‘Patrick’ Review

Patrick: Evil Awakens

Some Memories, And Coma Patients, Are Best Left Alone

Mark Hartley‘s Patrick, is currently on Netflix, and is surprisingly a engaging little horror film (before it jumps the rails, that is).  I was expecting something silly, on the level of an Asylum feature, it was actually pretty engaging, before the aforementioned rail jumping.

Charles Dance brought a much needed sense of dread and gravitas to things, and he reminded me somewhat of Peter Cushing of Christopher Lee, both of whom possessed the ability to make sub-par material at least interesting.

Unfortunately, no one–other than the writers, or maybe Edward Norton–can do anything to make a silly story less so, or help a movie regain the goodwill its lost (misplaced somewhere around the half-way mark).

Events unfold place almost entirely in a moody villa that houses the Roget Clinic, where Doctor Roget (Dance) experiments on his patients, assisted by his daughter, Matron Cassidy (Rachel Griffiths).

As of late the doctor seems particularly preoccupied by Patrick (Jackson Gallagher), whom was somehow put in a comatose state after murdering his mother and her lover.

Roget is particularly fond of electroshock therapy, as well as a drug that will look eerily familiar to anyone that’s seen Re-Animator.  If he’s able to bring Patrick out of his coma, it will prove that his theories are correct, and enable him to regain the fame and notoriety he once had before a fall from grace (something involving illegal experiments probably similar to those he’s currently performing, I’d guess).

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‘The Gallery of Horrors Bundle’ StoryBundle

Gallery of Horrors Bundle

Ripping a still-beating heart from the chest cavity that shelters it, as the blood washes all over you in a warm, red fountain.  It runs in rivulets, like miniature water falls, down your face; some even winds its way toward your open mouth.

The penny-copper tastes coats your tongue before making its way down your throat.  At first you double over, gaging for a moment before feelings of revulsion are soon replaced by a sated feeling that–before now–you’ve been entirely unacquainted with.

If reading about such terrors is your idea of entertainment–it’s definitely mine–then The Gallery of Horrors Bundle is for you.

The books are offered by StoryBundle, and contains six books by writers such as Martin Kee, Brent J. Tally, and Tanya Eby.

Now here’s the cool part.  If you pay more than $12 for the Bundle, you get three bonus books:  Irregular Creatures by Chuck Wendig, I, Zombie by Hugh Howie and The Red Church by Scott Nicholson.

I can’t speak for everyone, but the scariest thing that I can think of would be to let such an awesome bundle of eBooks (readable in iBooks–my preference–or Kindle, Kobo or any other reader that accepts .epub or .mobi files) go away.

‘Alien: Isolation’ Trailer

Alien: Isolation, if the trailer does the game any justice, is gorgeous.  The original Alien, the movie that came out in 1979, directly inspired the videogame and was (and still is to many) considered to be one of the scariest movies ever made.

The game play (as far as I can tell) as well as cinematics are directly based on the movie, down to reintroducing familiar characters like Dallas (Tom Skerritt), Lambert (Veronica Cartwright), Ash (Ian Holm), Parker (Yaphet Kotto), Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) and I assume Brett (Harry Dean Stanton, who recently turned up in last year’s The Avengers) as well as flashbacks to Kane (John Hurt).

As I said, it’s an attractive game, but begs the question:  Why are they mining so deeply into the Alien franchise?  While some of the sequels weren’t particularly good (arguably, Alien 3 and indisputably, Alien: Resurection, the screenplay which was written by Joss Whedon), you can’t mine the past–in either games or movies–if the makers of either expect to have any sort of a future.

Which is why I am wondering why the designers of the game didn’t use a new scenario and characters that revolved around the Alien and an isolated group of humans.  If the gameplay was good I am reasonably sure that players would have no issue with characters they were unfamiliar with.

Hemlock Grove, Season One Review

 


'Hemlock Grove' LetterRecently I received a letter from Netflix telling me that the second season of Hemlock Grove was coming July 11th, tomorrow.  With that in mind, I thought that I’d do a write-up on the first season.

They were also character posters released, which I included below.

When I first wrote about the series, I emphasized the nature of Netflix productions, which was to release an entire series of a particular show at a time.

So, in preparation for the second series, I have been rewatching, and I don’t think has aged well–which considering that it’s barely over year old isn’t in any way a complement.

The first series revolved around the city of Hemlock Grove, where a animal-like creature that may be a virgulf (an insane werewolf) has begun slaughtering local women.

Though the oddest thing was that the idea of rabid werewolf was the clearest part of the narrative, which isn’t a good sign.

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‘The Damned’ Trailer

When I see that a movie is from IFC Midnight I take it as a given that it’s going to be well done.  As far as I know, they don’t actually make any of the movies that bear their name, though what they do do is almost as important, which is to purchase quality horror films and bring them to a larger audience.

Or if you want to think of it another way, consider them the anti-Asylum.

The trailer begins  with a three or four people on the way to somewhere, on a day that become a dark and stormy night.  The driver (Peter Facinelli) is helpless as the SUV they’re in is caught in the path of a mudslide, which flips the car over, and off the road.

Everyone survives the accident, though their vehicle is totaled, and they need to reach shelter.  Out of the rain they spot an old villa that anyone who had every seen a horror movie would be extremely reluctant to enter.

