Saturday, December 21, 2013

Horror Camp's Xmas Countdown

-Contributed by Luke Merrill


Inspired by yesterday's post, Tiger Attack! I sought out an image of a monster that could tame a tiger. That monster being the self-made immigrant turned millionaire Tony Montoya. Tony dreams of riches and power, and due to hard work and never compromising his ideals he succeeded in realizing his dreams. Not only did he manage to tame a pet tiger to roam the grounds of his palacial estate, but he even managed to tame that she-tiger, Michelle Pfeiffer and make her his wife.

Here we see Tony in that now classic seen in the finale of  DePalma's Scarface where he confides in his only friend left, Snorty the Blowman the cocaine snowman. This happens shortly after he kills his best friend, but before he wastes his sister, which is moments before he is overrun by Columbian assassins.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Horror Camp's Xmas Countdown

-Contributed by Luke Merrill



Today's Snowman was inspired by a very special Christmas special of Dr. Who which aired last year. Although only being introduced to the adventures of the Doctor for the first time, and being confoundedly lost as to who the reoccuring characters are, how a time traveler ends up in an 1800's version of London that has killer snowmen, and what the hell a tardis is, I was impressed by the design of these menacing snowmen. 

The Dr. Who snowmen were all completly CGI rendered, so they were a little bit more expressive when it came to fangs and menacing glares, but I think this recreation effectivelly catches the look, and is a faithful reproduction of the cult shows highly advertised 2012 special.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Horror Camp's Xmas Countdown

-Contributed by Luke Merrill

Image by flickr user mpburrows

And now presenting for your approval, your daily dose of snowman horror here at Horror Camp's Xmas Countdown. And an actual snowman for a change. A classic scene from the well loved Gulliver's Travels, which isn't a horror novel by any means. Although the prospect of watching the Jack Black movielization (or God forbid, made for television Ted Danson version) is a terrifying concept to me personally, but then again that's just me.

It does strike me that if the creator lopped off one of the twigs and replaced it with a metal gauntlet (and gave him a little more chin) it would cease to be a Gulliver's Travels homage and would become an Army of Darkness (of Evil Dead fame) scene. Army of Darkness director Sam Raimi lovingly ripped off this scene for his own movie and used it as a vessel to create Evil Ash. Evil Ash being created as a result of Bruce Campbell being tied down and forced to swallow one of his miniature deadite counterparts that spawned from a shattered mirror. He always had bad luck with mirrors.

As a matter of fact, when I look closer at this picture it looks like that little one on the chest might take a plunge down the old scream canyon himself. I hope the big guy has a shotgun ready. Klaatu Verata ..... Nickel? 



Monday, December 16, 2013

Horror Camp's Xmas Countdown

-Contributed by Luke Merrill

Alright I've dilly-dallied long enough. I should've started off the countdown with the obvious inspiration for all modern contemporary grotesque snowmen with the master himself, Bill Watterson. Watterson infiltrated a generation of impressionable little children day after day with his 4 panel tribute to childhood creativity and deviance, Calvin and Hobbes. Never had I been so determined to read the newspaper as a child only to read that one corner of the comics section where Calvin and Hobbes resided.



For myself winter was the most exciting time to read the comic. Every season would feature an insane sledding expedition, epic snowball fights, and of course grotesque snowmen. Watterson personally shattered my preconceptions of what snowmen should be like, and without him I would never have been prone to venture out to make snowmen today. How it came to be that decapitated, mutilated and freakish snow creatures could be featured in a mainstream periodical in the early 90's boggles my mind, but it worked and the world is better off for it.

Watterson so impacted the medium of art and comics that many artists still tribute Watterson with creative homages to their favorite Calvin and Hobbes scenes. I've included a few below.

Bill Amend's Foxtrot 

Marvel's Wolverine gets a slice of the action (that tagline is used way too often)

DC/Vertigo's Death from the Sandman series


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Horror Camp's Xmas Countdown

-Contributed by Luke Merrill


Snowman

With 10 days left until Christmas we release our second in a collection of grotesque, demented, or just bizarre snowmen. Today's snowman was stumbled upon on Liana Bortolozzo's Blog post regarding artist, Tony Tassert. Some of Tassert's work caught my eye by using iconic horror imagery and tweaking it slightly to express angst or irony or something artsy, symbolic, and/or meaningful. Of course art mixed with horror is a double edged sword which is simultaneously redeeming and destroying the genre, but for myself the appeal to horror is that in not taking it seriously you are often surprised when something substantial and thought-provoking is presented.

This Sculpture aptly named "Snowman" is described by Bortolozzo as "underlying something slightly rundown, rotton and sticky, and a little bit sad." Tassert's comments on the piece were as follows: "Could I take something that's so banal, so quoted, that everybody has kind of made, and could I treat it like a Giacommetti? Could I give it that pathos and existential angst?" Typical artist fare. An artist creates something commonplace in an attempt to destroy it in the minds of their viewers or provoke a reaction. Kinda has that Warhol ring to it, the sort of art where you look at it and say well I could of done that, except for the simple fact you didn't do it, and you didn't think to do it, so poo on you.

Anywho, on reflection of the piece I think Tassert does an excellent job, he expertly created something which looks like it had been eroded by nature for weeks and he conveys expression with minimal materials for maximum effect. It looks as though a piece of art that you would just stumble across naturally outdoors through time and exposure to the elements, not a carefully crafted piece built from the ground up. If I look at this long enough I can almost envision the artistic process in deciding just the right placement of materials and angles to give the final effect. 

