Ravenous (1999)

Ravenous (1999)During the Mexican-American war in the mid 1800’s, Captain John Boyd is sent up in the mountains to Fort Spencer, a secluded camp where a small group of weirdos keeps it guarded. One evening a disturbed, frozen Scottish man named Colquhoun arrives. He tells a horrible story about his gang of people somewhere up in the mountains, who were forced to eat each other in order to survive. Some of the men join Colquhoun and head up to the mountains to look for survivors.

 

The movie’s tone is set already within its first seconds. You don’t exactly know what to expect, but will quickly realise that this film is one of a kind. The film is known for its black humour, but it is first and foremost a pure horror movie with blood n’ gore where the humour is kept on a more subtle level. The greatest thing about Ravenous is how unpredictable it is, how the tension builds up, and the use of great forest landscapes that adds to the grim, cold atmosphere. It’s always refreshing to see actors actually interact with the real nature instead of standing in front of green-screens in a studio, isn’t it…

 

It also have top notch actors, but Robert Carlyle as Colquhoun really steals the show here. He does a truly terrifying portrait of his character. Watching his grin with the blood dripping from his mouth as he stares with his crazy eyes…that’s something that just gets under your skin (pun intended).

 

Ravenous

 

Director: Antonia Bird
Country & year:  Czech Republic | UK | USA | Mexico, 1999
Actors: Guy Pearce, Robert Carlyle, David Arquette, Jeremy Davies, Jeffrey Jones, John Spencer, Stephen Spinella, Neal McDonough
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0129332/

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grave Encounters (2011)

Grave Encounters (2011)Grave Encounters is a “found footage” horror movie about a reality TV series where three paranormal investigators visists historic haunted landmarks in the United States, like we’ve seen in “Ghost Hunters”, “Ghost Adventures” and numerous more of these shows that’s exploded in the recent ten years. But “Grave Encounters” was ahead of its time, according to what a producer tells us in the introduction before the movie starts. The film revolves around the sixth episode of “Grave Encounters” where the entire crew were to inspect an abondened haunted asylum where they disappeared and were never seen again. The only thing that was found was the 70-hour raw footage trimmed down to the last episode. And the producer that introduces us to the episode also tells us that what we’re about to watch is real, has not been tampered with, and just been edited strictly to cut down the time.

 

The movie also does not hesitate for a second to throw in some obvious satire on “Ghost Adventures”, which has become one of the most famous series in the genre. Grave Encounter’s host and producer Lance Preston (Sean Rogerson) can easily be seen as a parody of Zak Bagans with the same style of clothing, hairstyle and manic behavior. The crew also brings along a psychic, a dude that looks like a mix of Mick Jagger and Iggy Pop who must turn on his acting skills between the takes. The series has so far been a pure hoax with its five episodes, but after they get locked inside the mental hospital while camera gets rolling and shit starts to happen for real, they show their true colors and aren’t as tough as they seemed to be. Well, exept the host, Lance, who pushes the crew to keep the show going.

 

What makes Grave Encounters one of the much better found footage films is the realism, great acting, and steady narrative. They go from being characters in a fake series where everything is scripted, to obviously distressed and scared people when things begin to actually happen. It’s that “what-if” scenario that makes Grave Encounters stand out from the found footage-jungle out there. What if all of those paranormal investigators actually got a real up-close encounter with a ghost? Would they run away, or would they actually stay and get more out of it? Well, in this case we know the answer, but it’s a funny thing to think of when you see one of these shows in disbelief. Also filmed in a hospital where the narrow, dark corridors give a cool, isolating atmosphere, and overall a great tension that builds as a locomotive till the end.

