Friday, July 31, 2015

The Deception of The Vatican Tapes

The Vatican Tapes is the first film in the Overlook Theatre's history to scare off all but 2 film creeps. Huntress and I (Lord Battle) were the only two who dared to venture to the Vatican in hopes of viewing their tapes. Sadly, the film failed to deliver (not that anyone was surprised by this) but not for the reasons everyone expected...
Sunday July 26th, 2:00pm. We had made our way to the local Century theater with enough time to shop and eat prior. By the time the two of us were headed through the many halls of the cinema towards the proper theater we realized neither of us had the slightest idea what we were about to watch. It was easy to assume this was another found footage film based on the use of the word "Tapes" in the title, but other than that neither of us had even seen a trailer. I had only known of the film by previously stumbling upon it while looking for show times for Sean Parkers Tangerine.
Upon entering the screening room marked "2," we were surprised to discover that we were actually going to have company while viewing this film. There was actually a large number of people for this small mid-day showing of a found footage film. For some reason this crowd gave me a flash back to when Passion of the Christ opened. Not because the scene was reminiscent of the large numbers that attended those shows but the one time I saw the film in the theatre I distinctly remember the kids/babies to adults ratio being totally out of sync (guesstimating 3-1 ratio). The one huge difference between the Vatican kids and the Passion kids, were the Vatican kids were quiet and that's all that really matters.

After the lights dimmed and the previews subsided, we were shocked when the film started and quickly revealed itself to not be found footage! I was honestly taken aback by how upset I was about this, I had been mentally preparing myself for a terrible found footage film for days now and I wanted to see one! I'll admit it wasn't fair of me to approach the film in this manor but you have to agree that if you're going to title a movie "The Vatican Tapes" it better be fucking found footage.

After my initial anger faded I began to think that maybe the rest of the film will catch me off guard and be amazing. Now the film was not the worst thing I've ever seen but it was amazingly confusing from the get go. The Vatican Tapes opens with two priests(?) watching footage of a girl. This footage is slightly aggravating as it is filmed in the style I was expecting from the whole movie, then again the brief reminder of what bad found footage actually looks and feels like was enough to keep me from complaining again.
The footage ends and the film goes back in time to play out how we inevitably got here. In order to keep from going over every beat of this film I'm going to summarize what happens from this point.
We are introduced to Angela (Olivia Taylor Dudley) who is soon to be possessed on her 25th birthday. How she was possessed still eludes me, maybe there is some occult justification that I am unaware of but as I saw it she was possessed by either the internet, a raven, or a kitchen knife. 

The internet is suspicious because she was writing articles about satanism on a site and headed her article with a big picture of Baphomet. The Raven follows her throughout the film and is supposed to be telling her to do evil things, but always seems to be on the other side of various windows... Although he did also appear at her Angela's party, his caw is what caused her to cut herself with the kitchen knife... The kitchen knife is suspect because it's the only thing that actually hurt Angela before she was possessed. The knife also wickedly spilled her blood over the beautiful (store bought) birthday cake her boyfriend Pete (John Patrick Amedori) had selected for her. 

The mishmash of possession justifications is an admission from the director Mark Neveldine (Crank 1-2, Ghost Rider 2, and Gamer), stating that he just doesn't care about horror fans, acting like we'll bite at the line no matter how poor the bait may be. Which of course couldn't be farther from the truth. The Exorcist is an obvious inspiration for The Vatican Tapes (blatant hat homage), yet it seems like they ignored every great thing about the film, especially its amazing pace; The Exorcist spent most of the film setting up a situation where any semi-intelligent person would have to rationalize the use of an exorcism. That's why the film is so terrifying!
 The events continue with Angela progressively getting weird, and not in a scary way. She freaks out (rightfully so) on a lady who shoulder-checks her while getting off a bus, then is shortly attacked by two birds who are defeated by the bus window. The second one does manage to get in by breaking through the glass but is badly hurt and lays on the floor. We then cut to a group of bus  patrons surrounding this dead looking bird. Of course the heroic boyfriend sloooowwwwly bends down to poke the bird, only to trigger the most forced jump-scare I've seen in years. Angela is apparently bitten by this bird (on her cut finger of course) and the wound results in her acting possessed?