So naturally this isn't a real snowman, considering there isn't a single snowflake in the entire sculpture, but come back soon we're saving the real snowmen for closer to Christmas. Until then enjoy the winter weather, and feel free to share any of your own bizarre snowmen with us here at horror camp.


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Horror Camp's Xmas Countdown

-Contributed by Luke Merrill

With the arrival of Christmas around the corner, and the expectant torrential downpour of snow just beginning to arrive. We at Horror Camp want to ring in the season by sharing some of the most demented and terrifying collections of freakish snowmen that the season has to offer. Everyday until Christmas we will be sharing a new picture of some of the most grotesque snowmen that have ever been created.

Today's image of snowman horror is courtesy of weird tales magazine, and provides a snapshot of a potential post-apocalyptic future where space snowmen invade earth, and subjugate the populace with their laser-spewing charcoal eyes. In terms of post-apocalyptic credibility, I would say that the world-conquering laser-eyed extraterrestrial snowmen scenario is just as credible (in terms of  "can this happen in real life") as the ensuing zombie apocalypse that everyone is gearing up for. Considering zombies suffer a disadvantage of not being able to attack with projectiles, this snowman threat should be taken a little more seriously.

 So consider that when you are constructing  your survival bunker. If you are preparing for the eventuality of a zombie apocalypse don't write off the snowmen, it will be the last mistake you ever make.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Movie Night at the Rec Hall -- ThanksKilling

Contributed by Luke Merrill:


With the close of the month and the annual gorging of animal flesh followed by the ritual sacrifice of your wallet which is demanded by the event know as Black Friday, we can finally finish off our November Camp-A-Thon. In the spirit of the holidays, we close off Camp-A-Thon by watching a holiday themed horror film. This is not such an easy task. There are numerous films celebrating Halloween, Christmas, and even Valentine's Day. Unfortunately the cornucopia of Thanksgiving horror films that are both celebratory of the holiday and comedic is sparse indeed. Fortunately, this was recognized some years ago and a low-budget masterpiece was created in order to capitalize the untapped potential of this holiday. This week at Horror Camp, we are watching one of the few thanksgiving horror films, ThanksKilling.

ThanksKilling is the tale of 5 college students returning home for Thanksgiving break, only to be hunted down and slaughtered by a possessed jive-talking turkey.  Apparently, as explained within the film a powerful Native American Shaman was shamed by the white man in the pilgrim days. Using his necromantic powers he made an immortal turkey, in which to kill every white man he encounters in a revenge that will reoccur every 505 years. The Turkey is like a killer version of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, just now nearly as funny and fairly repulsive looking in terms of animal hand puppets.

You have shamed me for the last time white man.
Image coutesy of some other dude named Luke on his blog.

As far as the Human cast of the film, we are introduced to some pretty cool college kids. Our 5 hapless students represent the wide social strata that are representative of college. You have Johnny the 2nd string quarterback fully equipped with cool guy Jeep, Overweight and constantly hungry hillbilly Billy, Sheriff's daughter and good-girl next door, Kristen, Easy as apple pie Ali the slut, and last but not least inappropriately horny but horribly unfortunate Darren the nerd.

The onslaught of corny Turkey one-liners, low-budget special effects, and in your face horror movie cliches make for an entertaining watchthru. Unfortunately this is not the holiday movie you gather around to watch with your family after a fulfilling Thanksgiving Dinner. Unless of course your family has completely passed out under the influence of a tryptophan coma, with the exception of yourself and your weird Uncle Jim. The film was exceptionally corny, falling in a close second place after Troll 2 in terms of corniest low-budget film of all time. Granted we haven't screened every corny flick at Horror Camp, we have seen our fair share to make the claim. 

 This Turkey wants a piece of you!
Image courtesy of hewhowalksdeath

We watch films like ThanksKilling over here at Horror Camp because there is nothing else in terms of turkey horror, and after this series of films are concluded there probably never will be another Thanksgiving horror film. That is unless they pick up my lesser known pitch for the Wrong Turn series, Wrong Turn 6: Home for the Holidays. I recommend watching this flick at least once, probably by yourself or with a close friend who understands you are about to watch a horrible movie and will never speak of it publicly. Clocking in at 66mins it is short enough you don't get bored with it. So Indulge yourself and check out ThanksKilling it is undoubtedly one of Thanksgiving's lesser known guilty pleasures.

Tags: Campy Horror, Creature, Horror Camp, Movie Night at the Rec Hall, Thanksgiving, ThanksKilling, Turkey, Fowl-Play, Holiday Horror Film

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Movie night at the Rec Hall -- Troll 2

-Contributed by Luke Merrill




Earlier in the week, I had made mention of collaborating with my friend Jonathan Alexander (Al from the Grog), but as we were set up for filming Al become overcome by raging mind harpies and was set into convulsions for nigh 7 days and 7 nights. Perhaps next week we can do our shoot as scheduled.  But things roll on at Horror Camp, and we present our 2nd campy movie of our Horror Camp's November Camp-A-Thon. And we won't fail to deliver in terms of campy horror films.

Last week we reviewed Rubber which turned out to be a well-made clever homage to campy Horror Flicks. Well this week we won't have any confusion as to the artistic merits of this weeks feature. This week we are watching the campiest of Horror Film of all time, Troll 2. Arguably one of the worst movies ever made, Troll 2 has garnered a massively huge cult following. Rife with over-the top acting, unbelievably constructed special effects, and an action packed late 80's/early 90's soundtrack, Troll 2 is an infectious treat to behold. Truly the king of bad horror flicks Troll 2 can be (and should be) watched over and over and over again and again.

