Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Scream Queens Episode 3 "Chainsaw"

The body count rises!

We took a quick survey after this third episode of Scream Queens and it is turning out to be the favored slasher show among the Overlook regulars. I also found out that I was not the only one just enjoying the watch, not looking for clues and taking note of where people are at what time. That was fun to do during Scream, but Scream Queens is more of a sit back and watch the blood flow kind of treat. And that is not to say that the show doesn't have its own intelligent quarks because it's got no shortage of horror references and homages to some of the greats. 

What is it about Scream Queens that just insists that you watch, enjoy, and heckle the choices characters make? What made Scream the polar opposite? Casting for sure; Scream had an all unknown cast with a few exceptions. We didn't know these people very well, so there was really no way to tell what kind of show they would be in or what their characters were prone to doing. Now in Scream Queens we have caricatures of the roles that these actors are type casted as: Ariana Grande played an airhead like she also did in Sam and Cat, Emma Roberts plays a mean bitch like she did in American Horror Story and everything she's been in, Lea Michele plays a competitive and over excited fangirl like she did in Glee. Everyone knows their roles and knows how to make them good. This show is also much better at embracing the possibility for comedy in the slasher genre. The entire script is a tribute to the bloody subgenre, but in an all inclusive kind of way. The comedy is almost stronger than the horror aspects, but those are still strong. But also, Scream Queens isn't hiding anything. Within the two weeks the show has been on the air, we've already been given reason to suspect everyone and we also know that there are at least two killers. Or at least two people who walk around in the now banned Red Devil costume with chainsaws and fight people.

Scream Queens is putting a new twist on everything; they are treating the 90's as its own genre and switching who does what in the story. Like I mentioned last week, there are a ton of role reversals written into this show, most notably the male and female characters. That's why we have a female dean who unapologetically hits on the father of one of her students, and a fraternity who are close nurturing friends while their opposing sorority does nothing but haze each other. The kills on this show are crazy, like dismembered by a chainsaw with blood squirting everywhere crazy, but the fact that this particular death was so similar to one often quoted part of a Monty Python movie made it more comedy than intense gruesome murder. And once again, the music selections in this episode reinforced the 90's genre appreciation.

Scream Queens is a much more transparent show; it's not really hiding much from us and giving us everything we want right away. I think it's best to just enjoy it with some friends!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Overlook Theatre Review's, Eli Roth's: The Green Inferno

of 10 viewers "Liked" "The Green Inferno" (USA, 2015)
Here's what the citizens of the Overlook Theatre had to say:

Math Mage - "Four stars but I actually don't know what to say. I could mention Chekov's everything, or the ambiguous stance on activism, or how the guy in black really liked The Berkeley Blazer's hip bone (one of the students looked a lot like TBB), or the great job of keeping the cannibals human (they eat people but it's just part of their culture). Ghost panthers, the little girl getting pissed at her boyfriend for running off with another woman, terrible CG ants. This movie had a lot of cool stuff, but if it was trying to be about something, I missed it." - 4 Stars (This review was constructed from a series of texts)

The Berkeley Blazer - "As a horror movie Green Inferno works, but Roth also tries to use the film to criticize activism. He has publicly expressed a dislike of "slacktavists" and social media justice warriors. Fare enough, yet the film targets characters actually willing to risk their lives for a cause, and uses a cannibal horror homage as a vehicle for that criticism? It comes across as hypocritical and juvenile. thematic considerations aside, the tribe was actually portrayed in an interesting way. While the feeding scenes were grizzly, one got the sense that this was a coherent culture who just happened to have eating enemies as one of their customs. Ultimately this is a silly movie that is worth watching if you're a horror fan. It's just hard to take Roth's attempts at saying anything of substance very seriously." - 3 Stars

Lord Battle - "It's amazing that we actually get to see a film like The Green Inferno in theaters. It's not a perfect film but then again, it might be. Eli Roth is an auteur and not just in the sense that all his films contain frat boys drinking, air-heads flashing, and everyone smoking. Roth manifests as a dark humor that floats throughout his films and every time you get caught up in the horror and mayhem, Eli winks at you. The Green Inferno not only does the genre proud, it elevates it." - 5 Stars

