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

Joined: 24 Oct 2004, 17:57

14 Dec 2017, 03:52 #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: 10 Nov 2004, 22:28

16 Dec 2017, 17:54 #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 18 Dec 2017, 02:32, edited 8 times in total.
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Joined: 24 Oct 2004, 17:57

16 Dec 2017, 22:57 #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: 10 Nov 2004, 22:28

28 Dec 2017, 14:19 #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 28 Dec 2017, 15:16, edited 1 time in total.
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Kim Greene
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Joined: 10 Nov 2004, 22:28

28 Dec 2017, 14:56 #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: 10 Nov 2004, 22:28

29 Dec 2017, 16:37 #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: 10 Nov 2004, 22:28

05 Jan 2018, 04:15 #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: 10 Nov 2004, 22:28

08 Jan 2018, 12:20 #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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