The Vatican Tapes offensively assumes that you believe in God, yet have no understanding of religion what-so-ever. What makes this even better is the fact that the film acts like a sexually repressed child. Rated PG-13, The Vatican Tapes still manages to work in a ton of awkward sexual tension coming from Angela's single father Roger and Pete as they constantly fight to win her approval. There is one scene that takes place in a taxi that I just have to share. Angela has just had her finger checked out and is released from the hospital. She is with Rodger and Pete and the three of them jump in a taxi, Angela sitting up front while Pete and Rodger sit in the back. The camera sits up front with Angela and looks back at the two boys as they begin to fight over something unimportant. The shot is like a time machine robbing the two adults of all age and apparently the wisdom brought with it as the two fight like lobbying suitors, hot on Angela's trail. This tension is present throughout the film and is quit creepy when you pick up on it. The fight is diffused by Angela grabbing the wheel of the taxi and flipping the car, but why she does this is beyond me.
A bit later in the film we find Angela awaking in the middle of the night to try and drown a baby... Well what actually happens is she picks a baby up and walks it over to a shallow tub of water. Why this tub is here and still filled with water is a mystery of course but a close-up of the drowning warning is a strong implication as to what Angela intended. We'll of course never know for sure because security was waiting for her to do something like this before rushing in...

This film continues for quit a while in a similar fashion, with a bird convincing a detective to shove light bulbs into his eyes (PG-13 equals no gore, sorry), the Vatican sending in their X-men which consist of a previously possessed priest and another guy that looks important? That leads to a very Exorcist exorcism. This is actually where the film begins to stop pretending to be some deep slow-burn and just leaps into superhero territory head-on. Angela becomes the Dark Phoenix and destroys her own house. This all plays out like a hillbilly's nightmare of what the Anti-Christ might be like, yet when the camera leaves her side we learn about all the miracles she's been committing and how America now loves her... It's very obvious at this point that The Vatican Tapes was intended to be the first of a trilogy and I'd honestly be more interested in the following films.

I have no clue how to wrap this up, as I could continue ranting about this film forever. But in closing I'll say this: The Vatican Tapes is a film whose title made me incredibly angry once it started because I felt it mislead me. Now having written about my experience with the film, I feel the title is very appropriate. The Vatican Tapes is made for horror fans to consume, not enjoy. By trying to trick people into thinking they're seeing a found footage film, Mark Neveldine definitely achieved this.

- Lord Battle

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Collector's Crypt, Dallas's Horror Nerd Headquarters

Deep in the suburbs of Dallas, TX lies a house unlike any other. Seemingly innocent on the outside, this quaint building is home to the Collectors Crypt, an amazing horror nerd oasis that Lord Battle and I had the pleasure of basking in. As the door opened we were greeted by the owners of this treasure trove, who were kind enough to open late for us. This being our last day in Texas we were foaming at the mouth looking for collectibles after having visited the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre house and the theatre from Phantom of the Paradise. You have to love the horror community always willing to go the extra mile for fellow monster kids. 

The crypt is covered wall to wall with everything from obscure VHS tapes (in this case a copy of Christmas Evil with art work I've never seen!) to life size scale replicas of Michael Myers both young (clown) and old (William Shatner). A lot of the unique pieces are actually made by the owners themselves, just another example of how much love goes into this place. As I ran around like a kid in a candy store or nerd in a collectible store, I was able to really take in everything around me, like the life masks of Angus Scrim signed by the Tall Man himself and the amazing piece made by artist Casey Love. They even have a room dedicated to the spooky side of Disney! The prices were more then reasonable and I was able to pick up some amazing vinyl soundtracks, vintage Universal monster books, and other goodies. 

I couldn't recommend this place any more. Support your local horror community in Dallas and pay a visit to The Collectors Crypt. Tell them the Overlook Theatre sent you!

Part 1 of 4
Posted by Collector's Crypt on Saturday, July 25, 2015

Collector's Crypt room #2
Posted by Collector's Crypt on Tuesday, July 28, 2015

For more info, current updates and general horror nerdome, check out the Collector's Crypt facebook.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Scream Episode 5 "Exposed" Wrap up Discussion

What an episode! Well, let’s just jump in before I start changing my mind.

So this was another red herring episode, full of sideways looks and characters not acting like themselves, which makes them generally suspicious. But secret murderer suspicious? The show is getting so crazy that almost any argument sounds like it could be plausible. And while we had a lot of fun testing out all the possibilities, the majority kept coming back to our most developed theory, with only a little bit of wavering.

So who had the finger figuratively pointed at them this time?

Jake got a lot of our attention (and a lot more screen time) because he made a pretty drastic switch from jock co-conspirator to slightly psychotic show runner, trying to throw his partner in crime under the bus. He had almost no patience with Will, who was no longer doing what he wanted, even though it was for his own benefit.

Will also got exposed by Brooke, for being a part of the typical high school bet years ago. If he ever had people on his side, their numbers are severely dwindling after this episode, at least as far as the Overlook is concerned. He’s clearly not one to be trusted.

