cult classic

SAW-TOBER PART 01: SAW [2004]

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Today, I am working on a new series I call “Saw-Tober“. It’s a simple premise, really, I will be reviewing each of the SAW films; one at a time. This is both in part because of my love for the films, but also because it’s October. I’ve always had a love for these films, even if they did get progressively bad with their “torture-porn” ways. So let us begin, with the infamous first film that started one of the most successful horror franchises of all time and play a game called: SAW.


SAW is not for everyone, but for those who have seen it, remembers the first time they watched it. I remember sitting in my house and watching this on our “big” – 32 inch – screen TV. I also remember being confused, and amazed by just how crazy the whole scenario was: I mean for someone my age back then, [about 14 years old] this was pretty extreme, even for someone who grew up watching “younger horror.” Of all the “real” horror films I had seen prior to this one, SAW was something different: it felt – at least to me – real.

And it was quite a revolution back in 2004. Back then, the only thing I can remember seeing is remakes of Asian horror films, like The Ring or The Grudge, but SAW was different: it was like a big breath of fresh air. Looking back with the knowledge I have about the horror genre now, I think this was a good thing – especially for the genre as a whole. Before SAW, horror was a dying genre, and without it, I don’t think the genre would have lasted as strongly as it has.

But does it hold up now? Let’s find out.

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We start off with two guys waking up in a dingy, dirty old bathroom [see above] because all good horror stories start off as a drunken trip through the backwoods of Europe. [I’m looking at you, Hostel..] Our story follows Doctor Lawrence Gordon and Adam who are chained by the ankle to pipes at opposite ends of the room and have no apparent memory of how they got there or of who the other is. Naturally, the two look around. Between them lies a man in a pool of blood; with a gun in one hand and a tape recorder in the other. As the two men begin to question the scenario they have to face, Gordon, quickly realizes that they may be the next victims of a notorious serial killer known only as Jigsaw.

For those out of the know, The Jigsaw killer never directly kills his victims. He instead places them in elaborate [and] gruesome traps that he claims gives each victim a valuable life lesson – if you can survive, you’ll appreciate your life just a little bit more than you did before. However, chances of survival are usually small, with only one victim having survived so far. Gordon talks about how he knows of Jigsaw: it turns out this is because he was once a prime suspect in the case. Thankfully, he was released after his alibi for one of the murders checked out.

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What makes SAW so great is that there is no melodramatic lead-in: it quite literally throws you straight into the middle of the story and doesn’t let go until the final frame. Most of the movie plays out in the bathroom “cell” with all the other exciting parts, other than the final act, being told through flashbacks of various characters. This can and sometimes does make SAW seem stage-like, especially in the extended edition’s opening scene, but for an unusual approach; it works well as the movie never once drags.

Surprisingly, Director James Wan handles everything really well in this debut picture. He doesn’t give anything away too soon, leaving the viewer just confused enough to stay interested without letting them know everything, even if they might think they do. And just when it looks like SAW is going down a road of clichés, it pulls a fast one and leaves you surprised! If there’s anything can be criticized, it’s Wan’s use of hyper fast-cut scenes set to hard rock music to add a sense of urgency to what is going on. These are effective, particularly during the trap sequences; but over the course of seven SAW films it became tiresome and almost overused.

In all seriousness though, SAW is is not for everyone. It can [and later does] be gruesome and extreme, but that makes up a very small part of what can otherwise be considered an interesting psychological thriller. It’s not perfect; but for what it is – and what the franchise became – it is an important piece of horror cinema that has the heart of many.

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Now I turn to You – the reader. Are You a fan of the SAW franchise? Or are they “more gore, less story” in your opinion? Let me know in a comment below, and if you enjoyed this review, and are looking for more, go and follow me over on my Facebook page! [we’re at over 150+ likes – let’s get to 200!] By clicking that “like” button, you’ll see every post from warrenisweird the very moment it’s been “gone live” online; and I also share links to articles and pictures/videos that will not be featured here on the blog. So go follow over there too!

JOIN ME TOMORROW WHEN I REVIEW MY LEAST FAVORITE OF THE SERIES: SAW II.

Every “like” helps me a ton, giving me the ability to write more posts for you to read, so be sure to tell the horror enthusiast in your life to do the same, and share The Facebook Page with your family and friends! I’ve also been writing way more reviews on my Letterboxd account, this is because I’m trying to review every single movie I watch  – with each review coming the very next day after viewing! Are you interested yet? Check me out over there and click that “follow” button! I’m just bound to follow you back because I like reading other people’s thoughts on film, as well as writing reviews myself!

THANKS FOR READING.

 

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WEIRDO’WEEN #29: The Wicker Man [2006]

weirdoween2015For the third last review for this year’s weirdo’ween, I wanted to write something special: a review of a movie that’s so damn bad, it’s great..like really enjoyable. It’s a movie that I’ve never talked about on here, and it’s one that almost everyone has heard of. It’s not good at building suspense, it’s not well pieced together, but it does feature our lord and savior himself: Nicolas Cage!

