12 Films of Christmas (Part 9)

Holy shit, we’re already nine part into this silly series. That means there are only three parts left… damn, time sure does fly.

Out of all the movies I’ve done for this so far, this is the only one I had set from the start since it’s a yearly tradition for me to do on the 21st of December every year. The movie (if you didn’t know from the image, you cave dweller) is “The Nightmare Before Christmas”. Jack Skellington (Chris Sarandon) is the pumpkin king, the very face of this magical place called Halloween Town. He has however gotten quite tired of Halloween and want something new in (after)life. Then one day while walking through the woods he stumbles upon a portal that leads him to Christmas Town, and this gives him the idea to take on christmas. And as you probably gathered from the opening of this paragraph, I love this movie, it’s one of my favorites. It has a fun story, fantastic animation from Henry Selick and his team, catchy songs, and some of the most memorable character designs in any movie ever. From the second I hear the opening notes to “This is Halloween”, it sucks me right into it and I am happy that it does. Out of every christmas movie available out there, this is my personal favorite.

What do you think about “The Nightmare Before Christmas”? And what’s your favorite Tim Burton movie? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments!
Have a good one!

Short Film Review: Conscientia (2017)

This is something that doesn’t happen often, me reviewing a short film. And before we begin, I will be 100% transparent with this. I was asked by one of the people who made this short to review it early. The guy who asked me is someone I consider a friend, and I wanted to make that clear because any potentially good things I might have to say about this are not because of my previous affiliation with these guys. I will judge this on it’s own merits. So let’s find out if it’s any good.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Conscientia”.

Samuel (Jakob Lewis Barnes) is struggling with his inability to sleep, which causes him to slowly lose his mind and perception of reality. This soon comes to a head during one fateful night. So what we have here is a weird yet interesting horror plot that is told in a somewhat non-linear style. You can still easily pick up on what order things are in, but it’s still not a straight line of events. And I have to say that I quite enjoyed the plot here. It is simple enough to follow along easily, but it still has some slightly more complex ideas that will make you think. The short format makes it feel a little bit thin and not fully developed, but they still do a pretty good job to condense the idea into a shorter format.

Here we have two characters, one that we get to know a little bit, and one that is just kind of there. I get that you can’t give them super big arcs when you keep it this short, but I didn’t find myself fully invested in the two here. Jakob Lewis Barnes plays Samuel, our protagonist/insomniac. His psychological struggle is interesting to watch, but I’d like to see it developed a bit more. But at least Barnes gave a really good performance here. Then we have Hannah Thomas as Lauren, a woman that Samuel seems to be dating. And she’s the one that I explained as “just there”. With Samuel you get some idea of what type of character he is, but with Lauren it’s just “Hello, I am character” and not much else. Thomas gives a good performance, even though her character doesn’t do much. So overall, good performances, okay-ish characters.

The score was composed by Martin Gratton, and I think he did a good job. The score was chilling and eerie, and it really helped sell the uneasy feel that the director clearly wanted to go for. So yeah, good score for the short.

This short was directed by Nick Deal and I think he did a good job working with his limitations. The short feels somewhat claustrophobic since it’s set mostly inside one small apartment, and Deal’s direction (combined with Gratton’s aforementioned score) helps the short feel tense, eerie, and creepy, elevating it beyond it’s small budget. The talent and ambition here is great enough to be able to make something that exceeds their limitations, and I respect that quite a bit.

While not perfect, “Conscientia” is still a pretty damn good short. It has a good plot, okay-ish characters, really good performances, really good music, and really good directing. My flaws with it is that some aspects feel slightly underdeveloped (but it’s not a dealbreaker). Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Conscientia” is a 9,11/10. While flawed, I highly recommend watching it (when it gets released).

My review of “Conscientia” is now completed.

Firstly: Nick, Jakob, Jumpcut… thank you for giving me this opportunity, I feel truly honored.
Secondly: “Conscientia” will be released on Monday, only on youtube.

The Month of Spooks 2017 Roundup

Hello there, ladies and gentlemen of the internets. Another Month of Spooks has come to an end, and it’s been a good one. There’s been spookums, there’s been hookums, and we’ve had a solid mix of horror stuff. So here’s a post to round up all the posts that have been done in the name of the Spook, both from me and from my guest reviewers (lovingly called my little Spookers).

