‘Trick ‘r Treat 2′ is Finally Happening

Posted in Horror on October 29th, 2013 by Nick

TRICK-R-TREAT-2At a special screening of the cult horror film Trick ‘r Treat last night, the film’s fans received the news they’d been waiting for for years – a sequel is on the way.

The screening, held at Beyond Fest 2013 at L.A.’s Egyptian Theater, had special guests in attendance such as Trick ‘r Treat writer/director Michael Dougherty, producer Bryan Singer and several cast members from the film – Brian Cox (“Mr. Kreeg”), Dylan Baker (“Steven”), Quinn Lord (“Sam”) and Jean-Luc Bilodeau (“Schrader”).

Unlike its predecessor, Doughterty and co. hope to get the sequel a theatrical release. As many know, the original movie had quite a bumpy ride. Telling the story of Sam, an unofficial mascot of Halloween who punishes anyone who dares to diss the holiday, Trick ‘r Treat was originally scheduled for a theatrical release in 2007. But after a ginormous clusterfuck, the film was given a straight-to-DVD release in 2009. Four years later, thanks to various VOD services and Netflix, the film has attracted a cult following with everyone wanting more of that little orange demon, Sam.

Dougherty confirmed that he’s writing and directing the sequel, but work has not begun on the script and details that may be buzzing through their minds are being kept on the downlow. Singer, however, remarked: “I can definitely say that we’ll be exploring Sam more and maybe getting into some back story of who and what he actually is.”

This is truly a triumphant moment for horror fans who were devoted to the original since the beginning. The film struggled to even get off the shelf, let alone find its core audience. The fact that Trick ‘r Treat survived via word of mouth and die-hard fandom is reason to celebrate.

For more on the upcoming sequel, check out EW‘s interview where Dougherty talks about staying ahead of horror trends, the beauty of anthologies, and more.

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Happening Sh*t: Community Returns, Billie Joe Duets with Norah Jones, and more!

Posted in Happening Sh*t on October 25th, 2013 by Nick

It’s been a while since the last edition, so let’s dive right in with the most happenin’ sh*t coming soon to a screen near you!

RiffTrax Live Tackles Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

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Tickets are now on sale for RiffTrax’s next big heckle: Santa Claus Conquers the Martians! If you don’t know these guys, they’re the geniuses behind the show/movies Mystery Science Theater 3000. Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett watch shitty films and riff on them all for you – making craptastic movies tolerable since 1988.

The events are live and broadcast to a theater near you. The guys will watch Santa Claus Conquers the Martians on Thursday, December 5 at 8:00pm EST and you can head on over to Fathom Events to check out showtimes and participating theaters.

We attended a screening just last night of Night of the Living Dead and these guys are hilarious and oh-so-worth it.

 

Community is Returning On…

January 2,2014! Set those DVRs. I’m kind of tired of trying to convince people to watch this creative masterpiece (said the entertainment blogger…), so once more, with feeling: COMMUNITY IS ONE OF THE BEST COMEDIES ON TELEVISION, PEOPLE! Give it a chance. Thank you.

 

Watch a Damn Horror Movie Already

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Fall in New England is really the greatest time of the year (sorry, Summer). I guess Fall can be OK elsewhere, too. Add to that the fact that Halloween, the best holiday ever, is right around the corner and you have one happy, horror loving blogger. We’ve been hitting the genre pretty hard lately – Cheerleader Camp, Child’s Play, Sleepaway Camp 2: Unhappy Campers, Alone in the Dark, Friday the 13th Part 6: Jason Lives, just to name a few – so dig out an old favorite or bump up a flick in your Netflix queue you haven’t seen before. ‘Tis the season.

 

Billie Joe Armstrong and Norah Jones Recorded an Album

Jazz songstress Norah Jones has teamed up with an unlikely collaborator…Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong. The two are releasing “Foreverly” on November 25, a re-interpretation of “Songs Our Daddy Taught Us” by The Everly Brothers mixed with a couple covers of traditional tracks. Not only is the pairing of Armstrong and Jones a really interesting combo…but it’s great to see Armstrong step outside of his comfort zone and, well, the lead single is just really interesting! See for yourself:

If the video gets pulled, you can stream the single on the duo’s main page.

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Happy October Halloween Fans!

Posted in Bacon, Horror on October 1st, 2013 by Nick

IT’S OCTOBER! – aka the best month of the YEAR (sorry, June…and that’s saying a lot considering that’s my birthday month). But candy, Halloween, horror movies, Fall in New England – what’s not to love about that!?

