The Month of Spooks 2016 roundup

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Hello and greetings, you guys. Well, it’s finally over. It is now November and the Month of Spooks has come to an end. I had a lot of fun doing it, and I am so grateful for all the love and support you all showed me during those 31 days. From likes, to nice comments… it has just been great. Now, since it’s all done I have decided to do a little roundup of everything Month of Spooks. I’m gonna start by listing everything I did, and then… I will share with you the stuff that some other awesome people did for me during it. So here we go!

My posts (only briefly listed, since I made quite a few). 

Movie Review: Resident Evil: Degeneration
My Favorite Scenes: Nightmare Before Christmas – This is Halloween
Series Review: Harper’s Island
Movie Review: Crimson Peak
Movie Review: Late Phases
Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Movie Review: It Follows
Great Music #20
Movie Review: Resident Evil Damnation
Movie Review: The Crow
Some Scary Characters

So those were the posts that I myself did for the Month of Spooks. 11… which I’m pretty sure is more than I did last year when I truly half-assed it. But enough of that. Let’s talk about the posts done over on some other blogs by some cool people who aren’t me.

Zoë (The Sporadic Chronicles of a Beginner Blogger)
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First up we have Zoë, who also happens to be the first out of anyone to sign up/volunteer for this. She runs the badass blog which you see the title for at the top of this slot (linked in said title). And I was of course happy that she wanted to join because she’s awesome. So I was of course highly anticipating her post… so let’s talk about it.

Month of Spooks 2016: Top Ten Scream Deaths

Since I gave Zoë (and my other spookers) free reign with what they could do for Month of Spooks, as long as it was within the horror genre, I was genuinely interested in what would get cooked up. So Zoë made a list of the ten best deaths from the “Scream” movies, which means that if you haven’t seen the movies but want to… this list spoils pretty much all of them (duh). But I’m just gonna say that it was an entertaining read and I was not disappointed. It’s a great post… awesome job, Zoë!

Keith (Keithlovesmovies)
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Keith, a person who loves movies, was another person who was kind enough to join in on the “fun”. His blog (linked in the title of this slot) is another one that I really like. It’s fun, it has great reviews, and features a lot of guest posts on there. It’s always fun to see what comes out from his site. Now his approach to the Month of Spooks was a little different from Zoë… mainly in that he gave us two posts instead of one. Also he did reviews instead of lists. So let’s talk a little about them.

New Game (Ouija: Origin of Evil Review)

So for the first of his two posts he gave us a review of “Ouija: Origin of Evil”, the recently released movie directed by Mike Flanagan. Firstly, if it’s pronouneed “Ouijee”, don’t spell it “Ouija”. Secondly, Keith didn’t disappoint. I always enjoy reading his reviews, and this one was no different. It’s a solid review that also happen to fly under the Month of Spooks banner. And apparently, the movie was good… despite it being a prequel(?) to a fucking awful movie that came out two years ago.

Madea vs. Halloween (Boo! A Madea Halloween Review)

So in his second review, Keith decided to tackle another recently released movie… that is part of a clichéd and unfunny franchise directed by and starring Tyler Perry. And Keith once again gave us a solid review where he in the end said he liked the movie… Yeah, I’ll take the last few words of that sentence makes no damn sense for 200, Alex.

The Craggus (What the Craggus Saw)
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So for the third and final contestant(?) we have the Craggus, AKA… The Craggus. Since this individual’s true identity isn’t as well known as with the previous two people, this person will simply be known as the Craggus, or Craggy as I sometimes call him. Fun fact: He was actually the one that created that logo you see at the top of this post, so I am very grateful to him for being kind enough to do that. So thank you, Craggy. And just like Keith, he gave us two posts.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do the Timewarp Again (2016) #MonthOfSpooks review

So here we have a review of the TV remake of “Rocky Horror PIcture Show”. And with this we get a very solid post from Craggy where he baisclaly tells is that it’s not that great. Kind of meh… really meh. 5 of 10 levels of meh. That’s not me being funny, that’s what the post says. Don’t trust me? Read it!

Halloween (1979) #MonthOfSpooks Review

So for his second (and final) post, Craggy decided to review the horror classic that inspired so many people… John Carpenter’s “Halloween”. Aparently he hadn’t seen the movie before, which is a little bit of a shame, but I’m happy that he finally saw it and even gave us the review… on Halloween. It’s another great post from a great writer.

So that’s it, those were all the posts that were related to the Month of Spooks… except for my announcement post, but that doesn’t count. And once again I would like to thank Zoë, Keith, and the Craggus for joining in on my dumb shenanigans… you three are awesome! And of course, thank you to anyone who has continued reading my shit throughout the month… you are all awesome!
Have a good one!

