Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Skyquake (2015)

After taking a night yesterday to get caught up in the past few episodes of Riverdale, I decided that it was time to get back at it tonight with something a little different before I get back to my National Poetry Month project Salvation. After some debate, I decided on the 2015 Brain Damage Films entry Skyquake.

Plot/ Since 2012 reports of strange sounds coming from the sky have flooded social media, now Adam, a recluse, struggling with his own demons, believes whatever is causing them has followed him home.

When I picked this one up, the synopsis seemed interesting, as I have heard (and read about) many accounts of this phenomenon. While this movie takes on this subject in a different manner that leaves much of it to the viewers interpretation, something that I love as a writer. The visuals are really well done with solid cinematography and direction; the storyline is intriguing, and the performances are decent. Yes, some of the special effects and audio tracks are uneven and the pace does feel a bit slow, but those issues seem to fit in with this strange tale. In the end, for a lower budgeted film, this one is a thought-provoking journey into something that we really do not understand as a civilization. If you are like me, and are fascinated by the unknown (especially the 4:44-time symbolism), give it a shot, you could do much worse.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988)

As April continues to pass us by, I decided to find something to help keep my focus as I am working through my epic poem Salvation. With my lead character travelling back in time to the ancient Canaanite civilization in Levant to face the demonic beasts Baal, Moloch, and their minions, I decided a trip to Hell might be in order. What better choice to help with this than the 1988 classic Hellbound: Hellraiser II.

Plot/ Kirsty is brought to an institution after the death of her family, where the occult-obsessive head resurrects Julia and unleashes the Cenobites once again.

Sequels are always interesting endeavors, and in this case, even great additions to the mythos created within this series. For me, Hellbound is on par with the source material and in many ways; the darkness that it portrays is a tremendous representation of the nightmares that can surround us everyday. Released in 1988, the special effects are amazing and have stood the test of time. The cinematography is amazing, the imagery sets the dark atmosphere and does a great job bringing Clive Barker's vision of hell to life, the performances are solid, and the horror elements resonate as much today as they did when the movie came out. Yes, some of the early pacing is a touch slow, ut that is but a minor flaw in one of the greatest sequels ever made in the horror genre. In the end, this visual trip to Hell may not be for everyone, but it is a must see for horror fans and fans of Barkers’ work. If you have not seen it yet, you should not consider yourself a true horror fan. Find it, and watch it.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

American Beast (2014)

After spending a good bit of my day away from my computer, I decided to kick back and watch, what I had hoped would be an entertaining creature feature. Unfortunately, that was not the case with 2014s American Beast (AKA Solitude)

Plot/ After finding an old storage locker filled with his family's history, James Erikson begins a journey to discover the truth behind a mysterious piece of land in the small town of Solitude.

Sometimes you are surprised by movies and other times you cringe as ask yourself why. That was the case with this one, as I spent more time asking myself why I had not turned it off. As a fan of low budget cinema, I can often look past the traditional flaws and try to find the positives. In this case, everything seemed to be discordant and there was nothing new or original to make it worthwhile. The sound quality was miserable at best, the scripting was flat and predictable, the performances were uneven and cardboard and the entire film seemed to just drag on making the 89 minute run time feel like an eternity. Seriously, there is really nothing with this one that makes it worth watching. I honestly wish I had given up in the first fifteen or so minutes. Stay away.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Evil Within (2017)

What a Saturday, I went to lunch with Dad, was surprised when one of the daughters cut the grass without prompting, and I was able to push through another piece for my epic poem Salvation. While that may not sound like much, it was enough to allow my week to slow down and let me get some much needed down time. To finish the evening, I decided on an interesting flick, 2017s The Evil Within.

Plot/ The sadistic tale of a lonely, mentally handicapped boy who befriends his reflection in an antique mirror. This demonic creature orders him to go on a murderous rampage to kill the people he loves most.

When I sat down to watch this one, I had no clue what to expect. What I found was an interesting film that was much better than I initially would have guessed. While this is not a perfect film and it has some uneven moments, it is rather entertaining and memorable, featuring some solid visuals, decent performances, and sound cinematography. Yes, the ending (like parts of the movie) was confusing and there were some minor pacing issues, but those really do not bring the film down especially when the history of this movie is brought to life. This relatively strange and unknown gem, originally titled The Storyteller, was the obsession of oil heir Andrew Getty, who wrote, directed, and methodically crafted this film for roughly 15-years until his tragic death in 2015. In the end, this movie may not be great, and in may not live up to its own history, but it is a memorable entry and one that I am glad I noticed during my last trip to Family Video.

Friday, April 21, 2017

The Institute (2017)

Last night, I took some time away from the blog as I was working on my National Poetry Month project, the epic poem Salvation. While that has proven to be extremely challenging, I am on pace to have it finished by the end of the month. To get back into the swing of things, I decided on the 2016 psychological thriller The Institute.

Plot/ In 19th century Baltimore, a girl was stricken with grief from her parents' untimely death voluntarily checks herself into the Rosewood Institute, and is subjected to bizarre and increasingly violent pseudo-scientific experiments in personality modification, brainwashing and mind control; she must escape the clutches of the Rosewood and exact her revenge.

When I saw this one on the shelf, I decided to give it a shot. While it is not a perfect film, it is an atmospheric and entertaining flick that was different than what I expected. There are some positives, as the performances were decent, the storyline interesting, the cinematography solid, and the atmosphere was better than I would have expected. Yes, it did lack some of the horror elements that I expected, the sound quality of the disk was off, and some of the characters felt flat, but those elements did not indeed hamper the end product that fit will into the Victorian aesthetic. In the end, the real horror of this tale is that it is believable in regards to the way patients were treated and experimented on during that era. Sure, this is not a perfect film (although I personally love it, as it matches my writing style), and it is more of a mental trip into days gone by, but it is a movie that fans of period horror pieces should check out.