Surprisingly, I actually really enjoy this movie, though probably not for the reasons I should.. I think the main reason is because of how laughably bad it is. It has nearly no reference to the original, the acting isn’t that great, and it tries to be something it’s not – scary. So let’s put on our wicker masks, and start screaming at CGI bees, because today: we talk about the one, the only; The Wicker Man remake!

weirdo'ween-#29While recovering from a accident while on the road, an officer by the name of Edward Malus receives a letter from his former fiancée Willow, who left him a few years ago without any sort of explanation, telling that her daughter Rowan has gone missing. This event has lead Edward to travel to the distant and private island of Summerisle, where Willow now lives among a community that plants fruits all the time. As he continues his investigation with the hostile and unhelpful dwellers, Edward comes to the conclusion that the locals must be pagans, as proven by their practicing of old rituals to try and improve their harvest, and Rowan, who turns out to also be his daughter, is probably alive and being prepared to be sacrificed – y’know, for reasons.

Summersisle, as it turns out, is a female-dominated place, and has conceived itself as nothing but a haven for women and refugees from the Salem witch trials. Here, the matriarchs observe the Olde ways, and the few male that are on the island are more or less there for breeding purposes..otherwise, they’re useless to these women. Another important thing to note is that Summersisle‘s main export is honey – a symbolic and literal headache for Edward, considering he’s allergic to bees. “Beekeepers!” cries Edward. “They seem to be everywhere on this island!” Well, spoiler alert: that’s probably because Summersisle‘s main export is honey.. Did I mention the dialog in the movie is just as terrible?

he may as well tell the Pagan folk that he FOUND that badge, not that it’s his..

As he continues making his inconclusive conclusions, Edward overhears a group of these Pagans talking about an oncoming “Mayday ritual” known as “time of death and rebirth.” It’s then he learns that the previous year’s crop failed; nearly dies from bee stings – in the best possible scene – wears a bear suit and punches a woman, and eventually comes to the overbearing conclusion [which admittedly, couldn’t be more obvious if the locals had tattooed a timetable of events on the back of his hands] that Rowan has been planned to be burnt alive in a Pagan rite, all to make sure that this time, they have a bountiful harvest. He also meets the Queen Bee of the group: Sister Summersisle, who seems to have her own plans for him involving the title’s Wicker Man: all while stating “The drone must die.” I’m gonna go out on a whim and say she probably means Cage.. I mean Edward.

To make matters worse [if that’s even possible] I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie filled with so many plot holes. I found myself constantly asking questions like: Why did they kill the pilot that brought Edward to the island if they wanted him brought to the island? Why does Malus come across the beehives so easily when they were in plain sight and he knew he was allergic? Why were four dream sequences important? Where were they keeping Rowan throughout the movie up until they found her? How come Malus didn’t ask about why that woman was covered from head to toe in bees? Is the movie seriously not going to address anything? It’s…very confusing, and it’s unfortunate. Because it makes The Wicker Man go from bad to worse in a matter of seconds. A lot of times, these scenes got really stupid really fast. For instance, Edward walks into a classroom and pleasantly says “Wow. School’s changed since I was a kid.” How does the teacher react? She screams – as in literally screams – at him stating: “Why are you frightening my students?!” Wait. Hold on, I’m sorry.. why exactly was what he said considered “frightening?” Did I miss something? Where did that come from?

I do love this scene though. 10/10

So let’s recap: Nicolas Cage‘s fate was sealed the very moment he set foot on Summersisle island. The lies and half-truths he was told by the women while searching for the little girl were an elaborate “presentation” that had no necessary meaning. If you think about it, the Pagan women could have easily just tied him up [or even drugged him, they did have plants that they obviously knew about!] and proceeded with their plans WITHOUT such an elaborate show off-y presentation.

To end this abomination of a film – even if it is “so bad, it’s good” – let’s look at the DVD/Blu Ray version of the film. look at the move’s cover itself: [here] See that little girl with evil eyes? Based on her “evil look”, she should have a central role in the film, right? Far from it. You don’t even see her character until the end of the film – and she has no evil eyes! [or dialog] The only “evil thing” she does is start a bonfire with a torch. So scary.

Secondly, the DVD claims to have an “unrated” version of the film along with the theatrical version. Usually, when “unrated versions” of movies are released, it implies there should be more violence, or gore in the case of horror movies than what was shown in the ordinary version; but not The Wicker Man. Both versions are exactly the same with three exceptions:


#1] The unrated version shows Cage having his legs broken at the kneecaps using a trick that appears to be stolen from the Misery. In Misery though, the ankles were broken, not the kneecaps. Certainly, this is nothing to be “unrated” about.

#2] In the unrated version, we see Cage have a cage-like mask put over his head, with angry bees poured into the mask. [like the GIF above!] No blood or gore though, just bees. In his face. Again, this scene has nothing to make it “unrated”.