So Happy October people. Because it kicks ass. You know what else kicks ass? Vodka and bacon. Maybe we should all celebrate life with a bit of Adult Trick R’ Treating! That’d be so money.BACONDUDE

 

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Rob Zombie’s ‘The Lords of Salem’: Intriguing or Tired? You decide!

Posted in Horror, Movies, Trailer Park on February 6th, 2013 by Nick

The Interweb has brought forth yet another trailer for Rob Zombie’s The Lords of Salem and I can’t quite make up my mind about it:

On the surface, it looks like yet another Zombie film that I’ve already seen before. But that said, I do respect Zombie for his originality and brutality, and definitely think he’s put his own stamp on the Horror genre at large. So…yanno…props.

But can the dude ever stop casting his wife, Sheri Moon? She doesn’t totally suck (I liked her a lot in The Devil’s Rejects, actually), but is she really his muse? There aren’t any better choices out there? Can she even handle a lead like this? Can I even make out what “this” is from that trailer? So many questions.

I’m somewhat intrigued and have my fingers crossed that Zombie has concocted something completely disturbing…but I’m not quite ready to commit to a theater viewing. Am I crazy? Will you be checking out Lords?

The Lords of Salem opens nationwide April 19. 

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Revisiting the Boogey Man: A ‘Halloween’ Series Countdown

Posted in Horror on October 31st, 2012 by Nick

Last year, I counted down the Friday the 13th series, starting from the worst and getting down to the nitty gritty – my fave – Friday the 13th Part 3. This year, I’m taking on the Boogey Man himself: Mr. Michael Myers. This time around, I’m excluding remakes (Sorry, Zombie) while also tossing that third edition, Season of the Witch, by the wayside. Seven spots open. Which film will conquer the rest? Let’s do this.

Remember the time Tyra Banks and Busta Rhymes ruined Halloween? I do. That’s why Halloween: Resurrection, the eight film in the series, gets the #7 position. Halloween H20 didn’t need a follow-up, dammit! I’d much rather live in a state of blissful ignorance, pretending that Rob Zombie’s brutal follow-ups were the only “resurrection” of Michael Myers. And I can’t even talk about that opening death. Tear. Sad face. To everyone involved: You ruined a perfect ending to a nearly perfect series. Damn you all.

6. Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers. Unlike the Friday series, Halloween movies are all pretty solid in my book. Even though Numero 5 is my next pick for the 6 spot, it’s still a pretty decent film. Continuing the story of Laurie Strode’s daughter Jamie (Danielle Harris) from the fourth film, number 5 proves to be slightly lackluster. It’s chock-full of some good suspense, but minus points for the character Tina being a snooze and also, for the lack of a better ending. Number four is really the best of the Jamie Lloyd saga.

5. Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers. Yes, this movie is kind of a mess. Yes, there are a shitton of various cuts. And no, I haven’t seen them all. But what I like best about The Curse is its dramatic change in tone. It’s darker, cruder, and…oh, hey, Paul Rudd! Though re-watching this movie post-Rudd’s mainstream success kind of distracts from the story, it’s still pretty awesome that they revived the character of Tommy from the original film. I also like the attempt at explaining Michael’s madness – an A for effort, even if it’s choppy. This also marks Donald Pleasance’s last appearance in the series before his real-life death. Second sad face.

4. Halloween H20. This one is a very polarizing entry to the series, but dammit, I’m a full-on supporter. Jamie Leigh Curtis is back as Laurie Strode…err…Keri Tate (she faked her death and went into hiding), a now-headmistress at a posh, secluded private school in the woods somewhere. Though this one has a pretty slow start, look at all the goodies it delivers: Nancy Chambers returns as Dr. Loomis’s colleague from the original, Curtis’s mother, Janet Leigh, co-stars and drives the same car her character did in Psycho (Nerd Alert!), and uh, LL Cool J….no wait – forget that last one. The last 30 minutes are a rollercoaster ride of suspense, and then it ends with a decapitation. Awesome! Pause to reflect once again on how badly Halloween: Resurrection ruined a perfect ending. Go ahead. Think it over. I’ll wait.

Moving on!

