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Honeymoon (2014)

Posted by Luke Applebee on October 19, 2014

Honeymoon (2014) is a cautionary tale for newlyweds.

Warning: this is not a chick flick with a happy ending. Well, depending on your taste, Honeymoon could be a chick flick or great popcorn flick for a girl’s night in. That is if you enjoy sappy romances that evolve into something sinister and disturbing.

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Rose Leslie (Game of Thrones—”you know nothing, Jon Snow”) plays Bea; a ravishing young lady who recently tied the knot with her beloved Paul (Harry Treadaway).

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The official trailer sort of gives the game away as we see Bea sitting upright by the television watching her wedding video. Her skin looks pallid, corrupted.

Woods

At the country cottage, Bea and Paul luxuriate themselves by spending time together.

One evening Bea goes sleepwalking and elicits a false scare when Paul approaches her and she screams herself awake.

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Bea reassures Paul that she is fine. Is she though?

Tension builds as Bea pretends everything is ok. How far can she hide the truth before things get worse?

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Honeymoon progresses to a predictable, yet sad, conclusion.

Cabal

Posted by Luke Applebee on October 16, 2014

Next month Shout Factory will release Nightbreed: The Director’s Cut, a very different version of the film that 20th Century Fox let out of the cage in 1990. While you wait for that shiny Blu-ray; you could read the 1989 Clive Barker story Cabal published by Harper Collins (you know, the novel that the film is based on).

Cabal1

This is dark fantasy where sexual politics and the ‘mob mentality’ wrestle underneath the surface of the twisted and self-destructive life of Aaron Boone—a man who cannot recall being the aggressor in a series of nasty murders.

Convinced of his guilt and unable to deal with the grief, Boone says goodbye to his psychiatrist and hurls himself in front of a truck. Boone wakes in a hospital and learns of Midian, a place that may ease his suffering …

The narrative shifts between multiple points-of-view, which expertly crafts the small town USA Barker has envisioned while keeping secrets from the reader.

The mysteries make Midian and its Nightbreed inhabitants more intriguing. The mystery entices.

You cannot truly pigeonhole Cabal as just dark fantasy though. The name implies a sinister tone with harsh hues. The prose tends to celebrate the Nightbreed as an eccentric community rather than evil monsters, which subverts our expectations in a horror story.

Boone’s love interest, Lori, visits Midian. She explores the necropolis, discovers an animal terrified, dying in the sunlight, and returns it to a cloaked lady standing by the threshold of a mausoleum. As Lori conducts the exchange:

‘The animal was changing before her eyes. In the luxury of slough and spasm it was losing its bestiality, not by re-ordering its anatomy but by liquefying its whole self—through to the bone—until what had been solid was a tumble of matter … It was sobbing that made her open her eyes. Not the woman this time but a child, a girl of four or five, lying naked where the muck of transformation been.’

Tension builds, friends unite and events escalate to the point where a lynch mob of fear-mongering rednecks rally under the banner of a corrupt sheriff to destroy Midian. Cabal is a page-turner, perfect for commuting, and asks one of many important questions: who are the real bad guys?

Cabal

Posted by Luke Applebee on October 16, 2014

Next month Shout Factory will release Nightbreed: The Director’s Cut, a very different version of the film that 20th Century Fox let out of the cage in 1990. While you wait for that shiny Blu-ray; you could read the 1989 Clive Barker story Cabal published by Harper Collins (you know, the novel that the film is based on).

Cabal1

This is dark fantasy where sexual politics and the ‘mob mentality’ wrestle underneath the surface of the twisted and self-destructive life of Aaron Boone—a man who cannot recall being the aggressor in a series of nasty murders.

Convinced of his guilt and unable to deal with the grief, Boone says goodbye to his psychiatrist and hurls himself in front of a truck. Boone wakes in a hospital and learns of Midian, a place that may ease his suffering …

The narrative shifts between multiple points-of-view, which expertly crafts the small town USA Barker has envisioned while keeping secrets from the reader.

The mysteries make Midian and its Nightbreed inhabitants more intriguing. The mystery entices.

You cannot truly pigeonhole Cabal as just dark fantasy though. The name implies a sinister tone with harsh hues. The prose tends to celebrate the Nightbreed as an eccentric community rather than evil monsters, which subverts our expectations in a horror story.

Boone’s love interest, Lori, visits Midian. She explores the necropolis, discovers an animal terrified, dying in the sunlight, and returns it to a cloaked lady standing by the threshold of a mausoleum. As Lori conducts the exchange:

‘The animal was changing before her eyes. In the luxury of slough and spasm it was losing its bestiality, not by re-ordering its anatomy but by liquefying its whole self—through to the bone—until what had been solid was a tumble of matter … It was sobbing that made her open her eyes. Not the woman this time but a child, a girl of four or five, lying naked where the muck of transformation been.’