#3] Finally, the unrated version of The Wicker Man has a scene that was cut out of the theatrical version, where we see the last scene showing two of the island “sisters” going to the mainland to find new “recruits” for their sacrifice ritual. Maybe it’s just me, but cutting out a scene that implied sexual situation from a film makes it less likely to be considered “unrated.”


Unfortunately, The Wicker Man is more laughable than it is scary. As I said above, I enjoy it for this reason, it’s just unfortunate that it became something it’s really not. I’m sure I’m not alone in saying it, but when it first came out a lot of people weren’t impressed by it. It’s strange, it’s not scary, but with Nicolas Cage as a main character, it becomes a classic “so bad, it’s good” film. He’s really the only reason to watch it.. So if you like that kind of film, I guess I recommend it.. just don’t go in expecting something to land on The Criterion Collection – I don’t even want to imagine that. Even the trailer is bad, check it out below!

Considering how bad this movie was, If you have want to help out, and have an idea for the next weirdo’ween review[s], please let me know which movie[s] you’d like to see next! If you found yourself to enjoy this particular review – and want to see more – then take a minute and follow me over on my Facebook page [it’s at over 125+ likes almost at 130!] By clicking that “like” button, you’ll see every post from warrenisweird the very moment it’s been posted online; as well as links to articles and pictures/videos that will not be featured here on the blog. Every “like” helps me a ton, giving me the ability to write more posts for you to read, so be sure to tell the horror enthusiast in your life to do the same, and share The Facebook Page with your family and friends! Join me tomorrow when I talk about weirdo’ween #30! – so be sure to STAY TUNED!

God, this movie is just so great! 10/10

THANKS FOR READING.

WEIRDO’WEEN #24: The Omen [1976]

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Let’s revert back to movies that everyone knows, shall we? Last night, as I was looking for black pants for work at Giant Tiger[for you that aren’t in Canada, it’s a discount store that sells a bit of anything and everything] I came across a familiar title on DVD. What’s better, is it was a steelbook cover of the film, and it was only $10. Naturally, I felt compelled so I picked it up.

When I got home, I opened the shrink wrap – to check the disks inside, since Giant Tiger generally sells pre watched DVDs – and they were pristine. I was so excited to have found, not only a movie, but The Omen in Steelbook format! [click here to see what my copy looks like!]

weirdo'ween-#24The Omen is a strange sort of film: it’s been remade a few times, it’s had two sequels, [which show Damien as he grows from child – to teenager – to adult] and it’s been considered one of the scariest films ever made; ranking up with The Exorcist. I mean, this movie has one hell of a reputation attached to it!

Let’s play around that last comment: that the movie has a reputation. This movie is one that plays with your mind, and I don’t mean for the extreme violence! I mean it’s real scary, and that’s because of what you don’t see on screen.. From the grey overcast that are seen overhead in the skies of London and the empty stillness of the great Pereford mansion where the destined to be doomed Thorn family lives, to the deep and hollow underground ancient excavation site; the film is really effective at capturing the viewer’s interest and ends up drawing them into a world that is on the verge of what can only be described as the ultimate disaster – the birth of The Anti-Christ.

in His defense, Damien didn’t ASK to be the Anti-Christ. He just kind of ended up being it.. [am I defending the wrong person again?]

The movie revolves around our little devil, who goes by the name of Damien Thorn, who is born into the world of politics and wealth and is the darling child of Robert and Katherine. It’s when mysterious accidents [and the overall feeling of dread] begin to shadow their lives, the horrifying truth of Damien‘s untimely birth is uncovered millions of miles away.. in a grave in a Pagan Cemetery found in Italy.

Gregory Peck gives a damn good performance as ambitious politician Robert Thorn: a man who slowly discovers that his fate is linked to an ancient biblical prophecy. When he finally starts to figure out what’s really happening, he discovers what can only be described as a grand design that’s unfolding under the unwatching eyes of the world.. to make it worse, his “perfect family” are at the center of it all! His search for truth is one of my absolute favorites in film, as we see him going to the farthest reaches of the globe, begging for the answers before it’s too late; and ending with an exciting face-off between himself and the Devil, himself.

Lee Remick is beautiful as his tragic wife. The rest of the cast – Billie Whitelaw as Mrs. Baylock, David Warner as the photographer Keith Jennings, and Leo McKern as the archaeologist Bugenhagen; they’re all so good at helping the movie ‘feel’ its dark and moody atmosphere. The Omen has a few more disturbing moments that shock us, rather than that of disgust, but the film is loaded with memorable scenes! It’s the ‘feeling’ you get in the pit of your stomach that the film gives you; it’s what makes this movie unique. With the performances of the actors, the creepy music score, and the inevitable feeling of doom that is slowly creeping into the world all because of the birth of one child, make this movie one of the truest horror films ever made. Like a few other movies I’ve reviewed lately – this movie succeeds in making you realize that sometimes it’s the knowing that something is going to happen that is more scary, than actually seeing it happen.

