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Belittling Horror Excessively: ...And The Rest!09:42 PM -- Fri October 31, 2014

SPOILER WARNING: THESE REVIEWS CONTAINS SPOILERS

13 Sins

This movie is the story of a guy who gets a mysterious phone call from somebody who's obviously watching him, offering him $1,000 to swat the fly in his car. From there, it escalates - 13 challenges ensue, with each one worth more money, and being more transgressive and illegal. He is allowed to quit at any time, but will lose all he's won if he does. It's a scary game show!

This is a fun movie. I was completely enthralled just because I always wanted to know what the next challenge would be. And of course, you knew it was going to get murdery, so I kept waiting for that. I was not disappointed, though it was surprisingly far into the challenges before they actually wanted anybody dead.

It's your typical global-conspiracy-with-magical-surveillance-abilities movie. Pretty fun. The main character is an American Martin Freeman, which instantly makes him more sympathetic, despite him gradually turning evil. There are a ton of twists crammed into the ending portion of the movie, and while most of them are pretty guessable, there's some fun stuff going on. My favorite is the absolute last scene in the movie (I don't recall, it might even have been after the credits started), which starts off seeming like your typical horror movie ending that sets up that the evil will never die... but then actually turns around and becomes the moral of the story. Our hero didn't need to get himself into so much trouble, he invited it with greed.

In the end, the body count is large but hard to track thanks to one memorable and horrible scene. It's around 14 people, 2 flies, and we can reasonably infer that a 3rd fly also died. This movie is a pretty fun 4 out of 5 Cups of Coffee.


Truth or Die

This is the story of a group of horrible college kids who abuse another kid (Felix). Long after, they're invited to Felix's birthday party, and they go, not because they like him, but because he's rich and they assume that means lots of free booze. They assume wrong, and Felix's brother kidnaps and tortures them to find out which of them sent the nasty postcard which caused Felix to hang himself. Revenge ensues.

This is in the 'torture-porn' realm of movies like Saw, but it's kind of unique in that it's more like how that would go in real life - the torturer has only one very simple Evil Torture Device, and he doesn't have any complex grand schemes or backup plans, he just struggles to keep control over things and pretty much fails.

This movie is mostly very frustrating. Though the killer is army-trained and has a gun, he still has pretty minimal control over these people. They know he intends to kill them, and yet despite a million opportunities - including the killer giving his gun to one of them - they never take the chance to stop him or escape. Well, they do eventually, but I feel like this was just poorly written. It wouldn't have been hard to make the scenario less escapable, like for instance if he actually tied up all of the victims instead of enlisting one to help him corral the others.

On the plus side, it all wraps up in a way that makes sense at the end and reveals some surprises, and ties into something that otherwise seemed like an excessively horrible personality trait for most of the movie. Turns out it was a plot point!

In the end, there's a body count of 7, and the movie passes by with 2 out of 5 Grenades. It's not really worth seeing, but it wasn't badly done for what it was. Oh yeah, and Felix's brother is harder to kill than Jason. There's really no proof he's even dead at the end of the movie, and I wouldn't count on it after all the things he shrugged off.


100 Bloody Acres

This is the story of 3 people who hitch a ride in a "bone and blood" fertilizer truck (well, there's nutrients in bone and blood...). You just know that's not going to go well. And yes, the fertilizer-making brothers decide to grind up the hitchhikers into fertilizer because apparently living people have a lot of potassium in them. Comedy? ensues.

This is a horror-comedy, but I realized about halfway through that I hadn't laughed once... it's just not a funny movie. It's light-hearted, unrealistic and sort of silly, but there aren't really any jokes. I guess you're just supposed to laugh at the situation, but I'm a tougher nut to crack than that!

I'll cut to the chase on this one, because I don't think it's worth my time. There's a body count of 6, and it earns just 2 out of 5 Diamond Rings. It's nothing terrible, but there's nothing about it to recommend. Try Tucker And Dale Vs. Evil if you want to have fun with people ending up in grinding machines!


Beneath

And our final movie of the month is the story of a coal miner's daughter (hey, they exist!), who insists on joining her father on his last day at the mine before retiring. Of course there's a cave-in and... hmm. Craziness, ghosts, zombies and murder ensue.

Once the cave-in occurs, the people have a lot to contend with. They don't even realize there are ghost zombies because they're too busy trying to ensure they have oxygen and don't get crushed by falling rocks. This lack of oxygen is very stressful for me. Her father ends up doing a whole lot of wheezing and saying "I can't breathe!" which I do not like!

Then when it comes to the whole ghost/zombie/madness thing, I'm honestly not sure what was going on. Some people definitely got killed by other people who had gone crazy, but other people seemingly couldn't have. The main character saw peoples' faces as zombie faces sometimes and freaked out, but it definitely wasn't as simple as people having hallucinations and protecting themselves from the 'monsters', because we saw people turning evil out of the blue, not just freaking out. I'm sure there's some explanation that covers the combination of things that happened, I'm just not sure what it is. Was it just methane poisoning their brains? Ghost possession? Doesn't feel like either of those covers everything that happened, but whatever.

That said, it was enjoyable and suspenseful. With a body count of 8ish, and a score of 4 out of 5 Oxygen Tanks, it's a pretty decent way to end the month.


So now, as I sit here with Spiders 3D playing in the background, I must bid adieu to my month of scary movies. This is I believe the fourth year of Halloween Horror reviewing, and feels like the most disappointing. Nothing worthy of 5 stars this month. A bunch of pretty decent movies, a bunch of mediocre and bad movies, and one awful movie (Absence!). But it's always fun to find out what lurks in the next movie, and I always end each October wanting to keep watching a movie a day. I just don't want to have to write reviews or draw pictures!

Yet here is one last picture, just a generic Halloweeny one! Is it bad that I'm glad I'm not forced into doing a drawing every day after this? And that I copped out by only having one drawing for the last four movies? It's just so hard...
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Belittling Horror Excessively: The Taking of Deborah Logan11:35 AM -- Fri October 31, 2014

SPOILER WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

Hey, it's Halloween at last! By my count, I actually need to review 5 more movies to reach 31. I've watched 3 of those movies, so I have to watch two movies and write 5 reviews today. That seems like a lot, actually. So I better rip through it quick!

This is your classic possession movie, though it's not so classic because it's quite different. Deborah Logan is an old lady just beginning to suffer from Alzheimer's disease. A documentary crew has come to film her inevitable decline (not because she's anybody special, just to educate about Alzheimer's). Unfortunately, she's not just losing her wits, she's also being possessed. Teleportation ensues.

We're back in the realm of found footage! In a slight twist, this one contains some high-profile actors that I recognize, so it's not playing the "these are unknowns, so maybe it's real" game that is a wee bit played out. I'm good with that, because it's not like anybody was falling for it anyway, and famous actors usually got that way via talent, so it only helps the movie. Found-footage-wise, this is fine, nothing too believable, nothing too ridiculous, although there is no real good reason why a documentary crew would install security cameras all over the house. That is not typical documentary stuff. To be honest, I mostly forgot about the cameras, which I consider a win. I would rather be wrapped up in the actual story than arguments over whether somebody should stop filming or whatever.

Alzheimer's is very awful. It's one of my bigger fears. It's sort of like dying, only you get to be there as everybody grieves. Pretty horrendous. It also means that this woman is under medical supervision, which takes some weird possession stuff and puts it into medical hands, in an interesting twist. For example, she got a horrible rash, where her skin turned all red and monstrous, which of course was something demonic, but the doctors ran all kinds of tests and named a lot of things it could be (but wasn't).

Some other random tidbits:
  • This takes place in the town of Exuma... which is pronounced eczema. That kept bothering me the whole time! Why would you name a town that? Update: I googled, and there's a district of the Bahamas with that name. I bet they pronounce it ex-ooma.

  • It seems quite cost-inefficient for every hospital or asylum in every movie to have an abandoned wing or floor. Why not renovate that sucker and put some patients in there? I guess for the potential horror movie value.

  • The house in this movie has three attics and a basement. What?

  • The ending 'twist' is well-handled. It just hints at what has obviously occurred, rather than beating you over the head. Well, more than hints, I guess, but at least it doesn't come out and say it, or have the girl stab her parents or something like most movies.
So, in the end there is merely a body count of 2 (and several injured people who might not survive), and I think we can award this one 4 out of 5 Trowels because it really kept me interested throughout.