Let’s just start with my stuff, since that’s the least interesting.
Insidious Movie Review
Wolf Creek Movie Review
The Lost Boys Movie Review
We Are What We Are Movie Review
Sinister Movie Review
Van Helsing Movie Review
Mindhunter Season 1 Review
Daybreakers Movie Review
Tucker and Dale vs. Evil Movie Review
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein Movie Review
The Conjuring Movie Review
What We Do in the Shadows Movie Review
Stranger Things Season 2 Review
Get Out Movie Review
30 Days of Night Movie Review

Let’s see, that is… 15 posts from me… that’s not bad. But enough of me… time for my little spookers!

Sasha AKA. Chewbasha AKA. Binge Watch Bash

The first one to sign on for this silly thing was Sasha, one of my friends from twitter. She was intrigued about writing about horror stuff, especially since she seemingly wanted to do more things for her blog. I happily had her on board, and soon she started delivering quality posts. Now, she intended to write more posts than she did, but things got in the way for her. But what she did give us… was pretty fucking awesome.

Raw 
Pet Sematary
The Love Witch
The Invitation
The Voices

Those were Sasha’s awesome posts. NEXT PERSON.

Gavin AKA. MiniMediaRvwr AKA. Mini Media Reviews

The second person to sign on was Mr. Gavin. We’d had interaction on twitter and such several times before, but I was a little surprised when he seemed genuinely enthusiastic about joining in on my silly little thing. That said, I was also really happy because Gavin’s a cool dude and a good writer, so getting him on board was just awesome. He was also incredibly generous, giving us a metric buttload of posts. So let’s get into it.

Saw
Nosferatu
Audition
You’re Next
In The Mouth of Madness
Night of the Living Dead
A Tale of Two Sisters
The Purge: Anarchy
The Purge: Election Year
Angel Heart
The Wicker Man
Pulse
Baskin
The Fog
Haute Tension
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
Raw
Gerald’s Game
The Borderlands
Final Destination
Ouija: Origin of Evil
Hounds of Love
Dracula Untold
Inside
House on Haunted Hill
Creep
Happy Death Day

Thank you for that, Gavin… that was quite a lot. Anyhow… NEXT.

Craggy AKA. The Craggus AKA. What The Craggus Saw

For the second year in a row we have The Craggus tagging along for the Month of Spooks. Not only is he a good writer and a cool dude, but he is also the one putting together the logo for this whole thing. So once again, thank you sir. Now, let’s get into his posts.

Dracula
Frankenstein
The Mummy
The Invisible Man
Bride of Frankenstein
The Wolf Man
Abbott ant Costello Meet Frankenstein
The Ritual
Creature From The Black Lagoon
The Monster Squad
To The Devil A Daughter
Monster House
The Witches
I Am Alone
Happy Death Day

Thank you for all that, Craggus. Appreciate it.

Now, just as a general shoutout: Jia Wei AKA. JW AKA. Film and Nuance

Now, what I mean with the “Shoutout” thing in his introduction is because he had actually signed on to take part in this, however he never actually got around to making any posts for us. But since he was signed up I thought I’d at least give him a shoutout. He’s an incredibly talented writer and overall really nice guy, so he deserves all the visits he can get (same with all of these people). So click the “Film and Nuance” link in his intro to go there and give him some love.

Well, that’s about it for this. Huge thanks to my little spookers for delivering great stuff. And of course, a huge thanks to any and all people who popped in to read my stuff this month… I appreciate so god damn much. That’s it for the Month of Spooks 2017!
Have a good one!

 

Movie Review: The Conjuring (2013)

And the Month of Spooks marches on! So what type of horrible horror is on the table tonight? Another haunting? Cool.

Disclaimer: I know this thing is based on a true story, but I will not base my review on how perfectly accurate to the real situation it may or may not be, but I will instead judge it as a movie… which it is. Disclaimer over.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Conjuring”.

Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) are a couple who happen to be paranormal investigators. And one day they get called in to try to help a family who claim to be haunted by some dark/evil presence. So now we have our haunted family/house/person/thing story. And I use that quick description of it because there’s a lot of familiar elements to it. A good amount of the beats throughout we know from various other movies, so it doesn’t bring a lot new to the table. That said, it does these things quite well. The plot here is creepy and tense, and I was invested in it from start to finish. Not saying that it’s perfect, but it’s definitely good.