When we do see violence on screen, it’s choreographed almost perfectly, each one being more compelling than the one before it. From a Priest being impaled by a church spire, to a reporter being decapitated by a pane of glass. These events all build to the overwhelming finale. By the end of the film, we see a little boy: clearly Damien, holding the hand of the President Of The United States, turning around and smiling at his father’s funeral – For a movie about the Devil’s son; that to me is the definitive ending. Making this movie go from amazingly well written, to downright terrifying.

So if you haven’t seen The Omen, I highly recommend it. [it’s almost a horror rite of passage!] The important thing to remember though, is that it’s from the 70s, which means it might feel dated in it’s acting/script. But with a cast as great as this one, you forget when this came out, and you feel sheer terror as Damien becomes nothing more than the Anti-Christ! But maybe you’re not a fan of horror movies that involve demon-children. Maybe you have a choice for a different movie review? If so, read on!

If you have an idea for the next weirdo’ween review[s], please let me know which movie[s] you’d like to see next! If you found yourself to enjoy this particular review – and want to see more – then take a minute and follow me over on my Facebook page [it’s at over 120+ likes almost at 130!] By clicking that “like” button, you’ll see every post from warrenisweird the very moment it’s been posted online; as well as links to articles and pictures/videos that will not be featured here on the blog. Every “like” helps me a ton, giving me the ability to write more posts for you to read, so be sure to tell the horror enthusiast in your life to do the same, and share The Facebook Page with your family and friends! Join me tomorrow when I talk about weirdo’ween #25! – so be sure to STAY TUNED!

THANKS FOR READING.

WEIRDO’WEEN #20: FRIDAY THE 13th [1980]

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While in retrospect, this review would have made sense for #13, today’s movie involves a boy who drowned and his angry Mother. It all starts one summer at Camp Crystal Lake, where a group of young counselors begin to get ready to lead campers. Unfortunately for these teenagers, someone isn’t happy about what’s going on in the camp and enjoys playing a game of “kill the counselor.” As bodies fall to the ground and the number of deaths keeps rising, it becomes quite apparent that no one is safe. Like yesterday‘s review, Everyone has heard of the movie I’m about to talk about; if not only by title.

Also, like yesterday’s review, today’s film had numerous sequels – some better than others – and a remake. So without further ado, let’s talk about a series that I enjoy, just not as much as Nightmare: Friday The 13th

weirdo'ween-#20The movie takes place in and around Camp Crystal Lake: the site of the drowning “death” of a young boy, several fires, and a double murder. For this reason, it earned the nickname “Camp Blood“, and has been closed for decades, only now being renovated in an attempt to reopen it and turn it back into an relaxing summer getaway. Ramblings of the town drunk, Crazy Ralph, tells the new group working there that they are all “doomed”, though they go on ignoring his drunken ways. But when a series of murders begin during a torrential rainstorm, who is responsible? Could it be Crazy Ralph from earlier, since he seemingly always is prowling the campgrounds? Or is it an unseen killer?

For a movie with such a low budget, [only $550,000] the film has a brilliant, and old fashioned sounding soundtrack, with it’s violins screeching at key moments in the action, just like Psycho did 20 years earlier. One of the most memorable and effective uses of soundtrack on film I can think of. The girls are cute without being overly pretty, and the guys are able to joke around without being complete assholes; unlike the movies of today.


Even when characters are outside at the actual lake, or out in the woods, Friday still has that claustrophobic feel, with the action taking place in tight, and often crowded feeling corners. The thick woods prevent them from getting very far away, and with the night time rainstorm only seals them in tighter, making escape almost impossible. If you were to go back and look at the 1980 critical response for the Friday The 13th, you’ll notice that the film was widely panned by critics, with many taking exception to the more over the top gore and camera angles of the film.

It’s fair to say that Friday The 13th may not be original in its own right, with Halloween having only been made two years earlier, and borrowing things from Psycho. But as a whole, it’s actually not a typical slasher movie, since it’s villain isn’t revealed until near the end of the movie, and then we ultimately find that the antagonist is far from a Michael Myers clone, but more of a psychopathic killer. This film is infinitely more cerebral than its typical “slasher” movie counterparts, even if it did get a ton of sequels; which happened to be a thing in the 1980’s. And as much as the camera angles might have been controversially irritating at the time, the first-person views from the angle of the killer and the conventions with it marked the start of a new movement in cinema, one that certainly has often been imitated even if it’s rarely done as effectively as it is in the opening scene.

also, Kevin Bacon shows up..and dies. sorry, ladies.

Then there’s the special effects. Friday The 13th was a landmark film for Tom Savini. As if he wasn’t already great, he further proved his ability to get the most effect out of the least financial situation. Savini will go down in history as one of the greats in special effects – and Friday The 13th helped him prove his mastery of the art.

One thing this movie handles well that I really appreciate is it’s pacing. It isn’t slow, but it also doesn’t move too fast; making it easy enough to follow. It takes roughly 20 minutes to get to an actual death scene, but this gives the movie enough time to flesh out some characters without taking too long to add unneeded exposition or add too much than what is actually needed. I feel like the movie did a good job of focusing on what was really needed, while fleshing out the kill scenes in an orderly fashion. That’s something that makes a horror movie “good.”