Here is a drawing of Deborah Logan herself. She's pretty creepy.
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Belittling Horror Excessively: Carrie (Remake)08:12 PM -- Thu October 30, 2014

SPOILER WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

This is a remake of the Stephen King story of a girl who discovers she has telekinetic powers in high school. That's the cool thing in her life. The bad stuff is that her mom is totally nuts, and the other kids treat her badly. Some much more than others. Accurate high school life ensues.

Well, this is definitely a remake. I haven't really seen the original Carrie in full, but I've seen many parts of it, and all those parts seemed to be here! I'm not sure why they do remakes like this. The only thing akin to an update to the story is that the kids have cell phones and make videos of things. Which doesn't change the course of events in any way. The main thing that makes it a remake is the extensive crazy CGI, explosions, and mayhem in the finale. I mean everything goes seriously Michael Bay for the last fifteen minutes.

I'm not sure what else to say about this movie. It works, it's a story. It's kind of weird in that most of the people in the high school actually treat Carrie just fine. There's mainly just one psycho girl who's out to get her (and that girl is quite an over-the-top caricature of evil, along with her equally nuts boyfriend). Most of the rest of the population is not only nice to her, but actively tries to help her and stop the psycho girl from bothering her. It's too bad that in the end she murders everyone anyway.

What's weird about the big finale (spoilers I guess, but who doesn't know what happens?) is how instead of losing control of her powers and lashing out indiscriminately, Carrie really just turns evil and specifically murders everyone in a very calculated way. That doesn't feel right at all, and kind of ruins any empathy you might have for her. It seems like a sour note, really, not the right way to play it.

So in the end, there's a body count of 1 pig, 4 people of note, and a whole mess o' promgoers. This movie deserves an acceptable 3 out of 5 Melted Deadbolts.

Because I didn't want to draw people, here's a bucket!
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Belittling Horror Excessively: Mine Games02:33 PM -- Thu October 30, 2014

SPOILER WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

Note: This movie is also known as The Evil Within, which rather strangely is the title it showed at the start of the movie, despite it being listed as Mine Games on Netflix. Also note: no kidding about the spoilers. Be prepared to be spoiled.

This is the story of... wait for it... a group of teens driving a van out to a remote cabin! Man, what a fun and unique thing to do. When they arrive, one of them finds a mine in the woods, and for some reason they all think the coolest thing ever would be to explore this mine (actually, that does sound cool). They find strange things like a wall that has "This is the first time" written on it. Oh, and also one of the kids takes anti-psychotic medication and he's been skipping it. Inverted causality ensues.

This is definitely one of my favorite types of movies: the time loop movie. They never really make sense in any complete way, but they have their own little set of internal logic that is fun to puzzle out and play with, and it allows you to feel smart and have a lot of little revelations as you see things coming. In this movie, it basically works out that everything that happens 'the first time' is taking place after 'the second time', but even with that rule in place, things are kind of wonky. It's not quite a loop, more like just two times through, in reverse order, with some weird overlapping.

There is of course no explanation for the time loop, and I'm fine with that. If I get to see a time loop, I'm not going to be picky and demand any more than that, I'm happy.

But there is another thing with no explanation or purpose I did not like: the psychic girl. One of the teens in the group is psychic and is constantly flipping out due to the effects of the time loop (for instance, she starts seeing some of the people who are going to die the 2nd time around as dead already). I can't actually figure out why she's in the movie. In the end, all her freakouts put her in a semi-catatonic state, and the killer ends up picking her up and dumping her in the cellar, possibly fatally as she tumbles down the stairs, I don't know. That's the extent of her existence in the movie. She adds nothing, and it seems like psychic powers should be an important plot point if you're going to include them.

One other big complaint with this movie: the killer, spoiler, is the psychotic guy. There is a motivation for what he does - he thinks the other people are out to get him, and I guess the filmmakers thought "needs to take anti-psychotic medication" was a big enough excuse for a seemingly-normal guy to go super paranoid. I don't know, it didn't feel right to me. He gets so paranoid that he murders ALL of his friends - including the couple that they were going to meet, who had nothing to do with anything - just to ensure they don't lock him up. In a room he knows he actually has the key to get out of (he gave it to himself earlier!). It's kind of clever in that it's the classic social trap - they want to lock him up because they think he's gonna kill them, but due to the time loop, he only wants to kill them because they lock him up. That's fun, but I just didn't buy that he would go so nuts and turn so instantly and totally evil. Not to mention capable. He does some seriously complex murdering and scheduling, and a whole lot of very heavy lifting, to pull this off.

I don't know, now that I write about it, I kind of like it. I mean, the other kids found their own dead bodies, so they had plenty of reason to be scared. They were all in a very strange and incomprehensible situation... maybe he would go nuts and kill them all. Or maybe I'm just underestimating his mental problems.

Anyway, the most important thing I want to share about this movie is that it is almost identical in concept to the movie Triangle. I highly recommend Triangle, a five-star horror movie that will really mess with your head. It perfectly executes the time-loop idea (I guess that sort of spoils the movie - I went into it not knowing only that there would be some sort of big twist, which made the loop a huge surprise) and all makes sense in the end. Mine Games does not reach those lofty heights, but hey, it's fun.

So in the end, I think the body count is 5 and a half (Schrodinger's psychic girl), and the movie just barely pulls out 4 out of 5 Minecarts. You can't really go too wrong with a time loop! Oh, and the final moment in the movie doesn't really make any sense in a lot of ways. That's a common issue with horror movies, always wanting to get in that shock right before the credits. It does explain why there were only two loops though!

Here's a picture of the broken bridge that is featured a few times in the movie.
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Belittling Horror Excessively: Banshee Chapter07:47 PM -- Wed October 29, 2014

SPOILER WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

This is not a found-footage movie, though it strangely pretends to be. Everything is shot handheld, or occasionally a security camera or something, but the cameraman isn't a character in the movie and you never see him. That just sort of makes it a cheaply made movie, really. But it's the story of a woman investigating what happened on some actual found footage (the first bit of the movie), when her friend takes a mysterious drug and shortly after that disappears, with a lot of weird stuff going on. She ends up learning about a government conspiracy to give people this drug and experiment on them. Bad trips ensue.

This movie is pure Lovecraft, and a character actually calls out the story it's sort of based on at one point (I forget the name, but it's a famous one about a guy who makes a radio device that tunes into another dimension and lets the things in that dimension see him and get him). Which is probably a little tacky, but it was about 2 minutes after I said to myself "This is a Lovecraft story!"

It also pulls in the mythology, if you can call it that, of "numbers stations". I happen to have just recently learned about those thanks to Stuff You Should Know. It's some really weird stuff. There are (in real life!) these shortwave radio stations scattered around the world which are transmitting robotic voices saying series of numbers. The speculation, which makes sense to me, is that these are actually sending coded messages for spies. If you tune in at the right time, and have the magic decoder ring, you can turn the numbers into a message. The rest of the time, the numbers are just random, so your enemies will never break the code since they don't even know when they are hearing a coded message or just noise. The numbers only play for a certain time period each day, and they are always preceded by a specific sound recording to indicate the start, and that makes it even creepier. The weird creepy music that pours out of random radios in this movie is a recording of an actual numbers station. The gist of this movie is to give an alternate, and completely crazy, explanation of the numbers stations (and of the CIA's MK-Ultra program, which was about trying to mind control people with drugs). Aliens, of course. DUH.

This movie (so far) wins the Scariest Of The Month award. Some good jumps, some really disturbing (not gross!) images, and a very creepy overall feeling, the kind that leaves me nervous to go outside in the dark to put my dogs to bed. I must confess that I had subtitles turned on, as I usually do, and for some reason, the subtitles started getting ahead of the movie as it went on. Rather than get up and fix it, I took advantage of it to make the movie less scary. When somebody was wandering in the dark with a flashlight, I could see "[Aaaah! What is that!]" on the screen a couple seconds earlier, so I didn't get anywhere near the jumps I deserved. Whatever, I use the tools at my disposal to protect myself! Speaking of scares, the first one in the movie is almost identical to the scariest moment in the movie Signs. That one made me leap out of my chair in the theater, I tell you what.