Troll 2 opens up with a young boy, Joshua, being read a story by his loving grandfather regarding a young man's encounter with a troop of man-eating goblins. At this point it is important to note that there is not one troll present anywhere in this film, only man-eating goblins. The grandfather continues on with his story. Apparently man-eating goblins are vegetarians and in order to eat men they must trick them into eating a trans-mutagenic substance that converts the person into a half-man half-plant. The helpless victim is then devoured by the goblins who conveniently can shape shift between human and goblin form. A cautionary fairy tale to be sure.



It is later revealed that Joshua's family were planning on taking a vacation to get away from it all in the small rural town of Nilbog. In tow close behind the family are the daughter's boyfriend and his 3 goofy friends. It is soon discovered that not everything is okay in the small town of Nilbog, and only young Joshua can recognize the situation for what it truly is. The small town of Nilbog (Goblin spelled backwards, naturally) is entirely populated by flesh-eating monsters who are only interested in feeding you their oddly green colored food in an attempt to eat your family.

Hilarity ensues in the film's attempt to portray legitimate acting. With catchy one-liners delivered in dead-pan seriousness, you can't help but enjoy Troll 2. Some of the more hilarious scenes in the movie include an embarrassed friend's transformation into a tree (he doesn't want to talk about it) , a bizarre popcorn induced sex scene, and tons and tons of slimy green chlorophyll blood.  Sporting a young child protagonist and a PG-13 rating Horror Camp highly endorses this movie to our younger child campers. All children should stick to their guns and prevent monsters from eating their families. Horror Camp teaches responsibility to our younger campers first and foremost. This movie is also a great counter argument to the dangers of vegetarianism, as excessive veganism obviously does weird things to a person's mind.



So that concludes our movie night for week 2 of our November Camp-A-Thon. By this point you should have shaken off all of that residual Halloween fright. Be sure to come back next week to see our 3rd feature of Camp-A-Thon, our celebration of the outrageously silly in horror films. So until then stay away from small rural towns, and eat a steak for crying out loud. Anything beats being turned into goblin chlorophyll mush. This is your Head Counselor wishing you unpleasant and hilarious viewings.

Tags: Horror Camp, Campy Horror, Movie Night at the Rec Hall, Goblins, Troll 2, Nilbog,

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Arts and Crafts Tent -- Fun with Chocolate Sauce

-Contributed by Luke Merrill



Today's Arts and Crafts feature is on that well known beloved food additive, Chocolate Syrup. Known the world over for making milk awesome, Chocolate syrup has been made the topping of choice for anyone with that insatiable sweet tooth. With something as sweet and wholesome as good ole fashioned american chocolate milk, what could possibly make chocolate syrup so prevalent to Horror Camp?

Unknown to most Chocolate syrup has an old history with the special effects departments of many an old time horror film. In the old days, predating CGI, Horror movies would have to create their own sickly skin-crawling version of blood. Most notably blood would be made using various food colored additives, such as red-dyed cornsyrup. But before color, movie makers had another trick, Chocolate Syrup. In the Black and White era chocolate syrup gave that rich thick blood-like consistency that was so believable in the movies back then, as long as you couldn't see the color who's to know the difference?

Blood Ice Cream! You're Sick! You're Sick!


Great Horror classics such as Hitchcock's Psycho and Romero's original Night of the Living Dead are just two of many films who capitalized on the use of chocolate sauce in their black and white masterpieces. So if the masters can use this low cost trick in their movies, whats to prevent our campers from using the same tricks to spice up their dime-store film attempts.

The following film was an experiment with chocolate sauce my friends and I undertook in order to aid my friend Jonathan Alexander (Al) Borowski for a college project at the time. On loan from The Grog  (Al's website which explores local issues amongst other things) the images from the film can be seen below. The results were a bizarre (if not at times comical) undertaking that produced some real memorable effects. Although the overarching tones of murder/haunting/suicide make for a dark tone in the movie and slip-shot choreography make for a real laugh, it still remains watchable to me to this day. I still have fond memories of making it even though it made for quite the mess when it came time to clean up.

Those stains will never come out.

So to all my would-be horror directors out at horror camp. Just remember to set that camera to black and white and remember your Bosco. You too can have some of those Hollywood style special effects just by taking a trip to your local grocery store. Be sure to check in this weekend, where I revisit with my friend Al, as he lends us some of his studio space to celebrate Movie Night at the Rec Hall (& the Grog) this Saturday.

Tags: Arts and Crafts Tent, Horror Camp, Haunting, The Grog, Bosco, Black and White

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Movie Night at the Rec Hall -- Rubber

-Contributed by Luke Merrill

Rubber



This week at Horror Camp we open up our November Camp-A-Thon (our celebration of Horror Flicks too silly to be taken seriously) with Rubber. Rubber is the type of film that can't be categorized easily. Filmed in the avant-garde ( life imitating art, imitating life) style of a foreign french film, it contains highly stylized cinematic elements. The Film's movie within the movie take on storytelling leads to moments of great comedic value. Ultimately though, the film is about a sentient rubber tire that decapitates many, many people, which in my opinion puts this film in the Horror Camp, so to speak.

The French will make movies about anything.