For the most part I found myself invested in the characters here. They were interesting and decently likable. Patrick Wilson plays Ed Warren, one of the two who go to investigate this creepy situation. He’s a bit reluctant to do it based on something that happened in the past, and he’s given a good amount of development in this movie. And Wilson is great in the movie. Vera Farmiga plays Lorraine Warren, wife of Ed, and fellow investigator. She’s a fairly well developed character as well, which includes the same past situation as her husband. I also like her because she’s determined and decently tough without coming off like a thundering dumbass. They make her strong but vulnerable. And Farmiga is great in the role. Lili Taylor plays Carolyn, the mother of the family that is having haunting problems. She goes through some interesting stuff in this movie that makes her a pretty interesting character. And Taylor is great in the role. Then we have Ron Livingston as Roger, the father of the family. And while there’s nothing inherently wrong with Livingston’s performance (it’s actually quite good), I found his character kind of lackluster. He’s supposed to be an important part of this, but his character feels underdeveloped compared to everyone else. And to not drag out this bit too much: All the kids in this movie do a good job. There, this is a well acted movie. Moving on!

The score for the movie was composed by Joseph Bishara and it was great. It was droning, creepy, eerie, chilling, and just overall worked quite well for the movie, often elevating the suspense of various scenes. There were also a couple of licensed tracks used in the movie that worked pretty well in their respective scenes.

This movie was directed by James Wan (making his second appearance this Month of Spooks) and I thought he did a great job. He does a lot with very little, building a lot of suspense with very few things. Really, the suspense/tension really builds throughout the movie, and any scares that pop up feel earned. I also want to mention that this movie is rated R. “How is that interesting?” I hear you ask. Let me explain. Cursing? Almost none. Sex/Nudity? Mildly implied, but never shown. Blood/gore? Minimal. This is rated R based purely on how scary it is… not gonna lie, that is pretty fucking cool.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 86% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 68/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10.

“The Conjuring” is a pretty damn good horror movie. It has a really good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and great direction. My only flaws with it (which are fairly minor) are that the beats of the movie feel very familiar, and Ron Livingston’s character feeling underdeveloped. Time for my final score. *BOO!*. My final score for “The Conjuring” is a 9,01/10. So while flawed, I’d say that it is definitely worth buying.

My review of “The Conjuring” is now completed.

There were several occurrences of 70s lingo in this and it makes me so happy.

Announcing The Month of Spooks 2017!!!

Ladies, gentlemen, and others… I am very proud to announce, for the third year in a row… THE MONTH OF SPOOKS!

For those of you who are new/not aware, The Month of Spooks is my special little “series” that I do every October since 2015. And since October will be here pretty soon, I thought it was time to finally make an official announcement about it… and here it is. So what exactly will happen during the Month of Spooks? Well, I don’t have any set-in-stone plans, but I have some vague ideas, mainly about a couple of horror movies that I want to review. Other than that, I have no specific plans for it (Lucky for me that there’s time left for me to think about it). Last year I was lucky to have a couple of people join in on it, with them making posts on their blogs in the name of the Spooks. And I’m hoping to get some people along for the ride this year as well. Now, I don’t have anywhere that people can sign up for it as of writing this, but I might be able to fix something for that. In the meantime, if you are interested in signing up for The Month of Spooks, you could always send a DM my way on twitter (@TheMarckoguy), if you have a twitter account. If you don’t… then maybe have some patience.

Well, that’s really all I had to say. Not a lot of things I could say in this announcement. So… prepare your butts for The Month of Spooks!
Have a good one.

Movie Review: Split (2017)

Is Shyamalan back? Well, he technically never left, he’s been making movies pretty consistently. I mean, is he back in terms of actually making good movies again? He might be, hopefully this review of yours can clear up if he is or not. I guess.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Split”.

During a day like any other, three girls (Anya Taylor-Joy, Haley Lu Richardson, Jessica Sula) get kidnapped. The person who did it is Kevin (James McAvoy), a man with 23 different personalities residing in his head. And we follow the girls as they try to figure out what’s going on, if there’s some way out of there, and who the hell this strange man is. And I thought the plot here was really good. It was interesting, it was suspenseful, and it was fairly unpredictable. I do have to mention that this movie demands patience out of the viewer, it’s not some fast-paced horror movie that gives you everything immediately on a silver platter. A lot of things might not make sense at first, but if you give it some time you’ll get details of why everything is as it is and everything will make more sense. But yeah, overall I thought the plot here was really good.