KillDozer - "Don't you just love when a movie is everything you want it to be?! Eli Roth gives us exactly what we expect, a true and sincere love letter to the cannibal exploitation films of the 70's and 80's. all the bases are covered with plenty of social commentary on war to women's rights. Green Inferno also has that Eli Roth touch that can keep the audience laughing while reminding everyone that as serious as the story gets, or how horrible the torture, that "it's only a move" and that it's okay to have a good time. there was awful and unnecessary CG but it was easily forgivable even though in my opinion it was the worst torture show in screen. Beautiful cinematography and amazing editing, the colors pull you in and the editing often has a way of building anticipation. It is obvious that Eli is very self aware and receives major bonus points for also listing the most noteworthy cannibal i=films in the credits, hopefully inspiring the younger "new horror nerd" to go out and research where this all comes from. I must also note that I witnessed not one but 2 people walk out of the packed theatre in disgust during the first kill, which is a rare urban myth that you rarely get to see." - 5 Stars (Collection worthy and worth the wait)

Huntress - "I would fully support Eli Roth taking on all of the genres that have become either too outdated or ridiculous for mainstream directors, especially after seeing how he was able to bring cannibalism into a modern day light and tie it in with other more relevant topics. After watching The Green Inferno, I believe that he can breath new life into anything, give it an Eli Roth touch of absurd humor (which I saw in one character in particular during this film), and create movies that satisfy people's craving for something different from the same old stuff that big studios put out. The Green Inferno was able to fill a decent sized theatre on a Thursday night, which says a lot. It made my jaw drop during several scenes and I can't wait to own a copy." - 4.5 Stars

Ice Giant - "Waiting for this movie for so long had built up my expectations so high I was worried no movie would be able to live up to it... I'm glad I was wrong, the unknowns Eli Roth got to act in the movie all played their parts excellently and the cinematography was gorgeous. Imagining being one of those people was truly terrifying and the actors portrayed that fear perfectly. I love all of Eli Roth's movies but this one by far stands out as his greatest movie yet." - 5 Stars

The Creature of the ComiCombs - "Green Inferno is a very intense film. I liked the dark humor spread throughout and if you've seen any of Eli Roth's films you'll know what to expect. The situation that these college students found themselves in was terrifying, I was scared for them. The gore is awesome here. The first major kill is brutal and does a great job of giving you a sense of terror that stays with you until the end. There were a few thing that I wasn't too fond of. The use of cg was minimal but in one scene it was not necessary and took away from the rest of the scene. The ending was the biggest problem for me, the final scene could have been cut from the film and it would have worked. That being said, I highly enjoyed this and recommend everyone to check it out." - 4 Stars

B4DK - "Oh damn! A must see and not for the weak stomached. Super ridiculous in a very positive way. I haven't cringed like this in awhile. Absolutely satisfied as I left the theater. Brutal!" - 4 Stars \m/

The Impostor - "By far my favorite Eli Roth film, hands down. Well worth the wait it's been pushed back off and on for about two years. I was worried we would never see this film. Now that it's finally released I had to see it opening night and I felt like I was on a super intense roller coaster. Lead actress Lorenza Izzo did a great job in her role, there were scenes where I felt like I feel her pain and fear through the screen. The cinematography is stunning as well as the creepy location they shot the jungle the cannibals lived. I highly enjoyed this film starts off slow but it builds quite nicely. Gruesome, gory, and intense situations. The Green Inferno exceeds my expectations." - 5 Stars

The Overlook Theatre Final Rating*
(Below is for after you've seen the film)

2015 is no stranger to nostalgia. In fact, we are in a time where nostalgia is celebrated constantly and yet we rarely see a film like The Green Inferno. Eli Roth has not only created a film that properly celebrates what he loves, he's elevated it. When trying to explain the artistry displayed in The Green Inferno I always start with this example: there's a scene that most horror fans hate, it showcases a bunch of CG ants crawling all over one of the male characters. The ants look like they were generated in the late 90's and appear to be doing nothing in the way of harming this man, they merely crawl all over him while he's screaming like a blade is being twisted in his back. Later we return to the character to find they hadn't even killed him. Everyone was bewildered at the thought of purposely leaving the poor CGI in the film. There are a couple other moments that feature a panther that also has a fairly obvious CG-sheen. The panther is important though, because he is explained to be a good omen or perhaps a sign that maybe nature too favors the foolish and drunk.

Now why shoot the film in South America only to have nature represented by poor CGI? I'd say nature isn't represented by its animals, it's represented by its people. When we first arrive in the natives' village we are presented with one of the most beautiful and horrifying scenes in film. The village and its inhabitants lie in between the forest and the river. This creates a beautiful color contrast of deep green from the trees, a mellow blue-green from the river, and a vibrant red from the natives. The blood red tribe moves like an intelligent mist, floating above the ground and driven by a force only the elements could harness. The real wrath of nature is displayed here and jarring CGI won't pull us out of the film and save us this time.