Rubber opens up in the middle of the desert, where a montage of seemingly random events paves the way for a local police man to deliver an impassioned speech to a group of spectators. He goes at length to explain that seemingly arbitrary circumstances happen within movies, and are taken as fact for no reason or explanation what-so-ever. He goes on to tell this group that they are about to see a film that celebrates this phenomena of "no reason". The speech is not only interesting but absolutely necessary in order to enjoy this film. Because to accept what you're seeing with no explanation, is exactly what this movie is bringing to the table. 

The man departs and the spectators are given binoculars and are instructed to look out into the desert. Now the film can begin. We focus in on a rummage pile where a lone automobile tire begins to stir. After some time the tire digs itself out of the ground, and sets itself upright. After some failed attempts at rolling it sets out upon it's way. Along the tire's path, it encounters a plastic bottle, which it decides to crush. Then it encounters a desert scorpion, which it decides to squish. It finally encounters a glass bottle. Rolling over it isn't going to cut it. So the tire, in the movies surprising turn of events, breaks the glass bottle with it's psycho-kinetic powers, pretty out there, right? If that wasn't cool enough, the rubber tire then encounters a rabbit, and proceeds to give him the same psycho-kinetic treatment. The rabbit is thoroughly decimated in a rain of rabbit guts and gore. After this encounter the tire finally makes it to the road and encounters man.

You're not being paranoid, It IS looking at you!


From there the movie gets pretty amazing as the tire pops the heads off of just about everyone who wrongs him, with the exception of one lone travelling french girl who becomes the object of the tire's affections. The fact that the spectators are in the desert, watching all of this happen, plays an intricate role in the film as well. The interplay between the "actors" and the spectators who watch them provides some of the films most memorable and comedic moments. 

Rubber is a pretty great film. I really had no idea what I was getting into when I first started to watch it. Based off the premise, I just assumed it was a modern day over the top unrealistic horror flick. Funny thing is, that is exactly what it is, but I had no idea it had so many levels of thought or artistic direction. So anyone wanting to view this film on the merits of being a stupid over the top horror film, might find themselves surprisingly disappointed. The film may not have you fearing for your life, and questioning the sentience ( and psycho-kinetic prowess) of the common everyday objects around you, but you will have a good time watching it.  So until next time make sure your tires are thoroughly bolted to your car, where they belong. This is horror camp's Head Counselor, signing off.

Tags: Campy Horror, Movie Night at the Rec Hall, Rubber, Horror Camp, Foreign Film

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Horror Camp on the Road -- IU Bloomington

-Contributed by Luke Merrill

Indiana Universities Annual
Chemistry and Physics Open House 


So you'll have to forgive me this post is slightly dated. Halloween is a busy time for us at Horror Camp, and we sometimes can't get everything we want out before the holiday begins. That being said, 2 weeks ago we had the privilege to take a road trip down to IU Bloomington campuses to catch the annual Chemistry and Physics open house on Oct. 26. The open house takes place every year and gives these Mad Scientists in the making an attempt at burning down their campus. The Open House includes individualized demos such as the Haunted Lab and a series of electrochemical experiments for the children to participate in amongst other demonstrations. The open house wrapped up with a live laboratory show where the scientists proceeded to make bright flashing lights and ear-deafening explosions to the delight of many audience members.

What creature come forth, whence these madmen hath summoned?

Some of the more memorable demonstrations in the show included; lighting ethereal glowing Jack'o lanterns that burned unearthly blues and greens, detonating large hydrogen balloons, and setting off high intensity magnesium flares that burned with immeasurable luminosity as seen above. It was alot of fun seeing the special effects that I recognize from some of my favorite horror films being performed in front of my eyes. It was even more informative to hear how they were created, although I'm unsure as to how I'm going to get ahold of all the Magnesium that Horror Camp would need. The show was a rousing success and was hosted by a group of students whose passion for their work translated into their presentation. If you are in the Bloomington area next year around Halloween be sure to look up IU's Chemistry and Physics open house and take your little ones with you. You won't be disappointed.

Tags: Horror Camp on the Road, Mad Scientists, IU Bloomington, Chemistry, Horror Camp



Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Camp Announcements -- Camp-A-Thon

-Contributed by Luke Merrill

If you can't wait til Sat. You can Check Horrorible picture blog
 on tumblr for their take on camp in Horror

We just concluded our Halloween weekend of terror, thanks to everyone who came to visit over the weekend and take part. We are now attempting to resume all regularly scheduled camp activities, but we have one small problem.  All of are kiddie campers are scared to the point of paralysis from that Halloween overload of highly pixalized blood and gore. Obviously we can't have activities if the kids are quivering under their bunks with sheets pulled tightly over their heads.

In answer to this Horror Camp will be running its November Camp-A-Thon in an effort to not take things so seriously. Camp-A-Thon will be celebrating those horror films that are just a little too humorous to be genuinely scary. Check back every Saturday this month where we will be reviewing movies that are not so much HORROR Camp, but more horror CAMPY. Come back soon to see the first of many starting this Saturday.

Tags: Camp Announcements, Horror Camp, Campy Horror, Movie Night at the Rec Hall,

Monday, November 4, 2013

Movie Night at the Rec Hall -- Maniac

-Contributed by Luke Merrill
Maniac



We end our Halloween weekend blowout, here at Horror Camp, by screening the newest, and by far the most provocative title in our new releases section at the video store, Maniac. A remake of the classic slasher film from the 80’s bearing the same title. Maniac is a cinematic tour de force that will make you think twice about walking the streets alone at night. Set to a rippingly awesome soundtrack , inspired by 80’s synth pop, and told from the point of view of the serial killer, it offers a ground-breaking view of the life of the deranged.