So in the end, we have a very mysterious body count: I wrote down 2 for sure, and a few more question marks, because there's really no way to know when or if the characters actually died. I guess that's part of the horror. I award this movie a grand 4 out of 5 Primary Sources. It's a good 'un!

This time, I thought I'd try doing something with a lot of ink, but I don't have any reasonably fat pens, so it's a weeeee bit scribbly. This picture is actually a little creepier than what it's supposed to be. That isn't some horrible dessicated corpse, it's actually a regular person - the black holes in his face are just supposed to be shadow. He's strapped in a chair, in a pitch-black room, except for a spotlight aimed directly down at him (it's also showing the edge of a table next to him). Pretty much a failure.
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Belittling Horror Excessively: Friday The 13th Part VII06:03 PM -- Tue October 28, 2014

SPOILER WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

Well, if we have Freddy on, we need to give equal time to Jason! Interestingly, the one Friday The 13th movie on Netflix happens to be an out-of-character episode just like the one Nightmare on Elm Street was.

In a sense, this is standard Jason: He pops up out of the lake, walks around killing teenagers, and then gets stopped so he can re-awaken for the next movie. Plot over. The unique element here is that he is awakened by a girl with telekinetic powers, who ends up battling him with said powers. It's basically Jason vs. Carrie. Side note: this movie was originally planned to be Freddy vs. Jason (something they ended up doing later), but when they couldn't swing that, they came up with the telekinetic girl to replace Freddy. She is quite different from Freddy though.

This is really exactly what I expected from a Friday the 13th, except for the magical battle at the end. Jason is, as always, a zombie who isn't hungry, though he clearly exhibits full human intelligence. His motivation is nonexistent - he sees people, he kills people. His methods are nondescript - he grabs something sharp and stabs it into them. Boring. The kills are actually super tame, nearly always cut away before anything happens. This is done in a very clunky way that just looks like the tape got cut short rather than an artful edit. A little research told me that this is because the movie originally got an X rating, and they had to trim it way back, so all the good stuff was snipped (poorly). Seems like they went too far, but hey, it was the 80's.

The ending of this movie is totally honey nut clusters. Spoiler: the girl with the powers somehow summons the spirit/corpse of her dead father out of the lake to strangle Jason and drag him down. There's no way in which it begins to make sense, and the list of problems with it is too big to even start in on. It is the equivalent of the Monty Python foot coming down and squishing him.

Some quick notes from the movie:
  • The Crystal Lake sign is written in one of my favorite fonts, Insaniburger. You can find it all over this website!

  • This movie opens with a "Previously on..." montage, which is super weird for a movie to do, and not particularly helpful (much like the "THEN" montage that starts most episodes of Supernatural, but without the rockin' tunes)

  • If Jason can stab through a person's body with his bare hand effortlessly, why is he wasting time with weapons?

  • At one point, he kills someone by throwing a knife at them. This is entirely too human and skilled for him. It just doesn't feel right at all!
So in the end, we have a hefty body count of 16, and a well-earned 1 out of 5 Live-In Therapists. It's close, because they're both terrible, but I have to admit this might be marginally better than the awful Nightmare on Elm Street film from yesterday. At least it has a psychic girl to spice it up. Overall though, I will still rank Freddy a hundred miles above Jason anyday.

Here's a scribble of something that could be Crystal Lake.
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Belittling Horror Excessively: Nightmare on Elm Street 211:35 AM -- Tue October 28, 2014

SPOILER WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

This is the story of Freddy's Revenge. Or at least, that's the subtitle of the movie. In point of fact, Freddy engages in precisely zero revenge in this entire movie, and I think they just called it that because it's the first sequel. This story is actually a very non-traditional Nightmare on Elm Street, in which Freddy (some dead guy who normally kills people in their dreams) is trying to get into the real world by possessing the body of a teenager who's moved into a house on Elm Street, in which much action from the first movie apparently took place. Claw scraping ensues.

I wanted to dip into the classic serieses this year, which I guess I always shoot for, but this was the only Elm Street movie on Netflix, which is pretty disappointing, as it completely ignores the entire premise of Elm Street. There are definitely some dreams here, including the really cool opening scene of a bus driving right out of town and straight into the underworld, but most of what happens is actually Freddy running around in the real world... I was going to finish that sentence with "chopping people up" but honestly most of what he does is flipping over tables and gesturing angrily. He's really not that threatening (he's actually a skinny guy, not very imposing) other than his completely random magical powers like making everything get hot, or shorting out electrical things, or locking doors with his mind, or walking through hedges (well, we can all do that one, he just can do it without getting stuck). This movie completely disregards the formula of Elm Street, and that's what I had been looking to see, so I was pretty disappointed.

I was also disappointed because it's really dumb. The plot is pretty much nothing (Freddy gradually gets more control, then eventually burns up and re-dies because the kid's girlfriend loves him), and without a comprehensible mythology or set of rules behind it, there's not even anything to think about. You have no idea what will happen from one moment to the next because what can happen is anything. There's no explanation as to how Freddy comes to inhabit this boy's brain, or why he's the target. It just happens. A normal Freddy movie is full of rules, and the goodguys win by taking control of those rules. This is just random nonsense, including exploding parakeets, cheesy lightning, a near-total lack of quips from Freddy, terrible acting (shockingly bad for a big Hollywood movie), and really bad foley work. I don't normally notice foley work at all, but when picking up a claw glove causes loud clanking noises, it stands out.

So in the end, the body count is quite unclear - 2 parakeets, 6 people, and possibly around 6 more killed at the pool party, but it's not made clear. The final score for this embarrassing chapter in Freddy's existence is a dreary 1 out of 5 Dreams of Better Times.

For this movie, I was just imagining what life was like before Freddy died. Nothing creepy about a gardener who uses a claw glove to trim the hedges!
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Belittling Horror Excessively: The Blair Witch Project02:01 PM -- Mon October 27, 2014

SPOILER WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

Ah yeah suckas... we going to the original! I figured since I watch so many found-footage movies, and I haven't seen Blair Witch since it originally came out (in the theater!), and I am always comparing found-footage movies to it, that it was about time I actually watched it again and saw how it holds up. Actually my thought process was more like "Hey, Blair Witch is on Netflix! [add]" but I find my retroactive justification also of interest.

This movie is the story of 3 documentary filmmakers who wander out into the woods to film a movie about the legend of the Blair Witch. They end up very lost, and river-map-kicking ensues.

Well, I have always said this was one of the scariest movies I've ever seen, so did the fear hold up? Absolutely not. The main kick in the teeth to any sense of fear with this repeat viewing is simply that: it was a repeat viewing. Spoiler alert (you really should see this movie unspoiled if you can, it is pretty intense): when you know that nothing is ever going to pop out of the woods at you, then the endless shots of creepy woods are no longer scary. It was that anticipation and the unknown that was so nerve-wracking. Because in truth, nothing happens in this movie. Almost.

But nonetheless, the movie as a whole did hold up for me. It's interesting to see it now, after a decade and a half of clones, and I honestly think it's right at the top of all the found footage I've seen. Maybe not as a piece of entertainment, there are probably others (which I can't think of offhand) that are more interesting than people being lost in the woods while nothing happens, but in terms of the elements that are unique to found footage, the pretenders have still not surpassed the original. This movie looks totally real - perhaps because it practically is. Everything in it is ad-libbed and most of it consists of the actors reacting to things they didn't know were going to happen. It also is not nauseating and awful in the use of the camera, and the rationale for always filming is handled much better than in almost every other found-footage movie (they even turn off the camera sometimes, if you can imagine that!), though it's still not plausible by any means.

As a video documenting 3 people getting lost in the woods and freaking out, this is utterly convincing. I saw a lot of talk about bad acting in this movie, and I think it's insane. I can't picture how you could act more realistically than they did. You may not want to hear people be screechy and whiny, but that's what happens when you're lost in the woods.