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Some Scary Characters

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With it being Halloween, AKA the end of the Month of Spooks, I felt that I had to something special for the blog. Sure, I could’ve done a review of John Carpenter’s “Halloween”, but that would have been a bit of a cliché move on my part. So I started thinking… how about a list? I mean, I haven’t done a list in a while, so now is a good a time as any. Some of you might be asking “BUT MARKUUUUUS… Why not make it a list about your favorite horror movies?”. Honestly… I feel like I haven’t seen enough horror movies to really be able to make a list like that any feel good about it. So instead I opted to do something that I’ve been thinking a little bit about for a while… how about a list of characters/creatures from fiction that I find scary? And then I decided to actually do it. So let’s do it… after the rules.

Rule #1: This is my list, so no bitching allowed. These are things I find scary in some way. If you don’t find any of these scary… then that’s your thing. These are just my opinions in here, not what I think everyone should think. So no bitching… got it!?

Rule #2: This list is not really ranked, so don’t take it as me thinking one of the things on this list is scarier than the other… they all creep me out in some way, so I will not really rank ’em. I also don’t rank them because I might make another list like this in the future with even more shit that scares me.

Rule #3: I will only include one thing from each intellectual property. So if a piece of fiction mentioned in this thing has more than one scary creature, I will only mention one of them.

So that’s about it for the rules. And while bitching isn’t allowed here, I do encourage discussion. Maybe share some characters you think are scary in the comments. With that said, let’s get into it.
Ladies and gentlemen… Some Scary Characters.

Freddy Krueger – Nightmare on Elm Street
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Let’s get one of the most popular ones out of the way first. Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) was a child killer who got burned alive by a mob of angry parents, and now he kills people in their dreams. Firstly, child killer… that shit is just awful and terrifying. Secondly, he kills you when you’re sleeping, he’ll make sure you’ll never wake. Sadistic christmas songs aside, the fact that he kills you in your dreams, where anything can happen, that is a very creative and scary thing. And Freddy is a very scary character… at least in the original movie, in the sequels he became more of a joke. But a lot of why he was so great was because of Robert Englund’s pitch-perfect performance, he was a perfect choice for Freddy. And to give credit where credit is due, even though the remake was really bad, I thought the casting of Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy was a really good one. What am I trying to say with all this? Freddy is an awesome and scary villain.

Frank – Donnie Darko
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Next up is the creepy fucking giant man-bun from the 2001 mindfucker “Donnie Darko”. Basic plot is that Donnie (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a really weird teenager and he starts seeing a giant bunny named Frank that makes Donnie do some shady shit. Let’s put it like this, the movie is awesome and you should see it if you haven’t. And now we get to Frank, a fucking weird giant bunny (or rabbit) that has a scary design and a creepy voice. Yeah that’s about it… that’s why I think he’s scary.

Ruvik – The Evil Within
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Hey look, it’s Jackie Earle Haley again! From critically acclaimed video game director Shinji Mikami comes “The Evil Within”, a survival horror game where you as Detective Sebastian Castellanos (Anson Mount) investigates a gruesome mass murder and then gets dragged into some mind-bending bullshit. As you go through the game you encounter various creepy and disgusting creatues. But none of them had as much of an effect as Ruvik. And my comment earlier about it being Jackie Earle Haley was serious, he really voiced the character. So why did I pick Ruvik to put on this list? Well, he is basically the main reason as to why the plot happens. And honestly, that’s not exactly why I chose him for this list. Mild spoilers coming for the game. In chapter 9 (titled “The Cruelest Intentions”) you enter a creepy mansion. In front of you there is a big and weird door that you need to get open. If you look closely you will see that there are cables going from the door to various doors in the foyer. So of course you follow these cables into the rooms. Now the scary stuff comes. As you enter any of these rooms (timing varies), Ruvik will appear. First instinct, shoot the fucker… doesn’t work. He walks towards you, and if he cathes you he will kill you. All you can do is run away from him (always keep your eyes on him), until he disappears after about 30 seconds. And that’s the scary thing, an unstoppable thing that just walks after you. I find that scary. Seriously, whenever I get to that part of the game I lock up because I don’t want Ruvik to appear. But sometimes you have to bite the bullet to progress. And he will appear 3 times throughout… which is terrifying. So yeah… that’s why Ruvik is on the list. And on a quick sidenote: If you want a pretty cool game to play, I do recommend “The Evil Within”.

The Thing – The Thing
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The titular thing from John Carpenter’s sci-fi/horror masterpiece is fucking terrifying. It’s also one of the most clever plot devices ever. The creature can take the shape of anyone, so there’s constant mistrust and tension between the characters, which makes for a very suspenseful and awesome movie. But when the creature decides to finally show itself as a monstrous being, it is disgusting and creepy and Rob Bottin’s effects are some of the best ever put to film. I don’t think I need to say much here since it’s such a well known and beloved film.

