Saturday, October 31, 2020
Friday, October 30, 2020
I believe that only a certain type of person could ever be hyped for Wishmaster. That isn't a knock on it at all, just a statement of fact.
No matter how this movie was marketed, it was only going to speak to a certain segment of movie goers. While there's definitely a non-genre audience that can get excited for the likes of, say, Misery or Bram Stoker's Dracula or whatever, Wishmaster is another matter.
Released in 1997, Wishmaster had '90s direct to video written all over it and yet was given a wide theatrical release. Anyone catching this trailer knew immediately whether it was for them or not.
Thursday, October 29, 2020
Wednesday, October 28, 2020
A lot of times I find that modern attempts to recapture the slasher heyday of the '80s fall flat. It's just a vibe that isn't easy to nail and seem authentic rather than second hand. One notable exception, in my book, is 2009's My Bloody Valentine remake. The original is one of my favorites and yet I find the remake to be a completely satisfying update, boasting some wonderfully nasty creative kills that would have made it a legendary gore flick had it come out in the early '80s.
One of the best aspects of My Bloody Valentine '09, though - the element that it was primarily marketed on - is sadly lost on home viewings. This was a movie that really had to be seen in the theater in order to get the full effect.
This was the first horror movie to utilize the new 3D technology that was ushered in with 2007's Beowulf and this trailer goes all out to hype the exciting novelty of seeing a modern horror movie in 3D:
Cinema snobs typically label 3D as a cheap gimmick but I say screw that. Anything that makes for a more exciting experience should be used to its full potential. I'm sure back when color was introduced to film, some wet blankets probably rolled their eyes and saw it as just pandering to people who needed too much to hold their interest.
I say not only is there no shame in milking 3D for all its worth, I say it's a crime against the audience if you don't! When this trailer shows me Harry Warden hurling his pick axe over an audience, I say that's a ride I want to take!
To its credit, this movie absolutely goes all out to squeeze everything it can out of the 3D format - perhaps more than any modern 3D horror movie has since (although I remember Final Destination 5 being very solid in this regard). And it's not just about objects flying at the screen, it's about using depth, too. Director Patrick Lussier is consistently ingenious in finding ways to immerse viewers in the action, like having a victim holding a spring bed frame between themselves and Harry Warden as he swings his pick axe.
Some might say that the 3D format is long played out, that the novelty isn't there anymore. I say not even close. I think too few filmmakers have even tried using 3D to its best potential, with My Bloody Valentine being one of the exceptions. When the theatrical experience eventually comes back, as I fully believe it will, I think 3D could be one way to entice audiences back.
Watching the My Bloody Valentine 3D trailer is a reminder that there's just some experiences that you can't have sitting at home.
Thursday, October 22, 2020
Man, it feels like these October days are just burning away faster and faster. Honestly, how is it possible that we're little over a week away from Halloween? I'm telling you, there's just no keeping up! But anyhow, as much as this Halloween season (along with the rest of 2020) is feeling like a dismal wash, one bright spot this month has been the arrival of Scream Factory's glorious Friday the 13th box set.
The fact that I own all of these movies many times over in various formats doesn't diminish any of my geeky excitement over having them all together for the first time in one beautifully designed package. The box, the casings, the discs themselves, it all looks wonderful - such a difference from the "who cares?" attitude that Paramount always seemed to bring to the original eight films.
Warners/New Line was always a little better in packaging their entries but having all twelve films together in a set that shows real care across the board is awesome. The only reason any fan will ever need to upgrade now is if the legal obstacles to a new film are ever cleared and we finally get Friday the 13th Part 13. I have to imagine it will happen at some point. I mean, come on, how could it not?
In the meantime, though, having this set is compelling me to revisit the entire series (which is only making it seem even less like October - I associate Friday with the spring and summer, not the fall!) and, of course, all the trailers.
One of the best of the bunch, in my opinion, remains Jason X.
What a splendidly cheesy trailer this is! While there's an automatic eye roll effect that happens as soon as fans hear a slasher series is heading to space, I love that this trailer doesn't care about that. It leans into the premise and sells it hard, like it's the coolest thing that ever happened.
Sure, one could say that it gives away too much. It could be argued, I suppose, that it would have been better to keep Uber Jason under wraps as a surprise to be delivered by the movie itself but I say to hell with that. Far better to just put it out there. It's the movie's big selling point so why hide it? You can't have your tagline be "Evil Gets An Upgrade" without showing what that upgrade's gonna look like.
