Man, I hope I’m not getting burnt out on found footage films. I can’t seem to find any that are halfway decent these days. Every week I’m faced with one and I just sit there wondering why the hell it feels like I’m watching the same thing over and over again. It seems out of 20 films I see I might find one that’s decent but those aren’t good odds. I’m actually not kidding when I say 20; I’ve watched about 20 found footage films this past month and only found one that I actually liked. The Paranormal Diaries: Clophill is not one of those films.
Whenever I hear a film is based on a graphic novel I get a little excited. I love graphic novels and I have enjoyed the majority that have been turned into movies. When The Scribbler came to me I was pumped to watch it because it seemed like a weird and ambitious story.
Before I get into the film I will say this: Filmmakers, stop trying to copy Sin City, Watchmen, and 300.
I could go on and on again about how important Vinegar Syndrome is to cinema but I’ll refrain . . . for now. Instead, I’m going to attempt to explain the awesome and completely nutty Raw Force. I first saw this film about a year and a half ago and didn’t know what to say. It has everything that I want in old cheesy B-movies: comedy, action, boobs, karate, rocket launchers, zombies, weird parties, horrendous acting, people breaking ice with their faces. (Seriously, a dude breaks a block of ice with his face, but it isn’t for show; it is actually to get ice for a drink he is making for someone. I shit you not on this.)
Today I watched John Holmes’s penis get bitten by a vampire. What did you do today?
In the ‘70s and ‘80s many pornographic filmmakers made pornos with stories. Whether it was action, horror, or comedy, there was usually a genre represented by more story and less sexy time. As a horror enthusiast, I get excited more ways than one when the porno has horror elements and Dracula Sucks has more horror than porno. . . and it is freaking weird.
If, like me, your knowledge of New Zealand cinema is limited to Peter Jackson and Taika Waititi, then Housebound will both delight and surprise you. I went into Housebound with zero knowledge of the plot, but you should know that it’s essentially a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside a red herring. Just when you think you’ve figured out what kind of movie it’s going to be, it turns into something else. Rather than being confusing, it makes the movie that much more fun to watch.
Even though it’s a movie that still feels fresh and influential, Beetlejuice came out almost a quarter of a century ago. It’s no secret that many of Tim Burton’s biggest fans feel like he hasn’t done anything in the last 20 years to rival it. Those people need to see Suburban Gothic immediately.
The cruelly and ironically titled Nothing Bad Can Happen is nothing less than a hard kick to the stomach. Katrin Gebbe’s debut isn’t a horror film, yet it still horrifies. Nothing Bad Can Happen stuns and unsettles the viewer like the also-incendiary debuts of Maury and Bustillo (À l’intérieur) or Du Welz (Calvaire), yet without the gore of the former and the surrealism of the latter.
A couple of years ago my friend Jay handed me a disc with one word on it: Found. He said he saw it at a horror convention and it was something I would love. I watched Found that night and he was right.
It’s best not to know a whole lot about the plot going into Jim Mickle’s latest film Cold In July. If you haven’t read the Joe R. Lansdale novel upon which the movie is based (like me), try not to form any preconceived notions from the tag line or cover art and just go with it. If you’re about ten minutes in and thinking, “Damn, this is just a whole bunch of stalker-revenge movie clichés that aren’t really doing it for me,” keep watching. There’s no M. Night Shyamalan-style twist, just a lot of well-crafted narrative turns that will keep your attention even after the movie ends. It’s that good, and easily the best of Mickle’s last three films.