Skip to content

Month: October 2017

The 20 Scariest Movie Scenes of the 21st Century.

Posted in Horror

Indiewire presents The 20 Scariest Movie Scenes of the 21st Century.  Using just their choices here are my top three with some comments following…

8. “The Descent” — Meet the Crawlers
Note: We couldn’t find this particular scene, but the one in the clip above is the next best thing.

For much of Neil Marshall’s “The Descent,” the movie is just a survival story about a group of adventurous women who find themselves a little deeper than desired while exploring a network of caves beneath the Appalachian Mountains. And it’s not like that isn’t terrifying enough unto itself — it’s funny how you start to feel every breath as soon as these characters lose sight of the surface. And then, just when it seems that suffocation might be imminent, Marshall gleefully wrings his hands around our necks. It’s impressive how pale crawlers (as they’re referred to in the credits) are still horrifying even towards the end of the film, when dozens of the pale people-eaters flood the screen, but they’re never scarier than during the scene where one of them is first spotted in the beam of a headlamp. It’s not a jump-scare, just the sudden realization that this is one of those very rare instances where the truth is even worse than whatever we imagined was hiding in the darkness. -David Ehrlich

5. “28 Days Later” — Flat Tire
Fast zombies. Fast. Zombies. What an idea. Maybe it’s something we should have thought of sooner, or maybe such a boldly revisionist approach to classic horror imagery was only made possible because of the fundamental paradigm shift at the heart of Danny Boyle’s enraged masterpiece. The year was 2002, and while digital cameras had already begun to make their mark on the movies through the low-budget likes of the Dogme 95 experiments, “28 Days Later” was the first large-scale film to seize on the speed and versatility of the new technology. Those qualities dripped into the soul of Boyle’s story, coagulating into a horrifyingly immediate nightmare in which the walking (or running?) dead are as quick and as capable as the glorified camcorders used to capture them.

The film is absolutely full of scenes that find Boyle mining frantic new scares from his approach, from the hopelessness of its first act chases to the heavily gendered free-for-all of its unsparing grand finale. But it’s a simple — even knowingly staid — episode in the middle of the movie that best crystallizes the heart-stopping urgency that “28 Days Later” brought to its sub-genre. There’s never a good time to have a flat tire, but there are definitely better times to have one than when you’re driving through an endless tunnel during the zombie apocalypse. First, the rats scurry by. Then we see the shadows on the wall. It’s the stuff of suspense 101, but never before had brainless hordes induced such panic. Watching the shadowy figures sprint towards that car, it was — and remains — clear that we’d entered a world where horror comes at us faster than we can prepare for it. -DE

7. “The Strangers” — An Uninvited Guest
Bryan Bertino’s directorial debut is one of the smaller-scaled films on this list, but its simplicity is also its greatest virtue. The premise is so unnerving because — unlike a zombie apocalypse or a homicidal children’s book — it could happen to anyone. And in “The Strangers” it does. Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman play a very ordinary couple whose very ordinary relationship drama is interrupted by a knock at the door. Three masked villains, empowered by nothing but some knives and their sadistic desires, have dropped by for some dark fun. The build is slow, but for Bertino (and his bad guys), the journey is a lot more important than the destination; anyone can stab a couple of suburbanites to death, but it takes some truly twisted minds to scare them halfway there before drawing a single drop of blood.

Appropriately, the film’s most unsettling scene is defined by its complete lack of violence. Liv Tyler stands in her shadowy kitchen, her Spidey senses twitching, and calls out to her husband. She’s oblivious to what’s happening in the darkness behind her, where a hooded man silently steps into the frame, taunting his next victim for his own sick pleasure (and ours, by extension). In a time where commercial horror movies are often just an endless parade of jump-scares, Bertino throws us a wide shot so quiet that you can hear the insects chirping outside. That stillness — that sense that every cranny of your own home could be hiding something awful — is impossible to wash off your skin. It’s a scary moment while you’re watching the movie, and it festers into a terrifying one when it’s over. -DE

What I like about the three scenes above is that each presents a different kind of scare.  The Descent has the “jump scare” – the tension has built and suddenly – bang! – the creature is there.

28 days later features mounting tension which just amps up the scare factor.  They know what’s coming and as the zombies rush closer and closer our survivors try to get the flat fixed.  Will they make it?

The final scare, from The Strangers, is the most subtle scare.  We are aware of the danger as the character moves oblivious to it.

The best horror movies combine all of these types of scenes to keep us on the edge of our seats and coming back for more. Click over to The 20 Scariest Movie Scenes of the 21st Century and you can see videos for all of their choices!

