Posts Tagged ‘Movie’

I have recently returned from Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights event and I am currently in haunt mode leading up to Halloween, which is exactly why I will be watching and reviewing the new movie ‘The Houses October Built’ which features a fresh new idea in the found-footage genre based around haunted attractions… I can’t wait to review this movie and look for the article some time this weekend right back here at FirstClassHorror. The following is just a small little overview of the movie and the trailer etc… Enjoy guys!

THE HOUSES OCTOBER BUILT
Synopsis
Americans annually spend over 8 Billion dollars on Halloween. Nearly 2,500
haunted attractions open each year, with over 30 million customers attending
annually.
This is the story of a group of friends who set out to find the most terrifying haunt
in the U.S. — a fabled traveling haunt that blurs the lines between a carnival thrill
ride and a living nightmare.
Six days before Halloween a group of five friends (Zack, Bobby, Brandy, Mikey,
and Jeff) celebrate with a wild night out on the town before loading up their RV to
begin a cross-country road trip.

Approaching the first haunt, each character’s
personality begins to separate as they dissect their individual fears and
expectations. But the intrigue of a standard walk through haunted house quickly
fades and the bar must be raised.

The group stumbles upon some of Halloween’s
most creative haunts: The group gets to become the hunters instead of the
hunted. A “Zombie Paintball” excursion where you shoot rounds at real “human”
zombies.

They then find themselves deep in the trenches of All Hallows’ Eve
erotica inside a “Zombie Strip Club.” And finally an adventurous desire kicks in for
something even more intense…something off the beaten path…the most extreme
haunted house ever created. The group starts questioning haunt workers and
patrons, searching chat rooms, before finally receiving an invitation to the elusive
BLUE SKELETON…a haunt with no website…no recorded history…only an urban
legend.

But they quickly discover that the HAUNT has found them. They come
face to face with the BLUE SKELETON and confront their ultimate fear, blurring
the lines between what is fake…and what is very, very real.

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Arriving thanks to the great success of James Wan’s “The Conjuring,” “Annabelle” picks up where its predecessor began. I know that doesn’t make much sense, but think of this supernatural thriller as a companion piece versus a sequel. While not as frightening or complex as the original, “Annabelle” is an effective scare fest filled with characters set up well enough to empathize with.

A couple’s home is invaded by satanic cultists. Shortly after, they begin to experience terrifying supernatural occurrences involving a vintage doll. Upon further investigation, the couple discovers the cultists have summoned an entity so malicious that nothing they did will compare to the sinister conduit to the damned that is now… Annabelle.

Set in the 1970s, “Annabelle” plays out just like a lost film from that era. It takes time to set up each character and give the viewer a reason to invest in their lives. You get attached to them before unholy terror and tragedy reigns down upon each one.

Another reason it plays out like a genuine treasure from the decade of “The Exorcist” and “The Omen” is its focus on the satanic panic movement of the time. The drama unfolds as the Manson Family trial is playing out on the couple’s television. It captures the paranoia of a time when cults and a serial murderer known as the Zodiac Killer was on everyone’s minds. The American public was either fixated or unhealthily fascinated with the dangers of the occult.

“Annabelle” is rated R for intense sequences of disturbing violence and terror. Blood is definitely shed on screen and I agree that some imagery is beyond what we’ve come to expect from PG-13 movies. However, there’s no nudity to be seen.

For those walking into “Annabelle” expecting a “Chucky” movie, you’ll be sorely disappointed. The doll is only one plot device used. The demon manifests itself using several different avenues which I don’t want to spoil entirely here. The most prevalent one is that of the female cult member who “infects” the doll with her tainted blood.

“Annabelle” is a worthy follow-up to “The Conjuring.” It comes as no surprise that producers would focus on the deadly doll as a means of carrying on what could become a franchise all its own. The creepy plaything almost stole the show. Just like Disney is doing with “Star Wars,” Warner Brothers could push out a spin-off film for each object in the Warrens’ occult museum every other year directed by up and coming talent while James Wan handles the “The Conjuring” sequels.

If that does come to light, then I for one am in!!