I don't want to speculate too much as to what is homage and what is humor so in closing I'll say this: Roth's homage to one of the most brutal exploitation genres  has managed to paint its subject in a sympathetic light. This is an idea that threads itself though the whole genre, yet this is the first time it's ever truly succeeded. And what might be more impressive is that a large part of the audience may care about the main characters (at least some of them), a feat that seemed impossible and unnecessary by previous standards!

Below I've selected 5 questions from Eli Roths "Ask Me Anything" on Reddit.

1. Are you still in contact with the people of the Amazon that were in your movie? If so do you think they will get to see The Green Inferno?

Roth - "Our producer Gustavo went back there and everyone wants us to make a sequel. I want to do a screening for them, but we'd have to go back and bring a generator and show."

2. Did you have to appeal the rating of The Green Inferno by the MPAA at all? Did it originally get an NC-17?

Roth - "I can't tell you what a pleasure it is to work with the MPAA. Nobody sees it from where I'm sitting but all around the world they hack horror movies to pieces, only in the US do they really try to protect the integrity of the film and work with you. We had many long discussions about The Green Inferno but ultimately I was very happy with where we wound up. There's no director's cut, this is it. Everywhere else in the worldit's a government censorship board and they never protect violent movies because they want to be re-elected. In the US we have the MPAA which is a self-policing body and they're all movie lovers and understand what my audience wants to see. Their job is to help make a movie acceptable for theaters but also to warn parents about what's in it. We may disagree at times but we always have a reasonable discussion about it, not even an appeal. We just get on the phone and talk it out - no one else in the world does that. EVerywhere else they just cut it and say take it or don't release it."

3. What was the most challenging scene you've ever had to film?

Roth - "Inferno was so hard only because we were in this remote village in the amazon. It was 5 hours of travel every day, going in land rovers and then up the river 90 minutes. The day we threw Lorenza Izzo in the river was hard because we found a location that was washed away when we went back to film it. So we found a rock she could cling to but it almost pulled her under and she almost drowned. that sort of thing happened a lot. It was actually really scary."

4. Do you have any crazy stories you can tell us from the set of The Green Inferno?

Roth - "I tried to answer this but it diddn't post so I will try again. The first day of shooting in the village was the big arrival scene. All the kids were tied up in canoes and we had hundreds of villagers painted and ready to kill. And we have heads on sticks and dead bodies all over. And as I yell action two boats full of Missionaries showed up. They were certain that Satan had come to the village and freaked out. Then the villagers said "It's not Satan, Eli Roth is here making a horror film." They were so angry I had beaten them they started disrupting the filming by playing music. The village told them to come back when we were done. It was surreal. I of course tried to film it all but the villagers told me I had to back down, that it was a serious situation so we barely have footage of it."

5. Do you currently have a favorite horror movie?

Roth - "It Follows and Babadook."
Read the whole AMA here.

- Lord Battle

*Based on the star ratings turned in by character reviewers, others viewed and got to "Dislike" or "Like" but that does not effect the rating.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Bluray Tuesday!

September 29th 2015

Bluray Tuesday is back again, our favorite day of the week. Many titles are released today so it may be a bit pricey if you pick up all of these this week. Poltergeist remake will be in stores today. I have not checked this out, yet I am sure it's nowhere as good as the original. But I may check out soon. Best Buy will be carrying an exclusive for this title, a lenticular slip cover for the 3D edition. Best Buy's other exclusive this week is Rosamund Pike's of Gone Girl new thriller Return To Sender, this bluray is exclusive until it's released at all retailers December 1st. For the first time on bluray this week is Christine and Savage Weekend, both of which I look forward to owning in the near future. I have not seen Savage Weekend so it will be new for me. It looks interesting and with October just around the corner I will be watching horror all month long, even though I do this all year long. Rounding out the week is summer films Spy and Entourage and indie drama's Zipper and The Duke Of Burgundy. Friday Oct 2nd will be the release of Avengers Age Of Ultron finally on bluray! I can't wait to own this, I enjoyed it a lot in theaters. Best Buy will have exclusive steelbook packaging for this title with two to choose from the Ultron steel or Vision. What will you guys be buying, renting or skipping this week? Let us know in the comments and also check out our Instagram page Here. We love the comments and talking about horror and also have giveaways so check us out.