As a magical ghost/witch/whatever story, it falls a lot flatter. The legend is really just a bunch of disconnected tales, and the few supernatural things that occur have no relation to any of the tales. They hear a lot of sticks snapping in the woods around them, something scratches at their tent, and their packs get tossed around and rummaged through while they're gone. None of which relates to the legend at all. In fact, I'm not really sure what the legend is, because the ending connects to this story they heard about a serial killer, but he wasn't the witch, so who knows. Maybe he was possessed by the witch (who is a ghost. I think witch means ghost in this movie. Or it's just a witch who's dead, and thus a ghost). Anyway, it all manages to be plenty creepy, it just doesn't make any sense when you try to piece it together.

So, in the end, we have 3 bodies of course (otherwise these wouldn't be lost tapes!), and a score of 4 out of 5 Wet Maps. It really is good, and I think better than the found-footage which has come out since. Though I have seen many people say Blair Witch itself is a "rip-off" of The Last Broadcast. I haven't seen that, and I'd like to. Anyway, watch this one with the lights off!

Fun facts I learned on IMDB after watching:
  • They considered, but didn't shoot, an alternate ending where a giant stick man chased them through the woods (now that would've been something to see!).

  • The actors had to stay in character, actually out camping, for 8 days straight, and if anybody did have to break character for any reason, they used the safety word "taco" first.

  • They were given less food each day to make them more and more irritable.

  • When they're running through the woods in terror at night, and Heather yells "What [on earth] is that!?!" she's actually referring to a member of the crew who's standing on a hill in an all-white outfit with a ski cap on. He's not visible on camera, which is probably good because what would that be in the context of the movie?
For this movie, I decided to step back into the past to my own creation which was itself inspired by the Blair Witch originally - the Happy Stick Witch! (note: I don't think she actually looks anything like this, but I did it from memory. Should she have hair? Seems like she should)
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Belittling Horror Excessively: Grabbers06:58 PM -- Sun October 26, 2014

SPOILER WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

This is the story of a comet crashing in the ocean near an Irish island. Like any comet, this one is filled with aliens. They are tentacley and like the water but are happy to chase people onto land too. What they aren't happy to do is come in contact with alcohol. So if you'll pardon the stereotype, the inhabitants all get seriously drunk in order to keep the monsters from attacking them, and proceed to try to put a stop to them. Rain ensues (otherwise the monsters couldn't get to the people!).

This is like a Simon Pegg/Nick Frost/Edgar Wright movie, but without any of those people. And it does suffer for the lack. So as that implies, it's a horror-comedy, and it's fairly light-hearted, with none of the characters really being quite as terrified as they ought to be facing giant balls of tentacles, and making jokes.

However, that's where it sort of falls down - it is light-hearted and amiable, but there really aren't very many jokes. It's like the mood is there, but I'd say there are probably only 10-20 jokes in the entire movie, many of which are minimal at best. So you're smiling a little bit the whole time, waiting to be amused, but you never quite get there. It's likeable, just not funny.

New fact I learned: Irish cops are called "garda".

In the end, we have a body count of 10, plus 20 or so whales, and a score of 3 out of 5 Gardas. It's fun, but not fun enough. It's hard to complain, like it's good all around, just not great. Nothing really... grabs me. Eh? Eh? Now that's comedy.

Here is what the tentacle monsters in this movie look like:
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Belittling Horror Excessively: Barricade12:01 PM -- Sun October 26, 2014

SPOILER WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

This is a story about pro wrestlers pummeling each other... Or so you would think when you see that it's produced by WWE Entertainment! In fact, it's actually the story of a non-wrestling man whose non-wrestling wife has died recently, so he's having to take his non-wrestling kids on a trip to the cabin (yep, trip to a remote cabin!) his wife had wanted them to go to before she died, all by himself. It's stressful and depressing, and none of them are too in the mood for fun. Lucky for them, horrible (non-wrestling!) evils lurk in the darkness, so they don't have to worry about fun! No wrestling ensues.

This is one of those depressing horror movies, more sad than scary. It's loaded up with cheap false jump scares, like the classic scene of somebody stepping through the door suddenly along with a shriek of violins when they turn out to just be somebody who is supposed to be there, and who you should've heard coming rather than being surprised by. When it gets down to the actual scares, it's alright... there's something mysterious stalking this house, and they end up going back and forth trying to decide if they need to get out or "Barricade"(tm) themselves inside the house to be safe.

Big spoiler alert, it's time to reveal the big twist! There's not much to this movie other than the twist - the family goes to the cabin, they are sad, everything seems weird, time skips, people act strangely. There's a lot of fairly pointless action, repeated times where he has to search the house for his suddenly missing kids again and again... and then the twist is that the father had a high fever messing with his head for most of the movie (an absurdly short incubation time, by the way - he contracted it from the guy they met a couple hours earlier). So all the weird stuff either didn't happen, or was things he did while feverish, and then didn't recognize he had done later. It all makes sense in the end, as they flashback through it (not to too much excess, thankfully), and you see what really happened, which is that he mostly did all the right things to save his kids from this disease, he just didn't know he had done them. So that's pretty good.

It was an interesting and semi-original twist, a different form of "it was all a dream" that could actually happen. Although the one thing I found really odd was the way the sheriff, who the father tied up and stuffed in the attic while insane, reacted to it all. I couldn't quite understand it. He seemed pretty cool with having been kidnapped in the end, although then he adds, "He'll get what he has coming..." ominously, which makes him seem quite the opposite of cool with it. It was strange.

In the end, this is probably going to be the record low body count for the month: 1 death. And it earns an acceptable 3 out of 5 Monster Nails. Not the greatest movie ever, but it works.

This movie inspired me to draw a barricaded front door, because that's something in the movie. Plus I wanted to nail it shut because until they actually did nail it shut in the movie, they left that thing open way too much! It drove me insane that in a snowstorm, he'd run outside and leave the door open. Was he raised in a barn?
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Belittling Horror Excessively: Absence08:52 PM -- Thu October 23, 2014

SPOILER WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

Guess what? A group of kids decided to get together and drive out to a remote cabin in the woods to party! Specifically, this group is a husband and wife who lost their unborn baby mysteriously (it just disappeared from inside her during the night!), and the wife's brother who is the token Obnoxious Cameraman for this found-footage film. So they go out to the cabin, and nothing ensues.

Firstly, there has never been a human being alive who was remotely as obnoxious as the cameraman in this movie. And it is also completely impossible to believe that he meets a girl who is willing to talk to him during the movie.

The entire film is just these people hanging out at the cabin and trying to relax and get over the loss of the baby. That's it. You just watch them be sad, or get annoyed at the insanely annoying brother. Every so often there's a moment of weirdness during the night, but only a couple of times. Then in the last few minutes of the movie, a little bit of stuff happens but who cares at that point. And it's not interesting, it's not explained, it's not scary, it's not anything.

So we have a body count of anybody who tried to sit through the movie and didn't have the iron will to carry on, and a score of 0 out of 5 Whatevers. Your life will be better with an absence of this movie, avoid it.

This movie did not inspire me at all. There was nothing interesting in it to draw, and it sapped all creative energy from me, so here is a triangle.
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Belittling Horror Excessively: Dead Silence05:06 PM -- Tue October 21, 2014

SPOILER WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

Who doesn't love evil puppets? I guess the people they kill don't. In this movie, there's a ventriloquist who owned 101 puppets, who was murdered and then buried according to her will: not only buried with all of her puppets, but actually cut up into a puppet herself after death. Yeah, that's really weird, and I can't imagine anybody fulfilling that request. But they did! Anyway, that's all backstory. In the actual story, a puppet is delivered to a guy's doorstep, it kills his girlfriend, he goes back to his hometown where it was sent from, discovers the aforementioned backstory, and battles evil puppets and a ghostly old lady. Puppetry ensues.

This is a James Wan film, like Insidious 1 and 2, and it shows. It was instantly obvious that this was made by the same guy. He must have fallen into the coffin at his grandma's funeral when he was young, because he has a terrible fear of old ladies. He also makes very polished-looking horror movies, full of red lighting and people covered by sheets, which aren't really very scary. They're almost like Disney Family horror movies. They're too neat and clean, and the music is too overblown, and he doesn't seem very good at jump scares. There's a scene in Insidious 2 which starts out really creepy, where a boy is looking into his half-open closet at night, hearing noises inside and the camera is zooming closer and closer as we fear what might pop out. In the end, somebody does pop out and runs across the room, which should be very frightening, yet somehow it's not sudden enough or something, because it just has zero impact. It's more like a feeling of relief after all that tension rather than a shock. Hard to explain, but you watch the scene and you won't be scared!

