Friday, December 17, 2010
Here is a top ten of Holiday season films that people reading this blog can actually watch without suffering any emetic side-effects whatsoever!
10/ Let's start our countdown with "Santa vs. Satan"; a spooky little children's Christmas story where Santa comes up against Pitch, an invisible devil determined to persuade children to do nasty things by telling them that Santa is indeed a bloody murderer!
9/ Next is "Don't open until Christmas". Don't expect a masterpiece! A British look on scary Christmas with a killer targeting Santas all around.
8/ We have two with similar titles but different stories. In number 8 "Silent Night, Bloody Night". 40 years ago on Christmas day something happened, something that forced this mysterious killer take his revenge...
7/ Not actually better that the latter but not being able to resist a killer Santa "Silent Night, Deadly Night" is at number 7. What's interesting about this one is that there was actually a protest against the idea of Santa killing anyone!
6/ Up next is "Christmas Evil". It gives a new meaning to the phrase "He knows if you've been bad or good". Our Santa is a regular guy who loves Christmas and would to anything to make sure that next year we'll all be good...
5/ As far as scary is concerned this is it: "Black Christmas". Just don't pick up the phone, you never know who's calling and where from..
4/ No introduction for this one! "Child's Play". I just love Chucky!!!
3/ On the softer note "Gremlins".Why do Children never listen to anyone?
2/ Not so scary but definitely funny "Scrooged". His idea of Christmas was so nicely twisted I wonder why he became such a target!
1/ If you agree or not I simply don't care. My number one is none other than "Nightmare Before Christmas". No matter what you think of it you must agree that the idea of kidnapping Santa before Christmas was brilliant. Just imagine how that went with children!
So there it is, my list. I really would like your input. And for those of you who prefer reading to watching, Top Ten Scary Christmas Stories is coming up soon..
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
Season 6 of the series and the drama goes on!
As anticipated Sam is back, or is he? Well something is back!
Eight episodes in the series and god is nowhere to be found. Rebellious angels roam the earth having given in to temptation and using every divine weapon imaginable. Demons are loose with no shepherd as well. Heaven and hell in turmoil and human kind stuck in the middle being collateral damage.
I'm liking the idea of angels with human pettiness acting like abandoned children trying to get the attention of the absent father, playing with their “toys” without caring about the consequences.
Just stop bringing people back from the dead!
Monday, November 8, 2010
Aliens visiting earth in ancient times giving them the gift of building and in return asking for worship and human sacrifice.
Friday, November 5, 2010
Night of the Living Dead the 1968 indie classic directed by George Romero is the independent black-and-white horror film that turned zombies into a cultural phenomenon. and managed to create a whole sub-genre in horror, while bravely sporting a black protagonist. Also and despite being a deeply political low-budget film, Night of the Living Dead was a major hit both with audiences and critics. Then again, if you are reading this very blog, you're probably aware of all that and we'll spare you the history lesson.
What you might have missed though is the fact that Night of the Living Dead is now in the public domain and you can either watch it for free below or even download it from this place. We're letting you know because a) we're nice like that, b) we love free stuff.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
But still, I built up my courage and sat to watch seven episodes in a row...
I was hoping for a new twist of things or maybe something different to make me change my mind and begin to see it in a different eye. In a nutshell I was hoping for a miracle!
No miracle here...
Same old, same old. After the first episode I started watching the rest in fast forward, again! Nothing to sparkle any kind of interest. Nothing new or unexpected. Nothing to persuade me that this is anything else but a poor attempt to transfer a (not so good if I may say) film on TV and gain from its success (which I do not really understand!).
I will, against my better judgment, keep on watching the series. I will keep on putting myself through this. Not because I expect anything to change or because I have time to waste, but because I would love nothing more than to have the chance to write more pieces like this one in the future!
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
The Walking Dead, the TV version of it to be precise, premiered this very Halloween on TV, and though I really don't know whether it was a commercial success or not, I must admit this was way better than anything I expected. The first episode showcased the series' faithfulness to the -excellent- original material, its well casted actors, the rather amazing production values and some of the best zombies you've ever seen. It's the first time since Romero's early masterpieces that the undead have been depicted in such a beautiful, terrifying and sadly human way.