Poltergeist (2015) - Best Buy - $18.99
3D - Best Buy - $24.99

All seems well for Eric Bowen (Sam Rockwell), wife Amy (Rosemarie DeWitt) and their three children as they move into their new house in the suburbs of Illinois. Soon, youngest daughter Maddy (Kennedi Clements) begins talking to an imaginary friend, or so the family thinks. It's not long before sinister spirits wreak havoc in the home, holding Maddy captive and forcing the parents to consult a team of parapsychologists who engage the supernatural entities in a battle for the girl's freedom.

Poltergeist (Blu-ray) 

3D Edition
Poltergeist 3D (Blu-ray) 

Best Buy Exclusive Lenticular Slip
Poltergeist 3D (Blu-ray) 

Christine - Amazon - $14.99

Unpopular nerd Arnie Cunningham (Keith Gordon) buys a 1958 Plymouth Fury, which he names Christine. Arnie develops an unhealthy obsession with the car, to the alarm of his jock friend, Dennis Guilder (John Stockwell). After bully Buddy Repperton (William Ostrander) defaces Christine, the auto restores itself to perfect condition and begins killing off Buddy and his friends. Determined to stop the deaths, Dennis and Arnie's girlfriend, Leigh Cabot (Alexandra Paul), decide to destroy Christine.

Christine (Blu-ray) 

Savage Weekend (1976) - Amazon - $19.99

A weekend holiday turns into a living nightmare for five friends who become the victims of a crazed killer.  

Savage Weekend (Blu-ray) 

Cop Car: Amazon - $13.99

Two good-natured but rebellious young boys have claimed their independence and, unbeknownst to their families, ran away from home. Equipped with some beef jerky, they stroll through golden fields making their way towards a secluded glade where they find an abandoned cop car. Curious and excited, they explore the car, find the keys and take the car for a joyride. Their bad decision unleashes the ire of the car's owner, a county sheriff, who has left something of great value in the car and is desperate to get it back. A fast-paced game of cat-and-mouse ensues and the boys quickly discover that the fun is over and they are in way over their heads.

Cop Car (Blu-ray) 

Spy: Best Buy - $18.99

Despite having solid field training, CIA analyst Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) has spent her entire career as a desk jockey, working hand-in-hand with dashing agent Bradley Fine (Jude Law). Using high-tech equipment and a hidden earpiece, Susan is the guardian angel who helps Bradley avoid danger. However, when Bradley is assassinated by Bulgarian arms dealer Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrne), Susan wrangles her way into her first undercover assignment to help capture Boyanov and avenge Bradley.

Spy (Blu-ray) 

Entourage: Amazon - $19.99

While hanging with pals Eric (Kevin Connolly), Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) and Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon), movie star Vince Chase (Adrian Grenier) gets a phone call from Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven), his former agent, who now runs a major studio. Ari offers Vince the leading role in his first production, but the actor insists on also directing the film. Things get out of hand when the $100 million flick goes over budget, leaving Ari, Vince and the boys at the mercy of the cutthroat world of Hollywood.

Entourage (Blu-ray) 

Return To Sender: Best Buy - $12.99

A nurse living in small town goes on a blind date with a man who is not the person he says he is.

Return to Sender (Blu-ray) 

Zipper: Amazon - $9.99

Sam Ellis (Patrick Wilson) is a federal prosecutor with a future in politics and a wife who dreams of being first lady. After an encounter with an escort, Sam begins to spiral out of control and into an addiction that threatens to unravel his world.

Zipper (Blu-ray) 

The Duke Of Burgundy: Amazon - $24.99

Cynthia is an orthopterist who, through a strict and dictatorial fetish life behind closed doors, is seemingly firmly in control of her partner, Evelyn. As Evelyn's requests to be dominated become increasingly extreme, however, the true nature of their relationship begins to surface.

The Duke of Burgundy (Blu-ray)
Temporary cover art 

Avengers Age Of Ultron 3D: Amazon - $19.99
2D: Amazon - $17.99

When Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) jump-starts a dormant peacekeeping program, things go terribly awry, forcing him, Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and the rest of the Avengers to reassemble. As the fate of Earth hangs in the balance, the team is put to the ultimate test as they battle Ultron, a technological terror hell-bent on human extinction. Along the way, they encounter two mysterious and powerful newcomers, Pietro and Wanda Maximoff.

