Category: Horror

Just Mist

Going in, “The Mist” had almost all indications that it was going to be awesome. Frank Darabont [The Shawshank Redemption The Green Mile] had written the screenplay and directed Stephen King’s novella of the same name. It was Darabont’s dream project and one of King’s most popular stories. The movie was well cast and early word was positive.

The Good: the story – a mysterious mist containing creatures rolls in to a small town forcing a variety of characters to take refuge in a supermarket; the interplay of the people as they slowly learn what is going on; the ending [which is different than King’s novella — and no, I’m not giving away either]; the meek store clerk, Marcia Gay Harden in her role as Mrs. Carmody.

The Bad: some of the CGI creatures; what happens to some of the characters; the ending [yeah, I know, I listed it under the good as well… more on that in a second]; Ms. Carmody.

The Ugly: what happens to some of the characters and the ending [more in a sec].

As you probably guessed the ending really has an impact. Although different than the novella’s [and praised by Stephen King], it just wasn’t the ending that I wanted. There’s no doubt that it works on one level, and could be justified as logical — but, and here’s the big but, it could just as easily be argued that it wasn’t logical and it doesn’t work. I give credit to Darabont for having the courage to go with his vision and perhaps it will grow on me as time passes.

Although I’m glad that I saw “The Mist” it just missed getting a solid recommendation from me. It definitely has kept me thinking about it. And maybe that’s the best recommendation a movie can get.

Cloverfield Trailer & Questions

There’s a new high definition trailer available HERE for JJ Abram’s top secret monster movie, “Cloverfield.” Now that we can see the trailer in high def [with the ability to go frame-by-frame] more questions than answers come to mind.

My two big questions are:

1] Why is the actor’s face pixelated out? I’ve posted a screen shot above. We hear his voice, but are not allowed to see his face. Is he a surprise star? I have no clue.

2] Did you notice that one of the women in quarantine seems to blow up? I’ve posted a screen shot below. She is being moved by men in HAZMAT gear and appears to be a normal woman, but suddenly her body starts to expand. Perhaps the monster is able to infect humans and create others like it? PURE speculation on my part… but she does appear to be blowing up.

So watch the trailer and let me know your thoughts.

Living with the Walking Dead XXXombies

Zombies are in. Nearly forty years after George Romero recreated a horror genre, zombies have never been more popular. Let’s take a look a three currently running zombie comics.

The Walking Dead, which single handedly jump started the genre back to comics continues to go strong. I’ve been talking up this series since the first issue and it continues to be the only comic that I must read as soon as I get it home. Issue 42 [43 is on stands now] has the most surprising double page spread that I’ve seen in any comic in years… then there was an even bigger shock when you turned the page. The original issues are hard to find and pretty expensive when you do. If you’re just coming to the series you might want to seek out the paperback trades [Volume 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8] or spend a bit more for the hardcovers [Book 1 2 3]. However you get the stories, I can guarantee you a great ride thanks to the talents of writer Robert Kirkman and artist Charlie Adlard.

Living with the Dead #1 just came out from Dark Horse. Writer Mike Richardson and artist Ben Stenbeck team to bring us a Shaun-of-the-Dead-type zombie series that has just the right mix of humor. Two slackers are making the best of a bad situation. These guys have been best buds for years and if a zombie infestation can’t break up their friendship, surely a cute babe won’t. Right… right?

XXXombies #1 also just hit the stands. Featuring the talents of some of my favorite comic creators [Rick Remender, Tony Moore and Kieron Dwyer] this zombie tale is definitely not for kids [are any zombie tales?] since it follows a group of adult film actors and crew having to deal with, you guessed it, a zombie infestation.

My guess is, if you are a fan of the zombie genre, you’d enjoy any of these comics. If not, then not.

Top 20 Horror Films

Since tomorrow is Halloween, I thought that I’d find a list of the Top Horror Movies and see how I’d rate ’em. So I went to the Internet Movie Data Base and checked out their list of the Top 50 Horror Movies of All Time [as voted on by users of IMDB].

I have to say that I was surprised by some of the movies that made the grade. I was expecting more classic horror films to appear on the list [Dracula, Wolfman, The Creature from the Black Lagoon] as well as some lesser known, but still very good horror movies like Them! or Frailty.

Ok… we have what we have. Taking their list of the top 50, I whittled it down to my top 20 and here they are in alphabetical order with some comments:

Alien (1979): Saw it on its original theatrical run and enjoyed it. A haunted house in outer space!
Aliens (1986): Even better than Alien… as much a war movie as a horror movie. Love it!
Birds, The (1963): One of the scariest movies I ever saw as a kid. Still a favorite.
Bride of Frankenstein (1935): Even better than Frankenstein. A true classic.
Dawn of the Dead (1978): Saw it in a theater the 2nd time [my date couldn’t take it the 1st time]
Exorcist, The (1973): the scariest movie I ever saw as an adult.
Frankenstein (1931): A classic!
Freaks (1932): It makes the list, but wouldn’t be near the top.
Halloween (1978): Saw it in a drive-in and it was scary without sound! LOL!
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956): Another classic from [before] my childhood.
Invisible Man, The (1933): I didn’t appreciate it until I was an adult!
Jaws (1975): Horror? Okay… it is a fun and scary movie.
King Kong (1933): Another classic.
Night of the Hunter, The (1955): A great film… maybe Mitchum’s best performance ever.
Night of the Living Dead (1968): One of my favorites!
Psycho (1960): Some pretty scary scenes the first time around.
Rosemary’s Baby (1968): I saw it in a drive-in as a kid…. creepy stuff.
Shining, The (1980): redrum…redrum… redrum…
Thing, The (1982): Not as good as the original, but still good. LOL!
Unknown, The (1927): Never cut off your arms for a lover.