That's not to say his work is all bad, it's just that I wonder if horror is really the place for this guy. He should try a nice romantic comedy or something. It can't be that bad though, because I'm willing to see what else he's going to do.

The big reveal at this end of this movie is big enough and fun enough that I won't even spoil it here despite my spoiler warning. It's not a world-changer like The Sixth Sense, but it does what I want a twist to do: makes you go back over the movie and change your view on earlier scenes, and realize that you could've figured it out if you had just noticed certain things earlier. That trips a fuse in my brain and joy just sparks out.

What it does wrong is what about 80% of all twists do: it manually takes you back over those earlier scenes and shows them to you again, far far too many of them, to beat the twist into your head as clearly and completely as possible. I got it after the first two quick flashes, I didn't need to rewatch the whole movie, and if I wanted to do that, I could hit the rewind button. This is a cardinal sin that so many movies commit, the massive over-explanation to the point where you actually get bored and want to get back to the climax of the movie you were trying to watch. I'm sure it's a fine line, as there are bound to be some people who need all that extra reinforcement (as evidenced by the reviews of movies I see that flat-out miss entire chunks of the plot). I'm sure they test this out with test audiences until it's "just right", but it sure never feels just right to me.

So in the end, we have a body count of 4, and because it's kind of fun, but by no means good cinema, and with a bonus point for the disturbing final twist, I'll award it 4 out of 5 Missing Tongues.

I of course had to draw a puppet here. I did a terrible job.
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Belittling Horror Excessively: Kill Theory08:47 PM -- Mon October 20, 2014

SPOILER WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

This is a story all about how some kids' lives got flipped, turned upside down, when a guy who once cut a rope while mountain climbing to save himself at the expense of 3 other people traps them all at a remote cabin they are of course all going out to visit as kids like to do, and forces them to kill each other or be killed by him. How's that for a sentence?

Yes, once again the teens (well, 20-somethings - they so often play teens I'm not actually sure which they are supposed to be in this movie) find the idea of a cabin in the middle of nowhere to be the most delightful notion since being murdered one by one. Though the two experiences are generally interchangeable.

So, huh. This movie is, according to a bunch of the reviewers on Netflix (I like to check sometimes!), full of twists. What they mean is that the people you think are dead come back and kill other people. And that does happen quite a few times, but I'm not willing to call it a twist. It's just kind of eh. Similarly, the movie actually ends with a final revelation that some have called a twist, but it was completely what I expected, and unlike an actual twist, it didn't change your view on anything you had seen. It's more like just another piece of irrelevant information really. I was pretty mad about that, because I'm a sucker for twists. As soon as I saw a review that said "the final twist was a real head-spinner", I couldn't just go without knowing what it was. I guess my head is just screwed on tighter than some, because the only spinning was me shaking my head.

As you can probably guess by now, this movie didn't do much for me. It was okay, there was a level of interest to see who would snap and decide to kill who. But it just had nothing fresh or anything to get excited about.

I do see two other notes I took while watching: first is that it was kind of refreshing to see the "put down the camera and stop filming everything already!" scene in a movie with no found footage element at all. It was just an annoying guy who liked to film people. I guess those must exist! The other note, I don't quite remember writing, but it reads "White people all look the same, but they're so hard to kill." Good advice for life.

In the end, we have a body count of 7, plus 3 more in the past, and I rate this a disappointing 2 out of 5 Gas Balloons.

I just drew the first thing I remembered from the movie - an axe stuck in a stump. But don't look a gift axe in the mouth, because there's probably a bear trap around it (not pictured).
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Belittling Horror Excessively: Insidious 206:35 PM -- Sun October 19, 2014

SPOILER WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

This is the continuation of the story of a family in which a certain sort of magical power resides. The father and son can see, and be seen by, the world of the dead. Something like that. Anyhoo, in the first movie some stuff happened, and now in this movie, the father has been possessed by an evil old lady who's actually a dude. So the father's soul is actually wandering the world of the dead wanting to get out, while his body is running around the real world being evil, and his son is continuing to connect to all this and be freaked out, and a team of wacky comic-relief ghostbusters run around and bungle things up. Ghostly child abuse ensues.

Honestly, this movie was pretty hard to follow, in part because the wife of the family, and someone who I believe is her mother, were too hard to tell apart. That's probably insulting to the daughter, but hey, let's say I'm being flattering to the mother! It's also confusing in other ways, it kind of jumps around. Anyway, like the first Insidious movie, this one isn't really scary... it has a scene or two that can creep you out, but mostly it's just telling a story. Just like the first movie, it's a fantasy story by my calculation rather than a horror story. I can't quite define what the difference is, but that's how it feels to me. I did enjoy the sort of 'time travel' between the two movies (more between the end and beginning of this movie, but there's a bit of it tied to the first movie).

One thing I did not enjoy was the climactic battle with the evil ghost... the image of all the women standing underneath sheets was creepy, but it all came down to this cartoonish pop-up screaming old lady, and smacking her on the head with a rocking horse. Yes, that's literally how the evil ghost was slain. They smacked her with a rocking horse. Spoilers.

So in the end, there's a body count of 17, I think, and I rate this a passable 3 out of 5 Rocking Horses.

For this movie, I drew the set of 'spirit dice' that the medium guy uses to talk to ghosts. It seems the spirits have a special Hamumu message for us...
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Belittling Horror Excessively: Sharknado 208:20 PM -- Fri October 17, 2014

SPOILER WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

It's the second one! I've been dying to see this since it came out, and of course my sister, who is a huge Sharknado fan, Tivo'd it for me to see when I visited her this past weekend. As you might expect, it is the story of Fin Shepard, and his Bruce-Willis-esque problem with always ending up in the middle of sharknados, as one heads in to New York along with the flight he is on (a flight he ends up landing himself, after sharks somehow eat the pilots). For those who aren't experts at meteorology, a sharknado is an apparently common weather pattern where a waterspout (not a tornado!) forms in the ocean and sucks up some sharks, which then gain the power of flight and air-breathing for the duration of the weather event. I'm sure it's happened in your hometown once or twice, so I probably didn't need to explain.

This movie is sort of a new breed in the past 10 years or so, where it's intentionally stupid for the entertainment value. It has to ride a pretty fine line - it has to take itself seriously (otherwise it's just a bad comedy), and yet still have enough "jokes" to keep from being boring, since it is by intent a bad movie. This movie is really pushing that line, it's almost more like a joke that you are in on - there are a lot of references to other things like a comedy would have (there are about 10 references to 'Airplane!' in the first 10 minutes), yet they're thrown away and ignored by the completely serious cast, whereas in a comedy they'd be front and center like "look at this!". It's easter egg overload.

One thing I found interesting that I don't think I've seen before is some really well-done use of making a 'mistake' for the viewers to catch and mock, as part of the fun. My favorite one is when Tara Reid, whose hand has been bitten off, sneaks out of the hospital dressed in a button-up blouse with a necklace, full makeup, and a glove on her remaining hand. She accomplished this by herself, off-camera, with a missing hand. The fact that they had her wearing a glove is what tips off that they did this on purpose and it's not just bad writing - it looks ridiculous that she's wearing a glove in the first place, which makes you think about it, and realize just how hard it would've been to put on. I actually think that's pretty clever.

There are also things that go over the top into true joke territory, like weather reporters having actual sharknado displays on their weather maps and discussing how many feet of sharks will be falling. But even these things are presented in a completely serious and 'real' way, which makes it better. If it had been done like a spoof comedy, it would not be nearly as good.

So anyway, it's Sharknado, you know what you're in for. You're in for 27 bodies and 4 out of 5 Buzzsaw Hands. This movie is significantly better thank Sharknado 1, and that was fun to begin with! I feel like The Asylum is really getting things together. Maybe they're learning how much better it feels to put out original movies instead of trying to clone every blockbuster. Of course, the super shady cloning act (where they try to make money entirely on the basis of people choosing the wrong movie from the cover) is surely more profitable. So sad.