This also happens to be the first modern horror TV series that, despite targeting the mainstream, chooses a sedate character-centric pace and prefers to develop its setting instead of focusing on a barrage of action scenes. Oh, and it's far gorier than expected.
The plot, centering on a contemporary sheriff's deputy who wakes up in a hospital right after the zombie apocalypse destroyed everything he knew, is, well, truly interesting and will not be spoiled here. I will though let you know that things will very soon pick up and that the simple struggle for survival against zombies will very soon turn into a story about human passion, bravery and -mostly- the evil that men do.
Monday, November 1, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Some people, especially those that haven't actually read this particular short story, should actually go on and read the thing. It's a Poe classic, it is. For the rest of us, the video posted above should be a particularly interesting interpretation of the Tell-Tale Heart. It's a highly atmospheric 1953 animated short narrated by James Mason. Shockingly, this very video was the very first cartoon to be rated adults-only in the UK.
Friday, October 15, 2010
I was so excited when I heard that Wes Craven's classic “Nightmare on Elm Street” was about to have a baby sibling, at the same time though, memories of the original started popping in my head. Was the remake going to be as satisfying as the original? Was it going to be better or was I heading for another disappointment?
So, I went on and prepared a little crash test for you!
Good special effects and a storyline not too far from the original. Nice casting and quite believable performances. The director Samuel Bayer managed to capture part of the atmosphere and I'm pretty sure that people who hadn't seen the original would be pleased with the outcome.
The element of surprise! The first time ever that Freddy Krueger makes his appearance! Not knowing what to expect and where that is gonna come from. The perfect man, Robert Englund, as Freddy and Johnny Depp's film debut! The chills you get when you hear Freddy's song for the first time....
Score: 2 – 4
Thursday, October 14, 2010
The Walking Dead series will premier this very Halloween and to say that we here in the Chamber are excited is an understatement. Then again you should have guessed that. The following making of documentary should get you in the appropriate mood too. The show looks more than promising.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Friday, October 1, 2010
And so I did. I've watched three whole episodes and I dare say that I am ready.
Cleverly playing with the title, “Lost Girl” introduces us to a world where the “Fae” (meaning all supernatural creatures) are divided into two groups, the dark and the light. Having been hidden since birth, a succubus named Bo finds her self being the object of desire of both sides. After passing tests and getting a crash course on what it is to be a fae she decides not to chose sides, but to remain neutral having a human on her side. And even though everything seems to be running smoothly the audience is made aware that the girl has a secret destiny that even she is not aware of.
Not a fan of the cast or the plot so far, but I've decided to hold my horses and give it the benefit of the doubt before I start being my usual self.
So bare with me for a while and I'll get back to you.
Friday, September 24, 2010
Our more faithful readers should remember the gory Walking Dead comic books, that rather excellent take on zombies and humanity's contemporary tendencies for self-destruction. Well, good news everyone! The Walking Dead TV series is just around the corner and seems to be more promising than a particularly promising thing. The first episode of the six episode series will premier this Halloween (Oct. 31) and will introduce viewers to a dark, gory, shockingly violent, (at times) touching, cruel, zombie-infested, post-apocalyptic world, and the rag-tag group of survivors that will be the seeries' protagonists.
At the helm of the how you will pleased to find director-writer-producer Frank Darabond (The Green Mile, The Shawshank Redemption), who is supported by a talented cast, that includes Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies, Laurie Holden, Jeffrey DeMunn, Steven Yeun and Emma Bell.
To find out more about the Walking Dead you could do much worse than visit its content-packed official site. Imdb also sports some useful info, though you'd better start by taking a look at this lovely trailer:
Thursday, September 23, 2010
A film by Chan-wook Park, the writer-director of Oldboy, sporting a vampiric priest and erotic themes couldn't possibly go wrong, could it? Well, to my great surprise and even greater disappointment, it apparently could. And quite spectacularly did, for Thirst is a sub-par horror movie, that tries a little too hard to appear as some sort of deep and meaningful piece of filmic art, which frankly it is not.
