Shocking Saturday: Troll Hunter

The week’s Shocking Saturday is not really a shocking film all round, and some would probably class it more as fantasy than horror, however I though that the plot was rather original and that it showed off the incredible special effects which made Cloverfield Spectacular.

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The film centres around a Norwegian college camera crew who are following a story of a hunter who is killing bears all over the country. After they finally track him down, and he allows them to experience first hand what he is actually doing, they realise that he is hunting something much larger, and much more mythological…trolls. However he is not the villain in all of this as he explains that is not his choice to kill them, it is just the orders which he has been given; to ensure the public don’t find out about them. The crew begin to capture everything they can on film so that they can show it to the world, however with the Wildlife Board on their tail at every turn and trying not to get eaten by trolls, that becomes quite a hard task.

As I said before, what was great about this found-footage film was how they put the trolls on to the screen. Instead of using cheap thrills like in Paranormal Activity, the film makers actually had to create the trolls using CGI; just as the monster was created Cloverfield. Although I do really love hand-held camera films that barely show you anything and let your imagination take control of your fears, with Troll Hunter you just need to let the film and the fun take control; don’t worry about the effects being amazing, because it is the ride of the story that you are on that you’ll enjoy the most.

The film is quite clever really as it mixes together some fresh ideas of trolls and some from ancient folklore. We get the facts which everyone knows; trolls turn to stone when exposed to sunlight and live under bridges. However the story also portrays the trolls as endangered animals themselves and has them being inspected by veterinarians; they are not made to come across as monsters as we were once led to believe but just dangerous creatures like lions or bears.

Troll Hunter takes its audience on a journey across the Norwegian landscape, and offers an original story line, some dedicated acting mixed in with a bit of light humour.

Not amazing but definitely enjoyable.

Tag Line: You’ll Believe It When You See It!

Horror Rating: (:-O) (:-O)

Star Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆

Devil’s Due Demon Baby Prank

The soon to be released demon seed themed horror film ‘Devil’s Due’ has been literally jumping off the screen recently. As the creators have been scaring passers-by in New York with an animatronic demon baby.

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The prank started off quite simple; a baby’s carriage was left unattended in a busy street. After a while an unsuspecting person would walk over to investigate and be greeted by a demon child jumping up in its pram, the reactions from some of the people are quite amusing. However it is what happens later in the video which makes this prank special.

Not only does the baby jump up, but the pram is remote-controlled and it begins to shoot off down the busy streets; knocking over signs and stalls as it goes. On top of all that the child starts spewing fake vomit from its mouth and raising its middle finger to the police. The video is underneath, give it a watch as I’m sure you will get a laugh out of it.

Devil’s Due centres around a couple who are thrilled when they find out that a baby is on the way when they return from their honeymoon. That is until certain things start to go a bit pear-shaped, and it seems as though the wife is getting ready to give birth to a demon. It looks as though the creators might be trying to create an up to date Rosemary’s Baby film, even though the Rosemary’s Baby TV show is in the works. The film doesn’t look too bad though, check out the trailer underneath.

Devil’s Due is released January 17th 2014

Shocking Saturday: The Fourth Kind

Most people have that one film which hits all your nerve endings and sends more shivers down your spine than anything else you have seen before or since. For me that film is the sci-fi/horror/documentary alien abduction themed film, The Fourth Kind.

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The film opens with an interview from the director of the film – Olatunde Osunsanmi – and the real Dr. Abigail Emily Tyler, who the film is based upon. As we proceed further we learn that Dr. Tyler’s husband was murdered a few months earlier, and she has decided to carry on his work. Which unfortunately consists of interviewing various town’s people from Nome, Alaska. They have all been suffering the same night terrors. Every night they will wake up and see an owl starring through the window at them, however after she puts them under hypnosis it becomes clear that it is not in fact an owl but something much more sinister. As Dr. Tyler gets deeper into what is happening in this isolated town, she begins to think that she is also connected, and that herself and her children are in danger. Not from who, but from what.

The film brings an amazing way of telling the story to the screen. Although most of it is made up of actors playing out the events that happened – with the talented Milla Jovovich as the lead protagonist – part of the film plays the archive (supposedly real) footage that Dr. Tyler collected while she was conducting her investigation right alongside the actors interpretation. This way of showing the story keeps you gripped as your eyes begin to dart back and forth between the two screens. What is included in these videos is quite disturbing at times – depending on what you believe, and will leave you thinking that you aren’t even safe in your own room, no matter where you live.

Of all the things in the horror genre which have been created to scare and shock its audiences, the one for me is definitely aliens. Give me slashers, blood, guts and make-up so realistic that you think you’re watching a snuff film any day. But as soon as you throw aliens in to the equation my arm hair will be standing straight up. What it is that gives me that feeling is that it’s a look in to the unknown, we don’t really know what is out there and what they are capable of doing. Humans may have searched parts of space and supposedly found no hard evidence as of yet – and I’m not saying that aliens have even visited Earth – but to say that we are the only life in the whole universe, with all of the galaxies and solar systems out there is quite an ignorant statement in my opinion. We have barely scraped the surface of space so we can’t debunk the theory that we are not alone.

