What horror/sci-fi films have you been watching?

Joined: Oct 24 2004, 05:57 PM

Dec 14 2017, 03:52 AM #4701

I finally managed to get a link to watch Mike Flanagan's much-touted Stephen King adaptation GERALD'S GAME. Flanagan's small body of horror films has led to a cult following, and even an article in the New York Times. I can see why GERALD'S GAME, produced by Netflix and streaming there now, didn't get a theatrical release- there are basically only four actors and two locations in it. Flanagan modified his style in the expectation that most of his viewers will be watching this on their laptops or some kind of TV screens; the film's full of close-ups. However, the direction is the film's high point: the choice of camera angles is extremely well thought out. The film tells the story of a woman who is forced into being handcuffed to a bed by her husband as part of a BDSM game - his rape fantasies quickly go from sexy to genuinely non-consensual, and she wants out - when he has a heart attack and dies. It often alternates exactly between gazing at her and representing her POV. As she struggles to find a way out of her handcuffs, she starts to hallucinate both her dead husband and a stronger doppelgänger of herself talking to her, and also remembers her father's incestuous abuse. This could've turned into total exploitative sleaze, but Carla Gugino's performance always retains her character's dignity and there's something magnetic, although never at all appealing, about Bruce Greenwood's villain (who spends 80% of his screen time as a figment of her imagination.) The film turns very gory towards the end, and it also makes some strange plot decisions in its final 10 minutes. Nevertheless, it deserved a theatrical release: it's better than some Netflix-produced films that at least played for a week in New York. 
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Kim Greene
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Joined: Nov 10 2004, 10:28 PM

Dec 16 2017, 05:54 PM #4702

Hey, what the hell? The board's been completely changed and no one gave us Mobius posters a heads-up in advance! So I had to figure out how to start posting on here again. And,no I don't like the design--it comes off as all impersonal and looks like any other site online. This is crazy! Anyway, I've heard and seen all the hype about GERALD'S GAME when it came out a couple of months ago (it's the fourth production that's come out this year based on a Stephen King book---the other three are this past summer's big theatrical release THE DARK TOWER,the box-office demon psycho clown juggernaut IT, and the horror drama 1922,which is also a Netflix film. Nice to hear that it isn't some exploitation garbage, which it sounds like it easily could have been given the premise, which would normally be an automatic turn-off to some folks due to the subject matter. I've seen Flanagan's HUSH, which is really good, and would like to see another film he did called ABSENTIA in the meanwhile (it's on the tube.) 


THEY'RE WATCHING (2016)----Directed & written by animators Jay Lender & Micah Wright. This horror pic (shot in Romania) tells the story of a four-person reality TV show camera crew who are making a return trip to Romania after a six-month period in order to follow up on a story about an artist named Becky (Brigid Brannagh) who's managed to do a complete makeover of a new home in the backwoods of a small Romanian town along with her Romanian boyfriend (Cristian Balint). Greg, the main cameraperson (David Alpay) is the one keeping everything together along with their always disgruntled producer Kate (Carrie Genzel) who's always snapping at everybody and just wants to get the whole thing wrapped up; the other cameraperson, Alex (Kris Lemche,MY LITTLE EYE, GINGER SNAPS) is an always laid-back joke-cracking-jokester who constantly brings the humor, and Sarah (Mia Marcon) is fresh out of broadcasting school and eager to learn the ropes. Anyway, they film a piece with Becky telling about how she fixed her home, then head into the local village to see what else they can film. Both Greg and Sarah get permission to go inside a church and see a closed secret service, which they secretly film after having been told not to film it---and that,of course, causes them to get thrown out of the church and threatened with a beatdown by the churchgoers. So far, the crew has had people from the village stare at them, or mumble something strange every time they turn around. This dosen't let up, even when the crew go to a local bar just to chill, and notice a whole bunch of villagers staring and glaring at them the whole time. Their guide and liason, the fast-talking, charismatic Vladmir (Dmitri Diachenko) helps smooth the situation over by getting a sing-along started, and soon everybody joins in. Meanwhile, strange coincidences keep piling up after they're seen what they ought not to have seen----villagers always seeming to turn up in groups wherever the crew goes; the crew suddenly having issues with trying to film anything, and other things. They keep hearing the rumors that Becky is supposedly a witch who's cursed the town, and that's why the villagers hate her, plus anybody who's down with or associated with her. Basically, the film is almost like a spoof on reality shows,and a funny one at that. Yep, it's found footage, but done in real time. and handled pretty well for a first time director (in this case, directors) with the humor balancing out the horror---it's pretty different from what I was expecting, and fun to watch,too. And the ending is crazy,too. Worth catching if you like scary, unique horror films--it's also on Netflix and DVD, too.
Last edited by Kim Greene on Dec 18 2017, 02:32 AM, edited 8 times in total.
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Joined: Oct 24 2004, 05:57 PM