Then again, as certain people tend to mistake a slow pace for true art, we can rest assured that these lost souls enjoyed the movie despite its convoluted and banal plot. Said plot is not only unspectacular and quite contrived, but also sports one of those oh-so-fashionable modern, touchy, emo vampires. Being a horror film of course we could overlook such genre cliches, but Thirst takes itself far too seriously to revel in the banality. There is no self-mockery to be found here. Thirst tries to be deep, thoughtful, sensual and all it manages is feel overdrawn.
After watching the thing I was sure it had lasted for more than two hundred minutes, which it clearly hadn't.
Seems I am easily bored by just another well mannered vampire, with a strong Christian faith no less, that effortlessly manages to overcome its new nature in stark contrast to its more, well, vampiric girlfriend. And the fact that the protagonist was sort of an ur-vampire created by a failed medical experiment didn't help at all and all the great acting and brilliant cinematography went to waste. For shame.
Monday, September 20, 2010
This is the week when everything starts again.
I've loaded my DVD player with all the films I have to watch, circled all the TV premieres and put aside all the books that need to be read.
I'm excited but at the same time oh, so scared!
There will be suffering but there will also be great pleasure....
O.K. then, here we go!
Monday, September 6, 2010
As a matter of fact the last vampire movie I enjoyed was Coppola's Dracula and that was a looong time ago.
There is some kind of innocence in those black and white movies or even the early colored ones that made the difference. The commanding presence of the tall and lean and ever so intriguing figure of a vampire, with only blood and survival in his mind. The cape, the make-up, the costumes, the music, the era itself, which made those films dark, romantic and me reminiscent.
I miss the incomparable cemetery scenes, caskets opening, creaking, damsels screaming for their lives.
The idea of a monster hiding under my bed or even in my closet waiting, lurking.
And as the song goes....
White on white translucent black capes
Back on the rack
Bela Lugosi's dead
The bats have left the bell tower
The victims have been bled
Red velvet lines the black box
Bela Lugosi's dead
Undead undead undead
The virginal brides file past his tomb
Strewn with time's dead flowers
Bereft in deathly bloom
Alone in a darkened room
Bela Lugosi’s dead
Undead undead undead
Thursday, August 19, 2010
What do I have to say about it? Well, I have new found respect for True Blood!
Yes, yes, I know I was the one ripping it to pieces a few weeks ago, but, partly due to its rather surprising bouncing back to normal this season, and partly due to knowing what else is out there, yes, I do have new found respect!
What can one say about the tragedy called Vampire Diaries? A lot, trust me!
Lame high school dialogues, teenagers in heat and the same old drama of a “good natured” vampire struggling to connect to his human side.
My personal struggle? To find anything remotely interesting about this.
A love triangle is the main feature of the first (and hopefully last) season. People looking like vampires, vampires walking around in sunlight (where have I seen that before...?), witches helping vampires and then hating them, and I don't know what else, makes for a very painful pastime.
What was worse than watching the first episode, was the idea that I had to watch the rest in order to have a rounded opinion. And I did (in fast forward mostly). I actually went through it and I'm not proud.
The things I do for you all!
Thursday, August 12, 2010
As far as classic horror movies go The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Das Kabinett des Doktor Caligari) is the oldest -possibly most important too- of the lot. It was, after all, shot back in 1920 and could easily be the first horror movie ever created, though I really can't be sure of such things. Mind you, most the internet does believe this to be the case, so I guess further research isn't what matters right now.
What actually matters, you see, is that you dear lovers of horror, German expressionism and wild, romantic film-making absolutely watch this masterpiece. The film is now happily a public domain work of art and can be freely and very legally downloaded from the Internet Archive.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
I am a huge fan of George Romero's work; really am. And I frankly believe that his zombie movies, the same movies that actually established the zombie sub-genre in horror, are some of the most interesting, unique, smart, innovative and politically intriguing horror movies ever created. The Night of the Living Dead was unique in featuring a black protagonist and anti-racist overtones back in 1968, the Dawn of the Dead was harsh in its critique of consumerist society, Day of the Dead openly mocked armies, the Land of the Dead was the only zombie-based class drama ever shot, and all of them were great films with proper characters, interesting plots and wise scares.
George Romero's 2009 zombie flick Survival of the Dead, on the other hand, is far less than spectacular. Actually, it's a right-out disappointment, that fails on so many levels, it actually managed to shock me. This is sub-standard, uninspired b-movie fare, and I simply didn't see it coming.