Piper is weird. Can we all just agree on that? She keeps showing up around Emma to whisper secrets about other people and get her even more suspicious. She constantly gives Emma lingering looks, almost as if she’s waiting to see how she reacts to things to take notes on her. And in this episode she tries to take the girl’s guard down by giving her alcohol. This possibility got into the Impostor’s head and moved Piper into third place on his list of suspects. We started exploring the possibility that Piper is Emma’s secret sister somehow, but only after she reveals that her father was murdered to Emma. This might just be a ploy to get closer to the person who is connected to all the drama in town though.

I realized today that this episode also showed both Kieran and his father act notably more forceful with Emma and her mother, respectively. I’m not sure if that’ll turn into something more, but I will definitely keep my eye on them. Especially since Kieran keeps disappearing at the most inopportune times…

It seems that the finger has been pointed at everybody, which in effect means nobody. The townspeople all seem to be acting like their time is running out; taking risks, burning bridges. It may be a way to cope with a killer living in your town though. Now let’s see how our killer duo changed this episode. After some sleuthing, Noah discovers the malware that allows Mr. Branson to hack people’s web cams, and that all three of the victims at school were his assistants and had accounts on his tainted lap top. That was not the surprising part of the situation, however. What I want to draw your attention to is what he says when he finds the very frazzled Audrey and Noah in his class room. Thinking quickly, Audrey tells the teacher the reason they were there was to see if Noah could get a new scene partner, seeing as his last one was murdered. Mr. Branson tells them that everyone is already partnered up but that there may be a possibility for a Greek threesome (I need to double check the exact wording; we were going crazy with accusations through this). Initially, I got the sense that he was looking at her with the “et tu Brute” eyes, as if she had betrayed him and was helping Noah discover that he was the one behind everything, and place all the blame on him (payback for Rachel perhaps??). Branson was already tied to Shakespeare, after all. But in revisiting the episode, my theories tend to change. Now I think he was asking Audrey if they should include Noah in their plans, or at the very least if he knew about them. Her reaction and rush to leave was a very clear no to both.

The episode ends with an outdoor love scene with Emma and Kieran, to which Lord Battle commented, “She’s trying to get another video out there! She must want more Chirpster followers.” 


Monday, July 27, 2015

Bluray Tuesday!

July 28th 2015

My favorite day of the week returns! This week Target's Mondo Steelbooks are finally released and available only on Mine should arrive any day now, pretty excited to own these the artwork is awesome. On Best Buy's exclusive releases this week is Joe Dante's Burying The Ex only at Best Buy as a timed exclusive for a few months before it will be released at all other retailers. Shout Factory is on a roll and they release another classic horror film called Ghost Town. This title I'm not familiar with and may check out sometime in the future. Rounding out the week is family film Home with a target exclusive bonus disc and Bruce Timm's back for an all new animated Justice League film that gets a awesome target steelbook. What will you be buying, renting or just skipping this week? Let us know in the comments and check out our Instagram page Here.

Ghost Town: Amazon  $17.99

A modern-day deputy tracks an abducted girl to a ghost town, and the spirits of the past who took her.
Ghost Town (Blu-ray) 

Burying The Ex: Best Buy - $12.99

A horror fan's (Anton Yelchin) dead girlfriend (Ashley Greene) comes back as a zombie and wants to continue their relationship forever.

Burying the Ex (Blu-ray) 

Justice League: God's & Monsters: Amazon - $16.99

In an alternate universe, the Justice League uses brutal force to maintain order on Earth. When scientists begin dying, the world's governments challenge the League's dominance.

Regular Version
Justice League: Gods and Monsters (Blu-ray) 

With Figurine $24.99
 Justice League: Gods & Monsters (Blu-ray) 

Target Steelbook $16.99
Justice League: Gods & Monsters (Blu-ray) 

Home 3D: Amazon - $24.99

After a hive-minded alien race called the Boov conquer the Earth, they relocate the planet's human population -- all except for a little girl named Tip (Rihanna), who's managed to hide from the aliens. When Tip meets a fugitive Boov called Oh (Jim Parsons), there's mutual distrust. However, Oh is not like his comrades; he craves friendship and fun. As their distrust fades, the pair set out together to find Tip's mother, but, unbeknown to them, the Gorg -- enemies of the Boov -- are en route.

Home 3D (Blu-ray) 

Regular Version: $18.99 
 Home (Blu-ray) 

The Thing Mondo Steelbook: Target - $24.99

In remote Antarctica, a group of American research scientists are disturbed at their base camp by a helicopter shooting at a sled dog. When they take in the dog, it brutally attacks both human beings and canines in the camp and they discover that the beast can assume the shape of its victims. A resourceful helicopter pilot (Kurt Russell) and the camp doctor (Richard Dysart) lead the camp crew in a desperate, gory battle against the vicious creature before it picks them all off, one by one.

