May: A movie about making friends

When I first saw advertisements for the movie May, I didn’t know what to make of it. I decided to check it out since I always enjoy a good movie where the main character loses their sanity.  After I watched it I found myself having a great time.  I enjoyed the overall creepiness of the movie and how much I was able to relate to the main character.

The plot is about a woman named May (played by Angela Bettis) who was traumatized as a child due to the fact she had a lazy eye and was unable to make any friends.  Her only friend was a doll her mother gave her as a birthday gift.  The focus is on her during present times as she now works as a veterinarian and still has a difficult time making friends.  The feeling of loneliness starts to weigh in on May as she fails with each person she comes in contact with.  It pushes her to a point where she finally begins to snap.

This movie does a great job of handling such a relatable subject as you find yourself sympathizing with May.  I also liked how innocent they made her from the beginning of the movie to the climax where she is portrayed more as a victim rather than a murderer.  She acts weird and does weird things, but there isn’t any real malice behind it.

Even at the climax where she starts to kill people, you still feel sorry for her.  Behind it all, May just wants someone that understands her and would want to be her friend, which is something we can all relate to. What I also like about the movie is how the more violent scenes have little to no music in the background which, as I mentioned in previous posts, is a good way to raise tension.

The movie also reminded me of the movie Carrie.  It had a similar plot of a weird girl trying to make friends, but doesn’t and kills people at the end.  Only instead of telekinesis, knives are used.

For Director Lucky McKee, part of the inspiration behind the film came from the times he felt loneliness and that it is a topic that everyone can relate to.  It was also heavily influenced by the works of Italian Director Dario Argento.  In an interview with Bettis, the making of May involved becoming familiar with the character and being able to map out the arc.  This was also the first time Bettis was able to work with someone her own age.

I can understand why this movie can be a hit or miss with some people since the ending can be hard to understand.  Personally, I find that it fits with the movie’s theme as it shows the completed circle of the main character’s insanity.  Overall, the movie is a fun ride into madness that can bring up emotion.  It is also a good portrayal of how the feeling of loneliness can push a person to do the most unspeakable things imaginable.

Starry Eyes and What I think of it

When I first heard about the movie “Starry Eyes” it made me curious so I decided to check it out.  Aside from the climax it seemed less like a horror movie and more like a drama about trying to make it big in Hollywood.

The plot revolves around Sarah Walker (played by Alex Essoe) a young woman who strives to become an actress.  In the movie you feel Sarah’s struggle as she fails to find any work along with her isolation as she tries to do it alone.  Sarah then discovers an opportunity in the new movie “The Silver Scream” by the production company Astareus Pictures.  Though with each audition it becomes clear that something is amiss.

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Photo taken by Murdoc

In an interview Directors Dennis Widmyer and Kevin Kolsh explained the movie is based on the hardship they went through trying to make it big. We do see that as more and more stress is built on Sarah though it focuses more on that instead of the actual horror. The climax also seemed random as a supernatural element is added in. If you like to watch Hollywood drama then this movie is just for you. However, for the horror fans out there I wouldn’t recommend it.

Let’s talk about The Thing

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Taken by Wikimedia Commons

It’s hard to believe that when “The Thing” first premiered it did poorly at the box office and was actually hated by the public.  Now over 30 years later it has gained a cult following and become a beloved classic that many believe has defined the monster movie genre.

It is a loose adaption of the 1951 movie “The Thing from Another World” directed by Howard Hawks and Christian Nyby.  The story starts out with a helicopter chasing after a dog.  The helicopter soon makes its way to a base nearby.  It then crashes, leaving the group of scientists at the base perplexed by what just happened.  They take in the dog, and all seems fine until later when it starts to mercilessly kill the other dogs and changes into something horrendous.  Pilot R.J. MacReady (played by Kurt Russell) and the rest of the crew go on a seek-and-destroy mission to prevent the creature from reaching the outside world.

The movie features the best practical effects, which I believe really make this creature-based film as it makes the monster more believable than just seeing it through CGI effects.  I certainly felt the brutality when I saw the transformation scenes where you can hear bones crunching along with skin tearing as the creature mutates.  Paranoia plays a special role in the movie as each character questions the other.  This is especially apparent at the end where you find yourself questioning if the monster really is dead.

