It – Teaser Trailer and Trailer 1

As far as I’m concerned–at least initially–the best horror is in the sizzle, not the steak.

Keep in mind that in Steven Spielberg’s Jaws for a good portion of the movie you never see the shark at all (for the most part a fortuitous accident.  The mechanical shark, known affectionately as Bruce, more often than not didn’t work as planned, forcing Spielberg  to improvise).

Ridley Scott’s Alien followed a similar template, where the monster was gradually teased, making its reveal all the more terrifying.

The first version of Stephen King’s IT did a similar thing, doling out hints and glimpses of the evil clown, Pennywise, before the final reveal.

And Tim Curry’s Pennywise was terrifying, though why he was so unnerving is important.

First off, clowns are slightly creepy in and of themselves.  It doesn’t take all that much to make one look just a bit off…

And I suspect Tim Curry knew this. Visually his Pennywise looked like any ordinary clown, but the way Curry’s voice sounded combined with the way he carried himself made Pennywise oddly disturbing.

This new version of Pennywise looks as if they’re trying too hard to be Scary, and it doesn’t particularly work.  As I mentioned earlier, Tim Curry’s version wasn’t necessarily trying to look scary.  In fact, he looked like a clown that you’d see on just about any circus in the country.


But what the makers of is rebooted series don’t seem to understand is that having one oversized shoe in the normal world, and the other in the bizarre, is what’s terrifying.

This new version, as far as I can tell, tries way too hard.

Alien: Covenant Movie Clip – Prologue: Last Supper – Trailer

I really, really like this recently released clip from Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant because it seems–with good reason–to assume that most viewers are already familiar with the xenomorphs and instead spends its time developing the human characters. 

And there’s more character development in the just over four minute scene than in some entire movies, which is pleasing. 

And the ‘shout-out’ to Scott’s original–which starts around 2:47–is a lot of fun and pretty cheeky.  

Though what’s not so pleasant to me is the appearance of James Franco, that felt a little bit out of place for me.

And I readily admit that I have no particularly valid reason why I feel that way. 


Alien: Covenant Red Band Trailer

XX – Official Trailer

XX, not to be confused with XXX: The Return of Zander Cage, is likely named after the female sex chromosome, an indicator this anthology (in this instance a movie composed of a series of shorts) will be directed by entirely by women.  

Though what I am most concerned about is if the movie will be consistently scary because anthologies are notoriously difficult to do well due to they’re only as strong as their weakest entry (one reason Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone is one of the best of the breed is that it originally aired on network television, an episode at a time.  This meant that strong stories weren’t shown directly before or after weaker ones, enabling viewers to judge them each on their own merits, as opposed to being directly compared against what aired only minutes before).  

And having the whole project based around the fact that the directors are women?  Not too sure that that’s a great idea because I would think that it’s only relevant if their sex informs what we’re seeing on screen in identifiable ways (who we are as individuals informs everything that we do, but in this particular instance the choice of female directors need to bring some sort of additional insight–for instance, I suspect Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook would be an entirely different movie in terms of its narrative thrust as well as its priorities, if it were directed by a man) that enhance what we’re seeing on screen. 

Though if nothing about the vignettes that make up XX brings the distinctiveness I spoke to earlier, then I am unsure that there’s a point.  

A Cure For Wellness – Trailer

Having watched The OA on Netflix a few weeks ago–check it out, it’s really intriguing and pretty clever at times–I’ve come to notice that Jason Issacs in the latter part of his career seems to be specializing in criminally-inclined medical professionals.  

And I think it was his turn as a trauma surgeon in 1997’s Event Horizon that sent him over the edge. 

So, in The OA he’s a doctor who’s seeking the secrets only those that have had near death experiences can reveal, while in the upcoming A Cure For Wellness he apparently has not only continued experimenting with people against their will, but is potentially connected to a much larger conspiracy.  