Overall, Friday The 13th‘s story telling is exceedingly well crafted and works greatly with it’s pace. While the story may be somewhat basic and straightforward, it’s the execution that really helps the final pay off. Not only is it well made, but it’s fun to watch, and like Nightmare, it’s important to the horror genre – without it, we wouldn’t have some of the great films that we are now familiar with in the horror category. There’s a reason it spawned ten sequels and a remake. People like these movies. As long as there’s a Friday The 13th on the calendar, the tale of Camp Blood will almost always continue.

So although I’m clearly a bigger fan of the Nightmare On Elm Street franchise, Friday The 13th is just as important as a film series. It has fear, it’s violent, and it’s got everything you could want from a horror film. Although this one went on for ten sequels – that did suffer from sequelitis – the films are more than just violent, hockey masked killers.. they are legitimately fun to watch; even if they are laughable by today’s standards. So check Friday The 13th out, and enjoy watching teenagers getting slaughtered by hockey masked villain!

If you have an idea for the next weirdo’ween review[s], please let me know which movie[s] you’d like to see next! If you found yourself to enjoy this particular review – and want to see more – then take a minute and follow me over on my Facebook page [it’s at over 120+ likes almost at 130!] By clicking that “like” button, you’ll see every post from warrenisweird the very moment it’s been posted online; as well as links to articles and pictures/videos that will not be featured here on the blog. Every “like” helps me a ton, giving me the ability to write more posts for you to read, so be sure to tell the horror enthusiast in your life to do the same, and share The Facebook Page with your family and friends! Join me tomorrow morning when I talk about weirdo’ween #21! – So STAY TUNED!

this ending always makes me jump..screw you, Jason.

THANKS FOR READING.

WEIRDO’WEEN #19: A Nightmare On Elm Street [1984]

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NOTE: As he passed away at the end of August 2015, this review is dedicated to you, Mr. [Wes] Craven. Thanks for all the Nightmares, and for creating what I consider my all time favorite horror franchise.


Something I used to hate when I was younger, that I really enjoy now is getting the chance to go to sleep. After a hard day’s work or even a day filled with nothing but movies and video games, nothing feels better then lying down and catching some down time.. That is, unless you’re being plagued by a sleep-demon who is trying to kill you in your dreams! Worse yet – if he succeeds; you die for real!

So here we go, ladies and gentlemen, assuming you haven’t caught on yet; [which if you haven’t, we need to have a discussion about your lack of horror knowledge] today’s movie is the first in a franchise that went on for seven films: [and that’s not including a mashup film and a [[terrible]] remake!] we’re talking about A Nightmare On Elm Street!

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Everyone, and I mean Everyone has at least heard of our villain: Freddy Krueger. The easiest way to describe him is that he’s a psychopath who murdered several children with a custom glove fitted with straight razor blades attached to each one of the fingers. Oh, and he attacks/kills you in your dreams, all while making really amusing puns [at least I appreciate the puns] as he cackles! Here’s a lengthier explanation of just what happens in A Nightmare On Elm Street:

It all started when a judge set him free of his charges, that Krueger is burned alive in the boiler room of a school [where he worked] by the [obviously] angry group of parents whose children he terrorized! However, the actual film takes place years after his death, when the children whose parents were responsible for Krueger‘s death – including Nancy Thompson, who is the daughter of the police officer who arrested Krueger all those years ago- start experiencing terrifying nightmares involving a dirty dressed, and burnt man wearing a glove with razor blades on it’s fingers. [sound familiar yet?] As it turns out, it’s actually the ghost of Freddy Krueger haunting their dreams; and when Nancy‘s best friend Tina dies in her sleep with 4 straight cuts across her chest, Nancy realizes that she [along with the other kids] must find a way to stop the evil psychopath’s dream terrors – or risk never sleeping again…

What makes A Nightmare On Elm Street so clever is how it creates an entirely new way of representing dreams sequences on screen. In the movie, the scenes that take place during a “dream” are filmed within an airy and murky atmosphere, but the catch is; so are many of the waking scenes. This makes it very difficult to tell whether a character is awake or asleep. [which is ideal considering the plot!] While the movie never actually shows any character actually fall asleep, as a result we are constantly questioning whenever characters so much as close their eyes – even for a moment. In some of the more crucial scenes, it is impossible to tell whether what we are seeing is real or happening only in a character’s mind. But the movie ultimately suggests that the difference doesn’t matter. That, one way or another, Freddy will get you.

The actual premise of the movie, which has a child-killer haunting a group of teenagers’ dreams and has the capability of killing them while they’re asleep, ends up turning the whole “It was all just a dream” convention over on its head: according to Nightmare, the real world is safe, and the dream world is extremely dangerous. I mean, think about it: Unlike any other movie – where you can run and hide in the closet – Freddy attacks when you’re most vulnerable; when you’re sleeping.. how can you not sleep?