The characters, though fairly few, are for the most part pretty interesting. LEt’s start with Kevin, the man with all the personalities. He’s played by Jame McAvoy who I have to give major cred to because he has to portray a fair amount of the various personalities bouncing around in Kevin’s head. Doing something like that is very brave and can also go horrifically wrong and just turn out to be shit. But McAvoy nailed it. Every personality felt really different and I really got a sense that they were all very different characters, all portrayed by this one man. So yeah, McAvoy was amazing in this. Anya Taylor-Joy played Casey, the main one of the three girls that were kidnapped. The character was interesting as she was clever and pretty tough. But we also got a look into her backstory and it really helped flesh out her a bit more. And Taylor-Joy was great in the role. Betty Buckley played Kevin’s psychiatrist, and she was an interesting and entertaining character, and Buckley was great in the role. The other two girls that were kidnapped were played by Haley Lu Richardson and Jessica Sula. And the only reason I’m lumping them together is that none of them were as interesting as Anya Taylor-Joy’s character, and none of them stuck out in my mind, so I just put ’em together like that. Their performances were fine, nothing to really complain about. Overall it’s a well acted movie.

The score for the movie was composed by West Dylan Thordson and it was quite good. It was dark, eerie, haunting, and really helped build a lot of suspense. The score really fit the scenes that it was used in. Because it’s not present in every scene, there’s a fair mount of silence throughout the movie which I appreciated. But whenever the score was used… good stuff.

As you probably understood from the opening of this review, “Split” was directed by M. Night Shyamalan, a man whose name has been attached to some shitty movies. But compared to those, he really did a great job here. His direction is tight and claustrophobic, perfectly building tension throughout the movie. I would also say that Mike Gioulakis’ cinematography helped out a lot, because this movie looks great. As for scares, I never felt like “Oh my god, this shit is scary”. But there were a lot of scenes that were creepy and eerie and got a little bit under my skin. There’s also a surprising amount of humor throughout the movie, and none of it feels forced or out of place, it really worked and it did make me laugh.

This movie has been pretyt well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 75% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 62/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,3/10.

“Split” is a real return to form for Shyamalan. It features a great plot, good characters, great performances, really good music, great directing, and great cinematography. Time for my final score. Come on, man… spill it. My final score for “Split” is a 9,67/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Split” is now completed.

So, would you say that Shyamalan is back? Yeah… I think he might be.

Movie Review: Frailty (2002)

hd_wallpaper___frailty_by_mercy1313

As all of you probably know by now, we recently suffered a great loss. Actor Bill Paxton unfortunately passed away at the age of 61 due to complications following surgery. I can’t possibly know what his family is going through right now, and I give my most sincere condolences to them. Not only is this a great loss for his family, but also for the entire movie/TV industry. Paxton was never one of those actors that really sold thousands of movie tickets, but he always gave it his all. He is one of those actors that always brought a smile to my face. Even when he played a bit of a dick (See: “Nightcrawler” or “True Lies”), I liked him. And it’s not really until the news of his death reached me that I realized how much I loved him as an actor. Deaths of good actors/musicians/authors/entertainers always suck, but this is one that actually hurt. So in honor of this great man, I have chosen to review a movie of his that I hadn’t seen yet.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Frailty”.

One dark and stormy night (I shit you not), FBI agent Wesley Doyle (Powers Boothe) finds a man (Matthew McConaughey) in his office who wants to talk to him. The man tells the story of his father (Bill Paxton, R.I.P) who apparently got visions from god, compelling him to hunt down people who were “demons” and to then destroy them. And through most of the movie we see a flashback to the time when the man was young and experienced his dad doing these things. And I’m not gonna lie, I thought it was a really solid plot. Through most of the movie I sat there wondering if the guy actually got told by god to do these horrible things or if he was just a fucking loon. And I loved how it managed to keep it like that throughout. There was also a lot of good suspense to the plot too, which made it even better. Yeah, this movie has a creepy/disturbing plot that is pretty great.

