The horror genre goes in phases, it always has. With the recent spell of haunting movies and zombie flicks it seems that the new trend is brutal horror pieces that dare you to keep on looking. The Purge, You’re Next and the new Evil Dead movie have all gone for extreme violence and thrills. Now Maniac is getting in on the action. Another remake, this time of a 1980s film made by cult horror director William Lustig and starring Joe Spinell (best known to main stream film goers for his part as Rocky’s mob boss) as the overweight sweaty psycho. This remake seems to be following the same formula but has switched it around by having baby face Elijah Wood in the lead role of the killer and is written by Alexandre Aja, the man behind horror classic High Tension. The director is Franck Khalfoun (P2). The killer is called Frank who is a disturbed man with only his mother for company. When she died his thoughts turned to darkness. He owns a mannequin shop and develops an obsession with a woman who he sees photographing mannequins. While this relationship is building, his killer urges still need to be satisfied in the most extreme ways. Here is the new trailer but be warned it has extreme content in it.
This trailer certainly captures the tone of the movie with its mix of sex and violence which makes for uncomfortable viewing. As usual, the red band trailer takes it just a little bit further.
Elijah Wood seems to be able to give off that puppy dog look and then switch it to inverted psycho very easily and it is pretty creepy hearing him talk about how much he loves his potential victims before smashing their faces in walls, stabbing them up, etc. The difference here is that you can imagine pretty boy Elijah having no trouble picking up these women to murder and also the relationship angle works a lot better here. In the original because of his size and general look, it was difficult to see poor Joe Spinell in a relationship with a hot lady. It seemed forced in that film, while from the bits we have seen in the trailer this relationship seems to develop more organically. The original did have a sleazy feel to it because of its tone and the low budget it had. This film tries to retain some of the original’s grime and even though it looks a lot smoother it does show that dark underbelly. The tense scenes in darkened alley ways and streets certainly helps add to this feeling. There is a good chance a shower may be in order after diving into this sleazy affair.
Elijah is a big part of this film working as he plays against his typecasting to give us a truly scary portrayal of a mad man. Much like Norman Bates in Psycho, his good looks and supposedly normal interactions with people hide the darkness inside and is merely a shell to hold the killer at bay. Mind you, anyone that has seen Green Street will know that when Elijah Wood really wants to kick off he can break heads with the best of them. The use of constant POV shots will no doubt make the viewing experience even more uncomfortable because the viewer has no escape from the carnage they are seeing and it seems like we are actively engaging in it to or just as bad, becoming a voyeur looking at all the carnage as it unfolds. Mannequins are just plain freaky anyway and they pop up a lot throughout this movie, all helping to keep that dark atmosphere.
This is all looking promising but if the film will be able to keep up with the dark tone of the original still remains to be seen, but it looks well on its way to getting there. Getting Alexandre on board is certainly a plus. He is well known for his work on hard hitting and shocking horror movies so this film is in safe hands and the dark tone seen in the trailer will hopefully be seen throughout the movie. The key part of the original film was the way the female victims were killed, with their heads getting scalped and put onto mannequin’s heads. With the new posters that have just come out (via Dread Central) it seems that this film is going the same route with some nice posters showing how gruesome this film is going to get.
Modern horror is in a weird rut right now. It seems like it’s stuck in a bizarre middle place between being eternally popular with teens, and simultaneously bashed and ignored by the masses as trash. Sadly they’re really not always wrong to do so, because a lot of horror films are total s**t. It’s easy to write a quick story about zombies or radioactive mutants, film it on a cheap digital camera and label it a “found footage” movie these days and watch it rake in the dough. That’s why I vastly prefer the work that’s been coming out from Jason Wan lately. He’s the guy who started big with Saw, which everyone loved and then watched turn into the royal crapfest of sequels that it inevitably became. But he went on to make some excellent movies, coming to a head with his masterpiece from two years ago, Insidious. A movie that if you haven’t seen, I highly recommend going to go see because it’s the first film in years that’s creeped me out to the point where I didn’t want to be home alone for a while. With the turnaround of praise from that we go Sinister, I movie I only found disappointing due to my own heightened expectations from its AMAZING trailer, but still worthy a view on its own.
Continue reading The Conjuring: Amazing New Trailer!
Monsters are one of the most popular mainstays in all of fiction. Nearly every child has a universal connection with monsters in one way or another. From childhood it can manifest as a fear, typically of the quintessential “monster in the closet”, or simply just a fascination with them after conquering your fear of them. I think in a way, children can relate to monsters. When you’re young, by the virtue of being younger and less knowledgable, you tend to feel like an outsider. In much the same way that only children can relate to other children at that age, monsters only really get along with other monsters, and there’s a mixture of empathy there that children feel for monsters. For example, who didn’t feel remorse after seeing King Kong die? Not all monsters are as relatable as others, but we know that our fear of them only stems from our misunderstanding of them, and ourselves. So what am I getting at?
Continue reading Countdown To Halloween #28: The Monster Squad
Ever wonder what it would be like to be a God? A God Somewhere takes an interesting look into that very subject.
Continue reading Graphic Novel Review – A God Somewhere
Do you like werewolves? Do you like people chasing werewolves in a slapstick kind of way? Then this may be the graphic novel for you! This is the Pound written by Stephen Nilson (Justice League Unlimited) and drawn by Karl Waller (X-Men The Movie Prequel).
The story revolves around two dog catchers called Scott Allison and Howard Lynch.
Now Scott is your basic hard man with a heart. He has a lovely wife called Jennifer, some kids (I forget the names but trust me they are just there for the hero to save so you don’t need to know!) and a kick ass handlebar mustache. His pal Howard has none of these and he’s a bit on the weak nerdy side, but they both have one thing in common. There jobless! So they set up their own firm and on a routine job accidentally capture a werewolf! Not to spoil the plot, but essentially from here the story goes into a scheme involving a werewolf and vampire council and a plan to turn all the people at the local fair into werewolves!
The characters are simplistic but fun. Scott and Howard are very much like ‘Tucker and Dale’ (from the film of the same name) but less red-neckish. In fact this could be called ‘Tucker and Dale vs. Werewolves’. The main villain is Dante, and he’s a big beefy werewolf grunt kinda guy who snaps necks when he is mad, and has a vampire lover. He’s like your typical muscle villain and does not really get his hands dirty till the end in a fun homage to the old monster team up movies of the 40’s. His son Darnell is a big part of the story to and is used as the exposition device to give us and the two leads the scoop on monster lore.
There is some violence and a bit of gore throughout this, but the tone of it is more up beat and reminded me of The Goonies or The Monster Squad. A bunch of colorful characters going on a weird adventure together is always fun to read. One annoying thing is that it seems every bloody character is a monster! It reminded me of the later series of Heroes where every Tom, Dick and Harry popped up saying “I have a power!” Other than this it is a very fun read with Stephen Nilson’s script doing the business and Karl Waller’s artwork been slightly cartoony, but dramatic at the same time. I love how he draws some of the werewolves like actual dogs with their tongues flapping about! I also liked how they introduced a new team-mate at the end without any of the team knowing.
The ending is really funny and leads into the sequel that is coming in September so its a great time to check it out.