 

Grave Encounters

 

Director: The Vicious Brothers
Country & year: Canada, 2011
Actors: Sean Rogerson, Ashleigh Gryzko, Merwin Mondesir, Juan Riedinger, Shawn Macdonald, Mackenzie Gray
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1703199/

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Death Day (2017)

Happy Death Day (2017)Tree Gelbman, a young college student, wakes up in a guy’s room, hungover as hell and barely no memory from last night. On top of it all, it’s her birthday today, a day she is not too fond of for reasons later revealed in the movie. She leaves the guy’s room with a pissy attitude, and we see pretty quickly that this is a girl that tends to make bad choices in her life, and treat people around her like crap. At the end of the day, she gets chased by someone wearing a mask, and ends up being killed. And then she wakes up in the guy’s room again, repeating the day all over again. In a desperate fight to reveal the identity of the killer, and try to figure out how to avoid being killed by him/her, she relives the day of her birthday and murder over and over…

 

«Happy Death Day» goes into a concept that has been touched multiple times over in other movies and tv-series: that of reliving a specific day over and over («Groundhog Day»«Triangle» and «Timecrimes», just to mention some). So in that regard, this movie brings nothing new or groundbreaking to the horror genre. It’s a simple yet entertaining horror comedy that is best served without any expectations in mind.

 

 

Happy Death Day

 

Director: Christopher Landon
Country & year: USA, 2017
Actors: Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Ruby Modine, Charles Aitken, Laura Clifton, Jason Bayle, Rob Mello, Rachel Matthews
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5308322/

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1922 (2017)

1922 (2017)Based on a novel from 2010 by famous horror-writer Stephen King, comes this Netflix original that was released on October 20th. It’s a story about Wilfred James, a proud farmer who conspires to murder his own wife when she wants them to move away from the farm and sell the land, which she owns because it was willed to her by her own father. Neither the father nor the son wants to move away from the quiet farmlife they’ve grown so attached to, and Wilfred convinces his son to participiate in the murder of his wife. After comitting the horrible act and dump the body of her into the well outside, Wilfred soon starts to experience that things do not go as smoothly from there on, even with his wife out of the way…

 

«1922» is for the most part a dark thriller, with some horror elements mixed it. There are no over-the-top weird stuff that some might be used to from certain popular works by the famous author (like «It», for example), it’s a down-to-earth thriller with some supernatural elements mixed in. Unexpectedly, when a desperate man like Wilfred decides to murder his wife due to his own desires, we all know that he won’t escape such an act unscathed…and neither will his son. “In the end, we all get caught”.

 

1922

 

Director: Zak Hilditch
Country & year: USA, 2017
Actors: Thomas Jane, Molly Parker, Dylan Schmid, Kaitlyn Bernard, Neal McDonough, Tanya Champoux, Brian d’Arcy James
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6214928/

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frankenhooker (1990)

Frankenhooker (1999)Jeffrey Franken (James Lorinz) is a young medical student whose fiancee, Elizabeth Shelley, gets overrun by a lawnmower at a backyard party and gets shredded to pieces. The only thing left of her is her head, which he puts in the freezer. He’s determined to get her back in some way, and arranges his garage into a typical “mad scientist” lab. Then he drives around New York’s dark streets to pick up the finest hookers to assemble body parts for his new girlfriend.

 

Obviously,  troubles start right from when she wakes up, with a mentality of a whore and all the body parts stitched on her. She escapes the garage and gets loose on New York city and all she can say is: Need some company? Looking for some action? Got any money? And then she enters a bar where she meets the pimp of the missing hookers who notice a certain tattoo on her new arm..

 

With a title like «Frankenhooker» you may expect the worst, but if you’re familiar to Frank Henenlotter’s movies you know what you’re getting yourself into. With the limited amount of resources and small budget, he really knows how to use it and combine horror with comedy. Frankenhooker is probably his best one and the most lightened, entertaining and overall the craziest. And like Henenlotter’s previous films, the darker and sleazy streets of New York are portrayed in a authentic way. Shot without permission during the night with real hookers in the background gives his films a more realistic look.

 

James Lorinz is great in his role as Jeffrey. He reminds me of a milder version of Herbert West. He’s sympatethic and really feels bad for killing streetwalkers to collect the body parts, but he really wants his loved one back. The more he slips into desperation and obsession to fix his fiancee back to life, you just feel sorry for him. Patty Mullen as the Frankenhoooker isn’t bad either. She’s not as serious as Lorinz, but her facial ticks and overacting fits the tone and her scenes are entertaining  as hell.