Earlier over the weekend, I had reviewed 2 other films, VHS2 and No One Lives, and had some issues with over-use of first person POV and audience friendly serial killers. Maniac doesn’t suffer from these issues. Although told from first person POV, it’s not as “all over the place” like VHS2, which tends to make audiences queasy. As far as an audience friendly serial killer, Maniac has no delusions about what it is. Although you feel sympathy for the plight of the protagonist ( I don’t know what else to call him), you quickly realize he is not fit to exist within the confines of society.

The maniac Frank, is played masterfully by ElijahWood. Before I hear any public outcry about the dude from Lord of the Rings playing such a disturbing role, let me remind you that he had no problem playing the creepy cannibal in Sin City, and was quite effective at that role as well. The best thing about Elijah Wood, as an actor, is the fact that he is so unassuming. He oozes boyish charm, so much so, you would never find him threatening. It makes it so much more spine chilling to hear him say such blatantly creepy things as he stalks and follows his victims, complete with heavy breathing and perverse comments about his victim’s beauty.

A young maniac in training.


Without revealing too much, because you should really go out and view this movie on your own, Frank’s backstory is that of your typical deranged psychopath. Complete with complications involving sexuality, misdirected feeling of violence to members of the opposite sex, and Mommy issues, Frank has got it all. Frank suffers from migraines and without medication will begin to openly and vividly hallucinate in the world around him, he is not right in the head. By day Frank spends his time with his passion, restoring vintage mannequins, by night he pursues other interests altogether, mostly revolving around being a monster and collecting trophies from his victims.

A grown man working with mannequins. No, that doesn't set off any alarms.


At one point in the movie Frank meets Anna, an aspiring artist/photographer. Her interests in her art focus upon mannequins as well, giving life to inanimate objects, as she likes to call it. Coincidentally in a way Frank also does the same thing, so they have a lot in common. Frank is torn by his growing desire for Anna, and his need to be a maniacal lunatic. It all comes together in a twisted finale that doesn’t disappoint.

I liked this movie for it’s realistic and spine tingling depiction of a truly terrifying subject matter. There is absolutely no sugar-coating around it. Maniac is raw and visceral, something other horror movies should take note of. I can understand how this movie may be disliked by most viewers, because it’s just too realistic. But don’t discount it on that merit alone, Maniac is gorgeous and cinematic and should be watched with someone else somewhere in the house, because man that sort of thing is just way too creepy.


So this wraps up our Halloween Horror extravaganza. It’s been fun watching the latest Horror has to offer, and I hope some of these reviews might convince you to check out some of these titles. Nothing I’ve reviewed this weekend left me feeling like I wanted a refund and the overall experience has been thoroughly enjoyable. Until next year when we get our hands on some hi-def projection equipment once again,  have a Happy Holiday and Horrific Viewings from your Head Counselor, signing off.

Tags: Movie Night at the Rec Hall, Serial Killers, 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Movie Night at the Rec Hall -- No One Lives


-Contributed by Luke Merrill
No One Lives



No One Lives, another title that is still under the new releases at the local video stores is the second movie that was picked for screening at Horror Camp. Heralded as being directed by RyĆ»hei Kitamura, known for Midnight MeatTrain and Versus amongst other movies, I was excited to see what No One Lives has to offer.  

 

No One Lives opens up with some classic horror footage of a scantily clad girl running for her life through the woods. Unlike most horror flicks this girl shows some sensibility, as she tries to keep her screaming to a minimum and masterfully unhinges herself from various snares and traps in her path. But ultimately, as she’s about to make it to the highway, her means of escape back to civilization,  she gets snared up into a tree. The credits roll and we shelve this scene for later within the film.


Only the Gingerbread Girl can outrun the crazies!

 

We then flash to a man and woman stopping off during their road trip cross country. The man is played by Luke Evans, who has had much success in the past couple of years playing roles in movies such as The Clash of the Titans and The Immortals. The couple eats and makes small talk about some issues they have about their relationship.  The woman hints about there being another woman, but they resolve these issues and continue on their journey. The third cast of characters are introduced, a group of gang members scoring small time heists as they rob from the rich led by LeeTergesen, most popularly known as being a lead character in the HBO prison drama OZ.

 

At one point, one of the hothead bandits come across the couple and proceeds to hijack their car and hold the couple prisoner. In an effort to obtain Bank info and PIN numbers they kill off the man’s travelling companion. But back at the bandit’s home they encounter a surprise. Located in the trunk of the car is the girl from the opening credits. As is quickly revealed in the movie’s surprising turn of events, this particular man  is not just some unlucky traveler. He is, in actuality, a highly trained and methodical psychopath, who is now hell bent on getting vengeance on losing his lover, and will stop at nothing to get the woman  he has been holding captive back.


Life would be easier if everyone had nametags.

 

From here on the movie, although entertaining starts to be a little predictable, at least from the standpoint that Luke Evans will now mercilessly hunt down this band of jokers with surgical precision. The gang of roving bandits wasn’t exactly portrayed as being particularly threatening or menacing, so there really  isn’t anyone in particular Evans can’t make short work of. Evans is enjoyable to watch, he’s cold, contemplative, and extremely physical when the need arises. Watching him perform his pursuit speed, when giving chase to one of his potential victims, and slithering through impossibly small windows and vents was a spectacle to behold, He had me convinced of the old adage that lunatics have the strength and speed of 10 ordinary men.