Avengers: Age of Ultron (Blu-ray) 

3D Edition
Avengers: Age of Ultron 3D (Blu-ray) 

Best Buy Steelbook
Avengers: Age of Ultron 3D - Ultron (Blu-ray)
Temporary cover art 

Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron (3D) (Blu-ray) (Digital HD) (Only @ Best Buy) (Ultron Steelbook) - Larger Front 

Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron (3D) (Blu-ray) (Digital HD) (Only @ Best Buy) (Vision Steelbook) - Larger Front

     -The Impostor 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Scream Queens: Pilot to Hell Week

Hi everyone! What did you guys think of the premiere episode of Scream Queens?? Judging from my Instagram feed and general air of social media, everyone was pretty taken with the show. I know we were and it only took the opening scene to get us hooked! So I’m not quite sure what kind of direction these write ups will take just yet, but to be on the safe side you should watch the episodes before reading. You’ve been warned.

So, as with MTV’s Scream, we had some initial doubts about this show. I think these mostly came from the fact that the same people who worked on Glee worked in it, so the Impostor was preparing himself for a musical or something similar. I had that thought at the back of my mind too, but hoped for the best. My comfort came from the fact that the original scream queen, Jaime Lee Curtis, approved of the show enough to be in it, and she hasn’t been in a ton of new movies. I didn’t get the “I’ll be in anything you hand me” vibe from her… the one I regularly get from Robert Englund… but that’s a different story. Scream Queens immediately grabbed the Overlook’s attention with its Mean Girls type characters and insane scenario in the opening scene. We were also surprised that they started off the show already killing people! Nobody we knew, but that’s a step in the right direction; they weren’t afraid to kill. And that was only the beginning!

Scream Queens does things a little differently than what we are all used to with the slasher genre; they seem to have reversed a lot of things. Lord Battle picked up on the feeling that all the female characters were ruthless and even a touch misogynistic (especially Dean Munsch and Chanel). These are traits we would generally associate with male characters. Same with the whole physical hazing aspect of the show, it’s usually more of a fraternity thing. The male characters in the show are instead close knit with each other, and are insanely egotistical. Chad, in particular, who just can’t help that everyone wants to sleep with him.

In these first 2 hours, Scream Queens has already made a handful of horror references and homages. The most obvious of these was made by the most fitting person; when Gigi and Wes Gardener drive away in his car, Dean Munsch is revealed to have been lurking in the car’s shadow, ominously observing its passengers. Very much like Michael Myers. A less obvious, more suspected homage was the music selections in this show. The soundtrack consisted of 80’s pop hits for the most part, which can easily be a callback to the great slashers of that decade.

This show knows what it has and how to use it. The casting is genius and simple; put familiar faces in familiar roles. Typecasting in a sense, but it reassures the audience that they will be comfortable with these people in these roles. The writing is funny but also fitting; it reminds me of Scary Movie at times, but it keeps itself grounded. It doesn’t get stupid at any point, and walks the line between slasher and comedy so that it’s accessible to both fandoms. And my god, is it bloody!

Till next week!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Bluray Tuesday!

September 22nd 2015

Our favorite day of the week is back! Son of Monsterpalooza ate a hole through our pockets this weekend so taking it easy this week. Very light week for new releases today, Pitch Perfect 2 is the only new main release and some tv seasons of The Flash and Arrow the complete third season. Rocky Horror fans can pickup the 40th anniversay bluray today as well. rounding out this week is for the first time on bluray The Indian In The Cupboard. I remember watching this as a kid and enjoying it i look forward to re watching and reliving those memories sometime in the near future. A few of the residents of The Overlook attended Son of Monsterpalooza this past weekend and it was a blast so check back soon for our write up on that. I am looking forward to next year's Monsterpalooza It's being moved to Pasadena for this event due to how big It is getting. What will you be buying, renting or just skipping all together this week? Let us know in the comments of on our Instagram page Here we love enteracting with our readers.

Pitch Perfect 2: Amazon - $19.99

It's been three years since the Barden Bellas (Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson) became the first all-female group to win a national title. All seems well until a botched Lincoln Center performance for the president leads to a scandal that strips them of their performing duties, causing internal tension and strife. With the world championships on the horizon in Copenhagen, Denmark, the women must get their act together for their one and only shot at redemption.