What did you guys think? Did you enjoy it as much as I did? Were you surprised in a good or bad way as to how the movie played out?

Let me know below in the comment section!

It’s getting to that time of year again guys when the Haunt season rolls in and everybody is starting to prepare for Halloween Horror Nights! The following are some random tips for anyone travelling to the event this year! Feel free to leave any other tips etc that you may think of in the comments below!

Thanks guys!

When should I go?

Any night in September is good. The later you go in Fall, the busier it will be. Saturdays are the busiest days of the week, followed by Friday. You should avoid the week before Halloween at all costs. November 1st is the last night of the event, and the crowds return to September levels, if that.

Is an Express Pass worth it?

It fluctuates in price each night. Some nights you would be paying as much as a regular admission. I’d consider buying one if 5/8 of the houses exceed a 90 minute wait time. So, in summary, get one on Fridays and Saturdays between Oct. 15-31.

Other Tips and Tricks

*The first and last Bill and Ted show each night are the least crowded

*Start your house from the back of the park and make your way to the front of the park as the night progresses.

*HHN is at its peak capacity around 10:30. Guests start to leave after then. Get into the park as close to the opening as you can.

*Talk to strangers. It helps distract you from the lines you’re waiting in.

I usually bring a backpack filled with the following items:

  • Poncho – Probably the most important item in my backpack. I recall one night where it rained literally all night. My girlfriend and I were soaked from head to toe. Then we bought ponchos. It at least keeps the rain off of your clothes. The downside to a poncho is that it gets pretty humid inside of it due to your body heat and the rain.
  • Small Umbrella – If you have the poncho, you’re probably ok. I bring a small umbrella just in case I don’t feel like wearing a poncho and the rain isn’t that bad.
  • Extra Socks/Shoes – This is only if you anticipate the rain is going to be bad. Usually when it rains, the lines for the houses get filled with huge puddles of water. Then you’re going to step in those big puddles and have wet shoes and socks. Then you’re going to hate your life.
  • Handheld game – Lines are long, and waiting in line staring at the drunk guy who took his shirt off and is singing Lady Gaga is only funny for the first 10 minutes, then it’s just sad and kinda creepy. Therefore, I usually bring my Nintendo DS and I’m distracted long enough to not notice the 2 hour wait times on each of the houses.

The backpack in itself is a great thing to bring because it can hold anything you buy during the event. You will have to open your backpack at the checkpoint to City Walk as well as the entrance to Universal. To make this as smooth and as easy as possible, I put together the following tips.

Things to not bring:

  • Weapons/anything that could be considered a weapon – You are going to have to pass through a metal detector when you come in the park. Don’t bring pocket knives, bottle openers, kendo sticks, or anything else that could be considered a weapon. Otherwise you’ll get it taken away and may not be let in.
  • Pens/Markers – I experienced this last year. I had just come from school so I had some Micron Pens in my backpack. The security pulled me to the side and told me that pens/markers weren’t allowed in the park. They took them, gave me a slip of paper and told me I could pick them up when I left the park. I don’t know what damage I could do with a Micron Pen, but it happened.
  • Alcohol – Alcohol in the park is expensive. I know your friends have done it and gotten away with it, so you’re going to try it. Don’t try and sneak alcohol in. They’ll just make you throw it away. And they won’t let you finish it off either.
  • Masks/Costumes – Just don’t bring these. The scareactors are here to scare people, not you. Which leads me to my next point…

Tips for not being an a-hole at Halloween Horror Nights:

  • Don’t attempt to scare/mess with the scareactors. This is probably the thing I see most from middle schoolers that got dropped off at the park by their moms. They want to look cool and mess with the scareactors. They try to sneak up on them in the streets and scare them from behind. Well it’s not cool, it’s rude and ruins things for the rest of us. This also goes for the houses. Don’t attempt to go into the actor’s boo-holes. Just walk through the house and experience it.
  • Don’t hound the scareactors for pictures. Sure, some will take pictures with you, but they’re here to scare people, not to take a selfie with you on Instagram.
  • Don’t blame the workers for long lines. Treat them with respect. They are just trying to work and put on this great yearly event for us.
  • Don’t touch anything in the houses. The creative team spent tons of time on these houses in making them extremely detailed. There are always drunk people that wander in the houses and rip stuff off of a table in a room. Just look around and experience it. No touchy.
  • Don’t smoke in line. This is probably the most annoying thing ever. Standing behind a guy for 2 hours who is chain smoking. Not only is it inconsiderate, but it can also get you kicked out of line. Universal has designated smoking areas for that.