Dec 16 2017, 10:57 PM #4703

I'll check it out on Netflix during the holiday doldrums when I have lots of free time. I find it frustrating that there are lots of intriguing-sounding horror films theatrically "distributed" by IFC Midnight with one screening a day for a week at the IFC Center either at midnight or 11 AM. I would love to see them on the big screen, if possible, but those times are not convenient, and if they're good, they deserve a chance to find a real audience in the theater. 
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Kim Greene
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Joined: Nov 10 2004, 10:28 PM

Dec 28 2017, 02:19 PM #4704

Here's an article about the crucial role cats have always played in both ancient folklore and in horror films specifically over the decades----interestingly enough, the only two horror films I can think of where cats are actually the heroes and not the villains for once are the 1985 anthology CAT'S EYE, and the 1992 supernatural drama SLEEPWALKERS---both based on Stephen King stories,I believe:


Den Of Geek----The Importance Of Cats In Horror Cinema



XX (2017)------This indie horror anthology of four horror stories (a U.S.-Canadian production) is a rarity in that it was directed and written mainly by women-----Jovanka Vukovic, singer/musician Annie "St. Vincent" Clark, Roxanne Benjamin, and Karyn Kusama (THE INVITATION.) The first tale, "The Box", directed/written by Vukovic,and based on a story by Jack Ketchum, starts off with a woman named Susan (Natalie Brown) and her two kids taking the bus home one day. A stranger (Michael Dyson) lets her son look briefly inside a gift-wrapped he's curious about, and whatever's inside disturbs him greatly. When they get home, the son (Peter DeCunha) decides that he dosen't want to eat---no big deal at first, but then he decides to stop eating, period, and won't explain why. Things go horribly downhill from there----this first tale definitely has the most haunting ending (with one gruesome scene included.)

"The Birthday Party", directed/written/music done by Annie Clark, starts off in a quiet home with a woman named Mary (Melanie Lynskey) asking her lovely goth-looking maid (Sheila Vand) to make sure that everything goes right for her little daughter's birthday party. Her daughter (Sanai Victoria) insists on running around dressed as a ghost for said party. When Mary finds her husband unexpectedly home--and unexpectedly deceased--she decides to try and figure out how to try and keep that fact from her daughter, and gets into a real dilemma on how to do that. The only real dark comic tale of the four.

"Don't Fall", written/directed/produced by Roxane Benjamin, is set out in the desert, where a couple of vacationers have decided to go hiking in a mountain area where no one's allowed to go. The main instigator, a laid-back,weed-smoking guy named Paul (Casey Adams) has gotten everybody up there to do some real roughing it in the outdoors, which his significant other, Gretchen (Breeda Wool) dosen't particularly like. The other two, Jess (Angela Timbur) and Jay (Morgan Krantz) are cool with it. They spot a strange drawing on the cliff wall, and of course ignore its significance. This is basically another horror-appears-out-of an-abandoned-Indian-burial-ground-story---nothing really new here, but it's done in a suspenseful way---seemed a little too short,though.

