REVIEW: ‘Insidious’

Josh (Patrick Wilson) and Renai (Rose Byrne) and creepy goings-on in "Insidious".
Josh (Patrick Wilson) and Renai (Rose Byrne) and creepy goings-on in "Insidious".

The problem, I think, with most horror movies these days is that they’ve forgotten how to scare us. The relationship of today’s horror film to the audience is very much like that of an old married couple who’ve fallen into a rut. They both go through the motions of the relationship as they have over the course of the years on auto-pilot. Maybe they do things not really even knowing why but just because they’ve done them for so long that it’s become the only way they know. Similarly, horror fans go to horror movies hoping for something new, but nothing really ever changes. We hope for something better, but if we don’t get it – well, that’s just the way it is.

Horror movies startle us.
Sometimes, they shock or disgust us.
Scaring us, however, is a nigh forgotten art.

Thankfully, James Wan and Leigh Whannell haven’t forgotten. The duo that put the genre on its collective ear with the game-changing “Saw” have teamed up again to put their spin on the classic haunted house story in “Insidious”.

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Tentacles over Texas: Lovecraft-Themed Film Festival Coming to Dallas

The stars align for a Lovecraft Film Festival in Dallas
The stars align for a Lovecraft Film Festival in Dallas

Everything, with rare exception, is better with tentacles.

With that in mind, it pleases me to no end to announce that the fine folks at DOA Bloodbath, who already host three great genre film festivals (Pretty Scary, Fears for Queers and the namesake Bloodbath) here in Dallas, have added another one to their schedule and yes, this one comes with tentacles.

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REVIEW: ‘Red Riding Hood’

Valerie (Amanda Seyfried) and Peter (Shiloh Fernandez) play Find the Lycanthrope in "Red Riding Hood".
Valerie (Amanda Seyfried) and Peter (Shiloh Fernandez) play Find the Lycanthrope in "Red Riding Hood".

Four reviews and countless diatribes later, I think it’s pretty safe to say: I hate the Twilight movies and all things like them. I try to be objective about them, really I do. However, there is something about the bloodless, broken, soft-focus style of these films that simply makes them repellent to me.

But these are fantasy films. Their world is protected from my unending scorn by this simple fact. Just like in “Star Wars” or “Star Trek”, the world in these films operates under certain rules and attracts a set of fanatical followers who enjoy the films regardless of their content or quality.

“Red Riding Hood” easily resides in this world.

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No Mountains. No Madness. No Movie.

Ain't no "Mountain" for Del Toro or Lovecraft fans.
Ain't no "Mountain" for Del Toro or Lovecraft fans.

How does one kill a Lovecraft monster?
Option it to Universal Studios.

Even after the much ballyhooed – at least in genre circles – of the melding of director Guillermo Del Toro, producer and current 3-D deity James Cameron, Tom Cruise and one of author H.P. Lovecraft’s best stories, Universal Studios has decided not to go forward with the proposed big-budget adaptation of “At the Mountains of Madness”.

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PRETTY SCARY 2 REVIEW: ‘Fugue’

Howard (Richard Gunn) and Charlotte (Abigail Mittel) move into a mystery in "Fugue".
Howard (Richard Gunn) and Charlotte (Abigail Mittel) move into a mystery in "Fugue".

For a couple of years in college, I was a music major. I generally liked it except for Tuesdays and Thursdays when, invariably, I’d have a 7:30AM class. My freshman year it was Music Appreciation. Music History took its place my sophomore year. These weren’t bad classes but they were pretty early in the morning in a well air conditioned auditorium with comfortable chairs. In other words, it was a recipe for an unintentional nap. I don’t remember much from them, but I remember this: a fugue is a musical piece with two or more counterpointing voices.

It’s also a rare psychiatric disorder which included reversible amnesia.
Both play a part in Barbara Stepansky’s second feature film, “Fugue”.

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REVIEW: ‘Spirit Camp’

Nikki (Roxy Vandiver) and Rachel (Julin) demonstrate the power of cheer in "Spirit Camp".
Nikki (Roxy Vandiver) and Rachel (Julin) demonstrate the power of cheer in "Spirit Camp".

If you ask either of my ex-wives, there are a great many things that I don’t know anything about. However, I do know something about cheerleaders. Now before you start with the knowing winks or high-fives, let me clarify: my older sister was a cheerleader. That made me the dorky little brother that got dragged along to games or was otherwise jammed into a car with a bunch of girls wearing really short skirts. It wasn’t all bad.

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REVIEW: ‘Drive Angry’

Angry Milton (Nicolas Cage) is angry in the revved-up, old-school "Drive Angry".
Angry Milton (Nicolas Cage) is angry in the revved-up, old-school "Drive Angry".

Are you sitting down?
If you’re not, you might want to.
Ready? Here goes.

Nic Cage has done a movie I like.

It’s that that I dislike him as a person or actor. It’s not that he hasn’t done anything I’ve liked before, but it certainly seems that he’s kind of gotten himself into a bit of a rut- not the typecast rut, though. No, it’s that rare condition that I call the “Sean Connery Rut” where no matter what role the actor plays (Russian sub captain, Spanish swordsman, etc…), it’s performed the exact same way. So, it seems to me that Cage has brought that same lazy… Nic Cage-y style to every role he’s done in the last ten years. It’s rarely a good thing.

Call “Drive Angry” the exception.

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