Get Out (2017)

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Get Out begins in familiar horror territory.  A young, black man is walking to a friend’s house at night, and an unseen person in a car pursues them.  The young man, seriously scared, turns around and walks the other way.  He is snatched by the pursuer, rendered unconscious, thrown into a car and taken away.  We’ve seen this kind of cold open before, a million times over, but there’s a racial subtext to Get Out that elevates the horror into a sickening reality… much of the horror of Get Out is based on average, everyday fears and a fact of life of what it’s like to be a black man in America.  In any other movie, seeing the red and blue flash of a police siren would bring hope, but in this movie, it has a gut-wrenching implication to it.

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Isolation

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Every hotel in Arizona, it seems, has that one room in their availability that they’re famous for… the one room that guests swear they can hear the sobs of an unseen woman coming from.  The one room where things that go bump in the night materialize, manifest and become real.  What someone thinks they see in the corner of their eye, and then disappears when they face it head on, thrives in the shadows, existing in the realm of the subliminal.

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The Final Terror (1983)

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The Final Terror plays like if Friday the 13th had a baby with Deliverance and that baby spent too much time with William Freidkin, stressing out over the meaningless of life and developed a deep existential dread.  And I mean this in the highest form of complement.  The Final Terror is an under-seen, under-appreciated little gem of a slasher movie that probably didn’t get the love that it deserved at the time because it doesn’t boast too high of a body count and the actual on-screen gore is limited.  To help it appeal to a larger, blood-thirstier audience that had grown accustomed to psychopaths with knives, a new intro was shot specifically so that two more people could die.  It doesn’t add anything to the overall movie, nor does it really detract.  It’s simply unnecessary.

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Don’t Breathe

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I’m not someone who believes every character in a movie has to be pious or imminently “relatable” or anything like that.  Sometimes the most fascinating characters are the ones who function on total amorality, bordering on sociopathy.  But a good rule of thumb for a horror movie is that the audience is most scared when they don’t want to see something bad happen to the main characters.  Rules are meant to be broken, sure, but in a movie like Don’t Breathe, it’s very hard for me to muster up sympathy for the kind of people who would break into a house and literally spray ejaculate across the floor.  And from a practical sense, who would leave so much semen at a crime scene anyway?  That’s just bad criminality right there.

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“Something Evil” – Spielberg’s forgotten horror movie

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After The Exorcist, the film, came out in 1973, studios and filmmakers were in a mad rush to capitalize on its success. If you look at any given horror title from ’73 through to about ’76, it might have to deal with demonic possession or Satan or some sort of ritualistic anything that could link itself stylistically or thematically back to the granddaddy of them all The Exorcist.

But, in 1972, the book was a hot property, too. And before the slew of imitators that appeared in the movie’s wake, a little-seen movie made that same year was made to retroactively cash-in on the movie’s success. That movie was Something Evil. The story itself is rather simple, and simply told. A married couple (played by Darren McGavin and Sandy Dennis) move into a house, a lovely house out in the country, that is infested with demons. And the demons want to destroy the family, wrecking their emotions and turning them against one another, before finally possessing the soul of their little boy (played by Johnny Whitaker, a famous child star at the time).

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Her Name Was Carmen

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I did two tours in Iraq and when I was there, I saw all manner of awful you’ve probably heard about on the news.  When the other officers told me that when they saw Derek Turner on that day in June, they said it was the worst thing they’d ever seen.  I didn’t doubt that it was the worst they’d ever seen, but I had a pretty strong stomach at that time, so when I saw him all covered in his daughter’s blood like that, I could take a second to think, gather my senses, book him, get him all cleaned up and get him prepped for questioning without losing my temper.

When we first saw him there, he looked white as a ghost.  He wasn’t wearing a shirt.  But he had these blotches of blood on his chest where the blood had seeped through while he was still wearing the garment.  Most of it was on his hands and on his face.  There was a small smattering, like a spray, along the side of his face and we concluded that was from the blunt-force trauma that killed the girl.  The rest of it came from him cradling her after she had died.  You see that pretty often:  Someone kills someone close to them and then they immediately regret it.  They hold the corpse, somehow thinking that if they give it enough love, they can undo the hurt they caused.

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Bram Stoker’s Dracula is Fucking Gorgeous

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Francis Ford Coppola’s take on the original King of the Vampires, Bram Stoker’s Dracula is one of the most unlikely blockbusters I can think of.  Everything about it seemed ripe for failure:  It’s far too artsy, the plot itself is vague and unengaged, the actual scares and gore horror movies are known for are pretty few, and it’s completely self-indulgent.  Yet, armed with a production budget of $40 million, it went on to make $215 million worldwide.

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Jug Face review

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A movie like Jug Face is one of those classically-told yarns that reminds you of something that some talented friend, or friend-of-a-friend would tell at a campfire and you’d be hooked on every word.  Even though it’s at a feature’s length, it reminds me of some of Stephen King’s best short stories.

Lauren Ashley Carter stars as Ada, and she’s in trouble.  Poor Ada, she’s secretly pregnant by her brother and the mysterious “Pit” wants her and her unborn child as its sacrifice.  The Pit, you see, is a magical thing that can cure what ails you… but it wants what it wants, as the townfolk are fond of saying, and when it doesn’t get what it wants, it gets mad.  Real mad.

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