 

And of course, how can you not love a movie with exploding hookers?

 

Frankenhooker

 

Director: Frank Henenlotter
Country & year: USA, 1990
Actors: James Lorinz, Joanne Ritchie, Patty Mullen, J.J. Clark, C.K. Steefel, Shirl Bernheim, Judy Grafe, Helmar Augustus Cooper, Joseph Gonzalez
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0099611/

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)

The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)A father and a son who are running a coroner business from their own home, need to identify the body of a young woman who was found in a house full of brutally murdered bodies. The other bodies were that of the family living in the house…but in the basement, the police found the half-buried corpse of that young woman. The corpse is pristine, there isn’t even a scratch on her or any blood. As the old saying goes, however: looks can be deceiving…

 

When they start their “work” on her (and if you are queasy when it comes to body horror, you’ll probably be squirming in your seat while watching it) they soon find out that the girl appears to have been through extreme torture before she died. Her tongue has been cut out, one of her teeth are missing, and from the inside it appears that she’s been burned…but still, her outside is intact, like if nothing ever happened to her. The girl harbors a dark secret, however, and soon weird shit starts to happen.

 

«The Autopsy of Jane Doe», directed by norwegian André Øvredal (known for «Troll Hunter», aka «Trolljegeren»), has given us a really atmospheric and creepy film that easily manages to get under your skin. There are several scenes that are outright bone-chilling. Well recommended if you enjoy dark psychological horror movies.

 

The Autopsy of Jane Doe

 

Director: André Øvredal
Country & year: UK / USA, 2016
Actors: Brian Cox, Emile Hirsch, Ophelia Lovibond, Michael McElhatton, Olwen Catherine Kelly
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3289956/

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Babadook (2014)

The Babadook (2014)«The Babadook» is Jennifer Kent’s debut movie based on her short film from 2005 titled «Monster». It’s the story about a widowed mother, Amelia, who is still struggling with trying to cope after her husband’s violent death. Plagued with nightmares and depression, she’s also having more than a handful with her son Samuel, a 7-year-old with a really needy personality with hyperactive periods and often throwing tantrums. To top it all, he’s got a fear of monsters that he believe are lurking around in the house. One night she decides to read a book for him in order to make him calm down and sleep, and she finds a book in her own home that she can’t remember having seen before. The book is titled «The Babadook”…and after reading from it, she also starts to sense what her son has been sensing: that something evil lurks around in their house…which later manifests itself as the evil spirit «The Babadook».

 

One could argue wether «The Babadook» is more a horror tale of a mother that is slowly going insane, than a monster movie. Seeing how the strugglig mother is trying to cope by balancing her work with her needy son and her trauma is somehow chilling by itself, because it’s so down-to-earth, even without any kind of monster mixed in. In many ways, the movie could be seen as some kind of metaphor for the pain and struggles of motherhood. There’s many ways to interpret this movie and what happens in it, especially the ending, which is also similar to the ending in the short film «Monster».

 

Oh, and the book featured in the film was actually printed as a real pop-up book where people could pre-order one in a crowd-funding campaign. I actually pre-ordered one of these, and below are some photos. This is the first print run, autographed by Jennifer Kent (and it doesn’t look like there’s going to be a second print run, so this is a rare gem):

 

The Babadook Book

 

The Babadook

 

Director: Jennifer kent
Country & year:  Asutralia | Canada, 2014
Actors: Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman, Hayley McElhinney, Daniel Henshall, Barbara West, Benjamin Winspear, Chloe Hurn, Jacquy Phillips
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0210070/

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ginger Snaps (2000)

Ginger Snaps (2000)«Ginger Snaps» is the story of two sisters, two outcasts that are obsessed with death. Their main hobby is to play around with practical effects and a photo camera, taking pictures of themselves playing dead. The sisters face a serious threat when Ginger, the oldest of them, is getting bitten by a creature resembling a werewolf, on the night she has her first menstrual period. Soon, Ginger’s behaviour and appearance starts to change, and Brigitte, the youngest of the two sisters, must try and help Ginger. But is there really any way to stop what is happening to her?