First of all, you see, gone are the political undertones and the original ideas in the already tired sub-genre, and in are most major zombie movie cliches. Then there's the inclusion of some dire attempts at slapstick humour, and an even more desperate attempt to test some cardboard, soap-opera inspired characters, which -surprise, surprise- miserably fail to create any sort of empathy. Oh, and in case you were wondering the plot sports gigantic holes and is roughly as interesting as watching school kids remake Romeo and Juliet. Adding the fact that the movie doesn't even try to scare anyone, well, I guess it would be safe to say this is something you'll most probably want to avoid.
It doesn't even get the atmosphere right! Seems like someone forgot to put the needed amount of zombies in it...
And, please, don't get me started on that curing the zombies subplot. Or the miserably and decidedly unfunny slapstick ending to some originally promising scenes. It simply makes me sad. George Romero deserves much better than that.
Monday, August 9, 2010
I decided to read everything in the order that was written and so I read and read, thinking to myself "just how cruel can he be"? Little did I know; I simply had no idea of just how much...
It was time for “The Pit and the Pendulum”, one of his few works that had no sign of the supernatural, and the critics were diverse. Some said that it was one of his softer pieces because of the ending. I was intrigued so I set out to read it, see what everyone was talking about and decide for myself.
When I was done, I realized that he could be crueler than I ever thought! This was a writer that had hooked all his readers in pain and unspeakable horror, but this was soooo different. I am actually writing this, in order to give an alternative interpretation to what Poe had in mind when he wrote this. Agree or not, this is how my poor little mind worked.
The pit, all bloody and haunted by the hundreds of lives it had already claimed, the man, mortified and seeing the end approaching inch by inch, and the pendulum, all set up and ready to harvest yet another soul. I kept reading and I must say it was the first time I ever identified as strongly as I did with the victim. The pendulum was there just a mere second away from giving the final blow and rendering the only finale fitting. I could taste the desperation, smell the fear, hear the sound of the final sway when... oh horror of horrors, a hand reached out and he was saved.
A happy ending? If thats not cruel, I don't know what is.
Friday, July 30, 2010
Tim Burton's 1982 darkly sardonical Vincent, the beautiful short animated film you can see above, is both visually stunning and a rather unique stop-motion film that also is a poem. What's more, and apart from the excellent Vincent Price narration, you can even spot an early Jack Skellington in there. Well, can you?
Thursday, July 22, 2010
A beautiful collage of Gothic tales with an excellent introduction covering questions such as “what is gothic?”, The Oxford Book of Gothic Tales makes for an excellent holiday companion. Authors like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Allan Poe, Thomas Hardy, Jorge Luis Borges, Angela Carter and others cover almost every era of the genre.
Since we all have personal favorites I'm sure that you will not all agree with the stories chosen representing every one of these authors. Nevertheless, this collection of horror – ghost stories is a smart way to initiate beginners to the beautiful dark and romantic world of goth.
Eerie settings, cursed souls, brave and honorable heroes who come to their untimely demise or prevail against all odds. Scary and passionate, dark and profoundly disturbing, each story speaks of the ill minds of their writers and the agony of their existence.
If you are seeking for something nice and relaxing to read during your vacation, this is not recommended, but if you, by any chance, are as addicted to decay as some of us, then rest assured that this book will get you there...
P.S: Have a gloomy and frightful summer children!
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
H.P. Lovecraft was much more than a brilliant and innovative writer and way much more than an unstoppable letter-writing machine. He was an insightful literary critic too, a talent helped by the breadth of his knowledge and his deeply misanthropic outlook. Don't be mistaken though; criticism is something far more important than simply deriding or suggesting a text. When it's done well, it aims to shape a medium or a movement, and that is the reason why HPL's Supernatural Horror in Literature is an excellent and definitive piece on horror.