Tension builds, friends unite and events escalate to the point where a lynch mob of fear-mongering rednecks rally under the banner of a corrupt sheriff to destroy Midian. Cabal is a page-turner, perfect for commuting, and asks one of many important questions: who are the real bad guys?

Inner Demons

Posted by Luke Applebee on October 10, 2014

If an intervention turned out just like the one in Inner Demons then I would totally round up my mates, sit around the lounge room and wait for the emo makeup clad girl to freak us all out.

Inner_Demons_970x390_TOPPER_1a

IFC Midnight have released an indie film that should appeal to those who enjoy inevitable demonic possessions on-screen.

Here we have a young woman who has fallen from grace. Instead of scoring top marks she is now scoring her next heroin fix. Her religious family are attempting to bring her back into the fold.

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It is the information age and you what brings self-destructive folk back from the brink? Reality television. This crazy chick now has a film crew recording her do stuff.

One of the most haunting films I have ever seen that features a reality TV subplot is Grave Encounters. Judging the trailer it is difficult to say how relevant the sensational media element is to Inner Demons other than adding more convenient points-of-view.

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Aside from the substance abuse, crazy lady has another addiction—a literal demon that is biding its time to take full possession of its host. This premise sounds cool but can it sustain a feature film and maintain viewer interest?

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If you like the whole shaky-cam Paranormal Activity thing then you may like Inner Demons. All of the familiar scare tactics play out in the official trailer. Creepy mirror scene, discombobulated twist of the neck, flashes from normal-looking to scary-looking and so on.

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The problem with directing a story that focuses on contextual cameras in use is that you often encounter a lot of exposition and dumb dialogue (‘I saw those books in your bedroom about demonic possession …’).

The visual effects appear to be a few steps above your typical B-grade amateur flick, so at least Inner Demons has that going for itself.

The Pyramid

Posted by Luke Applebee on October 3, 2014

The Pyramid (2014) looks like Alien Versus Predator (2004) only the climate is a lot hotter and the archaeological survey team are not packing as much heat.

The Pyramid

Holden (Denis O’Heare—True Blood) leads a survey team through an unearthed and spooky three-sided pyramid in the Egyptian desert despite objection from the local authorities.

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There are traps and labyrinths and soon the curious Americans find out that they are not alone in the depths.

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There is talk of the Curse of the Pharaohs—the fatal consequences of disturbing ancient tombs, and unfortunately for the trespassers, this will be no exception.

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There are Punji sticks, loose stones, sand traps—an assortment of ancient and dangerous Egyptian architecture.

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A great horror story amplifies the tension by making the most of the setting. The interior layout of this particular pyramid is intimate and dark.

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I like that we do not see the faces of the other residents of the tomb. The scare-factor is very similar to the run-and-do-not-look-at-the-creepy-thing mechanic that makes the Amnesia games satisfyingly thrilling. Let our imagination scare us.

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Hopefully the monsters in The Pyramid emerge sparingly for maximum effect.

Dracula Untold

Posted by Luke Applebee on October 1, 2014

Dracula Untold is another popular origin story that unveils the life of Vlad the Impaler/Prince of Wallachia (Luke Evans—Fast & Furious 6, The Hobbit) before he transforms into the popular horror icon, Dracula.

dracula-untold

The Ottoman Empire threatens to take a thousand boys from Transylvania to ensure their ongoing peace treaty. Vlad must choose whether he should appease the Turks’ demands or if he should fight to protect the future of his people (including his son).

Dracula

A great vampire lures Vlad to its lair. Vlad is offered a faustian pact that will provide him with the power he needs to prevail in total war against the Ottoman Empire but is it worth the cost of his humanity?

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The official trailer features a brilliant track from New Zealand pop singer Lorde, ‘Everybody Wants to Rule the World’, which sets a tragic tone for our haunted protagonist.

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The action, masses of soldier formations, promises grand scale battles akin to Lord of the Rings.

Do we necessarily care about Dracula’s backstory? Some things are best left alone. By revealing Dracula’s past we unravel the alluring mystery of a literary character. This notion is a two-edged sword because perhaps the revelations may construct a more visceral, enigmatic iteration of the frightening Dracula we are already familiar with.

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Hopefully Universal and Legendary Pictures have not tarnished the preceding reputation of an enduring and loved creature of the night.

Hector and the Search for Happiness

Posted by Luke Applebee on September 28, 2014

Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead) plays the lead role in Hector and the Search for Happiness.

Plane

The opening of the official trailer shows a yellow bi-plane flying among the clouds, the pilot is smiling and there’s a dog in the co-pilot seat.

The scene evokes Hector’s nostalgic fantasy of happiness as that same plane turns out to be a remote control plane that stalls and nose-dives into a lake.