John Doe – Se7en
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Okay, I’m not even gonna show a picture of this one in case someone reading this haven’t seen “Se7en” yet… which you should, damn it. David Fincher’s “Se7en” is honestly one of my personal favorites… definitely one of my top ten. For those that don’t know, detectives Mills (Brad Pitt) and Somerset (Morgan Freeman) investigates a series of gruesome murders that all seem to be related to the seven deadly sins in some way. And the reasons as to why I picked John Doe for this list is because he is a highly killer who works in secret, and isn’t even seen until the last third of the movie. The stuff he does to his victims… horrifying. And when you do see him later on, he’s still scary, with a calm and menacing demeanor and a perfectly calculated plan. Really, a killer who’s got every step of his plan worked out is just scary to me, especially when their plans involve some truly horrifying and awful stuff.

Dementors – Harry Potter
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The Dementors are something I talked about fairly recently in my review of “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” (#ShamelessPlug). They are dark creatures with a scary design and with no real sympathy for anyone or anything. Seeing one in the movie? Scary. Being chased by one in the video game while trying to solve a puzzle… fucking terrifying. Really, these things are just horrible. I’m just gonna leave you with a quote from the “Prisoner of Azkaban” novel. “Dementors are among the foulest creatures that walk this earth. They infest the darkest, filthiest places, they glory in decay and despair, they drain peace, hope, and happiness out of the air around them. Even Muggles feel their presence, though they can’t see them. Get too near a Dementor and every good feeling, every happy memory will be sucked out of you. If it can, the Dementor will feed on you long enough to reduce you to something like itself — soul-less and evil. You’ll be left with nothing but the worst experiences of your life.”

Regenerator – Resident Evil 4
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I know, the graphics on that thing don’t look too scary from where you’re sitting right now… but trust me, these fuckers are the stuff of nightmares! Agent Leon Kennedy (Paul Mercier) gets sent to Spain to find the President’s kidnapped daughter. While there he encounters some dark and disturbing stuff. At first, “Resident Evil 4” only feels like a very tense action-thriller, at least for me. I understand if someone might find most of it scary, but I didn’t exactly feel those spooks myself. Then we get a part pretty late in the game. You walk around some strange lab underground, and what do you find there? Infected people… and motherfucking Regenerators. These things… god. When you first encounter them, you think that it’s just as simple as shooting them… like pretty much all other enemies… but that is not the case here. Sure, you can blow off it’s limbs, but that shit will just grow back (hence the name). The only ways you can kill them is with either the help of a special scope you find later, or with a rocket launcher (very rare and kind of expensive). So all you can do really is run. Maybe blow off the legs to slow them down, but you can’t beat them. And the sounds they make, good fucking grief. It’s a weird breathing noise that scares me every time I hear it. And if a Regenerator gets hold of you, it will take away your health faster than you can say “Oklahoma”. Another thing about them is that there are two versions of them; the “normal” one (not normal in the eyes of me or god or anyone), and the “Iron Maiden” version. And no, that version doesn’t have excellent taste in music… that version has huge spikes coming out of it to stab the ever-living shit out of you. I hate these guys… they are terrifying. Sidenote: “Resident Evil 4” is an amazing game, go play it.

Xenomorph – Alien
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This is the final one that I will put on the list. Can’t be here too long with the listing. But I think you all can agree that the Xenomorph from Ridley Scott’s “Alien” is really scary. A big, phallic, alien that sneaks on board a ship and then proceeds to stalk the crew and kill everyone… seriously, that is scary. The design of it (done by the brilliant H.R. Giger) is like something you’d see in your nightmares. And many people agree that it is horrifying, evidenced by it’s long-running popularity. From the OG movies, to the “AvP” bullshit, to the critically acclaimed game “Alien: Isolation”. This thing has gotten stuck in people’s minds, and I don’t think it will get out anytime soon.

So what do you think? Do you find any of these scary? And what are some scary characters/creatures that you get spooked by that I didn’t include? Seriously, I’d really love to hear from you guys!
Have a good one and Happy fuckin’ Halloween!

 

Movie Review: The Crow (1994)

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With it being October 30th, AKA mischief night it was more or less mandatory that I would have to watch/review this movie. So here we go… a movie that isn’t horror but still kind of fits into the Month of Spooks!

Ladies and gents… “The Crow”.

Eric Draven (Brandon Lee, R.I.P) is a rock musician. He’s also been dead for one year. But a crow has resurrected him so he can get revenge on the gang that killed both him and his fiancée (Sofia Shinas). And that’s the basic premise for the movie, a revenge story. But it’s not necessarily executed in such a simple way, because it is in fact a surprisingly layered tale of love and justice. It’s a tightly told story  that presents an interesting world while also having some genuinely good emotion behind it.