Two Less Than One?

Usually when I like two things, I like ’em just as much or more when they’re combined. Vampires/Detectives [Joe Pitt novels by Charlie Huston]… M&Ms with peanuts [candy by Mars]… well, you get the idea.

I’m not sure I’m diggin’ the PredienAliator?? Whatever they want to call it.

And I was really looking forward to AVP: Requiem.

Dark Shadows Memories

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 40 years since the addition of Barnabas Collins made “Dark Shadows” THE show for horror fans. I was only 8 years old, but I remember the thrill of tuning in each weekday to see vampires, werewolves, ghosts, and more.The popularity of “Dark Shadows” carried over to comics, novelizations and even a couple of movies. Johnny Depp is gearing up to play Barnabas Collins in a new version of “Dark Shadows” and I’m looking forward to that.

The Perfect Drive-In Movie

It’s been a long time since I’ve made it a point to see a movie on opening day, but “30 Days of Night” was worth the effort. As regular ZONErs know, I’ve been anxious to see “30 Days of Night” for quite a while. I’m happy to report that it didn’t disappoint.Now don’t get me wrong. “30 Days of Night” isn’t a classic. It’s what I’d call a perfect drive-in movie. You know, the type of movie that Tarantino and Rodriguez were shooting for with “Grindhouse.” It’s a fun ride, provides some cool scares and presents the genre with a slightly different twist.

The Good: I loved the set-up. Creepy things happening and no one knows why. The isolation of the city. The stranger who just creeps out everyone… then makes ominous threats as things get worse. Ebin’s reaction to get everyone inside and safe even though he doesn’t know what’s going on. The way the vampires were fast and vicious. “Get in the truck. Just get in the truck, now!” The attack of Ebin and his wife as they were driving. How they were saved. How the fat guy who Sly beats up in the opening of “Get Carter” has matured into a tough as nails wilderness man. The main vampire.

The Bad: No real feeling of 30 days passing. More could have been done with this angle. We should have felt the isolation getting worse… the lack of food, water, etc. as it began to wear down the survivors. Not enough growing sense of the vampires are going to find us… it would have been cool to have the vampires going from house to house and sometimes finding other survivors as they get closer to the current hiding spot of our heroes. A little more set-up could have paid off better by showing that Ebin is truly a scrapper. The manner in which the main vampire is killed.

The Ugly: The chops on the vampires… and the stranger.

“30 Days of Night” will definitely find a home in my movie collection. If you liked the graphic novel or horror movies, you should enjoy the ride.

Why the Hullabaloo?

Christopher Mills commented on my last post about 30 Days of Night and opened up an interesting discussion.

Chris said:

You know, I don’t really get what’s so great about 30 Days of Night.

I’ve read the first two graphic novels, and, honestly, I was underwhelmed.

The art was pretty, but the visual storytelling was virtually nonexistent, and there was nothing particularly fresh about the plot other than the titular gimmick of an Arctic Circle setting – which I first saw in an indy vampire film a decade ago called “Jugular Wine.”

But then, I haven’t really been impressed with anything I’ve read by Niles. His “I Am Legend” comic was more a transcription than an adaptation, and the few other things of his I’ve read (admittedly, not that much) played out like a regurgitation of B-movie plots.

Now, much the same could be said of my stuff, and I don’t begrudge him his success, I just don’t get all the hullabaloo…

Craig responds:  Chris, like most projects that have a lot of buzz, I think that it’s a combination of things coming together at the right time. Horror movies are doing well now and people want to see them. Perhaps it’s because of the times in which we live.I was more impressed with the first graphic novel. The concept was new to me and I’d imagine a lot of other people as well. I’ll have to keep an eye out for “Jugular Wine.” You and I both read a lot of graphic novels/comics so Templesmith’s art probably didn’t seem as groundbreaking to us, but to casual readers it probably shocked them. “30 Days of Night” was [at least to a lot of folks] what adults [or at least young adults] want in comics so of course they’d love to see a movie adaptation.

I first discovered Steve Niles through his “I Am Legend” adaptation and I’d agree with your assessment of it. Still, it was cool to see him bring it to comics. I’d forgotten all about Niles until I read his novel Guns, Drugs and Monsters. I loved it. From there I sought out his other novel and of course “30 Days of Night.”  Niles and I exchanged a few e-mails and I met him at a convention. He seemed like an ordinary guy who made good… and he knew how lucky he was. He was humble and appreciative of his fans. When the movie deal was announced, I was happy to see that he’d hit the lottery.

As for the movie itself, it looks great. The publicity machine has been hitting on all cylinders building the anticipation and everything I’ve seen makes me think that I’m going to have a fun couple of hours this weekend when I get out to see it.  Thanks to Christopher Mills for the topic and now you should head over to his blog and check out his post on the new Star Trek movie!