 

This movie is just as much a werewolf movie as it is a coming of age movie. Ginger’s gradual transformation into a werewolf beast, changing from the young and “innocent” older sister that Brigitte is used to, could be seen as some kind of metaphor for the female coming-of-age experience shown through Ginger’s lycanthropic transformation. This makes the movie one of the most imaginative Werewolf films I have seen thus far.

 

«Ginger Snaps» became successful enough to warrant two sequels: «Ginger Snaps 2, Unleashed» from 2004, and «Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning», also from 2004. I have not seen any of these movies yet, and I personally think this first movie ended pretty well and with no need for any sequels.

 

Ginger Snaps

 

Director: John Fawcett
Country & year:  Canada, 2000
Actors: Emily Perkins, Katharine Isabelle, Kris Lemche, Mimi Rogers, Jesse Moss, Danielle Hampton, John Bourgeois, Peter Keleghan
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0210070/

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Green Inferno (2013)

This is Eli Roth’s tribute to the cannibal genre, the horror subgenre that the italians started in the 70’s. Do I need to say more than classics like «Cannibal Holocaust» and «Cannibal Ferox» ? If this sounds completely unfamiliar to you, I guess it’s better for you to just take your hat and go. This is probably nothing for you and never will be.

 

«The Green Inferno» centers around a bunch of young activists who travels to Peru in order to protest against the wood industry that destroys the rainforest. On their way back, their plane crashes in the Amazon jungle where they meet a cannibal tribe, and we all know how it goes from there. Not good.

 

Where the Italian cannibal movies are so ugly, grotesque and filthy that you just want to jump right in the shower after seeing one of them, it’s mainly the gore effects that stands out here. And they’re pretty…meaty, to say the least. Nevertheless, it is a plus that the cannibals were played by real natives in a real jungle in isolated surroundings and not in front of a bluescreen. It’s always refreshing to see some real wilderness that adds to the realism. Otherwise, these young activists are nothing more than stick figures that no one could really care about. Still an okay tribute to the genre, if you take it for what it is.

 

The Green Inferno

 

Director: Eli Roth
Country & year: USA / Chile / Canada / Spain, 2013
Actors: Lorenza Izzo, Ariel Levy, Daryl Sabara, Kirby Bliss Blanton, Magda Apanowicz, Sky Ferreira, Nicolás Martínez
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2403021/

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Devil’s Candy (2015)

«The Devil’s Candy» is an indie horror movie written and directed by Sean Byrne. I found out about this movie while watching some horror trailers on Youtube, and thought “an indie horror film that actually seem to have a high visual standard, and doesn’t look like it’s made out of 90% close-up shots? Let’s see what this is about”.

 

The movie starts with a scene at night, in a countryside house. We meet Raymond Smilie who sits in his room playing his red Flying V loudly to keep out the voices from “Him” in his head. When his mother unplugs his guitar, it gets fatal consequences. We then see that sometime afterwards, this countryside house is sold to Jesse Hellman, a struggling painter. He moves there together with his wife, Astrid, and daughter, Zooey. Soon, Jesse starts hearing voices inside the house as well. Inspired by them, he starts painting as never before, but he soon finds out that this muse is not a positive one.

 

The movie is well made technically, and I think it’s got a strong first half, but even though the atmosphere was there I kind of felt that it never built up to its potential, and in the end I think there were a few things that felt unresolved. Maybe I expected something different than what it was (I guess I expected more on the supernatural front). Still one of the better indie horror films that have come out lately.

 

And the movie also have a heavy metal soundtrack that serves well as ear candy!

 

The Devil's Candy

 

Director: Sean Byrne
Country & year: USA, 2015
Actors: Ethan Embry, Shiri Appleby, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Kiara Glasco, ony Amendola, Leland Orser, Craig Nigh, Jeremy West
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4935372/

 

Vanja Ghoul