 

The more I reflect on it the more I like the film, but the only grievance I have is that Evans is just a little too likable. We (the audience) end up rooting for the psychotic killer to kill everyone in the movie. This is alright, seeing as he’s killing murderers and thieves, but towards the finale of the movie he actually does some pretty humanizing stuff, that has the audience saying, “Well he’s not such a bad  guy after all” This kind of psycho-friendly behavior, that’s seen in shows like Dexter, glorify and humanize serial killers. It’s kind of fun to be in the audience and share this “I’m an insane psycho killer” secret with the protagonist, but I’d prefer if the films depicted these men as the reptilian killers they truly are. I mean, its fantasy so it’s ok to have fun with it, but never discount that these are seriously dangerous individuals.

 

So on the whole No One Lives, is an overall alright experience if you like chest-bumping tough guys getting served their comeuppance. Evans’s portrayal was top-notch, but I still prefer psychopath movies like Natural Born Killers or American Psycho, on account it more accurately portrays the killers as NOT human. Come back tomorrow for the last in the series of extended holiday reviews as we cover Elijah Wood in “Maniac” . Yes, Another Psychopath Movie, possibly without some of the pitfalls I saw in this film. Until Then, Sleep Tight and  don’t be late for your day jobs, I ‘ve got all my clocks rolled back here. Your Head Counselor signing off.


Tags: Movie Night at the Rec Hall, Serial Killers, Horror Camp, No One Lives

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Movie Night at the Rec Hall -- VHS2 Part2


-Contributed by Luke Merrill
V/H/S/2




We left off the other night reviewing the first half of the new release V/H/S/2. As you may recall V/H/S/2 is an anthology film loosely based around the premise of occult underground videocassettes. After viewing the first 2 of the 4 short films included in the  movie , I would say I’m certainly entertained  but there’s nothing spectacular that is driving me to come back and screen the film a second time.

Well forget all of that, because the third film, “Safe Haven “ will have me coming back for more time and time again. Not just because of its extraordinary violence (which it has in abundance, laugh), but just because of the intensity of its acting cast. The interplay between the characters, suggests an involved backstory, causing the viewer to care more for their plight, which make the storyline all the more tragic. Also the sheer intensity of actor Epy Kusnandar, who played the role of cult leader “Father” has made me re-evaluate how I should never take lightly the demands of a waifish 120lb man.


I would follow this man anywhere.


Set in the Orient possible the Philippians, or Laos, I can never be certain, “Safe Haven “ chronicles the attempts of a small reporting team who attempt to infiltrate a cultish religious sect. This is an extremely exciting and promising concept for me, one I haven’t seen executed well since Clive Barker’s Lords of Illusion. Cultists can be more scary then the paranormal because, if necessary, they can pass for normal humans until they are triggered, and when they do, oh how the insanity floodgates get blown wide open.

“Safe Haven “ is no exception, things were sufficiently ominous enough as it was, but when the call comes down that today, right now, is the date of the ascension, Hell quite literally breaks loose. Chock full of nothing, but disturbing image after disturbing image, “Safe Haven”  is the film that makes you think twice about turning off your lights at night. I'm going to say it is the best in the series of films, and I’m actually glad that it was placed 3rd in the series, because after viewing it you need to calm down a little bit. All I could do after that rollercoaster ride of a finale was look over at my fellow moviegoers and say, “Well, that. sure escalated quickly.”

The 4th Film in the Anthology, “Slumber Party” was a little slow on the start and featured  mischievous little scamps playing sibling pranks while their parents were away for the weekend. Just fine by me, I was enjoying a little light-hearted nature, coming fresh off the last film. But at the height of their Prank war, CRASH, BRONG, ZZZZZEEEEERRREEEETTTZZZ, the aliens have landed, and they want your children!

We've come for your Daughter.

Although creepy “Slumber Party” mostly just confused me, the lighting was limited and I found one minute they’re confined in some alien something or other, then in the lake, on the run, picked off one at a time, ad -nauseum. So it was difficult to get a feel for what was actually happening within the film. I was also surprised to find out the director was Jason Eisener of “Hobo with a Shotgun” fame. That movie was so over the top with violence and gore, it really shocked me that he directed this. But thank God for small favors, I really was not ready for an over prevalence of violence and gore when children are involved.

 The Aliens themselves were creepy enough, what you could see of them, but one has to question with such advanced technologies that allow you to span across the galaxy, why would you have so much trouble picking off a small troop of children? The aliens had to physically grab them and drag them away. No night vision goggles, heat sensing equipment, stunners, or  stasis fields. How about an old fashion net? The Gorillas from Planet of the Apes used nets all the time, and they evolved later than man, but were still smart enough to figure the net thing out. I would’ve settled for a net, there has to be a better way to abduct children, come on.

It’s as if these aliens were the same ones that came 10 years ago in M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs. You remember the ones, came to the planet, terrorized man, didn’t realize they were invading a planet composed of , what like 70 % WATER. THE MOST LETHAL SUBSTANCE KNOWN TO THEM.  Yeah those aliens, they packed up, went away for a while, figured out the waterproofing solution, but now, are having trouble with those rascally, slippery kids. I don’t care if it’s an invasion or abduction, whatever, aliens you need to get your ducks in a row. Come back when you have some kind of plan or strategy. I would be so embarrassed, if I were abducted by these jokers. It’s really comical, they’d be hacking off and replacing new limbs while anal probing me 24/7 and I’d have to think, in a way, I kinda deserve this. They just walked up and dragged me away, no cool stun rod or teleportation  ray, nope just ” Hey You! Get in my spaceship we have probing to do.”



