Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Horror! A Halloween Mega Review Post!

Reviews Of Unusual Size


Directed by Adam Gierasch
2009, 93 mins, Rated R
Re: A group of rowdy college-ish aged kids throw a party at an old Loisiana mansion. When the cops roust 'em, a select seven, mostly played by people in their late thirties of questionable acting ability, manage to get locked in. They play spin the bottle, get it on and get possessed. Crappy monster effects and gore ensues.
Outstanding:I really liked Monica Keena in some other stuff. The intro, filmed poorly in a 1920's style was at least a good idea...
Unacceptable: Everything. I don't even know where to begin with how bad everything was in this flick. 
Summary: Bad in a way that only a movie made in the aughts, featuring hard rock, computer generated gore and c-list actors can be. Barely worth finishing. And I'm not even sure why I say that.


Directed by Samuel Bayer
2010, 95 mins, Rated R

Re: A remake/reimagining/encapsulation/renovation/modern take on the original. If you don't know the plot, well... I'll probably post a non-Halloween post on Thursday.
Outstanding:I really like Jackie Earl Haley, and I think a few things they did with the story were unique.
Unacceptable: Everyone else was generic and forgettable. There were a few scenes that  has abysmal special effects. Pretty sad for a film with $35mil to play with.
Summary: Granted, I've never really like Freddy. His style of dream antics and goofy deaths has always seemed silly to me. Silly but enjoyable. This movie managed to remove both of those things. Hmm.



Directed by Scott Charles Stuart
2010, 100 mins, Rated R

Re: God has gotten tired of us, so he decides to unleash heaven on us. Kill 'em all and let himself sort it out, I guess. But for some reason, he gave us one last chance, in the form of a pregnant girl, working in a roadside truck stop. Oh, and Paul Bettany is an angel that wants to help out. He has lots of guns.
Outstanding:This movie knows it's goofy and dumb, but it also knows how to have fun with that. There are a few well done scenes and Doug Jones as an angel-possessed Ice cream man. That's pretty cool.
Unacceptable: Y'know, maybe it was my mood when I watched this, but despite its shortcomings, there wasn't really anything I hated.
Summary: It's not gonna win any awards, but if you're looking for a flick where grannies walk on ceilings and angels pack glocks, check it out. It's kinda amusingly diverting.


Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson
2010, 97 mins, Rated R

Re: BANGBANGBANG. Weird four mouthed zombie things! Convenient reunions! BANGBANG! Big goofy zombie thing! BANGBANGbangBANGduckBANG! mumble, swim, BANG! Matrix guy. BANGGITYBANGBANG! Goofy non-ending!
Outstanding: Is that Tig, from Sons Of Anarchy?
Unacceptable: Is that Milla, staying clothed for the entire movie, despite a perfectly good, badly written, shower scene?


by Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan
2009, 608 pages, ebook
Re: Del Toro and Hogan spin a new take on vampires, one that's both modern - steeped in the paranoia of today and classic - inspired by legends from the past. In their world, vampires are a virus, infecting us. Turning us into pale, sexless, evil drones with stingers and white, worm infested bodies. 
Outstanding:I still love this take on the vampire legend. The characters are well-rounded and excellent. You really feel for them, you want to know what happens to them. And the vamps are everything a vampire should be, violent, evil, nasty and infectiously awesome.
Unacceptable: Despite how much I love this book, it suffered a little bit the second time around. A few sub-plots seemed less important and a little long, but overall still a very enjoyable read.
Summary: When I first reviewed this book, back in 2009, I gave the book 5/5 and said it was probably one of the best of the year. I wouldn't go that far this time, though it's still easily a 5/5 book. I just didn't find myself devouring it as eagerly as I had before.

By Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan 
2010, 320 pages, ebook
Re: The sequel to THE STRAIN and book two in a planned trilogy. Setrakian, Goodweather and crew continue their valiant battle against the vampires and the nation of misinformation that claims the plague of neck suckers is merely a plague of a conventional sort. And the Master ramps up his plans to subjugate the world.
Outstanding:Del Toro and Hogan really know how to write a story. Everyone stays intriguing and fun to read and the action is cranked to eleven within the first few pages. I really like the track they took with the Ancients, a breed of old school vamps, the originators of the virus. Luchadore!
Unacceptable: There's a lot of stuff going on here, and some of it is far more impressive than others. There's a couple of sub plots that may pay off in the long run, but seem like they're unnecessary here. There's also a spot in the book where I would have sworn a man's arm is broken, yet he uses it with no difficulty a chapter or so later.
Summary: Not as strong as the first novel, but still a well written one. I'm pretty excited to see what happens in the final book... In a year or so.

by Jonathan Maberry
2008, 480 pages, ebook
Re: It all ends here. Maberry's excellent Pine Deep Trilogy concludes with an all-out explosion of chaos as the evil massing in the cellars and fields of the tiny town take to the streets of the Pine Deep Halloween festival. With plans to feast.
Outstanding:I love Maberry's writing. He infuses things with an easy sense of humor and his dialogue is as natural as listening to a couple of buddies talk. He also knows whats scary and nasty and revels in dosing it out.
Unacceptable: The pop culture references wore a little thin for me, with entire chapters dedicated to the efforts of the real-life  horror dignitaries at the festival. It was fun for a while, but I think it went just a wee bit over the top. 
Summary: Overall a very excellent book. High on drama and action. It's not easy writing a trilogy like this, I would imagine. His mythology is deep and twisty and he balances dozens of fairly important characters without us ever once getting confused or lost, only hungry for the next pages. I loved my visit to Pine Deep. You should plan a trip, but book ahead if you plan on visiting around Halloween. Things get pretty busy that time of year.

by Brian Keene
2004, 336 pages, ebook
Re: Zombies rule the earth. For every man, woman, child or animal that dies, they come back. Walking, eating and yes... the bane of zombie novels for me, talking. In Keene's universe, when something dies, something else takes over that body. A Sumatran spouting demon that remembers what the previous inhabitant knew and wants nothing more than to continue porting their brothers over. Oh yeah, and a guy tries to travel cross country to save his kid that is supposedly still alive in an attic.
Outstanding:As much as I despise talking zombies, I was entertained by these guys. They're possessed, drive around like something out of Mad Max and know how to use your loved one's feelings against you. Kind of original.

Unacceptable: Man, the living in this book bored me to death. Every one was a stereotype of the highest order, and while that's almost a requirement in a zombie book, these guys were all really bad. There was the selfless Priest, the hardcore ex-hooker, the stalwart and determined single father, the scientist carrying a load of guilt for starting the whole thing and the military asshole. 
Summary: Despite my annoyances with the main characters, I had a good time reading THE RISING. It's a traditional zombie road trip book with some unexpected twists along the way.

Weighty Matters - 
My Current Weight -  296
Progress Thus Far -  A couple pounds. But on the plus side, we finally got some healthy snacks for me to take to work, so that should help.  

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