The Thing (Blu-ray) 

Flash Gordon Mondo Steelbook: Target - $24.99

Although NASA scientists are claiming the unexpected eclipse and strange "hot hail" are nothing to worry about, Dr. Hans Zarkov (Topol) knows better, and takes football star Flash Gordon (Sam Jones) and travel agent Dale Arden (Melody Anderson) with him into space to rectify things. They land on planet Mongo, where the despot Ming the Merciless (Max von Sydow) is attacking Earth out of pure boredom. With the help of a race of Hawkmen, Flash and the gang struggle to save their home planet.

Flash Gordon (Blu-ray) 

Shaun Of The Dead Mondo Steelbook: Target - $24.99

Shaun (Simon Pegg) is a 30-something loser with a dull, easy existence. When he's not working at the electronics store, he lives with his slovenly best friend, Ed (Nick Frost), in a small flat on the outskirts of London. The only unpredictable element in his life is his girlfriend, Liz (Kate Ashfield), who wishes desperately for Shaun to grow up and be a man. When the town is inexplicably overrun with zombies, Shaun must rise to the occasion and protect both Liz and his mother (Penelope Wilton).

Shaun of the Dead (Blu-ray)     

White God: Amazon - $22.99

Failing in his efforts to find his beloved owner (Zsófia Psotta), an abandoned dog eventually joins a canine revolt against their human abusers.

White God (Blu-ray) 

  -The Impostor 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Scream Episode 4 "Aftermath"

With our collective knowledge of Scream, slashers, horror and hints, we believe that we just might have solved the mystery of the Lakewood murderer. Below is our proof, so beware of reading if you are not caught up with the show.

Last week, Lord Battle, the Impostor, Book Wyrm, and I agreed that Mr. Branson had to be the killer behind the newest killings in Lakewood. And much like the first, second, and fourth movies, we believed that he had a partner in crime, which is how he was able to give Emma the ultimatum of choosing who would die next or he would do it for her. The obvious choice as to who his partner is was Audrey. 

Of course, we didn't come to this conclusion without anything to back it up, but it wasn't until our encore screening of tonight's episode that we saw how proven our theory really was. It started with that yearbook that Emma got in the mail. It lead her to talking to Noah and Audrey about going to the hospital that had been closed down for years in order to look for the killer; something Noah would obviously be an expert in. But instead of having strength in numbers, Audrey convinces Emma that just the two of them should go to explore. Outside of the hospital, she arms Emma with a stun gun and grabs a crowbar for herself, saying she's "old fashioned." This crowbar came in very handy to even get into the building, but that might have been a coincidence... 

As they walked through the halls, Audrey brings up a number of incriminating topics in a very casual way, almost like she was letting her guard down, getting more comfortable around her old friend and not too worried about being accused of anything. When Emma mentions that the person calling her had a deep voice, Audrey busted out her voice changing app, and says anyone can download that, diffusing the tension. But right after that, she starts questioning why the killer couldn't be a woman, which isn't suspicious in itself but really, why couldn't it?

It seemed kind of weird that Audrey didn't want Noah to come with them to the killer's lair to offer his infinite opinions, and when he sneakily shows up on his own, it becomes clearer why she didn't want him there. He walked into the room and moments later declared that the lair was a fake. Staged by Audrey and her partner. It may have been so that Emma didn't suspect her, or maybe to bring the girls closer together again for whatever plans lie in the future, we didn't talk too much about motivation. Lord Battle thought it might be because she is putting together a found footage movie (which is also why she films everything) and they needed to find the lair to further the story. 

And then the Chirpster poll showed up. Who would people rather see get hacked and slashed next. Of course, hundreds voted for bitchy Brooke, who has probably collected all of those people as enemies throughout the years (even though Nina sounded much worse in my opinion). Emma has some significantly lower, arbitrary number of votes. What was that number? Oh yeah, 2.
The number of killers on the loose. 

We will be paying very close attention to Audrey and Mr. Branson in the episodes to come, especially since we're pretty sure Brooke is about to break things off with her older man. It was his booty call that got her friend killed, after all. Personally, I think he'll take it as an act of power over him, which will drive him crazy.

This episode also had a slightly different flavor of Noah rant, in which he compares the situation they're in to Pretty Little Liars. The writers of the show are cutting everyone off before they can make/complain about the same connection, or perhaps misleading the audience to look to those story lines for hints as to what will happen in Lakewood.