So that about wraps up V/H/S/2, there is one last scare to tie up the introductory story, but it was kind of assuming and offered real little in terms of an explanation for the film itself. So I really don’t have too much to say about that segment. But on the whole I thoroughly enjoyed  V/H/S/2, and recommend at least one watchtrough on a dark and quiet night if you’re in the mood for the heebie jeebies. It presents a nice alternative to those who don’t particularly care enough about a particular horror genre. So you get a nice sampler of what the industry has to offer with the current technology. The weekend is still going strong with Halloween Horror, so check in tomorrow for another contemporary film review. Your Head Counselor signing off.

Tags: Aliens, Cultists, Movie Night at the Rec Hall, VHS2, Horror Camp

Friday, November 1, 2013

Movie Night at the Rec Hall -- VHS2 Part 1

-Contributed by Luke Merrill
V/H/S/2

The first in a long Weekend of Horror Flicks viewed here at Horror Camp, V/H/S/2 was the first in the running. Following in the tradition of shaky hand-cam titles, such as the Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield, V/H/S/2 is a collection of films all told from first person point of view perspective in order to heighten the viewer’s sense of terror and reality.

V/H/S/2 is a film that realizes true terror is buried in the archaic remnants of poorly labeled difficult to obtain videocassettes, which actually makes very little sense on account just about every camcorder involved in filming the segments that comprise the movie were all digital. Apparently the dark lords of the netherworld need all their media dubbed to cassette to view their movies. But if Hell is truly as brutal and abysmal as the stories would have me believe, I could understand them only watching cathode ray televisions and videocassette players with poorly wired co-ax cable connecting them together. Most likely they only get basic cable in Hell, but I digress.

I swear I think it is watching me.


V/H/S/2 is based loosely around the premise of a private investigator and his assistant (girlfriend?) who search an abandoned house for a lost college student. Apparently this student had a per chant for collecting occult videocassettes, and in an effort to piece together what has happened they view 4 short films in order to piece together the puzzle. To start off, I have to say this opening story is really only included in the movie to set an ominous tone, and consequently to relate 4 completely differing horror stories together that in no way can be tied together at all. I myself would rather have the movie called, V/H/S/2 a collection of 4 short horror films, but it has become a Moviemaker trend to attempt to tie short films together in an effort to keep you watching till the very end. I‘ll tell you right now, absolutely not necessary, not even necessary to watch V/H/S the first film. You can just dive right in to any of the four shorts, and probably better for you to know this now, if you don’t like the direction of one film just go to the next one, it is absolutely irrelevant to plot progression.

The first short film was entitled, “Phase I Clinical Trials”. The film starts off with a man who just recovered from an experimental eye surgery. Having just recently lost an eye in a car accident he signs up for an experimental eye implant, which will allow him to see with a prosthetic digital camcorder eye. He is told to expect some “glitches” when looking through his new eye, and because the eye is in experimental status he will be recorded for the duration of the trials. Things escalate from there rather quickly, which is a common theme with this movie. He begins to see these “glitches” in terms of dead people roaming his home and scaring the bejesus out of him. First person POV absolutely capitalizes off of this, as our protagonist is forever looking away only to turn around and ‘gasp’ dead person! Still the story line was fairly enjoyable, but like most films in this series, it ends abruptly with the viewer asking him/herself well what just happened?

Truly disturbing imagery


The next short “A Ride in the Park” involves a young man web-casting his adventure trail bike ride, most likely for some video blog or podcast, when he encounters a screaming woman out in the woods crying for help. In an effort to try and console the woman, she cries out that her and her boyfriend had been attacked before she falls victim to violent retching convulsions. The man notices some ominous shambling, some yards away and sees some apparently sick and ‘not right ‘ people moving towards him.  Trying to get the woman to safety, she violently and unexpectedly attacks him, biting and tearing at him. If you haven’t guessed by now, I’ll come out and say it, we are now watching a zombie movie.

Things escalate quickly , and we now have a first person POV of our young protagonist as he is turned into one of the denizens of the undead at the onset of a zombie outbreak. Now I’m not averse to zombie movies, and I appreciate the fact that they stay true to some of the more traditional of the zombie precepts, but I didn’t much care for this film. First person attacks full of blood, vomit, and disemboweling just gets a little gross, and the first person POV almost humanizes the plight of this undead  moron. All this combined with the growing sense of vertigo from all the shaky hand camera work you have been subjected to up to this point  may have you reaching for your shaky hand vomit bucket.

But the troublesome reality of this film  is that zombies are so dumb. They are the dumbest thing we have roaming around our woods, and the fact this outbreak begins in the woods seems dumber still. If I’m approached by a zombie, I have ample time to climb a tree. They forget you are even there after five minutes. Zombies have the worst ADHD. What’s the max number of zombies in the woods at any given time? No scratch that what’s the max number of living human being in the woods at any given time? In 2013, like maybe 2? Zombies are only threatening in the city, because there are no trees to climb, no wide open spaces to run down, and no lakes you can get on. Zombies can’t climb, run or swim everyone wants to forget that. So the film didn’t really speak to me, but for those horror buffs who can’t get enough of zombies you may enjoy “A Ride in the Park”


V/H/S/2 has 2 other short films included in it, with the best still yet to come. Check back in tomorrow as we continue our weekend long review of Movie Night at the Rec Hall where we will finish V/H/S/2, and still lots more to come. Lock those shutters up and Good Night from you Head Counselor.