3. Halloween 2. A direct sequel to the events of the original, Halloween 2 takes place on the very same night of October 31, 1978, and Michael is still in pursuit of his sister, Laurie Strode. Laurie is relocated to a hospital, where there are plenty of other bodies for Michael to take down. A super strong sequel to an iconic film, I love that it takes place on the same night, and I also love the different setting. Plus, there’s a ton of fire at the end, and as we’ve learned from Beavis and Butt-head, fire is always cool, especially if paired with an explosion. I love this film dearly, but it doesn’t quite make my Top 2.

2. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers. If any Halloween fan out there has a bone to pick with my countdown, it’s probably the fact that I’m placing 4 above 2. And I get it. But here’s what I love about 4. Not only did it introduce us to the Scream-Queen-in-the-Making, Danielle Harris, but shit always gets crazy when a small child is involved. Watching a masked serial killer chase down an eight year old just adds an extra layer of terror and suspense. Ellie Cornell, who played Rachel Carruthers, is a huge plus, as is the fast pace of the movie and the changing settings. You get the sense that Rachel and Jamie are actually being chased through the entire movie – through the streets, at the sheriff’s house, in the school. It feels like a lot is happening in this one, and it’s a great ride throughout.

1. Halloween. In this case, the original really takes the cake. Does such an iconic movie even need a reason? Halloween mainstreamed the slasher film and was a true inspiration to so many movies after it. John Carpenter’s chilling score…Michael’s terrifying debut…it’s all so very perfect. Fans of Leatherface or Norman Bates can leave their complaints in the comments section – Halloween is the true Granddaddy of the slasher film and brought the Horror genre in an entirely different direction. It even introduced us to Jamie Leigh Curtis, who went on to star in plenty of other excellent 70′s/80′s horror movies such as Terror Train and Prom Night. For these reasons and so many more, number 1 easily earns top spot on The Littlest Winslow’s Halloween countdown!

So that’s it, kids. There you have it. Agree? Disagree? Holler back and let me know your standings.

Happy Halloween!

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Horror Alert: ‘Grave Encounters’

Posted in Horror on October 17th, 2012 by Nick

When scanning the Netflix instant selection, it’s always a gamble as to A) What you’re going to find on there, and B) How shitty your selected movie is going to be. Grave Encounters was always one I flew by because, well, it looked rather budget. The “found footage” sub-genre is trendy right now given the success of the Paranormal Activity series, so I always exercise some caution on “found footage” films that I’ve never heard of. But I got a recommendation, I gave it a shot, and was pleasantly surprised!

The story follows a camera crew of one of those Travel Channel-type Horror shows where ghost experts and film crews survey haunted areas, claim to hear noises that you don’t really hear, and talk about all of the murderous nasties that used to live and eventually died there. Lance Preston is the host of the fictitious “Grave Encounters” television show, and along with his crew, he investigates a haunted psychiatric hospital in search of paranormal activity in what eventually becomes their last episode ever (we’re told this at the start – not a spoiler).

The scary story behind the haunted hospital surrounds a doctor, Arthur Friedkin, who performed unethical experiments and lobotomies on patients before being overthrown and offed himself. We learn most of this story throughout the first 20-30 minutes – and it’s so terrible! The actors are mediocre at best, and they overact in order to parlay their on-camera personas and faux excitement to their audience. When it’s time to wrap, someone disappears (of course) and the hellish haunts start showing their faces.

As with most found footage movies, there are plenty of make-you-jump scare tactics, and surprisingly, many of them work given the limited lighting and setting. The sounds were also pretty frightening, so make sure you turn this one up to 11. There’s a decent amount of blood and gore, and plenty of freaky happenings that will stick in your mind even post-viewing.

For some reason, ghost flicks like this really get under my skin. Maybe it’s because I believe in this stuff, or maybe it’s because paranormal movies always have a claustrophobic feel to them. Does Grave Encounters feel like a B-movie. Sure. But what lies ahead for this film crew is certainly more twisted and messed up than anything I’ve seen in a Paranormal Activity movie (though arguably, when taken as a series, the Paranormal flicks definitely have more of a story).

Though the found footage technique is a bit hackneyed, Grave Encounters delivered a few eye-rolls and some truly scary moments – just like a good scary movie should!

Grade: B

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Horror Alert: ‘Sleepaway Camp’ Fans Assemble!

Posted in Horror on October 12th, 2012 by Nick

As I sit here and write this, I feel shame. After a quick search on the site, I am quite honestly horrified that I never took the time to write about one of my favorite Horror movies of all time: Sleepaway Camp. What a special, special movie, and I showed it almost zero love! That changes today.