"Her Only Living Son", written/directed by veteran director Karyn Kusama, concerns a woman named Cora (Christina Kirk) who's been on the run with her now-grown son Andy (Kyle Allen) for most of their life. He's approaching his 18th birthday, and going through some disturbing physical changes neither one of them can ignore any longer. Of course, being a teen, he no longer listens to her, and after he physically hurts a classmate whose mother (Lisa Renee Pitts) demands that something be done about him, things have to change. Like him finding out who his father really is (the one they're been fleeing) and the local postman, who warns her about what's going to happen on his birthday. Liked how it kept the suspense going---I just wished that the ending could have been completely different--it seemed too typical (and predictable) for this type of story. There's also some well-done old-school stop-motion animated segments done in the Jan Swankmajer/Brothers Quay style that tie all the tales together by Sofia Carillo---it was nicely well-done and appropriately creepy in a quiet way. As a whole, a couple of the tales could have been longer, and the gore could have been left out, but it was a pretty decent flick, as far as anthologies go.
Last edited by Kim Greene on Dec 28 2017, 03:16 PM, edited 1 time in total.
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Kim Greene
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Joined: Nov 10 2004, 10:28 PM

Dec 28 2017, 02:56 PM #4705

Here's a list of of some of the best LGBTQ films of the year, according to Indiewire,including BEACH RATS:


The 10 Best Gay Movies of 2017
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Kim Greene
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Joined: Nov 10 2004, 10:28 PM

Dec 29 2017, 04:37 PM #4706

STARRY EYES (2014)------Directed/written by Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer (ABSENCE,HOLIDAYS.)This dark horror drama tells the story of a waitress/aspiring actress named Sarah (Alex Essoe) who's determined to be an actress,by going on any audition she can. She lives with a number of friends,some of whom are aspiring actors and filmmakers themselves. Her one real friend among the bunch,Tracy (Amanda Fuller) is the one always encouraging her to follow her dream, while another aspiring actress named Alex (Fabianne Therese,JOHN DIES AT THE END,SEQUENCE BREAK) is always slyly insulting her and putting her down every chance she gets. Sarah sees an ad for an audition in the paper for a leading role in a film, answers it, and gets a callback. She goes to the audition, which turns out to be very strange----for one thing, the casting director (Maria Olsen) and her assistant (Marc Senter) just sit there with expressionless faces like zombies the entire time, and give her virtually no real feedback other than, "We'll call you." After retreating to the ladies' room and crying because she thinks she probably won't get the role, Sarah starts pulling her hair out in frustration, and gets busted doing that by the casting director. To her surprise, she's invited back to do another audition---this time, involving pulling her hair again, in a truly disturbing scene. She gets some actual feedback this time from the casting director, and after getting a callback that she's gotten the role,does another strange audition for it. After she quits her job, and gets a makeover for the role, she goes to see the studio head for an appointment (Louis Deszeran) and discovers, to her horror, that he's going to require more from her for the role than just a good performance. After he tries to put the moves on her, she nopes the hell on out of there and high-tails it back home in disappointment, telling her friend Stacy all about it.
She also starts to have weird nightmares with strange creatures in them. After talking her old boss into giving her old job back, she decides to go ahead and take the role anyway, no matter what.

After that, Sarah starts to go through this horrible metamorphosis---she starts looking like a burnt-out drug addict and being horribly sick--she's terrified, not knowing what happening to her, but it definitely has something to do with accepting that role. The film starts to devolve into a straight-up slasher flick at that point, and gets even more gruesome and nasty from then on. (IMDB says that the lead actress chose to actually put bugs in her mouth for the role, instead of letting CGI be used for the effect, which took some real major guts on her part.) Basically, the film is supposed to be a metaphor for how much a person is willing to give up/sacrifice to make in it Hollywood, but I think they could have done that without all the unnecessary gore and such, because it's really disgusting. It is a different take on how some people struggle to make it into the movie business, and it's refreshing to see a movie made in L.A. where the main characters don't look like supermodels for once and are actually working real jobs---one character says he lives in his own van because it's much cheaper than an L.A. apartment. All in all, it's a pretty decent, thoughtful flick (up until that last one-third of the film, before it devolves into a gruesome slashfest) and Essoe is pretty good in the lead---apparently this flick led to better things for her, since IMDB says she's in a whole slew of new projects. Worth looking at for folks who like horror films with a brain and who don't mind excessive gore.