The characters in the movie are all colorful, interesting, and entertaining. Eric Draven as a character, you understand his thought process, it’s easy to get behind him. He wants justice for what happened to him and his loved one. And Brandon Lee was great in the role, perfectly playing this character in way that’s neither too serious nor silly. He’s genuinely great. Ernie Hudson is also in this movie, playing a cop who was part of the investigation of Eric Draven and his fiancée’s murder, but now serves as a normal street cop. And he is so fun in the role, playing this cool cop who is a bit of a comic relief without ruining the tone of the movie. We also get Rochelle Davis as a young girl named Sarah, who is a friend of Draven. And she was a really entertaining and interesting character that really added something to the movie. Then we also get some really good supporting performances from people like Michael Wincott, David Patrick Kelly, and Tony Todd.

The score for the movie was composed by Graeme Revell and it is some truly haunting stuff. I’m not saying that it’s scary, but it’s definitely giving me the chills. And it perfectly fits the dark and seedy tone of the movie. There are also a lot of songs in the soundtrack by bands like Nine Inch Nails, Rage Against the Machine, The Cure, and Stone Temple Pilots. And those tracks work pretty well for the movie too.

This movie is based on the comic series by James O’Barr, and I haven’t read the comic so I can’t really tell you if this movie is accurate to it or not… sorry. What I can tell you however is that Alex Proyas did a great job directing this movie, perfectly bringing life to this dark world. What I also really enjoyed about it is that it really looks like a comic book most of the time. Not in the shit way that Ang Lee’s “Hulk” did, but in a way that made me go “This really feels like something from a comic book”. And of course, we can’t get through this review without mentioning how Brandon Lee tragically died on the set of the movie due to a faulty prop gun. Yeah… that happened. And he had very little stuff left to film for the movie, so they apparently had to do some ground-breaking CGI compositing where they took Lee’s face and added it onto his stunt double. Now, if this is true then holy motherfucking shit… I was looking for that stuff (because I had heard about it prior to seeing the film) and I honestly couldn’t tell what was the CG compositing. That’s some impressive shit for 1993/1994. Speaking of cool stuff, the action scenes are pretty badass… just sayin’.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has n 82% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 71/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,6/10.

“The Crow” is a very impressive movie, with a great plot, interesting characters, great acting, great music, great directing, and some awesome effects stuff. Time for my final score. *Crow sound*. My final score for “The Crow” is a 9,85/10. This of course means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
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My review of “The Crow” is now completed.

I got nothing clever to put here…

Movie Review: Resident Evil: Damnation (2012)

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Guys… it’s another Month of Spooks review. And it also happens to be for a sequel to the first movie I reviewed for the Month of Spooks this year… holy shit. So let’s just get into it!

Ladies and gentlemen… “Resident Evil: Damnation”.

Leon Kennedy (Matthew Mercer) is back. But this time he has traveled to an eastern European country to try to destroy a bunch of biological weapons being used over there. While there he meets with resistance fighters Buddy (Dave Wittenberg) and JD (Val Tasso), two men who may not trust Leon, but still more or less works with him to stop the bad shit. And that is a pretty basic plot that still holds up thanks to some interesting little nuances throughout combined with really good pacing. Sure, this isn’t some Oscar worthy storytelling by any means, but it still really works as an interesting and entertaining plot with good pacing.

The characters in the movie are all pretty interesting. Leon of course, being a main character since “Resident Evil 2” is of course as great as ever, even if he has some cheesy lines. But Matthew Mercer delivers them so well that I simply enjoy hearing the lines. But I’m also a “Resi” fan, so I expect there to be cheesy writing that gives me a dumb smile. But Matthew Mercer is genuinely great in the role, as the cool and experienced agent. Dave Wittenberg and Val Tasso are really good in the movie as their respective characters (Buddy and JD), even if their Slavic accents fluctuate in quality a bit. We also got Courtenay Taylor as legendary “Resi” character Ada Wong and she is great in the role… not much to say about that really. The actors in the movie do very well.

The music in the movie was composed by Rei Kondoh and Shusaku Uchiyama and I think that it was really good. It wasn’t really groundbreaking in any sense, but it fit the movie very well and made a lot of scenes even more exciting. And the end credits song “Carry On” by Anna Tsuchiya was pretty good as well. So this movie had some good music!

Since this movie is animated (like the previous one), I guess I should talk about the animation. So how is it? Pretty fucking great. The animation has increased in quality significantly since “Degeneration”. Facial movements are less stiff and look pretty great. And the hair on the characters looks fantastic. Body movement has also increased in quality, now flowing much more organically. The action scenes look terrific, and are very exciting. I’ll also mention that if you enjoy blood and gore in movies, then I think you’ll appreciate this one… because we get that stuff in here.

