and all in fun, so cheer up!".
- Lord Battle

*Based on the star ratings turned in by character reviewers, others viewed and got to "Dislike" or "Like" but that does not effect the rating.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Best Horror of 2013

2013 has come and gone and even though the Overlook Theatre is technically a film blog, horror is an obvious focus. So I rounded up 5 reviewers who have actually seen most of the horror films released in 2013 and had them each write a top 10. I then averaged the picks to make our first official list...

The Overlook Theatre's Top 10 Horror of 2013

 "The Conjuring"

This was a pretty obvious choice and with a world wide box office total of $316,700,141 it's safe to assume other people liked the film too. I constantly praise this film as the best ghost story to date, due to it's dual family story lines and awesome climax! This is definitely a must see.
 Click here for our full review.

 "Insidious: Chapter 2"

James Wan took both first and second this year, "Insidious Chapter 2" is definitely more campy than "The Conjuring" but together, the films pretty much cover all aspects of a good ghost story. I just hope he decides to return to the genre and if not, at least he's leaving on a high note. 
Click here to see what the citizens thought.

"V/H/S 2"

"V/H/S 2" or "S-V/H/S" (original title) took number 1 on my personal list as I love this film to no end, and with the first film being as awesome as it was I was amazed that this sequel surpassed it. Featuring shorts from Gareth Evans, Timo Tjahjanto, Eduardo Sanchez, Gregg Hale, and my personal favorite Jason Eisener. Not to mention film creators Simon Barrett and Adam Wingard. With all this talent it's no wonder I had to see this the two days it screened in SF.

"Curse of Chucky"

Next is a film most people (including horror fans) thought would totally suck. I myself think Don Mancini is a genius and would blindly buy anything he puts out, with that said I am also a big fan of "Seed of Chucky" and now that I think of it, I need to review that and shed some light on the masterpiece it is.
Getting back to Curse, this film has my favoirte shot of 2013. It takes place when Chucky poisons a random bowl of chili and the camera cuts to everyone sitting down to eat. Since the cut left took place before we could see who got the poisoned bowl this scene becomes incredibly suspenseful. We watch looking for signs of someone being ill and the camera pulls back on a tracking shot and spins around the table. With six people sitting at the table and 1 deadly bowl of chili, the shot becomes a perfect visual metaphor for Russian roulette. Easily the coolest shot/scene of 2013.
Click here to see what the citizens thought.

"Willow Creek"

I'm still kinda bummed that Bobcat didn't make it to the screening we attended but "Willow Creek" did not disappoint us at all. I get very annoyed at all the hate Found Footage receives and how it gets labeled a gimmick. I feel that a film that imitates amateur footage is totally relevant in a genre that is filled with student/independent films and not to mention the style totally suspends disbelief.  
"Willow Creek" isn't anything too different, but it features a scene that is incredibly suspensefu,l so much so that you can't wait for it to end and not because it's boring but because you want the relief.
Click here to see what the citizens thought.

"Evil Dead"

"Evil Dead" came out before I started this blog which is kind of a good thing now that I think about it. Since this has become one of the most polarizing horror films of 2013, I think it deserves a good write up. Until that happens, I'll just say "Evil Dead"  2013 is a darker, less-campy, still ultra violent reboot that takes place in an alternate universe that is set to cross with the original universe in an epic 7th film series climax! And I for one am ready! Oh and as a collector, Target came out with an exclusive steel box that is worth looking for.


This indie scared the hell out of me, I seem to be the only one to have reacted this way, but I just have to put it out there. "Resolution" features some awesome visual narrative and great philosophical horror jibe and all while still being entertaining and scary. Watch this one and expect a review in the near future.

"All Hallows Eve"

Huntress found this film at the Haight Street Amoeba for $4.99 and this turned out to be an amazing find which is strange since Amoeba usually sucks because they know when they have something cool and charge accordingly... 
This film was screened fairly recently which may have resulted in it appearing on this list, but I can atleast say I personally loved this film and it would have made my top 10 no matter what. This film may look and feel a bit low budget at first and seem unwatchable but stick with it you'll be very glad you did. "All Hallows Eve" also features a killer nod to silent film... You'll get it when you watch it.


The remake of "Maniac" is proof that remakes can be amazing if you actually have an idea or new direction for the film and if it's not just a money grab... This film is mostly POV and from Elijah Wood's eyes! If that isn't creepy enough for you the film was also written by one of my horror favorites Alexandre Aja! 

"Hatchet III"

Adam Green is living the horror buffs dream. Hanging out with the likes of Kane Hodder and Daniel Harris, "Hatchet III" is packed with cameos and nods to the slasher genre. This film feels a little different from the previous two since Adam Green stepped out of the directors seat, but I for one love the new feel. 
Also, Adam Green has a petition up to get a 3rd season of Holliston going, I honestly am surprised how many horror fans have yet to see this show. If you haven't't seen it check it out! And sign the Petition here.

I also would like to take a moment to say thank you to everyone who has returned to this blog over and over this past year. I have had a lot of fun writing for you guys and much more than I would have ever imagined. The only thing that could make me happier is to see more comments and feedback, so start participating!

Individual Lists:

Ice Giant:
1. V/H/S 2
2. The Conjuring
3. Insidious Chapter 2
4. Resolution
5. Evil Dead
6. You're Next
7. Maniac
8. Willow Creek
9. All Hallows Eve
10. Cures of Chucky

1. Insidious Chapter 2
2. The Conjuring
3. Maniac
4. V/H/S 2
5. Hatchet III
6. Curse of Chucky
7. Evil Dead
8. All Hallows Eve
9. Willow Creek
10. American Mary

The Great Hornito:
1. The Conjuring
2. Insidious Chapter 2
3. Willow Creek
4. All Hallows Eve
5. Hatchet III
6. Curse of Chucky
7. V/H/S 2
8. Hansel & Gretel
9. You're Next
10. Resolution

The Imposter:
1. The Conjuring
2. Evil Dead
3.Insidious Chapter 2
4.V/H/S 2
5. Bad Milo
6. Curse of Chucky
7. American Mary
8. Hatchet III
9. Resolution
10. Willow Creek

Lord Battle:
1. V/H/S 2
2. The Conjuring
3. Evil Dead
4. Magic Magic
5. Maniac
6. Resolution
7. You're Next
8. Curse of Chucky
9. Willow Creek
10. All Hallows Eve

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Citizen Choice Marathon

The first Citizen Choice Marathon took place yesterday and I realized I had never mentioned it on the blog. Every time I use a characters review on the movie poster above a post I give that character a point. For every 5 points they accrue they get to choose a movie to screen at the next citizen choice screening. The only rules I have for picking films is that it be something we have yet to review.

Yesterday we had 7 reviewers in attendance and we started pretty late. To select the order in which the films were shown I had people draw numbers. Among the numbers was a letter "A" which when drawn would remove the reviewers movie from the screening but they received something I had framed earlier from Electric Zombie (pictured below).

The Great Hornito ended up winning the Ash portrait.

The movies shown were as follows:

Book Wyrms pick : "Battle Royale" (2000, Japan)

Ice Giant's pick : "Weirdsville" (2007, Canada)

Math Mage's pick : "Paprika" (2006, Japan)

All of the films will be reviewed and each with a closing from the citizen that selected the film!