Pitch Perfect 2 (Blu-ray) 

Rocky Horror Picture Show: Best Buy - $9.99
 Giftset: Amazon - $24.99

n this cult classic, sweethearts Brad (Barry Bostwick) and Janet (Susan Sarandon), stuck with a flat tire during a storm, discover the eerie mansion of Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry), a transvestite scientist. As their innocence is lost, Brad and Janet meet a houseful of wild characters, including a rocking biker (Meat Loaf) and a creepy butler (Richard O'Brien). Through elaborate dances and rock songs, Frank-N-Furter unveils his latest creation: a muscular man named "Rocky."

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Blu-ray)
Temporary cover art 

Giftset Version
Rocky Horror Picture Show: 40th Anniversary Coll [Blu-ray] 

The Indian In The Cupboard: Amazon - $14.95

On his birthday, Omri (Hal Scardino) is given several simple gifts, including an old wooden cupboard and a small plastic figurine of a Native American man. When he locks the toy inside the cabinet it magically comes to life as a tiny, cagey warrior named Little Bear (Litefoot). The boy then places other toys in the cupboard and they too come to life, even engaging in entertaining battles. But after Little Bear is wounded, Omri begins to understand that his animate toys are not mere playthings.

The Indian in the Cupboard (Blu-ray) 

Arrow Season 3: Best Buy - $39.99

When presumed-dead billionaire playboy Oliver Queen returns home to Starling City after five years stranded on a remote island in the Pacific, he hides the ways the experience has changed him. As he reconnects with those closest to him, including his sister, Thea, Oliver appears to be the same wealthy, carefree bachelor they've always known. At night, flanked by his devoted friend, Diggle, Oliver uses his secret persona -- that of a vigilante -- to right societal wrongs and transform the city to its former glory.

Arrow: The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray) 

The Flash Season 1: Best Buy - $39.99

At 11, Barry Allen's life changed completely when his mother died in a freak accident and his innocent father was convicted of her murder. Now a crime-scene investigator, his dedication to learn the truth about his mother's death drives him to follow up on every new scientific advancement and urban legend. When his latest obsession -- a particle accelerator heralded as a world-changing invention -- causes an explosion, it creates a freak storm and Barry is struck by lightning. He awakes from a coma nine months later with the power of superspeed. When he learns that others who have gained powers use them for evil, he dedicates himself to protecting the innocent, while still trying to solve the older mystery.

The Flash: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
Temporary cover art    

The Sentinel: Amazon - $19.99

A New York City model with a troubled past, Alison Parker (Cristina Raines) decides to make some changes in her life. Breaking up with her boyfriend, Michael (Chris Sarandon), Alison relocates to an apartment in a brownstone building where the only other tenant is a withdrawn blind priest (John Carradine). After experiencing strange occurrences, Alison begins to realize why the holy man is present -- the building has an evil presence that must be kept in check at all costs.

The Sentinel (Blu-ray)
Temporary cover art  

- The Impostor

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Visit or M. Night Shyamalan's Polanski Apartment Trilogy-esk Found Footage Film

of 11 viewers "Liked" "The Visit" (USA, 2015)
Here's what the citizens of the Overlook Theatre had to say:

Math Mage - "This is a horrible film, in the sense that it made me uncomfortable and I'm still traumatized by one scene in particular. So as a horror movie it was successful. The film does a good job setting up the children as irritating, entitled tweens but gradually builds sympathy. Conversely, the portrayal of the elderly is initially positive and rapidly becomes negative. Too negative perhaps; it bothered me to see the health problems of the elderly used as horror elements (in this particular fashion)." - 3 Stars

The Berkeley Blazer - "Shyamalan is back and once again in form. A thoroughly engaging children's visit gone awry thriller that reminds one perhaps of the kinds of stories the jubilee horror series Goosebumps used to have albeit with much, much better writing. The two children are wonderful performers and have an incredible rapport with each other, so much so that I want to buy the film and watch the extras to see what filming this movie was like. Sure the concept isn't particularly original but that execution is spectacular and I was riveted. The man who made Unbreakable is alive and well, people!" - 4.5 Stars

The Creature of the ComiCombs - "I wasn't really expecting much from this film going in. The beginning of the movie was pretty slow going. I couldn't find anything to really latch onto that made me care for the kids in this film. There were some pretty cool moments here but there were also some questionable moments that took away from the story. It picked up a little too late for me to fully enjoy what was going on. The end was a bit much and I feel that the found footage style took away from the film. It would have been more enjoyable if it wasn't shot that way." - 2.5 Stars