The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown. These facts few psychologists will dispute, and their admitted truth must establish for all time the genuineness and dignity of the weirdly horrible tale as a literary form. Against it are discharged all the shafts of a materialistic sophistication which clings to frequently felt emotions and external events, and of a naively insipid idealism which deprecates the aesthetic motive and calls for a didactic literature to uplift the reader toward a suitable degree of smirking optimism. But in spite of all this opposition the weird tale has survived, developed, and attained remarkable heights of perfection; founded as it is on a profound and elementary principle whose appeal, if not always universal, must necessarily be poignant and permanent to minds of the requisite sensitiveness.
Monday, July 19, 2010
So, this is a tribute to my all time favorite horror film parody “Young Frankenstein”...
Maybe it was the excellent performance by Gene Wilder or the colossal talent of Marty Feldman or even the pure genius of Mel Brooks which makes this film one of the best. Whatever it was, it's one of the few this writer can watch repeatedly, time and time again laughing as hard as the first one and waiting with the same -if not greater- anticipation for the favorite line...
Word games, witty comebacks, smart tricks and just the face of Marty Feldman make this unique.
Black and white to add the the thrill of the story, the classic tale of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley meets the mind of Mel Brooks and as a result a classic film is created.
It's not that I don't enjoy what the film industry has to offer these days, it's just that when I 'm home wanting to relax and have a good laugh, this is one of the first movies that come to mind...
To make a long story short, if you already have this DVD in your collection you know exactly what I'm talking about. If you don't, I seriously urge you to run to your nearest shop and buy a copy!
P.S: There wolf, there castle...
Thursday, July 15, 2010
What can one say about the hit series Supernatural?
The first season unveiled a promising world of ghosts and unearthly creatures backed up by a starting point, which slowly made sense throughout the season introducing us to the drama of the Winchester family.
Second season and the all absent father makes his appearance, as the story of a cursed family is now fully on display (or so we thought).
Third season and the mythology changes as demons take over almost every episode, but still the story unravels with more focus on the the family itself and the importance of the little brother's destiny.
Fourth season and here is when it starts going south... People came back from hell, angels appear fighting with demons fighting with mortals fighting with each other whilst the viewer tries to make sense of a family story now made more complex .
And the plot thickens, people die, come back, die again and come back vigilant. This back and forth along with a lot more comic elements than in the previews seasons (not so comic if I may say) and a long hard search for God, makes for an even souther 5th season.
Series finale? But the boys save the world of course by stopping the Apocalypse without delivering the happy ending everyone was expecting, but with a hint of God's presence and help along the way. And while this season was announced to be the last of the series, there has been rumor of a 6th one since a small window was left open at the very last scene.
Would it be wise to feed viewer's expectations for yet another season? Hard to tell. One thing's for sure though, save for the last two seasons it was a force to be reckoned with.
PS: Just please leave God and the commuting to hell and back aside!
Quoth the Raven
Friday, July 9, 2010
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Monday, July 5, 2010
Based on H.P. Lovecraft's classic short story of the same name, Call of Cthulhu is a classic table-top role playing game by Chaosium, that manages to capture the maddening, dark, terrifying and hopeless atmosphere of the original. It also is a rare RPG with truly simple rules, that urges you to play as a fragile professor or a decadent dilettante rather than a hairy barbarian with a huge sword. And if you don't know what an RPG is, well, have a look here, but trust me when I say that Call of Cthulhu is both an excellent game and a truly great read, and that I've yet to meet someone who appreciates horror that hasn't enjoyed his or her encounter with this sort of game.
Anyway. Follow this link and download the free 20-page introductory PDF to Call of Cthulhu. The booklet contains everything you need to start playing (besides friends and dice, that is), as it provides all the basic rules, character generation guidelines, a brief overview of the Cthulhu universe and an introductory adventure.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
The Walking Dead, you see, sports the Romero kind of zombie and, beside sporting some excellent, complicated and realistic characters, manages to come up with an intriguing critique of mankind's brutality, simultaneously with a celebration of its greatest moments. After all, in any good zombie story, the zombies are not the main, let alone the only, adversary, and all post-apocalyptic worlds can be a literary social testbed. The tons of gore and gripping, at times deeply disturbing, plot can thus be considered a lovely bonus to a dark vision of humanity.
I strongly suggest you have a look at the official The Walking Dead website. You can also grab copies of The Walking Dead via Amazon.
Monday, June 21, 2010
Does it really work though?
Quoth the Raven