It’s difficult to see how this movie has been received because it barely exists on the sites I use for this section. But at least it exists on imdb.com with a score of 6,5/10.

“Resident Evil: Damnation” is one of those rare sequels that somehow surpasses it’s predecessor. With an interesting story, good characters, really good acting, really good music, fantastic animation, great action, and great pacing. Time for my final score. *Cough*. My final score for “Resident Evil: Damnation” is a 9,77/10. So it of course gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
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My review of “Resident Evil: Damnation” is now completed.

Let’s hope next year’s “Resident Evil: Vendetta” turns out to be as good…

Great Music #20

Hello guys, I hope you’re all doing well. So I haven’t done a post like this since mid-September, so I felt like I had to done one now. So let’s talk about music.

I hear you asking “BUT MARKUS… How can you make a post about music during the Month of Spooks?”. Well, it’s simple. Take a song (or at least music video) that have something related to spooky stuff. And what I have picked today is pretty much that. Now, I have made my love of Metallica very clear on this blog… and my twitter (#ShamelessPlug) feed… and my instagram (#ShamelessPlug) feed… and in real life.  So don’t be surprised that I picked a song by them to put here. Now, most Metallica fans might assume that I’d go with “Enter Sandman”, which is a fantastic song with a really creepy video… but that’s not what I’m going with today, though I do still highly recommend it. No, the song we’re going with “Until it Sleeps”, a song about dark themes. But the main reason why I chose it was because of the music video. It features dark, surreal, and downright creepy imagery. From religious stuff, to snakes, to death… it’s some creepy shit. And the song in itself is pretty great, I’d even say that it’s one of the band’s most underappreciated songs. So that is why I chose it. A great song for Month of Spooks.
Have a good one and enjoy!

Movie Review: It Follows (2015)

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Month of Spooks still going strong! So let’s just get into it!

Ladies and gentlemen… “It Follows”.

Jay (Maika Monroe) is a young woman. And one night she goes on a date with a guy, and they end up having sex. However it’s not just pleasure in all of this, since she now has been infected with a sexually transmitted demon that will follow her wherever she goes until it kills her. So Jay is now trying to survive with the help of her friends. And that is actually one of the most original and interesting ideas for any horror movie I’ve ever seen. And I thought that it was presented in an interesting and entertaining way. Not perfectly, mind you… but definitely really well. And whast I mean by that is that there were flaws narratively speaking, with plenty of inconsitencies and weird tropes throughout the movie. For example: There are rules to the STDemon, such as that it always walks towards whoever was infected last. WALK. However there are several instances in the movie where that rule seem to be broken. And then there are also weird tropes from the 70s and 80s in the movie that are dumb and should not come back, ever. So the plot is not perfect, but definitely really good. There are problems, but they don’t make the plot immediately bad… just flawed.

The characters in this movie are mostly disposable. I didn’t really care about any of them, execpt for the main girl, Jay. Though to be fair, she’s the only one with an STDemon coming after her. But she was honestly the only one I cared about. And Maika Monroe did a really good job with her performance, playing a scared and vulnerable young woman who really never wanted any of this shit to begin with. The rest of the actors in the movie range from meh to good. I am glad that they went with unknowns for pretty much every role in the movie, even if most of the performances are less than impressive.

While it sounds like I’ve bitched and moaned about everything prior to this part, here comes some actual praise.  The music (composed by Disasterpeace) in the movie is fucking amazing. The score is very reminiscent of stuff you would hear from older horror stuff, with a focus on the synth, Of course there are other thingsh eard too, but the synth was the real standout. What I also like is that the music helped build the tension throughout the movie, adding to the already uneasy feeling of it all.

This movie was directed by David Robert Mitchell and I think he did a really good job. The way he directs the movie makes it very tense and makes you doubt everyone you see in the movie. Anytime I saw someone walk in the background I thought “Is that IT… Is that IT?”. There wasn’t ever really a scary moment for me in the movie, which makes me wonder what people were thinking when they said “Scariest movie of the 21st century!”. It was definitely tense and suspenseful, but scary… no. But hey, at least the cinematography looked great.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 97% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 83/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,9/10.

“It Follows” is not a bad movie by any stretch. However it is severely overhyped. But it has a good story, okay characters, good acting, great music, great directing, and great cinematography. However it is dragged down a bit by flaws in the plot and mediocre characterization. Time for my final score. *Boo*. My final score for “It Follows” is an 8,55/10. It’s not perfect, but it’s still worth buying.
Worth buying

My review of “It Follows” is now completed.