I have drawn for you today a climactic moment from the film, the conclusion to Fin's rousing speech to the citizens of New York:
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Belittling Horror Excessively: Crow's Nest05:19 PM -- Thu October 16, 2014

SPOILER WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

As always, a group of teens have decided to take a trip to a remote cabin. Nothing kids today like better than being in the woods with no amenities. Apparently! I'm so out of touch with today's youth, I like internet. So anyway, these kids are taking a trip, and they get sidetracked because they heard beer was cheap in a town called Crow's Nest. Sadly, that's the whole point of the title of the movie. Don't you think there should be something more to it? I'm expecting ghost pirates at least!

So the kids get run off the road and hunted down by rednecks in an RV. The end.

This is found footage once again. I think I could've filled all 31 days of October with found footage movies and still had plenty to spare in Netflix's collection. I do like found footage as a general concept though, so that's not so bad. But this one was filled with really annoying people, and a lot of time wasted showing off how annoying they are (including of course the classic character of somebody who refuses to ever stop filming things and everybody else being annoyed with them for it). It takes 22 minutes for something interesting to happen in this movie, I checked. Whoever found this footage really should've edited it before releasing it as a horror movie (and how perverse are they to be profiting off of this tragedy??).

One fun moment is when they are driving at one point, I think shortly before they get rammed by the RV, you can clearly see a member of the film crew is laying down in the back of their SUV, reflected in the back window. I liked that part, it made me feel like I had defeated this movie at its own game.

As a film though, there's nothing here really to watch. It's everything you expect - they head out to the woods, and get hunted down and killed. No story, no twist, no message, not even any hint of an explanation for what's happening. It just happens. Also no interesting villain or anything - I was hoping for a ghost and I got a couple of cannibal rednecks driving by in an RV. What it does have going for it is a Blair Witch Crying Selfie scene. Classic. It also has bad digital blood effects, and about 50% of the movie is people yelling "Shutup!" at each other. I agree with them.

So in the end, we have a body count of 6 plus 1 deer, and a pathetic 1 out of 5 Cheap Beers. Bleh.

Since there are no interesting things to draw in this movie, I drew an RV!
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Belittling Horror Excessively: World War Z09:53 PM -- Tue October 14, 2014

SPOILER WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

This is the story of Brad Pitt roaming the earth seeking Patient Zero of a zombie plague and failing at every turn. Zombie pyramids ensue.

I admit to enjoying this. The science is no good at all (magic disease-sniffing zombies... that's technology we could use today!), but the drama and action are fun and feel very real. It feels like what an unstoppable zombie armageddon would feel like.

This was an interesting time to see this particular movie, in juxtaposition to the current ebola epidemic (is it an epidemic yet? It's not looking good, that's for sure). It really got me thinking how ebola could cause almost this exact movie to occur. Sure, there'd be no zombies tearing at people, but in an absolute pandemic, countries would wall themselves off, trade would shut down, and Brad Pitt would roam the earth seeking a nonsensical magic bullet to shut it down. Angelina Jolie would probably go help him though, in real life. It's a scary prospect (what will happen to their kids??).

Oh, and the one note I took while watching this movie was how it reminded me of Dead Rising, when he started piecing together a a weapon with duct tape.

So in the end, we have a body count of somewhere between 3 and 6 billion, and I rate this a healthy 4 out of 5 Arm Magazines. It was fun. Stupid fun. Oh, and not scary at all, not really a horror movie, just sci-fi action.

Inspired by this film and by not wanting to draw an entire pyramid of zombies, which was the obvious picture, I tried to draw a Dr. Lunatic zombie from memory. It didn't go very well:
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Belittling Horror Excessively: Haunter03:53 PM -- Mon October 13, 2014

SPOILER WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

This is the story of a family of ghosts. They can't leave their house, because they're ghosts. The daughter in the family somehow becomes aware of the surreal nature of their existence (they just keep repeating the same day over and over), and has to find out why they're so stuck and solve the problem. Hauntings ensue.

This is a fun and interesting story, as the layers peel back and answers slowly emerge. I'm not sure it all wraps up with complete logic, but since I saw Shallow Ground the day before, this feels like a masterpiece. It's not my favorite movie ever, but I like mysteries, and I like ghost stories, so why not to enjoy?

Overall, this has a rather murky body count, maybe 15 or 20? They're all ghosts, so they died sometime! And I shall award it 4 out of 5 Surprising Cigarettes.

My drawing for this movie is simply the furnace door that appears prominently a couple of times (done without reference while on an airplane, so don't blame me if I have no idea what bolts and hinges were actually on it):
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Belittling Horror Excessively: Shallow Ground05:44 PM -- Sat October 11, 2014

This is the story of a young man without any clothes save for gallons of blood, who goes traipsing through the woods to meet some new friends. He then... uh, I don't know. Stares at them mainly. Writes cryptic stuff on the walls in blood, leaks blood all over, causes people to have visions with his blood. Look, blood is his thing. He's kind of like a Terminator, but made of blood instead of liquid metal. Then there's an old lady who murders people, and a lot of really bad decisions (by the characters as well as the filmmakers).

This movie is fun. It's like an Evil Dead movie in a lot of ways, with some rather outrageous gore, and over the top stuff that doesn't bother to make a lot of sense. When it first started, based on the description, I was expecting a serial killer real-world type movie. My jaw was dropped for a while trying to re-adjust from reality to abject insanity. The movie also has some really well-done gore, despite obviously being a very tiny budget. There are these strung up corpses that are just thoroughly disgusting.

I honestly don't think this movie actually makes sense. There may be some connection between things in the writer's mind, but the end result is totally disconnected. It follows no logic I can discern, and the ultimate sign of that is the hilarious 'twist' in the last 2 seconds of the movie. It's totally out of left field and verily didst it cause me to LOL for realsies. I mean, you could come up with an explanation for what caused it, but if you do, you're a better man than the movie's writer.

Oh and the music... wow. It tries so hard. It needs to stop trying. Actually, this movie reminded me quite a bit of Pumpkinhead. It's just overwrought overserious silly fun. With foggy woods.

So, in the end, there's an actual body count of 9, in addition to a mention of 36 other bodies, and I have to give this movie just 1 out of 5 School Buses. I hate to do it, because I totally had fun, but I'm still not sure I can call it "so bad it's good". If you like bad movies though, it might be a good choice. I just can't in good conscience give it points for being so insane.

In the movie, there's an issue (which again makes no sense) of women being strung up from trees and stabbed. I didn't want to draw that, but I like drawing trees, so I put a noose on this one.
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Belittling Horror Excessively: Entity09:01 PM -- Fri October 10, 2014

SPOILER WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

Similar to Devil's Pass a short while ago, this is the found-footage story of a documentary team heading into Russia to find out what happened to a bunch of people who died years ago. Then come the differences: these guys are heading into the woods (and end up in an abandoned government facility for most of the movie) instead of the mountains, and they're bringing along a psychic so it's one of those ghost hunter type movies that are pretty common. Backwards N's ensue (that's how they make it Russian!).

Actually, this movie mixes found footage and regular filming. It should be a lesson to the typical found footage makers – rather than contriving absurd reasons for people to keep holding cameras or pointing them at the right thing, it's actually less disruptive to the viewer to just drop the pretense and shoot things like a real movie. We all know it's fake, you don't have to bend over backwards to try to trick us.

Also, this movie takes place in Sadovich, which sounds like a very sad place.

There are some really creepy scenes of the sort found footage can do well – you can't see things clearly, but you know something is there. When you get a good clear view, it ruins the fear factor. But I felt like things didn't really make that much sense here, it was kind of just "ooh, scary ghosts!". And the ending was pretty inexplicable. I liked the idea of it, but there is never any explanation as to what the ghosts are all about or why they can cause that ending. I don't know, I guess movies can't win with me – either they overexplain it, or they don't explain enough.

Well, in the end, there are 34 bodies before the movie starts (that's what they're there to learn about!) and then 4 or so during the movie. I award this film a middling 3 out of 5 Sadoviches.

I was not particularly inspired by this movie into any feats of artwork, so here's a pirate puppy.
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Belittling Horror Excessively: You're Next07:30 PM -- Thu October 9, 2014

SPOILER WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

This story hit close to home. It's about an awkward family get-together where everybody is being awful (and awfully loud and screechy), and at one point, one guy says he's a filmmaker who makes documentaries, and another tells him how commercials are where it's at and he should make those. Oh yeah, I've been there, folks. Games and apps are not the same thing!!