TOP 10 MOST ICONIC HORROR MOVIE VILLAINS!

Posted in Horror

Damion Damaske and Joblo.com present the TOP 10 MOST ICONIC HORROR MOVIE VILLAINS!.  Using just their choices here are my top three with some comments following…

4. MICHAEL MYERS
Who knew that Captain Kirk’s face painted white would look so terrifying? However, judging by his current tweets, we should have known way sooner. In any case, even though the mask was made out of no money and desperation, Michael Myers became a horror icon, and arguably the star of the first real slasher (in the same way DOOM wasn’t the first FPS, but was the one that made them viable). Also, he’s just creepy looking as hell. And while the HALLOWEEN franchise is a mess (with more reboots and retcons than STAR TREK), Michael Myers has always remained terrifying throughout, even in the worst entries (except HALLOWEEN III, but that wasn’t his fault).

3. FREDDY KRUEGER
Before Freddy Krueger became a quip machine who spent his time scaring fat rappers and having his face slapped on kid’s lunchboxes, he was scary as hell. Not only is Freddy’s burnt face, brown hat, striped Christmas sweater, and knife hand an iconic look, but the way he kills his victims makes him by far the most dangerous of anyone on this list. I mean, you can run away and hide from pretty much any other horror villain, no matter how difficult or unlikely. Freddy Krueger, on the other hand, lives in your dreams, meaning you can never truly escape him. And while most horror villains will stab or eat you, Krueger goes the extra step to imaginatively torture you, like sucking you into your bed until guts explode onto the ceiling, or killing you in a videogame. Which is just humiliating on top of everything else.

1. DRACULA
What’s not to say about Dracula, arguably one of the most iconic horror movie villains in cinematic history? He’s dangerous, charming, and – above all – extremely powerful. He’s almost always the leader whenever monsters mash together (such as MONSTER SQUAD or VAN HELSING), and was the star of many classic horror films, such as NOSFERATU (a film that doesn’t namecheck Dracula, but which got sued for its similarities), the 1931 original with the iconic Bela Lugosi performance, BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA, and DRACULA 2000 (okay, three-out-of-four ain’t bad). He also is just so damn stylish. I wish I could rock a cape like that!

How could you leave off the Frankenstein, Wolf Man, or the Creature from the Black Lagoon from a list of Iconic Horror Villains? To me Michael Myers and Jason are almost interchangeable.  Although there is no comparison between Halloween and Friday the 13th as to the better film.  (Hopefully, we all agree that Halloween takes that honor.)

34 Things We Learned from Matt Reeves’ ‘War for the Planet of the Apes’ Commentary

Posted in Movies, and Trivia

Rob Hunter and Film School Rejects present  34 Things We Learned from Matt Reeves’ ‘War for the Planet of the Apes’ Commentary.  Here are three of my favorites…

12. The “donkey” apes used by the humans are named not because they’re being used as animal workers (like I assumed) but as a reference to Donkey Kong.

15. The way the virus shifts after killing off 99.9% of humanity towards a mutation that leaves the survivors unable to speak was an idea that originated in the original Planet of the Apes franchise where the apes used mute humans as slave labor. Co-writer Mark Bomback researched viruses and discovered details on the Spanish flu that mutated into catatonia and other non-lethal physical effects. “The humans are beginning to devolve while the apes evolve.”

20. The Colonel’s (Woody Harrelson) greeting to Caesar includes a whole Wellington/Napoleon reference that was added by the actor himself. Reeves thought it wouldn’t work seeing as he’s speaking to an ape, so Harrelson added the “you’re probably not much of a reader” line. It was also his suggestion to shoot an ape early on to spur Caesar and the apes back to work.

 

The Art of the Sailor

Posted in Art, and Trivia

When I was growing up the only people who had tattoos were sailors, marines, or circus folk.  Seems like almost everyone has some unique ink these days signifying something special to the wearer.

Back in the day a sailor’s tats had meaning and if you check out the chart above you’ll be in the know.  If you really dig the print by Lucy Bellwood you can get one here.

Source: Boingboing.

