31 October 2007

SWH07: Week 6 (twelfth)

Six Weeks of HalloweenSix Weeks of Halloween 2007
Week 6 (twelfth)

Tales from the Crypt: "Deadline" (1991)
The only thing of interest here is the out-of-nowhere expressionist set in the framing scenes. (5/10)

d. Walter Hill

29 October 2007

SWH07: Week 6 (eleventh)

Six Weeks of HalloweenSix Weeks of Halloween 2007
Week 6 (eleventh)

Masters of Horror: "We All Scream for Ice Cream" (2007)
Surprisingly well-executed despite the ridiculous premise. (7/10)

d. Tom Holland

Tales from the Crypt: "Mournin' Mess" (1991)
Mrs. Tom Hanks, no! (6/10)

d. Manny Coto

Tales from the Crypt: "Split Second" (1991)
I don't think this was supposed to be about gay lumberjacks, but it's fun to look at it that way. (7/10)

d. Russell Mulcahy

28 October 2007

SWH07: Week 6 (tenth)

Six Weeks of HalloweenSix Weeks of Halloween 2007
Week 6 (tenth)

28 Weeks Later (2007)
Though there are several excellent horror movies scenes, the movie overall is plagued by people making unnaturally stupid decisions. (6/10)

d. Juan Carlos Fresnadillo

27 October 2007

SWH07: Week 6 (ninth)

Six Weeks of HalloweenSix Weeks of Halloween 2007
Week 6 (ninth)

The Munsters: "Herman the Rookie" (1965)
I theorize that the movies for Frankenstein and Dracula never came out in The Munsters' universe, which is why everyone just thinks they're accident victims and mutants. (6/10)

d. Jerry Paris

28 Days Later (2002)
Though I'll never be a huge fan of fast zombies, they make for effective scary monsters (judging from the wife's constant covering of her eyes). (8/10)

d. Danny Boyle

26 October 2007

SWH07: Week 6 (eighth)

Six Weeks of HalloweenSix Weeks of Halloween 2007
Week 6 (eighth)

Terror Train
What nice old man the conductor was, not minding a frat party on his train and making smart decisions when the bodies start to pile up. (6/10)

d. Roger Spottiswoode

25 October 2007

SWH07: Week 6 (seventh)

Six Weeks of HalloweenSix Weeks of Halloween 2007
Week 6 (seventh)

Masters of Horror: "Valerie on the Stairs" (2006)
I loved the Barkerian Valerie and the Beast (played by Candyman himself) and I'm impressed that Clive's story got Garris to finally grow a pair, but everything else from the acting to the story was subpar. (6/10)

d. Mick Garris

Tales from the Crypt: "Undertaking Palor" (1991)
I had a lot of fun with this perfectly casted Goonies-esque horror adventure. (8/10)

d. Michael Thau

19 October 2007

SWH07: Week 5 (sixth)

Six Weeks of HalloweenSix Weeks of Halloween 2007
Week 5 (sixth)

Beneath Still Waters (2005)
The orgy at the town's anniversary showed small signs of old school Yuzna, who was barely detectable in the dull and poorly plotted remainder. (5/10)

d. Brian Yuzna

Masters of Horror: "The Black Cat" (2006)
An excellent adaption, capturing the spirit of Poe and his work near-perfectly. (9/10)

d. Stuart Gordon

Baby shower 2/2 was the main focus of this weekend, again, rather than Halloween. Though, driving through Michigan at this precise time of year is incredibly beautiful.

I gave two Jones Soda flavors a day in court: Strawberry Slime and Gruesome Grape. They taste almost exactly like their equivalent Faygo flavors (which, I'd like to state, was good drinkin' long before utter idjits started promoting it). What this means to me is that they're completely drinkable. Unbelievably, I found all 4 of the half-can Halloween flavors to be tasty this year. Jones is getting better at this. Of course, next weekend I will be experimenting with their new licorice-flavored drinks. That may change my opinion.

Silent Hill 4: The Room was about as bad as I was expecting. A dull game full of bad choices. One of the worst ideas from the Resident Evil series -- the item box -- was imported and made even more annoying. Rather than multiple boxes that magically teleport your items between each other, there's only one box with which to manage your limited inventory. Accidentally pick up too many bullets and have no room for that key item? You'll have to make a trip all the way back to the apartment, dump some stuff in the box, and walk all the way back. There's no way to simply drop items where you stand. In the universe I live in, this is not remotely close to fun.

About half of the game is an escort mission, essentially. Making sure that a dumb AI-controlled character doesn't get itself killed is rarely more than frustrating (though I did get into it in the excellent Dead Rising). Herding Eileen through levels isn't too bad. You can run faster than her, making it easy to trap her in a room by exiting it before she's close to the door (the AI being too stupid to using doorknobs). Still, during my playthrough, she got wounded enough to get me the worst of the four endings.