According to the commentary from director John Carpenter, the movie is the first of his Apocalypse Trilogy.  The other two were “Prince of Darkness” and “In the Mouth of Madness.”  He explains in an interview how the movie is about the end of the world, and it’s not meant to have a happy ending, which is why many of the audience disliked it when it first premiered.  There is also the fact that the ending wasn’t really an ending, but instead was left to be interpreted by the viewer.

Even Universal Studios wanted Carpenter to cut out that last scene and leave it with MacReady blowing up the monster.  However, Carpenter said no to Universal and stood by his ending.  It was Kurt Russell who thought of the last line of the movie.

“Why don’t we just… wait here for a little while… see what happens?” said MacReady.

To him the line was what the theme of the movie boiled down to: that the characters along with the audience are unsure who is who.

I can understand how that can turn off some people as they want the story to end and wrap up with a nice bow on top.  I admit I do enjoy it sometimes when a movie just ends with all the loose ends tied up. However, I do feel that this ending works especially for this kind of movie as it keeps up that feeling of paranoia which stays with you long after the movie ends.  Overall this movie is a fun watch with great effects, good tension building and an ending that will leave you thinking.

The Loved Ones: A Promdate from Hell

Since I reviewed a famous classic I figured why not balance things out with a cult classic with The Loved Ones, not the most well-known film out there it still brings its own brand of entertainment.  From tortured teenagers to implied incest, this is one movie you will not forget.

The plot revolves around Brent (played by Xavier Samuel) who drove with his Dad one day and got into an accident when he tried to avoid a bloody figure on the road.  Six months later still mourning for the loss of his father, Brent plans to take his girlfriend Holly to Prom.  On his way he gets kidnapped by a girl he rejected named Lola (played by Robin McLeavy).  As Brent is held hostage, Lola and her father (played by John Brumpton) make this a night he will never forget.

The Director Sean Bryne said in an interview that he was inspired by movies such as “Carrie” and “The Evil Dead” and wanted to use aspects from both when creating this film. If you’re a fan of torture films then this is the film for you as you get to see Brent tortured in the most creative of ways.

It does a good job being a black comedy as the comedic parts are put at the right moments and knows when to get back to the horror. There’s also this feeling of uneasiness that grows throughout the film as you see exactly how messed up this family really is.  Overall it is a good combination of scares and laughs that you won’t want to miss.

 

One Last Scare

 

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Photo taken by Global Panorama

Halloween has come and gone, but there is still room for some more scares.  What better way to have them by reviewing the movie “Halloween“? Though other horror movies have come and gone before it, it was this film that has set up what we know as the slasher genre.  From girls getting killed in their underwear to victims running up the stairs, this film started all the well-known horror movie clichés that we have grown to love.

The director John Carpenter describes the movie having a simple plot of a man murdering teenagers.  It starts off with Michael Myers (played by Tony Moran) escaping a mental hospital.  He was institutionalized for 15 years after killing his sister. The movie then follows Myers as he makes his way to his hometown Haddonfield to search for new victims. Myers’ psychiatrists Dr. Sam Loomis (played by Donald Pleasence) tries to chase after him in hopes to prevent him from claiming anymore victims.

This movie does a great job building up tension as you see Myers begin to stalk Laurie Strode (played by Jamie Lee Curtis) along with her friends.  The scenes where he makes an appearance are also great as there are times where he would just walk right up to a person and freak them out by his mere presence.  In other scenes he would be in the background and pass by without anyone noticing.  What I also find interesting is the fact that there is no reason behind his actions; he doesn’t have a sad back story or anything to excuse his behavior. He doesn’t even have a line of dialogue. Myers kills just for the sake of it.

“I spent eight years trying to reach him, and then another seven trying to keep him locked up because I realized that what was living behind that boy’s eyes was purely and simply… evil,” said Dr. Loomis.