 

Fact Check: Are These Horror Films Really "Based On Actual Events"?

The Strangers (2008)

What they claimed was real: The movie is centered around a young couple staying in a remote vacation cabin in the woods. But their night is interrupted when a pack of strangers with doll masks decide to invade their home and murder the unsuspecting couple. The trailer for this film stated that The Strangers was “Inspired By True Events.”

The Facts: When asked about these “true events,” the movie’s writer/director Bryan Bertino elaborated in the production notes:

Bertino remembers, That part of the story came to me from a childhood memory. As a kid, I lived in a house on a street in the middle of nowhere. One night, while our parents were out, somebody knocked on the front door and my little sister answered it. At the door were some people asking for somebody that didn’t live there. We later found out that these people were knocking on doors in the area and, if no one was home, breaking into the houses. In The Strangers, the fact that someone is at home does not deter the people who’ve knocked on the front door; it’s the reverse.

So he could have just said, “No it’s not based on true events at all.”

Verdict: Not Real.

 

DeadRisingFilm

It’s hard to believe that Dead Rising made its debut on the Xbox 360 eight long years ago. It was the first game I ever played on the console, and now, six games later and we’re finally getting a feature-length movie adaptation. Now before you get too excited, you should know that this won’t see a theatrical release. Instead, it will premiere as a timed exclusive on Crackle, Sony’s VOD platform, before it’s made available on-demand elsewhere and on physical media.

The Dead Rising film will be penned by Tim Carter and produced by Tomas Harlan, the co-owners of Contradiction Films, which also produced the Mortal Kombat: Legacy web series for Machinima. Which you can see here…

https://www.youtube.com/show/mortalkombatlegacy

“Dead Rising has a built-in fan base and rich characters and plotlines that are ideal for digital storytelling and on target for Legendary’s brand,” said Tom Lesinski, president of content and distribution at Legendary Digital Media. “Crackle and Content are adept at distributing cutting-edge digital content and we look forward to delivering a highly engaging and cool series for a global audience.”

Crackle apps are available for free on PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One, as well as mobile devices, smart TVs and media players, including Roku, Apple TV and Chromecast.

This really isn’t all that surprising, seeing as the franchise has sold a cool 6.5+ million copies worldwide. Is this something you’re interested in seeing, and if you are, which game in the series — if any — would you like to see adapted? Of the main series, I wouldn’t mind returning to the story teased in Dead Rising 2. I liked the dynamic between Chuck and his sick daughter and I feel there’s plenty there to make a decent film. The other games were a bit shallow, narratively.

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I’ve seen many people complaining about the lack of originality, but when you’re remaking a horror film from the 80’s, it’s almost inevitable that you’re going to give the audience something they’ve seen before. That wasn’t really bothersome to me though because the characters and anticipation overshadowed it for the most part.

Dylan Walsh plays the stepfather in a role that was actually likable for the first part of the film. He meets a single mom played by Sela Ward and all is picture perfect until her bad boy son comes home from military school. We only know he’s bad by the way because someone tells us. He’s a pretty normal, well adjusted kid considering that his dad is no longer around and his mother has engaged herself to a stranger in the span of 6 months. Far as I could tell, his behavior is still within normal range. It might have made for a more interesting film though if he really was a wild child.

So past that everyone knows what follows with the story. There is not a lot of gratuitous violence; even the killing scenes are low key which I don’t really mind. If anyone is looking for lots of gore and clever death shots, this is not the film for them. The excitement is in the buildup, the experience of the characters finding out for themselves who the stepfather really is; especially when you have the one obligatory character, in this case the wayward son, who seems to intuit everything about the man from the first time he sets eyes on him. That standard plot device, a character who has it all figured out and NO ONE will believe him, well it’s beyond old but it’s moderately effective here.