Lord Battle - "I imagine an angry M Night made this film, secluded in the woods determined to shut audiences and critics up. The Visit is a modern suspense masterpiece, combining authentic children, Hitchcockian suspense, a found footage narrative that is both justified and appropriate, and a back to basics story that if executed by anyone else wouldn't have felt so meta, but since it was M. Night the meta aspect only enhanced the experience. Bravo Shyamalan!" - 5 Stars

Huntress - "The Visit took what I consider to be two major movie risks that are so easy to mess up that it feels like a waste to try using them: kids leading the movie and found footage filming. Both of these gambles paid off in ways that I couldn't have anticipated, all because they were taken seriously, chosen with purpose, and given the budget to thrive. The end result was a layered story, packed with humor, scares, and surprising emotional depth. It's unlike any other Shyamalan movie I've seen!" - 3.5 Stars

The Impostor - "After a string of bad films (Lady in the Water, After Earth, The Last Air Bender, etc..) M. Night Shyamalan has left a bad taste in our mouths. When the trailer for The Visit first appeared in theatres, I was really into it until the final title card appeared revealing Shyamalan as the writer/director. Besides all that, the creatures of the Overlook Theatre arrived early to the screening of The Visit and I was thoroughly surprised I really liked this film and am looking forward to watching it again. The script is very natural and self-aware which is a huge part of the reason I liked this film, as well as Shyamalan's trademark twist. The two leads were very believable as brother and sister and pulled off genuine laughs. The scares were just as genuine. Overall I highly recommend this film. It's a horror thrill ride that just may have put Shyamalan back on the map." - 4 Stars

KillDozer - "Love him or hate him M. Night is a story teller who at the least is trying to give us something different and entertaining each time he is in the writer/director chair. One of his main downfalls is that he sets up his audience to immediately "figure it all out" before the final reveal which can lead to some fun but obvious endings. The Visit feels like the rest of his work giving us a glimpse of the darkness right before he gives us a big hug and let's his audience know it's all going to be alright. The cast does a good job with each roll but the stand out performance belongs to the grandmother who truly shows her Broadway skills on the screen jumping at a moments notice between all out madness and true love and compassion. I can honestly say that the film was a hit with the full theatre I watched it in. The found footage take was necessary to tell this story the right way in my opinion but I wish it wasn't used as often or in this case used in a way that gave too much away. Still I wait in anticipation as I do with all great story tellers to see what he comes up with next." - 3 Stars (Not collection worthy but worth the watch)

B4DK - "Yeah it had its moments that were good but for the most part, if you've seen the trailer, you've seen the movie." - 2 Stars

Ice Giant - "M Nights finest work. I worry the movie is going to suffer because of the garbage his name has been associated with the past few years but lovers of the found footage genre and horror in general really should give this movie a chance." - 4.5 Stars

The Overlook Theatre Final Rating*
(Below is for after you've seen the film)

How does one begin discussing a film like The Visit? A film whose trailer ensnared an audience only to lose it seconds later at the site of the writer/directors name, M. Night Shyamalan. The fact that his name was so prominently displayed at the end of the trailer felt like a challenge. Now remember that Shyamalan's last film After Earth came and went without anyone knowing he directed it. Following a streak of films like: The Village, Lady in the Water, The Happening, The Last Airbender, and finally After Earth, This meant M. Night thought he had something.
So what's the twist? You're wondering. The twist is The Visit is the back-to-basics film M. Night so desperately needed. Now if you read his interview with Bloody Disgusting it becomes very obvious that his idea of what an indie film costs hasn't been updated since the 90's, as The Visit was budgeted at 5,000,000 (This however is a big difference from his last film that cost $100,000,000). This new restricted budget did have a large effect on what type of film we got, as a Polanski apartment trilogy-esque found footage film seems much more grounded that the epics he's used to making. In fact, the entire film has a meta overtone to it as red-herrings are thrown our way a couple of times and would totally have seemed outlandish in any other filmmakers movie but since we've all been disappointed by at least 1 of the M. Night twists, you can't help but think; is it really a monster? The brilliant thing is that Shyamalan realizes this and totally uses it to his advantage. Seriously, who thought this film would just be about crazy old people?! It's actually incredibly unfair to sum up The Visit as a film about scary old people. Especially because it's not really the old people that are scary, it's the assurance that we'll all become old that's terrifying.
Now I just had to mention how much I loved the fact that Becca (Olivia DeJonge) was a film nerd. This is awesome, not just because I could connect with her through a common passion, but also because it allowed M. Night the freedom to make a found footage film look good (I also need to point out that not once does he do a static edit, which I truly hate in Found Footage). The best was towards the end after having heard her mention Mise-en-scene throughout the film, we finally get to see how effective it's actually been. When Becca is locked upstairs in the dark, it initially feels like the room she's been staying in. There's just one problem, the door knob is wrong for that room (it's on the wrong side (left as opposed to right) of the door). It's incredible when something like a door knob being in the wrong spot can send your mind reeling but it makes sense. Due to the awesome use of Mise-en-scene, which refers to how things are arranged on screen, the audience was very familiar with the house, so the addition of a new room instantly got us thinking about where we haven't been. And of course that would be the grandparents room.