Tags: Ghost, Movie Night at the Rec Hall, Zombies, VHS2, Horror Camp

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Camp Announcements -- Halloween Extravaganza

-Contributed by Luke Merrill



Horror Camps most celebrated of holidays has arrived once again. Not to be outdone we at Horror Camp have blown our entire seasonal budget in order to celebrate this most joyous of occasions. Did we spend it on Party Favors, Funny Hats, Candy maybe? No, we rented the most expensive Hi-def Projection equipment and most pixelizing blu-ray media entertainment our meager budget can afford. 

That's right Horror Camp plans on celebrating the entire holiday weekend, watching the newest and latest Hi-def that is currentlly availiable to rent from your local video stores. We're going to let that old VHS equipment gather another layer of dust, as we settle in and experience splatter and gore in glorious 1080p.

Be sure to check in periodically over the weekend to see reviews of new contemporary films, that we at Horror Camp would otherwise be unable to view. Enjoy the Holidays, limit your demon summoning rituals to one a day, and try not to pilfer to much from your little monster's treat basket.

Happy Viewings and Happy Halloween from your Head Conselor. NILBOG!

photo uploaded by deedeeflower from fanpop.com

Tags: Halloween, Movie Night at the Rec Hall, Camp Announcements

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Movie Night at the Rec Hall -- Monster Squad



-Contributed by Luke Merrill



There was a feel good movie about a group of social misfits banding together to confront a threat that adults don’t understand while getting into adventures set to a rockin 80’s soundtrack. That movie was of course the goonies. But shortly after the goonies there was the monster squad. Released in ’87, The Monster Squad is the feel good adventure romp that squared a group of kids who preferred monster lore to studying their science books. These kids get mixed up in a plot for the undead legions of monsters to overthrow the balance of good and evil, led by the undead king of the night, Dracula himself.

Although Dracula and vampires are making quite a comeback, (and they’ve never been more sexy) with shows such as, Twilight, True Blood, and the new Dracula series, which places Dracula in a more stylized and seductive era. The Movie “Monster Squad” place Dracula at the height of his power, commanding dominion over all the lesser forms of the undead, and decked out in his very stylish Victorian era suit and black cape, red liner included. It’s very striking.

Dracula in an effort to tip the scales of good and evil plans to destroy an indestructible amulet, which is the epitome of total good, at its weakest moment which comes once every hundred years. That nosey adventurer Van Helsing has other plans and crashes the party to incite an ancient ritual that causes the amulet to tear a hole into the very fabric of time and space to create a portal to limbo which will banish all evil from our plane of existence. That was over a hundred years ago.

Cut to modern day, it is now 1987, Dracula is back and summons the creatures of the night, such as the wolfman, the mummy, Frankenstein’s monster, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon, in an attempt to reacquire the amulet and destroy it, so his kind can take back the night and rule it unopposed for millennia to come. So who can stop such a star powered cadre of evil, the police, the army, the national guard? No way, only a group of junior high kids and their dog can recognize and handle this threat effectively. That’s right when monsters strike it’s time to call in the monster squad.

But not all is as hopeless as it seems, the monster squad is composed of some real heavy hitters. You have Sean, the no-nonsense leader of the group who is the first to recognize this threat for what it really is, his best friend Patrick who’s hot older sister  is constantly in a state of dress/undress  at the window across from the club’s tree fort, Fat Kid, aka My name is Horace, whose hunger and constant apprehensive whining comes in handy at the oddest intervals, and Rudy, quite unarguably the coolest kid in junior high, decked out in his leather jacket, fingerless gloves, and dark sunglasses. I know, I know why would a cool kid like Rudy be hanging out with these misfits, but just remember what I said about Patrick’s older sister constantly undressing next to their tree fort and it starts to make sense.


They pick up more members along the way like Creepy German Guy, who’s is really not as scary as everyone thinks,  Eugene, the best dressed 7yr old I’ve ever come across( those robotech PJ’s are awesome), and Phoebe, Sean’s supposedly annoying little sister, who’s friendship with Frankenstein and virginity are crucial to the movies finale. Phoebe is played awesomely by Ashley Bank, whose scream could rival that of the late Carrie Henn of the Aliens franchise.

Lou Romano's rendition of the Monster Squad

Suffice it to say this group deftly and comedicly outmaneuvers the machinations of Dracula and his cadre of evil in the Movie Monster Squad and has to be the feel-good kids action adventure romp of that time. You won’t find movies of this type out in theaters these days, which is why it is perfect to show at Horror Camp. Although suffering from some slight potty mouth, the flick is age-appropriate for junior high kids. The special effects and monster costumes are awesome, a modern (or so to say 1987 modern) tribute to the costumes utilized in the creature feature flicks that spawned these ghouls back in the 30’s and 40’s.

 Monster Squad is absolutely enjoyable, and I can think of no reasons not to watch it, so if you missed the screening at Horror Camp rent or stream a copy for yourself. I believe it is being feature on Comcast’s OnDemand for the remainder of the month.  Check it out and let us know how Monster Squad made you feel.


 The Movie Trailer

Tags: Monster Squad, Movie Night at the Rec Hall, Dracula, Wolfman, Frankenstein