Of course, all the coolness of the Uber Jason design aside (how much of a bummer is it, by the way, that we never got a Jason X 2? I would have loved to have seen Kane Hodder come back and rock that look at least one more time), it's really the Drowning Pool song that makes this trailer. It was a stroke of genius on whoever it was in the New Line marketing department who thought to slap "Bodies" on this.
Call that song corny if you will but as soon as it kicks in, it's like "Oh yeeeeaah!" And from the vantage point of 2020, hearing it now brings on a such warm rush of early '00 vibes.
Back then, those years did not feel like such a great era but, you know, we got through 'em and so now that time has its own kind of nostalgic glow. Let's hope we'll be able to say the same about this time we're living through now one of these days. No matter what, as Jason X shows us, we've always got to keep our eyes on the future.
Chances are, some cool shit is likely to go down there.
Wednesday, October 14, 2020
Are we really in October already? Like halfway through it, at that?
Well, according to the calendar we definitely are. But it seems like time doesn't really have the same meaning as it used to, right? The weather changes with the seasons and we come up on holidays and other milestones but yet it feels like we went into limbo way back in March and still haven't come out of it.
But no matter how different things might feel, officially being in October means that another round of Trick or Trailers is due! I haven't checked on how many years I've been doing this but I know it's been more than a few. Early on, I was conscious of trying not to repeat any trailers from years past but at this point, I'm not going to bother to go back and double check. I'm just going with my gut and hoping that I'm not just rehashing things. We'll see how it goes!
First up, 2009's effective trailer for the original Paranormal Activity:
This is one of my absolute favorite styles of horror trailers - selling people on the reactions of an audience. But man, everything about this trailer makes me want to cry now. An audience lined up to see a movie! In a packed theater, no less! Everybody screaming and hiding their eyes and clutching their companions and just sharing the rush of that communal fright! God, how I want to get back to that.
With theater going pretty much on pause, as studios continue to hold back most of their product until the pandemic situation improves, I'm desperately missing the joys of getting hyped for new movies and anticipating trekking to the theater on opening night to have that experience with an audience. I know there's no shortage of new genre product on streaming services but, I'm sorry, pulling something up on Netflix or Hulu is no substitute for seeing a new horror movie on the big screen. Especially ones that caution you to "Don't See It Alone!"
That experience is so key to appreciating movies and to horror movies, especially, that it is so dispiriting (no ghost pun intended!) to have it on hold and with such uncertainty as to when it might return.
Watching the first PA trailer these days makes for a bittersweet reminder of better times, of the kind of simple, silly pleasures that we took for granted, never expecting that they might one day end.
Thursday, October 31, 2019
Back when I named this blog, way back in (gasp!) 2007, I didn't put much thought into it. Truth be told, I've always kind of hated it and wish I'd taken a moment or two to come up with something better.
But what I definitely don't hate is the movie that the name hails from, 1989's The Horror Show. I mean, what's to hate about this:
Pure gold is what that is!
Originally meant to be House III (and released overseas as such), The Horror Show was re-titled in the US due to its intensity being out of step with the lighthearted nature of the first two House installments.
Casting classic character actor Brion James as horror icon in the making, "Meat Cleaver Max," was an inspired move that should have guaranteed that The Horror Show would spawn its own franchise.
Certainly, James tore into his role with all the gusto you'd expect, giving Max Jenke a signature maniacal laugh and spitting out lines like "I'm coming back to tear your world apart...I'm going to fuck you up!" with pure commitment. Brion had to be the first and only choice for this. I can't imagine anyone else even trying to out-Jenke James.
Pairing an actor as formidable as James with one as equally formidable as Lance Henriksen as the cop that Jenke torments was a masterstroke of casting. Having these two acting powerhouses face off against each other is not just rare in the slasher sub-genre, it's completely unheard of. That alone makes The Horror Show notable.
Sadly, all that talent and the name of Friday the 13th and House producer Sean Cunningham couldn't get audiences to buy enough tickets to The Horror Show back in the day and James never got the chance to be the next Freddy Krueger.
Hardly seems fair but those are the breaks. In life, you take your shots and you make the best of them. In the case of The Horror Show, Brion James made every moment count. When you've got the chance to become the next horror icon, you've got to think of it as the opportunity of a lifetime and swing for the fences. And you can't just chew some of the scenery, you've got to chew all of it.
Above all, win or lose, make damn sure they remember you.