We'll have to wait and see next week. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Bluray Tuesday!

July 21st 2015

Bluray Tuesday has arrived. This past week went by pretty quick it seems. With all the releases out last week that may have burned a hole in your wallet, but this week is pretty light. What We Do In The Shadows is finally released on Bluray this week, It has been getting great reviews and I will be checking this out for sure. Shout Factory releases I, Madman on Bluray for the first time with many new bonus features. Last but not least Madhouse (1974) is released for the first time on Bluray as well. Madhouse seems interesting, Its a slasher film and slashers are my personal favorite horror films. What will you buy, rent or skip this week? Let us know in the comments, also check out our Instagram Page here we love the comments and likes.

What We Do In The Shadows: Amazon - $16.99

Vampire housemates (Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, Jonathan Brugh) try to cope with the complexities of modern life and show a newly turned hipster (Cori Gonzalez-Macuer) some of the perks of being undead.

What We Do in the Shadows (Blu-ray) 

I, Madman: Amazon - $17.94

Beautiful bookseller Virginia (Jenny Wright) fosters a growing interest in the works of reclusive novelist Malcolm Brand (Randall William Cook). After much fruitless searching, Virginia finally receives a package containing Brand's recent book, "I, Madman," about a deranged doctor spurned by a beautiful woman. But, as Virginia devours Brand's latest offering, she begins to have chilling visions of characters from the book -- and the line between fiction and reality grows terrifyingly thin.

I, Madman (Blu-ray)
Temporary cover art 

Madhouse (1974):  Amazon - $19.99 

The career of horror icon Paul Toombes (Vincent Price) ends in scandal when his fiancée dies under mysterious circumstances. Freed from the mental hospital where he had been committed, the recovered Toombes and screenwriter Herbert Flay (Peter Cushing) intend to revive his most popular character, Dr. Death, for a television series. But the dead bodies start piling up -- all of them killed in ways that mimic the victims in Toombes' films -- and to clear his name he must find the real killer.

Madhouse (Blu-ray)
Temporary cover art 

- The Impostor 

Horns or American Daniel Radcliffe in Canadian Twin Peaks

7 of 7 viewers "Liked" "Horns" (USA, 2014)
Here's what the citizens of the Overlook Theatre had to say:

The Berkeley Blazer - "An exuberant morality masquerading as a supernatural thriller, Horns' just-outside-of satirical reverse Manichaeism is a welcome theme to cogitate on after the deluge of sin/devil/true evil narratives we have been force fed over the last three years. Though we can never take the plight of the protagonists hipster-devil completely seriously, his journey through devilhood while trying to find the killer of his Beatrice is completely engaging and thoroughly entertaining. The performances are mostly good and Radcliffe truly hits a new stride despite my initial skepticism upon hearing his American accent. I'd stop short of calling it profound, but it is thought provoking to watch Izzy once he becomes comfortable with his powers and mastery of the id. Films like these keep my toes in the horror pool, so keep em coming." - 4 Stars

KillDozer - "Love him or hate him Alexander Aja is a modern master of horror. I was happy to see him stray from the path of straight forward genre and show off his skills with something more emotionally driven. A solid cast and a fun "who done it?" "Law and Order" murder case with a twist. The Horns are what really make the film worth watching/making. No Spoilers from me except that you will be able to relate to the fact that somethings are better left unsaid and honesty can be brutal some times." - 3 Stars (Not quite collection worthy but worth watching)

Math Mage - "It's Twin Peaks as a movie but unlike Twin Peaks the more it resolves the mystery instead of just being weird the only disappointing part is that the mystery is resolved through supernatural powers (the titular horns). I don't mind this if the mystery is itself supernatural but when it isn't, it just seems like cheating. The film deals well with the horror of being convicted by the media (and suspected by the closest to you) and it's loads of fun hearing Danial Radcliff's American accent." - 4 Stars

Ice Giant - "Not as good as the book and Harry Potters American accents pretty terrible but it's still makes for an entertaining movie. The special effects were of special note, they really went all out on the practical/CG effects." - 3.5 Stars

Lord Battle - "Horns is a dark comedy, driven by a mystery, located in a Canadian twin peaks, and explores traditional biblical tales while adding a modern twist... Yet the thing that sparked up the most discussion is Radcliff's accent, which I thought was terrible and incredibly distracting but somehow manages to grow on you. Not Alexander Aja's best but far from bad." - 4 Stars

Huntress - "The last non-Harry Potter movie I saw Daniel Radcliff in was The Woman in Black, and I couldn't get over him being in a father role. I was expecting to scoff about a lot of things during Horns too but was pleasantly surprised by a winding murder mystery that I got really caught up in." - 3 Stars