Though enter they do, and learn that it used to be a hotel, and there’s one person, an old man, that remains.

Or is there?  Here’s where things get pretty predictable, because soon the visitors discover a room (held shut by an unlocked padlock, for some reason) and something in it that looks like a little girl.

I write “predictable” because it feels like the entire idea was lifted from The Twilight Zone episode, The Howling Man, which I have included below.

Though maybe I am being too tough because it’s not like the idea was new even when the Zone used it.

‘Deliver Us From Evil’ Review

Deliver Us From Evil movie poster

“There Is A Devil, Of This There Is No Doubt.  But Is He Trying To Get In, Or Trying To Get Out?”

One of of the worst horror films that I can recall was 1978′s Cruise Into Terror.  It’s been awhile, but I remember that it starred George Kennedy (going about things in his typically mildly-befuddled fashion) as the captain of a cruise ship.

The ship was also transporting a child-sized Egyptian sarcophagus for some reason.   It contained an evil entity, perhaps even Satan itself.  It never manifested physically, but it’s baneful influence was felt by everyone aboard the ship (kind of like Cthulhu-lite), till someone chucked it overboard.

Two things in particular stuck in my head:  The first was that, when the sarcophagus was sinking to the ocean floor, you clearly see that whatever was within it was breathing (by the sides of the sarcophagus pulsing).

It wasn’t an accident, but it was particularly dumb because a sarcophagus is essentially a very ornate coffin, so the body within isn’t resting directing against it, never mind being constructed in such a fashion that that just isn’t possible.

Though the important thing to remember is that there’s no way to tell if an occupant was breathing or not from the outside.

The other thing was that, when Satan was on its way to Davy Jones’ Locker, a woman said ominously in voiceover:  “There is a Devil, of this there’s no doubt.  But is he trying to get in, or trying to get out?”

And do you know what?  That simple line wedged itself in my teenaged mind, and in retrospect virtually redeemed everything about that damn waste of celluloid.

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‘Wolf Creek 2′ Review

Wolf Creek 2

“Fascinating In Its Own Way, Though Its Relentless And Nihilistic Tone May Turn Viewers Off”

For years people have been scared by the likes of Freddy Krueger, Norman Bates and Jason Vorhees, but let’s be honest:  What they are are cartoon characters.

Sure, somewhat violent cartoons, but cartoons nonetheless.  After all, imagine if someone were coming at you wearing a hockey mask and a huge machete?  Or brandishing finger-claws?  After you confirmed that you weren’t hallucinating, you’d be out of there so fast heads would spin.

Which is why real-life serial killers are so scary:  They look just like you and me.  You probably couldn’t pick them out in a crowd and they certainly don’t run around with knives because that would be too obvious.

Their sinister compulsions lie just beneath the surface, waiting for the right opportunity to make themselves known.

For instance, H. H.  Holmes, believed to be America’s first serial killer, lived from 1861 to 1896.  When he was finally caught, he confessed to 27 murders, and nine were confirmed.

Though it was suspected that he actually killed at least 200 people.

Another fact that’s the opposite to what popular culture tells us is that serial killers aren’t disfigured monsters.  In fact, more often than not, they tend to be very charismatic and charming.

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‘As Above, So Below’ Trailer

Catacombs 4

The Catacombs of Paris

The picture on the left is from the Catacombs of Paris, which I took myself.  If you haven’t seen them, they’re worth checking out.  They’re also a bit on the morbid side, but as far as I am concerned were the primary motivator for me visiting Paris in the first place.  I was so impressed that when I recently learned that a gym buddy was going there on his honeymoon, I suggested a visit.

Then again, maybe millions of skulls and femurs aren’t what most couples want to see on their honeymoon.  Currently, I don’t have any plans to return to Paris, though if I do I’ll definitely hit the Catacombs again.

Moviemakers have caught on to their awesomeness as well, and the latest film to exploit it is As Above, So Below.

It’s directed by John Erick Dowdle, who did Devil (which was pretty good despite being produced by M. Night Shyamalan) and Quarantine (a remake of the 2007 movie [Rec]).

The trailer looks like a typical found footage movie, though the angle that the caves seem to be playing upon the explorers’ fears or traumas is an interesting one, though  I am not entirely sure if it’s enough.

‘Ragnarok’ Trailer

I am not terribly familiar with the Norse concept of Ragnarök, though I do know that it revolves around the end of the world and all sorts of unpleasantness (which according to Wikipedia doesn’t typically include really large lizard-like monsters).  I should mention that I found this trailer while I was searching for the trailer for Robert Downey Jr’s. The Judge, where he apparently tries to play a character that’s only a little bit like Tony Stark.

It’s strangely difficult to find.

Though Ragnarok looks almost Disney-like, till the intrepid explorers come upon a cave covered with human bones, that is.

‘Paddington’ Trailer 1

Paddington is based upon the children’s storybook character Paddington Bear, who I imagine is bigger in Europe, like The Adventures of Tintin, which formed the basis of a 2011 film directed by Steven Spielberg that was produced by Peter Jackson and written by Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish and Steven Moffat.  

I also expected to be creeped out by this trailer, and I wasn’t.  I guess that I don’t mind anthropomorphic animals as long as they can curse up a blue streak, like Rocket from Guardians Of The Galaxy, though the minute they try to act all cute and cuddly I get Chucky (who has to rank among the creepiest dolls every) vibes.