horror

Titane – Julia Ducournau (2021)

It had been a while since I saw an ‘unconventional film’. So when I read about “Titane”, I figured I would go and see it.

“Titane” is not as weird as I expected. It is a difficult film to watch though. In the (French?) style of uneasy films such as those of Marina de Van (remember “Dans Ma Peau“?), Rémy Belvaux (“C’est Arrivé Près De Chez Cous” aka “Man Bites Dog”) or some of Fabrice du Welz (“Calvaire“), but mostly of films of Gaspar Noë, Ducournau comes with a heavy story, explicit ‘body horror’ and sex. You get it, not a film for the faint hearted.

We first see Alexia as a cold blooded and bored kid. We soon jump ahead with her being a strip dancer with obvious psychological problems which have turned her into a serial killer. At some point she decides to go into hiding and pretends to be the long lost son of fire brigade commander.

Alexia’s killings are already quite explicit, but the way Ducournau shows what Alexia and others do to their bodies (and those of others), will make many people turn away their eyes frequently.

Then there are some pretty weird elements to the story that not everybody will get their heads around alongside the fact that many things are left unexplained.

So, quite a masochistic kind of film to watch for sure. It is hard to say if it is really good. It sure is not a film to like. When you know your opinion about the directors and titles mentioned above, you will be able to tell of you want to watch “Titane” or not.

From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series – Robert Rodriguez (season 1 2014)

I doubt I will have seen the film more than once or twice, but I remember the 1996 movie to be amusing. Netflix has a series and since it seems to be made by Rodriguez himself, I decided to give it a try.

The first season is basically the story of the film. A family runs into the Gecko brothers who are on the run. They force the family to take them across the Mexican border. Once on the other side, they go visit a strip club.

The film had George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino as the Gecko brothers, Harvey Keitel as the father, Juliette Lewis as the daughter and let us not forget Salma Hayek as nightclub dancer Santanico Pandemonium. The series have got some interesting actors too though, most notably Don Johnson and Robert Patrick, but also a few who mostly work on my nerves.

The story can of course be stretched over way more time and details can be added, but when you know the film, you will know what the series will bring. The whole first season I thought it was alright, but not really good. Here and there there is a good episode, but overall I was not too impressed. So little even that I do not think I am going to watch season 2 and 3.

The Wolf Of Snow Hollow – Jim Cummings (2020)

So is this what a contemporary horror comedy is like? In Fargo-like settings, a remote and snowy village, we follow the whereabouts of the conveniently named family Marshall. John (played by the director) is the sheriff. His predecessor is his father. John has a tough private life with a demanding ex-wife and an adolescent daughter. The comedy of the film is mostly people bickering.

Then a brutal murder takes place in Snow Hollow. Very brutal. Maybe the film is not really horror per se, but the murders certainly add a horror element to the film. The theme is horror as well.

Balancing between screwball and Fargo-like black humour, Cummings tried to make a … horror comedy?

The film is alright.

Color Out of Space – Richard Stanley (2019)

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I had heard that this is a ‘love it or hate it’ film, but gave it a try nonetheless. Actually it is even more ‘difficult’ than that…

Nicholas Cage plays Nathan. Nathan and his family moved out of the big city into some upstate no-man’s-land. Nathan and his wife Theresa have two adolescent children and a younger one. Lavinia is a witch (Wicca), a somewhat sad storyline as it seems that Stanley did not investigate the subject enough. even though he tries to make it seem that he did. Then we have the nerdy Benny and the youngest Jack.

Some day a meteorite falls into the family’s garden and from then on things get weird. The story is based on a story of H.P. Lovecraft which explains a few things. Initially the garden gets an early spring, but then it seems that there is also something in the water with more negative effects. Slowly, the family members get madder and madder and the aliens / force gets weirder and weirder.

So, there is the (as mentioned) somewhat sad character of Lavinia, a fairly corny first half and the overly typical horror elements. As the film gets weirder, things get mildly interesting though. There are some truly weird findings, the color madness brings psychedelic scenes. Actually many things ‘around the acting’ are the most interesting.

Not really weird enough to be a weird film. Not typical enough to be a standard horror or thriller or scifi. “Color Out Of Space” hangs somewhere in the middle. Also ‘rating wise’.

Possessor – Brandon Cronenberg (2020)

Because of his excellent “Antiviral” (2012) I was pretty excited when I heard about Cronenberg junior’s latest film. It took a while before the release though and when I write this, there still seems to be no European release or even a date. So my copy came from the USA which apparently takes a month in shipping.