Unicorn Slayer - "Daniel Radcliffe is an amazing actor, and those who did not grow up watching him would be hard pressed to recognize that this was not his natural accent." - 3 Stars

The Overlook Theatre Final Rating*
(Below is for after you've seen the film)

Horns was a solid four and a half stars for me through the entire film, until the end. Most of the film felt like a dark thriller but with sparks of humor amongst the gritty reality that is Iggy's life and current situation. People's introductions and histories were worked in seamlessly and were enjoyable to watch. I would not say Horns is subtly biblical in any sense, though I do feel it was cliched in a way. And while I enjoyed the obvious horns and pitchfork symbolism, and tolerated the serpents, I felt the reference to the seven deadly sins was a bit much. And Iggy putting on his dead lover's cross and with an angelic glow, being suddenly healed was not needed.

The part of the film that dropped my rating down to 3 stars was the confrontation in the woods at the end. As I previously stated, I felt the film started as a thriller, but here it changes aesthetic to a horror comedy. I enjoyed the idea that Iggy was a normal guy who happens to grow horns and is gifted with an unworldly power, but now he has literally become a fallen angel, growing angel wings and in an instant, burning and crashing to the ground, morphing into a molten devil. The gore in this part of the film was definitely upped, and it felt like an entirely different ending that was tacked on. It could have just as easily taken a similar ending route as Pan's Labyrinth, in which there is still a confrontation and there are still deaths of the same characters, but it wasn't blatantly biblical. I still like this film, all things considered. Daniel Radcliffe is an amazing actor, and those who did not grow up watching him would be hard pressed to recognize that this was not his natural accent. Even knowing how the film ends, I would definitely watch this classic love story again.

- Unicorn Slayer

The poster above was the first in a series of daily movie posters (thus the #1 in the corner) by Hyung68 on DeviantArt

*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, July 17, 2015

Creep or How Civilized People Can Rationalize Anything

12 of 12 viewers "Liked" "Creep" (USA, 2014)
Here's what the citizens of the Overlook Theatre had to say:

Book Wyrm - "This was super intense. The mise-en-scene was really well done and added to the movie. The movie was short but packed a lot into it. For only having 2 characters in it, this movie was great. Very well done." - 4 Stars

Huntress - "Finally, found footage done right! Creep was an unapologetically slow burn, full of thought out shots as well as camera jolts. It wasn't just an hour of static and rapid fire cuts; Creep added something new and worth talking about to the genre. Absolutely worth re-watching!" - 5 Stars

Ice Giant - "Creep does a lot with a little. I watched this one after watching a string of horrible found footage and it was very refreshing to finally have one that wasn't about ghosts or demons. It further emphasized a point I made in my short video post. Humans don't need any demons or monsters... We're scary enough on our own." - 4.5 Stars

KillDozer - "Never before has a title matched a film so well! With only 2 characters sharing screen time, it's hard to tell who the real creep is. Nothing we haven't seen before, this one trick pony is still incredibly engrossing and fun to watch. Not a fan of the "found footage" genre I was happily surprised to see something new and actually creepy as the title would suggest." - 4 Stars (collection worthy)

Math Mage - "This felt like an episode of Scare Tactics except that it was both terrifying and funny. I'm very glad that there was no Radiohead as that is my least favorite song by them. "Peachfuzz" was not much of an improvement however. And unlike our protagonist I refuse to enjoy things ironically. Is this film a critique of the narcissism and naivete of hipsters or do those traits merely make our protagonist ideal prey for our antagonist? Maybe I'm reading to much into it." - 4 Stars

The Impostor - "Found footage is hit or miss. I enjoy watching this genre of horror good or bad. Most found footage films have not been great, especially as of late. Creep for me changed that and it left me wanting more. Simple yet frighteningly probable. The suspense, tension and buildup worked well and kept me guessing what will happen next. Writer/director/co-star Patrick Brice is a filmmaker I will definitely keep an eye on. By the way Peachfuzz is creepily awesome, I'd love to see more of him. Overall I highly recommend this horror gem." - 4.5 Stars

Johnny Ocelot - "Creep seems to always have an uncomfortable air that never dissipates." - 3 Stars

Lord Battle - "Strategically framed thoughtful shots, combined with some awesome acting puts Creep within the top 10 found footage films." - 5 Stars

The Berkeley Blazer - " A well-crafted effective high-tension humor hi-jinks that has no shortage of good jumps, but also can be incredibly annoying due to laziness in creating a plausible situation. Never mind though, the film achieves its goal with panache." - 4 Stars