The characters in this movie are all pretty interesting. Bill Paxton knocks it out of the park as the dad. His performance got layers to it. You can tell that his character isn’t just making up bullshit excuses so he can kill people, the man really believes that he’s doing the right things. Gives layers to the character. McConaughey is alright, alright, alright in this… admit it, that joke was funny. But seriously, he does a good job here. Matt O’Leary and Jeremy Sumpter plays Paxton’s two kids in this movie, and they are really good in the movie. And Powers Boothe is of course pretty great too. Yeah, the acting here is really good.

The score for the movie was composed by Brian Tyler and it was really good. Sure, it never does anything particularly original, his score does take cues from a lot of horro/thriller scores (not jumpscare cues, mind you!), but it overall sounds really good. It’s ominous, it’s creepy, and it fits the movie perfectly.

This movie was the directorial debut of Bill Paxton, and I got to say that I’m really impressed. His directing here is slow and very tense, which makes for some pretty great scenes. The movie also looks really good. I wouldn’t say that it’s one of those “Wow, this is gorgeous” movies, but it does look good.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 73% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 64/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 4/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,3/10.

“Frailty” is a surprisingly great horror/thriller. It has a really good plot, good characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Clears throat*. My final score for “Frailty” is a 9,80/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
seal-of-approval

My review of “Frailty” is now completed.

Rest in peace Bill Paxton… you will be sorely missed.

 

My Favorite Scenes: Batman Begins – I’m Batman

Hello and welcome to this corpse of a series. For anyone new, “My Favorite Scenes” is the series where I take a look at scenes I like from movies and TV shows and share my thoughts on why I like them. Kind of self-explanatory. So let’s get into it!

So today, as you read in the title of the post, we are taking a look at a scene from a movie about the greatest superhero of all… Arm-Fall-Off Boy! I’m of course kidding, we’re actually talking about the god damn Batman. Though I will add that Arm-Fall-Off Boy is a very real superhero, feel free to google it if you don’t believe me.
“Batman Begins”, the 2005 reboot movie directed by Christoher Nolan that was a modest hit at the box office, and spawned two sequels, one of which earned an Oscar win for best supporting actor. Who knew a franchise about a grumpy billionaire dressing up like a crazy bat-person could be so beloved? Jokes aside, I love these movies. And to be quite honest, “Begins” is my favorite in the trilogy. Anyway, what scene are we talking about today? Well, it’s the scene in the movie where Batman (Christian Bale) officially comes to life. Carmine Falcone (Tom Wilkinson) is at this place filled with containers, overseeing his henchmen prepare drugs for transportation. Then suddenly, somethign happens. His henchmen start getting picked off, one by one. And finally, this weird entity pulls Falcone out of the car and utters the phrase “I’m Batman”. Yeah, I fucking love this scene. Not only because of the bit where Bale says “I’m Batman”, though that is amazing. This entire scene is actually really tense. The way Batman stalks the goons, taking them all out, it’s all very tense and almost a little scary. Say what you want about Nolan and his philosophical stuff, the dude knows how to build tension. And this scene proves it. From the tense stalking to the badass final “I’m Batman”, this scene is amazing.
Enjoy!

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!

“Resident Evil 7” E3 trailer

Hello guys, here I am again with my covering of E3 stuff that interest me. So… let’s ee what we have here!

After four years we have finally gotten an announcement trailer for “Resident Evil 7”. And from the looks of it, this game might actually be scary. You know, compared to the last few games and those shitty Hollywood movies and I’m gonna move on. I am a fan of this franchise, having played most of them (At least main series, never got into spin-offs really) and enjoyed them in some way. Sure, numbers 5 and 6 weren’t that great, but I still kind of enjoyed them. My personal favorite though has always been “Resident Evil 4”, it’s a perfect balance of both action, creepiness, tension and reinvigoration. And like I said, the last few weren’t that great, but I still always look forward to a new game to see what they’ll do with it. And with this one it seems like it will go back more to the survival horror style of the original game and it’s Gamecube remake. Sure, the trailer doesn’t really tell us anything about the game itself other than “look forward to some creeps, people”. Here’s the interesting thing though: If I didn’t already know that this was the “Resident Evil 7” trailer, I would’ve almost mistaken it for a new “Silent Hill” or possibly “The Evil Within 2” (The latter of which I really wanted to see at this year’s E3). But yeah, this looks really interesting and I’m looking forward to seeing more of it.

So what are your thoughts? Are you looking forward to this new “Resi” installment? Are you fans of any of the previous games? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments.
Have a good one and enjoy the trailer!