After this week’s viewing, all of the reasons why I love Sleepaway Camp have come flooding back into cognizance. For those who have never had the privilege of meeting Angela Baker and her cousin Ricky before, Sleepaway Camp is the story about two cousins who go away for the summer to a sleepaway camp, hoping to have the best summer ever! Angela (Felissa Rose) is a survivor of a horrible boating accident that occurred earlier in her childhood. Because of that experience, she is withdrawn and socially awkward, while Ricky (Jonathan Tiersten) is a camp returnee and fits in well among his friends. Shortly after all the campers arrive, a string of murders terrorizes the camp! And to keep it spoiler-free, well, that’s all I can really tell you.

But this isn’t just some Friday the 13th rip-off, spin-off, or offshoot. Sleepaway Camp offers so much more than meets the eye on a surface level. This movie is even more of a cult favorite than Happy Birthday to Me is. Fans of Sleepaway Camp, I think, appreciate its multifaceted nature. One one hand, it’s a shitty 80’s slasher with a healthy dose of cheese. On another, it’s a twisted, dark and unbelievably demented take on the rest of the slasher flicks that were slicing their way through theaters at the time.

You can love Sleepaway Camp for its surface level cheese, 80’s flair, laughable dialogue and questionable acting. Even if you stop there, you’re in for a treat. Digging deeper, though, I think the movie really sets a perfect tone. It’s dark and dismally shot, and has a chilling score that perfectly accompanies the gritty look of the film. Sure, it’s low budget, but it totally works given the landscape and setting of the movie. The deaths also deliver, with some a little more effective than others. There’s an accident with boiling water, an all-the-way-down-the-back knife slicing, a drowning and even a decapitation. Oftentimes, the movie gives viewers a first-person angle for the stalking and murder scenes, which also adds to the edge and tension of the movie.

And that ending. Holy. Hell.

If you don’t know what I’m referring to, do yourself a favor: Stay off the Internet. Netflix Sleepaway Camp immediately. It’s the surprise ending to end all other surprise endings. Not only will it completely shock you, but it’ll also give you a compelling reason as to why Sleepaway Camp is in a class of its own.

Bonus points for Desiree Gould’s performance as Aunt Martha, a really twisted and oddball character that viewers see in the beginning and end of the movie. But hey – this is a spoiler-free zone!

In my opinion, you’re not a true horror fan unless you have at least seen this movie once. (And purchased the Sleepaway Camp Survival Kit box set. And watched it a zillion times. But I’m a self-proclaimed weirdo.) This is truly one of my genre favorites. There’s a special place in my heart dedicated to this series and I’m thankful for the joy these movies bring into my life upon every viewing.

For newbies diving in, if you’re hungry for more, there are three more films which vary in schlock-level, tone and effectiveness. Although I have a deep respect and love for number two as well, the original film simply can’t be topped.

Grade: A-

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Horror Alert: ‘Frankenhooker’

Posted in Horror on October 11th, 2012 by Nick

When Black Comedy meets Horror, it’s a tricky tightrope to traverse. It could either be the best thing ever (Dead Alive, The Return of the Living Dead), or, well, Basket Case. A friend recommended that I check out Frankenhooker, a 1990 film loosely based around the Frankenstein tale, directed by Frank Henenlotter. Because this friend hits it out of the park every time, I bumped it up to the #1 spot in my queue and dove right in.

The DVD arrived in the mail and I saw something dreadful: “By the creators of Basket Case.” Shit. I hated Basket Case. Hate hate hate. I feel like I’ve seen some pretty terrible Horror and Horror-Comedy movies in my lifetime, but Basket Case just wasn’t fun enough to push it over the edge into the land of memorable filmmaking. In fact, I almost sent it back to Netflix without finishing it and I almost never do that. Alas, I cautiously moved forward on Frankenhooker because of the quality of my source and man, did it pay off!

The movie begins at a party where our lead character Jeffrey (James Lorinz) is fidgeting with an experiment. He’s a scientist and he’s doing some science. There really isn’t much more of an explanation than that. (Dude needs to head outside and grab a beer already!) When Jeffrey finally does hit the outdoors to socialize (reclusive weirdo!), his girlfriend Elizabeth dies in a freak lawnmower accident while trying to show off one of her beau’s toys. Her body is mangled beyond belief and some of her body parts go missing…

…because Jeffery decides to play Frankenstein and reassemble Elizabeth with the bodies of drug-addicted, super-slutty hookers from New York City. But then everyone does crack and shit gets weird. And this is exactly when the magic happens!