The Overlook Theatre Final Rating*
(Below is for after you've seen the film)

The film opens on a serene hillside, lightly dotted with trees. From up the hill comes a man dragging a shovel and some garbage bags. He places the garbage bags to the side of the camera frame and begins digging a hole. The camera lingers here for awhile and lets our imagination take us to darker places. The hole is now a grave and the bags are of course filled with limbs of this mans victims. This  of course is not how the movie Creep opens but it is the opening to his first DVD sent by Josef. This scene is a perfect example of the magic within Creep. Strategically framed thoughtful shots combined with some awesome acting put Creep in the top 10 best found footage films.
Creep actually opens like many other found footage films, introducing us to our guide and allowing them to set the scene. From the moment Aaron (Patrick Brice also the Director/Writer) pulls up to the house, we are now in Josef's film.
As you know, Josef was in the bushes taking pictures of Aaron at this time. I believe this is part of a ritual that Josef goes through every time he takes up an ad. He takes this time to see what kind of car they drive, if they arrive alone or not, and how they react to being stood-up (And if they film any of it).

Once we are in Josef's house, we get some exposition as he runs through his motivations for his ad. As he speaks he stands in front of a cubby (on his left), that's lit by an exposed light bulb fixed into the wall. And to his right, lies a dark stair case leading up. This shot is framed perfectly to display a warning created by the yin-yang of light, but this is a horror film and the dark stairs are where we all know Aaron is going. The interesting thing about this shot is trying to decide how to think about it. What I mean is we could look at the picture the light paints us and think Patrick Brice did a good job framing the shot or we can stay in character and see it as something Josef wanted in his film. After all he is a huge horror fan as is evident by the end of the film...
After we head upstairs, Josef begins to strip for a bath scene he feels needs to be filmed. This obviously had been planned out all along and I believe the activities he and Aaron participate in throughout the day are a strategic attempt to deconstruct Aaron as an adult male.
He starts by giving him a symbolic bath (in a tub surrounded by candles...). He claims this is to share Buddy's first tubby whether he survives or not, but I think he's doing this to get Aaron used to being addressed like a child and to think of Josef as a father figure. It's no coincidence that he refers to his imaginary child as buddy. He chose Buddy so when he looked at the camera and talked in his baby voice he could be addressing anyone. This also works if you apply this theory to the follow events: the song he sings as Peachfuzz, the hike to the heart pool and the baptizim in it, the story he gets out of Aaron in the diner, and the gift wolf he sends him. And it seems to work; Aaron begins having dreams where the subliminal conditioning is literally being played out in the heart pool with a baby Peachfuzz mask on!
If all goes as planned we should be seeing two more sequels from Patrick Brice, I only hope he continues to document Mark Duplass or Peachfuzz or whatever name he's going by in the future. I seriously have seen Creep 3 times this week and each time I saw something new. Bravo Patrick Brice!

Abandoned Theory:
The hair he cut from Aaron's head was to add to Peachfuzz's mane. I abandoned this theory because I now believe that scene is just what would have happened if Aaron had stayed the night originally, thus is part of his regular ritual.

- 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.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Scream Episode 3 "Wanna Play a Game?"

Hello again, fellow Scream fans!
I feel like I should warn everyone again that if you have not yet watched episode 3 of MTV's Scream, you should not continue reading until you have! Spoilers will most probably follow.
We realized a couple of things while re-watching tonight's episode... most notably that Scream is a lot smarter than it wants you to think. Sure, it has a chatty character who constantly makes comparisons and name drops well known horror movies (with his very own background music), but that is not why the series is worthy of the iconic title, although a little misleading at first. This show does something that you may not notice until you revisit an episode for the second time. It leaves hints. 

If you watched Room 237, you know that the background of a scene is not accidental. And while not every director goes so far as to turn cans of corn to the exact side they want to be showing on screen (like Kubric during The Shining (seriously, you should see Room 237)), it's sometimes impossible to deny that the background of a shot is trying to give you a hint to what's going to happen next. It's these inter-titles that lead the majority of our viewers to agree that Mr. Branson, the teacher with questionable morals and will power, must be the killer. He was the one to pair the students up to work on a project, ultimately the reason Emma started talking to Kieran, found out that he had the case files from the Brendan James murder spree at his house, and discovered that her mother was hiding her involvement for all these years. And you remember that phone call she got at the end of episode 2, where the voice at the other end of the line told her that everyone was hiding something from her... Mr. Branson also put Brooke with James, which gave him a chance to go off on what seemed like a tangent about power mind games and get in her head. This conversation gains a lot more weight when you notice that Mr. Branson has the words "I've got all the power" hanging behind him as he stand in front of the class. He also has a portrait of Shakespeare hanging on the wall, which is standard enough in a classroom, cliche even. That is until you think back to that awkward conversation Riley had with her drama project partner in the hallway, where she brought up Shakespeare out of nowhere. 