STARRY EYES at IMDB

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Kim Greene
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Joined: Nov 10 2004, 10:28 PM

Jan 5 2018, 04:15 AM #4707

Here's an article about how two psychologists studied at least 400 horror films to determine which ones have the most realistic portrayals of psychopaths---it's pretty interesting:


Psychologists Tell Apart Real From Fictional Psychopaths in Horror Films
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Kim Greene
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Joined: Nov 10 2004, 10:28 PM

Jan 8 2018, 12:20 PM #4708

Here's a list of Russian horror films, which is something you don't see too often:

The Best Russian Horror Movies
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Kim Greene
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Joined: Nov 10 2004, 10:28 PM

Feb 26 2018, 05:24 PM #4709

Here's a list about actors who wound up emotionally disturbed by or during the horror films they worked on:

Horror roles that really messed up the actors' heads
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Kim Greene
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Joined: Nov 10 2004, 10:28 PM

Mar 15 2018, 05:03 AM #4710

THEY LOOK LIKE PEOPLE (2015)-----Directed/written/edited/produced by Perry Blackshear. This unique,quiet indie horror film starts out with a man staring at something or someone in the dark, with the expectation of that something about to reveal itself in a horrible way. The scene then cuts to daybreak, where a man is sitting on a subway listening to what sound like daily affirmations to help him get through the day, as well as through his job. He meets another man on the sidewalk, and it turns out they're old friends who haven't seen each other in a while. One of them,the dude on the subway who's trying to move up in his job, Christian (Evan Dumouchel) decides to let his cute friend Wyatt (MacLeod Andrews) stay at his place while he's figuring out where else to go, and what to do with his life. While they both adjust to being in each other's space, Christian finally gets around to asking out a lively woman named Mara (Margaret Ying Drake) who also happens to be his boss at work, and both start heading toward a lively,fun romance. Unfortunately, an emergency happens to one of Mara's friends before their first date even begins, and all three wind up marking time at a hospital waiting it out (which is one of the funniest parts of the film.) Meanwhile, Wyatt's been getting these very weird phone calls telling him he's one of a group of folks chosen to take down some evildoers who can disguise themselves as anyone they wish. So therefore, that means he's not to trust anyone,since these things can masquerade as anyone he knows. Of course, there's the usual question about whether Wyatt is actually getting these calls, or he just not taking his meds on time? He admits to having issues and hearing voices to a psychiatrist early on, so who knows?

I liked how the tension of the situation was maintained throughout the film, and how it really ratcheted up toward the end. Plus,there's almost no gore in it, which was really refreshing, and I even jumped once out of fear at one point. I don't remember it getting much promotion when it came out, but this is a really good flick to catch on Netflix or DVD, and frankly, it was nice to watch a horror film that didn't make me feel like I'd been dragged through hell and back, or leave a bad taste in my mouth, or leave me disgusted.

They Look Like People at IMDB

Here's a cool list from of all the recent films where black characters in said films actually make it to the end---too bad they didn't list any black horror films from the '70s, where at least half of the black characters live until the end, and the evil white villain gets what's coming to them,lol. There are spoilers for most of the films on the list, in case you haven't seen them yet, so feel free to skip over them:

11 Horror Movies In Which Black Characters Make It To The End
Last edited by Kim Greene on Mar 30 2018, 06:33 AM, edited 4 times in total.
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Kim Greene
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Joined: Nov 10 2004, 10:28 PM

Mar 15 2018, 12:38 PM #4711

Since the hit horror cult film franchise THE PURGE has a fourth forthcoming sequel (said to be a prequel) coming out this summer called THE FIRST PURGE, and is currently being made into a possible Syfy TV series as well by Blumhouse Studios (the same studio that released the films, as well as GET OUT, their biggest hit to date) it's about past time for me to review the previous PURGE flicks. Here's some news about the upcoming PURGE TV pilot:

The Flickering Myth----The Purge TV series has its leads


THE PURGE (2013)----Directed/written by James DeMonaco. The first film to kick off the unofficial franchise is set in a future time after the government's been overthrown, and a new edict has been declared: that for one day out of the year,everyone will be allowed to roam and commit crimes for 24 hours, with the law turning a blind eye to everything. The Sandin family, who live in a nice upper-middle class neighborhood, have already gotten their house completely secured, with iron gates, cameras outside all over the house,and everything else. Mr. Sandin (Ethan Hawke, SINISTER, BROOKLYN'S FINEST) works for a major security company, so he's got his family the best protection money can buy. Mrs. Sandin (Lena Headey,THE BROTHERS GRIMM, the popular cable TV series GAME OF THRONES) says hi to the neighbors like it's going to be a nice normal evening, which it isn't. Some time later the boyfriend of the Sandin's daughter (Adelaide Kane) sneaks into their home to see her. What they don't know is that since it's Purge night, he's decided to spring a gun on the family, in order to get rid of the father. That dosen't go well, of course, and the family soon hunkers down for the night of terror they hope to make it through. Soon, a complete homeless-looking stranger (Edwin Hodge) comes running to their home after the shooting and the madness starts, begging to be let in so he won't be killed. Mr. Sandin's not letting anyone in,considering what's going on out there. Somehow, Sandin's young son (Max Burkholder) finally convinces them to let the stranger in, just as his dad's shutting the house down, because he dosen't want to see the man bumped off in front of them. The man makes it into their home but not long after, a mob of people with creepy-as-hell looking masks queue up in front of the Sandin's home, while their psycho leader (Rhys Wakefield) demands that the family release the man to them (turns out they were hunting him down to begin with.) The son has to literally plead for his dad to not do it, and the decision they make winds up causing their home to become target of this crazy, insane masked group roaming their 'hood with weapons. After that, the Sandins are forced to end up in an all-out blowout war against these sick creeps for their own survival.

I thought the film was okay (action-packed,suspenseful and all) but I didn't understand how the family or anyone else in the film never bothered to question the rationale behind the Purge, or what the point of it all was. It's alleged that it's just to let off stream, but it dosen't go that much more deeper than that. Some scenes were over the top, but all in all, it was a pretty good action horror thriller, for lack of a better term.


THE PURGE:ANARCHY: (2014)-----Directed/written by James DeMonaco. This sequel is set a few years later after the events in the first film, and this time it's set in the city. It starts with a young couple, Liz and Shane (real-life spouses Kiele Sanchez and Zach Gilford) running out to do some last-minute shopping before the Purge starts, and getting menaced by a group of dudes in creepy masks while just trying to leave the store. In the city, Eva Sanchez (Carmen Ejogo, FANTASTIC BEASTS) is coming home from work, and gets hit on/accosted by her landlord. Both she and her daughter Cali (Zoe Soul) are getting prepared for the Purge by boarding up their doors and windows. Her father, Papa Rico (John Beasley) has made a kind of deal with the devil since he's terminally ill that will financially benefit Eva and his granddaughter. Even though they both beg and plead with him not to go through with it, he does---he basically offers himself up as a sacrifice for a perverted group of rich people's pleasure---it's weird, over the top and disturbing to see. A man (Frank Grillo,THE GREY) sits alone in his house loading up his gun---he's clearly arming himself to head out into the deranged madness of the Purge, for reasons known only to him. Meanwhile, Liz and Shane discover, to their horror, that their tires were slashed, and that they only have an hour or so to get home before said Purge starts, so they get to running. Eva and Cali board up their apartment, only to see their crazy landlord bust his way in, and threaten to sexually assault them both. He gets shot by an unseen shooter, while the two women race out into the night to get to a friend's house across town for safety. They get kidnapped by a roving band of armed dudes in military fatigues and vehicles, headed by a tough, creepy-looking dude manning a machine gun who calls himself Big Daddy (Jack Conley) and are basically being dragged off to be held prisoners by these mad band of crazy men. The stranger with the AK just happens to be in the vicinity, sees what's going on, dosen't want to get involved, but winds up saving both women and decides to help them get where they need to go. They wind up running into Shane and Liz, and soon all five of them,with the armed stranger as their unofficial guide/guardian, wind up having to make their way through the city, which is now nothing more than a dangerous,battle-scarred, and perilous landscape, with virtually no guarantee of making it to their destination alive, let alone in one piece.

Surprisingly, this sequel didn't get a lot of promotion when it came out---I only found out about it from seeing a trailer for it at the theatre, while waiting to see another movie. What I liked about this film was that it was more upfront about the race and class issues surrounding the Purge---the fact that people like the Sanchezes, being neither upper-middle class nor white, are pretty much left to fend for themselves during the Purge, and are more likely to be the first victims of it. There's also the subtext, which is bluntly stated out loud by a leader of an underground anti-Purge group (played by Michael K. Williams of THE WIRE fame) that the Purge is just basically a socially approved excuse for the rich to prey on and get rid of the poor and working-class. It was also more downbeat,violent, and suspenseful/scary, with of course, at least one or two over the top sequences that took me out of the film for a moment,even though they were clearly supposed to be satirical in that same over the top way. Anyway, I found it much better and more interesting than the first PURGE film, since it dealt with more issues and covered more ground,with way more interesting characters. Plus Frank Grillo's character was such a bad-ass as the reluctant hero (an anti-hero,actually) it's no big surprise his character wound up in the third PURGE flick, giving him a chance to show off more of said badassness.