The mindless and unnecessary adolescent dialogue, together with the many gratuitous bikini shots of the son’s pale and too skinny girlfriend, tend to bring the quality of the film down. They were neither necessary nor helpful. But if you can look past that and the lack of originality (is it fair to expect that in this film really?) then you’ll find an adequate film that’s worth a couple hours of your time. I’ve seen much worse in the horror/thrillers in the past few years.

6/10

The Midnight Meat Train

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Midnight Meat Train, as the title suggests, tells of the last train in the system where passengers inexplicably disappears, and I thought that Japanese director Ryuhei Kitamura managed to put a somewhat refreshing spin to the entire slasher and torture porn genre.

Based on a short story by horror Meister Clive Barker, the story in parts looked like horror thrillers with recognizable moments like those in The Terminator, Shutter, and of course, Jeepers Creepers. If I were to have to take the last train, I definitely wouldn’t want to bump into Vinny’s sharp dressed Mahogany, a character who is almost like any other Vinny Jones character of being the muscle-man. Here, he’s a butcher with a penchant of waiting for the last train, and armed with nothing more than knives, meat hooks and his personal favourite, a meat tenderizer, he proceeds to chop up unsuspecting victims as the train seem to speed off into the unknown.

And there’s where the story becomes intriguing, as it poses a lot of questions and doesn’t provide you with any clear answers, until much later. You have to endure a slow buildup of Leon the photographer (Bradley Cooper) who in his quest to take the perfect picture for an exhibition, chances upon Mahogany and follows him for that Kodak moment. His girlfriend Maya (Leslie Bibb) and best friend Jurgis (Roger Bart) also get into the fray, and soon life for all three will be irrevocably changed. The payload for the movie comes at the back, and my, it’s as satisfying a wrap as it can be, though again for those already familiar with some of the mentioned films, you’ll more or less expect things to be done the way they did.

As mentioned earlier, what was a refreshing spin, was how direct and to the point the acts of violence got, without dragging the scenes out with needless, extended cries of mercy or lingering on gratuitous scenes of gore and blood, which torture porn flicks seem to continuous bog their movies with, that it becomes boring (Yes, I think you can sense that I’m already de-sensitized to such scenes). Rather than trying to craft creative ways to die in order to go one up against other movies that came before it, The Midnight Meat Train really went back to basics and simplicity, where killing blows are delivered swiftly, before proceeding with dismemberment.

While it is disturbing in itself, the distributors decided to shield local audiences from such violence and gore, and hence we got a censored M18 rated version, instead of full regalia under the R21 rating. The cuts were jarring enough, but in all fairness the quality of the movie cannot be judged by just how those scenes were removed with a butcher’s knife. Going by detailed descriptions of the level of graphic violence contained in the movie, it seemed that we suffered from having a lot cut off.

The movie also boasted some really effective scenes of tension, and the anticipation of ill will especially with Vinny Jones looming nearby. The last time I remembered watching a major action sequence involving trains was in Batman Begins, and given that it has to live up to titular expectations, audiences were treated to some incredible all-out action scenes set in and around the train, with some really energetic camera movement and angles to complement the action on screen.

But technicalities aside, what really worked and will possibly elevate this film to cult status, will be portrayal and fleshing out the character of Mahogany as the no-nonsense and swift executioner, adding to the list of memorable villains to have graced the screen amongst the likes of the Freddies, Jasons and the Michael Myers of the cinematic world.

 

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Robertson County Sheriff’s Department (in TN, I think, rather than TX or KY) has a short segment where they say they found some footage from the cell phones and video cameras on or near the Sawyer families corpses. So, we are locked into ‘found footage.’ Later on in the film the cops called to find Dana Sawyer refers to himself as from Adams County PD.

Brandon gets a video camera as a birthday gift. He starts annoying everyone immediately. He records some poltergeist activity in empty rooms, but never seems to notice this. He records a whole lot of other things that get ignored.