The music also plays a significant part in the background as a recurring theme is played throughout the movie.  It has become Myers’ signature trademark as it is played at each of his scenes.  This theme had been something Carpenter had thought of for years as he created it himself using a synthesizer from a guy he got in touch with in the San Fernando Valley.

In an interview, Carpenter explained how he was given full creative range of the film as he was simply given the basics on making a film of a killer stalking babysitters.  At first the title was “The Babysitter Murders” which grabbed Carpenter’s attention.  However, it was during work production that the title was changed as producer Irwin Yablans said it would bring more significance if it was centered on a holiday. When it first premiered it grabbed the public’s attention and received some harsh words from critics, though in time it’s audience grew.  It was this film that made Carpenter’s name in horror movies, and has truly set a staple in the genre.  Overall, it was a great film that became a classic over time.

 

Top 5 Horror Movie Monsters

A list of the most memorable/terrifying monsters in the horror movie history:

  1. Crawlers from the movie “The Descent (2006)”: Nothing says claustrophobia than being stuck in a small cave with no lights and monsters all around you. These creatures live underground  completely adapted to the dark and driven by instinct which doesn’t sit well with these group of friends as they are trapped during a cave expedition.  The crawlers add to the tension as they hide in the darkness ready to make their move.
  1. Alien queen from the movie “Aliens (1986)”: This is one mom you do not want to mess with as she is 100 feet tall, has acid blood, and an army of alien monsters ready to kill anything that moves. When watching the movie “Aliens” you see Ripley and the gang try to escape the colony based on the planet from the first movie as it is infested with aliens or Xenomorphs.  The whole time it makes you think where all these aliens came from that question is answered at the climax as the Alien queen makes her appearance.  This creature demonstrates the darkside of motherhood as the mother will do whatever it takes to protect her children.
  1. The Thing from the movie “The Thing (1982)”: Known simply as the Thing, this alien shape shifter serves as the antagonist to R.J. MacReady and his crew throughout the movie. With the ability to copy any living being it comes in contact with it gives a whole the new meaning to the word paranoid as each crew member is left questioning who’s who.  It also puts time at risk as the crew must find and destroy the creature quickly before the creature can escape affect the rest of the world.
  1. The Babadook from the movie “The Babadook (2014)”: A recent addition to the list we have the Babadook.  Although it has a funny name this monster is one you should not underestimate. It uses a children’s book to make it’s appearance and will never leave once it does.  It hides in the darkness and makes you question your own reality as it did for Amelia and her son.   It will haunt you for the rest of your life as the movie quotes, “If it’s in a word, if it’s in a book you can’t get rid of the Babadook.”
  1. Brundle Fly from the movie “The Fly (1986)”: The horrors of science come alive as the Brundle fly takes the top of the list.  Seth Brundle was a brilliant inventor who created teleport pods to revolutionize travel.  An accident happens when a fly lands in one of the pods with Brundle and its DNA fuses with him. This creates a hybrid monstrosity as you witness Brundle’s hideous transformation from man to fly as well as his mental breakdown as he try to find a cure.  From the horrifying appearance to the tragedy that follows you’ll never look at flies the same way again.

Babadook: the modern day boogeyman

When I first heard about The Babadook I decided to watch it out of curiosity.  I didn’t expect the haunting atmosphere along with a monster that would give me nightmares for days.  It was both a surprising and pleasant experience.

The plot revolves around Amelia (played by Essie Davis) a widowed mother who struggles to raise her son Samuel (played by Noah Wiseman) when a book titled The Babadook appears at their doorstep, and the situation goes from bad to worse.  The movie shines with its characters as you believe the mother’s distress as she tries to take care of her son, and strange things start to happen. The scenes where the monster ,the Babadook, appears are great too as there is little sound and plenty of tension build up as you wait for it to strike.

The film is an expansion of Australian Director Jennifer Kent’s short “Monster” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2005. In an interview, Kent said the film is about facing your inner demons and how repressing them damages you.  We see this in the film as anxiety starts to build up in Amelia as she tries to keep quiet about what is happening to her and her son. Overall it has a good set up, convincing characters and a monster that leaves a lasting impression.