THE PURGE:ELECTION YEAR (2016)-----Directed/written by James DeMonaco. I figured since this was made during one of the craziest election years in recent memory, that at least one person would be running around wearing a Trump mask somewhere in the film, but that didn't happen. This entry picks up 17 years after the second film, when Sgt Barnes (the bad-ass anti-hero stranger from the second PURGE flick, played by Frank Grillo again) is now the head of security for a senator-turned-presidential candidate Charlie Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell) who's been the target of death threats ever since she's been openly running on promises to completely eliminate the Purge for good. Unfortunately, she's made a number of enemies who want her gone because of that, and so the night of the Purge, her home is attacked by unknown forces. Barnes puts his back-up plan into action, and soon he and the senator are fleeing like hell through the streets to find another hideout, since her security force was somehow mysteriously attacked and taken out. Turns out Roan has a very personal reason for wanting to see the Purge end: she herself was the only survivor of a Purge during which her entire family was murdered--and she's determined to see it end, death threats or no death threats. Meanwhile, tough, sarcastic grocery store owner Joe Dixon (Mykelti Williamson, currently playing a head of police one on my favorite cop shows, CHIGAGO P.D.) and his assistant, a young man named Marcos (Joseph Julian Soria) secure the store, and prepare to hunker down on the roof to protect both their lives and property. Two women named Laney (a pre-GET OUT Betty Gabriel) and Dawn (Liza Colon-Zayas) have chosen to patrol the streets in an armored car during the Purge, picking up and providing shelter and transportation for anyone trapped out there who can't defend themselves. They're also armed, and wind up getting into skirmishes with anyone who comes at them with a full-on attack. There's also the fact that the Purge has become international---folks fly in from other countries to participate, like being on a safari---except they're hunting for people, not animals. Both Joe and Marcos wind up having to prepare themselves to fight off a group of AK-47 wielding women dressed in bridal gowns, one of whom Joe pissed off when he busted her stealing in his store earlier. That same pissed-off chick (Britney Mirabile) has apparently gotten more and more deranged as the night goes on,swinging her big fat gat around, and declares all-out war on Joe and Marcos, and their store. Gradually, of course, all the main characters eventually help save or run into each other, and join the cause to take down the evil people behind the Purge. The film gets even more whacked out,out there, and gory toward the end, but it's an incredibly intense journey to get there the entire way.

Liked this one too, even if some parts of were a little too over-the-top (a typical thing in this series) since it also took place in an urban area, had a diverse cast, and the same race-and-class issues. The "founding fathers", the people in power who started the Purge, are shown a lot more, and also shown to be corrupt power-mongers who act like deranged cult leaders ready to take down anyone or anything that keeps them from abusing that power. This third PURGE entry got even less promotion than the last one--I never even saw a trailer for it. I messed around and missed seeing it in the theatre, and saw it on DVD, unlike the first two, which I did see at the movies. There's also some DVD extras that have interviews with the director/writer in which he discusses wanting to deal with the race/class issues in this PURGE film, the satire in it, and there's also a piece on Grillo and his character (he did his own martial arts fight scenes in the film,too.) All three films are available on DVD or Blu-Ray, in a collection of the first two, and a collection featuring all three films on both formats,too.
Last edited by Kim Greene on Mar 15 2018, 03:42 PM, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: Oct 24 2004, 05:57 PM