So (twist spoiler incoming) it turns out that some of the family members hired killers to kill off the rest of the family so they could collect the inheritance. What they didn't count on is that the girlfriend of one of the family members (one of the evil ones, as it turns out in the final twist) grew up as a survivalist nut with all the trap-laying skills of Macauley Culkin and Wile E. Coyote rolled up in one. She kills the killers, then kills the people who hired them, and even kills a cop or two (on accident) before all is said and done. This is basically what I wanted to happen in The Bleeding House a few days ago, and I couldn't be happier!

Well, I could be happier. It's not a great movie by any means. The worst part is how awful the people are, and when crossbow bolts start flying, they all start screaming so discordantly and endlessly that it's just torture to even watch the movie for some fairly hefty chunks of it.

Aside from that issue though, I don't really have any notes of stuff I really didn't like. It was kind of enjoyable to watch her take out the badguys. You don't get a lot of that in horror movies, usually it's all just heroes being slowly killed off until it ends with a sudden SPLUT and credits. So we have a body count of 15, and I'm going to award this movie the coveted 4 out of 5 Spike Traps.

For this one, I just drew the face from the movie poster – the killers all wore these sort of plain animal masks under hoodies. It's pretty creepy.
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Belittling Horror Excessively: Below Zero11:46 AM -- Wed October 8, 2014

SPOILER WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

In this movie, John Connor is a writer who takes the perfectly reasonable step of traveling across the country to lock himself in a meat locker in order to write a story about a guy who gets locked in a meat locker. What ensues is almost like an anthology movie – it cuts between the story he's writing and the reality he's in (and intermingled confusion between the two) as it goes on. That's a fun premise, and I was really looking forward to it. Can you guess yet whether it pays off on that premise?

Of course not, it's dumb like they always are! From the description I saw beforehand, I really expected some trippy delirium, blurring of reality and fiction, and to be truly confused about what was really going on. The truth was not that. It had a few sort of twists to the action, like a fun scene where, in the story, the characters suddenly step forward and start discussing what should happen (as in 'reality', the writer and the woman who ends up locked in there with him are discussing it and things are changing as they go). But for the most part, it was just the one straightforward cannibal meatlocker story, and the 'true' story of him just trapped in a locker writing (which also goes bad, but in a very silly and contrived way).

The twist at the end is good in the sense that it changes everything that came before a bit, but bad in the sense that it was pretty obvious, and doesn't feel right even so. It's a little too "easy" of a twist, and yet at the same time doesn't seem plausible.

So in the end, we have a body count of 2 plus 1 cow, and a rating of 2 out of 5 Electric Tubs.

Just like the last movie, I gave a shot at drawing a murderous monster for this movie. Kind of the same result – it turned out pretty good if you don't mind the fact that it looks nothing like the guy I was trying to draw. Two tricky things about ink drawing sans pencil: you can't lay out shapes in advance, so you have to guess at proportions and things and imagine where future parts of the picture will go (that craggy shape in his elbow is actually his previous elbow - I was way off!), and you can't make very light subtle lines. Everything is very sharp and linear.

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Belittling Horror Excessively: The Bleeding House09:37 PM -- Mon October 6, 2014

Wow. This movie was a bit of a surprise. It's the story of a family that is kind of shunned in their town because of an unexplained event that happened in the past. Then a guy in an old-timey suit shows up at their door asking to spend the night because his car broke down. Old timey murderin' ensues.

Just wow. The gist of the family's secret (I told you there'd be spoilers!) is that their daughter is a psychotic murderer. Which, when the visitor shows up to murder the family and she escapes, sets up a fun situation that could've been good – the old "He doesn't know what he's getting himself into" situation. Only, it doesn't happen. She doesn't toy with and eventually destroy him, she's more your regular old slasher heroine who barely escapes time and again. It doesn't particularly matter that she is also a psycho. Very disappointing.

But that's not the real disappointment! That would be the horrendous acting, the complete lack of suspenseful music, the total blase nature of everything that happens, and just the weird and stilted feel to the entire proceedings. This is bad stuff, for sure. I really enjoyed one scene – when the daughter comes across a frizzy-haired woman who turns out to be something like the visitor's girlfriend, out in the woods. The visitor's girlfriend is hilarious! It usually takes something pretty special for me to notice bad acting, and boy did I notice it here.

So in the end, we have a body count of six people and one bird, and the movie fully earns its 1 out of 5 Ball-Peen Hammers. Ridiculous.

The old-timey visitor was a fun character, it seemed like this movie could've had a chance based on his "charm", so I drew a picture of him from a Google image search. I'm kind of proud of the picture, I think it looks alright, except for one thing: it doesn't look anything like him. Faces are subtle and tricky things, and I just didn't capture his essence. But it looks like somebody and I give myself credit for that.
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Belittling Horror Excessively: The Den10:03 PM -- Sun October 5, 2014

SPOILER WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

This is a movie told entirely through webcams and phone cameras (used in the most unrealistic way imaginable, like somebody just walking up to their neighbor's house with their phone camera held out and filming as they visited), about a woman who for some reason is given a grant to just sit on a fictitious equivalent of ChatRoulette for a month straight or something. Of course, somebody uses it to stalk and potentially kill her. Realistic Youtube comments ensue.

The most fun thing about this entire movie is that almost all the computer stuff is completely realistic. There are absolutely horrid youtube comments, she downloads a trial version of some software to use it once, and Google street view gets used, among all sorts of other little things (like the kind of awful people you find on stuff like ChatRoulette). Of course, on the flip side, some hacker can control the main character's computer and make it turn on and start filming her when she's asleep, so it's not exactly documentary material.

Overall though, it's completely silly, and impossible to suspend your disbelief for all the ways cameras get used. At one point, a camera is dropped at a crime scene, and later bagged and taken into evidence and we continue to watch it as it's picked up and carried around and pointed exactly at what it's supposed to be, filming through the plastic bag. As found footage goes, I think this movie actually goes more insane with the usage of cameras than any I've seen before. You can't take it seriously.

So in the end, this movie earns 2 out of 5 Series Of Tubeses, and delivers a body count of 6, I think. It's pretty absurd as a story, with a halfway fun twist/explanation at the end, and the most fun you get out of it is the silly/realistic internet stuff in it. It probably would've worked better as a comedy, actually!

There wasn't much of anything I found drawable about this movie, so I just drew some sort of "network" as inspired by this movie being about computer networks.
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Belittling Horror Excessively: Devil's Pass09:56 PM -- Sat October 4, 2014

SPOILER WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

This is the found-footage story of a group of filmmakers who go to Dyatlov Pass in Russia - a real place, where people really did die mysteriously (they tore their tent open and ran out into the snow barefoot, where they were found frozen to death! Google away, it's quite the mystery) - to make a documentary about the aforementioned incident. Surprisingly enough, the process ends up killing them as well. Finding of footage ensues.

This movie seems interesting as it gets going. They start discovering strange things that don't seem to add up, and seem kind of silly (like bigfoot footprints), leading you to wonder just where this is going. Where it goes gets interesting, right before it gets dumb.

The last 20 minutes or so of this movie get seriously scary. It's the first movie I've done this month which did actually scare me. It's wandering through the dark in an abandoned compound, knowing something bad is in there. Which is great... until they reveal the bad thing that's in there, which turns out to be mutant zombies borrowed from a video game. They are lame CGI monsters, not at all hidden in shadows, but just right there in front of you to marvel at how lame they look. It was amazing, I was right on the edge of my seat, wondering what was going on in the dark up ahead... and then the second it appeared, all nervousness evaporated and I instantly become bored and annoyed. That's certainly a lesson in filmmaking.

But that's not where the bad ends. After running away from the cartoon monsters, the movie devolves into the ultimate in over-explaining and extreme exposition overload, trying to make sure nobody misses anything about what's going on. It's so fakey and weird, and it's capped off by a final shot where it zooms in on "the big reveal" which is revealing something you'd have to be brain-dead to not already know, and yet it spends 30 seconds zooming in closer and closer, and the monster it's zooming in on obligingly turns its head to make sure you can clearly see the thing it's trying to show. It's just so insulting.