“Possessor” and by far not as good as “Antiviral”. It starts as a nice, moody movie, but the story is much less interesting as Cronenberg’s previous film and there is more focus on (horror) gore. Not the “body horror” of his old man and which could also be found in “Antiviral”, but bloody violence.

In some future everybody seems to have a brain implant. Some company uses these implants for contract killings. An agent is ‘transported’ to a victim who will commit the crime and die.

We mostly follow one such agent, Tasya, who has done this work for a while and who appears to have increasing problems with the work. Of course things do not go as planned in the last job and the victim is not entirely taken over.

“Possessor” is not your average film. It is dark, weird, the story is strange. You have to enjoy the weirder kind of film for “Possessor”. I think Cronenberg’s previous is a good compare even though this new film is (of course) much different. Like I said, it is also less good in my opinion. Since we do not often get films of this type, I still recommend “Possessor” if you also like the darker and weirder stuff.

The Void – Gillespie & Konstanski (2016)

So what did I read about this film that it had been on my wishlist for quite a while?

“The Void” is a pretty boring horror film with a 13 in a dozen story. A group is trapped inside a hospital. Outside some sort of sect is keeping watch. Inside there is a monster. Of course the group is not quite homogeneous either.

There seems to be an attempt for an interesting story, but that did not really work out. The monster is pretty funny though.

Ghost Rider – Mark Steven Johnson (2007)

This is quite a corny Marvel, a fairly amusing one though.

Johnny Blaze is a stunt motorcyclist who sells his soul to the devil so that the latter can cure his father of cancer. The devil plays a trick on Johnny. Also it takes a while before he comes pick up Johnny for his task: he will be a contract killer.

In a very over-the-top way, Johnny turns into a burning motor driving hitman during the night. In the meantime he runs into the love of his youth.

Not without reason Nicholas Cage was hired to play Johnny Blaze. I find some of the other actors less convincing for their parts. Overall the film is mostly cheap entertainment, but somewhat entertaining.

Bubba Ho-Tep – Don Coscarelli (2002)

Elvis is not dead, but old, fragile and has lived in a nursing home for many years after an accident. The film explains how that all came to be.

Another inhabitant of the nursing home is Jack Kennedy who turned black.

The nursing home is haunted by the remains of a mummy that was stolen and crashed nearby and so we get a horror comedy that is not really horror or slapstick. The film is mostly a drama with somewhat black humour and a story-element that is horror.

Horror comedy, not really my genre, but this looked funny enough to try. Not sure how this ended on my watch list though. The film is good for a few chuckles, but certainly not a must-see.

Midsommar – Ari Aster (2019)

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Of course I heard about this film when it came out, but I was not sure if I wanted to see it. It is about a heathen Midsummer celebration that turns into horror. That can only be corny parody, right? Or would the attempt be more serious like a modern Wicker Man? Since it popped up on Netflix I decided to watch the two and a half hours after all and see what the fuss is about.

The film is quite like Wicker Man, too much so, but still falls in the first ‘category’: a corny parody. It is truly and awfully yawn-inspiring.

A group of outsiders travel to Sweden for a Midsummer celebration. From minute one it is clear how the film will unfold, almost exactly like the Wicker Man. The celebrations have little to do with Northern European Midsummer celebrations.

The film starts with bad drama. When skipped this terrible part, half an hour could have been saved. Then there is some predictable gore going over in tension that never comes. Even the story stinks. The celebration is held every 90 years but everybody know exactly what to do?

Bird Box – Susanne Bier (2018)

Sandra Bullock and droopy face Sarah Paulson (who plays in all “American Horror Story” seasons) in an apocalyptic action film. Would that be something? It’s also a Netflix original…

Some sort of creatures roam the earth. When you see one, you become suicidal. A few people have figured that out before it was too late and they end up on a house together. This goes alright for a while, but slowly but surely the number of people goes down. A message was received from other survivors who live downstream a river, so when all else fails, Bullock and two children make the hazardous journey.

“Bird Box” does not have a great story, but it is somewhat original and not too badly executed. What the film does do well, is set a tense atmosphere. There are some star actors here too, some well thought of details and the acting is pretty good, especially that of the children.

The film is alright. If you feel like watching a pressing ‘no-splatter-horror’ sometimes, this could be an option.