Hector

Hector is a psychiatrist. He is confronted with what appears to be a midlife crisis where he has noticed the monotony of his daily routines to the point where he seeks new meaning, change.

GF

Reflecting on his life, Hector inadvertently scares his girlfriend (Rosamund Pike) into thinking that he wants to end their relationship.

Hector realises that his patients are not getting any happier so he decides to pack his bags, leave London and embark on a journey to seek knowledge, specifically the secrets of happiness.

The girlfriend suggests that our curious psychiatrist should make the most of his travels by ‘doing it totally’. Hector leaves his rigid, disciplined self at home and embodies a fresh, free-spirited approach. Did someone say the glass was unbreakable?

glass

The emotional distance between Hector and his girlfriend seems to be the conflict in the story. The trailer emphasises the question ‘what do you want?’. The film seems to be a meditation on self-fulfilment while keeping things trivial with Simon Pegg’s comedic talents and contrived moments.

oooh

At a glance it is difficult to determine how heavily the drama will weigh on the narrative as a whole. If you’ve read the novel you may have a better idea. A wise lecturer (Christopher Plummer) says the more we focus on our own personal happiness the more it eludes us …

happy

Tusk Official Trailer

Posted by Luke Applebee on September 27, 2014

Inspired by his own podcasting, Kevin Smith has written and directed a new screenplay entitled Tusk, distributed by A24 Films this year.

tusk movie poster kevin smith

The official trailer introduces Justin Long as an obnoxious podcaster who thinks he is above everyone; his hyperactive-shock-jock antics, and his moustache, are interesting. The guy seems to have it all: girlfriend, car, dream job.

Justin

The first thing that made me jump was not even that terrifying in retrospect. Unfortunately, Haley Joel Osment (The Sixth Sense) is forever typecast as that child actor. I refuse to believe that we are no longer living in 1999.

Joel


All that separates man from animal

First impressions of the Canadian interviewee (Michael Parks) are conservative. The wheelchair-bound and bearded chap is a veteran of oceanic adventure and is keen to tell his stories. The man’s house is ornate and certainly has that wooden-panel-gothic feel. Medieval-like furnishings, silverware, fireplace—Creepy much?

Howard

It is obvious that the podcaster is bored with the anecdotes concerning a life-saving walrus as he strokes a tusk prop inappropriately.

Despite the rudeness our seafarer offers the clown a cup of tea and continues to tolerate his guest’s offensive quirks.

And here comes the twist. Our podcaster realises he has been drugged and falls out of his chair (so much for a tolerant host). It appears the creepy old man has some sinister plans that involve surgical tools and calling his new friend Mr Tusk …

off the chair

It’s not all gore and violence, which is refreshing. The dialogue is amusing and there seem to be some moments that are genuinely hilarious given the macabre context. I look forward to seeing Tusk on the big screen.

Annabelle First thoughts

Posted by Cat Voleur on September 25, 2014

annabelle trailer

“The Conjuring” was a horror film released in the July of 2013, and was met with overall positive reviews. It was based off of a true story, and fans of the film have eagerly been eager for more. Finally, after over a year of waiting, a new movie is on its way.

Annabelle” tells the story of the creepy doll who appeared in the first film to help terrorize the Perrons. A man buys a beautiful vintage doll for his wife as a gift, but after deranged cultists break into the couple’s home, they find that the doll is tied into the string of paranormal events that is now plaguing their life. Much like “The Conjuring” “Annabelle” is based off of a true story, which just makes the movie more terrifying.

Expectations for the film are high from fans of both the horror genre and the paranormal. Tension is rising as we we are drawing ever closer to the film’s release date on October 3rd of this year. If the movie is as good as the trailer, we’ll certainly be in for a treat.

Tim Burton Big Eyes First Look

Posted by Gothic.net on September 24, 2014

This December, the unpleasant divorce battle between artists Margaret Keane and Walter Keane will be coming to the big screen, directed by Tim Burton. It is generally agreed that Margaret Keane painted the wildly successful series of big-eyed waif children, staring tragically out of the frame at the viewer. During the 1960′s, at the height of kitsch art, Walter Keane claimed to be the painter, perhaps as a marketing ploy, perhaps to split the effort of creation and promotion, or perhaps just to take the glory for himself. The movie Big Eyes depicts the couple getting together and then splitting up in a court case which was quite the drama of its day, including Margaret challenging Walter to a live painting competition.

Big Eyes was written by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, with whom Tim Burton also did Ed Wood. The eminently qualified writing team also co-wrote for Goosebumps, 1408, and That Darned Cat. Amy Adams plays Margaret Keane and Christoph Waltz plays Walter Keane, as he takes another Oscar run with his penchant for playing bad men.

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