Director Wes Craven – RIP understood that the anticipation of danger tends to be more frightening than the actual attack; and he shows us some great visual shots using that effect, including one where Freddy‘s arms becomes unnaturally long in an alleyway, and another where the stairs literally turn into a gooey glue-like substance, almost as a nod of the common nightmare where it is hard to get away from someone chasing you. The movie constantly finds ways to tease the audience, never resorting to a red herring, which let’s be honest: is becoming a very tired convention used in almost all other slasher films. Especially in recent horror.

A fun fact about Nightmare is that this was actually Johnny Depp‘s first role, playing the character of GlenHeather Langenkamp‘s [Nancy] boyfriend, and although he does get a few neat lines, his personality is not overly fleshed out, and because it’s the 80s, there is no sense of the great actor Depp would go on to become in today’s age.

also, Johnny Depp dies quite brutally in the film; sorry, ladies.

Ultimately though, A Nightmare on Elm Street is really all about Nancy. As fans know, the film mainly focuses on Nancy‘s troubles, mostly Nancy‘s dreams and Nancy‘s responding actions. The ending of the film becomes a bit confusing, but it’s meant to be – basically asking us to answer the question: did all this happen? Or is this yet another dream? The booby traps that Nancy sets when Freddy finally comes into the “real world” are unfortunately a bit ridiculous, and Freddy does seem kind of helpless [almost to the point of lame] chasing Nancy around her home as he’s trying catch her, and it’s something the film could have done a little better. But that’s just a tiny complaint. I can live with it! Overall, it is a great mixture of horror, thriller and fantasy. A Nightmare On Elm Street taps into two hardly recognized everyday events in human life: sleeping and dreaming, and makes them into something we can learn to fear. Craven‘s ability to realize this unknown fear in a movie is something that hadn’t been done before, and it worked perfectly. A Nightmare On Elm Street still stands as a great movie [even with it’s terrible remake – and another remake on the way] and for horror buffs it is a must-see and for those that aren’t into horror, there is still a fair amount of other things to keep one’s interest on the screen. [and I’m not just talking about Mr. Depp‘s extremely dreamy – see what I did there? – appearance]

So seriously go and watch A Nightmare On Elm Street. It’s my favorite franchise of all time, and even if the sequels did suffer from sequelitis and there was that garbage remake, they’re some of the most entertaining films you can ask for! Also, if you want me to review the second film in this franchise, let me know in a comment! If you have an idea for the next weirdo’ween review[s], please let me know which movie[s] you’d like to see next! If you found yourself to enjoy this particular review – and want to see more – then take a minute and follow me over on my Facebook page [it’s at over 120+ likes almost at 130!] By clicking that “like” button, you’ll see every post from warrenisweird the very moment it’s been posted online; as well as links to articles and pictures/videos that will not be featured here on the blog. Every “like” helps me a ton, giving me the ability to write more posts for you to read, so be sure to tell the horror enthusiast in your life to do the same, and share The Facebook Page with your family and friends! Join me tomorrow morning when I talk about weirdo’ween #20! – So STAY TUNED!

THANKS FOR READING.

WEIRDO’WEEN #18: C.H.U.D. [1984]

PLEASE NOTE: If you follow me on Facebook, I posted saying that this was technically supposed to be posted yesterday, and with Firefox being lame, my entire post deleted itself and didn’t save a draft copy! I was also extremely busy after getting frustrated, as I was part of something all day so I didn’t get home last night until about 10:30pm; therefore, I’m stuck writing two reviews today, starting with yesterday’s now; and today’s tonight. [if that makes any sense]

Thanks for understanding, and now-

on to the actual review!

weirdoween2015It’s always in New York isn’t it? [sorry, any New York readers] It’s either Monsters, Aliens, Super heroes, or anything else that isn’t supposed to happen in the world..

Today’s [although, technically yesterday’s] movie review also takes place in New York, specifically – New York City where a group of bizarre murders seem to point to a group of grotesquely deformed homeless people living in the sewers. To find out what’s happening, it’s going to take a courageous policeman, a photo journalist and his girlfriend, and a nutty bum – who seems to know a lot about the creatures then he lets on, to try and figure out just what is going on, and how to stop them from continuing.

The movie itself isn’t a masterpiece to say in the least, with it’s small budget and little to unknown actors but, it has itself a cult following that the fans love – for being less than good. But for as awkward, terrible, and weird of a film it comes across as – I enjoy the movie. That’s right, I enjoyed C.H.U.D.

weirdo'ween-#18

C.H.U.D. or Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers, is an odd film. It’s notorious for having a low budget… but the story is alright, and the sewer sets look decent when they crawl to the underground. Daniel Stern is the cook/manager of a soup kitchen who is wondering where his assorted homeless buddies have disappeared to. But it’s Christopher Curry who is very good as a police officer searching for his missing wife. These scenes with Curry and Stern are funny [and not only due to the bad acting] and it’s interesting to watch their friendship develop as they deal with the rampaging CHUDs. One interesting note: watch for John Goodman as a cop, being as this is one of his earliest roles, he does get slaughtered in a diner. It’s cheesy, but it’s entertaining to say in the least. It’s not a bad scene, it just could have been..more.