13 Intriguing Facts About the 1962 Graveyard Smash the “Monster Mash”

Posted in Celebs, Horror, Humor, Movies, and Music

Me-TV presents 13 Intriguing Facts About the 1962 Graveyard Smash the Monster Mash.  Here are three of my favorites…

THE CRYPT-KEEPERS FEATURED SOME KEY FIGURES.
“The Crypt-Kickers” band behind the original “Monster Mash” recording featured Gary S. Saxton, who wrote the 1960 smash hit “Alley Oop” that Pickett said inspired his song. The flip side of the record featured Leon Russell (whose “A Song for You” has been covered by more than 200 artists) on “Monster Mash Party.” Russell played piano, which he also did on songs for bands like the Beach Boys and Jan and Dean. Elton John calls Russell a mentor. Considering this track record, it makes even more sense why the “Monster Mash” single took off.

THE BEACH BOYS LOVED TO PLAY IT LIVE.
Several successful cover versions of “Monster Mash” exist, including a memorable version by the Beach Boys. They made it a feature of their live show, where Mike Love came out of “his cage” to step up on vocals and the audience would flip out. Later the punk band the Misfits would revive the song again for audiences in 1997, as it was a favorite childhood song of the band’s bassist, Jerry Only, who said the decision to cover it was a “no-brainer” for the heavily Halloween-themed band who performed on the holiday every year. We wonder whose fans loved it more. Hear Beach Boys fans lose their minds screaming in response to the song below. (Click over to see the video of the Beach Boys playing the Monster Mash.)

PICKETT APPEARED IN FILMS OF VARIED CLASSIC GENRES.
When Pickett wrote “Monster Mash,” he was also an aspiring actor. He went on to appear in a handful of films that matched his heavy sense of genre, including the beach party movie It’s a Bikini World (1967), a foray into biker culture in Chrome and Hot Leather (1971) a horror movie (of course) Deathmaster (1972), and a novelty sci-fi film, Lobster Man From Mars (1989). Additionally, he wrote a bunch of musicals like Frankenstein Unbound.

 

“The Walking Dead” Poster Homages to Classic Movie Posters!

Posted in Horror, Movies, TV, and Zombies

Horror fans will recognize that The Walking Dead poster above pays homage to the original Night of the Living Dead poster.

That’s just one of the many classic poster adaptations for The Walking Dead that Greg Nicotero had created.  Others include homages to Alien; Back to the Future; Blade Runner; The Exorcist; Ghostbusters; The Omega Man; The Shinning; The Good, the Bad and the Ugly; Psycho; The Thing; Raiders of the Lost Ark and more.

 

Harvey (1950)

Posted in Humor, Movies, and Z-View

Harvey (1950)

Director: Henry Koster

Screenplay: Mary Chase & Oscar Brodney from the play by Mary Chase

Stars:  James Stewart, Wallace Ford, William H. Lynn

The Pitch: “Let’s turn ‘Harvey’ into a movie!”

Tagline: The Wonderful Pulitzer Prize Play… becomes one of the Great Motion Pictures of our Time!

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Folks know Elwood P. Dowd (Stewart) to be a bit, uh, eccentric.  After all he believes that his best pal is a six-foot tall invisible rabbit.  When his sister has had enough and decides to have Elwood committed a comedy of errors ensues.

Rating:

10 Things You Never Knew About “Maverick”

Posted in Celebs, Trivia, and TV

Me-TV posted 10 Things You Never Knew About Maverick.  Here are three of my favorites…

GARNER PLAYED BRET MAVERICK IN THREE DIFFERENT ‘MAVERICK’ TV SERIES.
It is the rare actor who can claim two iconic television characters and a successful big-screen career. Garner became a household name thanks to the witty and fun Maverick. The gambling Bret Maverick proved to be so beloved that numerous reboots followed over the decades. In 1979, a TV movie led to Young Maverick, an incredibly short-lived sequel that hardly featured Garner. In 1981, Maverick was dealt another hand in the series Bret Maverick. NBC surprisingly canceled the solidly performing show after a season.

THERE WAS A MASSIVE CROSSOVER EPISODE WITH OTHER WESTERNS.
The madcap season four episode “Hadley’s Hunters” trots out numerous cameos from other Warner Bros. Westerns. You can spot John Russell and Peter Brown from Lawman, Clint Walker from Cheyenne, Will Hutchins from Sugarfoot and Ty Hardin from Bronco. In addition, Edd Byrnes from 77 Sunset Strip also pops up — combing the mane of a horse called “77 Cherokee Strip.”

“SHADY DEAL AT SUNNY ACRES” WAS GARNER’S FAVORITE EPISODE.
Perhaps some of this had to do with the fact that Garner got to spend the episode comfortably whittling in a rocking chair. It’s also a flat-out brilliant piece of television, which carries many similarities to the classic film The Sting. Like we said, the outings with both Bret and Bart Maverick working together are quite special.