With this film audiences can go either way, as I think it all depends on how open-minded the viewer is. There is always the possibility with films like this, that attempt to prove the footage is real, that they are complete hoaxes. If that is the case with The Fourth Kind then it is one of the best found-footage films I have ever seen, and if is not the case then I really don’t feel safe on Earth any more.

In the end what you believe is down to you.

Encounters:

First Kind – Sighting
Second Kind – Evidence
Third Kind – Contact
Fourth Kind – Abduction

Tag Line: There Are Four Kinds Of Alien Encounters. The Fourth Kind Is Abduction.

Horror Rating: (:-O) (:-O) (:-O) (:-O)

Star Rating:

We Interrupt This Programme…

Special Bulletin!

The Amityville Horror Remake

One of the most terrifying true crime stories is getting remade once again. In 1974 Ronald DeFeo Jr. shot his six family members in their beds whilst they were sleeping. Upon being questioned by the police he revealed that the devil had told him to commit the terrible murders. In 1975 the Lutz family moved into the house, but after 28 days fled claiming that they had been terrorized by the paranormal. What a great event for a horror film, and that is why so many films have since spawned from it. But the two which most people remember are the original in 1979, and the remake of it in 2005 which starred Ryan Reynolds and Melissa George. In my opinion, both were great.

Now Hollywood feel that it is time for another remake. Originally named The Amityville Horror: The Lost Tapes – primarily using a found footage take on the story – and set for an early 2014 release, that has now changed. It is now being released in 2015 and the title has been cut down to just Amityville. Not much is known about the film at the moment, but due to the creators scraping their hand-held camera theme, it is apparent that they do not know what they want to do with it. It may just end up being another remake of the original. Only time will tell.

Estimated Release: 2nd January 2015

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Dead Snow: Red vs Dead

Any fans of the zombie genre will most likely have seen the 2009 Norwegian horror ‘Dead Snow’. The film was centred around the legend that at the end of the second world war, on realising their impending doom, Nazis in Oksfjord, Norway looted the entire town; but were driven to the freezing mountains by villagers. Where they were believed to have perished. Unfortunately for 7 medical students staying in a remote cabin near the location, the Nazis never wanted to give up their treasure. So after the group find a box of valuables they think it is a time for celebration, that is until Nazi zombies begin to rise from the grave and attack the group. Although the film wasn’t spectacular, it was still very enjoyable and brought a different twist to the genre. It has since become a cult favourite, so fans should be excited to hear that there is a sequel on the way, ‘Dead Snow: Red vs Dead’.

The sequel is going to carry on from where the first film left off, with the sole survivor of the zombie horde’s attack. He will once again be battling against the undead in an attempt to survive, but this time he will be assisted by a zombie killing squad. Let’s hope it is just as bloody gory as the first. The trailer for Dead Snow: Red vs Dead is below.

Estimated Release: 14th February 2014

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Rosemary’s Baby TV Show

These days Hollywood seems to all be about taking horror films and turning them into a television series. Recently there has been TV series’ made from: From Dusk ’till Dawn, Psycho (Bates Motel) and Silence of the Lambs (Hannibal). Now another is getting remade into a mini-series. The Roman Polanski directed 1968 classic horror Rosemary’s Baby; which once terrified audiences is being rebooted in the hope that it will terrify once again. At the helm of the pregnant protagonist, who is paranoid that a satanic cult is attacking her, is actress Zoe Saldana (Avatar/Star Trek/The Losers); she is taking over the role from Mia Farrow who portrayed Rosemary in the original. At the moment it seems as though – like with the From Dusk ’till Dawn series – it will just play out an extended version of the film.

Estimated Release: 2014

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Shocking Saturday: Salo or 120 Days of Sodom

Just like A Serbian Film, Salo is another horrific exploitation film that doesn’t require an acquired taste to watch, just a very strong stomach. The 1975 flick is a film that some may describe as a snuff film, but others would argue is a piece of Italian artwork.

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We are taken on a journey of violence, humiliation and extreme, depraved sexual urges. Set in the fascism controlled Salo, Italy in 1944, the film opens with four men of power – the President, the Bishop, the Duke and the Magistrate – and shows them agreeing to marry each others daughters. However there are many barbaric, ritualistic events which must take place before they can go through with the weddings. The actual reason why they are committing these atrocities is never really explained, just that they are taking inspiration from Dante’s Inferno. Nine male and nine female teenagers are kidnapped, taken to a remote mansion and are forced to act out the men of power’s most vile sexual fantasies on themselves and others. These include rape, violence and the swallowing of excrement. As the film plays out we are shown various days at the mansion, where the teenagers are tortured and forced to commit unspeakable acts against their will. All for the thrill of the four leaders. The ritual goes on for 120 days, after which the ones who are deemed worthy are spared, and the rest are, as the Bishop says “killed 1000 times over”.

Exploitation films such as Salo are always said to have an underlining meaning behind them, which the directors – in this case Pier Paolo Pasolini – are trying to get across to the audience, even if that meaning is buried underneath many layers of violence and sexual torture. Although hard to watch Salo has been praised for exploring various topics, such as: fascism, abuse of power, sadism and political corruption.