Some people have mentioned that the trailer plays a lot like Shutter Island, and while there are similarities, it seems so much more similar to John Carpenter’s In The Mouth of Madness–with a dash of The Wicker Man–that another lawsuit might be in order though if I recall, Madness was written by Michael De Luca, not John Carpenter. 

Thankskilling – Trailer

Another Thanksgiving has come and gone, but what holiday can’t be made better with just a touch of mayhem to help hold down the virtually indigestible turkey that in a few hours is guaranteed to make you feel like you’re passing a catcher’s mitt. 

Enter Thankskilling, a holiday-themed horror movie that shows that sometimes it’s definitely better to give than receive; which is particularly relevant when you’re dealing with a demonic, talking gobbler who’s determined to make you the entrée!

Annabelle 2 – Teaser Trailer

I originally wasn’t going to blog today–something about the idea of Donald Trump as President-Elect made me mildly nauseous–but I’m not about to let a narcissistic, egotistical blow-hard scar my psyche or dampen my joy. 

So here’s the trailer for Annabelle 2 (directed by Gary Dauberman, who wrote the first movie) about a possessed doll that not only looks like what you’d imagine a possessed doll would–the actual Annabelle (this is based on an ‘true’ story) was a decidedly less creepy-looking Raggedy Ann–but also happens to be so grotesque no child in their right mind would want the thing around. 

It’s an decent trailer which uses sound to generate tension more so than anything overly visual.  

The only problem is that the sounds are pretty familiar–staples in horror movies, in fact–so they limit their effectiveness. 

Blair Witch – Review

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If you happen to be a fan of Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez’s 1999 found-footage horror The Blair Witch Project, then Adam Wingard’s sequel/reboot Blair Witch will feel very familiar.

And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Blair Witch follows the same beats as its predecessor, as James (the brother of Heather Donahue from The Blair Witch Project) gets together a group of friends to search for his sister after receiving a videotape where she turns up for a brief moment, leading him to hope against hope that she was still alive somewhere in the depths of Maryland’s Black Hills.

This is despite an extensive search for the intrepid explorers, which the movie notes; though the funny thing is, despite having seen The Blair Witch Project I am not entirely sure what happened to her either, though I can say for certain that it wasn’t very good.

There’s a sub-plot about a filmmaker who’s interested in filming James’ search, which while evocative of the first movie is somewhat pointless and goes nowhere in particular.

Things proceed as you’d expect, which is good for moviegoers though not so much for James and his crew, as the force that vanished his sister reaches out to claim him and his friends.

As I mentioned earlier, Blair Witch feels very familiar, though it does differentiate itself in some important ways. For a start, it feels more like an actual movie than what proceeded it. This is important because my biggest problem with The Blair Witch Project–and why I preferred Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2–was that the former felt less like an actual movie than someone’s idea of a movie.

(It’s worth mentioning that watching the frenetic camera movement of Blair Witch initially made me mildly nauseous–though I suspect this had more to do with a lack of sleep the night before).

Money matters, and more often than not a humdrum movie (the only thing that saved the Transformers movies were their giant robot-sized budgets) can be made better–at least visually–with a large production budget. Blair Witch was produced for $5 million, and while that’s probably the catering budget for bigger films it’s still significantly more than the original movie, which cost $60,000 in 1999 dollars (I don’t know what that is in 2016, but I imagine it’s significantly less).

Though what surprised me most was how funny the movie is. Most of the humor was supplied by Peter (Brandon Scott) by the way he reacted to the chaos that unfolded around him.

It’s refreshing to see a character in a horror movie acting (for the most part) like a normal human.

That being said, it wouldn’t be a horror movie if people weren’t willing to venture into places where anyone with a modicum of common sense would fear to tread, but that’s a cliche that is typical for the genre.

Blair Witch isn’t perfect–then again, neither was the movie that inspired it–though what it is is a worthy follow up to one of the most innovative horror movies of it’s time.