There are plenty of questions one can ask about this movie, most of them are related to sexual acts…

Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)

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So now we’re moving forward in my series of reviews leading up to “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”. So let’s stop with this intro and just get into it!

Ladies and gentlemen… “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”!

After having blown his horrible uncle’s horrible sister into a human balloon, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) goes back to Hogwarts. But everyone in the wizarding world is a bit on edge at the moment, because convicted killer Sirius Black (Gary Oldman) has somehow escaped from Azkaban prison and is presumably out and about to find Harry and do somethign terrible. And this of course also brings out the Dementors, the guardians of Azkaban. And from that we get a plot that further develops this world that’s been built up over the previous two movies, and gives us even more knowledge on the pasts of everyone. There are some truly interesting developments going on here that truly adds layers of the already established world, while also giving us a compelling stand-alone mystery. And I absolutely loved it. It was invested the whole way through thanks to those great developments and the overall great pacing of the movie.

The characters in the movie are just as great as in the previous movies, if maybe even better. With all the revelations happening we see Harry developing even more as a character, as he no longer takes any shit from anyone. And Daniel Radcliffe’s performance in the movie is truly great, with him having to show a lot of different emotions throughout the story. Rupert Grint is great, Emma Watson’s great, Alan Rickman (R.I.P) is great. Basically, any returning cast member is great. So let’s talk about some new additions, such as Michael Gambon now playing Dumbledore instead of Richard Harris (R.I.P). And I honestly think he does a really good job here, probably even surpassing Harris. Then we also have David Thewlis as Remus Lupin, the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. And he does a great job too. Gary Oldman as Sirius… fantastic, but there could never be any doubt about that. It’s Gary fucking Oldman. Every actor in this movie does a great job!

The one and only John WIlliams once again provided the score, and it might the best so far. Some of the tracks create the same level of inspiring awe that could be gathered from the scores of the previous two movies, but then we also have some tracks that are outright chilling and haunting. Don’t believe me? Listen to the track “Apparition on the Train” and tell that it’s not a chilling piece of music. Yeah, the music in this one is fucking fantastic.

This is the first “Harry Potter” movie not directed by Chris Columbus (still not trying to rediscover America), instead the reins were handed over to Alfonso Cuarón. And while I thought Columbus did a really good job, Cuarón knocked it out of the god damn park! This is a magnificently directed movie, giving us some real eye candy. For example: Throughout the movie we get some of Cuarón’s signature single-take shots, which look great. Combining his direction with the editing of hte movie also makes it really suspenseful, and even a bit scary. Not only are the designs of the Dementors scary, but the way that some scenes play out/are directed actually kind of scared me. The imagery presented combined with editing, sound effects, and music made for a tense and kind of scary watch. So this can technically be put in the Month of Spooks. Two birds, one stone. And of course, the visual effects in the movie are absolutely terrific, perfectly holding up 12 years later… holy shit, this movie is 12 years old!

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 91% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 82/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,8/10. The movie was also nominated for 2 Oscars in the categories of Best Original Score and Best Visual Effects. 

“Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” is one of those rare cases where the third movie in a series happens to be better than the first two. It has a fantastic story, great characters, great acting, fantastic music, fantastic directing, and great visual effects. Time for my final score. *EXPECTO PATRONUM!*. My final score for “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” is a 9,90/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
seal-of-approval

My review of “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” is now completed.

It’s a shame Cuarón didn’t diect any more HP movies…

Movie Review: Late Phases (2014)

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We have covered a few different horror topics here with the Month of Spooks. We have covered zombies, spooky animation, murders on an island, slashers(Thank Zoë!), and haunted houses. So I guess it’s time to move on to something different… like werewolves.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Late Phases”.

Ambrose McKinley (Nick Damici) is an old, blind, war veteran who just moved into a retirement community. But the peace is very suddenly broken when his neighbor gets killed by a werewolf. So now Ambrose has one month to prepare for the next attack from the beast. I know… this sounds really dumb. But trust me, the plot here is surprisingly well handled. What we have here is a very unusual horror movie. It’s a slow-burning drama about this lonely man, who happens to inhabit the same world as a werewolf. I was genuinely surprised at how invested I was in the plot, I really wanted to see what happened next and how this bitter, blind, man was handling everything in his life. It really is a compelling plot.

The characters in the movie are all pretty interesting. Sure, some get less time than others when it comes to screen time, but they all have some kind of purpose in the grand scheme of things. Nick Damici is pretty damn great as Ambrose, playing him as this bitter, broken, man who has a bit of a rough relationship with his son. Speaking of which, his son is played by Ethan Embry who does a really good job in the movie too. You can tell that the relationship between Damici’s and Embry’s characters isn’t the best, which adds a lot to the drama. Really helps make these characters more compelling and interesting. Then we also get some really good supporting performances from people like Lance Guest, Tom Noonan, and Tina Louise (to only mention a few).