Mar 15 2018, 02:52 PM #4712

I saw Steven Soderbergh's new thriller UNSANE, which is about a female stalking victim held captive in a mental hospital, last night. I'm reviewing it for Gay City News, and my review should be published the last week of this month. I'll post it then, and I don't want to cannibalize it here, but I think the film is worth commenting on.  The review will contain spoilers, because the moments that most engaged me take place in the film's final third and writing about them requires me to give away some of the film's secrets. Soderbergh shot the film entirely on an iPhone and chose some really odd camera angles and editing choices. It was made for a budget of about 3 million dollars and according to the press kit, there were only a dozen people on the set except for scenes that needed extras. The scenes that I liked most are just intense confrontations between a woman and a very screwed-up man that transcend the genre context and are well-acted and well-written enough that they could probably work as theater. Like most films with similar plots, this does dwell on female victimization in depth before the heroine develops any agency, but there's little on-screen violence. 
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Kim Greene
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Mar 15 2018, 03:40 PM #4713

UNSANE's coming out nationwide March 23rd, so I'll be checking for it. I already said I liked the trailer, which I've been seeing more on TV nowadays,plus I've liked Soderburgh's films for years anyway. THE STRANGERS:PREY AT NIGHT, which I'm assuming is a sequel to the 2008 thriller THE STRANGERS, just came out last week. I really don't see what the point is in making a follow up to the original after a decade, but it's about completely different characters from the first one, which was genuinely creepy. Just saw the trailer, so I may or may not check that one out,too.
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Joined: Oct 24 2004, 05:57 PM

Mar 22 2018, 07:51 PM #4714

Here's my review of UNSANE: http://gaycitynews.nyc/soderbergh-bets-movie-house/. There are spoilers within, so if that matters to you, you should probably wait to read it till after you've seen it. The final two paragraphs also reflect an argument I got into with someone on Facebook over his attitude that "Netflix is saving cinema." 
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Kim Greene
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Mar 25 2018, 09:34 PM #4715

Okay. I'll wait until I see the film before peeping at your review. I prefer being surprised in a film, especially a horror film.
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Joined: Oct 24 2004, 05:57 PM

Mar 30 2018, 07:24 PM #4716

I saw French director Coralie Fargeat's REVENGE last night, which was acquired by the streaming service Shudder out of the Toronto Film Festival last year (where it generated great buzz at midnight screenings) and will be released theatrically in May. The film is probably way too gory for your taste; its  deliberately excessive finale looks as though the production designer went through the set with a hose full of fake blood. However, it takes the kind of rape-revenge plots that male directors have often either used in exploitative ways that dwell voyeuristically on rape scenes or celebrate an idealized view of "strong women" and subverts them. Fargeat deliberately adopts the male gaze in the film's third, showing her heroine Jen sucking on a lollipop and wearing tiny shorts in its first scene. However, she also objectifies Jen's boyfriend Richard - he's quite handsome and fit, and he's also the only character who appears nude. Without giving the ending away, it takes the scene in Cronenberg's EASTERN PROMISES where Viggo Mortensen fights for several minutes while fully naked much further and into far bleaker territory. The stronger Jen gets, the more the camera adopts her POV instead of ogling her ass. REVENGE seems to criticize sexist cinema and ways of looking at women as much as the behavior of its male characters. 
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Kim Greene
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Joined: Nov 10 2004, 10:28 PM

Mar 31 2018, 10:06 AM #4717

Oh,wow---a French horror flick? That's something you don't hear about too often. Nice to hear about a feminist gore flick where the lead female character dosen't, or isn't forced to get nude for once. I just saw two horror flicks---finally got around to seeing TRAIN TO BUSAN, that South Korean zombie action thriller, which was more compelling than I thought it would be (and really good) and HONEYMOON (2015) directed/produced by Diego Cohen---a very dark, and extremely gory as hell Mexican horror film about a psycho doctor (Hector Kotsifakis) who stalks and kidnaps a married woman jogger (Paulina Ahmed) he's been watching for awhile, and basically tries to force her to accept him as her new husband,without giving a damn what she thinks. Every time she fights like hell back against him, he tortures her or knocks her out with something that puts her to sleep, and frankly, I thought the film went way overboard with the torture sequences---there's some parts that should have been just left the hell out, period. And, yeah, the woman is nude in two scenes, but only because she's forced to be (she's knocked out during one scene what that happens.) Of course, since the film was written and directed by a man, that would happen. She does get her revenge on the sick bastard a couple of times,even though he's made damn sure she can't escape, and there's a twist near the end which the movie should have elaborated on a whole lot more, because it adds to the plot, but the director seemed more interested in upping the gore quotient each time throughout the film. The acting is good---I just looked away from some of the torture scenes,though.