- Lord Battle

*Based on the star ratings turned in by character reviewers, others viewed and got to "Dislike" or "Like" but that does not effect the rating.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Overlooked Crowd Funding: Scream, Queen! My Nightmare On Elm Street

"Did I actually quit acting because of Nightmare on Elm Street 2?"
-Mark Patton

While the world was riddled with fear of the AIDS epidemic and ostracizing those it suspected of spreading the condition, an unexpectedly iconic sequel was released upon horror fans everywhere. The sequel, as you've probably guessed, is A Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge and it developed into something very personal for a lot of people. You may remember the cast talking about this subject briefly in Never Sleep Again, the 4 hour documentary that chronicles the entire Nightmare franchise, but they didn't really go into any kind of depth about whether or not they realized the message that was between the lines that they were reading. There was just enough time for each of the cast members to say that they had no idea at the time but come to think of it... And for a giggling David Chaskin to say “It was supposed to be subtext!” Now this same cast has been brought together once more in order to reflect on the film they helped make possible all those years ago. This time it will be with a different context; we will get a chance to hear from those who were deeply affected by Freddy's Revenge and who saw a bit of themselves in Jesse Walsh. Most of these testimonies appear to be from the lgbt community, and from people who were attracted to the vulnerability that Jesse embodied. He was incredibly, undeniably relatable, and had a huge fan base because of that. (The fact that Mark Patton was a gay actor himself was actually coincidence.) But he did toughen up and for that fact, he is lovingly called the first male scream queen. And he will finally be able to tell his whole story.

Everyone's motivations for talking about this whole experience are different, but any way you look at it this film turned out to be much more than the embarrassing dance number we all love, and it demands attention! And judging from the campaign video, much of the filming has already taken place. Filmmakers were able to catch everyone in one place because they were at 30th anniversary reunion of A Nightmare on Elm Street The filmmakers just need a little help to hire lawyers and get all the licensing paperwork together correctly to avoid being sued. And also to enter Scream, Queen! into the film festival circuit. 

Speaking of which, let's look at some of the perks available to you in this Scream, Queen! campaign.

  • $25 gives you the option between a digital download of the completed Scream, Queen! film or an 11x17 poster for the film. These both come with a thank you on facebook, as well as a producer credit after the film. 
Under $100:
  • $75 will get you a signed 24" x 36" poster, specifically designed to collect signatures on. It has extra white space at the bottom so that none of the poster is covered. This also comes with a thank you on facebook and a producer credit after the film. 
Breaking the Piggy Bank:
  • $150 will get you a digital download of the completed film, along with a rare commentary of of Nightmare on Elm Street 2 done by Mark Patton. This is one of the cooler perks, in my opinion, because it ties the old and the new together perfectly. 
  • $300 gets the all inclusive package, which comes with a digital download of the film, the audio commentary of Mark Patton, both sizes of posters, the soundtrack, a hat, and the facebook thanks and producer credit! Basically everything pictured below and more.

I was hoping that this campaign would have some more interesting merchandise, but at this point in the film's life, it still needs to be completed and ideally make the film festival circulation to get its name out. But there is so much potential to satisfy that materialistic side most of us have, we just have to help things get rolling first! I have my fingers crossed for a cool physical release of the movie, since I know next to nothing about digital copies. And I don't think that's too far fetched of a hope. 

As with all campaigns, there is usually a cool perk that most of us can only dream of being able to get, be it because of the price, location, or whatever reason. I like to just mention them on the off chance they may grab someone's attention. So here is the Scream, Queen! 

Honorable Mention: For $2500 you can include the name, picture, and a statement about someone you know who has been effected by HIV, homophobia, or bullying in the film. You will also receive a personalized thank you video from Mark Patton. 

As I'm finishing this, the Kickstarter campaign has 34 days left and has raised over $4000 already. Check it out and help out if you can!