If we were to look back to when the movie was made, the creature effects were actually quite good..at least for what they were. But, of course, with today’s standard – they are quite primitive looking and they feel like they’re out of date. The music score in the movie bears typical tones of 80’s horror music, being symphonic in a way that will almost always lead up to the scares. And it does work well, think about it; without such music, horror movies would be less interesting to watch.

Unfortunately, this is where the entertainment value drops – dramatically. The problems are high with movie, with it’s direction feeling like it’s lacking, the pacing being really off, and one of the biggest flaws is with it being it’s basic story construction. Simply put, there are too many characters. Kim Greist is an alright person to look at, but her character is really tacked on – I mean, she just gives us a pretty face to put in danger.. She and John Heard have no chemistry whatsoever, and it’s damn near impossible to believe they’re supposed to act as a couple. Even if these kinds of problems are found in some of the most watchable of horror films, why is it so noticeable here? One flaw, that people bring up a lot is that C.H.U.D. just isn’t scary or even remotely exciting.. The C.H.U.D. “monsters”, who we learn are actually homeless people exposed to radiation, look kind of cool. [see above!] But they don’t seem to move fast enough to be a threat to anyone under age 80.. It’s as if the movie itself relies on their sharp claws and teeth to make them seem formidable; which doesn’t work as effectively as one would hope. We don’t see enough of them in action either, and when we do; it’s only body parts and wounds that are shown on their victims. If you know even a little bit about movie editing, this is a sure tell sign of a very low budget.

Also, because of it’s alright script, why wouldn’t the government, who’s working with big industry types, be the big bad? One concern/complaint I have is by the end of the movie, after things seem to going for the worse, the head of the chemical company is killed – and then the film concludes abruptly. Wait. What this implies then is killing man in charge of all that chemical waste was all that really needed to be done in order to stop the C.H.U.D.s? But, what about all of the other monsters still left in the sewers?? Other than the one beheaded by Ms. Greist, I don’t recall seeing any of the others killed! Is that the movie’s way of saying that there is a homeless problem in New York City? That’s…kind of strange actually. I don’t get it.

C.H.U.D. is one of those movies that is hard to recommend because it isn’t that great: it’s cheesy, it’s ridiculous, and it’s a cult classic for a reason. It isn’t a gory film, or even remotely scary; but for some reason [probably for how bad it is] it’s enjoyable. So if you’re looking for a movie to waste some time, and you don’t care about the fantastic writing skills – why not try it out? If you don’t make it all the way through the film though, I’ll understand. Y’know, maybe I should talk about an actual good movie next..

But, If you have an idea for the next weirdo’ween review[s], please let me know which movie[s] you’d like to see next! If you found yourself to enjoy this particular review – and want to see more – then take a minute and follow me over on my Facebook page [it’s at over 120+ likes almost at 130!] By clicking that “like” button, you’ll see every post from warrenisweird the very moment it’s been posted online; as well as links to articles and pictures/videos that will not be featured here on the blog. Every “like” helps me a ton, giving me the ability to write more posts for you to read, so be sure to tell the horror enthusiast in your life to do the same, and share The Facebook Page with your family and friends! Join me tonight [to make up for having to rewrite yesterday’s] when I talk about weirdo’ween #19! – STAY TUNED!

THANKS FOR READING.

WEIRDO’WEEN #01: THIR13EN GHOSTS [2001]

Sometimes, life throws us for a spin. Whether that’s because we are changing our lifestyles, or in Arthur‘s case: we inherit a house [and many other riches] from our late Uncle’s estate – it just so happens that for Arthur, this house has someone – or something – else living inside as well, and not just one but: Thir13en Ghosts!

That’s right, for the first episode of weirdo’ween I’m going to review a movie that isn’t terrible, but I used to be so afraid of; I watched it with the lights on. seriously. Even if it is a lackluster film, I do have it on my movie shelf, but that’s purely for nostalgic reasons: I mean, this movie isn’t the scariest movie you’ll ever watch, meaning don’t watch it with your new girlfriend hoping she’ll latch on to you and you’ll get cuddles all night, cause chances are; she’ll be looking at you with a raised eyebrow the rest of the night wondering why this was the movie you chose for your first date..moving on. If I were to explain the story, it’d feel kind of pointless, because it’s fairly generic [and a remake!] but this is a review – which means I’m going to tell you all about it anyway. Are you ready to walk into The House? Come on, it’ll be fun! Let’s start by talking about:

weirdo'ween-#1

Our story follows a family without a mother, including Dad – Arthur [played brilliantly by Tony Shalhboub], Daughter – Kathy, Son – Bobby and the Nanny – Maggie, who all inherits a strange house, created by Arthur‘s Uncle Cyrus. We learn that Cyrus was a ghost hunter – because of course he is – with not one, but twelve ghosts who are all locked in the basement of the house. I should also mention that there is two other characters in the movie as well: Dennis – who can see future [and past] whenever he touches people. He worked with Cyrus during his ghost hunting days and Cyrus rival – Kalina. Naturally, even with Dennis by their side, it’s when the ghosts are unleashed, that these people have no choice but to save themselves.. However, as we learn from Kalina, this ‘house’ that was inherited isn’t even a house, but a highly complex machine built by Cyrus, which he called the “Ocularis Infernum [or in English: “Eye Of Hell“. that sounds promising..] which supposedly was created by/for The Devil and powered by the dead! Once it’s completed, this demonic device apparently could allow its user to see into the future. It isn’t until we discover that one of the ghosts is powering this machine is the spirit of his dead wife, Jean [hence the mother-less family] that things get..a little weird.