And back on the flip of the flipside, the actual explanation of things is pretty good. It all kinda works out and makes interesting sense. If only I had figured it out for myself from clues instead of having it repeatedly drilled into my skull, I would've liked this movie! That kind of fun twisty concept is just what I want out of a movie. I just don't want it spoon-fed to me.

So in the end, there is a body count of about 14, and the movie gets a frosty 2 out of 5 Tongues.

For this movie, I just drew some of the scenery. The fun thing about drawing mountains, which proves I am not an artist, is that I can just sort of randomly crosshatch in different directions rather than match any sort of real thing. Which is nice, because real stuff is hard to do.
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Belittling Horror Excessively: 388 Arletta Avenue08:51 PM -- Fri October 3, 2014

SPOILER WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

This is a found-footage movie, and you know I love those. In this one, the cameras we are viewing the action through are all hidden cameras that a stalker has placed in a couple's home. Which is a clever idea, but there are some really silly cameras, like he has one installed inside their car, which is fine, except he has another camera attached to the front grill of their car like it's a racing game switched into a low-down perspective. Another one is inside their alarm clock, where you can see the giant digital numbers half-obscuring your view. Odd.

Anyway, the stalker kills the wife of the couple, but hides the body and leaves a note that she's just left, and then he does various things to try to drive the husband insane. Like he kills their cat and replaces it with a very similar-looking one, but that doesn't fool the husband, because who'd be fooled by the wrong pet? So the husband looks really crazy as he tries to explain to cops that the cat isn't his cat.

Really, all this strange stuff is pretty interesting, but it is kind of slow-moving. The one thing that really got to me is that this movie looks and feels like a Paranormal Activity movie - you see long shots of empty hallways, waiting for something to happen. Only since you know this isn't a ghost movie, you know no chairs are going to suddenly move or anything, the most interesting thing that could happen is one of the couple walks across the hall. Later in the movie, that gets a little better as the stalker is actually in their house just being creepy, so he shows up in some shots, which is somewhat akin to spotting a ghost in Paranormal Activity, but still lacks some creepiness.

So, all in all, it was okay, but a little slow, and the ending was to me a big letdown. I expected something different as it got towards the end, and what I expected would have been way more interesting. I had that epiphany moment you get when you've figured out the twist just before it's revealed, only the filmmakers didn't figure out the twist, so they didn't manage to film the twist. Thus no twist. I give this 3 out of 5 Mix CDs, and it has a body count of 1 cat and 3 people.

For this movie, I drew a comic of my alternate ending. There's a point right near the end where, one by one, the various hidden cameras in the house click off, presumably because their work is done. But the second I saw that, I thought the comic below was going to be the ending, and it would've made the movie ten times better if it was!

(In case my storytelling skills aren't quite up to par, in this ending, it turns out there was no stalker. The husband had killed his wife himself, because he is NUTS and the stalker was in his head. There are no actual cameras switching off, it's just him having the realization that there aren't any cameras as he snaps back to reality. And isn't that fun to watch a found footage movie which turns out not to be footage at all?)
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Belittling Horror Excessively: Plus One09:41 PM -- Thu October 2, 2014

SPOILER WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

This movie begins as a standard teen "party at the rich kid's house at the end of senior year and this is the nerds' last chance to fit in and become popular magically" movie. Then a meteor crashes down, which obviously (as we all know from SCIENCE) makes time skip into weird little loops. Basically, time moves on as normal, but every few minutes, the people nearby are duplicated with versions of themselves from a few minutes ago, who go on living out those few minutes until they disappear again. So the regular-timeline people have to deal with these copies for the time that the copies are around. Yeah, that's pretty weird. Luckily for 90% of the characters in the movie, they happened to be in a different place a few minutes ago, so they don't even see their duplicates until near the end. Only our heroes, the nerds of course, are in on the weirdness from the beginning.

The horror comes in in that each time, the duplicates are from sooner back in time, so the characters know that eventually they'll 'catch up' with the present. Which leaves them wondering what happens when they do. Their solution to this potential catastrophe is to try to murder their duplicates so that they get to be the only survivors. This is quite an overreaction. Clone Wars ensue.

This movie does not click for me. It's so weird how the people react with such violence and horror at seeing copies of themselves. I mean, I'd freak out, it's certainly not normal, but my instincts wouldn't jump right to grabbing a knife. And did nobody worry that killing the copy, which they realized was themselves from an earlier time, might result in their own death? I mean that's some high stakes to completely ignore! But for the record, no, nobody once suggests that. Strangely, the instant somebody brings up the idea that the timelines are going to merge eventually, everybody just goes nuts and gets ready to start bashing heads.

That does make for an interesting change of pace - the regular timeline people turn out to be the badguys here, lashing out at the clones before the clones have any idea that anything is wrong. But like I said, it just doesn't ring true that people would be this violent in the face of confusion.

So, there are moments in the middle of this movie that feel like Donnie Darko, and make it feel like there's some big mystery that's going to come together (spoiler: there's not). But for the most part it's just a bit silly and teeny-bopper. And makes almost no sense. The "hero" of the story is a guy who murders his girlfriend because he likes her clone better after Groundhog-Daying her into un-dumping him (and once again, how is he so sure that you can kill one to make the other be the 'right' one? No concern at all that you're just plain killing them?).

In the end, we have a body count of somewhere around 10 (there's a very confusing twin battle at the end), and the movie earns 1 out of 5 People in one timeline, and 2 out of 5 People in another, for an average of 1.5. Not really a movie I'd recommend, but it's certainly original. It felt like it might become something good by about halfway through, but then everybody just went nuts and it was a slasher movie starring everybody as Jason.

Today's picture is a very bad cartoon about how odd the people in this movie acted. And yes, I know the guys on the bottom are strange stretchy-armed mutants, with no shading or background. I'm terrible at drawing people to begin with, but especially after I spent an hour on the top, I was just ready to be done! I need to speed up and just do quick sketches. Please keep in mind I am not doing any penciling or practice, so hopefully I'm learning stuff as I go. Maybe day 31 will rock!

Belittling Horror Excessively: Die10:02 PM -- Wed October 1, 2014

SPOILER WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

It's October! And I just love watching a horror movie a day. So I'm doing it. This year, I was wondering what to do with the movies I watched - I've done video reviews, I've done written reviews, what's left? Well, it wasn't until today that I came up with the answer. I encountered Inktober, and decided to draw my reviews!

Well, not really. But I am going to do a drawing a day, in ink with no penciling at all, so it's gonna get messy, and the drawings will pertain to the movies. So prepare yourself for no further ado, and keep in mind that spoilers be everywhere this October, so watch the movie first if you care...

Die

So, in this movie, we have a bunch of seemingly unconnected people who attempt suicide, and then wake up imprisoned by somebody who then puts them through Saw-esque situations in which a roll of a die (Get it? A DIE!) determines whether they live or die.

What's interesting here is that there's a sort of non-traditional structure to the story. There's no real protagonist, though there's definitely a villain. There are basically two stories: one is the people imprisoned and what happens to them, and the other is a cop who's investigating the situation (come to think of it, this is exactly the structure/plot of Saw). The cop is the person you could best describe as the protagonist, but she never interacts with the villain at all, which makes one of the prisoners more of a protagonist, actually battling against the villain a few times. But then he shoots himself. Pretty strange. Although that was sort of a highlight. You don't often see a "hero" just kill themselves (and in the process, sort of win... sort of).

What's not so great is that there's a lot of stuff in the story that's "artistically" not shown. Like one person is presented with the scenario where rolling the die (GET IT!?) will either kill them or set them free, and then they roll the die offscreen, and it cuts away to the next scene. It's only later that you see how they turned out, and you never actually find out what the roll was or what happened, only that they survived it. This is just confusing and not so artistic.

In the end, we have a body count of 5, and the movie earns 2 out of 5 Dice. Not a great movie, with a pretty silly ending, but not really bad. I dunno. I didn't know quite what to think.

So let's celebrate with this picture inspired by the film! There wasn't really anything I felt like drawing, so I kinda just made the movie poster (without any reference, so maybe it's totally different, but it's how it looked in my head).


And no one who speaks German could be evil!
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