TRAIN TO BUSAN (2016)----Directed/co-written by Sang-ho Yeon. This exciting South Korean zombie film, which was a huge hit in its home country (and is now being turned into a VR video game) is a brutal gorefest at some points, but it's also a compelling and thoughtful look at a top corporate executive named Seok-Woo (Yoo Gong, THE SUSPECT) who works so much that he rarely sees his little daughter Soo-an (Su-an Kim.) He's divorced, so it's his turn to take her to her mother's for the weekend. They take a train to get there, and while they're on said train, all of a sudden they and the other passengers see on TV how everything is breaking out in riots and complete kaos, but they still don't know what the hell's going on. Before the train takes off, a young and clearly sick woman stumbles onto the train. When a stewardess tries to help her, she gets bitten by the sick woman, who's now transformed into a roaring, deranged zombie. This scares all the other passengers into running to another car on the train, only to find out that whatever the woman had that turned her into a howling, raging, flesh-eating zombie is spreading like wildfire, and that they're pretty much trapped on this train with the damn things. So it's basically zombies vs. passengers, and even passengers vs. passengers at one terrifying point during the insanity. Among the passengers are a despondent pregnant woman (Yu-mi Jung, A BITTERSWEET LIFE) and her tough, goofy husband (Dong-Seok Ma,THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE WEIRD) a group of teenage athletes, two elderly sisters, and a mean,loudmouth selfish corporate head who does some truly reprehensible things to save his own behind. The train stops at a station where they're told the army and help are waiting, only to find that the zombies got there first, and have literally wiped the hell out of everything/everyone there already. Back on the train, Seok-Woo, the expectant father, and one of the teens have to come up with a way to get their small surviving group through the train without getting bitten by a single zombie, and to get safely to the city of Busan, which proves to be a lot harder than they expected.

The movie's pretty damn exciting,suspenseful and gory (well, of course,it's a zombie flick.) There were times I was hollering at the screen for the characters to move, or not do something stupid---one thing that's refreshing about the film, is that the characters act like actual people would during a crisis----scared and fearful, without doing something stupid every five minutes. It's also about the father's desperate chase to save his daughter, and the realization that he hasn't spent enough time with her, and that it might be too late for him to make up for that---that's a compelling emotional quotient of this flick, which stays hardcore and brutal up until the very end. It's on DVD, naturally, and streaming on Netflix,too.
Last edited by Kim Greene on Apr 2 2018, 09:10 AM, edited 4 times in total.
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Joined: Oct 24 2004, 05:57 PM

Mar 31 2018, 04:50 PM #4718

TRAIN TO BUSAN played NYC theaters for about 6 weeks, and I kept meaning to go see it, but I never got around to it. 

I have written a rough draft for a review of REVENGE, which I hope Gay City News will publish upon its May release. I am waiting to hear back from their editor regarding that. I saw it a 4-day festival of horror films called "What The Fest!?" It was introduced by a French scientist who gave a 20-minute illustrated lecture about the fact that female ants are the best hunters in the animal kingdom, and his presence actually made more sense when I saw all the insect imagery in the film. (The rapists and the heroine's boyfriend are hunters, and the film parallels the way they treat women and animals as objects for their pleasure, to be taken violently if they want.) 

The French horror film RAW, also a debut film made by a woman and about a college student who goes from being a vegetarian to cannibal, was one of my favorites of 2017. 
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Kim Greene
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Joined: Nov 10 2004, 10:28 PM

Apr 1 2018, 05:08 AM #4719

Hmmmm----never heard of a feminist horror film getting the seal of approval from a scientist 🙂---that description of that aspect of the film comparing it to the scientist's insect lecture alone makes it sound somewhat interesting than the usual slasher BS, lol. I've heard of RAW, but it sounded too gross for me.
Last edited by Kim Greene on Apr 2 2018, 09:13 AM, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: Oct 24 2004, 05:57 PM

Apr 1 2018, 09:05 PM #4720

At one point, the heroine hallucinates that her boyfriend is a lizard. It made me think on the fact that the most primitive part of the human mind is called "the reptile brain." 
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