The Italians have always had a way with violence and exploitation in cinema, some of the best were the movies which were put on to the ‘Video Nasties’ list. Films like Zombie Flesh Eaters and Cannibal Holocaust put the country on the map for violent cinema as the make-up effects were just superb and so realistic. Salo still uses violence as one of its many shocking aspects, but attempts to look at the desires of a deviant sexual nature that society would rather leave hidden under the rug. By the end of the film you will be questioning to yourself whether the film was worth the watch just to discover the hidden meaning.

If you do decide to pluck up the courage to watch Salo, I warn you…it is not for the faint-hearted.

Tag Line: The Final Vision Of A Controversial Filmmaker.

Horror Rating: (:-O) (:-O) (:-O) (:-O) (:-O)

Star Rating:

What Are You Scared Of?

What is it about horror films that scares us? It could be a number of things, or it could just be one element of the film. Whether or not you will admit to it, there will have been a film that has made you feel uncomfortable whilst you have been watching it. It could be the dialogue, the characters, the setting, the effects or the story line. While some films will scare certain people, others will not be so terrified by them. The tone of the film and what is in it is what determines who will get scared by it. I think that there are at least 5 different categories in horror and everyone falls in to one of them. Whether you like it or not, there is one film out there that will have had the hairs on the back of your neck stand up as the cold chills ride themselves up your spine.

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Jump Scares

We have all been there, you have just sit down to watch a horror film and as you begin to get into the story and know the characters there comes a loud bang and the appearance of the antagonist; which is usually followed by your arms flailing in the air and your vocal chords letting out a loud, screeching yelping noise. You have just been the victim of a jump scare. They are one of the oldest types of scares from horror films and generally are given when the antagonist, another character or an animal jumps out onto the protagonists. However after so many horror films have used them through the years, the building music followed by total silence and then a big bang has become a cliché. Therefore they have lost some of the ‘oompf’ which used to terrify audiences.

Example: The Descent

 

Gore

This aspect of horror films has been constantly getting improved on throughout the years (unless they decide to use CGI) which means bad news for anyone who is squeamish around the sight of blood, disembowelment or limbs being pulled apart. Apart from affecting the squeamish, gory films may also be so effective because if is done well it can make the film and the scenes which are depicted so much more realistic to the viewer. Sometimes gore can improve a film when the plot is lacking a bit; the make-up effects can keep you gripped throughout. For example with the 1979 film Zombie Flesh Eaters, it is an iconic film in the horror genre; not so much for the story as it is for its exceptional make-up work on its characters. I have seen a lot of gory horror films in my time, but the effects still astonish me, and on more than one occasion have made me clench my teeth together and make a disgusted face.

Example: Hostel

 

Creepiness

This is one of my favourite elements of horror films. It is great when you see a film that just sets the tone of the plot so well, that it can have you shaking just from listening to the dialogue of the characters. Like the imagination element creepiness is used best when not much of the antagonist is seen on camera, but just snippets or the feeling that an evil force is lurking nearby. What is great about the creepy aspect is that film makers can use nearly every part of their movie to give you that creepy feeling. Diegetic/non-diegetic sounds, lighting, settings and even silence can be used to immerse the audience into that state of them being in danger from a deadly presence. A great example of this is M. Night. Shyamalan’s Signs. In this personal favourite of mine Shyamalan uses all of these aspects to give a creepy notion throughout the entire film. Although you could argue that it was slightly ruined with the CGI ending, there is no doubt that you constantly feel as though the characters are being watched, something which is rubbed off onto the audience.

Example: Signs

 

Our Own Fears

Probably the most obvious element of a horror film scaring a viewer is if they watch one that uses something they are scared of in their daily lives. For example with me it would be aliens and therefore The Fourth Kind brought the heebie jeebies to the surface. Other examples could include REC for a fear of disease, It for a fear of clowns, Ju-On: The Grudge for a fear of ghosts and Buried for a fear of small spaces. It just all depends on what you are scared of because film makers will have thought about what scares people when they aren’t watching films and will use that idea to make a movie which will probably force the viewer to be even more terrified of their fear.

Examples:  The Fourth Kind/It/REC/Ju-On: The Grudge/Buried

 

Imagination

Your imagination might be thought of as a fantasy place where you can create whatever you want and do whatever you want. However, your imagination is also the doorway to the deepest, darkest fears which lurk inside your head. They are just waiting for you to turn off that light or walk down that dark alleyway so that they can unleash whatever it is that scares you the most. I think that this element is quite possibly the best one to use for a horror film. As well as it delivering the creepy factor and playing on your own fears, it gives the audience the ability to form the idea of the antagonist themselves. Thus making them release their inner fears and project them into the film. Films which use this factor generally do not show the villain at all, or if they do it will only be a slight glimpse. Therefore they use suspense to their advantage. If the film makers can keep the suspense at a high throughout most of the film then that is great, but ending the film on a high without showing the ‘bad guy’…now there is the real challenge.

Examples: The Blair Witch Project/Atrocious/Paranormal Activity

Let me know what it is in horror films which scares you and why.