One more point I want to draw attention to has to do with the title of this episode. Wanna  Play a Game? I admit, I kind of sighed when I heard that because of the obvious reference it makes horror fans think of. There was no way they could work Saw into this too! After watching it though, I realized that the game this referred to had much more of an Unfriended feeling to it. Good girl Emma was the one who decided which of her friends the killer would go after next and now they have their first bit of dirt on her. That comparison makes a lot more sense, considering all the social media in the show and how the story all began. But it also makes me wonder when we will find out what Emma is really hiding.

Till next week!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Bluray Tuesday!

July 14th 2015

Bluray Tuesday is back with some great releases this week. It Follows is finally released today! I have been looking forward to owning this since I saw in theaters twice earlier this year. I was hoping for a steelbook packaging or digi book but I am sure in the future there will be a cool release. Target has the cheapest price at $12.99 and if you have the Cartwheel Target app this week you get a extra 10% off the $12.99 price which brings it down a bit more. Ex Machina is out this week as well which was a surprisingly great film, one of my favorites this year so far. Scream Factory also has a release this week with The Howling 2 loaded with new bonus material. Two Scream factory double features are released for the first time on bluray as well. Rounding out this week is the new release of Xmen Days of Future Past the Rogue Cut, with new bonus materials and all the cut Rogue scenes from the theatrical release. What will you buy, rent or just skip this week? Let us know in the comments or check us out on Instagram Here We love the likes and comments.

It Follows: Amazon - $12.96

For 19-year-old Jay, fall should be about school, boys and weekends out at the lake. But after a seemingly innocent sexual encounter, she finds herself plagued by strange visions and the inescapable sense that someone, or something, is following her. Faced with this burden, Jay and her teenage friends must find a way to escape the horrors that seem to be only a few steps behind.

It Follows (Blu-ray) 

Ex Machina: Best Buy - $13.99

A young coder at the world's largest internet company, wins a competition to spend a week at a private retreat belonging to the reclusive CEO of the company. One arrival he learns that he must participate in a bizarre experiment which involves interacting with the world's first true artificial intelligence, which comes in the form of a beautiful female robot.

Ex Machina (Blu-ray) 

Howling 2: Amazon - $17.97

After his sister is turned into a werewolf and subsequently killed, Ben White (Reb Brown) decides to help the enigmatic Stefan Crosscoe (Christopher Lee) fight the growing population of lupine monsters, along with the lovely Jenny Templeton (Annie McEnroe). Traveling to Transylvania, Ben, Jenny and Crosscoe attempt to hunt down the powerful werewolf queen, Stirba (Sybil Danning), and must face her furry followers, as well as other supernatural forces. 

Howling II: Your Sister Is a Werewolf (Blu-ray) 

X-Men Days of Future Past The Rogue Cut: Amazon - $19.98

Convinced that mutants pose a threat to humanity, Dr. Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage) develops the Sentinels, enormous robotic weapons that can detect a mutant gene and zero in on that person. In the 21st century, the Sentinels have evolved into highly efficient killing machines. With mutants now facing extinction, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) volunteers to go back in time and rally the X-Men of the past to help change a pivotal moment in history and thereby save their future.

X-Men: Days of Future Past (Blu-ray) 

The Outing / The Godsend: Amazon - $17.91

The Outing: A long-imprisoned genie is released from an ornate brass lamp and wreaks havoc on unsuspecting museum visitors
The Godsend: A pregnant stranger (Angela Pleasence) spends the night with a couple (Cyd Hayman, Malcolm Stoddard) and leaves them a bad baby named Bonnie.

The Outing / The Godsend (Blu-ray) 

Cellar Dweller / Catacombs (1988): Amazon - $17.91

Cellar Dweller: Colin Childress (Jeffrey Combs), a highly successful comic book artist who gains inspiration from a mystical book of horrific drawings, inadvertently summons an evil spirit into his basement studio. Decades later, his house has become a small art institute run by the stern Mrs. Briggs (Yvonne De Carlo). One night, comely student Whitney Taylor (Debrah Farentino) goes rooting around the sealed boxes in the cellar and releases the supernatural forces trapped there.
Catacombs: An American woman (Laura Schaefer) and a monk (Timothy Van Patten) investigate an Italian monastery plagued by supernatural forces.  

Cellar Dweller / Catacombs (Blu-ray) 

-The Impostor