Jeffrey hits NYC to find some super-skanks so he can drug them up on “Super Crack” – a high-potent version of crack? (I guess? HA!) What follows is one of the best scenes in B-movie history – a menagerie of drug use, gratuitous nudity, girls making out with each other, and exploding body parts. It’s a scene that every Horror-Comedy fan should watch, love and rejoice in!

At a meager 85 minutes, Frankenhooker is a solid addition to anyone’s Halloween Watch list. It takes the mad scientist film trope and completely turns it upside down, mocks it, and makes a fun go at it. I promised myself I’d use the word “bonkers” somewhere in this blog. So, there’s that too. It’s bonkers!

Grade: B

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Horror Alert: ‘Happy Birthday to Me’

Posted in Horror on October 10th, 2012 by Nick

With the Halloween season upon us, I’m taking a break from the rather exhausting fulfilling Epic Film Quest. I’m switching gears and gorging on horror, rewatching old favorites and Neflixing the shit out of some titles that have somehow escaped my grasp. This past weekend, I reached for the shelf and indulged in one of my faves: the underrated and under loved slasher flick Happy Birthday to Me.

Filmed in Canada circa 1981 by J. Lee Thompson, Happy Birthday to Me was yet another slasher movie attempting to follow in the wake of John Carpenter’s Halloween and the Friday the 13th series. Although slasher follow-ups had a much larger failure rate than success rate, Happy Birthday to Me excels in so many ways, and we all need to be celebrating this should-be-classic horror film this season.

The movie follows Ginny and the rest of the elite “Top 10” at Crawford Academy – a swanky prep school with a hardass Headmaster and plenty of entitled, spoiled white kids who more-than-likely deserve to die slowly. Ginny suffers from amnesia following a car accident she had with her mother, who died in the crash. Enter a serial killer. As bodies start to pile up, Ginny suffers more trauma as the details of her accident start flooding back. Will they help her figure out who’s behind the bloodshed or will they continue driving her toward the edge of insanity?

Happy Birthday to Me is somewhat lengthy for this sub-genre with a running time of 110 minutes, but in my opinion, most of this time is put to good use. There are plenty of twists and turns right up until the very last shot of the film. Many of the details in the narrative, including Ginny’s memories from the crash, are told via well-placed flashbacks, giving viewers a couple pieces of the puzzle at a time. Melissa Sue Anderson (Little House on the Prairie) is strong as the lead character and carries the film nicely. The deaths also deliver. There are some wonderfully gruesome and creative murders in this flick (“Six of the most bizarre murders you will ever see!”), and the ones that skimp on the gore make the viewer cringe by leaving it all to the mind. And don’t get me started on that brain surgery scene. I shudder every time.

This movie is a cult film by definition. Purists may look down upon the latest DVD release, as it replaced the movie’s original score, but none of the release’s criticisms can take away from what is truly a unique and atypical movie compared to other fare from that time period. It’s twisted in so many ways, and both outlandish and unnerving in all the right spots. And that ending! Fantastic.

Although it’s not my favorite 80’s cult classic (more on that soon!), if you’re looking for a few scares from a movie you’ve never seen before, Happy Birthday to Me is a must. It bleeds the 80’s from its pores, both in the creativity of the killings and its over-the-top twists. Yet, at its heart, it is cult-y goodness, guaranteed.

Grade: B+

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Horror Alert: ‘V/H/S’ Opens Nationwide October 5

Posted in Horror on September 6th, 2012 by Nick

The Internet is buzzing around the latest found footage horror flick, V/H/S. One of the first places I heard about the film was over at Horrorella. She writes:

V/H/S is a found footage horror anthology film. You heard me right. An anthology film (Creepshow-style) made up of multiple found-footage-style segments directed by the likes of Ti West, Adam Wingard, Joe Swanberg, Glenn McQuaid, David Bruckner, and Radio Silence. The framing device is that a group of trouble-making assholes is hired to break into this house to steal a rare VHS tape. Amid a mass of VHS tapes in the house, they uncover the various stories featured in this film.

Not only does it sound completely badass, but the trailer looks like its a chilling rollercoaster ride. With Halloween right around the corner, looks like Paranormal Activity 9 or whatever is surely going to have some competition this holiday season!

Rad, right? So like that headline says – V/H/S hits theaters everywhere October 5th. And don’t forget to check out Horrorella for all things Horror and more!

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