The daughter has terrifying dreams. The lights flicker; the electrician they call gets electrocuted on an outside junction box. The son and his friend find some history of the county which includes the Bell Witch. As it turns out, the house and grounds intersect with the land owned by the Bell Witch.

As time wears on, the family dies except for one.

——Scores——

Cinematography: 4/10 The usual mix: anything from shaky cam plus bad everything all the way to full-lit, beautifully framed and focused. The long intervals of static shots of empty rooms were not a plus.

Sound: 4/10 Varies, just like the visuals. Some of it is really poor, where words are hard to figure out.

Acting: 2/10 More or less at reality-TV level. The exorcism scene just sucked rocks in terms of acting.

Screenplay: 2/10 Nothing new. Perhaps 10 minutes of content stretched over 90 minutes of bad visuals and iffy sound.

Not to long ago Producers Ant Timpson and Tim League put the call out to filmmakers to direct a short film to be included in the ABC’s of Death 2. The response was overwhelming and since they received so many fantastic entries they have decided to go ahead and release some of them in ABC’s of Death 1.5.ABCs of Death 1.5 Announced

They ultimately decided upon Robert Boocheck’s wildly clever “M is for Masticate” to be included in The ABC’s of Death 2 but the following will all be included in the spin-off that will celebrate the letter “M”:

Maria Ivanova’s “M is for Mactation”, Tim Rutherford and Cody Kennedy’s “M is for Magnetic Tape”, Christopher Younes’ “M is for Maieusiophobia”, Dante Vescio and Rodrigo Gasparini’s “M is for Mailbox”, Summer Johnson’s “M is for Make Believe”, Peter Czikrai’s “M is for Malnutrition”, Michael Schwartz’s “M is for Manure”, Steve Daniels’ “M is for Marauder”, Zac Blair’s “M is for Marble”, Eric Pennycoff’s “M is for Mariachi”, Todd Freeman’s “M is for Marriage”, Jeff Stewart’s “M is for Martyr”, Gigi Saul Guerrero’s “M is for Matador”, Wolfgang Matzl’s “M is for Meat”, Ama Lea’s “M is for Mermaid”, Joe and Lloyd Staszkiewicz’s “M is for Merry Christmas”, Carlos Faria’s “M is for Mess”, Nicholas Humphries’ “M is for Messiah”, Brett Glassberg’s “M is for Mind Meld”, Álvaro Núñez’s “M is for Miracle”, Barış Erdoğan’s “M is for Mobile”, Carles Torrens’ “M is for Mom”, Travis Betz’s “M is for Moonstruck”, Peter Podgursky’s “M is for Mormon Missionaries”, Mia’Kate Russell’s “M is for Muff”, and Jason Koch and Clint Kelly’s “M is for Munging.”

ABC’s of Death 1.5 will be released digitally from Drafthouse Films in early 2014, and will screen at select Alamo Drafthouse cinemas. Magnet Releasing will be unveiling ABC’s of Death 2 on VOD, in cinemas, and on DVD and BluRay in 2014.

This summer was a busy time for the Irish horror scene which the production of Beau Diable underway in Camden Fort Meagher, Crosshaven in the Cork area and also off the coast. The story revolves around a group of fun loving college students that go on a sailing trip little do they expect to be kidnapped, but when their captor forces them to take him to a remote island little does he expect to encounter the horrors there. Sounds interesting right? The movie take’s you into two kilometers of underground tunnels for an old fort… that sounds creepy enough without anything even being down there.

The film has been privately funded and is getting quite some attention from distributors as this may be Ireland’s version of ‘The Blair Witch Project’ or better!

Oh and did I mention the movie features a slew of amazing Irish talent? From Conor Dwane and Grace Kelly to Aron Hegarty and Niamh Hogan! Oh and by the way this horror movie isn’t without the beautiful girls either down worry! (some mentioned above)

The film is directed by Conor Slattery who also co-wrote it with the help of Gemma McCarthy. The production company for the movie is Centauri Films. The film is currently in post-production and is expected to release on limited screens including Camden late this year with the movie taking to the film festival scene early next year. If you want to know more about this movie check out there facebook page https://www.facebook.com/BeauDiable for more info. Let us know what you think about this one guys? Interested?