The Fog (2005) – Postmortem

Screenshot 2016-08-23 23.05.50.pngAs I have said time and again, I am not fond of remakes.

More often than not they don’t add anything to the original–did we really need to know about Michael Myers difficult upbringing in Rob Zombie’s Halloween reboot?–or they add details that seemingly are there just to differentiate them from the original.

The thing is, as far as remarks go, Rupert Wainwright’s remake of The Fog (it doesn’t help that  John Carpenter directed the original) isn’t terrible.

It’s not particularly good, but it’s different enough that you don’t at least hate yourself for wasting an hour and a half that you will never get back.

What works is the whole leprosy subplot–in the original I don’t recall the movie going into huge detail about what William Blake was doing with the gold–but in the reboot the point was to get his people to a place where they could live in peace because they were suffering from leprosy.

He was building a leper colony!  It’s a pretty clever idea that the movie unfortunately doesn’t take advantage of (there’s a scene where one of the ghosts comes in physical contact with a person, and she’s decays like she’s caught leprosy on steroids).

Unfortunately it’s an angle that they don’t deal with again.

They could have also done more innovative things with the fog itself, especially when you take into account that the bulk of it is CGI, but unfortunately they don’t.

It’s a movie full of wasted opportunities–especially compared to the original–but at least you don’t feel your time slipping away like digital fog.

 

Sorority Row – Review

“There are worse ways to spend an hour and forty minutes.  Unfortunately for Sorority Row, there are also better ones.”

Stewart Hendler’s Sorority Row harkens back to (better) slasher movies like I Know What You Did Last Summer and Scream, and makes as much sense as either though both of those movies at least had a bit of innovation going for them, and while the snark of Sorority Row is always welcome, it’s not enough of a differentiator to elevate the movie.

Though things begin interestingly enough, when the members of Phi Theta sorority pull a particularly mean-spirited prank on the brother of one of their members that ends in a very real death.

Soon the girls are being bumped off one by one, seemingly by the person who was the victim of their prank gone awry (mostly in visually interesting, though practically impossible, ways). Sounds familiar?  It should because it’s a plot device that been used every since Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Indians, mainly because when it works, you don’t see any of the many moving parts that need to be in sync for it to work.

Which Sorority Row, for the most part, doesn’t.

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John Carpenter’s “Halloween” Screening For Free (For A Limited Time Only)!

How limited, you might ask?  I have no idea, though according to The Daily Dead the free period began on the 16th, two days ago, so if you don’t already have in your collection, I’d take advantage of it before someone comes to their senses.

Besides, the last “horror” film I watched was Children Of The Corn: Urban Harvest, which was pretty funny, though the humor was unfortunately of the unintentional variety.

Unlike Halloween, which was one of the most influential horror films ever made.  What’s most interesting is that, despite how iconic the film may seem to viewers now, at the time Carpenter was making it he not only had any idea it would be as innovative as it ended up being, but its success almost defied logic.

‘Ex Machina’ Teaser Trailer

Alex Garland‘s (the writer of Sunshine, 28 Days Later, The Beach, etc) directoral debut, Ex Machina, looks at least superficially like it covers similar territory as Transcendence, though hopefully more successfully.

That being said, I assume it’s only coincidence that Ex Machina feels very similar to another film that came out earlier this year, The Machine, the trailer which I have included below.

Though considering that the trailer looks to have more than a little bit psycho-sexual game playing going on, perhaps a more apt comparison would be to Vincenzo Natali’s Splice (which, since Halloween is just around the corner, is worth a watch).

The Return Of John Carpenter

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image courtesy of Comixology app

Though truth be told he was never really gone.

John Carpenter, director of influential genre classics like Halloween, Escape From New YorkIn The Mouth Of Madness, They Live, StarMan, Big Trouble In Little China (perhaps his most underappreicated movie), among many others has been absent from theaters since 2010’s The Ward (an interesting movie despite thematic similarities to James Mangold’s superior 2003 film, Identity) may be on the edge of a comeback.

Though not for the reasons I at first thought.

Let me start at the beginning.  Today I was reading some comics on Comixology when I noticed John Carpenter’s Asylum.  I don’t recall ordering it, though they occasionally have ‘Free Comics Days’ so I assumed that I picked it up then.

It’s written by Carpenter, Thomas Ian Griffith (who played in ‘Jan Valek’ in John Carpenter’s Vampires) and Sandy King (Carpenter’s wife and producer) and  drawn by the inestimable Leonardo Manco.

By the way, speaking of Leonardo Manco, if you haven’t read Marvel’s 1994 comic Hellstorm–which lasted 21 issues–you should find a copy because Manco’s art is remarkable.

I was thinking that ‘Asylum’ would be Carpenter’s entry back into features, which is apparently not the case.

That honor would be bestowed upon DarkChylde, which  was an Image comic by Randy Queen in 1996.

King said that they have been working on the project for over two years, and that WETA Digital is creating the monsters.  You may not be aware of WETA, but if you’ve seen any of the movies based upon J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings novels (and many others), then you have seen their special effects work.

DarkChilde

Image courtesy of Storm King Productions and Destroy The Cyborg

Though the best thing, according to Sandy King, is that not only is John Carpenter working on DarkChylde, but he’s also preparing a new horror-themed series, John Carpenter’s Hell Gate.

‘Halloween’ (2007) Review

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“Rob Zombie’s remake of John Carpenter’s classic horror film makes some bold choices, but cannot escape the long shadow of the original.”

I get what Rob Zombie is trying to do with his remake of John Carpenter’s groundbreaking 1978 film, Halloween,” but it fails for me primarily because it gives so much information.  The first half-hour or so is spent laying the groundwork for the existence of Carpenter’s monstrous creation, something Carpenter himself didn’t do (quite deliberately, in fact).  Zombie’s film is admittedly more grounded in a reality (of sorts) than Carpenter’s original.

What’s most interesting is that it’s that same realism that not only separates it from John Carpenter’s original, but by contrast shows you how much more effective it was, as well.

The Shape, the demonic charter created by John Carpenter and Debra Hill, was most interesting BECAUSE you had no idea why he did what he did.  The character was essentially a violent force of nature, more akin to a tornado or hurricane than a human being.

Under Zombie’s reinterpretation, he’s a psychotic kid, who grows up to be a psychotic adult.

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