It becomes clear both to the characters, and the audience, that Arthur should take place as the house’s 13th ghost, because if he does; his sacrifice of pure love would combat all of the evil contained within the machine: therefore shutting it down – for good. I mean, I’m sorry.. pure love is the answer for demonic ghosts who are terrorizing a demon machine? I don’t know if I like that idea [morals are good, children..] or if I think it’s dumb. Does that realistically mean that the movie should be called Twelve Ghosts? I’m just saying; if there’s already 12 ghosts in this house, and Arthur has to “become” the 13th; wouldn’t that mean there’s only 12 at this exact moment in the film? Anyway. Let’s move away from that tidbit. Also, in case you haven’t seen the film, Cyrus is also revealed to be alive, having faked his death in order to lure Arthur to the house; and Kalina turns out to be his secret partner-in-crime! [and lover] It turns out that Cyrus has planned this whole thing, just so that Arthur will become the 13th ghost of the house. But wait! This isn’t going to stop the machine, but rather – to trigger it. Naturally, like all good villains, Cyrus ends up turning against his lover and has her crushed between two glass walls, [in all it’s bloody glory] claiming “greatness requires sacrifice.” Because, as we are learning today, to be “pure evil”; one of the prerequisites is being an asshole to your loved ones.

Aesthetically, The house looks great, spectacular even, and the art direction are very admirable for what they had. It’s just the fact that at times, that there is hardly any time to notice what’s going on in the background. But where the movie truly shines – at least in my opinion – is the ghosts themselves!

It’s not often you get a haunted house movie where the ones haunting are so diverse! From The Angry Princess to The Great Child, I just love that they’re all so differentOn the movie’s wiki page, there’s actual descriptions of each ghost; and how they became how they are. I also found myself to enjoy the idea of the glasses being the item that allows you to see the ghosts. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a new concept [cough – They Live – cough] but it gave the movie a more eerie feel; showing that without these “special glasses”, the ghosts could potentially be anywhere. Unfortunately, other than this and some of the casting choices, the movie isn’t that memorable. By the end of the movie, we see Arthur, who is visited by Jean‘s ghost. When all the ghosts disappear from the basement, [they responded to a tape-recorded summons played by Cyrus] Kathy and Bobby have been placed at the center of a set of spinning razor-sharp rings. Arthur and his Uncle are seen having a confrontation, which is interrupted by the sound of Maggie, who is seen trying to destroy the machine. She seems to do a fairly good job though, because the ghosts are seen released from their trance. All the ghosts except Jean immediately grab Cyrus, and toss him into the spinning rings. Dennis‘ ghost then appears, telling Arthur to go to his kids. Waiting for a break in the razor rings, Arthur jumps to save his children, making the leap without dying. wait, what? The house’s glass walls instantly shatter, releasing the spirits from their captivity. Finally, a peaceful-looking Jean lingers briefly to say her final goodbyes to her family, only to then depart with the all the other ghosts.

Of course, this is the part where I say whether or not I recommend the movie – and I do suggest this movie if you’re looking for a quick [and easy] horror movie; just don’t expect to be that terrified. There’s many better Haunted House films than Thir13en Ghosts out there. This one though, is a fun watch –  and best of all: you don’t really need to follow the story, because it doesn’t really have a good one. [a good number of plot holes!] If you do watch this movie, go in with a open mind, remember – it isn’t bad, but it really isn’t great.

So, with all this in mind; do you plan on seeing Thir13en Ghosts? If you already have seen it, what did you think about it? Worthwhile? Or completely a waste of time? Let me know in a comment or two! Also, even if I have the first few film reviews planned already, please let me know which movie[s] you want to see reviewed next! If you found yourself to enjoy review – and want to see more – then take a minute and follow me over on my Facebook page [it’s at over 120+ likes almost at 130!] By clicking that “like” button, you’ll see every post from warrenisweird the very moment it’s been posted online; as well as links to articles and pictures/videos that will not be featured here on the blog. Every “like” helps me a ton, giving me the ability to write more posts for you to read, so be sure to tell the horror enthusiast in your life to do the same, and share The Facebook Page with your family and friends! Join me tomorrow when I post weirdo’ween #02STAY TUNED!

just one of the many ghosts inside! Do you dare enter?

THANKS FOR READING.