The original score was composed by Wojciech Golczewski and I think that it was really good. It really worked in the movie, somehow enhancing a lot of the scenes it was used in. Either helping to add emotion or tension to the scene. The score is haunting and definitely helped increase the quality of the movie.

This movie was directed by Spanish director Adrián García Bogliano, and I think he did a great job directing this, making a very tightly directed movie that both builds tension and drama throughout it’s 95 minute runtime. And when shit goes down it’s fucking glorious. Brutal, tense, and badass without being overly cheesy. And the visual effects in this are really good. Sure, there are parts where the werewolf looks pretty bad. As in, distractingly bad. But then there are also bits where the werewolf looks pretty damn great. I’m at least glad that they decided to do this with mostly practical stuff. Not sure if there is any CGI in the movie, but if there is then I couldn’t really notice it. But yeah, tight direction, good effects, some shitty werewolf stuff.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 69% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 51/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 5,9/10.

“Late Phases” is one of the most unexpectedly good movies that I’ve ever seen. A character-driven horror-drama with a good plot, good characters, great acting, great music, great directing, mostly good effects, and a badass final act. Though as I said, there are some times where the werewolves look like shit to a distracting degree. Time for my final score. *HOWLING NOISE!*. My final score for “Late Phases” is a 9,01/10. While not perfect, it’s most definitely worth buying!
Worth buying

My review of “Late Phases” is now completed.

Big thanks to youtube channel GoodBadFlicks for introducing this movie to me. If you’re not subscribed to him already, I suggest you go do it.

Movie Review: Crimson Peak (2015)

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BOO! Ha, got you! That’s right folks, the Month of Spooks is continuing. So instead of writing the typical clever intro, let’s just get into the review and see what spooky antics we’re facing today.

Ladies and gentlemen, please beware of… “Crimson Peak”.

Edith (Mia Wasikowska) is a young, aspiring writer who falls in love with the mysterious Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston) and moves in with him is a shitty, old house. There we also find Thomas’ sister, Lucille (Jessica Chastain) who will be staying with them. However, everything might not be as it seems. And from that we get a story that was kind of mismarketed. The trailer and ads made this seem like a straight-up horror movie, but that’s not really true. This is more of a romance with some spooky stuff to it. And the plot from the start seems really pretty interesting, presenting some compelling mystery in combination with the gothic romance. However it is bogged down a bit by some mediocre pacing. I mean, there are scenes that are pretty slow and don’t really add to much plotwise. The last 15 – 20 minutes on the other hand… fucking great stuff, I telll you. That bit is exactly what I wanted the movie woverall to be like… intense, suspenseful, bloody. So yeah, interesting overall plot with some mediocre pacing, and a pretty great final act.

The characters in ths movie aren’t the most interesting. The only truly interesting characters are the ones played by Tom Hiddleston and Jessica Chastain, and that’s mainly because you can tell that there’s something off about them, as well as their backstory being interesting. Though their backstory is not revealed until pretty late into it. But where the characters in the movie aren’t that interesting, it’s almost made up for by the performances, all of which are really good. Mia Wasikowska as Edith is great, Tom Hiddleston is great, Jessica Chastain is great, and even Charlie Hunnam is great… even though he shouldn’t attempt an American accent. Then we also get a few smaller supporting performances from Jim Beaver and Burn Gorman, both of which do really well in their roles. So okay, the characters are maybe not that interesting, but the acting in the movie is really good.

The original score was composed by Fernando Velázquez and I thought that it was really good. The score fit the movie perfectly, helping create the atmosphere that would be needed for each scene. Sure, it’s not the best score I’ve ever heard, but I really did think it was good and it worked very well for the movie.

This movie was directed by Guillermo Del Toro, and when it comes to him I can’t help but be excited for something new. He’s a fantastic director who has an eye for making some really creative and awesome stuff. From “Pan’s Labyrinth” to “Pacific Rim”, the man knows how to make a visually interesting film. And god damn it, he did it again! The sets, the directing, and the cinematography all look fucking fantastic! That is something you can always count on with Del Toro’s movies, the visuals will always be terrific. What I also really liked is that he set up a creepy atmosphere with his direction here. The movie isn’t really scary per se, but it definitely gave me some chills with it’s atmosphere. And I guess we have to talk about the ghosts that pop up every now and then. I think that they are visually interesting and look really cool. I’ve seen some behind the scenes stuff of how they did it and it’s practical makeup/prosthetics enhanced with CGI, which gives it a very great look. And of course, Doug Jones was the one under said makeup/prosthetics, just being creepy and stuff.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 71% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 66/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,6/10.