There are no bosses, really, to speak of until the end of the game. There aren't really any puzzles outside of collecting items. The areas are the same old stuff: the requisite hospital, a subway, a prison, a forest, an apartment building. To play the game, you shuffle from area to area, occasionally batting down a mutant dog (also a requisite) while picking up items to unlock the path ahead. That's about it. It's as tedious as it sounds.

Play mechanics were never the series' strong suit. The storyline is supposed to be where SH shines. Not so much, here. A serial killer -- who happens to come from Silent Hill, though the game takes place in a different town altogether -- everyone thinks is dead isn't really and he's trying to finish a black magic ritual by killing 21 people. Also, he thinks your apartment is his literal mother. Outside of that bit of psychosis, SH's trademarked psychological horror is largely absent here. You're the hero: you save your pretty neighbor and the world from a bad guy. The end. It's a complete disappointment. I hope the Americans making the next two games can rescue the series from this low point.

14 October 2007

SWH07: Week 4 (fifth)

Six Weeks of HalloweenSix Weeks of Halloween 2007
Week 4 (fifth)

Masters of Horror: "The Screwfly Solution" (2006)
I'm a sucker for a post-apocalyptic movie and, wow, Jason Priestley lives in town? (7/10)

d. Joe Dante

An even more barebones Halloween this weekend. Real life is pushing my normal non-stop horror movie fest to the side this year. Ah well, that'll happen. Others are picking up the slack for me, and I appreciate it.

I did manage to read a pair of horror-themed graphic novels over the weekend. My advice is that you stay as far away as possible from Papercutz's Tales from the Crypt #1: Ghouls Gone Wild. I haven't read such a pathetic horror anthology comic since the disappointing days of Flinch. This book does not contain reprints from the classic '50s series. It's all new material with modern-style art in a digest-sized book. None of this is the problem. The problem is that the writing is awful. The stories all follow the same pattern: asshole does something evil, something supernatural punishes him. Granted, the original series was the creator of this pattern, but, 50 years later, it's tiring to see it resurrected. Why can't anyone do horror anthology comics right these days?

I had exactly the opposite reaction to The Walking Dead, Vol 7: The Calm Before. This series never fails to blow me away. What would real people -- not people trapped in a 90-minute movie -- do if the dead came back to life? How would they interact with other survivors? What problems, both internal and external, would they face? Which problems would they conquer and which would best them? The Walking Dead lays it all out in a stark, realistic, humanistic terms. Vol 7 was no exception. It's telling of the series that the "calm" of the subtitle of this volume involves a doctor-free birth, an amputation, an exploding building and a suicide. For a Walking Dead book, this was all practically relaxing. I'm actually afraid of what terrors volume 8 will visit upon the characters within.

As for what occupied me all weekend, I'll say that if all goes well, next year I'll be Six-Weekin' from here:

10 October 2007

SWH07: Week 3 (fourth)

Six Weeks of HalloweenSix Weeks of Halloween 2007
Week 3 (fourth)

Prom Night (1980)
Ah, that's what every other slasher movie I'd ever seen has been missing: tons and tons of disco music. (7/10)

d. Paul Lynch

08 October 2007

SWH07: Week 3 (third)

Six Weeks of HalloweenSix Weeks of Halloween 2007
Week 3 (third)

Vampire Wars: Battle for the Universe (trailer)
Werewolves on Wheels (trailer)
The Simpsons: "Treehouse of Horror IX: Hell Toupée"

From Beyond (1986)
Though somewhat flawed in its execution, I've always loved the idea behind the story. (7/10)

d. Stuart Gordon

A busy couple of days squeezed the weekend Halloween celebrating down to barebones. Did you know that people will give you stuff just for deciding to breed? It's true. To be honest -- rather than attempt to wrangle people into some horror movie watching amongst the post-shower litter of tiny, pink outfits, stuffed animals and books made of thick cardboard -- I decided to play a massive amount of legendary co-op Halo 3 with the brother-in-law. For shame: not very seasonal, I know.

Upon returning home, Mrs. K. and I watched the above. I gave Jones Soda Lemon Drop Dead a day in court as the movie unfolded. This is another repeat flavor from last year, though it has received a demotion. Previously, it was one of the "prestige" glass bottle flavors; now it's relegated to the kid-friendly mini-cans. The shape of the container isn't the only difference: it now tastes a helluva lot like its namesake candy. Last year, its flavor was more like that cheap, powdered lemonade elementary schools tend to serve at lunch. It wasn't worth the glass it was bottled in. This year's version tastes like a can full of pure citric acid. Interesting. Not something you'd drink after running a mile in the desert, but kind of a fun thing to try.

Speaking of H.P. Lovecraft, I've only reached 1916 in my chronological reading of his stories and poems. So far, he's an arrogant racist whose poetry is mostly stiff and tedious. He's not a likable guy in the least. Hopefully, he'll mellow as he ages. I haven't even gotten to his first adult short story, "The Tomb," yet. Judging by his impressive skills in this area at the age of 15, I'm expecting it to be a much-welcomed relief from the unending onslaught of poetry he wrote preceding it.