“Crimson Peak” isn’t really one of Del Toro’s best, but it’s also not a bad movie. It has a somewhat interesting plot, really good acting, really good music, fantastic directing and cinematography, fantastic sets, and a really good final act. However it is dragged down a bit by some occasionally mediocre pacing and the characters not being that interesting. Time for my final score. OOOOOO, SPOOOOOKYYYYYY. My final score for “Crimson Peak” is an 8,55/10. So I’d say that it’s worth buying.
Worth buying

My review of “Crimson Peak” is now completed.

For the ladies (and possible men) out there, you do get some Hiddle-butt in this movie.

 

Series Review: Harper’s Island (2009)

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So now we are taking the next step in the Month of Spooks. And by next step I of course mean “yeah, here’s a new post for you or whatever”. And before we get into it, I just wanna mention something. I remember that there was a lot of hype when this show came out/was airing, at least here in Sweden, so that’s kind of why I decided to do it here. Anyhow, backstory over… time to review.

Ladies and gentlemen, I welcome you to… “Harper’s Island”.

Harper’s Island, a small island located not too far from Seattle. The island was the location where a series of gruesome murders happened seven years prior to the start of the series. Henry (Christopher Gorham) and Trish (Katie Cassidy), two attractive, young people, in love and about now about to get married on this island, feeling that it’s safe. However, weird stuff starts happening on the island. People start disappearing and even dying. And I’m not gonna say more than that, because I want my reviews to be as spoiler-free as possible. But yeah, now we have a bit of an Agatha Christie style mystery that also takes influence from various horror flicks. The way I’d describe the story is as a combination of “And Then There Were None” and “Friday the 13th”. Which actually is a pretty cool idea for a show. However, the plot doesn’t feel as engaging as that… at least not at first. The first 4-5 episodes are a bit meh, not bad just… meh. Then from episode 6 and forward we get a pretty suspenseful and surprisingly engaging show. I mean, there are still some dumb moments every now and then throughout the good episodes, but they are at least much more interesting in terms of plot. We get some decent twists through those episodes as well which add to the mystery, which I actually enjoyed. And I actually didn’t see a good amount of them coming, which I applaud. Yeah, interesting idea that takes a while to become truly good/engaging.

The characters in the show are pretty much walking clichés. Or at least they are at first. But as the show goes on and more and more shit starts going down, they really begin developing as characters. I really started caring about the people I had no real interest in at the start. And the acting in the show was really good as well. I mean, with people like Christopher Gorham, Katie Cassidy, Elaine Cassidy (no relation to Katie), Harry Hamlin, and Jim Beaver, the acting would of course be really good. Not the best ever, but definitely good.

The music for the show was composed by David Lawrence, and while some bits take cues from typcial horror sounds, the overall score helps build tension in the show and actually sounds really good overall. There are also a decent amount of licensed tracks in the show as well, most of them being modern pop-rock stuff that I never cared much for. The tracks never detracted from the show, but I wasn’t a huge fan of them either. And I swear, during a scene in a bar very early on in the show I swear I could hear a cheap knock-off of AC/DC’s “Back in Black”. I promise, there were several cues in that background music that were so close to “Back in Black” without being “Back in Black”. I don’t know, it’s just weird.

Not gonna lie, this show has a surprising amount of graphic/brutal imagery for a show that ran on CBS. Seriously, you get to see some decently gnarly stuff in this show. Also, when the show finally decides to give us some legitimately tense sequences, it does. There are scenes from episodes 6 and forward (the good episodes) that really gives us some pretty tense moments. I was really feeling the suspense in those scenes and I was really surprised at that because the first few episodes are pretty soapy and mediocre, with the occasional bit of gnarly imagery. Speaking of imagery, one fun thing I noticed was that in an episode we get a good look at a bottle of scotch, labeled “Robert McLachlan”. If you¨pay attention when the credits roll early on in the episodes, you will see that Robert McLachlan is the show’s cinematographer… so that’s a pretty fun easter egg. There are also plenty of scenes that pay homage to classic horror movies, so keep an eye out for those. I’ll also warn you, the dialog in the show is pretty amateurish… so prepare to not be impressed by that.

This show has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 65% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 63/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10.

“Harper’s Island” is by no means a perfect show. But it is definitely very entertaining. IT has a pretty good plot, pretty good characters, really good acting, good music, good directing, and some really tense sequences. However it is dragged down a bit by those mediocre first few episodes and from some mediocre dialog. Time for my final score. BOO! My final score for “Harper’s Island” is an 8,45/10. So while quite a bit from perfect, it’s still worth watching.
worth-a-watch

My review of “Harper’s Island” is now completed.

A neat little package if you want some chills a cold fall evening.